Connections between Final Fantasy VII and Live A Live (Spoilers all around)

The Blindfolded

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
The Birdwatcher
#1
So, here it is- hopefully some shed light on FFVII itself and its choices- a grand hypothesis, and hopefully not a page of "fan theorizing". These are all possible connections between FFVII and Live A Live that I intend to post here, probably in multiple parts, depending how often on the rules of the forum here.

I will gather information from YouTube videos and from this link: http://amerikajin.me/final-fantasy-7-english-japanese-script/, which allegedly uses the 1998 English PC version and the International Japanese version. I have backed up the veracity of the text found in the International Japanese version in several places, so it seems legitimate. It also has deleted scenes/text.

I believe that Live A Live's influence on FFVII is the missing key on crucial parts of FFVII- notably the theatrical/or darker moments. I also believe, however, it has little to no bearing on its moral aspects, aside from a psychological leaning on Sephiroth, who may have more to him than just Nojima's subtlety or ideas of the Miyamoto and Sasaki duel. /https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miyamoto_Musashi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sasaki_Kojirō

Anyway, I wanted to make a list and potential discussion about these areas because these coincidences keep lining up the more I look at these games (Live A Live, FFVII, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, FFIV, etc.) from around the same era- either that or I am thinking for too much on these similarities. Either way, I think, it is worth pointing these out.

First of all, I want to highlight my perspective of where and how I am conducting my research from. I originally thought that FFVII was a self-contained unit, despite knowing that summons/Cid/enemies stemmed from earlier titles in the series. I also noticed similarities between the Esper system in FFVI and FFVII. Over time and with experiences and observation, I realized that- well- Square is lazy, or I should say tends to take pre-existing work and re-fashion it either into a similar/different form or utilize the exact same thing or idea.

I've also noticed that many fans (and I'm not judging but) tend to ignore the role that production and that involvement of said distinct producers/directors/writers, etc. have on video games, in a similar fashion to making a film or a collaborative book project. Sometimes, fans will pick up if there are similar trends between properties (or if they dislike a property enough to criticize it properly), i.e. - Nomura likes to put twists in his KH series, so his involvement with the Remake has contributed to it having twists and not making immediate coherent sense, etc.

To pinpoint this down is another matter, and I sincerely hope that I'm not speculating to the point of making thread that's reminiscent of ThumbsUpMaster's Stop N' Swop parody video on YouTube, but I think that there is worthwhile analysis here. Stuff that's been buried for a while that should be unearthed.

Alright, so why do I think that there's a connection between the two besides Square/Squaresoft owning the two properties?

1. Takashi Tokita.

Tokita's contributions to storylines/plot in FFIV have been SUPER duper repeated in later iterations of the FF series. Or both, Sakaguchi and Tokita- it is admittedly difficult to sift the two out from one another, especially in a collaboration. Considering that Tokita himself said that the characters in FFIV were like his children, I think he was heavily involved with their creation.
.

I firmly believe that besides Sakaguchi, this guy is the heart of Square. Morally, Meaningfully, and Spiritually. (Not in respect to Moogles and Chocobos, though). Much of every thing else from Square's early stages is hot air (Yes, including FFVI- there's no enough substance there in the main plot at times.). There are touches are and there- Hiromichi Tanaka's work on Secret of Mana, Kenji Terada, who served as the scenario writer with Sakaguchi for the first 3 FFs.

But I don't know what it is about this guy's writing (he seems to write quirky, yet memorable characters), but (besides great timing which included working as a writer on FFIV with Sakaguchi, in which the FF team tried taking the best parts of the first three Final Fantasies) I think Tokita gets it the most. If he solo wrote on his own, he might be one of the most powerful writers in Square. Even better than Nojima and Nomura, though they are great at writing emotionally, psychologically, and complex driven narratives and characters, they fail to understand one key aspect- the differences between good and evil, and I think that they also fail to understand consequence enough or the weight of consequences. Some of that is left over from FFVI (Empire=bad; Shinra=bad; rebels=good, Avalanche= good (most of the time)) in FFVII's writing. Despite characters (like Barret, for instance) acknowledging their guilt for their actions or saying that they shouldn't have done certain things, it seems like there's not enough attention called to good and evil. Instead, there is more of a nihilism to FFVII, instead of good and evil being acknowledged in FFIV in a discrete way (Cecil's appearance as a noble Paladin after being a cowardly dark knight) without being simplified, as I believe and feel with FFVI, as well as several characters (Cecil, Kain, Golbez) showing both good and evil traits or actions (Cecil-cowardice, Kain- jealously, selfishness, Golbez- anger, hate to a brother).

Or, it's not based on right or wrong, as much as it is a focus on the personal or psychological.

VINCENT: Kill Sephiroth… ……Killing the son of my beloved woman… “Am I on the verge of committing……another sin?

Vincent, how dense are you? This is your reason for not wanting to kill this guy? Because he was the son of your love? This guy's a mass murderer who psychologically manipulated Cloud into giving him the thing to destroy life from the entire planet.

Also, I find it interesting in FFVII about how the team (Vincent?, Cloud) supposedly sympathizes with Hojo, and I still don't really know why. It's been said in one of the FFVII Ultimanias (2006 one) that Hojo's driven by his inferiority complex (and tries being rivals with Professor Gast, I guess?). So, maybe the team thinks that Hojo couldn't just do any better and was put into this system with Shinra, thinking that he had to be the best and upholding science as his lifelong ambition and job.

VINCENT: Hojo…what a queer fellow.”( houjou ...... fukou na otoko )「宝条……不幸な男」
“Such utter lack of scientific talent…( kagakuteki sensu nonasa ......「科学的センスのなさ……compared with the genius of Dr. Gast…”tsukimatou tensai gasuto hakase tono hikaku ......) つきまとう天才ガスト博士との比較……」
“Lucrecia chose him in order to protect him.”( rukurettsua ha houjou wo「ルクレッツアは宝条をmamoro utoshiteaitsuwo eran da ......) 守ろうとしてあいつを選んだ……」
“Now I understand…( imanarawakaru ......「いまならわかる……
I understand…but…”wakaruga ...... shikashi ......) わかるが……しかし……」

It also seems that Hojo was targeted by Shinra if he were to fail at his job? Or, maybe Lucretia was trying to protect Hojo from being humiliated?

Hmm. Purple-haired Alicia from Live A Live seems similar in her response in respect to Straybow, coincidently.

1612739266638.png

Interesting.

And why is Lucrecia named Lucrecia? Well...

The name of the kingdom in Live A Live is: ルクレチア= Lucretia. And I did some research- it is, evidently ルクレチア, not ルクレツィア, unless it's possible to combine certain Japanese characters or substitute them. But I definitely looked, and it is: ルクレチア. So, unless the 3DS version (which I cannot currently find) had it slightly different, it is ルクレチア.

