Vivi's name, his whole story is about living your life to the fullest, knowing who and what you are and livng around it, his personal story is about living life to your full potential, it's only fitting that Vivi is actually latin for "Living" or "To Live".
Not sure if I should move it up, but seeing as how it has nothing to do with Necron, I'll keep it down here. One time I was talking to a guy who was critical of the old Final Fantasies and seemed to especially have it in for IX. I remember one of his complaints about the game was the Trance system, specifically the fact that Zidane's was pink when everyone else has a more metallic color. Now, I disagree with the latter statement, (Freya seems purple-ish and Vivi and Quina seemed to fall through a negative filter in photoshop) but I'll pretend it's valid, since he refused to believe me on that statement. Anyway, I turned on my my PSP, noticing that I had left it on the picture of Kuja's EX mode, noticing yet another aversion to his rule, seeing as it was red. Red like Terra... then bam! Zidane's also from Terra, so in theory, he'd trance red, but he's sympathetic with Gaia, so it lightens up to the "Metallic" spectrum he spoke of, thus, a hot pink trance.
I was one of those people who were very confused by the sudden Giant Space Flea from Nowhere final boss of Final Fantasy IX. Sometime later I realized that that guy represents some sort of inherent evil nature of mankind and that the Crystal World was supposed to signify that the final battles take place on some sort of plane above reality (the crystal signifying the origin of the universe or something). That realization put my whole image of the plot in a different perspective and I saw that it was actually a quite brilliantly made story about a war between different people who are, in the end, only humans as well. —Fawriel
When I played it, I saw it as an Homage to Final Fantasy IV's last boss, who turned out to be the physical incarnation of the main villain's hatred; the power of the crystal turned Kuja's despair into what was essentially an Anthropomorphic Personification of despair that sought to unmake the universe. There's lots of Epileptic Trees about what Necron really is; as the game leaves it vague, the player can decide for himself what its significance is. - Ronfar
What's funny is that it took me until much later in life to decide that I thought the last battle was an homage to the Cloud of Darkness from FF III - The embodiement of blind destruction of EVERYTHING theme, and even their boss themes seem similar to me. Now I wonder if maybe it was meant to be a combination of the two bosses. - Jedi 3459
This troper has always wondered why people are so confused by Necron. Perhaps the biggest theme in the game's story is the value and meaning of life. The characters are frequently faced with questions involving the meaning of their lives. Necron's ultimate goal is the destruction of life, claiming it is nothingness which all life desires. Necron is ultimately the antithesis of the game's central message. - Lizard Bite
Heh... and after I thought about Necron's significance (not to mention all the underworld "wailing and gnashing of teeth" going on just before the fight), I kept coming back to the overarching theme of the entire game - that all beings strive to live. Even Kuja wanted more than anything else to have a soul, some true semblance of life. Once Kuja was defeated and dealt his final blow to the party, there was only one thing that Zidane and Co. could do, and that was fight death itself. -Delcan
Hate to throw around another "fundamental theme", but Final Fantasy IX is essentially a massive homage to all of the earlier Final Fantasies. What do the final bosses of Final Fantasies I through VI have in common? They all come from twists minutes before you battle them, they all want to destroy everything, and they're all visually One Winged Angels.
Is the final sequence that hard to understand? First, Kuja declares that he's going to use the power of both worlds' pent-up energy in the Iifa Tree to destroy everything that's ever existed. Then, the party follows him down through the layers of time and creation that have resulted in Gaia, backwards...through their own memories, to the memories of the planet itself, back through its primordial ocean to its seismic planetary formation...then further back before Gaia was formed, into empty space and then straight to the supernatural "Crystal" that apparently created the world.
And Kuja is waiting for them, waiting to destroy that Crystal and thereby tip the balance of the universe towards destruction and wipe out all of existence. And then...he does. And they literally find themselves at the end of the world, in this compressed moment of nothingness, fighting off the primeval force of destruction that has existed and undone the world for as long as the Crystal has existed and fueled it. They win, presumably restoring the Crystal, and the universe is kept in balance between creation and destruction, for now. See? Not that hard at all.
