We last left our heroes on the run from the law after Yuna’s little talk with Seymour ended a bit more fatally than either of them was expecting. Now that they’ve become public enemies #1-7, Yuna is worried about the feasibility of completing her pilgrimage, but Auron points out that summoners only need approval from the fayth, not the temples, Yevon be damned. Unfortunately, the fayth happen to be housed in temples of Yevon, so how they are planning to infiltrate Bevelle to get Bahamut is a mystery.
Sin, in a rare moment of tranquility from the fayth’s singing (apparently part of the process of becoming a fayth is classical opera training?) helpfully picks up his son and friends and deposits them gently out of harm’s way, in the oasis on Bikanel Island.
Or at least he gently deposits Tidus; the rest of them seem to have just been dropped in the desert for all I can tell. I have wondered how much control and intention Jecht had over this. Did he know that the Al Bhed are trying to protect summoners, and he was trying to put them close to a place where they would be safe? Was he trying to move them as far away from Yevon as he could? Did he know they were in trouble? He notably does not leave them on the shore of the mainland, but on an island a fair distance away.
This scene of him waking up in the oasis echoes Tidus’s arrival on Besaid Island exactly. Also, his reminding his father to “be good” is a callback to Jecht’s words to Tidus on the sphere he left for him.
Saving here and seeing the number of character portraits suddenly reduced to one always makes me feel so lonely. Fortunately, they’re not apart for long. (Well, most of them.)
Setting out in search of his friends, Waffles is immediately set upon by a giant stinky bird.
And then I am overjoyed as Lulu’s arrival is heralded by a lightning bolt. (Interestingly, I have not taught Thundara to her. I guess she was that worried about Waffles.)
Soon after we find Wakka under one of these structures the Al Bhed have built to provide shade and supplies for travelers on the way to the oasis. He asks if we’ve got Yuna in our reserve party.
Not to mention all of yesterday’s wacky shenanigans like “killing a maester” and “falling in a lake” and “vowing to defy the theocracy.”
He has still not learned that kicking machina in sandals is a bad idea. :/
I mentioned a while back that the Al Bhed seem to have modern medicine better figured out than the rest of Spira. Their potions are more effective and heal a spectrum of status ailments as well.
A short distance away Kimahri is perpetually struggling up a sand dune and sliding back down. (Kimahri, can’t you see that that’s the edge of the map? Of course you can’t go that way.) His persistence makes me wonder if he saw her be taken and knows she’s this way. Or maybe he’s just in a mild state of shock from losing her.
Unsurprisingly, Rikku’s first question is “Where’s Yunie?”
Lulu’s previous two pilgrimages ended in failure. Her first summoner died because she was unable to protect her, and her second summoner gave up halfway through and turned back. If that low success rate wasn’t crushing enough, according to Ultimania*, the reason she signed on as a guardian to both of those summoners was a last-ditch attempt to prevent, or at least forestall, Yuna’s pilgrimage by helping to defeat Sin herself before she would have to. Having failed twice at this, the only thing left for her to do is protect Yuna herself. If she ends up losing her too, that is the end for her. She is not going to recover from that loss.
Fortunately, before Lulu can self-destruct from gloominess, Rikku thinks she has an idea of where she is.
Wakka continues to have the best expressions in this game.
It sure was nice of the Al Bhed to rescue Yuna and leave everyone else straggling around in the desert. Does this look like a group of people equipped for desert survival?
Rikku is very trusting to lead a bunch of non-Al Bhed to their secret stronghold, even making them promise not to tell any Yevonites about it. (Although really at this point, who are they going to tell?)
I don’t think we ever find out what the really bad thing that Yevon did to them was. Their ancestral homeland was destroyed by Sin, but it’s likely that Yevon prevented them from uniting or even finding somewhere stable to live before Cid accomplished these things, which is why they are so secretive about the location of Home. They’re not living out in the inhospitable desert by choice, that’s for sure. They’ve probably just not been able to settle anywhere without being found and pushed out. It could be that Yevon attempted to convert them in the past, and struck back with military force when they resisted. And there is an ever-growing list of horrible things that have been done to minority groups by those in power throughout history, so use your imagination.
This part of the game actually isn’t very long, but it feels like it was because of all of the fayth-forsaken SAND WORMS. (It didn’t help that they slowed my emulator down to about 10-20 fps the entire time.)
Eggo Waffles: part of a complete breakfast. Or maybe not. (Ptoo!)
Every so often you’ll complete a battle with someone still inside the sand worm. The other two will be doing their victory dance and the third person is presumably still stuck in the sand worm gullet like “Hellooooo? You guys??”
