The logo for the game. At first, it's simply very pretty. And then you see the ending and look back at the logo - it's Ragnarok and Cocoon.
So, what, did we really just find shop passes on enemies and become able to purchase things on a whim, let alone find save points in absurd out-of-the-way areas to do that shopping? Take a look at the scrolling text for those shops you find in Chapter 12. Dysley's been plopping save points and covering your digital tracks from the start.
At the beginning of the game, we find that Snow, Lightning, Sazh and Hope have two ATB bars each, gaining a third when they become l'Cie. Vanille comes with three ATB bars, foreshadowing the fact that she is already a l'Cie from Pulse. This is what we call Interface Spoiler.
Look closely when everyone reveals their brands at the beginning, and you'll see that Vanille already has an arrow. You don't think anything of it at the time, but knowing that the arrows are a timeline for brand progression, it reveals that Vanille got her brand well before the others.
To win an Eidolon battle, you need to fill the ATB gauge before the Doom counter hits zero, and certain actions will make it fill more quickly than other actions. Basically, the character has to show his or her Eidolon their worth. Snow's Eidolon boss battle involves fighting the Shiva sisters. The older sister, Nix, will constantly attack Snow, while the younger, Stiria, will heal him as needed. The datalog reveals that the Shiva Sisters "yield to those who defend against attacks." In other words, Snow's Eidolon is the Farron sisters, and the best way to impress them is to shut up and take it. Similarly:
Odin is a giant lightning sword user, AKA the monster Lightning has become. To win she has to protect and heal Hope, IE. take care of him which she was conflicted with.
Brynhildr is a blaze of fire, in other words, Sazh's rage. This rage will kill both Vanille and himself if he doesn't conquer it first. Buffing Vanille, who he feels like killing instead, helps him do that.
Alexander is a fortress, like the one the group just escaped. Hope feels like he's holding them back. By healing and buffing his allies, he learns that he isn't.
When Bahamut comes, Fang thinks she's alone in the group and despairs of protecting Vanille. She cannot defeat Bahamut on her own, just like she can't save Vanille alone but by working as a team she can succeed.
Hecatoncheir is a many-armed aggresive creature. As Vanille herself admits in an optional cutscene, she's told so many lies it's all a blur. Each of his extra arms is a representation of her many lies, and his aggressive battling represents Vanille's fight to run away from her Focus. In order to win, she has to face what's she's done head-on, alongside Fang, the one she's been lying to all this time.
Vanille looks ridiculously calm for someone who's going to be sent to Pulse, which the people of Cocoon think is Hell on Earth. In fact, she spends a good portion of the beginning of the game smiling. It's not just because she thinks she'll get to go back to Pulse; it's because if she's not on Cocoon, she won't be able to destroy it, which is what she knew her Focus was. The fact that she'll turn Cie'th is insignificant, because she was willing to do so by keeping silent anyway.
When Fang and Vanille become Ragnarok, they both take on the respective appearance of their Eidolons when they merge. This might mean that humans have the potential to become Eidolons for fal'Cie if they will it. Relatedly, Ragnarok appears to be a mix of Hecatoncheir and Bahamut, being a dragon-like being with lots of arms.
Perhaps this doesn't count, but on first listening to the theme song, My Hands by Leona Lewis, it might not seem to be very fitting for this game. It doesn't really relate to Lightning, and would at best be a theme for Serah and Snow's romance, not a full blown theme song. In retrospect, it might actually be related to Fang and Vanille. Considering the amount of Les Yay between them and Fang's Always Save the Girl mentality, it seems fitting that a song about not letting go of someone would be related to her. Additionally, the ending ends with Fang and Vanille holding hands in their crystal form.
It does work for Lightning... and her relationship with Serah. After reading the novella Episode Zero and finding out about how Lightning had to become the Parental Substitute for Serah, this song works to voice Lightning's true feelings on not wanting to let Serah go and give her to Snow. In Episode 1, the epilogue, when Lighting realizes that she knows she's the only one of the remaining party to go out and find a way to save Fang and Vanille, she finally allows herself to leave Serah in Snow's care, but is heartbroken that she has to go off and leave so soon, especially since they are reunited after all the trouble. The song can also explain the emotional turmoil Lightning may have gone through when her parents die. At 14 she had to learn the responsibilities of an adult and raise a little sister all on her own, so one can imagine that in the first year of being an orphan her thoughts would reflect the theme of the song...