In FFVII, the name of Sephiroth's mother is: ルクレッツィア, something more akin to Lucrecia or Lucrezia than Lucretia. However, apparently this was later or retroactively changed to ルクレツィア in Dirge of Cerberus (https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/ダージュ_オブ_ケルベロス_ファイナルファンタジーVII). Google Translate tells me that it's Lucrezia, despite the missing character of ッ. Nevertheless, the name is suspiciously similar to the kingdom's name. And to be fair, the OG FVII, has it as Lucrecia.

Anyways, my suspicions remain high. This is likely where Square has taken the name from. Ironically, I have heard some fans say that Lucrecia in FFVII's name is derived from Lucretia (noblewoman) of Roman history. But the name actually lines up more closely with Live A Live's kingdom, which is exact, whereas in FFVII, it's close but not exact. Also, it's possible that Lucrecia's character was a reference to the historical figure, but it sort of conflicts with the idea of Lucrecia choosing Hojo to protect him. However, both Alicia (of Lucretia) and Lucrecia themselves attempt to commit suicide like the figure- only Alicia is successful. What's notable about the figure is she kills herself with a dagger, as does Alicia. But we have no idea how Lucrecia attempted to kill herself in FFVII, only that she has tried.

And then we have:

1612739289590.png

In respect to FFVII, there's the Honey Bee Inn play scene where they say:
"It's the curse of the resurrected Satan…"yomigaerishi maou no noroi ka ... よみがえりし魔王の呪いか…

Technically, the demon king isn't revived here, but its legacy is, as far as I know. Apparently, anyone can draw on the power of the demon king's statue to become a demon king in Live A Live. So, I think the demon king (魔王- mao) in Live A Live bears some sort of connection to Sephiroth.

I think that legacy plays a huge role in FFVII, something that might be only somewhat explained/examined loosely in FFVI (Kefka succeeding the statues, Celes and Kefka to inherit the Empire under Gestault, etc.), but this "inheriting" of power, the next villain arising from the ashes of the past is an interesting concept. And it does seem to be present in Live A Live. And I think, coincidentally or not, fits FFVII better in respect to Live A Live's knight chapter "King of Demons" plot and sub-sequent pick-up plot/s at the end of the game. Also, one of the interesting things in FFIV was the idea that Zeromus would still persist as long evil remained in the hearts of mankind. This seems to be an extension of this idea- a "whatif" scenario in Live A Live and possibly in FFVII, assuming that Jenova was nearly dead/brain dead or overshadowed by Sephiroth. So, the demon king here in Live A Live appears to be Zeromus, but he apparently stuck to/was driven to his lair, and then later killed by a party of people. And to be frank, this is fairly the same as what happened to Jenova and the remaining Ancients. Jenova makes monsters from its cells/replicates parts of itself, and a small band of people put it to death, seemingly. The demon king also commands a number of monsters, as well as Zemus, as there are those loyal to Zemus in FFIV.
 
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AKA
Mr. Ite
#2
That’s well researched and an interesting take! Thanks for sharing. I’ve never heard of that other game but it’s always neat to dive into the behind the scenes of those early days of the video game frontier.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#3
It's definitely no secret that there was a great deal of exchange of ideas and influences going on with Square titles in the 90s, observable in everything from FFIV to FFVII, "Chrono Trigger," "Live A Live," and "Parasite Eve." It's been acknowledged that the "King of Demons" chapter of LAL paid deliberate homage to FF (especially FFIV), and that Tokita himself was concerned that this chapter and its associated lore was perhaps too similar to that of other Square titles.

I think you're (@The Blindfolded) probably giving too much weight to the idea that FFVII directly borrowed from "Live A Live" specifically, though, given that "an ancient supernatural threat has risen again in the present day" pretty much covers half of all RPGs in one fell swoop, including and perhaps especially those from Square -- but yes, there are a couple of plot elements in FFVII that are evocative of "Live A Live" among the many titles it evokes.

As for Lucrecia's name, this strikes me, again, as less a matter of borrowing from "Live A Live" specifically and more of one in which both titles borrowed from a common influence. Earlier in FFVII's production, Lucrecia was going to be a more outright violated victim of Hojo -- drugged and utilized for experimentation while unconscious. That has a perhaps more obvious relationship to the Lucretia of legend than what was ultimately implemented, and even a more obvious relationship with that Lucretia than Princess Alicia.

By the way, I'm not entirely sure what you were saying here --

Even better than Nojima and Nomura, though they are great at writing emotionally, psychologically, and complex driven narratives and characters, they fail to understand one key aspect- the differences between good and evil, and I think that they also fail to understand consequence enough or the weight of consequences. Some of that is left over from FFVI (Empire=bad; Shinra=bad; rebels=good, Avalanche= good (most of the time)) in FFVII's writing. Despite characters (like Barret, for instance) acknowledging their guilt for their actions or saying that they shouldn't have done certain things, it seems like there's not enough attention called to good and evil. Instead, there is more of a nihilism to FFVII, instead of good and evil being acknowledged in FFIV in a discrete way (Cecil's appearance as a noble Paladin after being a cowardly dark knight) without being simplified, as I believe and feel with FFVI, as well as several characters (Cecil, Kain, Golbez) showing both good and evil traits or actions (Cecil-cowardice, Kain- jealously, selfishness, Golbez- anger, hate to a brother).
-- but I'm pretty sure I disagree wholeheartedly. Likewise with the notion that FFVI is "hot air." Just ... wowsers.

But you do you. :monster:
 

The Blindfolded

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
The Birdwatcher
#4
It's definitely no secret that there was a great deal of exchange of ideas and influences going on with Square titles in the 90s, observable in everything from FFIV to FFVII, "Chrono Trigger," "Live-A-Live," and "Parasite Eve." It's been acknowledged that the "King of Demons" chapter paid deliberate homage to FF (especially FFIV), and that Tokita himself was concerned that this chapter and its associated lore was perhaps too similar to that of other Square titles.

I think you're (@The Blindfolded) probably giving too much weight to the idea that FFVII directly borrowed from "Live A Live" specifically, though, given that "an ancient supernatural threat has risen again in the present day" pretty much covers half of all RPGs in one fell swoop, including and perhaps especially those from Square -- but yes, there are a couple of plot elements in FFVII that are evocative of "Live A Live" among the many titles it evokes.

As for Lucrecia's name, this strikes me, again, as less a matter of borrowing from "Live A Live" specifically and more of one in which both titles borrowed from a common influence. Earlier in FFVII's production, Lucrecia was going to be a more outright violated victim of Hojo -- drugged and utilized for experimentation while unconscious. That has a perhaps more obvious relationship to the Lucretia of legend than what was ultimately implemented, and even a more obvious relationship with that Lucretia than Princess Alicia.

By the way, I'm not entirely sure what you were saying here --



-- but I'm pretty sure I disagree wholeheartedly. Likewise with the notion that FFVI is "hot air." Just ... wowsers.

