auronlu: (Default)
I was just reading Liv's Let's Play Final Fantasy VIII, which has some spot-on comments about (a) every character's failure to grow up and (b) the game's reticence to show them growing up and reacting to what's happening.

These are two different problems. Both of which are common in video games, particularly Final Fantasy.

I think the early games were aimed at a younger audience -- yes? -- then, around FVII or so, the games started to be aimed at late teenagers, and the characters were their age or just a bit older. In FVIII, I feel, the game was aimed at players who were the same age as the characters.

So here we have a fictional fantasy depiction of teenagers being child soldiers. It's less idealized than many "teen heroes save the world" stories, in that these characters often act like teenagers, self-centered and mixed up in their feelings and coming up with boneheaded, idealistic, and impractical plans (see: Rinoa, would-be freedom fighter and trust fund baby). In Squall's case he's got a serious case of "I don't care" nihilism which is a common stance at that age. (And we know some of the reasons for this, but Liv doesn't, because she hasn't played that far, and anyway, I'm not sure if it's sufficiently justified.)

We've also got the adults who put them in this situation, and that's a whole other fascinating issue.

The game doesn't fully deal with either of these issues: the immaturities of child soldiers and young people in a military organization, and the grown-ups who exploit them. But it raises those issues, which is fairly unusual for a "teenage heroes saves the world" story.

FFVIII tells that story not through social commentary but via the teenaged POV of the characters, for the gratification of teenaged players who may not be interested in much gray area. For them, Squall is COOL because he's nihilist, and Selphie is the fun party girl, Irvine is a hot bishie guy, and Rinoa is a self-insert for every pampered child like me who latched onto idealism to rebel against our parents...and so on. (Or am I oversimplifying and underestimating a teenager's POV?) I view these characters from the outside as common teenaged roles, but the game is showing them from the inside to people who are likely to be surrounded by and participating in one or more of those roles in their daily lives.

Contrast that with FFXII, which seems to be aimed at college student aged players, and which ditches teen romance for political intrigue, power struggles, and artsy riffs about history and agency and fate.

annnnnd I just got a phonecall which totally broke my concentration on where I was going with this, so I'll just leave this out here.
auronlu: (ronin)
We've got a lot of vaguely European armor, weapons and fighting styles in Final Fantasy and other JPRGs, but there's also ubiquitous Ninjas, Samurai, and fighting monks who exhibit fantasy variations of eastern hand to hand styles.

I was just puttering my way through Suikoden V again -- SOOOO much easier on a back-compatible PS3 where the load times are speeded up -- and I noticed that one Elf character starts to lift his bow in a Japanese archery style -- but then, no, he drops his hands and draws European style. Fran and everyone in FFXII have western stances as well. Of course, most of them are using shorter bows -- Penelo's is much too short for Zen archery, and the Elf characters in Suikoden have short bows as well. So I suppose that what I think of as a Western draw is really a shortbow draw.

Anyway, just once l'd love to see a kyudo (Zen) archer in a game. I've seen them practicing at my local range a few times, and it's absolutely mesmerizing. This video captures it.

I could've envisioned Fran and her sisters using a variation of it, since they are such meditative warriors who prize stillness and silence (when they aren't being driven into a killing frenzy by the Mist.)

Then again, Kyudo archery is usually reserved for religious ceremonies and Zen meditation, and is normally done so slowly -- maybe it would seem jarring to depict it in a battle or competitive setting?
auronlu: (Bad Balthier)
How on earth had I missed [personal profile] twigcollins ' writing before now?

I've been reading a Fran & Balthier backstory fic and hooting. I don't normally laugh aloud while reading.

The fic is called "A Kind of Integrity".

“Nothing ever really goes right when I’m in lace stockings,” Balthier murmurs thoughtfully.

Except it totally does. Oh, Balthier.

ETA: "all the grandeur of some young, disheveled god of poorly thought out ideas." 

ETA the umpteenth: READ THIS STORY. It starts out as a slapstick comedy and turns into an edge-of-your-seat heartwrenching adventure with some real meat to it. One of those "more canon than canon" fics that fleshes out the world and gives the characters their due.
auronlu: (Bobblehead Night)
No, really.

My Mom spoke briefly with Vayne Solidor yesterday.

Apparently he's currently doing a bang-up job as Richard the III and Oberon.

She did not, however, call him out for the murder of King Raminas. I am disappointed.

Whoever wrote the program for the Utah Shakespeare Festival has trouble with Roman numerals. It said he voiced Vayne Solidor in Final Fantasy VII. Which strikes me as some sort of fanfiction prompt, come to think of it.
auronlu: (Default)
Reading Ellnyx's A Sense of Commitment, I finally realized something about Reddas which had until now escaped me. Probably all of you had already thought of this, but...
Spoilers up to the Pharos in FFXiI )
auronlu: (Bad Balthier)
I think the vidder picked the song for the sound of it, without entirely considering its disturbing message-- one I don't think Fran and Balthier would endorse. Nonetheless, while I find the lyrics a little distracting, I love this video for capturing what I most liked in FFXII: Byzantine politics, acknowledgement that Ashe's "crusade" is problematic, and most of all the "formidable partners" relationship between Balthier and Fran. The choice of what scene to juxtapose with "No one knows men like Fran does" makes me grin.

