Thursday, April 10, 2014

Part 11: Rides ze Shoopuf!!




Good morning, Waffles!

Last time, Seymour and Yuna’s first date ended in disaster when a space whale slammed into the beach and murdered everyone. (Exactly as he was expecting.)

The adults are waiting around outside the temple for the lazy teenagers to get out of bed. If you talk to Lulu, she offers some inspiring commentary on their situation.


 
I always thought this was kind of a weirdly optimistic thing to say, especially coming from her. Lulu is not usually the person to spout motivational poster quotes, and that’s what this sounds like. It could be that she’s just speaking from past experience after all the terrible things she’s lived through, but I decided that she was repeating something she’d heard before.

(Also way to swing your arms right in the way there Wakka.)


Auron meanwhile is trying to avoid the attention of one of the temple’s bouncing fox monkeys. These are all over the place. I wonder if they’re considered sacred and allowed to do whatever they please, or if the temple is just not able to get rid of them. It’s kind of jarring though when people are having a serious conversation about Sin-wrought atrocities and dead Crusaders while there are squeaky little critters bouncing around in the foreground.

Waffles goes inside and learns that while he was snoozing, Yuna was up until dawn helping to heal the wounded soldiers and performing the sending for the dead ones. Isaaru left yesterday and Dona doesn’t seem to be around anymore either, so she may have done this on her own. I’d like to think that Isaaru at least would have turned around and come back to the temple to help when he saw how bad things were, but there’s no mention of either of them.



The priests here don’t even know the full extent of how physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted Yuna had to have been. To recap: yesterday, she fought a chocobo eater, hiked up Mushroom Rock Road, fought Sinspawn, witnessed the utter destruction of Operation Mi’ihen, performed the sending for the Crusaders on the beach, walked to Djose Temple, communed with the fayth to receive a new aeon, and then stayed up all night healing and sending the casualties of the operation.


Unfortunately, an indoor voice is not one of Waffles’s virtues. After he wakes her up, he tells her not to worry, but she realizes everyone must be waiting for her and starts running around in a flustered panic trying to get ready. She’s actually whimpering a little to herself in distress at the possibility of inconveniencing her guardians, in particular, Auron. Even though she is the summoner, she regards him as her superior and she is anxious not to disrespect him. Perhaps she has already sensed that he is in a hurry to get to Zanarkand.

Yuna was already committed to her pilgrimage, but the addition of Auron gives the sincerity of it extra weight, for her. Now she feels she has to live up to the honor of having the Legendary Guardian attending her, and a constant reminder that she is also doing this to honor the memory of her father. The pressure on her not to fail is even stronger now. She is also much less relaxed in his presence than she was when her party just consisted of her and her friends. Although it wasn’t exactly casual before (she is going on a holy journey to save the world and then die, after all, not a family vacation) having Auron around does add a certain gravitas to the party.

(Though apparently not enough that she isn’t willing to make a fool of herself making seagull noises in front of him for Tidus.)



Lulu tries to reassure her that they aren’t in a hurry and then points out that her hair is sticking up. She then compounds her embarrassment by letting everyone know that apparently, Yuna snores. (Although sadly the snoring sound effect that you get from Tidus when you sleep in this game is omitted for Yuna in X-2, so either Lulu is just teasing her or Yuna got some nasal strips or something.)


Come on Wakka have you seen Seymour’s hair? I don’t think Yuna has anything to worry about.




Everybody laughs at Yuna’s expense while she makes some excellent faces.


But the thing I love most about this is the camera pan from her point of view while they're all laughing so you really get a sense of how short she is compared to everyone else. (I am 5’1” in a family of mostly tall people with tall friends so I find this little detail very relatable.)


I hadn’t noticed until AuronLu brought it up in her liveblog that Auron usually drops the traditional summoner’s honorific from Yuna’s name. This is one of the few times that we hear him refer to her as “Lady Yuna,” and he’s doing it to make fun of her. It could be that it’s because he outranks her, but as she pointed out, he doesn’t refer to Braska as “Lord Braska,” either, anymore, so it’s probably that he’s just become disillusioned with Yevon and its ceremonial formalities and falseness.


Waffles is glad to see everyone laughing, but he remarks that he later realized that he was the only one whose laughter was genuine, and everyone else, like Yuna, was only putting on a show of happiness.


If you go back in you find that Yuna was occupying the bed of this nun, who was probably also up all night.


And this poor guy is still in mourning for his chocobo. :(



“I had two hours of sleep, I’m good to go!” I find Lucil’s concern very touching, especially after everything she herself went through yesterday.


And Clasko is, as ever, late to the party. Look at that monkey scrambling to get out of the way.


Well that’s too bad, because that’s where I’m going! (Somewhat masochistically, since my emulator has been running painfully slowly ever since I knocked over a glass of water onto my computer like the total technical expert that I am, and now on long screens Waffles starts running so slowly that I automatically hear the “Chariots of Fire” theme start up in my head.)


This is, of course, exactly the outcome that Kinoc was hoping for. The Crusaders have been wiped out beyond recovery, most of the survivors have come back into the fold, and now the remaining military forces in Spira belong to the Church. The only thing the people of Spira have to protect them now from Sin is Yevon, so they have nothing else in which to place their faith and loyalty. With the Crusaders gone, Yevon is stronger than ever.


Thanks for that.

The npcs all have quite a bit to say about Operation Mi’ihen, but I can’t easily backtrack now with my slow computer and I have a feeling AuronLu is going to do it, so keep an eye on her liveblog. (Or you can check out her excellent complete script, here.) I just wanted to talk to the petsitter again for continuity’s sake.




Every corner of this game is full of tiny tragedies.

Along the road to the Moonflow you can get some cute battle start quotes. For the most part everyone sounds really tired and whiny, which is understandable considering the day they had yesterday, while Lulu is rather grumpily trying to keep them focused. If you’re lucky (and have Yuna and Lulu in your starting lineup) you can also hear Yuna doing a cheeky impression of Wakka, which sadly goes unappreciated by her audience.


This stretch of road is not very long but it is apparently the sprouting grounds for ochus good grief. (If you made Kimahri a thief you can steal Remedies from them though.) I suppose this would be a good time to share some headcanons about status ailments.

In addition to the usual afflictions of blindness, silence, poison (being modeled by this trio here), petrification, and zombie, several games in the Final Fantasy series also include disease, which does various detrimental things. It was present in FFs IX, XI, and XII, but not X, but I don’t think that means there is no disease in Spira, just that there is no easy cure. In FFXII, the rather colorful explanation of, “the character’s body festers with disease, preventing the healing of wounds,” suggests that it actually means a wound infection, which in ye olden days before modern medicine had a very high chance of being fatal. Disease status is removed by a Vaccine, which is . . . not how vaccines work, but that is advanced medicine that would require science to produce. So it’s possible that in Spira, where new technology is feared and most healers are affiliated with the clergy (and practitioners of white magic, that is, faith healing, only in this universe it is actually effective), they don’t have remedies for serious diseases. But the scientifically curious Al Bhed might, which also explains why their potions are so much more effective than standard ones and cure a broader range of ailments.

