Video Game / Final Fantasy IX

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"You don't need a reason to help people."
Zidane Tribal

The ninth entry into the rib-rendingly popular Final Fantasy series.

Final Fantasy IX is a return to the series' roots and the classic Medieval European Fantasy worlds, after the more futuristic approach of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. Both graphically and story-wise, it set a new standard for the games that followed it. Particularly, Final Fantasy IX is known for combining a sunny and light-hearted visual atmosphere with a very mature and thoughtful From Bad to Worse story. The game is additionally a celebration of Final Fantasy's origins, and contains many, many references to Square Soft's earliest few installments.

Zidane Tribal is a Loveable Rogue and Gentleman Thief with a dash of Chivalrous Pervert thrown in. Along with the members of Tantalus, a troupe of thieves disguised as traveling entertainers, he plots to kidnap the princess of Alexandria and hold her for a nice hefty ransom. However, when she suddenly turns around and asks to be kidnapped to escape the clutches of her (suddenly) evil mother, what kind of gentleman would say no?

As it turns out, Princess Garnet is holding more than a wish to see the world: she is harbouring powerful Summon Magic within her body, and the Queen will stop at nothing to extract it for the sake of world domination. Aiding the Queen is a mysterious Arms Dealer called Kuja, who is bolstering her armies with powerful artificial mages.

Traveling along with Zidane are a cast of colourful characters: Vivi Ornitier, a young Black Mage who realises (to his horror) that Kuja's artificial mages look just like him; Adelbert Steiner, Garnet's incompetent but fiercely-loyal bodyguard; Eiko Carol, a Bratty Half-Pint summoner with a major crush on Zidane; Freya Crescent, a Dragon Knight searching for her lost love; Quina Quen, a genderless chef thing looking for delicious things to eat; and Amarant Coral, a mercenary/monk with a strong grudge against Zidane.

The story focuses on the characters' efforts at self-discovery. Vivi must learn what he is and why he exists, as well as what this means for his life. Zidane must learn what he is as well, and how this has to do with The Man Behind the Man, Kuja, and his friend Vivi. Garnet must learn the truth about her mother, her own origins, and the nature of the eidolons that are her birthright. Steiner must learn what honor and duty truly mean, when those he is loyal to stand opposed to one another, and his loyalty may be invoked to betray itself.

Freya must learn what's truly important in life, and what it means to lose a loved one, and most of all, how and why to go on fighting. Quina must learn about being a true gourmand, by sampling flavors from all over the world. Eiko must learn that True Companions are more than just grabbing who you want for yourself, and that being on the losing end of a love triangle doesn't mean being alone. Amarant must learn that strength isn't the ability to crush one's foes, and that the most elusive power of all is a thing he may never even understand.

Final Fantasy IX was highly praised for being challenging, but extremely user-friendly. There is no penalty for leveling up, acquired skills can never be lost again, chocobos for encounter-free travel are very easy to come by, and optional scenes are just that: optional. The plot, too, is much less of a Mind Screw than that of previous games, staying comfortably away from too much symbolism but still featuring some wonderfully surreal elements. Criticism of the game tends to focus on its "softer" art style, as well as the Character Focus on Garnet and Vivi to the exclusion of some other characters. The game was the least successful of the three offered on the original PlayStation, selling 6 million copies (Final Fantasy VIII sold over 8 million, and Final Fantasy VII over 10 million; Final Fantasy X would go on to sell 6.6 million), despite retailing for considerably less due to the imminent release of the PS2, though, said imminent release might have been the major factor, if people felt the choice was between the latest game or the latest console.

Despite the game's commercial shortcomings and tendency to be somewhat overlooked by fans, it released to massive critical acclaim. Notably, it is the most critically acclaimed game in the entire franchise, holding the highest Metacritic score out of every single Final Fantasy game.

Additionally, Vivi is one of the most popular characters in Final Fantasy history. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the ultimate woobie can destroy the biggest of monsters despite being nine years old. He had a somewhat one-dimensional cameo in Kingdom Hearts 2 as a result of his popularity.

Notably, series-creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has at one point stated that he considers this game to be the quintessential Final Fantasy, being a composition of all the key elements he has constantly been shooting for. Composer Nobuo Uematsu considers the FFIX soundtrack his best as well.

This was the final Final Fantasy game of the Playstation cycle, and of the 20th century. The game saw an Updated Re-release on Microsoft Windows, iOS, and Android in 2016.

There is a character sheet. Feel free to contribute.


