As I stated two weeks ago, we all know that nature is essential to our existence on this planet, but it can also be one of our worst enemies. Nature generates disasters and diseases. Today, let’s shed a cynical light on the more senseless brother. Human causes of death and despair are omnipresent, and if I bring Final Fantasy X up as an example of natural causes, then Final Fantasy IX comes to mind as an example of the human counterpart.
The bringer of war artwork by FFIX’s artist Amano.
The bringer of war
FF IX was Square’s last installment for the first Playstation console. It centers around two worlds, one of which, Terra, is trying to assimilate with Gaia, which is basically the world of humans. The people of Gaia have to die so the souls of Terra can replace them.
“Kuja is a Genome created by Garland in 1776, 24 years prior to the game’s beginning. Garland’s ultimate plan is to assimilate the planet of Gaia with the planet of Terra by replacing the Gaian souls with Terran ones. To accelerate the process Garland created Kuja and sent him to Gaia to encourage war and destruction so people would die quicker and the souls of Gaia could be replaced faster. Thus, it is Kuja’s nature to cause death.” – The Final Fantasy Wiki on Kuja
The way Sin was the face of natural disaster in FF X, Kuja is the face of war in this FF game. It becomes worse. When Kuja finds out all his power was created to be temporary and he is not meant to be the ultimate war-bringer, he loses it and starts his own agenda. He’s a recipe for disaster as he has no sense of morale or consequence, he’s insanely intelligent and his powers are beyond imagination.
The game is full of despair and destruction. Kuja gets involved with the plans of a blood-thirsty queen to rule each of the kingdoms on the continent. He provides her weapons only he can create, called Black Mages. They are soulless puppets capable of using strong magic. That way he wants to lay his hands on the Eidolons, strong creatures that can be summoned. He wants to wield the most powerful one to destroy Terra, as he believes life should not continue to exist without him. This can be seen as an allegory to war in reality. It poses the question if humanity will ever be able to exist without war.
But there’s hope. The even greater war-bringer Garland created was kidnapped by Kuja and brought to Gaia so he would never rise to the task he was created for. Neither would he ever be a threat to Kuja’s plans. But, he could never have been more wrong. Zidane is the hero of the story. At first, he and his later friends are just trying to survive and find their way in a dangerous world of oaths, thievery, war and magic. They get involved, take a stance and fight a nonsensical enemy whose only goal is to bring destruction and war to an already war-ridden world.
A power beyond our imagination dropped on Hiroshima.
If you think about it, FFIX can be a prequel to both FFX’s story and its theme. Two worlds/cities fight for dominance and they start a weapon run to overcome each other’s threat. In both cases, leaders get themselves in with powers beyond their control and have to face the consequences in the end. Garland creates the bringer of his own demise and in FFX, the city of Zanarkand creates Sin. A power they could not control and that would keep destroying human civilization over and over again. We, as human beings, try to create stronger weapons than our enemies do. But what would happen if we used all our strongest weapons at the same time? A nuclear disaster would follow. We, as human beings tend to push for more comfort, for longer and better lives, forgetting the importance of nature. It tends to backfire and we have to face a growing amount of natural disasters.
In FFIX, the queen, Kuja and Garland are punished and a story of despair turns into one of hope. In FFX, Sin is destroyed and a story about disaster turns into one of possibilities. Final Fantasy created stories around two of the most lethal forces on our planet and stated that as long as people are willing to challenge reigning powers in our warring world, there’s hope.
Any inspirations you came across recently? Which stories covering this theme can you relate to?