I did notice that the sand worms have a pretty spiral pattern on them too, something I hadn’t caught before the improved graphics I’m getting from the emulator. I guess the sand worms have to appear attractive to other sand worms somehow!
After a long morning of slogging through the desert wastelands, everyone is looking forward to finding some shade and maybe a nice glass of lemonade, but unfortunately . . .
(Cid’s insignia is on Home itself too, haha. He really has united the Al Bhed under the Cid label.)
I don’t know why you guys are so surprised to find that Yuna is at the epicenter of calamity anymore. Have you even been playing this game?
Lulu comes over to
make fun of me for accidentally capping my cursor comfort Rikku and overhears.
Here’s the first appearance of Final Fantasy X’s Cid, whom we’ve known by name (which is apparently on everything) and reputation for a long time. He steps in to say that no – they’re being attacked by the Guado, who are after “the summoner,” and there’s only one person that could be as far as anyone’s concerned.
For those keeping score at home, this is the eighth time Yuna has changed hands. She was kidnapped by the Al Bhed in Luca, then “rescued,” kidnapped by a repeat attempt crossing the Moonflow, rescued by the guys, taken away to meet Seymour in Macalania with a brief third kidnapping attempt along the way, reunited with her guardians, kidnap/rescued by the Al Bhed in the desert, and now she’s being counter-kidnapped by the Guado.
At this point it seems like they’re just out to arrest her for the murder of Seymour but, well. We’ll see.
We never find out who Keyakku was, whether he was a relative or friend of the family, but the Al Bhed are a very close-knit community.
(Also, I love how he doesn't even bat an eye at his teenage daughter's questionable choice of friends.)
Throughout this entire scene you can hear somebody bellowing something that sounds like “ANNOYING, HUH??” over the intercom. I only recently found out what he’s saying, thanks to tumblr. (But I will always hear “annoying, huh.”)
I got this doll after defeating a cactuar out in the desert. In X-2 we learn that the roaming cactuars are actually the juveniles of the species, so that means we beat up a child and stole its toy. Who’s the real monster here, Lulu?
He is genuinely regretful when he says this, not sarcastic or implying that they somehow deserved it.
Seeing the destruction of Home, he finally understands that Al Bhed are fighting just as hard as the rest of them to protect what they love and have suffered losses of homes and families just like the people of Besaid have. And he finally accepts Rikku as just herself. This is a major turning point in his character development. :)
Of course, he still needs to direct his aggression against somebody.
Much like when he blithely announced they were going to come back to see the Moonflow again, everybody avoids looking at each other, or at him.
On subsequent playthroughs, his attitude really rubs me the wrong way. One of the most annoying things is having someone patronizingly trying to explain you a thing when you know you’re right and they aren’t. But he doesn’t know any better.
(I’m pretty sure she’s not in the ceiling.)
They’re just barely too late. The Guado have already been here, taken Yuna, killed all the defenders, and left the Summoners’ Sanctum in ruins.
I am really curious about Yuna’s experiences while the game follows the rest of the party, during the time she was picked up by the Al Bhed in the desert, brought to Home, spent some time with the other summoners finding out what was going on, and then witnessed the invasion of the Guado and the tremendous sacrifice made by the Al Bhed on her behalf. She never mentions it again but surely it must have had an impact with her. (And been a billion times more interesting than trudging around the desert fighting sand worms, come on, game.)
There’s no snark left in Dona’s attitude. She’s not even resentful or indignant that all of the fuss is over everybody’s precious little Yuna. Maybe she realizes that her life isn’t as charmed as it looks.
On the way to Macalania Temple, we saw Rikku carefully trying to figure out how much Tidus knew about the pilgrimage and Yuna’s eventual fate. She was hoping that he knew more than he let on, because she did not want to have to be the one to break the news to him, but now she takes it upon herself to do so, after all.
Nobody approaches to comfort her (or interferes when Tidus starts shaking her) as she sinks down to the floor and begins to cry, even though they've all had this same moment of despair, with different summoners.
(Some spoilers to the endgame, in case you’re reading this while playing for the first time which I think some people are, or in any case were.)
There is some debate over how exactly the summoner dies, since it is never explicitly stated in the game. My interpretation, based on what Rikku says here, some things Yunalesca says later, and Tidus and Yuna’s plan to defeat Yu Yevon in the end, is that the after the Final Aeon defeats the fayth of previous Final Aeon that became the core of Sin, Yu Yevon vacates the old aeon, possesses the new one, and turns it against the summoner. At the fayth’s suggestion, Yuna gets around this by summoning her smaller aeons after defeating Jecht so that Yu Yevon is forced to jump to them instead. Ordinarily, a summoner wouldn’t be able to fight her own Final Aeon because it’s necessarily stronger than Sin, (in addition to the devastating emotional blow of having to fight someone she loved enough to create an aeon that strong, especially someone who just willingly gave their soul up to do it) so she is killed.