As another point- the void they talk of, it's a nothingness with great power that people with a desire for power seek. They then seek to destroy existence. This may be a property of the void. Official sources say it was Kuja. Necron "Monster created by fear of death A being awoken by the fear, despair, and hatred of Kuja, who discovered, with the fulfillment of his ambition near, that he had little time left to live. It rejects the cycle of life through the crystal and attempts to return every world, including Terra and Gaia, to nothing. The final enemy to confront Zidane’s team." We also know it has something to do with the soul divider, since it exploded after Necron died.
I have always thought Necron was someone Kuja was trying to summon, but since Kuja was not alive anymore when the summon was complete, Necron simply did what was natural to him. - dbz77
The game's status as a grand homage of the series so far may also explain why Necron has a similar name and design to one of the last bosses in Final Fantasy V, Necrophobe.
On an unrelated note, same game, I just realized, what's the first thing you do in the original Final Fantasy? Rescue Princess Sarah. And what's the first thing you do in Final Fantasy IX? Kidnap Princess Garnet whose real name is 'Sarah'. - Mr Death
Considering Brahne is corrupted by Kuja, it's actually a rescue. So yes, you start the game rescuing Princess Sarah.
The Burmecian doors—you know, the ones with the keys-that-are-bells. I always thought that they were silly, pointless, and utterly nonsensical (aesthetically-pleasingly silly, yes, but still). Then it occurred to me: When seeking entrance at certain doors, what do we do in Real Life? Why—we ring the doorbell. - Teg
Another level of brilliance evident when you think about it: Cleyra was formed by pacifist Burmecians. To both of them, music is an important part of their society. What better key, then, then something musical? - themagicdance
'Trance' may seem like an odd name for what's basically a Super Mode, but what's one way to call it when it happens? Trance form. Trance-form. Transform. Geddit? - AaronHong
Speaking of Trance, the ultimate attacks Zidane uses in his Trance form are called "Solution 9" and "Grand Lethal", and both of them basically just unleash massive, brutal amounts of pure energy on his foes, incurring phenomenal damage. Doesn't make much sense for a playful, friendly thief character, does it? The latent Angel of Death, originally destined to wipe out all life on Gaia, on the other hand...
Gets twice as creepy when you think about the implications of those names. Especially Solution 9, which sounds like some kind of genocidal strategy...and probably originally was.
Which would be confusing because it only targets single enemies...
Maybe that was the case. Maybe Garland was preparing for a scenario in which Kuja betrayed him and Zidane sided with his plan. Thus, if Zidane used Solution 9 on Kuja...
Speaking of Dyne skills and their names, the last one actually makes perfect sense. In movies and plays, how do we call the final, most epic scene? Grand Finale. What is the name of Zidane's final, most powerful ability? Grand Lethal. Now say these names aloud, one after other. Aren't they pretty similar?
It seems a little bizarre when the guy playing the character of "Marcus" in I Want To Be Your Canary turns out to be actually named Marcus. Until you stop and think - what does Baku love? The theater. What does Baku do? Adopt kids off the street for his troupe/gang. And who probably got to name those kids...?
It seems right up his alley to later cast the kids in their "own" roles. Guy's got a bizarre sense of humor. (Yessir, there's nothing like naming your gawky ward "Romeo" and then casting him in a production of the classic romance...)
Having Marcus, the resident Tattooed Crook and pirate-themed individual as the romantic male lead in 'I Want to Be Your Canary' seems like a case of WTH, Casting Agency? at first - until you factor in Zidane's constant mentions of "improvising" at the time. Which would be a far more relevant skill in their mercenary jobs, under its better known name of Xanatos Speed Chess. Speaking of which, once you figure out the Tantalus member roles you get Baku=Drew Carey (bespectacled Big Guys), Blank=Wayne Brady (Ensemble Darkhorse), Zidane=Chip Esten (Mr. Fanservice), Marcus=Ryan Stiles (Large Ham), Cinna=Colin Mochrie (Butt Monkey), even Benero and Zenero=Brad Sherwood (heavy-lifters and The Big Guy) and Ruby=Greg Proops (resident perfectionist).