But, for narrative purposes, we just assume that our seven heroes got lucky and never got an infected wound, which would reliably be a death sentence out in the wilderness, so disease doesn’t appear on the roster of status ailments.

On the road we see Yenke and Biran again, bullying Wantz, who runs away as we approach.




It took me a while to realize that this was a dig at the way Wantz is always following Yuna around with a camera. I didn’t always notice him there.

I really wish Biran would put on some pants. :/ His caution-stripe panniers there aren’t doing much for him.



They say that summoners are disappearing, and nobody knows why. We also heard this from Isaaru, but it’s interesting that these two hung behind to taunt/warn Kimahri about it. On one hand, maybe they just wanted to tease him some more. On the other, the Ronso are Yevonites and their duty of guarding Mt. Gagazet and the last lap of the pilgrimage is a sacred one, so they may feel honor-bound to try to assist summoners, even Kimahri’s. (They don’t have to be polite about it, though.) Incidentally, they don’t mention that Kimahri already lost his summoner once. I guess they can see that he got her back.

After they leave, Waffles asks what their problem is with him.



I love this. Waffles has been on speaking terms with Kimahri for less than a day, but he already considers himself his ally and is ready to jump in and fight for his honor. (Much like he was willing to run into the Cloister of Trials to rescue an unknown summoner, and fight the chocobo eater after having only heard a rumor about it. Because it was the right thing to do.) But Kimahri and Wakka tell him that Ronso have to deal with Ronso problems themselves and he’s not allowed to interfere. I am intrigued that Wakka knows so much about Ronso culture. Maybe he learned it from contact with the Ronso Fangs, or maybe he’s actually better buddies with Kimahri than the sparse interaction we see between the two of them would suggest.


Lulu meanwhile was apparently the only one who remembered that this conversation started with the troubling insinuation that something bad could happen to Yuna if they aren’t more careful. You know, like the last time she was grabbed in broad daylight from a crowded place because everyone who was supposed to be protecting her was more involved with their own personal problems. (By coincidence, the distraction that time was also Biran and Yenke. The first time I played this I thought something was going to come of that, but as it turns out it’s just a coincidence/red herring.)


We arrive at the Moonflow, which is really beautiful but I can’t get over the fact that “moonflow” sounds like a word Marion Zimmer Bradley would use to describe a woman’s monthly problem. :S





Auron, seen here crushing the hopes of doomed children.

I always thought this was pretty callous of him because he knows Yuna (possibly also Tidus) is never going to get the chance to see this again, and she clearly wants to, but she wouldn’t dare speak up against him. I mean, dude, I know we’re in a hurry to get to Zanarkand and all because Jecht is running out of time, but can’t we spare a few hours?


Undaunted, Waffles does some kind of goofy little dance which these pictures cannot adequately express.


Oh no.





He looks so proud of his idea, too. Everyone else pointedly avoids looking at each other.




Then, inexplicably, Yuna opens her hands and a flurry of white feathers goes swirling up into the air. Everyone watches them drift away. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to make of this. Symbolism? Foreshadowing? Is she molting?


Waffles clings to Wakka while overcome with awe of the majestic shoopuf.




I was playing this with a friend once and her teenage younger brother was passing by and said, sarcastically, “Ohh, the shoopuf! Sounds ~exciting~!” And then the shoopuf came trundling by and he stopped and was like “Oh! That is exciting.” I feel like this is the quintessential first shoopuf reaction experience.


I enjoy that the sign is shoopuf-shaped. :D Even if Yuna can’t see the moonlilies at night, at least she gets to ride the shoopuf. She and Kimahri tell a story about the last time they came this way, on the trip from Bevelle to Besaid when she was seven:

Kimahri: Shoopuf shook. Yuna fall in water. Shoopuf scoop up Yuna with long nose. Yuna jump in three more times for fun. Kimahri worried.
Yuna: (embarrassed) Whoops!
Kimahri: Yuna had fun. Kimahri happy.

It sounds like Bitty Yuna was kind of a handful, haha. The image of a tiny, soggy Yuna being returned to the arms of a worried Kimahri via shoopuf trunk is the most adorable thing ever. For a long time I had only seen a cropped version of Kimahri’s poster art and couldn’t figure out why he looked so uncharacteristically smiley. Then I found the whole thing and what do you know.


He’s with Yuna and they’re riding a shoopuf! Who wouldn’t be happy??


It’s mentioned that this is the reason the Al Bhed wear goggles, although they are fairly distinctive even without hiding their eyes. I don’t know if it’s ever proven otherwise, but I think the Al Bhed may be the only people who have green eyes at all, even without the spiral pupil, (at least, I haven’t noticed any other characters with them) so that really makes Yuna’s right eye a tell. Someone who doesn’t know much about the Al Bhed, or her background, might not know what it means and just think it’s an oddity, but people in Bevelle who had heard about the scandal caused by her parents’ marriage would know what it meant.


Shmooshed.


“A history lesson?” groans Waffles. Auron proceeds to tell the whole sordid story of how one time Jecht got plastered and attacked the shoopuf. Mortified, they gave up all their gil as an apology, and Jecht gave up drinking for good. This is what finally caused Jecht to quit alcohol, not the pleading of his neglected young son, but the shame he had caused Braska. (And a poor injured shoopuf. You can see the scar on its hindquarters.)

He then remarks on how not much has changed in Spira over the past ten years, how "truly, the place seems to resist change."


*pointed look at Tidus*

Spira is a very tradition-bound place where people are, for better or for worse, set in their ways. They adhere to religious doctrines, taboos, and laws that have been in place for hundreds of years. Even Yuna remarks that she never thought to question them, before Tidus starts asking. Summoners die and the cycle of Sin goes on because that’s the way it’s always been.

And now here comes Our Hero, blundering around the well-organized china shop of Yevon like a behemoth on roller skates, breaking taboos he doesn’t know about and asking all kinds of impertinent questions that nobody else would dare. Which is exactly what Spira needs, and perhaps Auron knew that.


He then offers up the most accurate piece of advice about the game.


Over here the last of the Chocobo Knights are trying to get their chocobo across the river, to no avail. I noticed that Elma addresses Lucil as “sir.” Some Crusaders address a female officer the same way in Kilika. I don’t know if that’s just the proper form of address for a Crusader officer, male or female, or if Lucil and Elma have a relationship like Peppermint Patty and Marcie and she just calls her sir for some reason.







The wondrous shoopuf.



The only time anyone has ever said this to Lulu and lived. (And been right. Come on Lulu you cannot be blasé about the shoopuf.)



Nobody wants to sit with Waffles.


During the trip, Wakka points out the underwater ruins they’re swimming over. They’re the remains of one of the ancient machina cities that used to span the river, until its weight caused it to collapse. Wakka says it’s an object lesson for the dangers of relying on machina, which causes Tidus to point out the inconsistency of the machina they use, like the blitzball stadium and the shoopuf elevator. Lulu replies that some machina is permitted, and Yevon decides which. She then uses this as a segue into another history lesson for Waffles, who is having a very educational trip.

