This is a very simple question I've had with this game since day one when I came across this in the plot. Where does Ellone get her powers over time itself? She's never referred as a Sorceress throughout the entire game so that can't be it. This power is a central point of the ENTIRE plot and it's never once explained how she got this power, why she has it or where it came from. Something with this much importance to the story needs an explanation.
If you're asking for a canon explanation, then I'm afraid you're out of luck. Her powers are never explained in detail...they just exist. I know that's not what you want to hear, but that's all we have in terms of canon. My personal theory, though (and this is really far-fetched, BTW) is that Ellone was sent to the world of FFVIII through a Gate from Chrono Trigger when she was just a baby. Due to being so young, she absorbed a bit of the time/space energy from the journey. This eventually evolved into the power to allow people she knows to view the past from the perspective of other people she knows. I know it's highly unlikely, but it's the best explanation I've come up with. The Ultimania may say something different.
It doesn't really help much as an explanation, but I do observe that women in the setting in general seem to display unusual magical abilities, even non-Sorceresses. Compare Quistis and Selphie's Limit Breaks to those of the male characters, which are mostly exaggerations of their regular physical combat abilities. Ellone's ability is the most dramatic, especially in that it is not triggered by desperation and is not an extension of training with para-magic, but it's not entirely without precedent.
This may actually be a cultural thing. Japanese culture places less emphasis on "how?" and more on "can it?" There's less of an imperative to explain how something works as opposed to an imperative to show its effects within the setting. Thus, in Japanese fiction, you get things like Ellone's powers: mysterious abilities that get consistent rules but do not have explanations as to where they come from. Japanese writers have more recently been getting better at understanding that Western culture likes explanations as much as consistent effects, and have been trying to fix it, but this tendency is noticeable, especially in older games and works. As to where the abilities came from, it is, as noted above, some apparent property certain women have in the setting to use strange magical abilities.
Apparently, according to character files as of Dissidia, Ellone really is a Sorceress. So, mystery solved.
So wait, does that mean there are three Sorceresses around now, thanks to the Stable Time Loop? Adel (and, by extension, whoever she passed her power to), Ellone and Rinoa? How did Ellone get Sorceress powers when Adel hadn't passed hers along yet?
Nobody ever said there was only ever one Sorceress around at a time.
This. The exact number of Sorceresses is never stated. There could be literally hundreds of them running around, especially if, like Ellone, their powers are weak or not flashy.
Ellone must have received her power from an unknown sorceress when she was very young.
Ellone being a Sorceress does raise a different question: why didn't Ultimecia simply possess her directly? While Edea and Rinoa are obviously the most vulnerable to possession because they inherited Ultimecia's power, Ultimecia not only also possesses Adel, she possesses Rinoa and sends Seifer to capture Lunatic Pandora specifically for the purpose of releasing Adel so that she could then possess her. Laguna's plan for neutralizing Ultimecia involves SeeD killing Adel and Rinoa inheriting her power to remove Adel as an option, ensuring that Ultimecia will possess Rinoa. Adel never inherited any of Ultimecia's power, so if being a Sorceress was what enabled Ultimecia to possess her, and Ellone is a Sorceress, why did Ultimecia have to chase her all around the planet instead of simply possessing her and gaining access to her power that way? (Aside from the fact that it would mean the world would have ended in Time Compression when Squall was four and there'd be no story.)
My guess is that Ultimecia could only possess sorceresses that were in the same direct line of succession that she was, past or future. Then, if Ultimecia's succession loop includes Rinoa (possible, considering the future thing) but not Ellone, that would explain why she never possessed Ellone. Alternately, there's something about Ellone that interferes with the junction machine, or there was a safeguard on the machine preventing it from being used on her, or something along those lines.
The answer is simple: she didn't know where Ellone was. Ultimecia apparently cannot possess someone if she doesn't know where said Sorceress is. There's a reason why they had to capture Ellone in the first place; if Ultimecia could just pop in and take over Ellone, then there's no point in canvassing the entire globe trying to capture her in the first place. Ultimecia knew where Rinoa was when she apparently forced Edea to pass on most of her powers to Rinoa. She knew where Adel was when she was recovered by the Lunatic Pandora. But until Ellone could be recovered, she couldn't use her.
Adding to the explanation above. Ultimecia needed Ellone's powers to send her conciousness further back into the past, because of a limitation on the junction machine, and Ellone's powers didn't work on herself, so she needed to be possessing other sorceress so Ellone could work her magic on her.
Gone To Space BRB
Is it just me, or did the whole "going to space brb" subplot happen awfully fast and with insufficient explanation? On my first playthrough, it was one gigantic "wait, what? whoa!", but I figured I must have just dozed off when they were explaining it. Now, every time I get to that point in the game, I go around and talk to every NPC I can find, hoping that somebody in-game will take the time to explain why we're going on an impromptu space flight all of a sudden. I haven't found it yet. The only reason I understand that part of the story now is from reading other people's plot summaries. Am I crazy? Just what am I missing, here?
The reason should be bloody obvious. Ellone was in space. She went up there with Laguna, who went up there as part of his routine involving checking on Adel personally. Squall could have waited until she got back, but he was massively impatient to see if she could get Rinoa back to normal.
I suppose that should have been obvious, but as far as I can tell, it was never explained in-game. When was Squall told that Ellone was in space, exactly, and by whom?
Squall tells the Esthar personnel that he's looking for Ellone. Odine agrees and gives Squall and Co. permission to go the Lunar Base. No one actually tells him that she's in space, but they do say they're going to take him to see her, and he agrees to go. He - and by extension the player - doesn't know they're going to space until they get to the Lunar Gate. It isn't until they actually arrive in space and Squall goes onto the Base's bridge and chats with the officers in command that he learns why they ended up in space.
Man, it's been so long - I always remembered the logic, just not the order of explanation. I wonder if the Japanese script explained that better or if it was equally vague?
I don't know exactly how it's stated in the Japanese script, but I always sort of took it as an indication of Squall just kind of not being in his right mind at that point. He's fixated on getting Rinoa and Ellone together; he just hiked half the width of an ocean and then some in order to do that. Wherever else he has to go in order to accomplish this goal is really immaterial. He says "I need to see Ellone," they start talking about sending him into space? Fine, Ellone is in space, whatever, we're going. Doesn't exactly explain why no one else in the party asks any questions, but they're sort of used to following Squall's lead by this point in the story... and possibly nobody's really keen on making Squall think they're going to try to get in the way, either.
No matter what, there will be a second that he is on earth, and then another second when he is in space. Squall is just so Bad Ass that he didn't need to think twice on taking the trip. He heard where he needs to go, and said "fuck it, lets do this thing!"
Inconsistent Lunar Cry Effects
Why does the Lunar Cry 100 years ago destroy Centra and create a massive crater, and the one that occurred in Trabia leave a crater, whereas the Lunar Cry that occurred in the game leave no damage at all? Also, if the Lunatic Pandora caused the crater in Trabia (watch Laguna's movie flashback) then how was it not destroyed as thousands upon thousands of monsters crashed down upon it?
To deal with the first question, when the Lunar Cry happened in Centra, it hit the Crystal Pillar while it had no Lunatic Pandora surrounding it, and the Crystal Pillar was buried underground. The Cry focuses on the Pillar, after all. When the Cry hits Esthar the Pillar is inside the Pandora. Note that right as it reaches the Pandora, the Pandora causes the fall of the monsters to break up and fall with less force than they would normally. The energy field around Tear's Point probably also factors into that. Also, if the last Cry happened inside of a century, then there's a good chance that the monster population on the Moon simply hasn't had time to rebuild to numbers large enough to do that much damage. So, the likely cause of the Centra crater was the impact of vast numbers of monsters and vast amounts of magical force on exposed bedrock without either the Pandora or Tear's Point to break up the fall. On the other hand, the monsters falling on Esthar fell with what was likely far fewer numbers and with mitigating forces breaking and dispersing the force behind the impact. And there's no evidence that a Lunar Cry happened at the crater in Trabia.
I believe the Ultimania confirms that the crater in Trabia was the result of a past Lunar Cry, but I am hardly an authority on the subject.
If the Lunar Cry is a natural process, then there could be any number of reasons why one Cry would obliterate half a continent while another would simply leave a crater. Remember that in real life, natural disasters can very wildly in their magnitude. Just look at volcanic eruptions; for every Vesuvius we've got hundreds of less violent eruptions. Or look at earthquakes; for every 8.0+ that rips apart a chunk of the surface, we've got hundreds or thousands of minor tremors. The event that smashed a good part of Centra into tiny bits is likely an outlier resulting from an extremely strong and rare Cry event, whereas the one that pounded Trabia was far smaller. The one that hit Esthar was mitigated by the Lunatic Pandora and Tear's Point.
Another plausible expanation is that the crater is caused by monsters being flung with incredible velocity and impacting on the planet's surface; most of the monsters would be killed on impact in the process. The whole point of using the Lunatic Pandora and Tears' Point is to "catch" the monsters alive and increase the total number of monsters available per Cry event, which if artificially induced could be lower than a natural Cry. Less physical cratering, but allows more efficiency of conveying active monsters to the Planet.
Sidetracked By Triple Triad
Why do the heroes find it appropriate to stop and play cards with people in the middle of important world-saving missions.
You're the one in control, you don't have to stop and play cards. And some of the other card players are bewildered if you engage them in the middle of said missions.
In an attempt to justify this in-universe: Remember, time in video games is compressed out of necessity, no Ultimecia needed. Watching our heroes wait around for three hours for a train to come into the station or a contact to show up wouldn't be at all feasible. It's not unreasonable to think that at least some of those card games could be played in the intervals between plot points that the player isn't made aware of.
The game does penalize you for this. If you play Triple Triad during a mission, you will get demoted, resulting in a pay cut.
Isn't it a little risky for a society to be giving angst-ridden teenagers the ability to summon powerful magical beasts at will?
Regardless of "angst", they're in a military academy. They're being trained to use weapons of war in a setting in which people can set them on fire with magic. You think they don't teach kids in the real world how to use guns in actual military academies?
Isn't it risky for a society to be giving angst-ridden teenagers access to military training and weaponry? Oh, wait. We do that in real life. And part of the whole training to "summon powerful magical beasts at will" thing is extensive military discipline from a young age.
Yes. Because training young people in a controlled environment where they are only permitted to use fire arms under extreme supervision in specifically designated areas is akin to giving them powerful monsters and demons inside of magic lamps with only the warning that they should maybe be a little carefully (and they weren't even told there was a demon in the lamp). Also the 'extensive military discipline' instilled from a young age to the VIII characters doesn't seem to be particularly effective, since most of the characters appear to suffer from either extreme cases of attention deficit disorder or be brooding bastards that end up working with the Big Bad.
I guess that would make sense if anything remotely like what you claim happened in the game. The soldiers are trained in controlled military environments and get punished for misuse of their abilities. They only summon magical beasts when given combat assignments - i.e. "specifically designated areas". And they don't get those assignments if they're shown to be reckless maniacs that would summon Eden on top of small cities. By the way, military discipline does not mean "Strip the soldiers of any and all personality whatsoever." It means training them to be professional when on the job.
Also the 'extensive military discipline' instilled from a young age to the VIII characters doesn't seem to be particularly effective, since most of the characters appear to suffer from either extreme cases of attention deficit disorder or be brooding bastards that end up working with the Big Bad. Which characters showed attention deficit disorder? Selphie is highly energetic and Zell's a bit of an idiot, but anyone who's spent any time around actual soldiers will tell you that there are energetic soldiers and there are idiotic soldiers, many of whom often end up in command positions. See Generation Kill for an excellent example of this. And WRT "brooding bastards who end up working with the Big Bad," there was a grand total of one person who did that, and that happened while he was under mind control.
WRT to the magic lamp, these are characters who regularly deal with the primal forces of nature and summoned demigods. When the commander hands them an explicitly magical lamp and tells them its dangerous, they're not exactly going to go play hockey with the damn thing.
Also, WRT to how effective the discipline is in this setting: please, name me one example of one of these "angsty teens" abusing their power or training. Seifer is the only really bad apple among the SeeD forces, and even he didn't outright abuse his capabilities; he only turned on his comrades when he was mind-controlled by Edea/Ultimecia. For the most part, the SeeDs in the game show a great deal of professional discipline and restraint, which makes sense, as they are soldiers. Squall, the angstiest person in the entire game, is still extremely professional and disciplined.
How about the womanizing sharpshooter who chickens out of a vital assassination mission?
He didn't chicken out, he got psyched out at the idea of murdering his adoptive mother. After Squall calmed him down, he still performed the task - he only "missed" because the Sorceress could stop the bullet.
Actually he "missed" because he delayed the shot so long that the Sorceress had time to turn around and see it coming. There's at least a minute delay between when Quistis and co. trap Edea inside the gate and when Irvine fire's the bullet. If he had done it quickly he might very well have gotten her.
And "womanizing" is thoroughly irrelevant to whether or not he's a competent soldier, and for the rest of the game Irvine is a completely reliable and supportive party member.
Not to mention Irvine isn't a SeeD anyway. He's a Galbadia academy student, but not a SeeD. Don't believe me? Play again and check.
Which leads me to wonder why he of all people was chosen. He himself says that he "always chokes".
Because he's lying about choking. He was chosen because he really is a sharp shooter; he says he "always chokes" as an alternative to saying "See, I'm choking on this mission because that witch out there is my adopted Mom, and, oh, guess what, yours as well".
The assassination operation was ordered by NORG and Martine, not Cid. NORG and Martine apparently didn't know about Irvine's connection to the Kramers. They would have no way of knowing Irvine would choke when being asked to shoot his own mother.
But again, at least two sources (including Irvine himself) imply that he chokes constantly. Ignorance about his past is hand-waveable, but it seems they didn't do any sort of background check at all.
It's implied that Irvine was lying about that because he didn't want to have to explain to Squall that Edea was their foster mother. He never has a problem under pressure following the basketball court reveal, and in fact is the most emotionally stable and reliable party member from that point on. As for why he was chosen, it appears that Cid was grooming the orphanage kids for the job all along based on Edea's advance knowledge that Squall would be the one to defeat Ultimecia. Why Cid felt that this was a good or appropriate idea is another question altogether.
Even the Scan magic states that he isn't good under pressure, though. However, post-Edea, I'd chalk it up to character development. He doesn't have much, so I can accept that.
You want examples of unprofessional behaviour, huh? Quistis hits on her students and leaves her post in the middle of a mission to apologise to someone. Selphie has clear sociopathic tendencies and loses control of her emotions when her home is destroyed. Irvine hesitates to kill a target: the worst thing a sniper can do.
Yes, Quistis acts unprofessionally. That was why she was demoted from Instructor. Selphie breaking down when her home was destroyed is a result of a condition most people suffer from called "being human." You know, when you find out your home was destroyed and many of your childhood friends are dead, it tends to affect you... unless you're a sociopath. Oh, wait a second. And Irvine hesitating to shoot: he's being asked to shoot the closest thing he has to a mother. Unless you're a completely heartless sociopath, you're going to hesitate.
We already discussed the sniper issue - he still went through it despite hesitance and his personal feelings did not affect the outcome of the mission. Selphie acts professionally on the mission. She's actually only emotional about the * threat* of her home being destroyed, which is a bit more rational since that is a time-limited, high stress situation. When she actually sees the remains of Trabia, she's a lot calmer. She also manages to destroy Galbadia's missile launching facility on a mission she leads, and the player is rewarded if Selphie chooses to do this with minimal outbursts and violence. "Has an outgoing personality" is not a mark of unprofessional behavior. Quistis has actually been reprimanded for her unprofessional behavior and relieved of certain authority, so apparently they do pay attention to their charges behavior. It's still not the wacky abuse of power scenario - she didn't, say, set Rinoa on fire for dancing with Squall. And for that matter, Selphie didn't summon Diablos to blow up Galbadia in angry revenge.
All of this is addressed by the fact that they're in a stable time loop. Cid and Edea created an army of teenagers because when she passed on her powers/possessed her, the dying Ultimecia accidentally revealed to Edea that she (Ultimecia) would be defeated by a teenage mercenary named Squall... who happened to be in Edea's orphanage.
Strictly speaking, Irvine's hesitation did affect the outcome of the mission. The entire point to it being to shoot the Sorceress while she was distracted. It can be speculated whether or not she could have stopped the bullet if he'd fired earlier, but that doesn't change the situation at hand. In a military operation, hesitation to carry out orders can get you court-martialed, whether the operation succeeds or fails because of outside circumstances. Since Irvine's professionalism is what's being called into question, the delay is still relevant.
Unless you're an emotionally dead and absolutely sociopathic robot, being asked to shoot someone who amounts to your own mother is going to cause anyone to hesitate. Yes, Irvine hesitated, but that was because he was in extreme circumstances. That doesn't make him unprofessional, that makes him human.
Again, he has a history of this, apparently. And if so, it's not an isolated incident. Disobeying orders in the military is quite possible, if there's a conflict of interest, but it's nonetheless subject to disciplinary action. I understand Irvine's hesitation at firing, but he absolutely refused without an explanation. The problem is, when did he realize whom he was supposed to shoot. If it was at the beginning, why did he accept without a word? If it was upon seeing Edea, why didn't he speak up then? It was at a mission-critical moment that he sprung this up, and THAT is the unprofessional part.
Going to copypasta a response from the actual topic thread: It's entirely possible that Irvine didn't realize exactly who the Sorceress was until the mission had already started, and by then it was far too late to switch snipers. As for why he didn't say anything, it might be because the Sorceress being his mother would not have changed what was expected of him. Reworking the plan at that point was not an option, and he had a role that no one else could play. Yes, someone else could have handled the sniper rifle, but we're specfically told that no one else on the team could have made that shot. It's why Squall didn't just take the rifle and take the shot himself: It was take a chance on Irvine or have the exact same result as if he'd been unable to do it anyway. Irvine knew that. It's not unrealistic to think that he attempted to psych himself up for it the way a lot of people do before doing something they really don't want to do: "Okay, I can do this. I can do this." He might have even believed it. But when the time came, he couldn't. On top of all of that, if he'd revealed having that kind of connection to a Sorceress and actually had been believed, he likely would have been under severe scrutiny and regarded as a potential traitor. We're given multiple examples of just how understanding and reasonable the system is not, and how quickly accusations of war crimes and false charges are thrown around. Revealed his connection and not taken the shot? Traitor. Kept his connection hidden and not taken the shot? Coward. Better to be considered a coward than treated like a potential accessory to mass murder and world domination.
As for the part where he "always chokes", I never really saw any evidence of that, save for the mission where he had to, you know, put a bullet through his mother's head. Hell, his Big Damn Heroes moment involves him storming the prison basically on his own. Rinoa says she had to "[scratch him] to death" to get him to go back for everyone else, but that has nothing to do with choking up, as he was following orders: Getting Rinoa, and only Rinoa, out. Technically, he did the wrong thingnote Technically, mind you, not morally. by disobeying orders to find Squall and the rest. He also single-handedly holds off soldiers with machine guns to buy Squall time to find an exit, without a single moment of hesitation. Just tossed off "I'll hold'em here" like it was no big deal and told Squall to book it. During the entire escape, he never flinched or freaked out, and that holds true for the rest of the game. Yeah, the Scan says he doesn't work well under pressure, but Actions Speak Louder etc. It makes me wonder if the Scan is a possibleRed Herring, to throw the player off as to the real reason for Irvine's hesitance. Why couldn't he shoot her? Oh, he doesn't work well under pressure. Okay, then. Question answered, no need to think about it further.
I can't help but observe that the Scan data for party members and significant characters doesn't ever tell you anything you don't already know about them, for the obvious reason that that would be too easy. For example, Scanning Edea only tells you that she's a sorceress - big shock. I wonder if perhaps it's influenced by what the caster knows, or think they know, about the spell's target.
It's entirely possible that Irvine didn't realize exactly who the Sorceress was until the mission had already started, and by then it. As for why he didn't say anything, it might be because the Sorceress being his mother would not have changed what was expected of him. Not the point. Forgetting the military and just going into flat-out everyday professionalism, let's say that your company decides that they want to do something which will significantly harm someone you care about (let's say your mother works for a rival company and they want to bring legal action against that company). You know that your mother is an executive on the company and you're conflicted about whether or not you can go through with the order. It doesn't matter whether or not you're the only person who can do the job at this point. Due to "Conflict of Interest", it is your duty to tell people that this order conflicts with your personal desires. THEN, if they tell you "sucks, but you gotta do it anyway", you have no blame. But that is NOT what happened here.
On top of all of that, if he'd revealed having that kind of connection to a Sorceress and actually had been believed, he likely would have been under severe scrutiny and regarded as a potential traitor. We're given multiple examples of just how understanding and reasonable the system is not, and how quickly accusations of war crimes and false charges are thrown around. Revealed his connection and not taken the shot? Traitor. Kept his connection hidden and not taken the shot? Coward. Better to be considered a coward than treated like a potential accessory to mass murder and world domination. Which is entirely "unprofessional" and practically proves the point of the criticism by definition of the term. In this situation, the "professional" thing to do would be to put the success of the mission (which at the moment was his job, even if he wasn't a SeeD) as a higher priority than his personal feelings and worries. Deciding to keep mission-vital information to yourself for fear of personal scrutiny is practically the textbook description of "unprofessional". note Also, that wouldn't work. Soldiers who act out of self-interest in this matter could just as easily be charged with treason by knowingly endangering the mission. So, that argument doesn't even work.
As for the part where he "always chokes", I never really saw any evidence of that, save for the mission where he had to, you know, put a bullet through his mother's head. Hell, his Big Damn Heroes moment involves him storming the prison basically on his own. Rinoa says she had to "[scratch him] to death" to get him to go back for everyone else, but that has nothing to do with choking up, as he was following orders: Getting Rinoa, and only Rinoa, out. Technically, he did the wrong thingnote Technically, mind you, not morally. by disobeying orders to find Squall and the rest. He also single-handedly holds off soldiers with machine guns to buy Squall time to find an exit, without a single moment of hesitation. Just tossed off "I'll hold'em here" like it was no big deal and told Squall to book it. During the entire escape, he never flinched or freaked out, and that holds true for the rest of the game. Yeah, the Scan says he doesn't work well under pressure, but Actions Speak Louder etc. It makes me wonder if the Scan is a possibleRed Herring, to throw the player off as to the real reason for Irvine's hesitance. Why couldn't he shoot her? Oh, he doesn't work well under pressure. Okay, then. Question answered, no need to think about it further. No, Irvine implies (heck, almost flat-out says) that it was being with his True Companions which is helping him deal with pressure. I can't fault the guy for having subtle Character Development, but being a developed character doesn't mean that the problem wasn't there to begin with.
I think that ultimately, what we're looking at is a realistic reflection of what happens when young and relatively inexperienced soldiers are put in the field and forced to make command decisions. Note that they're trained soldiers and know how to fight, and once they're in combat they can keep a cool head because they know what to do. When they're not in combat and forced to make command decisions, that is when their youth and inexperience starts to show. I would presume that any SeeD unit that is deployed in the field would be placed under the command of a more experienced SeeD who would effective serve as an experienced NCO or officer; Squall's squad presumably got by thanks to Squall being a reasonably calm and effective leader despite his inexperience, and they weren't on a major mission requiring a large group. Irvine seems emblematic of the whole problem that an organization made up of young adults trained in warfare would face: he's not sure what he should do, but once he's been properly prodded in the right direction, whether it be by Squall or Rinoa, he calms down and does it. Really, all they need is a reliable, confident officer to point them in the right direction, and they'll do their jobs pretty well. That's actually how modern militaries work, with a seasoned and experienced NCO commanding squads of young, enlisted troops who are only a couple of years older than our main characters.