But you do you. :monster:
Thanks for clarifying about Lucrecia- I've looked through the beta notes of FFVII's early production, but perhaps not clearly or thoroughly enough! It makes more sense!
What I found interesting, however, was when reading the Wikipedia page, was the "suicide by dagger" which is literally what happens in Live A Live. Again, a coincidence.

Now that I think about it, it seems mysterious that Lucrecia's name isn't with a "T", the チ, in ルクレチア. Instead, it's ルクレッツィア. Why didn't Square just do ルクレチア? They had every opportunity to do so? Was it a mistake? Was it an artistic alteration of ルクレチア? Was it a deliberate choice to not conflict with the name of an established kingdom in Live A Live? Interesting.

And I was going to elaborate on FFVI's quality, but I cut it out- I wanted to focus on stuff with Live A Live. Anyways, I have more or less mixed feelings on FFVI's plot and story. There are a lot of powerful emotional moments. And technically, I have more exposure/direct gameplay experience with VI than I do VII.

I mean there is still meaningful stuff with VI; it's not completely void, but it does feel simplified with good vs. evil, despite an attempt to make it more complex. The game/party labels or treats Kefka as "evil" or at least "trouble" (as with Edgar in Figaro), like how the Empire scapegoats Kefka in several ways (puts him in jail, treats his poisoning of Doma castle as awful in the returners, etc.) and on the boat to Thamasa, where someone says that there are good people like Leo and then there is Kefka [Evil]. I found it a bit more on the comical, simplified manner of things that Kefka was directly compared to evil.

1612842520186.png
1612842565983.png

FFIV was bit more nuanced with stuff- you have characters like Baigan, who's turned into a monster, giving his "perspective" of why he's still aligned with Cagnazzo (the fake king) (and Golbez?), but it's clear that he is still power-hungry (with his new monster body) and crazy when he attacks the party. It's a much more sinister, psychological evil or reasoning than, "oh yeah", this guy's evil because he poisoned a town, shackled a traitor, etc.

I know Kefka's supposed to be the big bad, and it's straightforward, but come on.

And how other characters say (Sabin) that Kefka is evil from witnessing Kefka's poisoning from a distance. I think that the storytelling's a bit awkward (Did the residents of Doma Castle all drink the poison water at once? How could they do that? Could they die from sniffing the fumes off of the water? How could Sabin witness this whole thing without alerting the people at the castle first?). But Kefka poisoning the castle is almost like his magnus opum of his evil- I believe that Celes is tortured at Albrook? for not wanting to follow Kefka's orders to end up poisoning the castle (I think). Cyan loses his entire family because of the poisoning. The reason why Kefka even poisons the castle is because Mateus in FFII poisoned horses- the FF team wanted to reference that, but they botched the execution, imo. And it's used in a simplified good vs. evil context. Kefka did this one thing (that quickly happened), and therefore this said thing will keep being brought up to prove that Kefka's evil.

So, it's pretty much all or nothing with Kefka. I will give FFVII this- there are several attempts (from Zack/Cloud) to empathize before (the fire) and one attempt after (the fire) with Sephiroth, but it's black and white with Kefka. Everyone treats him as inhuman or evil, but Kefka himself seems to have little response to [his evil/being called out for his evil, or is blissfully unaware of it] even being locked up, besides being bored? (Unless there is some sort of theme of Kefka as a bastard, as someone was saying about the Ultima Weapon and the bastard sword in Kefka's ruins). The only time we see him snap (besides over petty reasons or generally not wanting to do what he wants/being frustrated, it seems) is when he's stabbed by Celes and when Gestault tells him to not use the power of the statues. And in context there, it's reasonable. Kefka has been stabbed, perhaps to death, and he wants vengeance, but is denied it by the Emperor, so he turns against him after the Emperor tries to kill him. There's other moments when Kefka appears childish like laughing before going to the [vacant and undefended] Esper's cave before the Emperor cuts him off, resulting in a frowning/pout face. This takes place before the stabbing incident on the Floating Continent, so it was probably foreshadowing the event of betrayal, but Kefka's main response to being wronged/put down is a pouty face (aside from his killing of General Leo, which might be from initially not getting his way/being prevented from poisoning Doma from the get-go). And the subsequent fall-out between him and Gestault is more reasonable on account of the stabbing and the murder attempt from Gestault. It seems when Kefka's "frustrated" by someone in a small way [Gestault, Leo], he later retaliates [Figaro castle torching] or gets his way. His insanity is the sheer force of his retaliation, because his narcissism is high [hence the cleaning of his boots at the game's beginning].

This tendency to retaliate is probably a trait inherited by Sephiroth, but handled more maturely and psychologically. It does not stem from what is apparently a "failed experiment", which the game says is why Kefka is insane.

1612843968470.png

But the more logical in-game reason [from pure observation] is Kefka's narcissism and childish behavior. Kefka being the Emperor's "bastard son" who got magically empowered makes better sense than "it was an experiment" than drove him to evil or insanity. I suppose one could argue that it's both, but it seems simplified a bit? I'm not the biggest fan of villain is evil because of external reason- it should be driven internally. Or if it is external, then have it be prompted by an internal reason. Kefka is technically a walking monster/villain (as in FFIV's Edge's parents) who can't break out of the insanity/evil.
 
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Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#5
Wait...

Are you claiming FFIV is more nuanced with it's depiction of good vs evil than FFVI and using Baigan as an example?

The forces belonging to the crazy moon man in space with his enthralled puppet are somehow more nuanced than Kefka and the Gesthalian Empire?

Celes who defects. General Leo who questions. Emperor Gesthal who is a megalomaniacal yet politically savvy despot and of course, his attack hound Kefka.

I'm sorta lost at how you're brushing off the layers of VI but somehow conflating a 1 dimensional throwaway lacky like Baigan as an example of nuanced depiction.

Don't get me wrong. FFIV is one of my favorites but it's a more simplistic and classic FF. It certainly ain't beating FFVI in the nuance scale of good and evil, lol naw.
 

JBedford

Pro Adventurer
AKA
JBed
#6
Now that I think about it, it seems mysterious that Lucrecia's name isn't with a "T", the チ, in ルクレチア. Instead, it's ルクレッツィア. Why didn't Square just do ルクレチア? They had every opportunity to do so? Was it a mistake? Was it an artistic alteration of ルクレチア? Was it a deliberate choice to not conflict with the name of an established kingdom in Live A Live? Interesting.
ルクレツィア is based on the Italian pronunciation rather than the Latin one.

(they use both ルクレツィア and ルクレッツィア within VII itself. both are understandable transliterations, the former is the more common transliteration of the name in general and the one Square use for the character everywhere else).
 
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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#7
Yeah, honestly it's not that mysterious. Katakana is an alphabet used for spelling out phonetic approximations, often with multiple equally valid transliterations being a possible result.

Just look at all the equally valid transliterations the Latin alphabet offers for words of Hebrew origin.
 