Having Freya wearing what looks a godawful lot like a raincoat when you realize Burmecia is known in-universe as 'the Realm of Eternal Rain'. Doesn't explain Fratley's lederhosen though...
Amarant has a number of abilities which make sense for somebody fighting in a group, but not for him. This is because his character arc is about learning to be a team player!
It seems almost contrived that any plot-centric action in Lindblum tends to take place in the Theater district...
The Pluto Knights being derided as a joke in-universe, if you compare it to Pluto being reclassified as a dwarf planet in our universe.
Except that that didn't happen until well after Final Fantasy IX was released.
The debate around Pluto started up in the early 1990s, when objects beyond Neptune that rivaled Pluto in size began to be found. By the late 90s, there was definitely talk of "demoting" Pluto to a minor planet, but the idea was controversial, and it wasn't until the discovery of Eris that the IAU was forced to define what a planet was and why Pluto(and Eris) weren't planets. So the "Pluto shouldn't be a planet" talk had already started. Additionally, the fact that Pluto was so much smaller than the other planets might still play into the idea that, compared to the Alexandrian knights, they're laughably small and have so little power that no one gives them any respect.
There also are nine Knights of Pluto in the game. Arc Number status aside, at the time Pluto was considered the ninth planet.
Getting the Gold Chocobo to fly involves launching it from any forest. Why, you ask? Well, a little-known trait of freerange chickens involves leaping from branch to branch in order to climb trees and reach normally impossible heights for chickens - maybe Choco needs the treetops for a convenient launchpad.
It also serves, once again, as a Mythology Gag to the pre-FFVII Black Chocobos, which could fly but only land in forests.
Early in the game Steiner points out that the Mist causes irregularities in the body and mind. Later we meet the warrior like Burmecians who live in a valley surrounded by Mist. The Cleyrans on the other hand, who are their pacifistic cousins, live in a tree with little or no Mist in the area.
Mist and rain. Rainfall goes through the Mist and enters their water supply like acid rain... in a different sense of the word.
Not to mention the fact that according to some statue writings, prior to the events of the game there were no less than 15 wars between Lindblum and Alexandria.
Once you learn the truth about Eiko's friend Mog, it begins to make sense why Eiko is the only human that can understand her; she says earlier that Summoners can speak to Eidolons through their horns.
Fridge Brilliance here - why do South Gate and North Gate exist when you're piloting an airship, why not just fly over the mountains instead of through the gates? Because the airships run on Mist and are known to not be able to fly on other continents without Mist. Flying too high would invite the same problem, which is why the gates exist.
Another Fridge Brilliance coming up. Noticed how Garnet's Summon Magic at the game's start have extremely high MP costs but once she loses her abilities and starts to relearn them one by one, the MP cost afterwards is a lot lower? Garnet stated in the beginning of the game that she is terrified of her powers and is too scared to use them (explaining her high MP cost). Once Garnet accepts her responsibilities with her summoning powers and wants to use them to help out, her boost in confidence lets her use her powers freely and explains why the MP cost was reduced!
You can get her to use summons before she gets them extracted. If you do so naturally, through consistent levelling, it'll probably be around Treno on the second Disk. Perhaps Garnet's confidence was growing just enough to enable her to at that point?
She can really only start relearning her summon spells after she suffers her Heroic B.S.O.D.. At this point in the game, most players will teach her all the summons she can learn at that point. Re-establishing a bond with her eidolons probably helps her cope with her pain. Notice that she cuts her hair and fully rejoins the party after Zidane gives her the garnet that contains the spirit of Bahamut, one of her most powerful eidolons.
Similarly, the Trance powers in the game is based on the character's emotions. Damage taken over time builds the emotional state of the character to fight harder and survive, breaking their limit and emotionally heavy events can push characters into an instant Trance. When Garnet goes mute after seeing her mother die and Alexandria get destroyed by Garland, she is filled with so much sorrow that not only she can't concentrate in battle, but her negative emotions prevent her from using her Trance abilities, which explains why she loses her Trance gauge.