They weren't on a major mission? You do realize they were sent to assassinate the head of the second strongest nation in the world, right? Deling has been a ruthless, murderous, expansionist dictator for over a decade now and commands the only nation other than Esthar with the ability to destroy any target they desire. (thanks to long-range missiles) Sending three people who have been See Ds for a day is stupid. Also might I remind you of Selphie's brilliant idea to sabotage the Missile Base? "Bang on the console until stuff happens." They are not professional, or skilled, or in any way competent.
No one knew at the time that they were being sent to abduct Deling. Cid gave the Owls a blanket contract to use Squall's team; no one had any idea they were being sent to take down a head of state at the time. And "bang on the console until it breaks" would have been stupid if it didn't work, because it actually does cause a power shutdown in the base, and barring explosives or technical expertise - neither of which they had - physically smashing the console until a malfunction occurred was pretty much their best option. Not to mention that Selphie has much smarter ideas while infiltrating, including directly sabotaging the missile guidance programming. Considering that she is quite literally infiltrating a military base with no time to plan or gather intelligence - on top of being emotionally distraught due to her home being bombed - she did remarkably well for someone making it up as they went. The only other way she could have caused as much disruption as she did would have been to just start launching Guardian Forces at everything she saw and hope she blew up something vital.
Also, "bang on the console" is an optional course of action brought on by player choices, and can be easily avoided if the player chooses to have Selphie take a more cautious approach, so it's really not the best point to cite in support of any argument regarding Selphie's characterization or SeeD's competence.
Since when does sheer, dumb luck mean you are smart? Selphie banging on the console and something good happening is proof of nothing except plot contrivance. Also the other option was just to hit random buttons, which is perhaps relatively more intelligent but still nothing resembling good tactics. As for her being distraught...I recall her jumping around all the time in the Missile Base and going "whoo-hoo!" like normal. There's nothing at all to suggest she was in some sort of grief-addled mindset. As for the Deling mission, Seifer said 'What!? They might end up fightin' the whole Galbadian force! And all they dispatch are 3 rookie See D members!?" So obviously he knew what the Owls was attempting was huge. Any reason to think Rinoa told him the plan but not the person actually helping her? Seifer was really just hanging a lampshade on how stupid the whole thing was.
Seifer's reaction is based on the fact that he knows Rinoa's group is an anti-Galbadian resistance faction, and therefore the Forest Owls could only be hiring a team of SeeDs in order to assist them in fighting the Galbadian occupation of Timber. There is no reason to read any more into it than that. The Owls' contract with SeeD is specifically an open-ended hire of a team to assist them with whatever they need assistance with until Timber is liberated, and SeeD sent a team of new graduates specifically because the Forest Owls lacked the funds to hire anything better and were only able to afford a contract with SeeD at all thanks to Rinoa convincing Cid to give them a discount.
Well first off, let's examine what Seifer and Squall say when Seifer takes the president hostage. Squall asks him what he's doing and Seifer replies with "It's obvious, ain't it!? What are you planning to do with this guy?" And then Squall remembers that Seifer knows Rinoa. Now what does this dialogue suggest to you? It suggests to me Seifer knows full well what the Owls' plan was. Secondly, let's say you're right and nobody knew about the mission to get Deling. They still sent 3 rookies to liberate a city. 3 newbies are supposed to defeat the strongest active army in the world and help make Timber independent. Either way you slice it, it's ridiculous.
Seifer figured out for himself that the Owls were targeting President Deling based on Deling's presence in Timber and the fact that a resistance faction was by that point known to have made a failed try at kidnapping him already. And, as already mentioned, they sent three rookies because that's all the Forest Owls could afford. As Private Military Contractors, SeeD deploys personnel based on what the client can pay for first and what's appropriate to the intended mission second. If the client can't afford the SeeD manpower they'd need to carry out a particular mission, tough luck for them. In that respect, whether SeeD was informed of the Owls' intention to directly target Deling is honestly irrelevant. SeeD members are stated to serve many and varied roles for their clients beyond just that of front-line fighters, and that includes covert, support, and advisory roles; the Layman's Terms version of the contract Cid provided Rinoa makes it clear that the full extent of the contract amounts to "you paid us money, we're sending you as much SeeD personnel as the fee you paid us will cover, how you employ them is up to you, and if any of them get killed you won't get replacements."
You guys do realize that this is one of the major themes of the game and the whole reason, narratively speaking, for the Laguna segments? Plot-wise they're time compression yadda-yadda, but it's to contrast an adult who chooses to be a soldier and knows that being a soldier is not all there is to life with children who have been brought up to know only how to be soldiers and have had no choice in the matter. The game is, essentially, about how war is bad and it messes with people's heads, especially people who have been trained, more or less from birth, to fight. Squaresoft would like you to know that child soldiers are bad.
Seifer Demands XP!
Why does Seifer tell you not to finish off the snake so he can have the finishing blow for EXP? Not only does this breach the fourth wall but how does it make sense? If I let Zeus beat the crap out of Thor and then finish him off when he's down to 1 HP do I automatically get promoted to level 99?
Because it's a video game and it's explaining the rules? Fourth-wall breaking is part of the territory. Beyond that... how does the mechanic not make sense? The person who makes the finishing blow gets more EXP. It's just a way to control your EXP flow since the monsters in this game level with you.
Another reason to level Seifer up, or at least give him EXP, is because his EXP translates to Selphie's EXP, and you get her right after Seifer leaves the party for good. At least, I think that's how it works.
Nope. Seifer's XP is its own entity - but letting him get the XP is good anyway. You can give him the starting G Fs and let him level up while leaving the rest of the party behind, and he'll train your G Fs for you without screwing up the party's average level once he leaves.
SEED Professionalism II - The Dance
All of the students in Balamb Garden are in their late teens or younger. And yet when the school dance rolls around, everyone in attendance acts like perfect ladies and gentlemen, even dancing (ballroom moves only, of course) in perfect synchronization with the other couples around them. Does anyone else find that just... bizarre?
No. Number one, they attend a military school. Number two, it's not a "school dance" but a graduation ball, which is a highly formal event with teachers and administration in attendance. They have to wear their formal military uniforms, for pete's sake. Number three, you don't see many people doing The Monkey at formal black tie balls. Number four, "late teens" is old enough to want to enjoy something as formal as this. And number five, if the number of times I said "formal" in the last paragraph didn't hammer it in enough, it's formal.
Ever go to a Prom? When I went to my Junior prom, it looked way more like Balamb Garden's graduation ball than a school dance. (Of course Senior Prom was different because of its theme)
Maybe they practiced beforehand?
So all of the people attending the dance got together and practiced one group routine instead of just practicing with their partner so they would all move perfectly in time with each other? Also, no one thought about dancing differently when the teachers weren't around or doing some other shenanigan like spiking the punch bowl?
They live in a dormitory that's more than a few hours' walking distance from the nearest town. Where would they get anything to spike the punch with? Besides, they may be teens, but they're also officers and gentlemen at a formal ball - and if SeeD has anything in common with real world militaries, acting out of turn at a formal event would probably result in them getting stuck on potato-peeling duty 'til the end of spring quarter.
Plus one of the teachers has a whip.........
Squall states that the SeeD cadets are taught to dance as a part of their training when he explains to Rinoa that it's a potential cover skill.
It seemed like it was pretty common practice, back in the day, in real life. The hoity-toity high society types had to know the latest dances, most of which involved big group productions. This troper remembers it coming up when studying the Rococco period in Art History. If you want to hobnob with the elite, you'd better learn the latest waltz.
Also, no one thought about dancing differently when the teachers weren't around or doing some other shenanigans like spiking the punch bowl? Teachers were quite clearly in attendance, as shown by Quistis' presence.
Not to mention the headmaster and the creepy scary guys.
And a few students apparently did sneak off to the secret spot to do their own thing, as evidenced by the number of couples there when Squall and Quistis arrive.
Besides, who says there were no other students who danced to their own beat, or tried to spike the punch? Since he's the main character, we're privy to Squall's experience, and ONLY Squall's experience. For all we know, Zell streaked across the far end of the ballroom while wearing Fujin's chakram on his hair, and Selphie started a brawl over how Trabia PWNZORDZ Balamb... but the camera was busy showing us Rinoa poking at Squall.
In Ballroom Dancing, moving around the dance floor without running into other couples is part of learning the dance. They also move in synchronization because they are following the beat of the song. It looks impressive, but it really is, if anything, simpler for everyone to dance around the same routine rather than each doing their own. Ballroom Dance also has been a part of officer training in many different militaries, as is formal etiquette.
They are soldiers studying in a military academy. They are supposed to be disciplined.
And besides all the above points, who says that these students aren't secretly planning their own crazy dance party after curfew? We already know that Balamb has a 'secret area' for couples to hang out, I'm also willing to bet they've got more places for after-dark shenangigans. Trust me, some of us went to expensive private schools, and the students perfect the art of looking nice at formal occasions and then sneaking off for drunken parties later.
Problems With The Endgame Plan - Just Shoot Ellone!
Just...the entire endgame plotline. Given the choice between putting Rinoa in permanent cold stasis, and LETTING THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE UNRAVEL, what do the heroes choose to do? Thaaaat's right. It wouldn't be so painfully wall-bangery if it weren't for the fact that if the SeeDs fail to kill Ultimecia, if Time Compression isn't reversable, or if the Power of Friendship simply fails to keep them existing long enough to reach the future, then they've pretty much destroyed creation for no good reason. Hell, even after it all works out, they've STILL just destroyed all creation just to save one whiny spoiled brat of a girl.
Leaving Rinoa in cold stasis wouldn't save the world either. By the time anyone realizes Rinoa is a sorceress, Adel is already awakening from confinement, Ellone is in her custody, and Ultimecia is preparing to cause time compression. Sure, the heroes could kill Adel and free Ellone, but since they can't go into the future to kill Ultimecia without allowing time compression to occur, the result would be nothing more than a delaying action until the next sorceress revealed herself and Ultimecia used her to achieve her goal.
If your plan A involves permitting the destruction of time and space, it means you really desperately need a plan B. For example, since professor Clown admitted that the device Ultimecia was using to project her mind back into was based on an invention he himself made, why not simply destroy the prototype, burn the plans, and kill the creepy scientist? For that matter, why not put Ellone in cold stasis along with Rinoa, thus making it impossible for Ultimecia to project herself sufficiently far back in time, since her device apparently had a limit? Whether or not you think these ideas are flimsy, they all have the advantage of not causing the destruction of time and space.
These are both still just delaying actions, though. Destroying the machine and killing Odine doesn't prevent someone else from inventing the machine themselves in the future, nor does putting Elone in stasis prevent Ultimecia from possessing the next sorceress and thawing her out, nor does it prevent Ultimecia from taking advantage of another person with the same power as Ellone. The only way to stop Ultimecia from destroying the world is to destroy Ultimecia.
Except that didn't work. She destroyed the world. Better to take a delaying action than to gamble everything on an unproven hunch that killing her would reverse Time Compression. But we're going in circles here, or loops if you will. Let's just agree that the idiot plan worked.
But... she didn't destroy the world. Time Compression requires the Sorceress to cast a spell from the future. She creates Time Compression, but does not complete her plan of destroying the world because it's all still there. The point of Time Compression was to bring the Sorceress to them, because nobody alive has the ability to travel to the future and stop her there. Delaying tactics are just that - killing or incarcerating a bunch of innocent people on the chance that it might stop someone in the future from being able to manipulate the past. Hence, while it's dangerous, Time Compression is also the only guarantee of having a direct effect on stopping Ultimecia.
It's a cruel idea, but killing Ellone WOULD permanently save the world, assuming no one else manifested her particular power in the future, which is a fair guess, since Ultimecia could've picked anyone between the present and the future, but focused doggedly on Ellone.
That's the thing though, given that Ultimecia is in the far future, there's no guarantee that she won't find someone else in a later timeline with Ellone's powers and use her to achieve Compression anyway. That's why, again, the only sure way to prevent Compression is to kill the source, Ultimecia.
Killing Ellone wouldn't save the world. Sorceresses can't die until they've passed on their power to another Sorceress. Hence the need for the deep freezing and in Adel's case, chucking her into orbit to stop her from telekinetically getting help.
Killing Ellone means that Ultimecia will simply need to improve her Junction Machine Ellone to the point that she can send her consciousness further back. And she doesn't need to go back much farther - sending her mind into Adel's younger body was far enough to trigger time compression. I suppose you could try to destroy all copies of the time machine and all of Odine's research, but that's no guarantee that it will prevent Ultimecia from developing the Junction Machine Ellone, especially as this is a setting with an already-confirmed Stable Time Loop.
And what evidence do you have that Ultimecia is capable of improving the JME? Just because she knows how to use the device doesn't mean she knows anything about it or how to improve it. If she could simply improve it wouldn't she have simply done that instead of screwing around in the past for weeks or months? She's also never shown having any human or Shumi allies that could do so for her.
Revised point: Ellone is, according to later character files appearing in Duodecim, also a Sorceress. So yep, killing her would have just moved her powers down the line of succession, and possibly even to Rinoa or Adel, which would've completely defeated the purpose.
From an omniscient perspective, it does seem that way. But we're talking about character motivations for undergoing the mission. From the perspective of the characters, they don't know that Ultimecia cannot improve the JME. They know she possesses one, and they know that it has been improved between their current time and Ultimecia's time. They don't know that she can't improve it, all they know is that she has it and that it was improved, so there is the possibility that it can be further improved. And if it is, game over. Analogy: Country A has nuclear weapons. The only way they can get the weapons to Country B, their enemy, is by firing them from missiles. They fire nuclear weapons at Country B, but their missiles fall short of B's borders. A cannot improve their capabilities, but B does not know this. Does B remain content that A can never get a nuke into their borders because of their current technology, or does B retaliate before A can fire again? The same dilemma is presented here; the SeeDs and Esthar know Ultimecia possesses the JME, but they don't know what other capabilities she has, and whether she can extend the degree by which she can reach into the past, nor can they afford to take the chance that she can't.
Not to mention that all of the various logical arguments for and against the plan the characters use are pretty much pre-empted when Squall states up-front that even if Rinoa goes insane and becomes the enemy of the entire world, he'll still stand beside her.
This isn't the first time people have made that choice in fiction. Orson Scott Card wrote a story called Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus which takes revisionist history seriously by employing time travel. Three people go help Columbus get off on the right foot with the natives, with the end result of completely erasing the timeline they came from. Somehow, through the democratic process, the people in that timeline voted in favor of this mass suicide, believing that the revised timeline would be better. Or so they hoped. They'll never know.
It might be worth pointing out that all Ultimecia needs to do is improve the Junction Machine Ellone enough to send her mind back a few more decades (to the age of a younger Adel) and the entire issue becomes a moot point. Since she's already sending her mind back several centuries at least, that means that she only needs to marginally improve its projection abilities and its game over anyway. In other words, time compression is inevitable.
Unfortunately (for Ultimecia at least), since she's stuck in the Stable Time Loop, she can't actually do anything else but keep playing the same events out over and over again.
Well, Ultimecia doesn't actually live through more than one iteration of the loop; after that, she's dead. But this does mean that by the time Ultimecia has a chance to grasp just how enormously blown her efforts in the game's present day are, there's no opportunity for her to reset, upgrade the machine, and try again... Squall's already coming to kill her.
Its not just that; Ellone is Laguna's adopted daughter and Squall's surrogate sister. I think their response to the notion of killing her, for whatever reason, would be slightly unpleasant - especially considering Squall's response to Rinoa being sealed away was to assault an Estharian facility and potentially provoke another war. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if neither of them even considered the notion in the first place.
I thought they did sacrifice one person to save the world when they decided to assassinate/murder Ultimecia in the future. They didn't seem to really have a problem with assassinating Edea either back when they believed she was trying to take over the world.
While that's technically true, killing the villain who's trying to destroy the world is not generally considered a "sacrifice" in the same way that killing someone who's not guilty of anything but having a power that the villain can use as a tool would be. Think of it as justifiable self-defense writ very large, and recall that nobody knew Edea was possessed until she told them about it after the fact in disc 3 (and the assassination may well have been part of her contingency plan). Ellone, meanwhile, hasn't done anything wrong and can't help that Ultimecia wants to use her power to facilitate time compression.
.....it's not "sacrifice" to kill someone who is actively trying to kill you. That's self-defense. They're not "sacrificing" anything by attacking Ultimecia; they're eliminating a hostile aggressor who is literally trying to destroy their entire reality.
Doesn't anybody else think the major problem with how they go about saving the world depends entirely on Dr. Odine's own brand of Wild Mass Guessing about how time travel works? Okay, let's allow Ultimecia to slam a stretch of time together like a snapping bungee cord, but with the Power of Friendship, you'll be able to survive the transition and find your way back after you kill her. Seriously? And it never occurs for anybody to be skeptical about Dr. Odine's time travel credentials?
Edea had close mental contact with Ultimecia, to a point where she was able to fully understand Ultimecia's plans. Its no coincidence that Odine figures out how Ultimecia's time travel foolery works after he's met with Edea. If Edea was able to understand Ultimecia intimately by being under her control, then its no stretch to say she figured out how she travels back in time - especially as Odine built a working mental time travel device out of someone's already-existing ability to do the exact same thing. Since Odine has already extensively studied and built devices working around time travel, then yes, he is the authority on how it would work.
Also, you may want to consider the fact that a Stable Time Loop may already exist - and Edea, the one person who can unquestionably verify it, knows it exists. She knows that Squall will defeat Ultimecia, and when she is taken over by Ultimecia, she learns everything about Ultimecia to allow him to defeat her. In other words, not only is Time Compression necessary to complete the loop, but Squall and his comrades are destined to defeat her.
Actually, the endgame plan does make sense, from our characters' perspectives. After all, the plot was cooked up by Laguna, the resident guy who makes crazy, risky plans (when he doesn't just barge in shooting) and Squall agrees to the plan because, honestly, that's how he rolls half the time anyway. Presented with a choice between killing/imprisoning Ellone and rushing into the future on a risky plan to defeat Ultimecia, they're going to go with the latter, and probably not even consider the former. Its entirely in—character for the both of them.
Okay, let me see if I've got this whole thing down exactly. Ultimecia is trying to compress all of time. And Doc Odine says that she can do that by using Ellone to go further back in time into the mind of another sorceress. And this will essentially make her a God, right? HOW Ellone has this power isn't explained in the game at all, or really, why the sorceress wants to do this other than the fact that, evidently, in her timeline, people have been persecuting sorceresses for eons and one day SeeD will supposedly kill her, something that only happens BECAUSE she tries to do all of this "going into Ellone" stuff. Now how can they prevent Ultimecia from using Ellone? Let her...compress time...and this will somehow send them to the future so they can defeat Ultimecia and thus bring an end to her plans and then, by believing REAAAALLY hard in love and friendship and all that, they can find their way back. Now, we can't just kill Ellone, it has been argued, because one, she hasn't really done anything wrong, two, she IS family and three, the sorceress would still be alive and she might be able to find someone else just like Ellone. But this is relying on BIG guesses. For one, Ellone isn't a sorcereress. Her powers aren't over magic at all. They wouldn't be passed down to someone else at all if she dies, therefore nobody else would be able to do what Ultimecia wants Ellone to do, meaning her plan would be screwed over. Two: if Doc Odine is so wise and knowledgable about time travel and stuff, why doesn't he just get to work on building a time machine? The place is a futuristic machine-filled utopia. They can't throw a few years and billion dollars of work into that sort of tech? Or maybe work on a magical way to travel into the future beyond feeding Ellone to Ultimecia? Three: believing...really hard...in friendship and love...will bring them back. This is a huuuuuge gamble. There is NO remote guarantee they'll come back. And they have no plan b! What would have happened if they failed to kill Ultimecia? Everything would have been screwed over. This is FAR too big a gamble to take without some kind of backup plan, but nothing's ever proposed. In short, shooting Ellone in the back of the head might end up more of a delay than a way to stop Ultimecia entirely, but at least they know for SURE that it would delay her, they've NO idea if Laguna's plan could work at all!
For one, Ellone isn't a sorcereress. Her powers aren't over magic at all. They wouldn't be passed down to someone else at all if she dies, therefore nobody else would be able to do what Ultimecia wants Ellone to do, meaning her plan would be screwed over. Nope. Dissidia confirms that Ellone is indeed a Sorceress. A Sorceress with limited powers, but a Sorceress nonetheless.
Two: if Doc Odine is so wise and knowledgable about time travel and stuff, why doesn't he just get to work on building a time machine? The place is a futuristic machine-filled utopia. They can't throw a few years and billion dollars of work into that sort of tech? Or maybe work on a magical way to travel into the future beyond feeding Ellone to Ultimecia? First, because there's no other known means of time travel in the setting. You can only either A) send minds back in time or B) compress time. There's no evidence that they can travel forward in time, either magically or scientifically. You're also asking Odine to invent physical time travel, which is a bit much. Third, as was noted up above, they really don't have the time to try to develop a safer means of travel to the future, because Ultimecia only needs to improve her machine a little bit more to render the whole thing moot. If she can reach back just a bit further into Adel's childhood, then she can trigger time compression, which is game over for reality. So you're essentially asking them to come up with a means of time travel that has not been demonstrated in the setting, that has not been invented yet, with a limited timeframe.
Three: believing...really hard...in friendship and love...will bring them back. This is a huuuuuge gamble. There is NO remote guarantee they'll come back. And they have no plan b! What would have happened if they failed to kill Ultimecia? Everything would have been screwed over. This is FAR too big a gamble to take without some kind of backup plan, but nothing's ever proposed. The other option is to risk Ultimecia improving her machine and destroying time. She's already on the verge of doing so anyway, considering she only needs to go back a little further to pull it off. Yes, its a risk, but the alternative is utter destruction, and they don't have time for a backup plan.
In short, shooting Ellone in the back of the head might end up more of a delay than a way to stop Ultimecia entirely, but at least they know for SURE that it would delay her, they've NO idea if Laguna's plan could work at all! not really. Ellone is convenient for Ultimecia, but again, a slight improvement to her machine is all she needs to end it all. And more importantly, it is entirely out of character for Squall or Laguna to even consider, let alone agree, to harm Ellone.
Yeah, remember who would be discussing this plan: Ellone's adopted brother, and Ellone's adopted father.
I always thought the whole reason Ultimecia needs Ellone to send her further back wasn't to get back to a specific time period, but to exist in three times simultaneously. The Ellone power (and by extension the Juncton Machine) appears to not be able to execute recursively: it cannot send someone back into a past version of themselves, and in Ellone's case, she cannot send herself back (which is why she is never directly possessed). Since Ultimecia has no non-monster allies, she has no means to execute time compression within her own time frame (otherwise she would just send her consciousness back to herself twice). As she is the only person who has ever had a working JME in her possession, the only option is to coerce Ellone to send her back further, which in fact is her driving motive throughout the game.
They don't need to alter the plan because, thanks to how time paradoxes work, they already know their plan succeeds. Think about it, Ultemecia's plan is to create an eternal time compression so that she can rule over the compressed timeframe forever. Something that apparently she doesn't, and Squall does take into account, is the fact that since they haven't been living their entire lives in a compression, then obviously they stopped her and her plan fails. The compression never became eternal, because if it did, the whole game would take place within it (because duh, literally all points in time are the same there, meaning none of the individual events of the game could happen). One can say "well then how can that work with the compression ever happening at all?", but the game has shown that timeline changes take uh...time, to kick in. It's a ripple effect, which essentially means they beat Ultimecia before the time compression in the end of the game became a time compression in the beginning of the game. Make sense? Shit no, but that's time travel for ya. Plus, there's just the simple fact that Edea knows due to the time/psychic connection that Squall beats Ultimecia, so really no matter what decisions Squall makes, that will be the end result because the future has already been set.