Spoiler warning.

auronlu: (Blah)
I think the localization team for XII deserves some sort of literary award--oh my GODS the language, the language in that game.

I'm wondering what they were working from, that they churned out lines like, "And so I sue for peace to stop short war and ease their suffering," or "Yet at a trice he goes bounding off for you!" for one of the bounty hunter thugs. Best of all, "Spare us your quiddities." 

Also, the Occuria. Generic godlike annoying beings are such a trope, but epic amounts of iambic tetrameter in a video game? Whoa.

spoilers )

And so on, and so forth. It's the gift that just keeps giving. Like Maechen, the exposition on a platter would've been insufferable, if they hadn't been spewing out these gloriously overdone lines.

Then there's Ondore's Revisionist History serving as the narrative bridge. Ondore and his "I was but a humble servant of Peace" memoirs, ha. The capital letters make it especially fun. His language style -- I haven't bothered to identify it (18th century?), and maybe it never existed in our world, but it's very effective.

So, here's the question. Was there any of this antiquarianism in the Japanese? Archaic speaking styles, poetic forms? Or did the English translation team just have a couple of frustrated literature majors running amok? 
auronlu: (Shiva)
These were posted for various comms and challenges semi-recently, and I didn't get around to X-posting 'em here.

1. "Just Friends" -- FFXII, Balthier/Fran (sorta), T, double drabble on [ profile] ff_fortnightly . Prompt: "Friendship"
2. "Futility" - FFX, Auron/Lulu, PG, 100-word drabble on [ profile] pyre_flies . Prompt: "Anything/Nothing"
3. "Under Her Wing" -- FFX, Lulu/Rikku (kinda), PG, 400-word flashfic on [ profile] ff_yuri_drabble . Prompt: "Precious"

4. Full headers since the OP doesn't have 'em:

Title: "Never Do This
Fandom: FFX
Characters: Lulu, Ginnem, Shiva
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1250
Prompt: "Lulu/Shiva: Inferno" from [ profile] muggy_mountain on [ profile] ff_kissbattle .


auronlu: (behindyou)
Title: Kindling
Fandom: FFXII
Characters: Fran, Penelo
Rating: G
Words: 300
For: [ profile] owlmoose
A/N: I respect the pure drabble-form, but lately my 100-word drabbles have been too much plot in small space. So, flashfic.

Read more... )
auronlu: (franservice)
I started to reply to this nice little Fran/Balthier drabble by [ profile] heaven_monument.

Then I got the urge to make an FFXII icon, since I didn't have one.

Then I was going to change the userpic on my last LJ post to the new icon.

Then I noticed something when I viewed the entry on its own page, in conjunction with my LJ's header:


It even gave us a prompt: "Sin". See?

Now I want someone to write it.

auronlu: (bleeds)
I noticed something this evening when replaying FFXII.

During the following scene... mental Voice Recognition Software suddenly went PING.

Play the above video starting at 0:25, then, under the cut, listen to the following video for a BIG surprise:

FFX Cutscene: Major spoilers to ending )

Weird, huh?
I'm not able to contemplate the crossover possibilities.
auronlu: (bleeds)
So I've been continuing my "let's see what my games look like with crisp graphics" explorations. (Fran's clawed feet are my new favorite detail.)

ETA: Oh, [ profile] owlmoose is right. This should've been posted behind a cut. Hope I didn't spoil one of the early dramatic plot twists for anybody.

SO. Basch. Reks. King Graminas. Nalbina Fortress. WTF happened there? The first time we see it happen, we don't entirely know what's going on. Later in the game, we're given clues that help explain the opening sequence, but not entirely.

SPOILERS if you haven't gotten to the dungeon full of metal spiders chewing on power cables... )

auronlu: (Yuri)
[ profile] ff_press doesn't index fics tucked away in comments, so I'm reposting a couple recent drabbles orignally written as replies to the [ profile] ff_yuri_drabble prompt-a-thon thread.

First one is unfortunately rather disturbing. Note that pairings were part of prompts.

Final Fantasy VIII
Title: "Lunar Cry"
Rating: R
Pairing:  Edea/Ultimecia

Prompt: "slavery"
Word Count: 480
Warning: Nonconsent!

It was time... )

Final Fantasy XII
Title:  Arrow's Dance
Pairing:  Fran/Penelo
Rating:  R

Prompt: "sweat"
Word Count:  500

Fran was a tree, rooted in earth and sky... )
auronlu: (Bobblehead Night)
...but I suddenly noticed a visual pun.

Icon (feel free to take with credit):

auronlu: (Bobblehead Night)
Okay, having been busy elsewhere for several months, I seem to have missed all the memes-- including some "It Suck to Be Me" soundtrack from a show I should probably recognize being used by every fanvidder on the planet.

After a quick skim, I've decided I like this version the best...

"It Sucks To Be FFXII"
By: Hikarinyx6590

P.S. Did you notice I had finally posted a new chapter of Love Her and Despair?

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