They talk about the machina war of 1,000 years ago, saying that the people built stronger and stronger engines of war until it was feared that the machina was powerful enough to destroy the world. But the war didn’t end until Sin appeared and destroyed the cities and their machina.



As is usual with Yevon, the history they have been taught is only part of the truth, as we will learn later. They speak of Sin as something that simply arose of its own accord as a kind of divine retribution for the war, to punish mankind for their evils. Although it's not exactly worshipped, Sin is the closest thing the Yevon religion has to a deity.



“Guns don’t kill people! We are all immune to bullets and it’s a miracle.”


I was going to say something about who the real bad people with bad machina are, but at that moment we are attacked by, um, the Al Bhed. With machina. Who kidnap Yuna.



BEHIND YOU.

(Was he on the roof? For how long? Did he hear the whole conversation? Or did he sneak up from underwater and climb on top of the howdah without anyone noticing?)


He grabs Yuna by her obi, illustrating the perils of wearing a giant bow like a convenient handle, and drags her overboard.


Way to be, team of professional guardians.



It was very thoughtful of her kidnappers to put her in this large bubble so she can breathe during the fight scene, though. Our two waterdogs defeat the machina, which emphatically explodes.


I like how Yuna gets credit for witnessing the battle. (She doesn’t get any experience, though.)



Back on board, Lulu attempts not to fuss over Yuna, although you can clearly see her wanting to. Over time, possibly catalyzed by Dona’s comments, or the arrival of Auron, Lulu begins to recognize the need to treat Yuna as an adult. She knows that the eyes of all Spira are on her, and it won’t do to have a summoner appear weak and in need of comfort and support from her guardians when she needs to be inspiring hope in the people. (Which you may recognize as the exact opposite of what Seymour is doing with his whole “pillar of strength” routine.) So, after a while, she no longer hugs or pets Yuna like she used to and becomes a lot less demonstrative with her affections. The bond between them is still as strong as ever, as we will find out much later, but Lulu has to make herself step back and let Yuna be strong on her own.

(All of which leaves me, of course, fraught with feelings.)


Somehow I get the impression that full shoopuf shpeeds is not that much faster than regular shoopuf shpeeds.







Wakka gets a lot of hate for his blind devotion to Yevon and his racist attitude towards the Al Bhed, but overcoming both of these is an important part of his character arc. He blames the Al Bhed for the death of his brother and for kidnapping Yuna when really, it was Sin who killed Chappu and is ultimately going to kill Yuna. But he can’t hold Sin accountable, because he has been taught that Sin is eternal, implacable, and will never go away until humanity atones for its sins. The real enemy is the system perpetuating the cycle of Sin, and coming to terms with that is a major turning point for his character that won’t come until later. So until then, the only enemy he has to lash out against is the Al Bhed. However, this is just an explanation, not an excuse, for his behavior.




At this point everyone who knows about Yuna’s heritage, which is everyone, looks away awkwardly.





For vowing to protect her, standing up for her mother’s family, and putting an end to that conversation without raising any more hackles. He can be a surprisingly good mediator.


“It’s okay, Kimahri! I’m sure that’s the last time anyone’s going to try to abduct Yuna.” :(

The music in this area is really nice. I particularly like the addition of the erhu in the hd remaster. (But then I really love erhu music. And violins in general.)



On the road to Guadosalam, Waffles comes upon a familiar pink wetsuit lying crumpled sadly on the riverbank.



What a sympathetic guy.

He’s extremely surprised when she gets up and shimmies out of her wetsuit in the most inexcusably fanservicey manner possible. (And then it disappears forever. You’d think she’d want to hang on to that for all of the swimming she’s going to be doing later. But hey, if Tidus can swim in overalls, and Wakka can swim in fishing pants, then swimming wearing streamers ought to be easy in comparison.)







She says, knocking him clear over with the force of her accusation.





He’s been looking for Rikku ever since they got separated. She was the only person who was nice to him after they picked him up in Baaj and they had such a great friendship starting, speaking the same language and everything. Now he finds out he just tried to blow her up. Way to go, Waffles.




Lulu and Yuna prepare for the worst, but fortunately Wakka doesn’t even notice the verbal equivalent of Tidus tripping over his own feet.



He then does the Yevon bow while Rikku scratches her head awkwardly.


This is the quote that most accurately describes my life.

The three ladies go off to have a serious conversation. Rikku knows that Yuna is the summoner and the person she is trying to protect, but she automatically includes Lulu in the discussion too. Perhaps, like Auron did, she takes her for the party leader at a glance, but whatever the reason, Rikku gets attached to Lulu right from the moment she meets her. I mentioned at the beginning that I wanted to explore some of the relationships that are often overlooked in this game, and the relationship between Lulu and Rikku is one of them. I’ll get more into it when we see more of it, but I like the big sis/little sis dynamic that they develop.


Who knows what’s being said here during all the dogpaddling. I assume that Rikku explains that she is actually Yuna’s cousin, and she’s really sorry about that whole kidnapping thing but she was really trying to protect her, you see, and it’s very complicated. Lulu would be naturally sympathetic to this. And Yuna wants to bring her along, so, as is her style, she immediately knights her as a guardian.

But first she has to clear this with Auron.


Here it is, the scene that launched one of the fandom’s most zealously crewed ships. Fifteen-year-old-girl-and-a-dead-guy. I was really bewildered by the popularity of Auron/Rikku until someone pointed out to me that a lot of teenage girls with a crush on Auron can use it as a kind of Trojan horse to write Suefic, which hadn’t even occurred to me. Now it makes a lot more sense from an external point of view, but within the story I still think it’s a pretty awkward pairing. As I said when asked for my opinion about it on tumblr once, I can see Rikku developing a giddy, adolescent crush on Auron, because he’s so brooding and mysterious, but I doubt he would notice and if he did, he’d be uncomfortable with it and distance himself from her further.  The idea of him reciprocating seems really out of character for him.

But these are just my opinions. I’m not the Fandom Police and frankly, anybody can sail whatever ship they want to. I have seen weirder ones. (And those are fine too.)



The first time I played this it was on a tiny, fuzzy old tv so I really did not get the full splendor of the graphics until later and missed out on some details. I had missed the guy earlier mentioning the spiral pupils of the Al Bhed, so I had no idea what Auron was doing here. I thought he was just assessing the integrity of her character with the intensity of his scathing gaze or something.



But he’s just checking to confirm his suspicion that she is Al Bhed. (He probably also deduced that she was one of Yuna’s erstwhile kidnappers. By the way . . . what happened to the other guy?) He asks if she's sure, knowing that taking the Yevon-approved position of a guardian is not going to be easy for an Al Bhed.


“I meant what I said and I said what I meant! A Rikku is faithful, one hundred percent!”


This seems like a really condescending remark until you realize that to a dog, “good girl/boy” is the highest form of praise. ;)



Tidus remarks on the irony of this. Wakka and Rikku get to be pals as long as he doesn’t know to let his prejudices towards her race stand in the way. (For all his hatred of the Al Bhed, he doesn’t seem to know enough about them to identify one on sight. Somehow the yellow hair, swirly green eyes, goggles, and proficiency with gadgets never give her away.)

I imagine that Rikku was probably keeping an eye on Yuna from a distance for some time, so she’s happy to finally be with her.