Why They Don't Have Their Parents' Last Names
Why doesn't Rinoa have her father's last name?
Because they are sufficiently at odds that she stopped using it and took her mother's maiden name instead. She calls him "that man" and refuses to speak to him; it's not that much of a stretch that she'd stop using his surname, especially since being obviously related to a Galbadian general probably wouldn't do anything good for her credibility with the various factions of La Résistance in Timber.
Maybe names just come from the mother in this world. Squall takes his mother's name too: it's implied that Laguna and Raine were already married before Squall was born, so why not Squall Loire (besides the fact that it would give away the twist)? And we only ever see Mama Dincht, so Zell could have taken his name from her.
It's implied that the people in Winhill really didn't like Laguna, plus Squall never actually met his dad because he was born after Laguna had run off to look for Ellone. That's two plausible reasons for why he would have his mom's name instead of his dad's when he was turned over to the orphanage.
Really? I never got the impression that they didn't like him. Well, okay the shopkeeper but he seems to be rude to anyone from out of town.
Winhill seems to be a fairly insular community, and they really didn't seem to like Laguna there very much. Aside from the shopkeeper (who is not nearly as rude to Squall, though it might be a different shopkeep by then), there's also the woman at the flower shop who unsubtly suggests that Laguna doesn't have any reason to keep sticking around and should be getting back to Deling City; when Squall visits in the present, she talks fondly about Raine and says "If only she'd stayed away from that outsider." There's also a man who talks about being opposed to letting outsiders into town, and about how a wanderer named Laguna lived there for a while and caused a lot of trouble.
For what it's worth, Raine's last name is not necessarily "Leonhart". Her maiden name is never given in the game or any supplementary materials - "Leonhart" being Raine's maiden name is total Fanon. Squall's name could have come from anywhere.
Yes, that's a distinct possibility. But it's very possibly Leonhart, the name Leonhart had to come from somewhere, and giving away her surname as Leonhart in the flashbacks would have, once again, given away the twist.
Regarding the other characters and their surnames, I always thought those who didn't get adopted were given names by Cid and Edea.
Where Galbadia Garden Went
Where does Galbadia Garden go after the end of Disc 2? Did it just get sucked into the Cleft of Dimension?
Yes. Gilgamesh hijacked it to serve as the fuselage for his interdimensional cool ship, so he could complete his master plan to cameo in every game in the series. I'm WMG this, aren't I?
Yes, but that gives me a great idea for a Kingdom Hearts Gummi Ship dogfight crossover!
Someone with game programming knowlwdge please get crackin' RIGHT NOW.
His plan was brilliant, and it worked perfectly! ALL HAIL DIMENSIONAL LORD GILGAMESH, and LONG LAST HIS WORTHY RULE. Oh who am I kidding, at best he found a way to smear his hilarious incompetence across the landscape in full view of a theoretically infinite group of protagonists. :( Gilgamesh just ain't never the right horse to back, I reckon.
How could he lose with Galbadia's Demon Hockey players on his side?
Monster Hockey Players
What the hell is up with the monster hockey players in Galbadia Garden? Are we meant to assume that Garden's intramural hockey team was brainwashed by the sorceress and ordered to attack the player, or that the G-Army just happened to have a crack team of hockey-themed elite soldiers just waiting for an opportunity to shine?
Galbadia Garden actually has a hockey team made up of monsters. Apparently, they joined up with the Galbadians when they took over.
Caraway Not Taking Over
Why didn't General Caraway take control of the Galbadian government after Edea's defeat? He doesn't appear to have been removed from his position as head of the military at any point during the coup, so why is the sorceress' teenage bodyguard able to boss him around?
Actually, he was specifically mentioned as having been removed from command in the second disc. That and Seifer is Edea's second in command, so naturally control would devolve to the superpowered psychotic fanatical swordsman who could and would lop off your head without trying.
Caraway most likely took control of the Galbadian military after the force controlling the Lunatic Pandora was defeated. With Edea/Ultimecia out of the picture and Seifer defeated, there likely wouldn't be anyone in any position of power or respect sufficient to stop him. Realistically, he could pull of a coup and take control.
YMMV on whether he does or not though. He always seemed like a Reasonable Authority Figure who realized that Edea!Ultimecia was a genuine threat not only to the world, but specifically Galbadia. Maybe they go to genuine elections (as opposed to the whole Permanent Elected Official thing with Vinzer Deling).
How Triple Triad Cards Work
Who makes Triple Triad cards, and what is the process by which it's possible to transform them into magical artifacts?
This also explains how you can cast a spell that turns monsters into Cards. Magic!
Made from monsters.
Screw who makes the card, I want someone to explain to me how a FLAT card has a back side, a blue side AND a red side!
It's likely just for the benefit of the human player - in universe, they probably just mark the cards so they know who's "flipped" what cards.
Actually, it does exist in real life! Apparently, the card is red and blue-sided, but each player has shield covers to prevent seeing the card before placing the card on the board.
GF and Player cards are painted by the guy living across from the bar in Dollet. Ordinary monster cards can be found after killing a monster, so maybe they're manufactured on the moon... by Hummingways.
That gave me an awesome idea for a WMG entry.
Bahamut's Pop Quiz
Anyone find Bahamut's comment "Damned imbeciles, why do you wish to fight?" and the characters' * proper* reaction to it "Maybe, we were just born to fight" strange? I can almost hear a Fourth Wall shattering in the background as they come to terms with being video game characters with no free will.
If the main cast weren't as warped as they are, it'd be more problematic. In this case, though, the characters are mercenaries who are completely up-front about the fact that they'll fight for whoever is paying for their contract, regardless of what they think about their client or their client's orders. Destiny is also a major theme of the game, what with the Stable Time Loop, and by that point in the storyline Squall has already told the occupants of Balamb Garden that it's their destiny to fight the sorceress, and essentially been told by Cid and Edea that it's his destiny in particular. He is exactly the sort of character who might believably give that kind of an answer to that question at that point.
Plus there's the official English translation to look at (at least the version for PC): "Because it's our nature."
Rinoa IN SPACE
I don't care how badly Rinoa wanted to live, I don't care how desperately she needed to see Squall one more time. Five minutes floating through space without life support or oxygen is five goddamn minutes floating through space without life support or oxygen!
The suits have a five minute backup supply of oxygen. You can see Rinoa activating this after Squall contacts her brain via Ellone. See here at 0:42. Also, the soul-link via Ellone means that its entirely possible she could have survived via Squall being connected to her; Squall and Laguna both share health status, after all, and any wounds Laguna takes are also suffered by Squall when he wakes back up.
How Gunblades Work
The Gunblade. The freaking gunblade. What the hell purpose does the pistol grip serve, besides being the worst sword grip ever? What the hell is pulling the trigger supposed to do, when there's no barrel and no shot? Is there any reason for this weapon to exist at all?
The gunblade does actually shoot... something. Not a bullet, but it does fire some type of blast down the length of the weapon, and whatever it fires uses rounds of some sort, so the gun aspect does serve a purpose. It's probably just been embellished by Squall, to take advantage of the Rule of Cool.
From the way it is wielded by Squall in various cutscenes and the way that it works mechanically... it seems to function more as a mundane Flaming Burst (D&D enchantment that allows a weapon to explode against a victim on a critical hit) than anything vibrating. Surely, it would vibrate a bit, but the core of it's function seems to be in the explosion moreso than a secondary effect of it.
It ignites a gunpowder cartridge, but it remains internalized, the idea being that it is triggered in mid slash so the violent self-contained explosion causes the cut to do more damage. Somehow.
You sure it uses gun powder? After playing DMC4 I just assumed the gun sword's trigger slashes worked similarly(with the blade heating up as opposed to exploding on the inside, which indeed makes the laws of physics cry).
This troper always thought that the ammo was designed to cause a tremor when the trigger was pulled. With the right timing, the gunblade would be shaking as it hit something, kind of like those electric turkey-carving knives. So instead of just cutting with a sharp edge, you'd be cutting with a sharp vibrating edge...But then that just begs the question: How can anyone hold onto it while doing that? Not to mention, what about Squall's final limit break, where he's pulling the trigger over eighteen times?
Lionheart isn't built like the Revolver. It doesn't have a 6 round chamber with bullets to power the energy discharge - it's essentially full burning energy with a 'burst' released on trigger.
The game implies that being able to use gunblades is actually quite rare - so maybe it's hard to keep enough control over the weapon. Otherwise, that explanation mirrors what was in the Ultimania guide - nobody ever translated the whole thing, but there is a translation of an explanation on how gunblades work. Anymore complicated than that and I just say its MST3K Mantra time. JRPGs usually run on 100% Rule of Cool.
Not just implies, but outright states - there are several instances in which the game indicates that gunblades are obnoxiously difficult to use because of their combination design, and this is borne out by the fact that in the entire game there are exactly two people who've mastered the gunblade well enough to use it as their primary weapon. Cid even comments to Squall that he's been looking forward to having a gunblade specialist in SeeD. (Although this does raise the question of who trained Squall and Seifer if nobody else in SeeD is proficient with the weapon.)
There's always a chance that whoever taught them how to use the weapons was not an active SeeD themselves.
Headmaster Cid is said at one point in the game to have been a gunblade user in his younger days...which, come to that, is probably why he's so excited to have a gunblade specialist among the SeeDs.
Or alternatively, they learned by doing. Presumably the very basics of gunblade use would be the same as any other sword; once they managed that, they taught themselves the finer points. It would explain why they were sparring at the very beginning of the game; they were practicing their respective self-created styles.
Unfortunately, the weapon simply cannot work due to the laws of physics. The blade is connected directly to the pistol grip, so if you pull the trigger, the bullets have no where to go but explode, blowing up your hands. In fact, trapped bullets are exactly why flintlock pistols were immediately abandoned as soon as possible. That, and how would you reload the gunblade anyway?
Except the gunblade doesn't fire bullets. It's a bloody Vibroweapon. The "bullets" are charges that send shockwaves down the blade into the target. Reloading the gunblade is as simple as reloading either a revolver or pistol in real life; you just flip open the cylinders and change ammunition, or you pop the charges out like a magazine and put in new ones.
Render of the game's model compared to what an actual gunblade should look like. The game's Gunblade has no barrel, so it does behave like a Vibroweaponnote Except we see Siefer using his to actually shoot people during his limit break, whilst the real Gunblade has the blade and barrel as a single, solid piece (but would be awkward for shooting and slashing/stabbing)
Seifer doesn't shoot people with his gunblade, he blasts them with a Fire-type spell. It shows this quite clearly; during his limit breaks, he opens with his PALM pointed at the enemy, just like his magic-casting pose. His No Mercy limit break involves him throwing blades of energy at the opponent(s) and his Demon Slash just involves him spinning around like a lunatic, knocking his victim into the air with each spin. His Bloodfest limit just has him open a hole in the ground with a pair of perpendicular Blade Beam-style moves. I've never once seen Seifer SHOOT anyone with his Hyperion.
Damn they chose a gunblade when a chainsaw sword would do the same thing.
The Revolver doesn't discharge it's bullets. The Hyperion does and the Lionheart definitely does (note, it's an assault rifle handle/cartridge). Ultimania's canon explanation isn't very conducive to the vibroweapon bit, which seemed to be mostly reactionary fan defense for lack of an explanation at the time (though even still, there are others).
It's not vibrating in the sustained fashion of most Vibro Weapons - it's firing a blank, creating a momentary burst of recoil that adds power to the impact of the blade, which is close enough to the same concept that it falls under the general description of a Vibro Weapon. The "explosion" that we see in the animation is partly an illustration of that, and partly a visual cue to let the player know that they timed their trigger-pull correctly and are doing extra damage (in the same way that every character has a light show of some sort when they connect with their weapon of choice, even when it's Quistis's whip or Zell's fists).
A blank? While there may not be much place to criticize one form of fan wanking over another, the Ultimania's description of the Gunblade doesn't mention vibration or any kind of violent reaction. It's a very reaching connection to make from a 'wave of power', which in the context of FF 8's setting, vibration would be rather mundane. Also note Seifer's trigger-pull when he slashes Squall. Vibroblades with a clean cut? Eh...
Okay, a few things: One; the Gundblade is probably a vibro-weapon that only vibrates when the trigger is pulled, because that is the only solution that makes sense. It doesn't necessarily need to actually use gunpowder and explosions, as far as I'm concerned the gun-part is merely an aesthetic choice in-universe. Two; gunblades are established to be hard to use and cumbersome, and that's why people are generally impressed by Squall, as he is so much in control of it that he has a 100% accuracy with it. Third; Cid is happy to finally have a gunblade-specialist because he doesn't know who the SeeD who appeared in front of Edea was when she inherited Ultimecia's Sorceress powers, only that the guy was using a gunblade, so he is happy because he thinks (correctly) that he finally found the person he was looking for.
SEED Professionalism III - Quistis
Just, why ... why did Quistis leave her post mere minutes before a critical political assassination just to apologize to Rinoa? Up to this point Quistis had been the smart, level-headed Cool Big Sis and then she turns around to do something absolutely stupid.
A teacher that hits on her students is not a level-headed Cool Big Sis. If you talk to people around her, they discuss having trouble with her professionalism before that.
Yeah. There's a reason she gets removed from her teaching post early on in the game.
For what it's worth, while it's in character for Quistis, it always bothered me that it was a pretty thin excuse to throw one last dungeon onto Disc 1. A really boring dungeon, no less. Couldn't they have come up with a better concept for a Disc One Final Dungeon? Oh well. I love this game, but that doesn't stop it from having these moments.
Ahh, okay. I didn't remember that she'd been called out on this sort of behaviour before (of course, that's why they don't let 18-year-olds be teachers).
I always thought that Edea's/Ultimecia's magic somehow influenced Quistis to go away (the same reason people cheered when Edea gave her inauguration speech).
Arguably, that was the entire point. One of the recurring themes of the game is that young characters are being thrust into situations that they aren't mentally old enough to handle. Quistis abandons her post because she thinks she hurt one of her friends' feelings. She's not as emotionally mature as she seems - hell, she hits on her own students - and it also sets up an interesting parallel between her and Seifer, who did something similar. In fact, a lot of the odd decisions made by these characters can be explained by the fact that they are still young and prone to the errors of youth.
Of course, hitting on her student isn't as bad as it sounds, since her student is the same age as herself and the only reason she is a teacher and not a student herself is because she is a genius.
Actually, it is bad. Its fraternization in a military organization. It doesn't matter if she's the same age, she's a superior. Superiors do not fraternize with subordinates because that results in preferential treatment and a breakdown of discipline, morale, and ability to command.
Which is why real military organization don't pick up one of the latest recruits because s/he is a "genius" and promote them to be the drill instructor of the same latest recruits. A teenager, with their mental develompent not finished, put in a position of power over their peers? Peers that include members of the opposite sex they might have their hots on? Seriously, the Garden faculty should have seen this one coming.
Quistis has a heart? She spoke out of turn to Rinoa and spent the walk over to the archway thinking it over. Rinoa was a wannabe activist and they had helped her so she was trying to help them in return by coming up with an alternative to an incredibly risky assassination plan. Zell confirmed that the Odine brand is top of the line for magical goods so perhaps Quistis was realising Rinoa's plan was a better idea? She was going over the situation in her head and possibly thinking about what would happen to all of them if the assassination backfired (their back-up plan was to attack Edea head on in public for crying out loud), plus sensing how poorly thought out it was. She made a split-second decision, possibly hoping to help them all out. Notice she doesn't tell Zell and Selphie to follow her so it's an Idiot Ball moment for them to leave their post as well since Quistis can easily go back to Rinoa by herself, but the two of them are reckless and irrational so it's not that out of character.
It's still stupid. Rinoa's plan is a bad one, mainly because it hinges on Edea being a moron; all other criticism of her professional ethics aside, Quistis' point is legit when she chews Rinoa out: Rinoa doesn't grasp the consequences of her actions and her motivations are mostly rooted in getting one over on her stodgy old man. Quistis does have a heart, but in this case, it's working against her: she was right to scold Rinoa like a child, because Rinoa's desires were childish and short-sighted. Unfortunately, it's also in character for Quistis to put being nice to Rinoa over her professionalism, because she's still just a teenager, in the end. Most of the plot of FFVIII revolves around the idea that teenagers are still children and really shouldn't be in charge of anything, ever.
Monsters From Where?
Most Final Fantasy games explain exactly why there's monsters roaming the world. FFVIII says that they come from the moon. Except ... why the hell are there monsters on the moon? And if they're from the moon, then why do so many look like earth creatures, like giant caterpillers?
Actually, the first six of them don't explain where monsters come from at all. As for why are there monsters on the moon...why not? And is there a special reason a moon monster can't resemble something on this game's Earth?
Let's put aside the MST3K Mantra and Rule of Cool for a moment. First off, it's the friggin' Moon. If monsters from the moon look like normal creature's in the FFVIII earth, wouldn't that the moon had an atmosphere and a sufficiently earthlike environment? Also, why aren't almost all of these monsters just burning up as they enter the earth's atmosphere?
The Lunar Cry requires using a crystal pillar to summon the monsters to the Earth. In the game, it says it does this using a "strong energy field". This seems to suggest they're being summoned to earth and the energy field is protecting them from the adverse effects of the atmosphere. They seem to also handle hitting the ground from space just fine too, which seems to support the idea of them being protected by the summoning until they land on Earth. As for the livability of the moon, they might be able to survive in a harsher climate than needed for life on Earth, i.e. not as much atmosphere or habitat. I also just double-checked on the game's explanation of Monsters - the Lunar Cry also has the property of transforming earth creatures into monsters, so that could also explain the less alien appearances of things like giant caterpillars and gnats. The current generation of monsters in the game are descended from those that fell/transformed during the last Lunar Cry, so they are apparently able to breed.
That last bit is supported by what monsters you encounter in Esthar at the end of the game, which look very alien. Not to mention a lot of the monsters already on the surface in the first place look pretty alien, too.
Does it bug anyone else that we're given almost no information on Ultimecia's motivations to control all time and space? Sure, there are small hints, like Edea's speech in Galbadia about some sort of condemnation of the sorceresses, but nothing conclusive. It's more than a little insane that a three-disc story driven RPG doesn't even bother to give a concrete motivation for its Big Bad.
It's one of VIII's weakest story points for even fans of the game. That said, a lot of *other* Final Fantasy games don't tell you anything about the Big Bad's motivations either. Hell, Kefka's entire motivation is "Monster Clown" but he's one of the most popular Big Bad villains in the series.
Three words: Jigsaw Puzzle Plot. (For the record, I'm for the "Ultimecia is Alternative Future Rinoa" theory.)
TheOnionKnight came up with a very good explanation; see it here, under the section titled "An Ultimecian Analysis." That being said, they could have added more details in-game.
For the most part, Final Fantasy villains rarely have complex justifications. Sephiroth/Jenova didn't have much of a justification for his actions at all, for example, beyond simply "kill the Planet and become a god." If Sephiroth can be accepted as a great villain with such simplistic motivations, so can Ultimecia.
The problem isn't that she has a simplistic motivation, it's that she has no obvious motivation except vague hints.
And that separates her from Sephiroth how, exactly? Sephiroth wants to destroy the whole world....for some reason relating to wanting to become a god. Ultimecia wants to rewrite reality....for some reason pertaining to becoming a god. Hell, Kefka of all people wanted to destroy the world for no reason except because. There's not much of a difference.
See the squiggly lines in Sephiroth's speech bubbles every time he talks? They're not just flavor text. He was originally searching for the 'Promised Land' that would grant boundless happiness, since he thought he was the descendant of an Ancient. Scratching out that option, he decides to meld with the Planet by crashing a meteor into the face of the earth, causing the planet to expend most of its energy to heal it. He'd be there absorbing the energy and becoming a god. He explains it. Jenova first started out infecting the Ancients from long ago with a virus that mutated them into monsters, and while there isn't an explanation given for why, we have up to that point given by the Icicle Inn tapes. The difference between Sephiroth (or Jenova) and Ultimecia is that the person that if it isn't an evil person going in to some depth of their plan, the other person could plausibly explain the bad guy's motive doesn't simply say "it doesn't matter why, let's keep going". Might as well have a giant hand come up right then and give everyone a middle finger.
See the squiggly lines in Ultimecia's speech bubbles everytime she talks? They're not just flavor text. She is a vengeful, violent, psychotic entity who wants to pay back people for persecuting Sorceresses, and btw will become a god over a new universe after compressing time. She says this very clearly and distinctly. It is very obvious what she wants and why she's doing it, if you play the game. And I can't help but note that you didn't provide any actual reason why Sephiroth did what he did. No reason is ever presented for why he is trying to destroy the world beyond the fact that he wants to become a god. If Jenova is controlling him, then why is Jenova trying to become a god? No explanation for this is ever given in the main game, beyond...well, vague and unclear hints. Sephiroth's motivations for most of what he did are unclear, beyond obviously going mad and desiring power.
For some people (This Troper included, admittedly), the prospect of becoming a god doesn't need a motivation. Why you want to become infinitely powerful doesn't need to be explained, because the answer to the question is "to be infinitely powerful". It's a motivation in and of itself.
This troper actually thought Ultimecia was one of the better (if not the best) FF villians in terms of backstory and motivation. The only unfortunate part being you had to go back and replay the game before anything that Edea/Ultimecia said made sense. Suddenly the talk about the blood-thirsty sorceress from your nightmares makes sense once you consider the events of the game would likely end up in the historical record and people would be on the look out for "Ultimecia". This coupled with the already unfavorable opinion of sorceresses (see Adel's reign and Rinoa's fear that everyone will hate her after she becomes one) it may have escalated it to a near witch hunt. After a bit, some sorceress finally snapped and said "Fuck it, you want Ultimecia? I'll give you Ultimecia." Cue Time Warp.
Ultimecia is better appreciated as a villain when you DON'T try to read too much into it for things that aren't given. That she isn't vividly described or set up as the 'prime evil' is THE POINT. This ties directly into the ambiguity of good/evil, which is a recurring theme brought up by Squall in much of his internal dialog. In the end, why Ulty is doing what she does, who she is and why, is all irrelevant. She is the enemy, and SeeD has a mission to accomplish. It isn't supposed to be satisfying, it is supposed to be bittersweet and leave the reader to question why the approach is necessary. Selphie comments on this in her journal, where she actually sympathizes with Ulty's situation. No fanfiction of Ultimecia's past required. She's good as-is.
Also, as the Ultimania points out, not only are her motivations strongly connected to Greek dramas, but its even used again in the very next game, as well as it not bieng the first game in the series to use this. When Ulti came to power, there was a prophesy that she was to be killed by a 'Legedary SeeD'. The concept of death [Not just death, but CERTAIN death] scares the wits out of Ulti, being the only thing she can't nuke with magic to stop. She desires Time Compression because if she does stop the flow of time, her future will never come to pass. I'm not sure who gave this prophecy, but it's a big deal i guess. Time waits for no man, or sorceress either. The only way for her to stop the future is to effectively stop time itself. There is another point that being a sorceress, apparently everyone knew she was going to be an deicidal jerk, so they treated her like how you would treat her - by trying to lop her friggin' head off for things she was going to do. She hadn't even done them yet. Lastly, this fear of mortality was the crux of the big bad of the third game, when a sorcerer was given mortality as a gift and he wigged out on the world. Secondly, its why Kuja from the game right after this one went psycho. He was always a little psycho, but when he finds out that he is mortal, he freaks out and tries to blow up the world. The only difference between Kuja and Ulti is that we see in-game Kuja's reaction, where Ulti's reaction is backstory. So Ulti wasn't the first to start this pattern, and damn well wasn't the last either.