The song works for the fal'Cie too, except a bit darker: the events of the game occur because they want to call back the Maker, feeling abandoned after they were created and given their tasks, even if it means killing the people they were tasked to serve and protect. The Parental Abandonment theme in the fal'Cie resembles Lightning's transition from a normal child to an adult before hitting the peak of her teenage years. The song talks of trying to move on and let go, but no matter how much a person tries the pain of being alone will always get to them, and with this in mind the fate of the fal'Cie can get a bit tragic.
It also speaks to the very ambiguous future of a world without the protection and stability the fal'Cie provided. The narrator of the song is learning how to live without the co-dependent relationship that had previously defined life. While this is generally a good thing, the memory of that need and the comfort it provided is still strong. While it is good that the party stopped the fal'Cie from committing genocide, it's not certain that humanity will be any better off in the wilds of Pulse without their protectors standing by. Finding meaning for your life on your own is much more difficult and painful than having it handed to you.
Ever wonder about the mechanical appearance of all the fal'Cie? Considering that they were created by the gods with only one task in mind per fal'Cie, wouldn't make them robots? Sure, robots that don't follow the three laws, but robots nonetheless.
Lightning comments that because she's a fal'Cie's pet, she was unable to live without her masters' leash. When the Cocoon citizens first become l'Cie, who is the first among them to find a path and a meaning to their lives? Snow. Which makes perfect sense, when you consider that NORA in Japanese is short for the word for 'stray animal'. In other words, Snow already knows how to live without a master.
All of the l'Cie have the capability to break their fates and save the world because they are all imperfect humans living in an utopia: Lightning and Snow have no parents, and frequently go above the law to protect people. Sazh's wife died, making his life directionless save for protecting his son. Hope has trouble with his parents, causing him to hang out in forbidden areas. Fang and Vanille are agents who went against their mission to save the world in a different way. Even Serah and Dajh are rebellious in a sense, in that ignoring their closest related authority figures inadvertently grants them l'Cie power.
One of the better aspects about the game's plot is that the villain, for all his rhetoric, didn't fall into the trap of underestimating humans. That always leads to the downfall of the Big Bad in other works of fiction. As shown by the Patrick Stewart Speech praising humanity in the last boss fight, the Fal'Cie actually believe that humans are far stronger than they are because of free will. And that is why they get almost everything they want in the end, in particular their own deaths: they are smart enough to bet on human willpower instead of against it!
FF 13 was designed in a very linear and non-exploration oriented manner, to make the player feel exhausted and isolated just like the L'Cie. The moment the game stops being so linear and more like a sandbox is the moment the team is finally out of the government's reach. Take Your Time is also justified, since the Big Bad needs them to get stronger and is content to wait for them.
Why, after Lightning has effectively seen her sister die and is in pretty obvious grief, does Odin refrain from showing up until she's with Hope? One: Lightning left Serah instead of trying to dig her out so she wouldn't have to think about it anymore, which is a form of denial. Looking after Hope reminded her of Serah's "death", which was incredibly frustrating. But as long as she had someone else to foist him off onto (the other group members), or a target for her anger (Snow), she was able to function. Then she split from the group and Hope tagged along. As deep into despair as Lightning was, she was still morally opposed to hitting children yet could not trust herself to keep control, so she kept her distance. When Hope persisted despite her repeated verbal lashings, she couldn't handle it anymore. Thus, Odin.
It seems a lot of people miss this about Snow, chalking it up to chronic jRPG hero syndrome, but when you examine it after the fact, Snow is a mixture of being extraordinarily delusional and having something to prove. His rebellious, chronic hero attitude may well be because of Lightning's rejection of him and him trying to prove to her that he's absolutely worth Serah's time by being brave and awesome. Mix this with his own likely natural need to be a hero for the sake of having a purpose in his life, and well... As the game progresses, however, Snow's demeanor starts to visibly crack and he slowly starts accepting what he's known all along: he is only a man and believing strongly about something doesn't necessarily make it true... until the game decides to prove him wrong about that too.
With this in mind, one could look at his scene with Lightning on Pulse as her trying to give him some of his confidence back by telling him she believes in him in addition to finding some comfort in his optimism (even if it's partially faked at this point). Moments like that make one wonder what would've happened if Snow met Lightning first under similar circumstances instead of Serah...
That sounds like perfect Fanfic material. Anyone with a good idea should really get cracking!
One of Snow's best combat roles is as a Sentinel - a party member who takes abuse to shield others. A major role Snow shows in the narrative is to take abuse from everyone else until they can work out their problems. Snow's not just a Sentinel in gameplay - he's a psychological one too.