I know I said that I wasn’t going to let anyone have any skills or abilities that weren’t in their new designated part of the sphere grid, but I could not resist teaching Provoke to Lulu since she was right there. It’s usually a useless ability for her since she has the lowest defenses, so there’s no reason to want to draw enemy attacks to her, which is a shame because it’s the best. But I’m reshaping her into a mighty warrior so it’s finally useful.

And then, by the holy providence of Yevon, the first enemy that I ran into after teaching it to her was A FLAN.


Lulu sasses a flan. We have come full circle.



I really love Guadosalam’s tree-roots-and-stained-glass style of architecture. Especially all those spirals.

The Guado kind of fit in with the High Elf fantasy trope. They are secluded, vaguely otherworldly, live in harmony with the forest, and think they’re better than you.




As soon as we arrive, a pompous Guado comes up and, without introduction, tries to drag Yuna off by the hand. Considering that the last attempt to kidnap her was less than an hour ago, her guardians are less than receptive to this.

This is the second time that Seymour has requested Yuna’s presence without asking her or explaining himself. As he is a Maester, she is simply expected to obey.


I decide to make him wait by going around talking to people and admiring the architecture. I like this stained glass moon design.


“Well, you guys have like six character models among you.”



Well good thing nobody asked you, then. Geez.


Maybe even . . . as great as SIN???


Old Guado speak Elizabethan.


The game is starting to catch up with me in terms of Seymour exposition. These portraits seem kind of holographic. I wonder if they're some kind of pyrefly construction or if they move like portraits in Harry Potter.




His feelings must have been really hurt by Yuna shushing him, because he actually doesn’t talk for quite some time after this. If you try to talk to him, he just repeats that he’ll say no more. That Yuna would hurt Kimahri, even unintentionally, shows how anxious and flustered Seymour makes her.

Lulu starts to explain to Waffles about how Guadosalam is not a popular summoner destination. She has gotten so used to expositing to him (and us) that she starts doing it automatically, which makes him laugh. “You’d prefer I say nothing, then?” she snaps at him. I think she was actually concerned about Yuna and looking for a distraction when she started talking to him. He points out that maybe this means she finally believes he’s not from Spira.




I find it a little heartwarming that she trusts Tidus enough by now to admit this. Her icy exterior is very slowly starting to melt around him. She’s accepted that he’s a permanent fixture of the pilgrimage and seen how happy he’s made Yuna.


She says, way too late for the warning to be of any use.


He finally has a chance to get some food and he doesn’t take it. :/ Neither does anyone else, for that matter.


Except for Rikku, who has apparently not seen Pan’s Labyrinth. (Although fresh fruit must be scarce in the desert, so I can’t really blame her.) There is a very ominous, fairytale-like atmosphere about this whole scene: the lavish dining hall, the mysterious absent host, the indefinable sense that something here is not quite right.



Tidus has expressed dislike for Seymour, mainly because of his attention towards Yuna, with which Tidus knows he can’t compete, but it didn’t occur to him that he might be dangerous.





I am not exactly sure what he means with this response. Presumably he means Tidus’s Zanarkand, where there were no Maesters and no Yevon, so he had time to look back on the mess Yevon made of his life. Or he could mean Spira’s Zanarkand, the place where he lost his faith.

(And his life. And his friends. And an eye. Too soon?)





This echoes Yuna’s comment about summoners being Spira’s ray of light. (Which is, of course, very ironic considering Seymour’s actual plans for the people of Spira.)


Auron's probably back there rolling his eyes so hard he almost loses the other one, too.



Once again we see Auron stressing the importance of Yuna completing her pilgrimage in a hurry. But this time he has the extra motive of wanting to get everyone out of there as soon as possible because he doesn’t trust Seymour.


Seymour and Yuna’s story reminds me in ways of the Beauty and the Beast tale, especially here the way he paints himself as the lonely lord all alone in his empty palace, waiting for her. However, while the fairytale themes of seeking redemption through love are present, they are horribly twisted and it’s all backwards because he’s actually looking to become a cursed monster through her love.

He invites them all into his home theater to show them some fancy spheres.



I have to say Yuna looks really adorable in this cutscene.


He says that these spheres are reconstructed from the memories of the people who lived 1,000 years ago, so does this imply that the ancient Spirans had astronauts? Whose memory of Spira’s home galaxy seen from space is this?


Tidus gets a glimpse of his home again for the first time since he came here.


“What is this chicanery?”



Auron makes a little snort when he says this. He knows exactly who he’s talking about.


Lenne? ;)


Yunalesca’s Lingerie of Yevon attire makes a lot more sense in this context. (Still don’t really understand the Cindy-Lou Who feather antennae but ancient Zanarkand fashion is one giant wtf is Waffles is any example.)


The decorations on the panels in the walls appear to be the trees in Macalania Woods, only they are flowering.









*GAZE*


The specter of Lord Zaon marches in, walking right through Yuna, who is understandably creeped out by this. She looks away modestly as the two images start embracing, probably very uneasy about where this conversation is going. The camera stays on them so unfortunately, we don’t get to see everyone else’s reaction but they are all apparently very engaged with the sphere recording because none of them seem to notice what Seymour does next.

Why does he have this, anyway? Who recorded it? What historian came across this and said “Ah! The Lord Zaon-Lady Yunalesca sex tape! Surely this is a thing that must be preserved for posterity.” Why is he showing it to Yuna?? Seymour you are a huge creeper.

I feel like the major flaw in Seymour’s plan is that it all hinges on Yuna loving him enough for their bond to turn him into an aeon strong enough to defeat and then become Sin, but he has no idea how to romance a girl. He's just like “So I understand from this sphere that this is how this is done,” and she’s like “Oh fayth, kill me now.” He did have almost no human contact growing up apart from his mother, who then died, and then he was on his own until he became a monk, so the heart of a teenage girl is an unknown mechanism to him.







I love how far he has to lean down to talk to her. But look at how he does this. Rather than speaking to her in front of everyone, he isolates her by leaning in very close to her and talking directly into her ear. This is uncomfortably intimate, since not only is Yuna shy and much younger than him, but their relationship so far has been a completely respectful and professional one, with a certain distance enforced by their difference in rank. Even though she admires him, she is clearly distressed by his proposal.




His not announcing his intentions to the rest of the party also forces her into the awkward position of making the explanation to them herself.

“Hey!” yells Waffles indignantly, in a "You can't do that!" sort of way.

Auron is more concerned that Seymour’s plan is to derail Yuna’s pilgrimage somehow.









But to Seymour, Spira actually is one big stage, and he certainly has a flair for the theatrical. He likes grand, operatic gestures and elaborate spectacles. (Consider the first appearance of Anima in Luca, where, from a stage-like balcony, he “saved” everyone from the fiend attack.)

His last line here touches on one of the recurring themes throughout the game as well. Several of our main characters are revealed to be acting; Yuna wears happiness like a costume to hide her inner sorrow, Rikku is keeping her identity a secret, there is a lot more to Auron than he is letting on, and even the whole backdrop of Yevon, with its pageantry and ceremony, is a just façade hiding its shady backstage workings.