There were some other alternatives brought up, such as the final summoning requiring all of the summoner’s strength and subsequently killing her, or the aeon itself destroying everything in the vicinity upon being summoned, or even that the severing of the link between the summoner and her aeon when it is possessed by Yu Yevon is what kills her. It’s never actually concretely explained anywhere, so the exact nuances of the summoner’s death are open to interpretation. (Although, for reasons I explained in the conversation I linked to above, I believe that the summoner has to be alive in order to command the Final Aeon in the battle with Sin, and therefore dies after the fight, not directly after the summoning, but not everyone agrees.)
I wish I’d been able to get the full emotional impact of this scene but it was spoiled for me by my spoilery friend. (I had my suspicions, anyway.) So in my experience, yes Waffles. You were. For me it was more like the experience of one of the more knowing guardians watching him realize the devastating truth for himself.
Nobody ever outright lied to him; they just avoided telling him the truth. Maybe they saw how happy his unknowing cheerfulness made Yuna, and didn’t want her to lose that. Maybe they thought it was her own prerogative to tell him or shield him from the knowledge. Maybe none of them wanted to expose themselves to the emotional vulnerability of telling him what’s supposed to happen to Yuna, who is so beloved to all of them.
This has to be particularly cutting to Lulu.
In their very first interaction, he barged into the Chamber of the Fayth and, without knowing what he was talking about, insinuated that she wasn’t doing enough to protect Yuna. He didn’t realize that being a guardian doesn’t mean protecting the summoner from all danger, but protecting her from all preventable danger, since the summoner is always subject to the unavoidable harm of her calling, and as much as they want to, they can’t save her from that. As she told him back in Kilika, all they can do is protect her along the way, so that is what they’re doing. Now he’s implying that by being the one objecting, he’s the only one who cares about Yuna, and that everyone else should have done something more to try to protect her.
But they are family, and, as I have hopefully adequately illustrated thus far, her focus has been on Yuna since the beginning. She loves her enough to devote her life to her. (Literally, as we’ll find out eventually.) Now he’s basically saying that by not stopping her from becoming a summoner, she doesn’t love her enough. How do you dare, Tidus?!
The pyreflies of the dead Al Bhed coalesce into fiends even before the two summoners have time to complete the sending. (Which is presumably is what they were doing this entire time, and not watching Waffles have a meltdown. If not, way to drop the ball there, guys.) Their anger and regret over their deaths must have been intense to produce fiends of this strength.
You can’t see him clearly in these shots but even Pacce jumps into the fray here to help fight the fiend.
Tidus sprints over and starts taking out his frustrations on this poor Valefor, because the fayth are implicit in the deaths of summoners too. This is particularly horrible since Valefor is Yuna’s favorite aeon, and way back on Besaid I mentioned how similar the two of them are. But her fayth understands his pain, probably better than he does. How many summoners has she bonded with, traveled with and fought alongside, only to have them die in the end?
This is actually probably Pterya, Isaaru’s Valefor. (I always just assumed that she was his and the Ifrit was Dona’s, but come to think of it, it’s not specified.) Back in the comments of one of the earlier episodes when I was still hosting this on Dreamwidth, I wondered if there was a taboo unknown to Tidus about touching a summoner’s aeons, similar to the way there is a taboo about touching someone else’s daemon in the His Dark Materials universe. Aeons are created from the bond between the fayth and a summoner’s soul, so it seems like they’d be a very personal thing.
In case this scene wasn’t enough of a sucker punch, we flash back to this conversation so we can now clearly see all of its onion layers of meaning.
“Calm your yellow boots, boy, I’m trying to get a 1,000-year-old piece of unstable machinery off the ground without an instruction manual here while my fool son is too busy practicing his Lady Gaga dance routine to help.”
He actually lifts Cid in the air here.
(While the camera moves meaningfully over the Pro-Pilgrimage team.)
And then in retaliation Cid picks him up with one hand and decks him.
They did an impressive job of refurbishing this thing in such a short time! Although I am a little confused about why they thought it needed a skirt. Airship modesty?
Cid orders Brother to use the ship’s torpedoes against Home, taking down it, the fiends, and the Guado all together. Brother begins to sing the Hymn of the Fayth as a kind of elegy. It might seem strange to hear the Al Bhed singing something so closely associated with the temples, but if you remember last week’s episode, the Hymn of the Fayth originally didn’t belong to Yevon at all, and used to be sung in defiance of Bevelle and spread throughout Yevon’s detractors like a protest song. So they are not only singing a goodbye to Home, but reaffirming their rebellion against Yevon.