It's also the role Snow is best at. His Hp caps at 30000, higher than everyone elses, he gains all the abilities, and most of his weapons augument the bonus Sentinel ability of "damage mitigation" (The Paladin route reducing the damage he alone takes, and the Umbra route reducing the damage the party takes). Sahz and Fang also fit this role well, but Snow is the best at it, adding further to the brilliance of his just dealing with all the groups problems.
The reason Hope has the least HP of the characters is not only because he's the youngest, but also that he doesn't have the same training or fighting experience as the rest of the group.
Good explanation, but It's probably just coincidence if not protocol as he is the Child Mage which is synonymous with a Squishy Wizard.
That's not a coincidence. That's perfect logic to why a Child Mage WOULD be a Squishy Wizard. He's not experienced in combat like the others, so he can't take a hit like them.
This also explains Vanille, Fang trained hard to become a l'Cie by choice hence why she only has physical roles, it's what she trained for, so of course she'll use her l'Cie powers to augment that, Vanille became a l'Cie by accident so she focused on helping Fang from a distance, and in time became able to better take hits, but she still doesn't have training and always had Fang to protect her, which is why she's still squishy.
Our Chocobo Chick blocking a would-be upskirt of Vanille from Sazh is funny, but then you wonder why. Is it because the chick represents Sazh's conscience? Possibly. But when you go through XIII-2, we read that Dajh named this same chick Chocolina, after the mysterious woman of the same name (who's also implied in-game to be the sexy alter-ego of our chocobo chick). So perhaps it was also because of indignation?
No sense ruling out pure jealousy, either. Veering well away from Squick territory, it might also just be a Barts/Boko kind of relationship, and the chick could just be having a 'Hey! I'm still here!' moment.
Why is the party completely healed after every fight? There's no MP to limit the casters, so the Medics just heal everyone up to full after the fight.
Ever wonder why Sazh is so much weaker than the others, stat-wise? Perhaps it's because he's in his forties, whereas the rest are young adults.
This extends to his weapons as well: Sazh gets far more stat gain out of his weapon that any of the other party members. Why? Because Sazh is using TWO guns, not one, hence the higher gain. And on a side-note, Fang's spear may be bifricated into two at times, but she still uses it primarily as a single spear, so she gets the standard gain.
Shortly before Nora dies, she's thrown forward by an explosion directly behind her. Much later, when Hope tries to kill the hanging Snow, he's also thrown forward by an explosion behind him, with a pose much like hers. Snow instantly dives off and catches Hope, shielding him as they crash. His reaction wasn't just an instinct to protect the boy no matter what: it's also a combination of horror that he was reliving nearly the exact same situation, and resolve that he would not let it happen again.
It's Final Fantasy 'XIII'. All l'Cie have brands that go through '13' stages before they turn into a Cie'th.
Final Fantasy XIII at first left me confused as to why Lightning suddenly acted nicer to Hope. Then it hit me that Lightning was looking out for him all along. She told him to stay away from her before facing Odin, not because she disliked him, rather, She was worried the boy would follow her into an even more dangerous situation. Overcoming her distress and seeing that Hope could defend himself during the fight, she finally allows him to get closer to her, knowing that keeping him close would be better than allowing him to recklessly roam around without proper supervision, like what happened to Serah.
I interpreted that differently. At that point in the game, Lightning has just lost the only person she has a real emotional connection with, and therefore feels unbelievably alone - but she is the poster girl for repressed emotion, so she makes the tactically smart choice of sending Hope (not too useful at that point) away, rather than keeping him around for company like she really wants to do. However, this time she can't ignore her repressed despair because it summons a giant-ass mecha to pull her out of her slump. Odin goes after Hope, not Lightning, and the way to fill the Gestalt is to throw Cure around like confetti. Odin is forcing Lightning to acknowledge that she cares about Hope, because she needs some form of human company. And it works! She realizes that she actually does want him around, and lets him come along.
While on the subject of Final Fantasy XIII, I thought it abandoned the idea of the traditional White Magician Girl/Sexy Tough Girl/Bratty Half-Pint pattern. But if you flip Lightning's and Hope's genders, she becomes a traditional hero, while he feels like a variation on the Staff Chick role; not only does he fit the role gameplay-wise, he is the person the tough, cold hero chooses to protect, who helps defrost the hero. This also explains the massive Hoprai shipping base - he fills the storyline role traditionally filled by the hero's Love Interest, so everyone sees him as such.