Yuna is completely robbed of her agency during this conversation. Auron steps in to speak for her, and even when Seymour addresses her he does not leave room for her to assert herself or contradict him.



Annoyed at being verbally out-maneuvered by Auron, Seymour can’t resist a parting stab at his defenses in front of his companions.



Waffles, curious about what the Farplane smells like, comes over to have a sniff, because he is a dog. (The Farplane, apparently, smells like nog and grumpiness.)

Next time: Waffles sees dead people.

18 comments:

  1. Yaaay! Your Let's Play is back!!! Just the right balance between insightful and funny as hell.

    I've never been able to agree with the in-game flow of time. One day for walking all of the Djose Highroad is ridiculous, as is them being halfway finished with the pilgrimage in what, 4 days?
    Wakka and Kimahri should totally be best buddies. It's really a shame how little Kimahri's bonds with other party members were shown to be developed, but I can totally see Kimahri getting along with everyone else (helping them hunt, traverse through difficult areas or even just providing silent support). Wakka would probably pray with him or they could even play Blitzball together. If other Ronso can, then why not Kimahri?
    Also, the big blue guy was my main choice for Steal and Use as well. In game, I see this as Tidus awkwardly describing what Rikky did when they were scavenging together, and then Kimahri practicing silently at night.

    "Symbolism? Foreshadowing? Is she molting?" is just gold. So is Kimahri and Yuna's trip on the Shoopuf.
    I never realized how much Rikku has grown on me, but I got excited to see her appearing on the playthrough. The party was getting too serious with the addition of Sir Grumpypants and Tidus wasn't able to balance it out anymore. Rikku is such a welcomed relief. Which is perfectly paralleled with the gameplay, since her Al Bhed potions start becoming a necessity.
    I just wish Rikku's spirals in her eyes should be a tad more concenctric...I always feel that she is under Confuse or something.

    Finally, fun fact: I played bot the original FFX and the International version, here in Mexico, and for the Guados who speak in Elizabethan engish, my international version went with ancient spanish, which is SO old, that prior to this game I had never even heard about it. Finally, the Localization team did something right.

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    1. Yeah I don't think the flow of time presented in the game is accurate, since few actual days seem to pass. I think there a lot of camping stops that are just left out of the storytelling. I've talked about this with a few people and the general consensus seems to be that the pilgrimage took about three months. But it's heavily implied that at least everything between Operation Mi'ihen and the arrival at Djose Temple did happen on the same day.

      I agree with you about the spiral eyes looking a little weird, especially since the spiral seems to function as their pupils. (How does that work anyway? Does the spiral expand and contract in reaction to light, or what?)

      And oh that's interesting about the Guado speaking ancient Spanish! That was clever of the localization team. I love hearing about how games are adapted to different languages.

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  2. You take the most amazing screencaps. LOL at the Clasko & fleeing monkey screenie.

    I found Lulu's "no matter how dark the night" quote very moving a few years back, but yes, it does sound like a motivational poster. It reminded me of the more gentle language / platitudes she sometimes delivers to Yuna. But your headcanon for its origin is fantastic *sniffle.*

    Rrr, you're seeing the problematic side of Auron that I was immune to when I first played the game and was smitten with his snark and badassitude. His expectations, the weight he puts on Yuna: all true. (Also: "gravitas" is a word that makes my heart go pit-a-pat.)

    "Every corner of this game is full of tiny tragedies." This. So much this.

    It's funny, since I started with FFVIII, X and VII, I was almost annoyed when I started hitting FFs with the "disease" status ailment because it felt unfamiliar. Must ponder. I feel that some of the magic-healing in FFX could simply lift the curse, so to speak, but your more realistic interpretation also works.

    WHERE IS MY BRAIN. I never picked up that Biran and Yenke were comparing Kimahri to Wantz partly because Wantz follows Yuna everywhere.

    Waffles is such a good kid at heart. (Wanting to help Kimahri because it's the Right Thing to Do.) And hey, I thought the same thing you did, initially: that Biran and Yenke must be conspiring with the Al Bhed somehow to kidnap summoners, but in their snide and backhanded way were giving Kimahri a break by trying to warn him. Nope. But it sure felt that way.

    That whole Moonflow sequence (yes, I went to a women's college with pagans who called it that) is so wonderfully painful, as Waffles continues to miss the low-flying subtext. And I've never had a good enough TV screen to see that the stuff flying up from Yuna's hands is not more pyreflies/pollen/something puffing out of the moon lilies. Fascinating. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd recall that white feather symbolism in the Final Fantasy genre alludes to phoenix downs, rebirth and, often, the female heroine: see the white feathers from Rinoa in the FFVIII opening, Lightning's white feathers in Valhalla, Zack Fair's death scene (awful English dub, beautiful moment - http://youtu.be/NBEI2Z30HWU?t=6m18s ), and many more. (I think there may be white feathers flapping about when Yuna summons Valefor to catch her.)

    Kimahri's little vignette about Yuna is so cute. Almost the only hint we have of their relationship and the bitty!yuna that we so like to imagine.

    Your description of Tidus as a "behemoth on roller skates" in the Yevon china shop is perfect.

    "Although it's not exactly worshipped, Sin is the closest thing the Yevon religion has to a deity.Although it's not exactly worshipped, Sin is the closest thing the Yevon religion has to a deity." So much loaded commentary on sin-and-atonement-based religions here, whether or not they have an explicit Satan figure. *shudder*

    For good people, the Al Bhed certainly do have a knack for acting like minor villains in the first half of the game.

    Ouch, everything you say about how Lulu is beginning to force herself to pull back from Yuna: yes, and I hadn't noticed it this clearly until you pointed it out.

    I also could not see the spirals in Rikku's eyes on my TV and wondered what Auron was looking for.

    LULU SASSES A FLAN OMFG WELL PLAYED.

    Nice inverted Beauty & the Beast parallel.

    RE: the SPACE THE FINAL FRONTIER bit in the beginning of Seymour's Show & Tell: I am 99% sure that this was the Final Fantasy VII team (mostly the same crew as in X) saying, we finally have the 3D graphics we always wanted; let's remake that Exposition Dump Scene in Bugenhagen's Planetarium ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5u8c3E5CK8 ) with Aeris being dazzled! The visuals for a few seconds are almost the same, except that the graphics are not, you know, crap.

    So much good commentary in this chunk.

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    1. Yuna does shed some white feathers from her wedding dress during her tower plunge onto Valefor later so I thought it could be foreshadowing (or just symbolism, like you said).

      I laughed so hard when I ran into that flan and actually stopped to find out how to capture video so I could make a gif and preserve the moment forever. I should make use of that more often although gifs are kind of a pain in the neck to make. (Or at least to stuff into a small enough filesize to put on tumblr, which I was not able to do.) There are a lot of nice animation details that screencaps can't catch. I particularly like everyone's failing-to-escape-from-battle animations.

      Haha but for every serendipitous screencap I get there are like three more where I had to replay a scene over again because someone was blinking or making a weird face or had their flailing elbows in front of someone else's head or something. It's like trying to take actual family photos.

