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.
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?
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.
“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.
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.
(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.
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?)
(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.)
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.
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.
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.