Ultimecia pretty much explains her motivations during her final form: as Steve Miller put it, time keeps on slippin' into the future. Time keeps taking everything away, including innocence. That was, after all, the whole point of Squall's storyline, that he can't get over the fact that he had an idyllic past with his "sis" taken from him. Ellone too actively tried to time travel and stop the past from changing. The game itself is based on WWII, which was a pretty sobering point for human history, a collective end of innocence. On board the Ragnarok, Rinoa states she wishes time would freeze, because she knows that when it lands the harsh flow of time will take everything away from her, a bit like Star Trek: Generations. Ultimecia, like Malcolm McDowell's character, wants time to freeze so she can stop it from changing. We don't know specifically the circumstances that caused her to want to stop time (probably because SeeD is destined to kill her and she's understandably keen to avoid that) or what idyllic period in her life she's hoping to return, but her motivation is solid, because it's the same motivation as the other main characters. To be fair, this is a bit of Creator Provincialism. The Japanese have a much stronger Buddhist tradition, whereas the US's idea of Buddhism mainly consists of "that's the one with karma and the fat guy, right?" I'd be willing to bet that the creators expected the Japanese audience to pick up Impermanence as a motivation in the same way a US audience would pick up "I want to go to Heaven when I die." We don't need a breakdown of what that entails because it's surrounded us our whole lives.
Not to mention being prophesied to die/be defeated at the hands of a SeeD. Like many people, Ultimecia probably doesn't relish the idea of death, giving up all her power. Especially in stories, the ultra-powerful go to unusual lengths to prevent themselves from dying. What better way to prevent herself from being killed than by rewriting all of time herself (gaining all the power that comes with it as well.
Another theory comes from the White See D bodies you see scattered around the front of the castle. Ultimecia wasn't just trying to initiate Time Compression to become infinitely powerful, she was performing a Desperation Attack, as her castle was under siege.
Edea's New Era Speech
And speaking of that speech... Edea insults the crowd by calling them wretches and lowlives, says that she will be their new tyrannical ruler, and kills the President in front of the entire crowd. And not only do they not react, they cheer massively. Even if the President was hugely unpopular, I don't think you can kill a head of state and still get a parade in your honor. Even if she forced it to go ahead, you'd think the crowd would nervously back off. What the hell?
Two things - one, the guy wasn't popular and a lot of people wanted him dead. Second, this was a military dictatorship - it seems like the entire city thrived on coups and parades, so switching one for another wouldn't upset anyone. Third, the game mentions more than once that sorceresses can use mind control. Talking to the NPCs while she is in power has them absolutely in love with her, but going back to Deling City after Ultimecia has switched hosts shows NPCs that are puzzled and confused - I always took that to assume she hypnotized the crowd.
Mind Control, pretty much. You get a scene of her doing the same sort of thing to Seifer not too much earlier, and some of the NPCs mention the Sorceress is supposed to have mysterious powers over peoples' minds. I always figured that the crowd's unnatural reaction to that moment was supposed to be an obvious indicator that she was mind-controlling them with her powers.
Yeah, it's fairly obvious it's mind control, considering that prior to that scene it has been both clearly stated and shown that Edea has mind control powers. I'm more bothered by the fact that people somehow missed this.
I checked the script, and the closest thing I could find to any sort of statement was "The sorceress creates fear among people." Not exactly an indication of mind-control. As for the example of this power, all she did was make Rinoa follow her like a listless zombie. There's a pretty big jump between zombifying one teenage girl and making an entire city of people act like normal parade-goers (except for ignoring the whole killing the President thing). Since more than a few people where confused by this scene, it wasn't as obvious as it should have been.
It's not just Rinoa, there's several other examples above, such as Seifer and the citizens of Deling that all comment on not knowing why they followed her. I believe the encyclopedia entry on Sorceresses was where the direct word "mind control" comes from (I'll check on my own copy later, if someone doesn't beat me to it), but this is also supported by events in the game.
The scene with Seifer was quite obviously mind control. The events revolving around the crowd should have been an obvious extension of the same thing.
Edea's mind control seems to be less "direct mind control" and more "amplifying chosen emotions." Seifer is confused about his current path in life, and wants to be a sorceress's knight. The citizens of Deling City are already in full parade mode, cheering and such before Edea begins insulting them and killing off President Deling. As for Rinoa, she's troubled and worried that she can't do anything to help. In all three cases, Edea manipulates their current emotional state rather than attempting to completely alter it.
That makes sense. To me, Seifer's defection was odd but was in character for an impulsive glory-hound, so I never really understood the "It's mind-control, DUH!" explaination. Having her manipulate his feelings makes Edea controlling him and Seifer being Seifer both possible. It also explains why a mind-controlling sorceress couldn't just gain control of Squall as soon as he got close.
However it also raises the question why would she insult the crowd in that speech if she knew they won't be affected by it in the least.
Because she can. It's a chance to express her feelings.
I thought she just wasn't speaking into the microphone? She possesses the President- it was surreal.
It's revealed in the Ultimania that Edea/Ultimecia used a 'Fascination' spell over the whole crowd. Why, i don't know. I assume its because it would piss you off if you hired a bunch of jester-dancers and taught them the dance from Thriller and nobody showed up.
Having just replayed the game... Immediately after Irvine joins the party and you get sent to the world map, return to Galbadia Garden. There's a female NPC next to one of the classrooms that tells you that she heard a rumor that the sorceress can control minds. So yeah, it's mind control.
The Adel Problem
Okay, so there's the sorceress Adel. She's causing all sorts of trouble. They manage to seal her in a high-tech containment device. Not as good as killing her outright, but a good start if that's all you can manage. Then they shoot her into space. Hey, that's some good thinking, get her off-planet so it's harder for her to break free and return. Now if you're going to shoot the Sealed Evil in a Can into space, you've got two options: (1) Put her into orbit, at which point you need to deploy a space station and an observation team that seems to exist solely for the purpose of making sure that nobody spacewalks up to the device and releases the lock, or (2) fling her into deep space (or maybe the sun) thus removing her from the equation permanently. Why would anyone in their right mind choose the first option?
Deja vu, I just addressed this on the main page. It's implied that sorceresses don't die until they pass on their powers, hence why they don't just seal her and put a cap in her. From the way Ultimecia can wreak havoc by passing on her power and spirit, it seems that the only surefire way to stop a Sorceress is to stop her power entirely, hence the need to seal them. Also, as easy as it is to suggest flinging her into the sun, that's obviously not practical with their technology since they can just barely get things into orbit, let alone successfully break orbit reliably and send things permanently into space. It's not even easy to just chuck things into space with * our* technology, and there's a lot of logistics involved to make sure they don't come crashing back to earth again in random places with no ability to stop them (or monitor them). Despite having basic space tech in the world of FF8, it still appears to be at the same level as ours. There's a reason nobody in real life just tosses things like garbage balls or nuclear waste out there every time we send up a rocket, probe, or space shuttle.
Also, they may have been holding onto her for research purposes. That and they can't guarantee she won't possibly escape again if they fling her into deep space. Sorceresses appear to have teleportation powers, after all. Keeping her in orbit where they can keep an eye on her is the safest bet, because who in their right mind would release her?
Their technology is "at the same level as ours"? Then where are our space ships like the Ragnarok? Where's our "shoot people into space" cannon? Where are our huge space stations, capable of holding a nigh-omnipotent being indefinitely? Where are our whole-city-hiding cloaking devices? If anything, Esthar's tech level is well beyond ours.
Space tech is still roughly around ours - we cannot send living things into deep space successfully and we even struggle to get small satellites out there. Esthar's space tech appears to be around the same level as well - the only space station they have orbits the planet, Adel's Tomb has to be * gigantic* to keep her in orbit, and there has been no interplanetary travel. Reading through the backstory again, the Ragnarok (along with two others) were actually commissioned to study putting the Sorceress into deep space and monitoring her. Since none of them succeeded and there's a monster infestation on the one you do find, it's safe to say that no, they can't send her into deep space successfully with their level of technology and they probably stopped trying to do it after losing three ships with no explanation. The Ragnarok is obviously not very far from Earth considering how slowly two humans can move in space and still find it and how quickly they find Earth again despite the ship moving rather slowly itself, so it would appear that the Propogators aren't terribly far from the planet before they can get inside a spacecraft and eat the crew.
They're way more advanced. We don't have giant spacestations or reusable spaceplanes that can attain escape velocity on its own. The only probelm is that FF VIII cosmology probably isn't similar to our own, what with all the space monsters and crazy lunar tide-based monster ejaculations. Interplanetary space is probably full of horrible scaly things with big teeth which eat people.
The seal might have needed to be maintained. We know that they were inspecting it at the time of the game. Who's to say that it didn't need to be refuelled, or that parts of it needed to be replaced repeatedly, or whatnot? There's also evidence that it's not 100% effective, as Adel is jamming signals. Plus the fact that it needs to keep her alive. Launching it out into the depths of space gives way to many ways for things to go wrong. As has been said, it really was much safer to keep her close enough that she could be watched over.
Here's what bugs me about Adel...why does she look like a freaking MAN?
Go find a pic of a female bodybuilder. They usually have a frame more associated with a man (with a thinner core/waist and slightly bigger hips because of bone structure, most of the time), because their breasts (though some get implants) and the fat on their hips disappears, while they build up their chest, shoulders and neck. The answer is that Adel looks like a man because she is insanely muscular. WHY she is insanely muscular is a point of interest, like her giant size. We can probably assume that her great magical power caused both of these things. It's interesting/strange that Adel has this figure when other powerful sorceresses like Edea, Ultimecia and Rinoa do not, but maybe the answer is she used her magic to make herself look like that because she wanted to. It is a very imposing figure, and hints at her power, though it's not what most people would think of as attractive (then again, as I pointed out, female body builders disregard this all the time).
Why can't we simplify things and assume she's muscular because A) she works out B) she likes looking that way?
Adel does not have the figure of a female bodybuilder, she has the figure of a man, because she is a man. Adel is referred to in the feminine because Sorceresses are referred to in the feminine. The game never mentions sorcerers, only Sorceresses, and the issue doesn't exist in Japanese.
...please elaborate? Are you saying that in the Japanese, the game never actually specifies that sorceresses are Always Female and that's an invention of the English translation? I've never heard anything to that effect before now, and there are some elements of the game (such as sorceresses also being called "witches" a la the "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" Significant Anagram and Adel's soldiers specifically kidnapping little girls to find her a successor) that seem to contradict it.
I mean because of the Japanese language; it's gender neutral. The English version (for some reason) refers to Adel as a she, but Japanese doesn't have a feminine pronoun, only a general-purpose "it". When it's attached to a name, "Sorceress" is only used (in either version) as a title. Having looked it up, the idea that only women can receive Sorceress powers is anecdotal at best. Ultimecia was kidnapping girls to find a successor, but her knowledge was coming a thousand years after Adel's death; he may very well have been the only male Sorceress, or he may have simply changed his body with his magic. Either way, only the English version ever calls him a 'she', and he is, very obviously, male-bodied.
Which doesn't mean anything at all. What you're essentially saying is that the Japanese version is neutral, whereas the English version assigns an obvious gender. Since FFVIII had a good localization and translation, I think it is safe to say that the gender of the Sorceresses was properly translated, especially considering every other Sorceress in the entire game is female or feminine in general, and the information menu explicitly says Sorceresses are female.
Yeah. Adel does have a masculine body model, but she's also purple and at least twice the size of any of the people around her, so I hesitate to assign too much significance to body model in this case.
Close, but no donut.The English version assigns gender, not sex. There's a difference. Sorceresses are referred to in the feminine and the information menu is the anecdotal evidence. Adel is absolutely male-bodied; that male body is giant and purple, but it's still irrefutably masculine. That also doesn't necessarily make Adel not-female, either, it just makes her transgendered.
That sorceresses are always women is supported by the Ultimania guide, which defines sorceresses as: "women who are said to have received their powers from the old god, Hyne." This is, of course, a translation, but one that would be working from an actual noun rather than an implied pronoun.
It's possible that male sorceresses are rare enough that they're expected to take on a female identity, rather than differentiate. Sorceress powers (and FFVIII in general, I should note) have a strong matriarchal/motherhood theme. I always read Adel as being a transwoman, myself. Either way, Adel is pretty clearly an exception to most Sorceress rules anyway; giving her a hard and label outside of "Sorceress" is probably an exercise in futility.
I beg your pardon? "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" is a nonsensical phrase. How is it a Significant Anagram? If you can tell me the un-anagramed phrase, that'd be nice. Also, it may have been a while since I've played the game, but where is it said that Adel's soldiers were looking for a successor? As far as I know, she was hale and hearty. There was no need for a successor. I thought Doctor Odine had Ellone kidnapped so he could study her power.
"Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" is an anagram of the Arc Words "Succession of Witches" (also the title of one of the tracks on the soundtrack) and the word "Love." It's stated in Winhill during Laguna's flashback, and possibly also in other background information, that Ellone and other girls were originally kidnapped in order to find a potential successor for Adel, which is presumably how Odine found out about Ellone's power in the first place.
Huh. I never noticed that before. Learn something new every day I suppose. And the point that I should have made is WHY were they searching for a successor? Like I said, she was hale and hearty. There wasn't a need for one, at least in my opinion.
That, unfortunately, is never established. Just that they were, for whatever reason.
It is entirely possible that Adel was insane. Sane people don't lead countries on plots of global conquest. Or maybe she just wanted an heir "just in case." She may have also been plotting some kind of mind-transferrence in case her body got too old and died. Esthar seems to have the technology base that could support such a plan.
It's also possible that her health was suffering in some way, it's just not physically obvious.
Or maybe her being huge and purple isn't a good thing for her? As for male-vs.-female-bodied, we never saw what was under the trunk. The difference between "gender" and "sex" were less well-known back in the 90's (and still a foreign concept to many today). I'm going with "Adel is a big, purple woman-bodied person" on the basis of the creators and NPCs meaning "only women can be sorceresses." If Adel is anything other than just a muscular, masculine woman (and some women are built like men), s/he's an FTM transgender. (This Troper's opinion, anyway.)
She can't have been a woman. Broad shoulders, narrow hips, masculine muscle tone, masculine facial and body structure aside— and we know those are all masculine and not just manly-for-a-woman, this is Tetsuya Normua we're talking about and his idea of gender ambiguity runs in particular lines— aside? They didn't edit on any clothes to cover her otherwise bare-but-tattooed chest for the American release, and there is no way in Hell a big half-naked woman with a smaller, delicate, more feminine woman sticking out of her torso would have gotten past the Moral Guardians of the 90's.
She is a woman. The game explicitly says she is a woman. The game explicitly says that Sorceresses are women. She's an extremely masculine woman, likely a result of freakish use of magic and/or advanced Estharian technology to make her look like something that doesn't resemble a woman, but Adel is female and is repeatedly referred to as female by every character in the game.
I don't think the character design can be taken as the be-all and end-all. Look at Queen Brahne in FFIX, who's pretty mannish-looking. And the first time I played it took quite a while before I was sure Kuja was male.
How The Draw System Works
The Draw system. I'm not really knocking it; I thought it was fairly neat to be able to steal magic charges off of enemies. But...how? How in the hell does it work? Should the MST3K Mantra just be applied?
It looks like its some form of magical sensory power; if you're familiar with the magic contrained within an enemy, you can sense it and use the power of a Guardian Force to "draw" it out. Like any other power granted by a GF, it appears to be a, well, GF-specific ability you can gain for yourself, just like magic or summoning.
Magic in final fantasy is from memories. People gain the memories of how to perform magic, through complex means, normally by stealing or learning it from magical organisms which inhabit the planet (some, like sorcerers, are magical organism). You then rip those memories out of them, with the aid of gf, which are magical beings created by the legends of humans, and their beliefs. Some magics also leak out from inside the earth, where there's a giant crystal which contains the memories of all those who have died- in ff7 the leakage is spheres, 8 draw points, 9 mist, 10 those fireflies and speheres. This is a strong theme across the ff 7-10.
Not quite, at least in FFVIII. You don't need a GF to use para-magic, as its a skill that can be taught to anyone. That's why Galbadian soldiers can use magic without equipping a GF. Guardian Forces allow a caster to use paramagic, but they're not the only method.
The only direct connection made between magic and memories in FFVIII is that junctioning Guardian Forces erodes memories, and that's described as happening specifically because they occupy the same space in the brain. While memory is a recurring theme in Final Fantasy, saying that it's integral to each game's magic system is Fanon at best.
The memories as magic theory fits into the model for Vancian Magic. Rather than having spellcasters draw from a pool of magical energy to fuel spells as they need them, spellcasters simply know how to cast a certain spell a certain number of times a day, and once they cast it they literally cannot recall how they did so nor replicate the feat until they reacquire the knowledge to cast it. Perhaps by ripping that knowledge right out of a monster's head. Fanon, but compelling.
I was under the impression that monsters/Sorceresses/nature (i.e. draw points) generate magic spells from their bodies. Since humans can't do that naturally, they use Para-magic to "suck" spells out of these things. The VancianMagic is just from "whatever makes para-magic works" labeling and organizing those spells into "bullets"
The Missile Base Team's Survival
When you split up into two teams, and Selphie's apparently dies. There's a lot of "Are you sure?" when choosing who goes on her team, so that when the base explodes you think "Holy shit, this game just gave me a huge amount of responsibility for how the story goes!" The fact that it actually didn't isn't surprising; the problem is that it pretends like it might have, and then undoes this in the most offhanded, tacked-on way possible. ("We hid in the tank! For some reason they decided to use the tank on you without checking who was hiding in/piloting it!") I honestly think her team was supposed to die at some point in design and they chickened out.
("We hid in the tank! For some reason they decided to use the tank on you without checking who was hiding in/piloting it!") Yeah, its not like they had Galbadian uniforms or anything that could hide their identity. Oh... wait.
So if they were hiding in it/piloting it the whole time, why didn't they stop the fucking tank?
They were trying to. Selphie's blog notes that they were basically hammering every button they could in an effort to stop the tank from firing, but that just made things worse, as none of them knew what controlled the tank, and it was running on autopilot.
Not having access to a copy of the game, that just begs the question, "Why didn't they just come out and help fight the stupid thing?" or "If she could ruin a missile guidance system, what stopped Selphie from disabling the autopilot in the first place?" , aside from the problem of not being able to have more than three party members at a time. It's a flimsy explanation at best; why allow a crew into a tank, then put it on autopilot with the crew sealed inside it?
Keep in mind, they got into the tank seconds before the base blew up around them. Odds are, they were roughed up a bit when the explosion happened. Even though the thing survived, it still would have shaken them like rag dolls. They might not have been able to get out for a while. As for why they didn't hop out later, while Squall's party was fighting it, I like to believe that until it was thoroughly scrapped, they couldn't get out. Like, the explosion melted the hatch shut, and Squall and his party managed to slice it open during the beat-down.
That just raises FURTHER questions! Even if you assume your party is doing the levels of damage the animations suggest (running around the planet is the one that comes to mind first) and could slice open a molten tank, how did they not completely crush the tank with the missile crew in it? If not, then why didn't the crew die from being boiled alive inside it, which is probably what would happen if the hatch had been exposed to enough heat to melt and seal shut? If not, then what was stopping the missile team from getting out? What kind of idiot puts locks on a crewed land vehicle that can't be opened from the inside in an emergency?
If you're inside the tank, you've got a better chance of disabling it by virtue of the fact that you're already inside the damn thing in the first place. As for Selphie ruining the missile guidance system, you did remember how they did that, right? They put in a passcode and fiddled with a couple of settings that essentially just altered the accuracy of the missiles' targeting. They didn't actually do anything terribly complicated.
Yeah, but that just means Galbadia's tanks have no reason to be any more complicated than that.
Based on what, exactly? Have you ever been inside a tank? Do you realize how complex such a device is? This isn't typing in a probability value on a console, which is exactly what Selphie did. This is moving and operating a very complex war machine made up of literally hundreds of thousands of components. Tankers spend years training in how to operate their vehicle.
Um, maybe the fact that a missile guidance system probably shouldn't have an "Okay, please fuck up EXACTLY THIS MUCH" slider? Real world tanks: totally complicated. Galbadian military technology? Includes a fuck-up button. There's no reason to think their tanks are any more complicated than their missile guidance systems, especially since that tank was not supposed to be crewed in the first place.
No, its not a "fuck up" button. Its an accuracy value. Real-life missile systems use them to determine missile spread and saturation. Selphie simply adjusted the accuracy value to maximize the area of bombardment. That's vastly less complicated than operating a land combat vehicle. Yes, there is a reason to think the tanks are more complicated, because they are more complicated than going up to a console and adjusting a slider on a display. And yes, the tank was supposed to crewed. Did you miss the fact that there is actual dialogue from the tank's crewmen while you're fighting it? If the tank wasn't meant to be crewed, why would anyone even be able to climb inside and operate it in the first place?
I haven't played it in a long while, but I distinctly remember "ERROR RATIO" being the label on that machine. It would make more sense if it was the way you describe it, but it wasn't. As to the tank's crewmen: wouldn't that have been the Missile Base team? I admit I'm hazy on the end of that fight, but I don't remember anyone else climbing out of it alive, or anyone mentioning the rest of a dead tank crew.
No, they were clearly labeled as Galbadian soldiers. And yes, "error ratio" is just a fancy word for accuracy value. Adjusting the error ratio all the way up increases the spread of the bombardment. Tightening the error ratio increases concentration of bombardment.
Then how did Selphie and co. survive, and the crew didn't? The obvious answer would be "Because they're SeeDs and much more powerful than Galbadian regular soldiers", but if that's the case, then why not force the Galbadian tank crew to stop the tank? In the end, it's basically a plot hole.
The crew abandoned the tank. You can kind of tell, because the crew runs out and you fight them. Its really hard to force someone to stop operating the tank when they're already outside the tank and subsequently getting the crap kicked out of them.
Okay, obviously I wasn't clear just now: they abandon the tank because it's being damaged and they won't survive if it explodes, right? Why didn't Selphie and co. force them to stop the tank before that point? If the order was to evacuate the tank, why didn't the missile base team go with them (or why did the Galbadian soldiers leave them behind?), which brings it back to the original question: how did they survive? If they were tough enough to survive the tank exploding if the actual crew weren't, why not just overpower the crew and force them to stop the tank in the first place? If they couldn't stop the crew, then how were they tough enough to survive the explosion?
I think you're extremely confused as to the order of events, so let's go back to the beginning. Selphie's team fights the tank. They damage it enough that the tank's crew abandons it and Selphie's team defeats them. Then, when the missile base is about to explode, they take cover inside the damaged tank, which shields them from the blast. At that point, more Galbadian soldiers show up and surround the tank. Selphie's team presumably use their pilfered uniforms to pretend to be Galbadian troops operating the tank so they aren't captured again. They probably know enough about piloting the tank to keep it moving and pointed in the right direction, but not how to operate it in combat. The Galbadians move the tank out of the base and put it on their ships to attack Fisherman's Horizon. When it arrives, somehow some sort of automated combat routine or autopilot starts up. Maybe they pressed the wrong button; IIRC there were regular Galbadian troops with the tank and it starts shooting them first, so it is likely they were trying to help and then the tank went out of control. Regardless, the tank starts attacking on its own, and they're trying to stop it, right until Squall's team disables the tank externally. Then they emerge from the tank. Does that make sense?
There was no "chickening out." They were trying, clearly, to make you think they'd died. Just like nearly every other implied death scene in all of fiction.
Not to mention that all the "Are You Sure" messages are the game basically telling you "You won't be using these people for a long time." Wish they'd done something like that at Disc 4...