      Lulu (as you are well aware) has a lot of character development throughout the game but it's so SUBTLE that most people miss it. She looks like she's struggling to keep her hands to herself in that scene, like she wants to fuss over Yuna's hair but is resisting. :(

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  3. More words for you. I don't know why I'm reading your Let's Play backwards, but apparently that's what I'm gonna do.



    > He looks so proud of his idea, too. Everyone else pointedly avoids looking at each other.

    Oh ... little puppy Waffles is SO EAGER for people to praise his wonderful suggestion.


    > Then, inexplicably, Yuna opens her hands and a flurry of white feathers goes swirling up into the air. Everyone watches them drift away. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to make of this. Symbolism? Foreshadowing? Is she molting?

    I thought those were flower petals! And that she had had her hands cupped around one of the moonlilies, and it happened to shed its petals, and then she let them go into the wind. Sort of like playing with a piece of grass because you suddenly need to find something intensely fascinating in order to "not hear" whatever was just said, except the moonlilies really are fascinating and Yuna is legit enjoying playing with them.



    > This is what finally caused Jecht to quit alcohol, not the pleading of his neglected young son, but the shame he had caused Braska. (And a poor injured shoopuf. You can see the scar on its hindquarters.)

    This is one of the things that makes me SUPER CURIOUS about the relationships of Braska and his guardians to each other. Not in a shippy way-- that has a high risk of becoming boring-- but in whatever way Braska affected Jecht to become such a completely different person. Not just that he stopped drinking, but that his entire attitude to life changed from a self-absorbed celebrity to a noble person who'd give his life for Spira even if it meant he had to moon about as Unhappy Whale Dad for goodness knew how long, and furthermore that he was so close to Braska that their relationship could successfully defeat Sin.

    Of course some of it was that Jecht was stuck in an alien world doing something serious and important all of a sudden, and some of it was probably that he became capable of developing as a real person and that had to be completely different from being written as a character in somebody else's dream, but all of this development still happened with Braska (and Auron) being the biggest influences on him. And he changed in such a good way, to become so much better as a person. Yuna didn't *need* to be raised by Braska to be a cinnamon roll, but Jecht did, and in a way he almost kind of *was* raised by him? Because it was the beginning of his being an independent person, even if he didn't know it.

    (It's fascinating, by the by, how closely Yuna's personality does take after her father's. I wonder if she just settled that way at an early age, or if it runs in the family.)


    > I don’t know if that’s just the proper form of address for a Crusader officer, male or female, or if Lucil and Elma have a relationship like Peppermint Patty and Marcie and she just calls her sir for some reason.

    I assumed the former. It's got to be awk taking Japanese titles without genders and turning them into gendered titles because that's all English has. That said, I now really want to imagine that it's the latter. I can just picture it somehow.


    (This is gonna need to be broken into so many separate comments...)

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    1. Heee well I appreciate that you're taking the time to reply! I don't mind that it's backwards. :)

      I though they were flower petals too at first but they're white and kind of wispy on the edges and don't look anything like the moon lilies, which are bright purple. I'll have to look again when I get to that part in the remaster but the high quality screencaps here make them look like feathers! Maybe it's that wispy down stuff that's in some flowers, I dunno.

      "Yuna didn't need to be raised by Braska to be a cinnamon roll, but Jecht did" hahaha :D

      But it's true! And his journey towards becoming a better person also parallels his journey towards becoming a *real* person, rather than just a dream. Bahamut's fayth tells Tidus that both he and his dad have become more than just dream people by coming to Spira.

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    2. Hmm. Maybe bits of Valefor came out of her? I don't even know. XD


      But yes! Yuna and Braska have such similar personalities that it almost sort of reminds me of how I ended up being... more like my own dad than I ever thought I was turning out to be. In all sorts of ways that I thought I wasn't. It's the same with Tidus and Jecht, but that's a bit harder for me to relate to. So that's another thing that interests me a lot about them, besides the fact that I really really really like summoners and that they're both just such sweethearts.

      I got the sense from Braska's video message to her that he already had the sense that she might someday turn out to want to be a summoner. It doesn't seem typical, historically, for summoners' children to be expected to also be summoners; and he seemed like he wasn't just saying "don't feel obliged to follow in my footsteps" (although he did say that too); the way he put it seemed more like, "If you do do this, don't do it because of me, but also it's fine if you do want to do this", like he partly thought that might really be where a child like her would end up someday. I wonder if she'd said it to him, and how seriously a parent can really take their kindergarten-age daughter saying she wants to do exactly what they do when she grows up. I feel like he... must have had a stronger sense of it than just that. Maybe he was similar to her when he was little, and recognized that they were alike. Or maybe there's just something about her that always seemed like it was headed that way. I wonder.

      And yeah, about Tidus and Jecht-- it seems to me like maybe as dream people, they had so much less autonomy to develop, but the seed of the person who came through and began to become real, that turned out sometimes to be a way different person than what the fayth dreamed they would be. Well, at least in Jecht's case. Tidus became a lot more responsible and a bit braver and somewhat less of a crybaby, and really more than anything he stayed the same person but grew up, and maybe the fayth would have dreamt him being the same way. But Jecht really just switched into being a totally different guy, as far as I can tell. And gosh. What kind of unbreakable bonds of love did he form with Braska during the course of one pilgrimage, which was less eventful and probably had fewer detours than Yuna's? It almost feels like Braska must have been a quasi-parent to him, to become that close that quickly.

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  4. > Although it's not exactly worshipped, Sin is the closest thing the Yevon religion has to a deity.

    *blinks*
    *shakes head, reorients*
    I always thought Yevon himself (even if not known as Yu Yevon, the summoner dude inside Sin) was their deity? Like, when they say "pray to Yevon", I didn't think they meant the Church of Yevon, but this concept of a mostly absent-or-sleeping protector-of-humanity deity who occasionally sends Sin out to whip people into shape and scare them into not using machina before they screw up and get themselves killed. I assumed that *those* were the teachings.

    And now I see what you're picturing-- that when people pray to Yevon, they're praying to the Church of Yevon itself? I mean, I guess the church *would* be arrogant enough to encourage that if they could. But like, I got the impression right at the beginning of the game that they have this deity called Yevon and that when people say "Yevon did this or that" to mean that the Church of Yevon did this or that, it was just a kind of shorthand they can use because everyone knows that Deity!Yevon doesn't really do much of anything except try and keep the human (and Guado and Ronso and so on) race from getting killed. It is true that there is no statue or depiction of this deity that we've found, but I assumed that it was just forbidden by the teachings, possibly to keep people feeling as distant from Deity!Yevon as possible so that they had to rely on the church as the only way it could ever be approached or understood.

    It might be all just my assumptions, though. I might be influenced by the fact that in the West usually temples have deities-- but that's another thing! I always assumed the aeons were worshipped as minor deities, too, because there are temples to them. I guess it's possible to have temples without deities, because Buddhism sort of has that, but... it's almost kind of shaky to me what makes Yevonism a religion if it doesn't have deities. Rather than just a political rumour and a lot of classified places that are off-limits except for certain magic users. Is it the taboos? The association with sendings? Praying? All of those adding up to approximate something that looks enough like a religion that we can safely call it one? But I just am not sure... if aeons aren't deities enshrined in these temples, then what are they?