The Blindfolded

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
The Birdwatcher
#8
Wait...

Are you claiming FFIV is more nuanced with it's depiction of good vs evil than FFVI and using Baigan as an example?

The forces belonging to the crazy moon man in space with his enthralled puppet are somehow more nuanced than Kefka and the Gesthalian Empire?

Celes who defects. General Leo who questions. Emperor Gesthal who is a megalomaniacal yet politically savvy despot and of course, his attack hound Kefka.

I'm sorta lost at how you're brushing off the layers of VI but somehow conflating a 1 dimensional throwaway lacky like Baigan as an example of nuanced depiction.

Don't get me wrong. FFIV is one of my favorites but it's a more simplistic and classic FF. It certainly ain't beating FFVI in the nuance scale of good and evil, lol naw.
Yes, I actually think so, believe it or not.

And I still have more experience with FFVI than FFIV, and I am saying this.

"Crazy moon man" is more akin to "dark lord" or "demon king". There isn't much dimension to him, admittedly, but he is symbolic of evil, insanity, and hatred. The enthralled puppet, though it's not much, IS ENTHRALLED partially out of feeling hatred towards Cecil, since Cecil's mother was willing to stay alive for him to be born, only to die soon afterwards. Zemus swooped in and took advantage of Theodor as soon as he could, and the game explains that Zemus could (through his mind or will) manipulate Theodor on account of the Lunarian blood in him as well. The reason is double-fold.

One thing that I don't like about FFVI is how everyone is forced into situations without taking choice into account; there's only a few instances where choice occurs.
Here's a list:

-->Terra is forced into being a servant of the Empire via a slave crown (which is technically Golbez's or Zemus's mind control from FFIV). However, the key difference here is that Terra remembers nothing about her enslavement whereas BOTH (CECIL, since he was semi-forced to serve the fake king under pressure) AND KAIN do. She knows that she did terrible things, but since she has no memories of it, she can have no feelings about the matter. Her body and mind were a gun that someone pulled the trigger on.
--> Celes being forced into becoming a Magitek knight.
--> Kefka getting away WITH way too much stuff. Kefka has some serious plot armor/empowerment in this game which can't be hand-waived by "he's a sorceror", "he's a supernatural ghost/entity", etc. It's the ridiculous lack of defense put up against Kefka- at Doma (from Sabin, the residents of the castle), at the Floating Continent (through the statues' magic [conveniently] freezing the team and through the team falling off of the rocksa), and even at Figaro (how was everything lit on fire, especially a stone building, so quickly?), despite a plan being put into action. There are fair fights, such as, Narshe, but there are questions there, such as, how does Kefka escape so easily after the whole group creams his forces, including himself? Does he teleport? No, HE ESCAPES.

Even at Thamasa, when it looks like the Kefka that Leo fights wouldn't be an illusion (what reason does Kefka have to make an illusion when he's been amassing power and is bold enough to do so in Thamasa?), it turns out that it is an illusion.

Also, this line from Gestahl's Final Fantasy fandom page is this game in a nutshell:
"though they did not fully trust him at his word, they went along with his plan."
https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Gestahl

This is reminding me of Terra from Birth By Sleep. The villain who killed your mentor is telling you to meet him somewhere... what do you do?

Kefka suddenly appears at Espers' cave realm entrance/Sealed Cave, with the only evidence being that the imperial camp was evacuated just before. Okay, how would he have known that. Well, apparently the game says:

"In the Cave to the Sealed Gate, Kefka Palazzo claimed that Gestahl purposefully let Terra escape the Empire and join the Returners, as part of a plan to get them to open the Sealed Gate for them. It is unknown if Kefka was telling the truth, but the suspicious evacuation of the Imperial Observation Post and Kefka's timely arrival at the Sealed Gate right as the Returners get there would suggest that if Gestahl had not intended this all along, he was at least able to anticipate their actions and set a trap for them."
https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Gestahl

I forgot about this one. This is even more convoluted than Kefka saying that Celes betrayed the group since she betrayed the Empire, since it was in her nature as a "traitor". Okay, unless this is a fail-safe plan, the thought of Gestahl even letting Terra free when Kefka had to BURN Figaro to get her, was upset when Terra and company escaped, and lead a small army to Narshe to retrieve Terra/fight against the returners is crazy.

-->World of Ruin, in general.

The fact that World of Ruin even happened when the whole party could have jumped back up on the rock (like Shadow) after falling off or have taken a more fierce fight against Emperor Gestahl and Kefka before they were hit with sparkles is crazy. Also, Setzer's airship is split up after the party jumps onto it (why didn't he intervene directly at the three statues when things were starting to look badly?). Shoot, buy, and prepare some canonballs/explosives at Kefka? :doh:

Why doesn't anyone in the party feel guilty for not trying hard enough to stop Kefka and Gestahl at the floating continent when you meet up with them later on? The only person who seems guilty is Setzer, who's been drinking, but it seems more out of the general condition of the world than what happened.

-->Cid telling Celes that others decided to kill themselves because the world looked hopeless.... But why? The plants are in bad condition, but alive- there's still good fish in the ocean. Did the former residents on the island feel so isolated that they felt that suicide was the best answer?

-->Plants giving up on growing, as symbolism of the hopelessness in the world. This one logically doesn't make sense, as the rest of the world's plants look in poor condition but are apparently still alive. How Kefka is able to literally discolor the world (plants, water) through his magic (and destruction) is beyond me. If Kefka can't pinpoint a number of the worlds towns correctly, how can the rest of the world be discolored? Did he set a mass Bio spell on the planet? And if that can effect the entire world, how can he not destroy large areas of population?

-->Magic needing to end, since the statues and Kefka will be gone. I don't understand why the statues needed to be a source of magic when they corrupted human beings into Espers with their magic. But I guess Espers are still tied to the statues, anyways.

I think I can understand it better with Secret of Mana when the Mana Beast is the embodiment of "magic creatures" and the Mana Tree is reduced to a stump. Magic is gone for a while but can come back, so the destruction of magic is a worthwhile sacrifice. I think FFVI was trying to echo Secret of Mana's ending, but I didn't like how they handled it, imo. In FFVI, it's magic is gone forever, which is a total bummer. So, was the misuse of magic the cause of evil in FFVI? Is this what the game is telling me? :doh:

Think about it. The Empire was built on tech powered by siphoned magic and magical knights. If magic was the big conflict (and the land is coincidentally restored after magic's gone), then the game is telling me that if magic is ended, then so will abuse of power, destruction, and war. (Also, the steam-power strongholds of Narshe, Figaro, and Doma are viewed positively; it's magic that was destructive.)

That is once again, a stupid message if it's correct. What if someone or a new Empire rises up oppressing the populace out of steam tech or something. Then what? Is another group of returners going to have to destroy the steam tech, then? :huh:

Also, you know if the party was real smart, I'd think that they'd try to osmose as much magic out of Kefka as possible to keep Espers and magic alive in the world. And then seal themselves away or stand on a continent for thousands of years. But no, we must kill/eliminate a bunch of Espers from existence. Hey, you DO KNOW that these Espers WERE humans, right? And it seems that they could even reproduce (from the ELDER's lines in the flashback), if it weren't for the fact that they kept getting themselves killed.

