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Translations from the FF 20th Anniversary Ultimania — Sources of Power in FF

by January 24, 2010 14 comments

To be specific, these translations are from the Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania File 2: Scenario guide. Yes, that is its full and proper title, and, yes, it is quite long.

Anyway, what I’m presenting here for your merry consumption is a translation of the “Source of Power” section of the Ultimania (pg. 8). It offers some rather illuminating insight into interrelated sources of magic
in the FF series.

For me, this page is largely vindication of theories I’ve long held to be true. Please check out the “Spirit Energy and Memories” article in my Final Fantasy VII Plot Analysis FAQ for more on that.

I do hope you enjoy this translation. Stay tuned, as another set of translations is ready to go up, and will be joining this one shortly.

SOURCE OF POWER

The world that serves as the stage of each work is supported by some great power. In the early works, the power of the 4 elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Wind serve this essential role, appearing alongside crystals they correlate with. On the other hand, with “VII” and onward, a worldview on life and death was introduced to fill the role, and the “power of life” became the essential factor. In addition, the works beginning with “VII” filled their worlds with many manifestations of this “power.” They feature the crystalline objects of power named “materia,” “spheres,” and the like, and in each, they are deeply related to the story, being, for example, the means by which magic is used.


Root of the world: “I”, “III,” “IV,” “V”
[Crystals][Power of the world (Earth, Water, Fire and Wind)]
In “I,” “III,” “IV” and “V,” the world is supported by the 4 cornerstone powers of Earth, Water, Fire and Wind. In “I,” the crystals have the symbols of the four powers, and are the source of the 4 powers in the other 3 works as well; furthermore, in “IV,” a set of these crystals exist in each of the following: on the terran level, in the underworld, and on the moon.


Wondrous powers that permeate the world: “VII,” “IX,” “X,” “X-2,” “XII”
Power of Life [“VII,” “IX,” “X,” “X-2”]
Source of magical powers [“VII,” “X,” “X-2,” “XII”]

“VII” – Spirit energy (mako)
Power of life. Returns to the planet to bring about new life, but the substance called “mako” is drawn out of the planet as a power source and for other purposes at an abusive rate.
Condenses as: Materia

“IX” – “Mist”
Residual element of the souls that should return to the planet, but are discharged into the atmosphere. While it can be harnessed as fuel for airships, it has a negative influence on living things.

“X,” “X-2” – Pyreflies
An energy that resides in the atmosphere, in water, underground, and in the bodies of living things, when they gather in high concentrations, they become visibile as clusters of light. When reacting to thoughts, they can assume substance.
Condenses as: Spheres

“XII” – Mist
Source of magical powers. When densely concentrated, it becomes visible as a fog. The stones called “magicite” hold mist within, and serve as the drive force for airships.

Circle of Life

“After death, a life will circle the planet and be born again as a new life. Lives enrich the planet and make it grow” — this worldview on life and death underlying “VII” is similar to ideas seen in “IX” and “X.” In the story of “IX,” it was defined by the idea that the crystals residing at the center of planets circulate life, and as the memories of living beings accumulate inside the crystals, the planets grow. In “X” and “X-2,” a power of life equivalent to that called “mako” in “VII” is featured via the phenomenon called “pyreflies”; it is related to the underground “Farplane,” where the dead reside — and, so, the idea of “the power of life returning underground after diffusing into the atmosphere” takes form here as well. Also, though the concept isn’t explicitly stated within the stories of “III,” “IV” and “XI,” as with the afore-mentioned works, it can be inferred that life circulates these worlds as well.


In “IV,” Anna, who lost her life, speaks of “becoming one with the great spirit” before vanishing; a worldview on life and death like that in “VII” and the others can be inferred here.


Stream of Life: “VII,” “IX,” “X,” “X-2”
1) A new life is born
2) That life dies and its energy then disperses
3) The dispersed energy returns to the planet, and enriches the planet to grow

“VII”
Lifestream
A current of the power of life (spirit energy) that circulates within the planet. An enormous swell of knowledge is woven throughout, and, when in direct contact, can cause the mind of an ordinary person to collapse.

“IX”
Crystal
The object at the center of a planet which stores the power of life and makes the planet exist. Once a crystal has aged, it returns to the cosmos and becomes the source of a new crystal.