Poor Wakka is trying really hard to make up for his earlier behavior to Rikku by cheering her up, but sensitivity is not exactly his strong suit. (I bet if you could turn the camera around you would see Lulu facepalming and shaking her head.)
He still feels bad about it even out of the cutscene.
Just bash it repeatedly with your fist. That’s what worked before! (Please don’t take engineering advice from Waffles.)
If you ever manage to get the snowmobile conversation with Kimahri, he expresses a similar sentiment. Ronso are Yevonites, but he personally regards people on the basis of their character, and his first concern, as ever, is Yuna. If the enemies of Yevon and their forbidden machina can help him find her, he’s all for it. He also likes Rikku, so the sacrifice of her people, particularly to save Yuna, is especially meaningful to him.
Maroda was in the room when Tidus was railing against Yuna’s guardians too so he overheard the whole thing. Pacce didn’t know what summoners being “sacrificed” meant, but it could just be that he didn’t know the meaning of that exact word, because he’d never heard summoners being spoken of in that context, even though he already knew what was going to happen to his brother. (At any rate he must know NOW, after witnessing Rikku and Tidus’s full-volume temper tantrum on the subject. If you look up at the screenshot where she's saying "You know, don't you?" you can see that he's right next to her.) I think it would be very unlikely for a guardian, even a young one, not to know the final goal of a summoner’s pilgrimage.
“Forgive me for my actions in Luca. We wanted to protect the summoner, you see?”
I’m usually more generous to her but I decided to be mean this time.
Isaaru viewed Yuna as a rival too, but in a more friendly way. I wonder if Yevon fosters this attitude, because it seems like if summoners worked together they could get a LOT more done. If one Final Aeon is strong enough to defeat Sin, what could three or more do??
I ran around deciphering the Al Bhed writing scattered around the ship for a while. Here it says “ARRANGEMENT” and “ADJUSTMENT.” This looks like some kind of cargo loading area. Out in the hall the glowing signs outside the cockpit, predictably, say “Cockpit.”
“But we say ‘Lose something precious, find something even more precious.’”
“What will I do? My doll! I left it in Home!”
(Go talk to Lulu! I have like six of them in my inventory, I’m sure she’d share.)
Al Bhed children all wear these full-body hazmat suits for some reason. Maybe to protect them from the sun? It’s kind of weird to think of Rikku growing up wearing such a thing. No wonder she’s wearing as little as possible in X-2.
That was you!?!
Thanks for the near ear-piercing, dude.
It's funny to see all these Al Bhed we've encountered before in a new, non-enemy context.
It's funny to see all these Al Bhed we've encountered before in a new, non-enemy context.
Like Rikku, Cid is very protective of Yuna even though they’ve only just met. I wonder if he tried to find her after Braska died, but couldn’t because she had been taken away from Bevelle. As her mother’s closest relatives, he theoretically should have gotten custody of her before the temple of Besaid did, but Spira’s child welfare system does not seem to work very well. In an alternate universe, she and Rikku could have been raised together as sisters.
His heart is in the right place, but Cid’s forcing Yuna to give up her pilgrimage isn’t any better than Auron’s pushing her to stay on it. Everybody thinks they know what’s best for her, and this time she isn’t here to assert her own opinion.
He comes to grips with the fact that his beloved little sis is part of the group he’s always hated, but now he has to rethink all of the horrible things he’s ever said about the Al Bhed, especially in front of her, not realizing that he was unknowingly talking about her, too.
Oh, look who’s still around.
Apparently the sphere oscillo-finder can show the future, or this is some kind of wedding rehearsal, because they’re already together up by the palace where Yuna takes her flying lessons, in front of the Grand Maester and everything and when we see the ceremony happening they go through the procession and do all that over again. Not to mention that it takes some time to fly to Bevelle. (Maybe they had to do it over to reset all of the stuff that Yuna seems to have knocked over. It looks as though there’s been some kind of struggle and she is clearly in a fighting mood there.) I’m not really sure when or what we’re looking at here.
And Waffles, frankly, doesn't care.
Next time: Have fun storming the castle!
*I’m reluctant to accept everything listed in the Ultimania guide as absolute canon; it’s a third-party supplemental resource and not the game itself. Personally I like to believe that Lulu had a strong relationship with her other two summoners for themselves, not just because she wanted to protect Yuna, especially with Lady Ginnem. But I do love the idea of her becoming a guardian in an attempt to prevent Yuna’s pilgrimage by taking on Sin herself.