Like nearly all the Espers are willing to blink themselves selflessly out of existence- we don't even know if they will go on the Doom train or not. But they are okay with getting vaporized if it means that Kefka's misuse of magic is out of the question.

......:huh:

This game makes The Empire Strikes Back look like Disneyland when it comes to the level of forced situations, down to the very ending. I will be honest; I do find myself disgusted by this game.

Celes who defects.
Celes= good. It was said that Celes was forced into becoming a Magitek knight from Cid. We know little of her atrocities before her defiance of the poisoning of Doma castle. It's been said that she was "pure as snow" or had a heart "pure as snow". That being said, there is one layer of nuance to Celes, and that's when she says she likes using magic, when it's later revealed that siphoning magic from Espers contributed to her powers. Celes does seem regretful momentarily when she learns of this when the party acquires magicite for the first time, but she says that she was asleep when she did it, so she couldn't have known that it was so awful. Again, the game avoids responsibility/consequence through this, imo.

General Leo who questions.
Leo=good
Actually, Leo doesn't question until he fights with Kefka, who utilizes an illusion of Gestahl. Leo questions him here, and then it's revealed that Kefka put on an illusion. While it's still clear that Gestahl wanted the Espers (and shows some degree of political shrewdness during the dinner table scene with the returners) And there's no real evidence that Leo has been said to have been evil; he just works for the Empire. Does he have any remorse for anything that he's done under the Empire? The poisoning happened when he left, so technically, it's not his responsibility. He does apologize to Cyan if he's in the party at the dinner table, but how can one apologize for something that hardly his fault?

Emperor Gesthal who is a megalomaniacal yet politically savvy despot and of course, his attack hound Kefka.

Emperor Gestahl= bad
Kefka=bad
No nuance, unless we count Kefka being a bastard. And even then, Kefka is bad- he acts it.
Gestahl's megalomania and savvy traits are to show the horror that war and abuse of magic can bring. That's not so much a nuance as it is being a dictator, imo. (Although Gestahl is horrified at power getting out of hand at the statues.). Even then, being megalomaniacal or savvy isn't giving (actually two) justified/point-of-view reasons/excuses for doing evil as in my example. These are traits of how Gestahl conducts his evil, but the reasons why seem weak and more confusing. He wants to build a magical Empire (at the game's beginning), with people born with magic (at the statues). That's it. Does he want to do this to improve people's lives? We have no idea; he seems just keen on ruling.

Additionally, if Kefka is an attack hound to Gestahl, then the same can be said about Kylo Ren to Snoke. The two characters are similar, imo, with how they usurp after an emotional/violent confrontation (Kylo's psychological; Kefka's physical).

Kefka siphons magic from Espers to gather power and creates/uses slave crowns on a whim to serve his plans. Kefka has plans with reviving the statues early, and even says that he's a god, which is similar to how Sephiroth claims that he will become one in FFVII at the Temple of the Ancients. Kefka sticks with Gestahl simply because, or since he might be a bastard, or since he does want a magic legacy for the Empire. And often, Kefka is doing things on his own (visiting Figaro and later burning the place) and putting things into his own hands (poisoning Doma when Leo leaves). He is far from an attack dog.

but it's a more simplistic and classic FF

Even Tokita himself has said that FFIV is a more simplistic story, but I find its quality, logic, depth, and meaning to overall be better than 6. Or if not FFIV, then the extended DS version. If this is a "simple" story from Takashi and Sakaguchi, then I would assume that a "complex" story would look much better than most of Square's stuff, which is what occurs in Live A Live, to be frank. There's stuff in there I'm willing to put above Sephiroth, whom I've analyzed for a long time.
 
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Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#9
So you just don't like Kefka being a competent and threatening villain who succeeds. I mean, just lead with that.

Anyways you disliking Kefka being able to succeed every step of the way with what he sets out to do, doesn't somehow elevate the conflict of good and evil of FFIV as some grand nuanced affair. The main villain of that story was a mad alien filled with evil who resented humans for living. And we don't even see him til' the end. Then he died and became just an amorphous blob of malevolence. Golbez carried a semblance of "nuance" given that as a young boy he resented Cecil a little, and that kernel of ill will made him vulnerable to mind control but even then... He was upset his parents were gone as a child. What's the grand message or theme there? "Don't feel bad as kid?" That's really not that deep of a conflict.

Kain is probably a better example given the pseudo-love triangle that existed with Rosa, Cecil and himself. But that too gets brushed aside quickly with the final conflict of the game. And what happens? Kain takes his L and goes to move on with his life and overcome that jealousy.

And those examples definitely don't resemble anything close to Baigan's monsterification either. :monster:

And while you're fixating on Kefka, you're neglecting the other message and themes being presented. Between General Leo questioning what being a General for the Gesthalian Empire really means, his guilt over not saving Terra, and Celes coming to terms with her involvement with said Empire, there's an important examination regarding being part of an evil organization, the choices one makes and finding redemption through detaching from evil, and seeking to dismantle it. I mean, General Leo learned too late the consequences of being a member of the Empire, hence him dying to Kefka in Thamasa. Nevermind Cyan having to learn to forgive and move on from Doma, which was hard to do for him in the first place. Like, it's not just about Kefka. He's the big bad but he's not the end-all-be-all of evil in FFVI.

I'm not even trying to diss FFIV. Again, I love it. I just don't think that it's an example of "nuanced good versus evil." Especially not compared to FFVI. Kefka being surprisingly and unexpectedly competent doesn't diminish that theme within it.
 
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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#10
I'm not even trying to diss FFIV. Again, I love it. I just don't think that it's an example of "nuanced good versus evil." Especially not compared to FFVI.
Considering that Zemus's whole motivation was base racism, yeah, have to second this.

How Kefka is able to literally discolor the world (plants, water) through his magic (and destruction) is beyond me.
"Through his magic" is right there in the wording of your comment. =P

If Kefka can't pinpoint a number of the worlds towns correctly, how can the rest of the world be discolored? Did he set a mass Bio spell on the planet? And if that can effect the entire world, how can he not destroy large areas of population?
He can. The goal, though, is to cause drawn-out despair, not sudden extinction.

Magic needing to end, since the statues and Kefka will be gone. I don't understand why the statues needed to be a source of magic when they corrupted human beings into Espers with their magic. But I guess Espers are still tied to the statues, anyways.