    I did imagine classifying Sin as a type of deity, the angry kind that you don't want to disturb, and sort of a more major one than the aeons, seeing as it's more powerful and also possibly the reason the aeons (are presumed in the teachings to) exist. Presumably Sin would be in cahoots with Yevon or work under him, and would come around like humanity's personal trainer to remind them that "no pain, no gain". Or more like, "use machina, I'll put a sock in ya". The fact that Yevon and Sin are often displayed together symbolically would need to be explained to people, and since "it's so everyone remembers that Yevon is the only answer to the Sin problem" doesn't make a good explanation, I figured it was something along the lines of Sin being Yevon's right-hand man.


    (And I'm going to let this bit have its own comment all by itself because it's so horribly long and word-spewing.)

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    1. Actually, no one in the party (and so presumably, the majority of Spira) has even heard of Yu Yevon until Yunalesca mentions him! Yevon is a completely abstract concept to them, there's no benevolent paternal figure that they're praying to. The only other person who knows that there was actually a living summoner at the founding of the religion is Maechen, because he was around at the time.

      I talked about this in an earlier post which I suppose you'll get to eventually since you're going backwards. ;) (And with AuronLu at some point but I can't remember whether it was here or when it was still on DW.) Yevon the religion is a system of doctrines and taboos and rules for behavior. No one ever actually mentions "praying to Yevon" itself. People pray to the fayth and dead summoners at temples like Shinto kami, but there isn't an overarching deity figure to worship. The closest thing they have is the awe and fear inspired by Sin.

      It puts a new light on the mindset of the average devout Spiran because rather than believing there's an all-powerful good deity looking out for them, they have faith in *people*. They revere the summoners (both alive and dead) and look to them for protection from Sin, and above all keep aspiring to be better and trusting their fellow humans/Ronso/etc to do the same so that one day when they've reached that unknown tier of sufficient atonement, Sin will stop returning.

      It's a very different concept to the Western idea of "God/Jesus loves me, personally" or a fortunate person describing themself as "blessed," which implies that they were individually good enough to receive favorable divine attention, when less-fortunate others might not have been. When Sin attacks Kilika, *everyone* feels responsible for it because they believe that they collectively haven't atoned enough.

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    2. > Actually, no one in the party (and so presumably, the majority of Spira) has even heard of Yu Yevon until Yunalesca mentions him!

      Yeah no, but like... Yevon and Yu Yevon might sound like they are two completely different people. Just the same as Yuna and Yunalesca are two totally different entities with similar names.



      > No one ever actually mentions "praying to Yevon" itself.

      Huuurrrmmm. But "Praise be to Yevon" seems like it's thanking something abstract for good luck and good favour, not thanking a rule system that presumably can't just cause good luck? I think that's what put that part in my mind, at least.

      (eep, i think i posted outside the thread by mistake)

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    3. > It's a very different concept to the Western idea of "God/Jesus loves me, personally" or a fortunate person describing themself as "blessed,"

      Oh yes, it's different from the western stuff. But Japanese people also pray to kami, which are also abstract deities. And kami certainly can bless you or grant you luck. They're thought to be actual deities living in shrines, just like the aeons are. And when you have a holy land, usually it's because gods live there. Like the Final Aeon, for example, and potentially any overarching deities as well.

      I definitely think that the Yevon concept is not like the Christian god, or anything (although the Yevon church power structures are more like Ye Olde Political Catholicism than they are like anything Japan has; the whole religious-power-control angle of it definitely seems ganked from world history). But there is also a whole ton of stuff in native Japanese spirituality that looks like it could be an inspiration for the deity!Yevon concept. Some of the rules are Buddhist-like, but a lot of the actual Spiran-life-customs are decidedly *not*. The prayer motion, for example, is way more like when you go to visit a Japanese god at a shrine than it is like... anything else I've ever seen IRL, really. And praying for specific wishes, that too. Gods don't love random strangers they don't know, but they do kinda watch over people (especially those who are relevant to their interests, kind of like patron saints?), and if you pray and ask really nicely, they might do nice things to you. And if you offend them, they might do bad things to you. It's the whole point of going to shrines, to either ask the gods for good things, or to not neglect them and make them angry.

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    4. And yes, they do pray specifically to summoners, but see, that's not really different because also famous holy or legendary people in Shinto become actual deities. This isn't a concept of religion wherein deities are one thing, humans are another, and never the twain shall meet. Legendary and holy people in Japan may now be guardian deities of temples and cities and so on, and you go to pray to them just like people do to the High Summoners, and have temples to them just like to the fayth.

      And ... hmm, having faith in "people rather than in gods", as if the two had totally different personalities and acted totally differently, actually doesn't make a whole lot of sense in a Japanese religious context (not in either Shinto *or* Buddhism). The separation is a Western distinction that they don't really have. I mean, yeah, people aren't already the same thing as gods, but that's how something becomes a god, by becoming really great and getting special spiritual powers and then coming to live in the shrine and being worshipped and getting more magic. It doesn't make a huge amount of sense to say that people are trustworthy and gods aren't, because gods are basically people. I'm sure there are individual gods who get drunk on power and become untrustworthy as gods even if they weren't in their mortal lives, but... that's specific to them. Overall the paradigm makes them kind of the same thing. And that's what we see with the fayth explicitly, too. It really reads to me as just something Japanese people would assume, that people become gods and then the gods are like when they were people, and a deity!Yevon would be no different. If you're super nice to him and ask for favours and make sacrifices, maybe he'll decide to give you a blessing, and that's where "praise be to Yevon" would come from.

      And so yeah, I'm not at all saying that Yevon is like Christian!God because that would be silly. I'm saying that a deity!Yevon really sounds a lot like native Japanese spirituality. Buddhism is different, but Buddhism, as I was saying to AuronLu, is a foreign imported concept that isn't as closely woven with Japanese daily life and typical worldview-concept as Shinto is. And deity!Yevon looks like Shinto.

      (Although if, as I mentioned in that conversation, if it's actually that the Yevonism-vs-real-spiritual-pyrefly-and-magic stuff is not at all inspired initially by religious control (a really alien, distant idea to Japanese people that they are by and large kind of clueless about) but by rejecting foreign Buddhist influence in favour of preserving the integrity of native Japanese spirituality, it would fit the parallel to not have a Yevon deity, so there is that.)

      In the end, maybe the answer isn't so obvious either way. I don't know.

      (btw, I have a busy weekend coming up, so if my replies are slow from here on, it's not a lack of interest in the conversation!)

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  5. > Way to be, team of professional guardians.

    I know right. It seems sort of weird to me that even though she's got this whole crowd, including the Legendary Guardian who admittedly is mostly legendary because their group had good luck and made it to Zanarkand, but who is also a professional warrior monk, the kidnappers still succeed in grabbing Yuna every time. I mean, they must be very good kidnappers because they got all the other summoners too, and Yuna seems to be the hardest one for them to get, but still, there are no failed efforts where some kidnapper tries to lay a hand on Yuna and encounters the business end of Auron.