Something that struck me as odd; the GF summons monster Quetzacoatl looks more like a Thunderbird, while the GF Leviathan looks more like the traditional Quetzacoatl (winged serpent) of the Aztec religion.
Heh...you're right. Maybe it's because Leviathan always looks like that in the Final Fantasy series and they couldn't have two summons looking exactly the same?
Who got the brilliant idea to call the hero Squall? I'm not sure about the vernacular where you live, dear tropers, but here, "Squall" is a verb - meaning the loud crying of babies and small children. It's usually used derisively ("Stop squalling like that - you're ten years old") and connotes annoyance. I would have been completely unable to take this character seriously, had I not given him the picked-out-of-a-hat name of "Jacob" - and I never rename characters.
You're not familiar with the small, violent storms called "squalls"? Which of course kept the Theme Naming of his mother (Raine), his father (Laguna), and of course let's not forget there was already a hero named Cloud in the previous game. I mean, seriously, that's the most common definition of the word "Squall". Besides, the expression "squalling" is probably derived from the weather term anyway.
The whole weather thing is also something of a running theme with the names of FF protagonists. Cloud, Squall, Tidus, Lightning...
A helpful wikipedia link. Weather terminology also fits, considering his mother's name is Raine, and there's also his father Laguna.
Yeah, the nautical usage is definitely what they were going for. I'd just like to add that I've never heard the verb usage of "squall," and I'd hardly say it's anything like a common usage. It's not a common word in the first place, anyway.
... Wow. No, I had never heard it used as a weather-related term before - I thought that was the only meaning of it. That suddenly makes a whole lot more sense, haha. (By the way, those of you who are saying it's not common usage - come to the Southern US where I live, and go out to wal-mart where there's a lot of crying children. You'll hear it used that way about every 30 seconds or so. I guess common usage must be one of those things that varies like crazy depending on where you live.)
I actually grew up in the Southern US myself and only heard of it used to describe storms - maybe it's more regional than that?
It must be a highly regional thing; I'm also from the Southern US, and while I was aware of both uses of the word, I can't think of a time I've heard the verb form used in casual conversation. It was fairly evident to me right off that Squall was named for the nautical term. Particularly since in the next game, there's a Shout-Out line that says "No cloud, no squall shall hinder us."
I live in Central Canada, and the usage of "squall" as a verb/adjective never even occurred to me when I first saw the name. Hell, it didn't occur to me until reading this topic. Which is strange, because I'm well aware of both uses of the word.
This will need to be confirmed by someone who actually speaks Japanese, but surely Squall and the name of the company that created him (Square) are pronounced in a fairly similar fashion in Japanese? Just an interesting fact (if it is indeed true) that I haven't seen noted elsewhere...
No moreso than in English, really - maybe even a bit less less. "Squall" is written "スコール," pronounced sukōru; "Square" is written "スクウェア," pronounced (more or less) sukū-ea. The only real similarity is in the first syllable.
Character-Custom Triple Triad Cards
The only thing that bugs me about this game is that Squall/Zell/Selphie etc have their own Triple Triad Cards that are designated as "special" and are one of a kind - before they even graduate SeeD. They're just regular people really.
Only Quistis and Zell's cards are available before graduation, and Quistis is already a SeeD. The people that own them are a Quistis fanboy and Zell's mom, respectively. Selphie's card is all the way in Trabia and held by her friend, while Squall is held by Laguna. It's possible that the reason some cards are unique is because you can create you own cards somehow.
"Just regular people" now? Aside from being major characters, these "regular people" are SeeD candidates - which means that they are, individually, army crushing badasses who wield the elemental forces of reality and can summon demi-gods at will. I wouldn't call that "regular people." And aside from that, when the hell was it ever said a card's power ever reflected a person's "special-ness"?
Yea, and some of the cards depict things nobody in their normal lives should know about. Like, say, Rinoa's dog or Pupu. Actually, that might just be proof that trying to apply real-world logic to a mini-game doesn't work too well.
The existance of such cards is easily explained, they're custom made. That explains their power and why they exist and are almost always carried by someone close to the person in question. Notice how, unlike the other characters, Quistis' entire fanclub carries her card, you can only win one though before the others stop using it. To get Zell's card from his mom you have to have him there, which implies that she's only willing to lose it to him. I wouldn't put it past Rinoa to have a card made of her beloved Angelo. Edea probably got her card from her husband as a gift and may very well have a Cid crd. There are likely other unique cards around that we don't see because we have no interest in them, would anyone actually want the Cid card? Also note that to get cards where there isn't anyone that would care enough to get a card made you have to go and get it made yourself via the Card Queen quest.
I actually thought up a plausable reason for the existance of the Squall card and it's location. Ellone had it made. We see she was hanging out in the Garden up until the night of the SeeD field exam. The next day Squall, Zell and Selphie leave for Timber and a few hours later Seifer goes after them and Quistis follows them. That left her alone in the Garden without any of the people she'd likely want to see. She got bored, made a trip to Balamb and ended up chatting with the Card Queen. The Queen mentioned that her artist brother makes custom cards so Ellone took a boat to Dollet and got cards made of Squall and Laguna, the two people most important to her. After travelling back to the Garde she eventually gets moved onto the White SeeD ship and then goes to Esthar where she is shot up to the Lunar Base. When she gets there she meets her "Uncle Laguna' for the first time in yeras and the two chat. Ellone tells Laguna about his son, Squall, and gives him the card so he'll know what his son looks like. Once Laguna meets Squall in person he doesn't need the card anymore so he's willing to lose it to you.
Interesting theory. I like it.
Btw, why does the Mayor's wife in Fisherman's Horizon have Irvine's card?
Irvine's card is one of the unique cards that the artist father of the Queen of Cards makes thanks to random inspiration provided by the sidequest, rather than being specifically commissioned by someone personally connected to him. Presumably after making the card, the artist then either put it up for sale or began using it games himself, and it found its way to FH and Flo via the normal circulation of Triple Triad cards from game to game.
Squall's Separation Trauma
Okay, I'm gonna bite the bullet and ask this. So Squall lost Ellone when he was five and he was completely heart-broken by it. But how in the christ is it still affecting him so badly thirteen years later? An explaination around this wiki blames the GFs, which prevented Squall from remembering Ellone and thus robbing him of the ability to deal with the issue maturely, but if he forgot the whole thing how can he still be traumatized? Not to mention that even if they gave Squall a GF regularly when he was a small child, the memory loss isn't that fast acting (Selphie got her first at twelve and by seventeen she only forgot roughly the first five years or so), so he should have had at least a few years to grow up and learn to deal with it. I'm just having problems believing that you can be that much of an emotionally-stunted jerk at eighteen when you were hurt at the age of five.
You obviously never had anyone important leave you when you where 5... that shit can stay with you if you never find something to replace it with.
He didn't so much forget the whole thing as it deeply affected him and he forgot the entire cause behind it, leaving only that trauma behind. He knew, somehow, deep down, that people were going to leave him eventually. He doesn't know how or why he knows that, but he knows that as a fact. For him, it's as deep-seated as any other belief instilled at a young age, except the GF won't let him deal with the issue. And GFs do act quickly. Selphie didn't lose just five years of memory, she forgot everything from her past at the orphanage.
Well, Squall says that some of them were at Garden already when they were five, so I'm making the assumption that she might have entered Garden roughly at the same time.
This troper has dealt with teenagers who have repressed memories of their childhoods before, and they can indeed get just as bad as Squall. Admittedly, most of those children had trauma that was worse than Squall's, but they also had it happen to them when they were older. On the other hand, none of them were subjected to a supernatural force that repressed their memories for that long, so that may be the big equalizer here. If the only concrete memory you have from your youth is actually a fuzzy "painful betrayal/abandonment by someone you trusted" then it's going to affect you for a long time, especially if there's no one to help you with your problems, you refuse help with your problems, and you can't even remember the circumstances of that abandonment. It's worth noting also that Squall has a serious pride complex, so it's doubtful that he would ever have actually sought out treatment, and in fact probably refused to believe he had a problem. It's a hallmark of the arrogance of youth that you think you're right and everyone else is wrong, and if you're as proud and stubborn as Squall, you'd likely end up thinking that you're the Only Sane Man.
Plus on top of all that, Ellone was literally the only person in Squall's life because he believed both his parents dead, so that would have made the event all the more traumatic at the time. Add amnesia and see what everyone else said.
Wow, thank you - that's a pretty damn amazing explaination that makes a lot of sense! Dammit, why couldn't the game explain it this nicely?
Some of the problem is the crappy translation - apparently the Japanese script was a lot more direct about some of these plot elements. I've known people who also know Japanese that hated it in English, then later played it in Japanese and suddenly liked it better. Another part of it is that this game tends to expect the player to read between the lines, more than any other game in the series. Which is a reason I like it, but it seems to throw off a lot of other people.
Another issue is that the fan reaction post FFVII was pretty strong. Fans seemed to like the subtle characterizations and the hidden messages and all that bruhahah. So, the writers assumed Viewers Are Geniuses and made a story with even more subtle characterization, even more subtext, and even more hidden meanings. A lot of this stuff is there, you just have to dig down and see it, but a lot of fans... didn't.
GF-Induced Memory Loss
Inspired by the previous question - how in the world did the students not notice the loss of their memories? Headmaster Cid might have reluctantly swept things under the rug because GFs are needed to fight the sorceress, but why didn't the students themselves or their families (if they have one) notice? Squall and the others completely forgot the orphanage, which means they lost at least the first five years of their life, and everyone usually remembers something concrete from that age. Especially since, like Irving, not everyone used a GF early, which should have caused a lot of scenes like the ones at the basketball court - "Don't you remember me/you used to mention your childhood house/I have a photo/etc." Obviously people have noticed enough if there's 'GF Critics', right?
They do. Before it's ever revealed that it actually happens, Selphie and others mention that they think something's happening to their memories, and speculate it may be because of the GF's. Plus, how often do you really talk about things that happened when you were five years old? Those memories usually aren't a common topic of conversation unless you're talking to a shrink or reminiscing with people who you haven't seen since then. Plus, they tend to be fuzzy in the first place, so say someone who hasn't been affected by a GF says to, say, Squall, "Hey, it's me, don't you remember from when we were 4?" and Squall answers, "No, I don't remember ever meeting you." Which is the more likely response of the first guy, "Oh, I must've been mistaken. You look sorta like a guy I knew 13 years ago, my mistake." or "Oh my god, something must have erased your memories!"
Plus, for what it's worth, while you may learn later about memory loss, it's hard to realize you've forgotten something if you're not aware you're forgotten it. Since all of the kids were orphans, they don't have anyone to verify their memory loss - they know they're orphans, and they know who their adopted parents are if they have any, but since nobody around them could remind them of their past before that, it's easy to believe that they would not recall specific details. By the time they reunite, they've experienced the memory loss effects for some time, so they can't rely on each other to fill in the blanks either. They also still have some memories, so it's not a complete blank - Qusitis' feelings towards Squall, Squall losing someone important to him and learning to fend for himself in her place, Seifer calling Zell a chicken wuss, etc. But since they don't remember * why* they know these things, the natural human reaction is to find other reasons that seem plausible (Quistis thinks she's in love, Squall thinks that isolation is the default, Seifer is just a jerk) since they don't recall the truth. In the real world, this is a studied phenomenon - when humans are presented with a chain of events but not given an explanation, they often remember connecting events that were never explained to them. Memory is actually a pretty unreliable record. To be honest, this game might have been able to rely on the fact that this is a real phenomenon, but its just easier to throw in a sci-fi explanation to prevent people from crying "Reality Is Unrealistic !"
That's true, but the problem is we don't exactly know how much they've forgotten - I only said they lost at least five because that was the age Squall left the orphanage. Unless they all left at the age of five and the memory loss all ate up exactly five years of their memory despite probably using GFs at different times, there would be clues that something wasn't right. Not to mention that not remembering anything at the age of five is understandable, but if you can't remember anything from the age of seven, that would be weird. Also, the other Garden students might have families or lifelong friends who would notice the lack of memory. Like I said, if GF critics are openly complaining about memory loss, people must be noticing. There has to be a point where mysterious memory loss cannot be explained by just being a kid at the time. I'm just finding it hard to belive that there's actual critics that the students are aware of, but hardly anyone started thinking, "Hey waitasec..."
Again, you can only be aware of the loss if you're aware of forgetting something. In this case, the affected characters had forgotten that they'd lived in an orphanage together. They were all likely aware of living in orphanages at some point - Squall and Seifer never got adopted, and Selphie, Quistis, Zell, and Irvine's parents would have told them this. But their parents can't tell them what happened before they adopted them. So it's reasonable to think that over time, without seeing each other, they'd forget knowing each other. What memories they did still have, they felt they had a plausible reason for besides "We knew each other while growing up at the same orphanage and the GFs erased our memory of it." If the kids heard the rumor of "GFs might make you lose your memories", they'd still have to have some record of forgetting that existed from their time at the orphanage. And don't forget that the only people who would have been aware of the time in the orphanage were out of reach - Irvine was on another continent, Edea was off turning into Ultimecia, Cid was running the school, and Ellone was being shuttled around the world. They didn't have anyone to remind them - their friends from Garden wouldn't have known them from the orphanage, so they'd only know what they were told by the characters themselves - who might not have brought up the orphanage at all since most of them had families they'd probably talk about first and two of them are too anti-social or prideful to talk about growing up in an orphanage anyway. So if they heard "GFs can cause memory loss", and they've already forgotten the time in the orphanage, they're not going to realize the memory loss covered that. Selphie's diary mentioned she was afraid of what she'd already lost, which confirms that theory.
There's no indication anywhere that Irvine or Selphie were ever adopted. It's explicitly stated (on the information on the study panel) that Garden is basically a giant orphanage. Zell is the odd one out (because he was adopted and still becomes a SeeD), not Squall and Seifer. Which kind of leads to another Just Bugs Me - why would Cid and Edea separate Irvine and Selphie? They were very close as children, and there doesn't seem to be any reason to specifically put those two in the other two Gardens - why not keep them all together, or send Seifer to Trabia and put Selphie and Irvine in Galbadia or something?
There's any number of reasons. They might not have had any precise control over the matter (NORG being in control of the Gardens and all) it could have been beauracracy that resulted in them being shipped to different Gardens, they could have been selected for psychological reasons, or Cid and Edea could have simply not considered it, which is perfectly plausible when you consider that they're hip-deep in building multiple military academies at the same time.
It's not that Garden is an orphanage exactly, it's that there are a lot of orphans from the previous Sorceress War and Garden is a convenient place for them to go. That doesn't mean that all SeeD cadets are orphans, and there's nothing to state that, like Quistis and Zell, Irvine and Selphie weren't adopted and simply ended up joining SeeD for various individual reasons. Note that when the subject comes up, Squall specifically speculates as to why, of all of them, he and Seifer weren't adopted, implying that all of the others were. Selphie and Irvine's experiences with their own adoptions simply never come up, because Selphie has forgotten and Irvine first avoids talking about it and later is more interested in talking about the orphanage days.
I didn't have any problem with it, personally. Maybe my long-term memory just isn't very good, but I don't really remember much from when I was that young. And, as has already been covered, once you've forgotten something, the only way to realize that you've forgotten is to be called upon to remember it. All indications are that the memories eroded by GF use are the older, more distant memories, things that the characters weren't called on to remember. As a result, their memory loss would only be evident to an objective observer, and even then only if they were paying attention to it.
This Troper is 30 year old and can't remember the first half of his life, and as far as I know I never even Touched a Guardian Force so seems like people could forget half their life and not make a big fuss about it.
Another reason why they might no remember easily is because they're spending all their time in a military academy. They're going to be extremely busy. Between the regular education they'll be going through as well as military training, they really aren't going to have a huge amount of time to reminisce. A lot of Garden students would be living in the moment, studying, worrying about friends or tests, mastering this particular combat skillset or that element of espionage training, and so on. They won't have a lot of time to think about their pasts, and anything they do start to think on will already be fuzzy because they're so busy learning new stuff.
The Romance Plot
Okay, am I the only one who was going WTF at Squall falling in love with Rinoa? I don't mean that because I don't like Rinoa (I do), or because I didn't see it coming (hell, it was on the logo), I mean because she spends practically the whole game basically poking him in the ribs saying, "Do you like me yet? Do you like me yet?" and getting in the way of everything he tries to do. I guess this may be a case of Values Dissonance, because it seems like the most desireable quality in a girl is how good she is at getting into trouble so her boyfriend can protect her in a lot of JRPGs, but it seems to me like Squall's attraction to her just came out of nowhere toward the end of the game compared to the amazing snark he can put across and how incredibly annoying it was to have to babysit her (and get punished by the game when the plot makes it so you can't). I don't know about other people, but I think I just about lost my patience for the romance plot right around the piggyback sequence.
It doesn't come out of nowhere. Most of the relationship's development is hidden in subtext and subtlety. There's a ton of little things that indicate Squall is developing feelings for Rinoa, especially during the second disc. And yeah, Rinoa is constantly poking Squall in the ribs and trying to get him to like her. That because Squall's emotional detachment is so strong that the only way to even get to him is to bludgeon your way through his emotional armor. And it works. Quistis tries to be a little bit more subtle, and she completely flies over his head, while Rinoa essentially beats him about the head and shoulders in a furious manner, and it registers with him.
It does come out of nowhere... if you don't put Rinoa in your party. If Rinoa as a character doesn't endear herself to the player within her first few scenes, she won't be available to have much interaction with Squall. When I played the first time, Rinoa showed up and it was just "Oh, great. The obnoxious girl from the party is wearing angel wing motifs and joining my party. Into the reserves you go, 70-hour-long headache." By the time I had any reason to put her on my front lines, she was so far behind my prime lineup it wasn't worth the trouble anymore, and all this deep romance stuff had gone to waste. Technology limits aside, I think I would have rather had a "you didn't have Squall date Rinoa enough" bad ending than the "despite your best efforts, Squall has fallen for Rinoa and will live happily ever after, fuck you" single ending.
Honestly, most of Squall's most significant interaction with Rinoa is plot-required and not skippable. I think it's just player expectations at work - if you're actively playing it as "Squall doesn't like this girl" then you're not looking for subtle cues to the contrary, and since a lot of Squall's characterization is buried in subtle cues and subtext, this can understandably lead to a rude surprise in disc 3.
That statement strikes me as subtlely condescending. I think it would be more accurate to say that the "subtle clues" are something which many players would not expect to look for when one is involving themselves with a romance. Furthermore, there's probably a great deal of Values Dissonance as well, as this is a Japanese story, and Americans have extremely different courtship standards. I, for one, was turned off to the romance at two points in turn: once when Rinoa bugs Squall to escort her during the concert (it's a But Thou Must moment) and second when the two of them have a romantic conversation about Squall's ring . . . while a full-scale war is raging about thirty feet away under THEIR command.
If it came across as condescending then I apologize. I was only trying to say the same thing you just did - that a lot of the indicators in the earlier parts of the game are things that the player is only likely to see if they're looking for them, and that's why some players insist that it's there while others insist it comes out of nowhere, depending on what expectations they had while they were playing.
There's also some of the dialogue options; none of them really matter, but occasionally you'll have places where Squall can respond to other characters in various ways. At various points the player can choose to respond to things that serve no purpose but to give Squall a bit more personality; if the player chooses the antisocial, least-friendly options with Rinoa because they don't like her, there's not much reason for them to bother reading Squall's defensively two-faced issues into it— the player means it, but Squall doesn't. Do it through the whole game and avoid her as much as possible, and Squall's sudden-onset fixation on her comes out of left field.
The sudden shift Squall undergoes on the third disc when Rinoa collapses is actually completely in character. Remember that the last person he actually even cared about in any way, shape, or form was Ellone, and when she disappeared on him, he pretty much collapsed into a massive mental and emotional wreck, and he develops a complex about his physical inability to find Ellone after she disappeared (which is why he has that flashback to when he was a young child promising himself he would become capable enough to take care of himself). The same thing starts happening again with Rinoa, with someone he cares about going away, except in this case, he can do something about it: he's an adult, he's a SeeD, and he controls Garden. Unlike Ellone, he can bring Rinoa back. That's why he goes so far out of his way and to such desperate lengths to save her. And in the process of investing that much emotion into rescuing her, his feelings for her grow that much stronger. It actually all ties together very well, but it is very, very subtle, and like so much else in FFVIII, simply isn't told outright.
Squall's big panic over Rinoa is a lot like his big panic over Zell in the prison. Squall just completely flips out when he thinks he's going to lose someone he's come to care about, he's just not good at expressing his feelings so he seems to jump from 1 to 10 on the caring scale with nothing in between unless you're reading between the lines.
You can actually pick up on this earlier in the game - Squall fixates on Rinoa pretty much since the first time they meet, but he seems to have trouble properly expressing it. When Quistis throws herself at him, his resposnes are to, at most, tell her to buzz off - and the actual response didn't come until after he'd met Rinoa. For everyone else around him, he doesn't bother saying his true feelings at all. For Rinoa, when she keeps bossing him around with her crazy and irresponsible plans, he actually loses his temper and explodes at her. To me, that said that Rinoa could cause a genuine emotional response of that strength from Squall when other people around him couldn't.
I like this interpretation. One of the things I liked about FFVIII is how very badly damaged some of these people are. Squall obsessing over saving Rinoa and basing what is implied to be a long-term love relationship with her off of his failure with Ellone is right up my Freudian alley (in what may be the most uncomfortable metaphor I've ever made, go me).
Note that the major difference between Quistis's early attempts at getting Squall to open up to her and Rinoa's efforts - aside from Rinoa being much more aggressive and persistent - is that when Quistis asks Squall to open up, it's because she's clearly looking for emotional support from him which he is in no way equipped to provide. When Rinoa asks Squall to open up to her, at least after the first instance or so, it's because she's worried about his emotional state - and tells him so, which nobody else has thought to do up to that point, at least not in terms he can understand. Considering that and he previously-mentioned issues re: Ellone, it would be more surprising if he didn't glom onto her.
After Squall's parents died the only two people to care for him were Edea and Ellone. Ellone was taken away by Esthar soldiers when Squall was five and Edea started running the Gardens. So he loses two means of emotional support and then goes off to a military academy for the next 13 years. He's baffled by Rinoa's pushing and prodding because he has incredibly low self-esteem and can't comprehend why she's bothering him. He doesn't understand that she likes him and cares for him because he hasn't had that in so long. There are hints that he's warming to her as early as Disk 2, take the scene with Dr Kadowaki where you can choose to have him say Rinoa is his girlfriend. It's him playing a little joke on her and she's surprised at him being so playful. Him telling her about the ring is another one. He obviously is very proud of the ring and is happy to tell her about it. Rinoa is asking him personal details about himself that nobody has ever done before. He's experiencing something he hasn't felt for years and then bam! She's in a coma and becomes The Lost Lenore. He's made friends with someone who he knows cares about him and suddenly she's taken away from him so he suddenly wants to save her. As for the reverse, Rinoa is probably the perfect girl for him because she is a match to his attitude. If he tries to cut himself off emotionally from everyone, she won't let him do that and will help keep him grounded.
Since the opening cinematic seems to heavily hint at a romantic plot...I guess...I'll put this here. Why in the name of Ultimecia is the word "waiting" in quotation marks? Is it trying to be sarcastic? Was it just a typo that they forgot to take out? Is it some kind of Japanese punctuation fetish? I know I'm kind of whining here, but it just bugs the hell out of me.
"Waiting" is probably referencing the dream that Rinoa had, and that if they were lost, Squall would "wait" there for her in case they became separated.
That's clearly the case, but even so there's no grammatical reason for the word to be in quotation marks. My guess is that it's a case of using them for emphasis, possibly carried over from the Japanese.