The name of the theme that plays over the opening title screen is called "The Place I'll Return To Someday." Where does the tune to this theme show up again? It's the background theme for Terra, where Zidane was born. It's the birthplace he's been looking for, and so it is the "Place He'll Return To Someday"
Sorry, I know this is natter, but THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'd been going crazy trying to figure out why Terra's theme sounded familiar for the past 4 years! You have no idea how many times, and how ridiculously intently I've listened to the various themes for Kuja and Zidane, trying to find an overlooked leitmotif or something! I can't believe it never occurred to me to check the title theme.
It's also worth noting that the same melody appears in the music for Oeilvert, which was originally a Terran structure that wound up as part of Gaia during the failed assimilation. Here, you find the chamber that was built to record and house Terran history. The melody also presents itself in the music for Ipsen's Castle, which was originally yet another Terran structure pulled into Gaia. It doesn't hold as much plot-related significance in regards to the two worlds, though.
Small one, but in Disc 2, when the party confronts Kuja at the Iifa Tree, Zidane demands an answer from Kuja, and Kuja replies with "First, you don't want to listen, now you start asking questions? Oh, brother..." Seems like an exclamation of exasperation, but when you find out the connection between Kuja and Zidane, it takes on a whole new light.
It would seem OOC for Brahne to be emotional at the end of the play when the Princess dies. And then you learn that before taking Sarah in, her real daughter passed away. The only reason she was willing to kill Garnet because she was just a Replacement Goldfish.
Add another one to long list of Call Backs in this game: Your first full party in game is created by Zidane, Vivi, Garnet and Steiner. Comparing them to typical FF classes, we get Thief, Black Mage, White Mage and Fighter - your default party in the original Final Fantasy!
I hope I'm not the only one who notices this Fridge Brilliance. At the very beginning of the game, you control Zidane and Vivi while their name is still unrevealed. At the time, you can open the menu and their name is written as "??????????". As far as I can remember, no other protagonists beside them experience this thing. This is likely foreshadowing their true nature: they are artificial being (Gnome and Black Mage, respectively) and they are lack of their own identity.
Even better (or worse), you only control Zidane very briefly, for about one or two minutes before other character prompt him to say his name. But for Vivi? You control him around Alexandria for some couple of minutes or so, much longer than when you controlled Zidane, and nobody bother to ask his name. Not the officer in Ticket Booth (whom Vivi gave his ticket to) nor even the Alleyway Jack who taught him the card game (although in his place, the guy may not bother to ask because he doesn't even tell Vivi his real name, since Alleyway Jack is only his nickname). This may also foreshadows Vivi's eventual fate in the ending, which heavily implies he expired a.k.a. die. Vivi is also friendless before the beginning of the game (he even stated that Puck is his very first friend although when in Treno, he seems to get along well with a guy, assumed to be his foster grandfather's associate). So had he never join Zidane's party, he will remain friendless until the end, and when he expired, nobody will ever know there was once a kid named Vivi.
Likewise, for Zidane when he is implied to die in Iifa Tree at the end, before the ending completely averts this.
Beatrix is listed under Bond Villain Stupidity on the main page for leaving your party alive after each fight. However notice that each time we see her pre-Heel–Face Turn, she never actually kills. Even the Burmecian soldiers that approach her just before the first fight - all she does is order them out of her sight. She could also have killed the priest in Cleyra but she just left with the jewel. It seems that while Beatrix is a fearsome knight in battle, she won't kill unless she has to. During the invasions, it's the only Black Mages who do the killing - and they are commanded by Brahne, not Beatrix. The dialogue after Cleyra is destroyed implies that Beatrix disapproves of this; in fact what she says implies that she was just under the impression that they'd hold Cleyra up temporarily to steal the jewel - and then leave the people alive. So it's a rather subtle Rewatch Bonus that drops hints to Beatrix's true nature. Even then in the ending she is clearly suffering a My God, What Have I Done? moment - especially since she helped in the destruction of two nations.