    > For vowing to protect her, standing up for her mother’s family, and putting an end to that conversation without raising any more hackles. He can be a surprisingly good mediator.

    Behemoth and I were saying that this is one of the times where Tidus being incredibly self-centered turns out to be extremely useful. Because Wakka is *used* to Tidus suddenly getting bored with hearing about Spira and turning the conversation back on things that pertain to himself, he never for a second questions the abrupt change of subject. That's just Tidus being Tidus, right? So now, when Yuna really *needs* someone to grab the spotlight without sounding like he's trying to do so, Tidus can jump right in and do his usual routine and not tip off Wakka that something is very awkward here and requires a quick subject change.



    > This seems like a really condescending remark until you realize that to a dog, “good girl/boy” is the highest form of praise. ;)

    Lol!!
    I always figured it was some awkward way of phrasing "she's a nice girl", in which he really meant "she's a nice person" but felt the need to mark her gender because people don't seem to need a reason to do that.



    > For all his hatred of the Al Bhed, he doesn’t seem to know enough about them to identify one on sight.

    Behemoth and I theorized that he hasn't ever seen one up close / without their goggles on, and had in mind this super exaggerated racist caricature of how incredibly swirly they are... but then, he's met Rin at least, and Rin doesn't cover his face.



    > I really love Guadosalam’s tree-roots-and-stained-glass style of architecture. Especially all those spirals.

    I do too. Has no one ever pointed out to the Guado, though, that the splendid glass piece set out as a grand welcome to impress visitors ... actually looks like an Al Bhed eye? They're Yevonites, and they have this incredible artistic piece commemorating their city that looks like the distinguishing feature of their enemies. (I presume the Guado aren't on the best terms with the Al Bhed already, because they're Yevonites and because Seymour has no trouble getting people eager to go blow up the Home. And as you said, the Guado are a bit otherworldly, and they live close to the Farplane, and the Al Bhed don't really respect that kind of stuff.)

    Anyway, the swirly eye stained glass piece. The resemblance is an extra special feature for the player because we just came out of the cut scene where we get to take a good look at Al Bhed eyes up close. It really reminds me of... okay, our city's logo looks like a bikini if you turn it upside down, and I guess nobody in charge noticed. It's like that.


    > This is the second time that Seymour has requested Yuna’s presence without asking her or explaining himself.

    Hindsight is 20/20, though. We have the dubious benefit of already knowing that Seymour is a creeper. The party might not notice anything wrong with this, because someone who does that might just be unconscious of how much power they are suddenly wielding without thinking about it, rather than a scheming slimeball who knows exactly how much power he is wielding.

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  6. > I am not exactly sure what he means with this response. Presumably he means Tidus’s Zanarkand, where there were no Maesters and no Yevon, so he had time to look back on the mess Yevon made of his life. Or he could mean Spira’s Zanarkand, the place where he lost his faith.

    I never even thought of the latter! I was assuming that what he meant was that he spent so much time in Tidus's Zanarkand that he'd picked up some of the attitudes of the society, and all the carefree folks who either share Tidus's views that there's no need to respect or fear anybody ever, or at least think that those views are okay.



    > Seymour and Yuna’s story reminds me in ways of the Beauty and the Beast tale, especially here the way he paints himself as the lonely lord all alone in his empty palace, waiting for her. However, while the fairytale themes of seeking redemption through love are present, they are horribly twisted and it’s all backwards because he’s actually looking to become a cursed monster through her love.


    That's a really interesting comparison! (Although if I were to make up a story like that, I'd want the person who sought to be a monster to still be a good guy, because I like the picture painted of someone looking to become a cursed monster through love, and want to be able to cheer them on to the goal of being what they wanted to be even if it looked horrible to everyone else. Sort of like Fiona in Shrek becoming an ogre, but with cursedness and fangs and claws and predatoriness and things, not just being pudgy and green.)


    > I have to say Yuna looks really adorable in this cutscene.

    She really, really does. She's probably super fascinated by the Zanarkand scenes, too, since she has this sort of fandom-like interest in the setting of Jecht's and Tidus's Zanarkand, that it seems like she's been excited about since she was a little girl. I wonder how much of it is "wooooow supercivilization technology" (someone get this girl some sci-fi books, she might REALLY like them!) and how much of it is because Zanarkand is the sacred city around which the mythos (and reality) of summoning and her spiritual interests are built.


    > He says that these spheres are reconstructed from the memories of the people who lived 1,000 years ago, so does this imply that the ancient Spirans had astronauts?

    Considering that Spiran space travel is accomplished within Yuna's lifetime despite how patchy their technology is, I'm going to bet that's a big giant yes. They'd almost have to have a leg up with ancient technology helping them understand how it could work. (These poor people keep inventing space travel and then forgetting it and re-inventing it again.)


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  7. > I feel like the major flaw in Seymour’s plan is that it all hinges on Yuna loving him enough for their bond to turn him into an aeon strong enough to defeat and then become Sin, but he has no idea how to romance a girl. He's just like “So I understand from this sphere that this is how this is done,” and she’s like “Oh fayth, kill me now.”

    XDDD!! Yes.
    Well, tbh this is a lot of why I did read the proposal as a strictly political, just-for-show marriage, on my first playthrough before I found out Seymour's stalkery and decidedly more-than-political interest in her. Because he didn't seem like he was nervously watching her to see if she LIKED him or anything.



    > His last line here touches on one of the recurring themes throughout the game as well. Several of our main characters are revealed to be acting;

    I think one of the things that make Tidus and Jecht feel so very, very different from everyone else isn't just their cultural differences, but how 100% open they are, all the time. Tidus is your standard puppy dog who leaps all over everything to blurt out anything he thinks, and Jecht is sort of like a trained dog who learns to stay maturely in place but is still basically sitting there with everything he thinks on public display, no attempt to hide his total lack of modesty or anything. Whereas everyone else in Spira has public masks and private selves, like, you know, most people do.

    Could it be in fact that Tidus and Jecht don't have a separate public mask developed from their private selves because, as dream characters, all that existed of them was the public mask that had to also stand for the private self because in dreams you know what's going on?



    > Waffles, curious about what the Farplane smells like, comes over to have a sniff, because he is a dog.

    It's so extremely hilarious. And the way that Auron shoves him away, like, "No. We are not doing this."


    And that's the rest of the comment. I'M SO SORRY THAT SO MANY WORDS CAME OUT THAT THE CHARACTER LIMIT HAD THIS MUCH NOPE ABOUT IT.

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  8. > Actually, no one in the party (and so presumably, the majority of Spira) has even heard of Yu Yevon until Yunalesca mentions him!

    Yeah no, but like... Yevon and Yu Yevon might sound like they are two completely different people. Just the same as Yuna and Yunalesca are two totally different entities with similar names.



    > No one ever actually mentions "praying to Yevon" itself.

    Huuurrrmmm. But "Praise be to Yevon" seems like it's thanking something abstract for good luck and good favour, not thanking a rule system that presumably can't just cause good luck? I think that's what put that part in my mind, at least.

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    1. I posted this in the wrong spot, but I reposted above, so you can go ahead and clean it up and delete it. ;;

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