My personal thought on the matter is that it was meant to be a metaphoric statement - for instance, I'll wait for you physically at the train station I predicted you'll arrive at, and while there I will "wait" for you to know that you love me. Neither of the two are actually waiting - their lives are forcing them to do the exact opposite. But at least one of them, and I always took it to be Rinoa, was "waiting" for the other, there, in that emotional place.
I also had the same problem with the "Squall loves Rinoa" thing coming out of nowhere- a friend told me to keep her in my party as often as I could, cos then it'd be developed. I disliked Rinoa at first, because I couldn't understand where the love thing came in. Once I'd kept her in the party, it became a lot clearer. But if you haven't had her in the party, it really does come from nowhere at all. I love this game, but it's not really made clear that you need to keep her in there with Squall to get the whole story.
Selphie's Magical Abilities, Sorceress Powers, Et Al
Selphie's the most powerful magic user in the entire Final Fantasy universe (based on her limit break of The End, which kills anything, always). Her limit break is also magic-based, like Rinoa's Angel Wings, but, unlike Angel Wings, it is not limited to magic she has stocked (Angel Wings doesn't use up this stock, but Rinoa won't use any spells she doesn't have). Edea also states that she takes Ultimecia's power since she's afraid one of the children will become a sorceress. Selphie seems a much better candidate for sorceress powers than Rinoa, so why would Edea powers jump to Rinoa instead? It only really makes sense if you don't include Selphie in the Galbadia Garden invasion party.
No one said Sorceress powers went to people based on their magical abilities, they simply go to people of the appropriate genetic type. Rinoa is capable of housing Sorceress powers because of her heritage, while Selphie isn't.
It's also worth noting that everyone in the party (except Edea and later Rinoa's Angel Wing form) uses para-magic instead of the real magic Sorceresses use, so someone being gifted with using GFs isn't necessarily going to be a Sorceress.
Limit Breaks have absolutely nothing to do with GFs or para-magic. Or rather, Rinoa's does, since her Angel Wing is based on the para-magic she has stocked, but Selphie's doesn't.
Not to mention that Selphie having the powers of a sorceress is just damn terrifying. You can dislike Rinoa all you want, but at least she wouldn't be tempted to sate her violent streak with misuse of god-like power. (Blow it to smithereens with a rocket launcher? How about blow it to smithereens with an ultima?)
What makes you so convinced that Selphie would behave unprofessionally? Aside from that one moment of sarcasm towards a client whom both Zell and Squall agree is incompetent (a minute later, they ask to see their contract, and later, Squall tells Rinoa off), she's arguably the most professional SeeD in the party. She's not hitting on students, revealing classified information, or ticking off clients, after all.
Right. Selphie may act aggressive and be a vicious fighter, but that's not really a bad thing. She's wild but at the same time controlled and professional. She's actually very comparable to modern soldiers, some of whom tend to take quite a bit of pleasure in handling their weapons. Seriously, talk to any soldier after he/she's gotten a chance to unload with a machinegun or fire a missile launcher. Nine times out of ten, they'll be exhilirated. I've personally known soldiers who would make Selphie look calm and rational, but they're still professionals.
It's worth noting that, of all of the party members, Selphie is probably also one of the most straightforward and practical ones. Her suggestion that they just blow up the President's train car is actually pretty smart, especially when compared with the overwhelmingly complex plan the Timber Owls actually came up with.
Blowing up the head of goverenment in a terrorist attack and essentially leaving Galbadia headless isn't exactly going to liberate the conquered cities any faster. If anything, it would lead to political in-fighting among all the government factions —at best, the Galbadian government would have plunged into disorder and nothing would have gotten done; at worst, civil war. That's why the plan was to kidnap him and force him to negotiate. Of course, once the Sorceress took over, Cid realized that leaving her in power was a far, far greater disaster than any consequences from assassinating her, so...
A government wrapped up in political infighting is a government that will have difficulty administrating its occupied territories. Disrupting an already-unpopular government can only help the resistance weaken Galbadian control over Timber.
Or it could result in a pissed-off Galbadian army descending upon Timber in retaliation and reducing it to rubble.
I was the person who made the original comment about Selphie, and I meant that comment more-or-less as a joke. Though I realize now I was kinda unfair to her.
Her suggesting about skinning the Moomba in D-District Prison and wearing its pelt was pretty barbaric though.
On the subject of Selphie and Quistis, am I the only one to notice that they're the only ones whose Limit Breaks have nothing to do with their normal abilities? Rinoa's a sorceress with a dog, while Squall, Zell, and Irvine's Limit Breaks are a Charles Atlas Superpower taken to the point of cutting the sky in half, but Quistis and Selphie are using actual magic despite neither being sorceresses nor having magic stocked. And Selphie is pretty obviously a fair bit more powerful than Rinoa. Outside of Limit Breaks, Magic A Is Magic A, though.
Selphie isn't really more powerful magically than Rinoa. Yes, she's got The End, but it comes up very rarely and usually requires nearly killing the party to trigger. Rinoa's magic stat is consistently higher than Selphie's is at the same level even before she becomes a sorceress, and the gap increases significantly at higher levels. Angel Wing ramps it up even farther, with the added benefit that you can control what range of spells she has to choose from (and thus not end up spamming spells you don't want). Invincible Moon and Wishing Star are nothing to sneeze at either.
Selphie's not the female lead in the romance story.
This. It's Squaresoft! The only magic user who matters is the one with a love interest or The Last Of Her Kind. Rinoa is more or less both.
Just a thought re: why Rinoa was the one to inherit the sorceress powers - 1X years before the game proper, Edea Kramer willingly took a monstrous, insane sorceress from the future into her own mind for the sole reason of keeping that creature the hell away from her kids. She was willing to sacrifice her own sanity if it meant none of her girls would be subjected to that. Fast forward to game-time, and deep down underneath the wacky headdress and oddball makeup and being-possessed-by-some-bitch-from-the-future thing, Sorceress Edea is still Edea Kramer. She may not be able to control her own behavior, but her consciousness is still there. When the party beats her and her powers decide to jump to the next girl in line, she still wants to keep it from happening to the girls she raised, i.e. Quistis and Selphie. She would do anything for her kids, up to and including ruin her own life, and that gives Edea some power to keep the sorceress from passing to them. Rinoa, on the other hand, is a stranger to her and has no such protection. It wasn't so much that the magic chose Rinoa, as it was that it couldn't take Selphie or Quistis and so jumped to the only girl in the vicinity who it could possess.
Zell's Big SEED Giveaway
Back when Seifer is holding the President Deling hostage, Zell blurting out the fact that they're from Garden is portrayed as a Oh Crap moment. It's stupid of him, sure, but who else could it have possibly been? A team of highly-trained teenagers armed with gunblades, the signature weapon of SeeD, are after a guy who broke out of a disciplinary room. I hardly doubt that a group of international teenage mercenaries are mostly unknown to the rest of the world. (And hopefully they're not stupid enough to think they're Timber Owls, considering how incompetent they are.)
Gunblades are not "the signature weapon of SeeD". The fact that you can pass a weapons shop in Dollet that has an entire rack of them says that they're not an uncommon weapon. And while they're teenagers, that doesn't necessarily mean they're members of SeeD. They could easily have been elements of one of the dozens of resistance groups in Timber. Yes, the Timber Owls are incompetent, but that doesn't mean everyone knows they're incompetent.
Don't forget that Cid says "finally, a gunblade specialist" when Squall graduates into SeeD - meaning that at the time, there are no active SeeDs other than Squall who use gunblades. Where would anyone get the idea that it's SeeD's signature weapon when Squall is the only SeeD who uses one?
Also don't forget that Balamb Garden has alumni that leave to do mercenary or military work outside of SeeD, and judging by the number of failures following the Dollet mission, also have a hefty number of washouts. That is not counting the large numbers of teenagers trained by Galbadia Garden specifically for the Galbadian military. There are way more competent, military-trained teenagers in this setting than just SeeDs.
I'd always taken it to be the fact that the team was working covertly. After all, even if Seifer was at the time a rogue SeeD, he was still a part of that group and thus they were responsible for his actions. Let us not forget that he was holding the President hostage. Let's bring this to real-world equivalence here. If a person who dressed as outrageously as Seifer was at the time (note the lack of his uniform), but who had been disciplined by Blackwater PMC, took President Obama hostage; and then a team of their people busted in, also not in uniform, the only positive ID we would have is if someone, say, mouthed off and mentioned their exact training location!
How Laguna Knows About Squall
This actually doesn't bother me so much. Actually this is more of a question asking for some confirmation/discussion on an idea of mine that, rather like most of the game, seems to stem from the subtle hints. On board the Ragnarok it is extremely obvious that both Kiros and Ward know that Squall is Laguna and Raine's son. Then when you talk to Laguna it seems to me that it's fairly obvious he knows it too hence why he wants to talk to him when the battles are over. My question is if this is true how does Laguna know about Squall? I had thought that he might have been present at the birth but I'm almost certain that he wasn't there when Squall was born. Perhaps word got to him of the birth - after all because of the technology at Balamb it would seem that some type of e-mail communication could be possible. Anyone have any ideas about this?
Laguna sent Ellone to the Kramers' orphanage. Ellone was then removed from the orphanage, and its obvious Laguna is in regular contact with Ellone, who was in turn in regular contact with Cid and probably Edea. Ellone obviously knows who Squall is. The math is pretty clear here.
You are correct in this although you did forget one important detail. Laguna did not send Ellone to the orphanage. He sent her back to Winhill and Ellone was there at Squall's birth and also when Raine died as a result of problems arising from giving birth to him. This explains the link. Edea and Cid have nothing to do with it. Ellone is the key. She knows that Squall is their son as she grew up with him since they were both sent to the orphanage because Raine sadly died. Ellone is obviously the person who will have told Laguna, Kiros and Ward about Squall. Again Cid and Edea have nothing to do with it other than probably being the people that got Ellone back in touch with Laguna.
BRB Walking To Esthar
Fisherman's Horizon is a city located in the center of a massive transcontinental bridge. When the party prepares to head for Esthar, they visit it a second time and Squall decides to walk there himself with Rinoa on his back. He walks along half of a bridge that spans two continents. Even more confusingly, when he gets there it turns out that not only is the entire party waiting for him, but they've searched the enire continent for Esthar, too! I understand that the distances aren't realistically proportioned on the main map, but that does not even remotely begin to make any sort of sense.
SeeDs have superhuman strength and endurance through junctions. Squall could have easily lugged Rinoa that far, as long as he has rations (and possibly without depending on how the whole "magically-boosted strength" thing works, he may not even need to stop for food). Also keep in mind, Squall and Co. walked on foot across half a continent to get from the train station to Galbadia Garden after escaping Timber. Also, the team hadn't searched the entire continent; that would be physically impossible, considering the geography of where they were standing. They had only scouted within a few miles of the abandoned train station, through the Salt Flats.
How Squall Survived Edea's Limit Break
I know Death Is Cheap in this game, what with Phoenix Downs, etc. I am also aware that things are far less lethal in games than they would be in real life. But that ice-shard punches clean through Squall's chest, pretty much where his heart and lungs are. The absurdity of his survival is even pointed out by Squall himself. Everyone else just ignores the fact. What Headscratchers is how it's even possible he could've survived that. The rest of Team SeeD are captured and stuck in that desert prison, and it doesn't seem particularly in keeping with their idiom that they'd bother to revive Squall at all. Edea was just too evil at that point (and mind-controlled by Ulty, so she wouldn't have had room for her own compassion and affection for Squall - hell, if that had come through she would never have fought him in the first place), and Seifer's just plain too stupid to accomplish that task himself.
Edeamecia probably healed him so that he could be interrogated regarding the true nature of SeeD. As team leader, he'd be the most likely to have information.
Er... the ice chunk goes through his shoulder. Certainly painful and likely to cause enough of a wound to knock him out (especially since he fell from the float), but hardly life-threatening. See for yourself.◊ Probably didn't hit any vital organs.
Losing an organ is not the only way of dying. That ice chunk had to hit something vital. If Squall got lucky, it pierced trough his lung. No biggie, you can live with only one. If it missed the lung, it would have hit his subclavian artery and he would bleed out before any help arrived. Then again, it's not real life, let's resort to magic!
The wound appears to be clean. As long as the ice spear wasn't removed before someone could step in with healing magic (and Edea is right there, with Seifer right beside her) then there won't be much blood loss.
I stand corrected; however, such a wound would be massively debilitating, yet mere hours later he awakens without so much as a scratch. His own incredulity at that fact tells me it's probably beyond your average Cure/Cura/Curaga spell.
It might be, but then again, this is the Sorceress we're dealing with here. She probably has healing powers well in excess of what might be doable by simple healing para-magic.
The reason there's no clothing damage in the series is because it's usually a lot of work to make one or more extra models for a character to showcase such things. The only time I recall seeing someone with clothing damage is the model for Zack in Crisis Core after he's been shot repeatedly. That was on the PSP, a current-gen (soon to be previous-gen) console. FFVIII was on the PS1, and had a much less refined graphical engine. I know you probably weren't hoping for an answer like that, but there it is.
Not to mention that we don't really know the real in-universe power of stuff like Phoenix Downs or Curaga. There's no evidence that the spells are unable to heal wounds that severe.
And we don't know that Squall emerged "without a scratch". There wasn't a shirtless scene in the game, after all.
....why, exactly, would Seifer be "too stupid" to heal somebody? Seifer's arrogant, aggressive, likely insane, egomaniacal, megalomanical, self-obsessed, and sadistically violent, but he's not a retard, and he's extensively trained, capable of casting healing magic, and a combat veteran. The idea that he's too stupid to understand "hey, this valuable intelligence asset may need some medical attention after getting stabbed through the torso with an ice spear" is patently ridiculous.
Granted. Maybe it's just my general dislike and bias against Seifer that made me post that. Although I would still argue the case that he just plain wouldn't bother to heal Squall, being on opposite sides and everything. Any intel on SeeD that could be obtained from Squall could equally easily be obtained from Quistis, Zell, Irvine or Selphie, thus negating the need to do anything about Squall's injury. And given Ulty's general dislike of SeeD as a whole, she would probably stick her own oar in and say "No, let him die. I'm not letting your own petty rivalries get in the way of my bid for world domination."
Well, that is why it was noted that they kept him and the other SeeDs alive for interrogation and questioning. She wants to know if there are any secrets to the organization.
Irvine And The Assassination Plan
So the Gardens are organising a high profile political assassination which could very well alter history for decades to come, effectively in the same realm of importance as an assassination attempt on Hitler, so how do you expect me to believe that the only marksman Galbadia Garden had to offer was the one rookie who may or may not have actually shot a human being before, and is apparently known for cracking under pressure, as the one who'd be executing the historically defining move? I can buy that Quistis is a goddamn idiot, and I can buy that Riona isn't very strategically apt, but for god's sake, Irvine not being able to do the one thing he was sent there to do? Good god game.
The game later implies that Irvine's "history" of cracking under pressure is at least kind of exaggerated. He's pretty much lying his ass off when he makes his excuses to Squall: his breakdown is specifically because that's his mother they want him to shoot, and not only that but none of the other kids she raised, who are all on the team with him, seem to realize it or care. Once he's past his conflict of loyalty, we never see Irvine falter again; from approximately Fisherman's Horizon onwards he's probably the most emotionally reliable member of the party. However, if you prefer another explanation: the encounter with NORG afterwards does suggest that the planning of the assassination might in fact have been kind of lacking. NORG basically says that Martine didn't want to be directly associated with the assassination so he grabbed the convenient team of Balamb Garden SeeDs who'd just showed up and dumped it on them. If that's the case then it's not exactly surprising that he didn't necessarily give them the most competent sniper Galbadia Garden had.
The only reason Irvine chokes up is because he's being asked to shoot his Matron. Once Squall gets him to calm down, he nails that shot, and afterwards is a reliable teammember. He's just making excuses about choking up when he's talking to Squall, because he doesn't want to say that he's about to shoot his mother, as that's pretty much saying that he's been compromised.
Not true. Again, Irvine himself says "I always crack under pressure like this". Edea's assassination was NOT an isolated incident. He says this again in Fisherman's Horizon, waaaay after the fact. I don't see how the game is implying anything to the contrary.
Actions speak louder than words. Irvine cracks once. For the rest of the game, he's extremely emotionally controlled and never cracks in combat. Maybe he's the kind of guy who beats himself up over failures, and saying he "always" cracks is because of a few isolated incidents in training. Or maybe being around Squall and Selphie and the rest of his friends from the orphanage gives him the support he needs to keep cool under pressure. The fact is, after the assassination, he remains extremely emotionally stable and calm and reliable.
Doesn't change the fact of. Because he undergoes character development throughout the story does not mean that he was an unreliable sniper prior to that. Cracking in training also does not negate this point.
Yes, Irvine says he "always cracks up"... during the assassination event. You know, the one where he's trying not to admit it's the closest thing to a mother he's supposed to be shooting? I find it interesting you mention him saying it again in Fisherman's Horizon, because quite frankly I don't know what you're talking about. I've been through that game many a time, and I don't remember Irvine saying anything about cracking under pressure except for during the assassination event at the end of Disc 1. Certainly not at Fisherman's Horizon.
I'd love to go through the game and find the line in question again, but it doesn't matter. And as I've said before, the excuse of "He was going to shoot his mama!" is not an excuse at all. In military terms, that is what's known as a "conflict of interest". So, when did he know about this? If it was when he was briefed, why didn't he say anything then? If it was when someone in the party first said the word "Edea", why not not say something? If it was when he saw her in the parade, why didn't he speak up then? He waited until the mission was critically sabotaged by his hesitation to voice any objection, and that doesn't excuse him.
Yes, Irvine definitely made a mistake. Let's be fair, though: it is rather a point of the game that the player characters are too young and immature for their roles. It's demonstrated with Squall, it's demonstrated with Quistis, and it's demonstrated with Irvine. If the SeeD team were the cool-headed, strictly professional adults everyone expects them to be, the plot of the game basically wouldn't happen.
I'm aware of that. It's the standard Competence Zone clause for popular fiction. It's only the constant justification that irks me. (EDIT: Also, I found the line in question at Fisherman's Horizon. Irvine basically states that his whole life, he's battled against pressure, which is in keeping with the whole "does not work well under pressure" thing. Here's the conversation in question.)
First, about the conflict of interest thing. Sure, he should have told someone about it. But, er... who, exactly? I'd say there's a damn good chance nobody would believe a SeeD cadet suddenly claiming to be the adopted son of the assassination target he's supposed to off. The only person likely to be able to confirm it is Headmaster Cid, who gave the order in the first place, knowing which team would be used. Second, Irvine's actions, quite frankly, had no effect on the outcome of the mission. "Critically sabotaged" my left tibia; the mission had already failed before Irvine was in a position to take the shot. Frankly, whoever came up with the mission plan was an idiot. The only possible way the sniper method would have worked would've been as a surprise attack, and the moment the gates came down, Edea knew something was up. If Irvine had taken the shot the first possible moment, it still would've failed. Irvine certainly should've made that admission beforehand, but the failure of the mission had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Point of order: Cid didn't order the hit on Edea. That was purely NORG and Martine who arranged for that.
So everyone in the Gardens are morons? Actually, I'll accept that answer. Everything suddenly makes so much more sense...
Hey, I never said the plan was good in the first place...only that Irvine's actions aren't as justifiable as people seem to claim. Hell, even if no one believed him, in the interest of his teammates, he should have felt obligated to try and say something. "You wouldn't have believed me" is not a valid excuse for such willful disregard. If the mission failed due to some dumbass planning, then...all the more reason he should have spoken up or walked away.
It's entirely possible that Irvine didn't realize exactly who the Sorceress was until the mission had already started, and by then it was far too late to switch snipers. As for why he didn't say anything, it might be because the Sorceress being his mother would not have changed what was expected of him. Reworking the plan at that point was not an option, and he had a role that no one else could play. Yes, someone else could have handled the sniper rifle, but we're specfically told that no one else on the team could have made that shot. It's why Squall didn't just take the rifle and take the shot himself: It was take a chance on Irvine or have the exact same result as if he'd been unable to do it anyway. Irvine knew that. It's not unrealistic to think that he attempted to psych himself up for it the way a lot of people do before doing something they really don't want to do: "Okay, I can do this. I can do this." He might have even believed it. But when the time came, he couldn't. On top of all of that, if he'd revealed having that kind of connection to a Sorceress and actually had been believed, he likely would have been under severe scrutiny and regarded as a potential traitor. We're given multiple examples of just how understanding and reasonable the system is not, and how quickly accusations of war crimes and false charges are thrown around. Revealed his connection and not taken the shot? Traitor. Kept his connection hidden and not taken the shot? Coward. Better to be considered a coward than treated like a potential accessory to mass murder and world domination. Also, "walked away"? Just... walked out in the middle of an assassination plot? With no one else to fill his role? Yeah, that would have been the responsible thing to do. Compared to that, just keeping his mouth shut about his compromised status and hoping he could go through with things was downright noble. Not to mention that choking up and freaking out isn't specifically a crime. Desertion is.
We do in fact see Irvine trying to psych himself up for the mission, or perhaps trying to feel out the possibility of backing out, after leaving Caraway's mansion. Squall, unfortunately, is not very helpful:
Irvine: So like... Is it true that SeeDs aren't supposed to question their mission?
Squall: ...What do you care?
Irvine: So like... if you knew that your enemies were pure evil, you'd get more fired up to fight them, right?
^^ Still not valid excuses. When I say that Irvine could have "walked away", I mentioned before that what was being expected of him was, in military terms, a "conflict of interests". For example, if I'm in the police, and I find out that a murder suspect is my mother and (for whatever reason) no one on the force knows this, I have the responsibility of informing them and at least giving them the option of deciding how they want to deal with it. If they still say, "Yeah, dude, but you're the only person that can crack this case", then that is fine. But to be silent about it? No. There's zero excuse for that. "Noble" doesn't describe that B.S. in the slightest. Refusal to carry out an order that conflicts with your interests is =/= "desertion". Irvine could have (and DID) sabotaged the mission with his refusal to trust his team with that vital tidbit of info. Things turned out okay, in the end, but there's no legitimate excuse for his actions.
I actually think this might be part of the whole point of the storyline. FFVIII has always seemed to have a rather subtle but important undercurrent about young people being thrown into combat being a bad idea, and I think this scene helps sell it. Irvine makes a mistake because he's too young to be sent on this kind of mission, just as Quistis makes her errors, Zell is a hormonal hothead, Seifer is an arrogant, self-absorbed jerk, and Squall has emotional issues. The characters are all teenagers being sent on a special operations mission to carry out an assassination that should, by all rights, go to a crack, experienced special operations unit of soldiers who are at least in their mid-to-late twenties and have had a great deal of experience in this sort of thing. Instead the operation is given to a gaggle of fresh SeeDs and a sniper no older than they are, without someone far older and more experienced to at least keep them herded in the right direction. They screw it up because they're kids and the game makes it clear that Child Soldiers are actually bad. Even modern militaries where a lot of recruits are in their late teens still put those troops under the command of experienced NCOs and trained officers. Give Irvine eight to ten years to become more experienced and put him on the same mission, and he would have at least warned the others about the issue, instead of keeping it hidden.
If you listen to NORG when you talk to him after Balamb Garden has taken flight, he says that the mission WAS originally intended for a different team. But when Squall and co. showed up at Galbadia Garden, Martine decided to hand the mission to them, so that Galbadia Garden could avoid blame, since everyone in the team (aside from Rinoa, a Galbadian general's daughter, and Irvine, a Galbadian cadet) was a SeeD from Balamb. Martine put his own Garden's safety above that of Balamb's. Of course, considering you find him out of a job in Fisherman's Horizon, his plan obviously didn't work out too well. As for the whole 'child soldier' thing, I agree that the whole fiasco of an assassination attempt shows why such things don't work out too well...in real life. But how many heroes in the FF series are over the age of 20? Honestly? And I'm talking strictly games here.