Another one regarding the love story. Zidane and Garnet hit it off almost straight away - because Garnet clearly finds Zidane exciting, since he's travelled so far. You can even see Garnet doing a little flirting on the first Disk. However around the Dali part of the game (where he grabs her ass) and then further on in Lindblum, she cops on to his skirt-chasing nature and figures that she's just another girl he wants to charm. Zidane actually does fancy her early on and is probably turned on by the fact that she doesn't respond to his flirting - thinking she's playing hard to get or something. However when he gets a taste of his own medicine from Eiko's annoying flirting ("Is this what I've been putting Dagger through?"), he doesn't flirt as much. But then there are numerous little moments on the latter part of Disk 2 where Zidane shows genuine concern for Garnet. It's probably around the time Amarant comes into the party that Garnet has realised how much Zidane truly does care for her. Any Slap-Slap-Kiss or Well, Excuse Me, Princess! element in their relationship is abandoned in Disk 3 and the two instead act as the other's emotional support.
There's also the possibility that Garnet rebuffed Zidane's advances because a) she thought he was just a womaniser and b) she's the princess, so any attraction he has to her will never amount to anything. But around the same time Zidane starts to show genuine affection for her, she discovers she is in fact not the real princess. And clearly some time on Disk 3, she probably goes "Well, I am the Queen. I can marry whoever I want".
He wears clothes that hide the tail. His....skirt/cape thing keeps the tail hidden. When he's in Trance, the thing is flared which exposes the tail.
At the begining of the game, the Tantalus say they are kdnapping Garnet to get a hefty ransom. Uhh.... Didn't Cid contract you to get her?
Cid is paying the ransom to have her kidnapped. A ransom is just a price paid for a hostage. It wasn't uncommon to capture nobles to ransom back to their country after a battle, for example. The context in the game means it would probably be called a "bounty" in real life, but ransom is still a correct word for it.
Knowing Baku, he didn't agree to kidnap the princess out of the goodness of his heart. Cid must have agreed to pay him something. Also perhaps he was hoping the Queen would pay a ransom to get her back and he would get even more money?
Consider the diplomatic stink that would happen if Cid openly took Garnet away from Brahne; the whole "kidnapping and ransom" thing is just a cover for what is really a rescue.
Fridge Horror time: You know how the Mist is a product of souls of the dead? Well after Terra blew up, guess why Gaia is covered in nothing but mist?
Congratulations! By defeating Soulcage, you stopped the flow of the Mist from the Iifa Tree. But wait. Aren't the Mist Continents' airships only able to fly where there's Mist? ...Oh.
The mist only disappeared gradually. It didn't just poof out of existence. The ships' crews probably noticed the Mist disappearing and were at least able to land somewhere safe. And most of them seem to be able to double as boats too.
Fridge Horror: Upon first viewing the ending, many players do not realize that Vivi is the only character who could be delivering the final monologue, and is heavily implied to have expired some time after the final battle. Needless to say, it's quite a punch in the gut.
A small one at the Black Mage Village. The scene in itself is kind of tearjerking, but it gets even worse if you've played before. Black Mage No. 288 is explaining how the Black Mages became self-aware, and he asks Zidane, "do you remember being born?" Zidane replies he doesn't. Seems like a really obvious answer, right? Well it's worse than that. Of course he doesn't remember - he's forgotten everything about his Angel-of-Death past on Terra. Considering what Zidane was born for, and what happens when he does remember, that's probably a good thing.
Did you rescue all those defenseless women and children during the invasion of Cleyra? Awesome! You just caused them to barricade themselves in what soon became ground zero to the fantasy equivalent of a nuclear missile strike.
Well you do run into some Cleyrans later in the game at Lindblum and Dagguerro. So presumably some of them survived. They did seem to know some magic, so maybe they could have protected themselves somehow. Alternately while you were fighting Beatrix, they snuck out and fled down the tree. Quina was able to survive so perhaps some Cleyrans did too.
Imagine if you walked in on the scene where Garnet cuts her hair but couldn't hear what was going on for context. The princess goes missing in the middle of an important meeting and no one except Zidane can find her. The two of them are talking and then suddenly she takes a knife and puts it to her neck. This girl has been put through such a Trauma Conga Line from losing her family, friends, and country, that it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think that she was Driven to Suicide at that moment. Thank god she was only giving herself an Important Haircut, instead.
This seems to be the case in-universe too. In the FMV, Zidane is seen running after her looking very panicked. He clearly thought she was planning to kill herself too, especially with the ambiguous line "Remember me the way I was".