I think I can understand it better with Secret of Mana when the Mana Beast is the embodiment of "magic creatures" and the Mana Tree is reduced to a stump. Magic is gone for a while but can come back, so the destruction of magic is a worthwhile sacrifice. I think FFVI was trying to echo Secret of Mana's ending, but I didn't like how they handled it, imo. In FFVI, it's magic is gone forever, which is a total bummer. So, was the misuse of magic the cause of evil in FFVI? Is this what the game is telling me? :doh:
I don't mean to sound like I'm speaking down to you intellectually here, but the point couldn't be more apparent. Choice of the individual is probably the chief theme of the game, and a prominent expression of that is the freedom to choose how to define oneself -- this being portrayed most vividly through Terra, whose entire life has been dictated by the circumstances of her birth.

When not autonomous because her freedom of choice was hijacked through science fiction or when she was living in fear of her own genealogy, Terra endured a daily cloud of feeling she was in the chains of an identity she had not chosen. Magic fading from the world was simply the plot device providing her the opportunity to actualize her place in it. She was told she wouldn't fade with the rest of magic if she could cling to the side of her existence that wasn't dependent on it; that she didn't fade away shows that she was able to begin perceiving herself as she preferred.

He does apologize to Cyan if he's in the party at the dinner table, but how can one apologize for something that hardly his fault?
Because he's a decent enough person. :monster: For that matter, it isn't really addressed whether they do or don't feel guilty about that. We catch up with most of them a year later and find many of them trying to make the world slightly better in whatever small ways they've found (or still trying to address what they already felt guilty about in Locke's case).

While we're on this subject, why are you raising "how can one apologize for something that's hardly his fault" as a strike against the game in this paragraph, yet earlier in your post -- as a different strike against the game -- you asked "Why doesn't anyone in the party feel guilty for not trying hard enough to stop Kefka and Gestahl at the floating continent"?

Comes off as being determined to thump it from opposing directions on the same subject.

I will be honest; I do find myself disgusted by this game.
:awesome: You don't say.
 

The Blindfolded

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
The Birdwatcher
#11
Anyways uou disliking Kefka being able to succeed every step of the way with what he sets out to do doesn't somehow elevate the conflict of good and evil of FFIV as some grand nuanced affair.

I have nothing against Kefka. He has always been an "alright" villain to me and is a core part of the narrative (He is very involved with the narrative). I'm saying that Kefka is backed by a lot of plot armor/empowerment, as is a lot of the plot itself. It is more a plot problem than it is a Kefka problem.

Anyway, my point was that I disliked FFVI because it forced the plot in situations and simplified things, which I think it still does. It has nothing to do with how much Kefka succeeds. I cheer for Sephiroth when he succeeds in FFVII, when he uses his brain, because, aside from the Northern Crater scene (which is a bit forced, since the team doesn't think of shooting Cloud down or stopping him quickly enough), most of his scenes make sense (psychic manipulation from absorbing lifestream, making illusions from use of Jenova cells/lifestream, etc.).

I don't mind Kefka using his brain to nullify the Espers' attacks at Thamasa though it comes straight after an almost Disney-ending of peace between the Empire and the Espers or poisoning Doma (since it is good strategy). It's touches like Kefka killing Espers with magic sparkles instantly and receiving Magicite (Did no one in the Empire ever kill an Esper at the Magitek factory before? I guess Kefka didn't??? :huh: Also, I thought that maybe the Espers had to permanently kill themselves/turn into Magicite willingly?) and then EVERY Esper deciding (and immediately knowing from far away what's happened) to leave the Sealed Cave to get pwned by magic sparkles.

I understand when Kefka blocks one of the Esper's attacks with a bunch of shields (though that's a bit convenient), but how does he insta-kill the others with magic sparkles? Is Kefka nullifying their magical abilities this much?

To be honest, how am I supposed to take the plot seriously when the heroes are stupid/are sitting ducks for Kefka? That they actually want to do good when they're easily taken out of the picture (Thamasa, Floating Continent)? Through a sudden explosion (which they should handle) or paralysis (which they should probably also handle)?

I understand it better when Sephiroth disappears and knocks out the party in the Whirlwind Maze, to be fair. The team's more vulnerable than Espers and can't see what Sephiroth's doing.

Even in FFIV when the plot "seemingly intervenes", as with Cecil and co. literally falling into a trap before they can reach Golbez's crystal stash, it's because they are physically removed to an extent that they cannot go back. A booby trap still makes more sense than Kefka's/Gestahl's plan for Terra/ argument that Celes is a traitor. And the fact that Locke doubts/believes that Celes is a traitor is still super wacky, as he witnessed Celes in prison for treason (and execution!), even though there are questionings about Celes's allegiance in Vector.

The main villain of that story was essentially a mad alien of evil who resented humans for living.

He resented humans on account of superiority, of superior technology, magic, and possibly genetics. Also, the villain resented humans for not being able to settle the planet with all the other Lunarians quickly. I suppose he could not bare waiting or simply didn't care.

Also, mad alien=sorceror. His design is a cloaked sorceror with "fangs" on the cloak. If you simply mean foreign alien, then fair point. The aliens are Lunarians (race that isn't extraterrestrial-looking, aside from white hair but is advanced). And by that logic, Cecil is half-alien.

Then he died and became just an amorphous blob of malevolence.
Fair point.

Golbez is the only character who carried a semblance of "nuance" given that as a kid he resented Cecil a little, and that kernel of ill will made him vulnerable but even then... He was upset his parents were gone as a child. What's the grand message there? Don't feel bad as kid? That's really not that deep of a conflict.

Theodor hated Cecil enough because he felt that Cecil was responsible to a degree for killing his mother, though his mother was willing to exhaust her life for Cecil's. The message is to not give into hatred. Also, the main villain was convincing Theodor that his father's death was also from Cecil, which is a bit insane, but shows that the villain was attempting to manipulate Theodor though his anger, grief, and regret over not being able to save his father. And "gone" is a bit of an understatement when Kluya was murdered (without raising a hand) against the humans who disagreed with his teachings on magic. Kluya didn't just walk off of a cliff; he was straight-up murdered. I mean Theodor was corrupted enough/taken control over by Zemus to abandon and leave Cecil for dead as an infant somewhere outside of Baron and abandon any responsibility of taking care of him.

every step of the way with what he sets out to do doesn't somehow elevate the conflict of good and evil of FFIV as some grand nuanced affair

It's nuanced with how it handles itself, despite its supposedly simplistic plot, even as described by its co-writer/scenario writer/character designer. Takashi was interested in theater, even doing anime/manga back in the day. He never really got to do that, but it seems some of that has leaked out into FFIV. (Even in his twitter feed, he seems quite interested into film recently.).

Unlike FFVI (some of its problems/structure pass on to FFVII), which simplifies evil as being evil and good as being good, for the most part, aside from General Leo, which I did research on.

