Final Fantasy: Home Of The Prodigy? (Part 1 – Final Fantasy II)

ff2_logo

Yeah so the Yoko vs. Yoko series has been cut short due to lack of interest and the fact that I got my point across already, but I have a new one now.

I’m sure everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock the past week has heard about and seen the Final Fantasy XIII.  It’s pretty hot news and has generated a lot of talk, but I’m not actually here tonight to gush about it, I’ve already done that elsewhere.  No tonight I’m here because upon seeing it I decided to look back a bit at the history of the franchise and it’s playable characters and found something that I’ve always sort of been aware of but have never really thought about too much.  Final Fantasy (and Square Enix in general really) really seems to be a fan of making younger characters look cool and efficient in every way and older characters look like either bafoons or well past whatever their prime was.

However I want to put that theory to the test to see if there actually is a correlation between youth and general usefulness and accomplishment in the characters of Final Fantasy, which is why I’m going to be looking at each of the characters in the franchise so far (starting with 2 and skipping 3 since it’s really the first game to have characters with actual character traits), measuring their worth against the age at which they managed to accomplish it, and seeing if the FF writers favour the young.  Also there will be wisecracking along the way.  Let’s go.

Firion & Co.  :   dissidia-firion

Seven Swords Exia Wannabe

Really this where it all started in my opinion as far as the whole child prodigy thing goes.

Age Class: High School Football Team

Ages:  We don’t know their ages but there said to have been orphaned during the conflict that proceeded the intro to the game so they can’t be older then 18.

Claim To Fame:  Freedom fighting hippies.

Real Claims To Fame:

Brought down an entire empire almost single handedly, killed the devil and lived to tell about it before they even celebrated their first birthday.

Shameful Secrets:

– Got the living snot kicked out of them in the opening battle and wouldn’t have lived at all were it not for the timely intervention of Hilda and one Minh.

Minh:

minwu

The Moonshadow Knight

Age Class:  Indentured Servant For Life

Age: Unknown but probably at least in his 40’s

Claim To Fame:  Has the worlds largest beard under his mask

Real Claims To Fame: 

-Wise old man

-Average Mage

Shameful Secrets:

– Only an average mage and yet he’s the best the Fynn army has until our heroes come along

– Dies trying to open a seal to unseal a version of Ultima that is utterly useless

Josef:

josef-sprh

Winter Sports Fan

Age class:  Bald as a freshly sheared sheep

Age:  Unknown but probably in her thirties

Claim To Fame:  Having the honour of being the first character in an FF game to bite the big one.

Real Claims To Fame:

Fights with his fists like a real man

Shameful Secrets:

– Gets owned by a rock

– Kind of a douche

Gordon:

gordon

Oh He Just Can Wait To Be King

Age Class:  Old enough to have lived but young enough to still be a whiner

Age: Unknown but probably somewhere in his 20’s

Claim To Fame:  Paving the way to characters such as Edward, Vivi and Cait Sith

Real Claims To Fame:

–  Survives FF:II’s tendency to kill it’s supporting cast off

Shameful Secret:

– Almost useless in combat in a game that is based on customization

– The original emo kid

–  Lower HP then anyone else in the game

Leila: 

amano_layla

Pirate Chick

Age Class:  MILF

Age: Unknown but probably in her late 30’s or early 20’s

Claim To Fame:  Why you never trust a pirate

Real Claims To Fame:

– Survives FF:II’s tendency to kill it’s supporting cast off

Provider of free transportation

Shameful Secrets:

– Traitor

Ricard Highwind:

amano_ricard

Last of The Dragoons

Age Class:  Physical Prime

Age: Unkown but probably early 40’s

Claim To Fame:  Swallowed by a whale, just like Pinnochio

Real Claims To Fame:

– Stood his ground against the Emperor like a true hero and died honourably

– Being a Dragoon, the coolest class in Final Fantasy

Shameful Secrets:

– Gets offed by Mateus without even getting a chance to fight back

Conclusion:  Wow, so the characters that accomplish the most in the game are a ragtag band of orphans who go from getting their ass kicked by a mid-level encounter at the beginning of the game to becoming allies of justice and striking down the devil himself in a fight to the death.  Not only that, but any character that is old enough to have a wrinkle in this game gets offed and the two that don’t are old enough to be adults but a traitor and coward respectably.  Are there some youth impowerment themes in the Final Fantasy series proper or is this game just a fluke?  Not going to jump the gun yet, but next time is Final Fantasy IV and odds point to me having a field day with that one’s characters. 

Child Prodigy Syndrome Score: Nine And A Half Out of Ten

2 Responses to “Final Fantasy: Home Of The Prodigy? (Part 1 – Final Fantasy II)”


  1. 1 Zack February 1, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    A lot of people seemed hyped about FFXII, heh. Most of the people I talk to though say they’re going to get Versus and have nothing to do with XII though which… confuses me a little. I’m personally looking forward to it, even if other games have my interest more right now. (I’m looking at you, Star Ocean: The Last Hope.)

    Reading this makes me want to play FFII again after so long. Also the fact that characters actually die in II (IV annoyed me in this regard with the characters) is a reason I want to play it again.

    And y’know, I never realized until you brought it up that the characters who get offed are actually older than the main characters. Never clicked in until I read this.

    Looking forward to your post on IV. It’s one of my favorites up there with VII.

  2. 2 Xema September 13, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Square Enix kind of gave themselves a second chance on this one… in the remake for the Gameboy Advance there is a whole second story using the dead characters in which you are told that the Emperor actually fights from hell and heaven. Then, you kill him again.

    But it does feel added on at the last second😄

    Bravo.


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