“X,” “X-2”
Farplane
The place to which the deceased return. In “X-2,” an enormous swell of energy is determined to exist in its subterranean depths.

14 comments

  1. Ryushikaze
    #1 Ryushikaze 24 January, 2010, 13:19

    Nothing earth shattering, but yes, nice to have a confirmation.

    Also, this does also lend credence to the common sense idea that the crystals of Dissidia merely take the form of sources of power in the heroes’ respective worlds.

    Reply to this comment
    • Squall_of_SeeD
      Squall_of_SeeD Author 25 January, 2010, 08:18

      True that. Moves us no closer to establishing what the hell Squall’s crystal is, though.

  2. OWA-2
    #2 OWA-2 24 January, 2010, 13:48

    Nothing about FFII?

    Reply to this comment
    • Squall_of_SeeD
      Squall_of_SeeD Author 25 January, 2010, 07:01

      Nope. II and VI weren’t mentioned.

    • OWA-2
      OWA-2 25 January, 2010, 17:05

      I wonder why…

      God, where are my manners?! Thankyou for this wonderful job dude. We are lucky to have a member like you in this site.
      Keep the excelent work.

    • Squall_of_SeeD
      Squall_of_SeeD Author 25 January, 2010, 20:29

      Thank you. Glad you liked.

  3. Dark & Divine
    #3 Dark & Divine 24 January, 2010, 18:49

    Thanks for this!

    I’m eagerly waiting for more transtalations of the FF 20th Anniversary Ultimanias.

    Reply to this comment
    • Squall_of_SeeD
      Squall_of_SeeD Author 25 January, 2010, 08:17

      Glad you’re enjoying them!

  4. Teresa
    #4 Teresa 24 January, 2010, 19:32

    So does each FF world have their own “afterlife”? Because with Dissidia it seems like all the heroes at least live in the same universe, even if at different times and/or on different planets. So would someone who dies in FF7 go into the Lifestream and not meet anyone from, say, FFX?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tennyo
      Tennyo 24 January, 2010, 21:24

      Not right away, if we are to take DoC into account. According to DoC, at the end of the world Omega will imerge and take the Lifestream into an even bigger Lifestream that encompasses the entire Universe.

    • Teresa
      Teresa 24 January, 2010, 22:19

      Thanks for the info. It seems weird though how each Final Fantasy has their own little “afterlife”, even though Dissidia shows they all are on the same plane of existense.
      Is there a name for the bigger Lifestream?

    • Squall_of_SeeD
      Squall_of_SeeD Author 25 January, 2010, 08:16

      Thanks for your posts, Teresa!

      It’s not clear where exactly the universal Lifestream should be or what it’s called.

      In both the description given in DC and the description given by this Ultimania and FFIX’s Ultimania for that game’s cosmology, it’s only been said that the spirits of planets return to space. Yoshinori Kitase said the same thing in an interview with EDGE magazine back in 2003, but that’s all he said.

      So, really, where exactly a planet’s spirit goes is unclear.

      As for all the FFs being on the same plane of existence, they’re not. In Dissidia, it’s said that the battleground world was formed from the shards of worlds that had been pulled from different realms/dimensions (“jigen” in Japanese). This word was used in the description of the world offered by Golbez in Chapter 2 of Shade Impulse, by Garland in Chapter 3 of the same, and it was also used in the game’s opening narration in the line “reigning from distant realms” (“jigen no kanata ni kunrinsuru; 次元のかなたに君臨する”).

      As well, both FFVIII and FFXII showed that Gilgamesh makes use of the Interdimensional Rift to visit the various worlds.

      So while they may or may not have all ultimately come from the same source, they’re not all in the same universe/dimension.

      But certainly they’re all in the continuity of the same omniverse.

  5. Death Sin
    #5 Death Sin 25 January, 2010, 13:40

    Very nice read. Shame there’s nothing about FFVI (and FF II also) but it’s very interesting all the same and I’ll really enjoying all of these new translations. Thanks a bunch and please keep up the good work!

    Reply to this comment
    • Squall_of_SeeD
      Squall_of_SeeD Author 25 January, 2010, 20:33

      Thanks for your post! Happy to do them!

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