In general? Many of them. Most FF games include heroes who are over twenty, or at least the well-adjusted ones tend to be over twenty. Nearly the entire cast of FFVI, for example, was over twenty, with only a couple of people younger than that. Almost all of FFVII's cast were over twenty, too.
Okay, but that's two games out of...how many? And I'm pretty sure that Aerith, Cloud, and Tifa are late teens. But the point I was trying to make is that 'crack' teams never do any good in a Final Fantasy game. In the end, everything always falls to the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that have come together through happenstance and coincidence. It's a traditional, if somewhat overused plot device, especially in this series. And I should point out a key phrase in your post: 'well-adjusted'. The point that has been made in this thread is that teens are NOT well-adjusted, and therefore normally would NOT be entrusted with this kind of mission. Of course, being a Final Fantasy game, such logic is thrown to the winds.
You're wrong on Aerith, Cloud, and Tifa, who are clearly listed in the game's manual, and the game itself, as all being in their 20s. It's a plot point that Cloud was 16 five years before the game starts.
Half the the party in X is late teens (Tidus, Yuna, and Rikku), but Lulu and Wakka are late 20s (and have a child in X-2), Auron is in his late 30s at best (or would be if he was still alive), and who knows with Kimahri?
Doomtrain a.k.a. Glasya-Labolas
So apparently, in the original Japanese version, the GF Doomtrain was known as Glasya-Labolas. Even considering the series' penchant for What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?, how the hell did Square come up with the portrayal of a president of hell as a demonic train, especially when in previousgames Glasya-Labolas was a brute monster Palette Swap?
I mentioned this further up the page but it deserves it's own section. As the title says Squall is a Sociopath, which is defined as a person who "has no concern for human life." He just about admits it, "i don't want to get close to people," "I'll follow a contract because you paid me to do it even if it's completely insane and will get my team killed," and "We're SeeD we do what we are ordered to do." And this guy becomes squad leader, a man with no concern at all for the lives of his team or himself is given the responsibility of controling the fates of a handful of other people. Did no one look at him and go "this guy doesn't care a lick about his men, maybe 'leader' is a bad position."
Overly harsh. In fact, the "follows orders even if it gets him killed" and "don't want to get close to people" makes him an excellent leader. The fact of the matter is, I liked Squall a lot more before all the True Companions bullshit got shoved into his face. As a soldier, not fraternizing with people is a plus. Not showing favoritism when operating on the field is a plus. These things actually make people worthy commanders in the real-life military, and I had to roll my eyes every time the game tried to shill that Squall was somehow wrong for believing it. Also, I don't know where you're getting the idea that Squall didn't care about the lives of his soldiers. I don't remember that at all. Can you provide some examples?
How about the fact he said Rinoa plan is dumb, and STILL goes through with it, even though he feels it "a stupid plan that will get us all killed." That's his MO, he says it out right, "Your plan is idiotic but you hold the contract so i'll do it anyway." His concern is filling the contract not the lives of his team or himself.
He doesn't say it'll get them all killed. It won't. Sure, four regular teenagers attacking a force that size and strength would be suicide but this is a fantasy world. These teenagers, well Squall, Zell and Selphie anyway, are elite soldiers linked to Guardian Forces, wielding paramagic, and have been specifically trained to fight in these situations. Squall thinks the plan is idiotic because it's likely to fail or be completely ineffective, it's a waste of time and manpower. Seifer runs right in and grabs Delling on his own, kicking the collective asses of his guards, with Quistis chasing him to make him stop, and he's the guy who keeps failing the SeeD exam. Squall, Zell and Seifer nearly stopped the invation of Dollet on their own, and that included fighting off giant snakes, a boss monster and the giant mechanical spider! Suicide wasn't the issue of the plan.
The other SeeD present for that conversation agrees with Squall 100%, expressing reservations only about how harsh Squall is being toward Rinoa. While it's not exactly the outlook of a healthy, socially-adjusted person, for better or for worse, SeeDs are evidently taught to place their contract above their own safety. It's not an attitude unique to Squall. And it doesn't make him a sociopath. Squall clearly does care about his team members: witness how violently he rushes to Zell's defense at the D-District Prison, something the other squad members comment on. As Squall himself comments in his Inner Monologue when Rinoa is lecturing him about not showing enough caring to his teammates (paraphrased): "I care just like anyone else. It's just that there are too many things that talking can't help, so why talk about it?"
But isn't that AFTER the Timber Owl/Rhino join the team, IE AFTER Rinoa helps soften Squall. He's not a sociopath by the End but Pre Riona he sure seems like it.
The bit I paraphrased is from only just after Timber, on the way to Galbadia Garden, at which point Squall has known Rinoa for all of a few hours and hasn't shown any signs of softening yet. In any case, the point about SeeDs being trained that way still stands - Zell and Selphie are equally casual about telling Rinoa that they'll follow their contract even if it gets them killed. The explanation given for the source of Squall's personality problems also contradicts the suggestion that Squall is a sociopath: he's an insecure person who worries about what other people think of him, and fears losing people or being rejected by them, which are not concerns a sociopath would have and which are things he struggles with long before he ever meets Rinoa.
How about the fact he said Rinoa plan is dumb, and STILL goes through with it, even though he feels it "a stupid plan that will get us all killed." That's his MO, he says it out right, "Your plan is idiotic but you hold the contract so i'll do it anyway." His concern is filling the contract not the lives of his team or himself. Again, this is a plus in any military. In the military, your job is to follow orders, unless those orders are illegal. Orders likely to incur death are just part of the job. The reason soldiers are trained and disciplined to the point of almost breaking is so that duty overcomes the fear of death. Soldiers who don't do their jobs because they're afraid to die cost lives. Commanders who don't do their jobs because they're afraid to die cost more lives. Squall (at least in Disc One) is a pretty model example of a soldier and a commander.
Most armies don't take jobs from spoiled teenage girls, though. She does hold the contract, but is there any indication that she actually paid for their services? It's a bad move on Cid's part for letting Rinoa borrow a squad of soldiers like they were a car, not Squall's for following orders.
The Forest Owls absolutely paid for the contract - if you don't give the right password when you arrive in Timber, you're still taken to the Owls because "these guys cost us a lot of money!" They're not on loan. But in any case, whatever exceptions Cid made for the Forest Owls are kind of beside the point.
This would be particularly true for a mercenary organization like SeeD, which relies on its reputation for effectiveness in order to keep jobs coming in. Who is going to hire soldiers who are likely to bugger off if things aren't going well? It's also why Cid's letter to Rinoa specifically warns that no replacements will be sent for any of the team members... warning her to use them carefully, since she won't get any more SeeDs when the ones she was sent get killed.
The point is not that following the plan would get Squall and his teammates killed. That is, indeed, the proper outlook of a soldier; that kind of risk comes with the territory, after all. The point is that following the plan would get them killed and accomplish nothing. Soldiers are supposed to obey orders save for those which are illegal, but blindly following orders is frowned upon by commanders who have any sense. Okay, yeah, you still follow them to the end, if your boss insists on it, but you do not accept orders that will kill you and your comrades for absolutely nothing without at least protesting the fact. What Squall does is say that the orders will kill them uselessly, but he doesn't really care. Personally, that ain't the kind of squad leader I'd want.
Squall's attitude is NOT beneficial for a soldier. You may want to replay the game and play close attention to his decisions before he started opening up and became softer. He doesn't listen or care about the emotional states of his teammates. Quistis told him flat out she'd been fired as an Instructor because she had poor leadership skills and decision making ability. Except Squall was too busy ignoring her because he didn't want to listen or be her emotional crutch. So Later on he puts her in charge during a delicate mission, and Quistis goes right ahead and nearly botches the whole thing because she's a bad leader and sucks at making decisions. He knew Seifer gets Zell riled up to the point of bursting, he knew Zell was on the verge of saying something he shouldn't in front of Delling but instead of using his words he just lets things carry on until it's too late because he's never bothered to learn to deal with peoiple and their emotions. Squall is a BAD leader in the begining. You'll notice that by the time they've got to Esthar and he needs to leave someone in charge of Edea it's Zell he puts his trust in, not Quistis.
That is a good point, but it's important to clarify that what Squall says is not that he doesn't care, but that it's their job as SeeDs to follow orders in this manner, and whichever other SeeD is in the party agrees with him without reservation. This indicates that this is how they were trained, meaning that the conclusion that should be drawn here is not "Squall is a sociopath" or "Squall is a bad leader" but "SeeD is fundamentally kind of messed-up." It's also important to note that this conversation starts because Squall feels the need to stop and talk to Rinoa about how poorly-thought-out her plans are, meaning that he's not blindly following her orders without question.
Also, again in real life, following orders when it's likely to lead to the death of an entire squad tends to happen. That's why they sometimes use the phrase "suicide mission". However, courageous soldiers will STILL follow these orders even though they know they're likely to die or that success will have an insignificant effect. As stated before, that's just what it means to be a soldier, but not everybody is up to that part of the job.
It's also worth noting that Squall was directly responsible for defeating Ultimecia. Edea knows this; she saw it personally. She knows Squall will be a leader and will defeat the Sorceress from the future. Thus, Cid and Edea know that he will be important eventually. There's a reason why they thrust command into his hands.
One point the OP may want to consider is that SeeDs are trained to fight evil Sorceresses, facing impossible odds on what is potentially suicide is the whole mission and like any mission they need to be willing to take it and train for it. If you're going to wimp out just because you don't like a mission you're not going to become a SeeD.
They find a perfectly working, full tank of gas, full oxygen, fully operational ship seconds after Squall realizes him and Rinoa, who can survive in space, are going to die?
I agree that the Ragnarok arriving when it did is a rather extreme case of sheer luck. However, in spite of what you might think, the Ragnarok's operational state actually makes sense. Space is actually a fairly safe environment for something to be stranded in, especially orbit in a low-traffic area that doesn't experience the space debris that requires periodic maintenance missions for satellites. The Ragnarok was close to the moon, and had experienced a return of the Propagators that had attacked it before. It is quite possible that the ship went into a low-power mode after the crew shut down the engines. This would save fuel dramatically. Couple this with what we know of Estharian (and by extension Centran) engineering; they built their stuff to last. The Lunatic Pandora, for instance, was left at the bottom of a freaking ocean for nearly two decades, and a saltwater ocean is an infinitely more destructive environment for any man-made object, yet it operates just fine. Compared with how well the Pandora survived, the Ragnarok being fully operational after being left in deep space for seventeen years is nothing. It's pretty much a textbook case of, well, Ragnarok-Proofing. And, as noted above, Rinoa can't survive in space. She's running on her suit's backup supply of oxygen.
You have to admit, though, that its timely arrival is pretty damn convenient—and precise. If it'd been another three or four feet away, Squall and Rinoa would've been SOL as they watched it sail right past them. That said, I'm willing to accept the occasional Contrived Coincidence, especially if it nets you a bitchin' space ship like the Ragnarok.
Also the fact that if The Ragnarok haven't been there, story would have ended pretty much there. Like said, Rhinoa was running out of oxygen and Squall, as far I know, can't excatly return to Earth on by his own.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I remeber the note left by previosu crew about the mosnters claimed they had cleaned the ship. It sounds possible to me that there was a crew in place not long time ago that did maintance on the ship. Then either ship was abandoned, for reason or another, or the new monsters killed the crew.
I always thought that the ship was left there as a kind of emergency return vehicle, precisely as it was used by Squall and Rinoa. The FMV depicting Adel's launch into space showed 3 ships of that class used to haul the tomb into orbit. We know that Laguna and others go out to the tomb to perform regular inspections and maintenance. If some kind of technical failure were to happen on such an inspection, having that ship there as a backup would be quite handy. The Propagators originated from the recently-initiated Lunar Cry taking place nearby.
Who was Kiros in Winhill?
Start of Disc 2, Laguna and Kiros are in Winhill with Raine and Ellone. The present maps onto the past like so: Squall = Laguna, Zell = Ward, ??? = Kiros? It's not Selphie, because she asked how Laguna was doing right afterwards. It's not Quistis and Rinoa either, because they're sitting right there and don't say anything in answer to Selphie's question. The only possible person would be Irvine, but he never says a word about it either then or afterwards. Furthermore, Ellone probably doesn't know he's with the team at that point. So who was Kiros?
It's Irvine. Whatever magic Kiros has stocked (and, I'm pretty sure, whatever junction he arrives with) is whatever Irvine had at the end of the boss fight with Edea - Rinoa can't take part because Ellone doesn't know her, and using anyone else would run the risk of leaving Kiros with no stocked magic depending on how you prepared for the boss fight. Sure, Irvine doesn't say anything about it, but they are kind of busy for quite a while after he rejoins the others; when would it come up? In any case, Ellone not knowing that Irvine is with them at the time isn't relevant, she's just using the kids she knew at the orphanage to try to change Laguna's past. Frankly, she's lucky she didn't get anyone killed knocking them out at the wrong time.
You're right. I checked and Irvine has what Kiros had equipped.
Interesting how Ellone never used Seifer. She probably never liked him.
Or, you know, she never used him because he was under the control of the Sorceress who's trying to hunt her down. The only time she could possibly have sent him back to the past while he wasn't Brainwashed and Crazy was the first time the Orphanage Gang collapsed, and it's entirely possible that Seifer just didn't happen to be one of the three she picked that time, or because he wasn't with them. It's also possible that she couldn't send his consciousness back to the past while Ultimecia was manipulating it. Ultimecia is an extremely powerful Sorceress; Ellone's only power is the back-to-the-past thing.
Or it could be that if Ultimecia knew that Ellone was sending Seifer back, would assumedirectcontrol over Seifer and immediately initiate Time Compression.
Lunatic Pandora Exploration Music
Why does Lunatic Pandora have GF music when Laguna and his team go there?
Because it's not solely GF music?
But the only other times its played (Centra Ruins, Tomb of Unknown King, etc) there's a GF in the vicinity.
I'm pretty sure that's coincidental. The track is named "Find Your Way" - it seems to be the game's "exploration of strange/mysterious/mystical place" theme, and those places just happen to be the kinds of places where GFs are often found. A version of the track is also used as FFVIII's gate exploration track in Dissidia: Final Fantasy Duodecim. Note that it doesn't play in other areas where you find GFs, like Galbadia Garden during the invasion (while Cerberus is camping out in the main hall) or the Deep Sea Deposit where you find Bahamut.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is referring to the occassion where you're exploring the area as Laguna, yes? Technically, it wasn't the Lunatic Pandora back then, it was the Crystal Pillar in the process of being excavated. The Lunatic Pandora itself, when you're exploring it as Zell/Squall has VERY different, and completely unique music, not played anywhere else in the game.
Seifer as the Squad Captain
It's stated that Seifer has failed the SeeD exam at least twice before the game starts. He's known to be combative, headstrong, recklessly impulsive, and resistant to authority — all undesirable traits in a soldier. So who the hell decided that making him the squad captain for the exam was a good idea? Especially considering the fact that his "subordinates" (read: other teammates) are essentially required to follow his orders, as he is their superior for the duration of the mission, and they would have been penalized for disobeying his direct command. Seifer could have easily gotten them all killed.
It's hard to tell just how much of a problem child Garden's faculty really think Seifer is. After all, he's head of the disciplinary committee, which is also a role you wouldn't ordinarily give to someone you don't trust with authority; even if (as I suspect is likely) he appointed himself and his friends to the job, the faculty doesn't seem to feel the need to interfere with him trying to police the other students. My guess is that Seifer was made squad captain for one of two reasons. Either most of Garden's faculty has a better opinion of Seifer than Quistis does, and of the three members of Squad B (identified in the game as a squad of problem children) he seemed like the best choice for squad leader... ...or the choice of squad leader was basically a Secret Test of Character for Squall and Zell to see how they'd handle being under the command of a bad leader. Alternatively to both of these, maybe the squad leaders were chosen purely at random and it was just everyone's bad luck that Seifer's name came out of the hat.
The last option sounds the most valid. Really, though, Seifer had already failed two exams previously, whereas Zell and Squall had yet to take the exam. Squall, who is apparently one of the best potential candidates the Garden has, seems to be the no-brainer choice for squad leader when his competition is a guy who's failed the exam twice already and another guy who has at least once before been warned about immature behaviournote That is, riding a hoverboard through the school hallways.. I'm chalking it up to Rule of Drama, since Squall wouldn't have dragged his team up to the communication tower had he been in charge, but still.
Squall's not exactly a golden child at Garden either, for whatever it's worth. His skills are unquestionable, but Garden faculty specifically use the words "problem child" to refer to him and no one can deny that he does not play well with others. Given his uncommunicative and apathetic behavior, he doesn't really stand out as a great choice for leader either; Cid may be grooming him for leadership thanks to foreknowledge of the Stable Time Loop, but probably didn't have a direct say in the composition of the exam squads.
When is it said that he's a problem child? (Not being rude, I think I just missed it somewhere along the way.) I'm in the process of replaying the game, and so far I haven't run into anyone who's called Squall a problem child. Quistis, on the other hand, continually refers to him as her best student. Then again, she may be more than alittle biased. Is the "problem child" bit some optional dialogue that I missed?
You're right in that his skills are unquestionable, which only reinforces my point. Squall's not perfect, but he's also not the Glory Hound that Seifer is, or Hot-Blooded like Zell. The apathetic behaviour part is iffy. His apathy is mostly toward mundane situations, such as when people try to talk to him about their feelings. When it comes to his duty as a (potential) member of SeeD, he's certainly not apathetic. If he's given an order by someone above him in the chain of command, he'll follow it regardless of whether or not he likes it.
Squall being called a "problem child" and Squad B being referred to as a problem squad are both easily-missed bits of optional dialogue. The former takes place if you choose to wander around Garden before meeting Quistis for the Fire Cave mission and talk to the Garden Faculty member outside the library; he says "you're that problem child" and gets on Squall's case for keeping Quistis waiting. (There is also, I have just discovered, a blonde female SeeD you can meet randomly in the area of the directory the morning after the graduation party who says "Hey, troublemaker! Don't mess around too much!") The latter is a comment made by (I think) one of the other cadets during the field exam, which is usually missed since you lose points for chatting; I don't remember the content of the remark exactly. I'll note that what little we see of Squall's cadet career does support this. He leaves a prerequisite for the final exam until the last minute, and has regular fights with Seifer which (judging from Dr. Kadowaki's reaction) have resulted in injuries on more than one occasion; about the only characteristics we can point to in his favor are that he's a good fighter (which is true of all three of them) and that he follows orders (which, while a good quality for a soldier to have in general, doesn't especially recommend him for leadership, which requires some initiative). It also occurs to me that since Seifer is a year older than the other two and has taken the exam before, he's had the most practical experience, which would be another point to recommend him as leader in spite of his personality problems: he may not be great leader material but he does know more about what to expect than the other two.
One of the possibilities is that Seifer was placed in command deliberately because he is an arrogant and poor leader. Garden wanted to test him to see if he'd improved since his last failure, as if he is a SeeD he'll likely at some point be placed in command, regardless. He's likely already proven he's a capable fighter, but his leadership skills are clearly what are in question, which is why he's in charge. Garden doesn't want to test how well Seifer would fight under someone else's command, they want to see how well he can handle the responsibility.
It is also possible he signed up for being captain, wanting to lead rather than follow. Even in real military fashion, soldiers who want to become leaders of their units undergo officers training. The job doesn't go to the people who don't want it. Of course, in Squall's case, it was practically forced on him.
Seifer might have been the best choice for squad leader, not because he was the best at assuming command, but because he was the worst at following orders. Squall and Zell had the discipline to follow his orders, whereas he probably would not have had the discipline to follow theirs.
Ultimecia changes the past
So, Ultimecia possesses Edea and Rinoa, making them do actions they never would have otherwise. But...Ellone specifically said that the past is impossible to change, as she figured out with Squall. Not only that, but when Ellone sent Squall and his team into the past, Laguna, Kiros, Ward, and Rinoa never were aware of their presence. But Edea figures out Ultimecia's entire plot, purpose, and name while possessed. Ellone's powers also never let Squall or the others outright possess Laguna, Kiros, Ward, or Rinoa. It seems like Ultimecia and Ellone were both using different time travel abilities, but it was also said to be the same power. Why can Ultimecia do what Ellone can't?
Laguna, Kiros, Ward, and Rinoa are all separately aware of Squall's influence whenever Ellone uses her power; Laguna and Kiros notice it during the Winhill flashback, and Laguna later explains to Squall that they felt it but didn't know what it was so they attributed it to fairies. However, since FFVIII uses a "You Already Changed The Past" model of time travel, there's only one sequence of events, rather than an original timeline and an altered timeline. That's why Ellone says the past can't be changed: the way things happened is the way they always happened. Edea always inherited Ultimecia's power, Squall always gave her the idea for SeeD, and Laguna and company always received a boost to their fighting prowess from Squall and company's consciousness via Ellone's power... and Raine always died after giving birth to Squall without being able to see Laguna again. In that sense, neither Ultimecia nor Ellone is changing the past.
Laguna thinks fairies are making him stronger. Edea knows a sorceress from the future by the name of Ultimecia, who wants to compress time, is possessing her to alter her actions. There's a large difference there. And Ultimecia did take actions to change the past, because she made Edea and Rinoa do things they never would do otherwise. Edea wouldn't have fired missles if not for Ultimecia. Edea wouldn't have fought Squall if not for Ultimecia. Edea wouldn't have become an ambassador if not for Ultimecia. Rinoa wouldn't have fallen into a coma if not for Ultimecia, wouldn't have told Seifer where Lunatic Pandora was - which Rinoa didn't know the existance of, herself - and wouldn't have unlocked the seal on Adel's tomb, if not for Ultimecia taking control of her actions.
Edea knew more about Ultimecia than Laguna knew about Squall because Ultimecia actually possessed and controlled Edea, which she could do probably because she's a sorceress. In any case, Ultimecia is influencing the past, but she's not changing it. There was no previous timeline that her actions altered; there's just the one timeline. It's true that things would have happened differently if not for her actions: that's a Temporal Paradox, specifically an ontological paradox. Reading the Stable Time Loop article and the Ontological Paradox part of the Temporal Paradox article might make it a little more clear what I mean.
I know what you mean, but Ultimecia is still able to do more with Ellone's powers than Squall ever could. I guess it might make sense that it's from Ultimecia's abilities, but I don't remember that ever being mentioned... Either way, Ultimecia is still going back in a way that Squall was never able to. And if it was her sorceress abilities that let her control Edea and Rinoa, was it ever explicitly stated why she could only control sorceresses?
Ultimecia isn't just using Ellone's power, she's also using her own sorceress powers, which are considerable. Since sorceress power is something that's passed from one woman to another, it's reasonable to suppose that the sorceress potential, and the fact that Edea specifically inherited Ultimecia's powers and then passed them on to Rinoa, creates a connection between them that Ultimecia is able to exploit.