FFIV nuances, the list:
Cecil: Starts off as being a good man, but admits that he's corrupted by cowardly doing evil for his evil and wearing cruel armor (symbolism for evil). He is good at heart but has been corrupted by evil, darkness.
Kain: Is a good friend of Cecil and works on the team. However, he harbors jealously for Cecil for gaining Rosa, even saying coldly that "he's not defying Baron for Cecil" (Supposedly it's for Rosa or a sense of honor).
Edge: A bit arrogant and prone to anger, but still a good person.
Golbez: Is Cecil's brother. He is a main villain. Admits that he abandoned Cecil. Tries to make it up.

And while you're fixating on Kefka, you're neglecting the other message and themes being presented.

Okay.

Between General Leo questioning what being a General for the Gesthalian Empire really means
When does he question it? On the ship to Thamasa?

"Leo confessed he felt he was no better than Kefka for allowing the Empire to use Terra as a biological weapon, and reassured her she would find love someday."
https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Leo_Cristophe

So, Leo does feel guilt here for allowing Terra to be used as a biological weapon? What he still doesn't question who he is in the Empire or what he does; he just acknowledges that permitting something to happen was wrong. And this is more in respect to the ethical question of Terra's sanity/free will being compromised, not his role as general.

, and Celes coming to terms with her involvement with said Empire, there's an important examination regarding being part of an evil organization and finding redemption through detaching from it, and seeking to dismantle it.

Fair point, but again, what crimes were committed by Celes before? She is "infamous for a "decimation" of Maranda" https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Celes_Chere, but she doesn't express regret for that. She does inform the returners about an upcoming attack on Narshe, but what prompts it? Her rescue? Being disillusioned, I wonder?

I mean, General Leo learned too late the consequences of being a member of the Empire, hence him dying to Kefka in Thamasa.
Then why wasn't there evidence of Leo being conflicted about being in the Empire in the game, then? He seems guilty over "allowing the Empire to use Terra" and apologizes to Yura.

"and asked forgiveness for the Empire's crimes"

But he doesn't leave or doing anything about it, besides being diplomatic about it to Yura and apologizing to Cyan. And these "crimes" are restricted to the ethical dilemma of using Terra (against her will) and draining and capturing the Espers. These Espers, it seems, either allowed themselves to die or could stay in a state where technically they could keep on living (Magicite). Assuming that Leo also feels guilty over not doing anything about siphoning magic from the Espers (plus refusing an Esper-infusion), too.

Leo cares about his soldiers, but the atrocities or the fighting that they cause in the cities (they are later removed if the group persuades the soldiers to stop fighting, eliminating any chance of Leo being repentant or responsible), Leo doesn't apologize for. Instead, he has to apologize for things that aren't his responsibility (Doma) and Espers, which the party barely knows about and can't connect with. The effect is an impersonal, distanced apology from Leo- it avoids responsibility towards HUMAN BEINGS.

When Kefka appears in Thamasa, Leo does protest, knowing that Kefka is supposedly under Gestahl's orders. And Leo tries to kill Kefka, showing that he's opposed to Kefka and Gestahl's plans in Thamasa. (Though, it's already too late for the Espers at Thamasa, tbh.). Again, the atrocities seem to be aimed towards Espers and not at human beings, and this is what Leo's protesting against.

So, Leo's transition here is similar to Cecil from FFIV, minus the buildup and multiple times of questioning and defying the fake king (directly at Baron, at Myst, and at the desert.).

Kefka does kill Leo for being a "traitor", but Kefka could have easily killed Leo for any other reason. I don't understand how this contributes directly to his death, other than putting more of a red target on him. Kefka could have easily have killed the party/rest of the group at Thamasa, too, but I guess he's focused on gathering power?

Otherwise, a fair point. Certainly, this is an interesting perspective and a better explanation of what I've thought about the Thamasa scene.

Nevermind Cyan having to learn to forgive and move on from Doma.
He forgives Kefka? I can see move on (as he believes/has his wife and son live on in his soul), and I guess he overcame distrust of Celes. I think "murdering" Kefka is a far cry from forgiving. Unless you mean forgives himself.

Like, it's not just about Kefka. He's the big bad but he's not the end-all-be-all of evil in FFVI.
Again, fair point. I'd argue that the Empire is, especially considering how much Kitase was injecting his love of Star Wars into the game (Biggs, Wedge, the stormtrooper reference in Albrook? with Celes).

Kefka is a product of the Empire, much in the same manner that Sephiroth was the product of Shinra. The key difference being between the two is that Kefka's insanity is forced on him through the "flaws" of the experimental Magitek knight program and because he is naturally opposed to honorable qualities (diplomacy and peace), preferring bloodshed and to eliminate the "traitor" from the Empire. (Maybe from how he was raised? Maybe because he's supposedly a bastard?). There is choice when it comes to Sephiroth's end of the deal, though, unable to deal with the fact that Shinra lied to him (wronged him) and being a monster. Also, the idea that he's no longer special anymore/ a blow to his self-dignity, worth, and ego, etc.

Considering that Zemus's whole motivation was base racism, yeah, have to second this.

Racism, superiority, and wanting to do things as he desired. My point is, despite Zemus being relatively shallow, there is something more to him and what he represents than just being a villain "sorceror". After the party defeats him, they contemplate what it means that Zemus will be there as long as there is darkness in men's hearts. And I think this contemplation is a BIG DEAL. You'll often find the counter-argument (i.e. Yu-gi-oh) from the heroes that goodness will prevail or will also exist after the villain will say that he'll always be around or darkness will continue to endure as long as men or evil or something, but here we have a rare case of the heroes ACTUALLY considering what the villain has said, instead of a quick counter-argument. They do conclude that men have both good and evil in them, but the fact that they contemplated shows more of a maturity and understanding in the writing.

I've really only seen another effective argument/contemplation in video gaming with good vs. evil with the Ansem/Sora speech in Kingdom Hearts, to be honest.

"Through his magic" is right there in the wording of your comment. =P

I still don't understand how Kefka can discolor the world and make it a warped inverse like the Dark World in a Link to the Past even if his magic was able to somehow reach every part of the world, and that's another question- if his magic can EVEN reach/affect every inch of the continent. He seems to only be able to pinpoint areas.

He can. The goal, though, is to cause drawn-out despair, not sudden extinction.

Please prove it. There's no evidence of what Kefka wants to do until the game's ending. The most he says is that he'll revive the statues and become a god. It's people's/plants' responses to Kefka's tyranny that causes despair and morale-lowering, and that's their choice. Also, symbolism, which is rather forced, imo (i.e. trees, plants giving up on growing, unless Bio affected things).

Kefka does ask why do people build up what must be inevitably be destroyed. And he does say what hope that the team has in this dying world, though it seems more like an after-effect for Kefka (the dying world) than a planned goal. But HE DOES NOT say that he wanted to "bring despair" like modern Dissidia Sephiroth until the team lists their reasons for having hope- in which Kefka decides that he will make their "world of death".

Unless it's implied that Kefka is causing despair through his "why do people build up what must be inevitably be destroyed" speech, he hasn't really been directly causing despair or has deliberately focused on destroying people's hopes until the party mentions their reasons (and they didn't have to, honestly).