Also about Final Fantasy XIII: I found it odd that Vanille, a young girl, had higher physical attack power than either Lightning (a trained soldier) or Snow (a brawler who fights by punching things). I looked at her stats to see if it was her weapon that did the trick, but it wasn't; she just has a higher base attack stat than anyone else, but suddenly turns it into the White Mage in the game proper. Then a revelation came in the game that at first was just a regular plot twist, but it just hit me five minutes ago as to why Vanille's higher attack ability suddenly makes sense: Vanille is already a L'Cie at the start of the game. Since L'Cie have magic to boost their statistics, this made her naturally stronger than everybody else, who at that point were just regular human beings.
It also explains why she sticks to physical attacks instead of her traditional attack style in the beginning; She's a White Mage, but while the civilians are being purged for just living near a Pulse Fal'Cie, they would utterly panic if they found out there was a Pulse L'Cie standing next to them.
Snow in Final Fantasy XIII draws a few references to Cecil from Final Fantasy IV. When Cecil becomes a Paladin, he gains the ability Cover, which protects other party members from damage, and the ability to cast low level White Magic. Snow's best role involves protecting him and his party, though Provoke/Challenge + Steelguard is the closest you can get to Cover in XIII. The weapon that improves this ability is called Paladin. He's also a mediocre Medic, casting low level Medic abilities. Any even more direct connection is the technique the two of them receive their upgrades (Cecil's class change and Snow's Eidolon): to do nothing but defend.
'God machines surrounding the crystals' is more literal than you might think: they're literally God(made) machines surrounding crystals (their primary power source). And soon you'll notice that the 'crystal = power' theme is everywhere, not just in XIII but the trilogy - fal'Cie even gods either crystallize or disintegrate upon death, Eidolons are summoned/contained within crystals, L'Cie crystallize whether they succeed (literal crystal) or fail (crystal-abundant Cie'th), crystals being able to withstand the warping effects of Chaos itself where few things could... and so on.
A meta example, but the placement of Vanille's mark. It's not only more hidden than the others, it's in a place that is considered to be incredibly sensual. It's in a place only someone incredibly close would notice...someone like a lover. It's on her upper thigh. Considering Fang was originally designed to be her romantic partner, it makes sense that no one else would notice it, making it easier to hide until the cast gets closer to her emotionally.
Do you think that the Sanctum soldiers were taking their own families to the Hanging Edge to be purged as well? After all, the two people who were actually branded (Serah and Dajh) were each related to someone associated with the army (Lightning and Sazh respectively).
It was PSICom carrying out the Purge, not the Bodhum Security Regiment. PSICom recruits from all over Cocoon, so there'd be no need to assign any Bodhum natives (who'd have a conflict of interest) to this particular operation. Speaking of the Bodhum Security Regiment, though, it seems like Sanctum expected them to stand by and let their families be purged without protest, which is a horrible enough thought all on its own.
Actually, Psicom, Security Regiment, and Sanctum members and their families were exempt from the purge (the government was trying to avoid armed rebellion). Lightning just volunteered to be purged because they already had Serah in the Vestige.
At the end of the game, all the Cocoon fal'Cie die, including Carbuncle, who provided all the food. And there are no farms on Gran Pulse. It is obvious what would happen after that.
All the armed soldiers would hunt, while everyone else gathers edible vegetation?
This is moot in FFXII-2. People have set up new towns, growing their own food and hunting the rest, getting water from streams and oceans and such.
When the party reaches Oerba, they can encounter and fight smaller and weaker Cie'th in the middle of a plaza. Now, take a minute to think about it: why are there such Cie'th here, and not everywhere else? Well, remember: Oerba was a village, and near the plaza you can find a school. Those little Cie'th? They were children!
Hell, Oerba as a whole. The village considered Anima as their patron and protector, but somebody had to have turned the entire area from a near paradise of nature into a blasted crystal landscape, and it's not a stretch to say that it was probably Anima itself given that it did the same to Lake Bresha. And if it was Anima, well it got dragged up to Cocoon not long after the War of Transgression which means Anima's last act on Gran Pulse? Cursing the whole village into l'Cie, making those Cie'th you're slaughtering your way through the last of Fang and Vanille's friends and family. Which makes the music that plays the entire time you're in Oerba even more chilling.
All Cie'th have a crippling weakness to elemental magic. The characters (and other people) gain the ability to use elemental magic when they become l'Cie, and l'Cie turn into Cie'th when they fail their focus in time. It is made apparent that many consider being a l'Cie a fate worse than death, so when the player spams elemental spells against them in battle, they're rubbing their failure and their weaknesses right in their face. Ouch.