So, Ultimecia possesses Edea and Rinoa, making them do actions they never would have otherwise. But...Ellone specifically said that the past is impossible to change, as she figured out with Squall. Keep in mind that Ellone makes that statement from her own perspective. She was unable to make changes to the past; that doesn't mean that it's impossible to change the past at all. Furthermore, Squall is able to influence the past in subtle ways, like making Laguna take an alternate route, which he immediately recognizes as being an outside influence. Not only that, but when Ellone sent Squall and his team into the past, Laguna, Kiros, Ward, and Rinoa never were aware of their presence. Incorrect. Laguna, Kiros, and Ward were aware of the presence of the other party members, even to the point that Laguna recognized that his habits were suddenly changing. In addition, the sequence where Ellone sends Squall to Rinoa's mind involves Squall reaching out to Rinoa and her becoming aware of Squall's presence. But Edea figures out Ultimecia's entire plot, purpose, and name while possessed. Edea was also a very powerful Sorceress, and Rinoa's actions immediately after being rescued by Squall indicate that not only is she aware that she's become a Sorceress, but that she was aware that Ultimecia was possessing her. Further, she was aware of Squall's presence in her mind when Ellone projected him into her. It's clear that sorceress powers allow for a greater degree of awareness than that of normal humans. Ellone's powers also never let Squall or the others outright possess Laguna, Kiros, Ward, or Rinoa. It seems like Ultimecia and Ellone were both using different time travel abilities, but it was also said to be the same power. Why can Ultimecia do what Ellone can't? Squall and Co. are not sorceresses. Even so, they're able to generate subtle changes, but Ultimecia's powers appear to let her control others through the Junction Machine Ellone. Also keep in mind the other difference between the two: Ultimecia is using a machine that replicates the effects Ellone generates on her own. The Junction Machine Ellone is based on her abilities, but it may actually be more powerful than Ellone's natural abilities (technology tends to do that). So the major difference here is that the possessor is a sorceress and there's a very advanced piece of futuretech involved.
Furthermore, Edea is aware of a sorceress in the future and her concept of trying to compress time, because Squall informed of all of this when he traveled back in time when Ultimecia passed her abilities onto Edea in the past. He explains the sorceress, her goal, and the goal of SeeD when he is back there. This means that not only did Edea know about Ultimecia and her actions well before being possessed, she even knows how the end result will turn out. She doesn't know how or why, but she knows she is bieng possessed by a being that she has already seen die. To elaborate on the time paradoxes, we are shown that Ellone cannot change the past. She can only make other people witness the past. But in making other people witness the past, she is effectively changing it. If she never sent the parties conscious mind to the past, Laguna and co. would not have felt the parties influence, to the point of changing Laguna's habits. This means that the past was changed, in a way which caused Laguna and co. to act different, a completely alien way. This means that you can't change the past, because things have already happened, and if you were going to, you would have already. That doesn't mean that time travel will never happen - just that all instances of backwards time travel already have happened. If you were meant to travel back in time, you already would have - it wouldn't change the you that is now. Lastly, nowhere in final fantasy VIII canon that Ellone is a sorceress. It says that she is in Dissidia, but nowhere in FFVIII or the Ultimania. Junction Machine Ellone is exactly that - A machine which mimics Ellone's power. That means that Ulti's time travel mechanism is based on Ellone, but it is not the same power as Ellone's. There could be completely different rules for both. The only thing that they theoretically have in common is the ability to influence past events. essentially, Junction machine Ellone is something that the concept and prototype is already possible in Squall's lifetime. There's no telling how many revisions and improvements outside of magic the machine has gone through by Ulti's time.
The only power that Ultimecia directly uses outside of the Junction Machine is her own ability to control minds. When she uses Edea as a proxy to fight Squall, she is still limited to Edea's power set. That's why you're not fighting Griever in disc 1 or 2. Since Ultimecia is the only character shown to be able to do this, time travel or not, it is unknown whether the result would be replicated if another hypothetical person with such power were sent back in the same way.
Squall's lion motif Griever
Granted, I haven't played this game in about 10 years or so, so forgive me if the answer is right there in the game. Squall's motif is a lion called Griever — wasn't it also something he posessed, that wasn't inanimate, via the ring? I also vaguely recall one of his gunblades being involved with the concept of Griever, as well. Then we have Ultimecia summoning a lion creature called Griever, which she eventually junctions with (so I suppose you could consider him her Guardian Force). What connection is there, if any? I understand she summoned him because of how Squall felt about Griever, although I don't remember that ever explicitly stated. I just feel like the fact she junctions with Griever means she herself has a deeper connection to him. Or am I reading into this too much and assuming there's something deeper going on behind the scenes, being left unsaid and simply implied/up for speculation?
Squall uses lion imagery all over his stuff, from his jewelry and the collar of his jacket to the style of his first and last gunblades, but the only thing he specifically applies the name "Griever" to is the lion engraved on his ring. The game never really explains the connection between the ring and the GF that Ultimecia uses in the final battle, but there are two explanations that seem likely to me: One - Griever is an existing Guardian Force in the FFVIII world, one that Squall has heard about and tried to model his image after, including naming his ring after it. For comparison, he's also heard of Bahamut, another powerful GF, and identifies him by name when the party encounters him in the Deep Sea Research Deposit. Two - The Scan blurb for Griever says that "in Squall's mind" he is the most powerful GF, which I have seen interpreted to mean that Ultimecia actually created Griever based on Squall's mental image as a form of psychological warfare against him (and I seem to recall that the original Japanese text indicated it more definitely, though I can't find a translation now to confirm that). This may also explain why Griever doesn't function like a normal GF and Ultimecia junctioning him works more like a Fusion Dance than the party's junctions do.
The Griever is actually a very specific interpretation of a lion: it has wings, and it is on fire. The "lion" motif Squall has is actually that of the Griever: his keychain, the symbol on his revolver, even the connection between Squall (the lion) and Rinoa (the angel wings). The GF that Ultimecia calls is a variation on this theme.
That might be overstating a little, I think? When Rinoa asks Squall what the creature on his ring is, he says it is "a lion," and when asked if the lion has a name, he says it is named "Griever." Ultimecia's GF is also a winged lion named Griever, whatever that may or may not indicate about the connection between the two; that is the extent of the significance of the name "Griever" as provided by the game.
I'm personally of the opinion that Rinoa is Ultimecia's past form, and Griever is actually Squall. I'm aware that this theory has been Jossed, but I find it hard to take Word of God seriously sometimes. For a full version of the theory I'm basing this on, go here.
We're all aware of that "theory," and just as aware of how much it's supported by the game (which is to say, not at all).
It's actually supported by the fact a sorceress has to pass on her powers before death, and Riona will probably die sometime before 130 years have passed. Since Unltimecia seems to be the only existing sorceress Infinity Plus One years later, Riona lives on inside her.
Only in the most technical sense; there's no indication that any part of a sorceress's awareness or personality is passed on along with their powers. Rinoa isn't "alive" within Ultimecia in any way that matters.
Remember, FFVIII's religious backstory and handwave of the 'how' of sorceresses is that Great Hyne's second and really the only important half of 'his' body is now passed on in the form of sorceresses. If you think that passing your powers onto anyone means you are passing your conscious mind and memory into anybody else, it wouldn't make sense. Every time a new sorceress received power, it would follow the branches back down to the stump where all sorceresses magical power ends up - as the living god, Hyne. Considering the half of Hyne that humanity recieves has the magical power of a potato, all of Hyne's infinite power would go to the sorceresses. in other words, Ulti would already be a god. Time Compression would be as easy as a snap of her fingers, considering Hyne created mankind as a tool one day when he was bored. When Ellone throws Squall backwards in time, He doesn't have access to Laguna's memories. Far from it. He only experiences the past as it currently happens. It's never mentioned in FFVIII that Ellone is a sorceress, but it is in Dissidia, in the character files to be exact. To also reinforce this, we are told about three sorceresses in the Ultimania's backstory that explains the 'how' of the sorceress powers. In this, we see that there is a fairly noble sorceress who helps a struggling country from being crushed by an empire. [Maybe Princess Leia? I've never seen Star Wars.] We see this in FFVIII as the movie Laguna makes and later inspires Seifer - oddly enough, the movie was called The Sorceresses Knight...and the knight was named Zefer. The next mention of sorceresses in history is Adel. Adel is very clearly shown as malevolent, and a total she-man hulk of a bitch. Theoretically, the country saving goddess would have morphed into a humanity-hating superbieng that is 15 feet tall, purple, and conscious enough even when sealed to send death threats towards earth, in the span of one generation.
The Train Job
This part of the game in particular confuses me. How the heck do people not feel the different cars uncoupling and recoupling? I mean, the uncoupling, I can somewhat see, considering that it would be a gradual deceleration, and not too noticeable for the first few seconds. But the recoupling? It should come with some amount of impact, not to mention a fairly noticeable change in speed. Can someone explain to me, in detail, how a jacking like this is possible without anyone on the train being any the wiser? And please, no 'it's a video game, it's not supposed to make sense' answers.
The trains actually seemed to detach and reattach rather smoothly and automatically. the only time there was a serious impact was at the very end when the rear train car caught up with the second one, and by that time the Owls were already gone. That being said, it was also a deliberate trap, so even if the guards noticed anything they were likely going to ignore it.
Well, I can somewhat see what you mean. But in real life, where we don't have sci-fi-tastic trains with electronic coupling devices (or maybe we do, I'm not a train person), would a job like this even be possible? And disregard the fact that it was a trap. Many times, guards who are escorting a fake aren't always aware that they are escorting a fake.
They're not; the guards inside start to get suspicious and actively start going 'WTF!?' when they start cottoning on to the plan. They wouldn't do that if they knew about it beforehand.
Its possible that they knew there was something going on, but highly unlikely that they knew the President was actually some kind of undead killing machine in disguise. Not to mention that I don't think anyone expected a job quite as dangerously risky as the one the Owls cooked up.
It certainly wouldn't be possible with modern technology, but this isn't a setting with modern tech.
Combined with the aspect that they can make entire large communities float on land, the notion of a train uncoupling and recoupling doesn't seem weird. The trains movement seem largely electronically controlled. It's not impossible to assume that we only see the party releasing the locks. If the train were to ever lose a car, or have to let go of a load of cars because they catch a suspicious person or suspicious cargo, that the train could be programmed to automatically sync up with the movements of the car behind it.
So, at certain points early in the game you can actually find Ellone in Garden and speak to her. Squall will ask her who she is and instead of answering she instead just tells him to try to remember since she'd be all sad if she were forgotten. Now this wouldn't be so bad given they do share an important history together except for two issues:
First, she's using his and the others' minds to travel to the past without asking or explaining what she's doing. This is both freaking them out and could very well get them killed as it's simply a happy coincidence they were always either ina safe place or had others to protect them when she did that. This would have been the perfect time to explain what she was doing and what she wanted to acomplish by doing so.
Ellone putting them out in potentially dangerous situations is actually explained perfectly well. She tells it outright to Squall later on that she can't control her powers when she's asleep. The seemingly-random times she puts them under happened while she was asleep at one point or another. Plus, she was at Garden when Squall left and would have had access to his mission itinerary and would know when they were on the train.
Second, Squall was what, five? Six?, when she left? It's been like twelve years sinbce he last saw her, even if he did remember her he's not likely to recognise her. Would telling him her name have been that hard?
Hard? No. Dangerous? Yes. Ellone was being hidden because of her abilities, remember? Casually mentioning her identity to Squall might have caused problems. Plus she's clearly grappling with her own issues when she first runs into him at Garden. It isn't until things have really hit the crapper that she even reveals her name to Squall, when keeping her presence secret isn't as important anymore.
Why are they even in SeeD?
No, seriously, why are half the cast even in SeeD? Seifer wnated the fame and attention and Squall just kind of went aong with it and Rinoa and Irvine aren't actually members but what about the rest? Why did Quistis join? Why would Zell, who has a happy and loving family become a mercenary? Why would Selphie abandon all her friends at Trabia and travel halfway around the world to be a See D? It's not even like they did it for the greater good since SeeD's true purpose of protecting the world from evil Sorceresses hadn't been revealed yet. Why are we given no insight over why they would have desired this kind of lifestyle?
First off, Irvine is a student at Galbadia Garden, so he is technically a SeeD cadet. As for Quistis and Zell, it's unknown why they joined. Perhaps they were asked by Cid, who remembered them from the orphanage. Zell does say at one point that he's part of SeeD to protect his family in Balamb. In Selphie's case, she left Trabia because Balamb has (I assume) a more prestigious academy. And it wasn't like she would never see Trabia again. Even prior to the missile strike, it's said that Gardens sometimes do joint missions.
Quistis says that although she was adopted from the Kramers' orphanage, her adopted family "didn't work out" so she was sent to Garden at the age of about ten. Selphie went to Trabia Garden at first but had to transfer to Balamb to take the field exam, because only Balamb Garden actually takes the final step of actually certifying SeeDs (for some reason, possibly so that they have to pass under Cid's eye at some point). Zell also has I think a grandfather (in his adopted family, obvs) who was a soldier and who he greatly admires, which no doubt influenced his decision.
Zell states that he greatly admires his (adoptive) grandfather, who used to be a soldier. He joins SeeD in hopes of being like him. It is unknown where Selphie went after the orphanage, but she applied to enter Trabia Garden. A thing about Gardens: There are three in the world: Balamb was the first, then Galbadia and Trabia, however, you can only graduate to become a SeeD in Balamb, that is to say, only Balamb can give a cadet the rank of SeeD. This is why Selphie transferred and left her friends behind, to become a SeeD, which is, you know, the goal of all SeeD cadets. Quistis mentions that she was adopted, but things didn't go well with her new family. By then, she was old enough to enroll in a Garden, so maybe she saw it as way of escaping having to be with a new family who would perhaps reject her too. Nothing is known about what Irvine was doing after the orphanage, but he tells everyone that he didn't have many options in his life, and that he wants to see his mission through to the end because he wants to honor his choices in life, the path that had to be taken, so from this you could infer that he joined Garden out of necessity. If you're an orphan with no one to depend on, a military academy where they take care of each and every aspect of your life in exchange for becoming one of their mercenaries is a rather sweet deal. Squall can be explained because he expresses (in inner monologue) that he hates depending on people and that he believes in taking care of yourself. Perhaps he viewed Garden as the perfect place where he could learn the skills necessary to become self-sufficient, where he could learn to be powerful enough not to depend on others for protection and even getting to make a living out of it. And of course, the main cast are all the "Liberi Fatali", the Fated children. It is their destiny to become SeeDs and defeat Sorceress Ultimecia, so perhaps it was impossible for them to take other life paths.
I'm confused as to why you think the majority of students applied to garden. They're orphans, following a war which left hundreds of them - where else are they going to go? I was under the impression that garden took most of them in as something of a public service.
While not all people went to the garden by application, not all were just orphans taken in from the streets.
She'll totally fall for it, guys, trust me
I'm trying to find a way to phrase this that isn't "Why is Rinoa a moron?" but I'm not coming up with an alternative. Her Odine bangle plan is something only a true moron could come up with and actually attempt to carry out; I can buy that the point of the story is that kids are dumb and not equipped for serious business, but this actually goes above and beyond the call of duty. Where the Hell did Rinoa find out about Odine's magic-suppressant jewelry, and what about it gave her the impression that a powerful, notorious/famous Sorceress would be so ignorant of their existence that she'd accept one from a total stranger, let alone the daughter of the man whose people she's about to conquer? Even if Rinoa did expect Edea to just put the damn thing on, what's stopping her from taking it off once she notices her powers are hindered? There is no part of this plan that makes any sense. Most of the dumb stuff Squall and company do is based on being immature and overly emotional, and Rinoa pouting and deciding to just go ahead and do it her way alone is appropriately childish, but how the hell did she even come up with a plan that bad in the first place?
A couple of points: At that point, public knowledge is that Edea is about to be appointed Galbadian ambassador, not that she's an incoming conqueror, so it's not outside the realm of plausibility that the daughter of a Galbadian general might wish to pay respects and present her with a gift of jewelry. Rinoa knows the bracelet is an Odine bangle and not just a piece of jewelry because she's the daughter of a general who's conspiring against Edea and who obtained the bangle specifically for that purpose before deciding not to use it because its effects were untested. The game doesn't do anything to suggest that it's recognizable as a piece of power-suppressing Odine technology just by looking at it - one assumes, since Caraway obtained it specifically with the idea of using it on Edea, that it's not immediately distinguishable from a piece of normal jewelry. It's also not difficult to assume that the whole purpose of getting the bangle onto Edea would be to suppress her magic long enough for the SeeDs to physically subdue her. Since we never get to see it in action, we have no way to know whether Edea would instantly feel its effects or if she wouldn't realize her magic was being affected until she tried to use it - but, again, Caraway was the one who originally obtained the Odine bangle to use on Edea, and the reason given for scrapping the idea was not "she'd never fall for it" but "we don't know what will happen once we get it on her." And finally, by that point Rinoa has been firmly established as someone who has a lot of enthusiastic, well-intentioned ideas, but who is very bad about not thinking through the details and likely results of her plans. In Timber, her initial plan to kidnap President Deling gets really fuzzy past the job of securing his train car; when that's foiled and the team learns that he's going to the TV station, she jumps to "we could make a broadcast announcing Timer's independence!", and so on. She's not stupid - she's inexperienced and naive and focused entirely on the immediate moment, which is a pretty common state of mind for a teenager who hasn't had a lot of difficult life experience or practical training. It also sets her up in contrast to Squall, who spends all of his time ignoring present opportunities in favor of stewing over past events and trying to anticipate future hardship. At first blush, the idea of suppressing Edea's power with the Odine bangle does seem promising, which is why Caraway himself was considering it. Rinoa simply doesn't think much past "I could get her to put this on and it would help Squall and his friends beat her," which is certainly short-sighted and foolish of her, but is also consistent with her characterization up to that point, and not as mind-blowingly idiotic as the above makes it out to be.
Doesn't the fact that someone older, more experienced, and with more resources already thought of it and decided not to go through with it make it mind-blowingly idiotic to try to enact the exact same plan, but without any further testing or planning, and outright depending on Edea to be stupid enough to fall for it? As to the bracelet not looking any different from regular jewelry, wouldn't Edea have known as soon as she touched it that something was wrong? The fact that Edea wasn't publicly known to be an incoming conquerer is irrelevant: Edea knew what she was up to, and so did Rinoa, and Rinoa would have been acting incredibly suspicious just to approach her in the first place because she and Caraway are estranged and Edea presumably knew that.. or at least Edea would have to have noticed that Caraway neglected to mention his daughter, or that this girl who claimed to be Caraway's daughter had never been seen anywhere in Deling since Edea arrived... It can all fall under the umbrella of Rinoa being immature, but it still requires her to have zero critical thinking skills.
As mentioned, the game never establishes one way or the other whether Edea would be able to tell something up with the bracelet simply by touching it. And the fact that her plans aren't made overt yet is very relevant - why on earth should she know that Rinoa and her father are estranged? Even assuming Edea and Caraway have had any significant interaction in their roles as general and soon-to-be-ambassador, which is dubious to begin with, it would have been purely business interaction and there's no reason that Caraway's daughter should be relevant or of interest to Edea at all.
I find it hard to believe that a Sorceress wouldn't notice that her powers were suddenly suppressed when she put on a piece of jewellery, even if she didn't know what Odine technology is. And her plans being a secret is not at all relevant because Edea/Ultimecia was the one running the scam. Ultimecia knows damn well that SeeD, the organization that was founded specifically to put a stop to her aims in the future, is in operation in the game's present. Rinoa doesn't have to be Caraway's daughter to be suspicious, all she has to do to be suspicious is present Edea with a "gift" that would take away her primary advantage as a combatant... which is exactly what happened; there's no reason for Edea to care that Rinoa and Caraway are related, but Rinoa banks on it being her ticket in to get close enough to give her the bangle. At best, telling Edea her identity looks shady just on the grounds that Edea's been dealing with Caraway this whole time and Rinoa hasn't even been in the city; there's no reason for Rinoa to suddenly appear out of nowhere with a magic-suppressing peace offering unless she's up to something.
Maybe the bangle doesn't have to be worn to work? As has been said multiple times, the likelihood of Edea willing putting the thing on isn't high. So perhaps the bangle's magic was designed to work simply by being in close proximity to the sorceress? If Edea was suspicious of the bangle then she could have still put it in her pocket or put it aside. Its effects are untested. Rinoa doesn't know what it will actually do. She doesn't know that Edea is actually possessed by a deranged evil being from the future. She certainly wasn't expecting to get nearly killed. Her rational thinking was that her being the daughter of a high-ranking military official would be enough to get her in the door. She just expected to give Edea the bangle and leave. She thought it would be "if she wears it and it works then good but if she doesn't then Squall still has his plan".
If that were her logic, then she'd still be doing something extremely dangerous and completely unnecessary and thus, still really stupid. In the end, that is why Rinoa looks dumb for this little detour: her plan depends entirely on assumptions that, if she had half a brain, she would at least be questioning. Maybe she doesn't have to wear the bangle! Then why is it a piece of jewelery? I can use my name as an excuse to get close to her! You've never been introduced; why would she trust you or anything you give her? This is a good plan! Then why did everyone except you decide it's a bad idea?
Well maybe that was why she went to the group first. The only reason they didn't use the bangle was because it was untested. Zell confirms to Rinoa that the Odine brand is "top of the line" - so that gave her an indication that it could work. She knew that the back-up plan to the sniper rifle was to attack Edea in public - something that would be much easier if the sorceress didn't have her powers. Admittedly Rinoa was in a bit of an emotional state at the time and not thinking clearly. But she had no reason to believe the sorceress would attack her. Edea was there making an appearance as an ambassador for peace. They only knew that she intended to start a war by using existing soldiers. Rinoa's thinking was that she would be able to get in the door with her father's name and be able to give the sorceress a gift. She was then expecting to probably leave or be escorted out by security - not brainwashed into a zombie state and thrown at the mercy of a pair of statues brought to life.
Falling In Love Is Hard On The Knees
So Laguna fell in love with Julia, and chatted with her in her hotel room which had frequent cutaways throughout. and Julia seemed to return his affections. Then when Laguna disappeared Julia married General Caraway, and had Rinoa. Laguna moved to Winhill and fell for Raine who eventually gave birth to Squall and died in childbirth. now this might be WMG, but it's a bit too close for comfort, so I'll say it out loud; Squall and Rinoa are probably related as half-siblings. (they do look a lot alike.) Did Square Enix try to get us hooked into a incest romance?
No. The game's information menu states that Julia married Caraway after releasing "Eyes on Me," and that Rinoa was born one year later. This makes it completely impossible for Rinoa to have been conceived during the flashback scene at the hotel.
Also, the whole point of the Laguna/Julia subplot was that it was unrequited. That Laguna never got the courage to actually act on his feelings.
Seifer, Brainwashed Or In Control?
This is something that is never directly stated in the game and I don't think even the Ultimania goes into it. Was Seifer following Ultimecia completely of his own free will or was she exerting some sort of tangible effect on his mind and forcing him to do these things? Was he completely responsible for all of Galbadia's crimes or not? It really is the only way to determine if he's a Karma Houdini or not and I want to know if he is.
Unfortunately, it's simply never conclusively stated anywhere that I know of. We can infer from the fact that Ultimecia seems to be exerting some form of control over Rinoa during the pre-parade speech sequence, and that some NPC commentary in Deling City afterward suggests that she was also mentally influencing or controlling the crowd during her speech and the parade, that she certainly had the ability to control or influence Seifer's mind. Since that's the case, we can suppose it's very likely that she did so. But there's nothing that we can point to as definite proof. (Either way, I'd hesitate to make a case for him as a Karma Houdini since the end sequence only implies that he's getting a reasonably happy ending, which is not the same thing as "suffered no consequences for his actions whatsoever.")
I believe that Ultimecia was influencing him toward her. She definitely does something to his mind when she rescues Deling, and for the first two discs I'm pretty sure he was at least being pushed toward her whims. He seems more in control of himself by the third disc, though that's a relative term. His dialogue indicates that he knows he's done terrible things and that he's still going to keep on going until he either wins or crashes and burns, so he may have gone completely over the edge at the end. Its... very ambiguous, and up to your interpretation, really.