This isn't Live A Live where Oersted purposefully summons heroes from across time-space and directly challenges their beliefs (since humans treated him badly as soon as they thought he was evil), leading to a certain disclosed reason from the main leading party member. Compared to FFVI, Kefka merely wonders what hope remains in this dying world- the party has little reason to disclose it (besides distracting Kefka to get out of his traps). And when the party discloses it, Kefka gets upset since he believes that they've back-sassed him- a supremely immature reason, but completely within his character. Someone insults Kefka, and then he retaliates from his narcissism.

And think about what Kefka's been doing- he's been targeting cities that turned against him or out of boredom. Sounds pretty rational (for one supposedly insane), especially if Kefka has a kid-like disposition.

And now since the party (basically spurred Kefka on), they HAVE to stop him, or things will get worse.

I'm going to say this, but despite some emotional moments, FFVI has some terrible writing in areas, or at least forced.
 
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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#13
I did want to mention one brief point about the way that Japanese titles reuse things and borrowing from media.

While the development of digital RPGs started at around the same time, and based around the same things, they diverged pretty significantly between RPGs and JRPGs, and a lot of that has to do with a different focus on storytelling. Japanese games tend to focus around very specific thematically driven conflict with very nuanced iconography and symbolism specifically because they're building upon the media and works of other creators in order to express specific details within the themes and details of characters beyond just the sort of trope/archetype that you get used in Western stories where those are largely just shorthand generalizations.

Western RPGs focused more around nuanced world-building, continuity, and freedom of interaction to more closely match the sort of D&D games, whereas JRPGs gradually focused around specific characters, eventually removing things like the ability to name party members and things like that as they sort of fell out of their purpose. This is also really important when looking at how often times, JPRGs can have a different approach to canon, where it's not always as singularly focused on a 1:1 literal continuity structure as much as it is on the underlying communication of the original intent still coming across the way that it was meant to, but with different nuances that are adapted for the time in which it was released.

There's basically an entire visual language generated within Japanese media that got accelerated in the 1970s with the fall of the US golden age of animation coinciding with the rise of Japanese animation's departure from its Disney roots, and then that accelerating into the growth of the anime industry in the 80s and 90s fueling storytelling into the videogame industry right at the time when Final Fantasy VII came out. With the success of those things between Japan and a global audience, that symbolism started to not just become a visual language that was specific to Japan, but one that translated conceptually to an international audience even if it didn't carry all of the nuanced specific of the intended meanings across.

This is basically why a lot of Nomura's stuff has this weirdly philosophical and sort of obtuse tone to it, because he's absolutely surrounded by this visual language, and that's how he conveys SO much of the themes he wants to express. It's basically why Kingdom Hearts is a mix of Final Fantasy & Disney because it's giving him a more accessible range of visual storytelling themes where he can draw on establishing more of those thematic, conceptual, and ideological parallels, while exploring these themes that have been getting continually refined all across Japanese media for the last 30 years.

It is... endlessly fascinating, and that's sort of heavily involved in what I've been researching and writing about for the last... almost year now.

This is a really awesome example that I hadn't checked out before though, so thanks a ton for breaking it down!



X :neo:
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#14
I'm not going to go down the bottomless rabbit hole of white knighting for one JRPG's supposedly objective quality over another -- especially not with this franchise -- when a) I like all of them anyway; and b) any of them could be described with selectively reductive language or points of comparison. With a thick enough coating of fanwank and a big enough chip on the shoulder, even the original Final Fantasy could be made out as objectively superior to FFIV, VI, IX, XII, XIV, etc.

Please prove it. There's no evidence of what Kefka wants to do until the game's ending. The most he says is that he'll revive the statues and become a god. It's people's/plants' responses to Kefka's tyranny that causes despair and morale-lowering, and that's their choice.
We really don't need more than the game itself, though? We see what he wants to do. He does it.

But according to you ... plantlife is just offing themselves. It isn't that the supreme being of the planet is causing them to die; it's a bunch of depressed petunias choosing to. =P

And despite being able to literally rearrange all the world's continents, as well as pull an entire city apart (the largest one in the world at that) and pile its rubble on top of itself until it's a tower reaching into the heavens -- according to you, Kefka hasn't already enacted his one and only desire to wipe everyone out ... due to not knowing the locations of much smaller towns he knew existed a year before ... and he can't find those places again (unlike the Returners, who seem to have no difficulty with this), despite being the planet's supreme being ... even though -- also according to you -- he turns his Light of Judgment on these towns when he's bored.

One doesn't typically see this degree of trying to have your cake and eat it too outside U.S. politics.

For whatever it's worth, a few Ultimanias do mention in no uncertain terms that Kefka reigned over the world as its God. He's also described in at least one Ultimania as being dominated by his own emptiness while opposing hopes and dreams.

Kefka does ask why do people build up what must be inevitably be destroyed. And he does say what hope that the team has in this dying world, though it seems more like an after-effect for Kefka (the dying world) than a planned goal. But HE DOES NOT say that he wanted to "bring despair" like modern Dissidia Sephiroth until the team lists their reasons for having hope- in which Kefka decides that he will make their "world of death".

Unless it's implied that Kefka is causing despair through his "why do people build up what must be inevitably be destroyed" speech, he hasn't really been directly causing despair or has deliberately focused on destroying people's hopes until the party mentions their reasons (and they didn't have to, honestly).
You have it backwards: it's Kefka's philosophical inquiry that spurs a response from them with their philosophy -- not them shouting inane platitudes into the void and him responding in kind. He's asking questions that he's clearly had for a while, and to which the preceding year has offered him no satisfactory answers.

He's been trying to break humanity's spirit, and he wants to know why it hasn't taken. They answer and he still doesn't get it, so then he's just ready to end everything -- probably his own infinite emptiness most of all.

This part is just my own speculation, but I've long suspected he wanted to lose the last fight. Winning would have offered him nothing but more questions he couldn't answer and more of his own endless despair. Much like Sephiroth, had he been giving his all, there's no reason he should have lost; only instead of holding back out of arrogance, perhaps it was out of desire for an end.

Racism, superiority, and wanting to do things as he desired. My point is, despite Zemus being relatively shallow, there is something more to him and what he represents than just being a villain "sorceror". After the party defeats him, they contemplate what it means that Zemus will be there as long as there is darkness in men's hearts. And I think this contemplation is a BIG DEAL. You'll often find the counter-argument (i.e. Yu-gi-oh) from the heroes that goodness will prevail or will also exist after the villain will say that he'll always be around or darkness will continue to endure as long as men or evil or something, but here we have a rare case of the heroes ACTUALLY considering what the villain has said, instead of a quick counter-argument. They do conclude that men have both good and evil in them, but the fact that they contemplated shows more of a maturity and understanding in the writing.
Jeez, dude, it's not like they were any more swayed towards thinking "Maybe this wackjo is right" than the Returners were by Kefka.
 
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