This game provides examples of:

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     A-H 
  • Abduction Is Love: Inverted with Zidane kidnapping Garnet, only for him to start to like her. Garnet/Dagger, meanwhile, doesn't like him back until he personally helps her with her problems.
  • Aborted Arc: Freya appears this way as she and her relationship with Fratley was never explored. We'll never know what's his deal.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Dr. Tot. Held in high esteem by Garnet and Steiner (and for good reason), nevertheless he is the embodiment of this trope. Old? Check. Professor? Check. Absent-minded? "I'm sorry, I get lost in my thoughts sometimes." - to Eiko. Used to your advantage in Treno where he can lie to the owner of the synthesis shop to cover for Garnet, Steiner and Marcus.
    • Also vaguely inverted where you can equip an ability called 'clear-headed' that stops you being inflicted with confusion.
  • Accent Adaptation: A great big point of discussion among fans in Germany. Just try to mention the various dialects (Cinna was Bavarian!) in the game if you want to start a flame war.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Baku can never remember Tot's name. There's a minor Running Gag of him referring to Tot by a different name each time (Toot, Ted, Totty, etc.), followed by Marcus deadpanning "It's Tot", to be completely ignored by Baku.
  • Action Commands: While not having any examples to speak of in battle, had a staged sword-fight that required Action Commands to put on a performance for an audience.
  • Action Girl: Freya and Beatrix. Garnet and Eiko have their moments as well.
    "Let me see if I'm understanding this. Freya is one of the main heroines of a JRPG — and she doesn't at any point have the hots for the hero, never needs to be rescued by the hero, and in fact shows up the hero in a monster-slaying competition? (Unless the player really knows what he's doing during the Festival of the Hunt sequence, that is.) And wait — does Freya really offer zero fanservice? Not even the slightest effort is made to cater to The Secret Of NIMH fanboy furries? (..) And am I really not imagining the game, when Freya ends up with the guy she has the hots for — a guy who, again, isn't the game's male main character? Whoa. Not only might Freya be the best Dragoon in Final Fantasy, the best female party member in the whole series (at least from a feminist perspective)."
    • Beatrix gets the opportunity to play a game of Heads I Win, Tails You Lose with the party three times, and then she joins as a Guest Star Party Member and gets to clean house. It's interesting to note: she is actually the only character in that entire game who is never defeated by anyone. She also hits a lot of the points from the above review about Freya.
  • Adipose Regina: Queen Brahne.
  • Adorkable:
    • Vivi. He's sweet, kind, The Woobie, clumsy, and adorable. He fits this like a glove.
    • Zidane may act like a total flirt, but deep down, he's this. Particularly the way he acts around Garnet/Dagger and his boyish attitude.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Princess Garnet starts off very shy, awkward around commoners, and unsure of her future status as Queen. She's still beautiful and useful in combat (especially after she gains her summons), but has this whole Disney Princess thing about her. But about 3/4 through the game, she decides to be more daring and uses Zidane's dagger to cut her hair short, and her personality becomes more forward. Even her profile pic changes to a front-facing smile instead of the previous distant stare.
  • Advertising-Only Continuity: Zidane, Garnet and Vivi run through the streets, chasing a magical Coca-cola bottle cap that activates a fireworks display.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • The game seems to favor the females where this is concerned, with a touch of Viewers Are Geniuses (Garnet and Freya) and Bilingual Bonus (Eiko). Various minor characters are named Marcus, Dylan, Michael, Lowell, Mary, Crista, Hal, Jane, Andrea, and so on.
    • If you keep up with Mognet, Moogle names include Kumop, Mogki, Kuppo, Mocchi, and... Suzuna?
    • The residents of Conde Petie have the most mundane names you'll see in any Final Fantasy. It comes with the accent...
    • In a short scene early in disc 4, the Black Mages decide to name their chocobo... Bobby Corwen.note 
    • The game also gives us this trope all in one person, with Dagger, a.k.a. Garnet Til Alexandros XVII, whose real name is actually Sarah.
  • Agent Peacock: Kuja the Evil Sorcerer not only looks the part, but also receives flak from Queen Brahne about how girly he looks. It doesn't help that his name literally means peacock.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Although the black mages are intended as mindlessly obedient killing machines, their programming eventually breaks down and they each start to develop their own quirky personalities.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • The end had Kuja dying at the base of the Iifa Tree. Being a fluke with a crushingly short life-span made him cruel and nihilistic, but only when he was defeated by the heroes and had nothing left to live for did he realize too late what it means to really live. This also gets a callback in Dissidia.
    • Brahne's death is a surprisingly solemn moment. In spite of all the atrocities she did, Garnet still loses her mother when she dies. Although it's a little played with. While Garnet is (understandably) saddened by her death, the other party members (like Vivi) on the other hand feel sad for Garnet, not really for Brahne.
  • Alice Allusion: Alice is the name of the potions seller in Lindblum; one quick quest in disc 3 involves searching Lindblum for three different potions, ask the weapons seller about it and he'll say "did you ask Alice?"
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Terrans were thinking along similar lines. After several failed attempts at keeping their dying planet alive, they went into stasis while their guardian, Garland, works to terraform Gaia and make their world live again.
  • Alien Lunch: Eiko has the option of adding an oglop to the stew she makes during the cooking sequence. The party will not react very well to this.
  • All According to Plan: Subverted by Kuja. He says this trope, almost word-for-word, as his common catchphrase, but later it's revealed that he wasn't as in control as he thought. (Or, more accurately, it really did go all according to plan as far as using the heroes was concerned, but he didn't account for his boss predicting his actions.) Fortunately for Kuja, while his Chessmastery needs polish, he plays a damn good game of Xanatos Speed Chess.
  • Alliterative Name: Quina Quen.
  • All-Loving Hero: Zidane Tribal is an example, despite the fact that he is a lecherous thief. His line in the game's character montage is "You don't need a reason to help people". In fact, multiple characters throughout the game complain about how kind Zidane is to everybody that he meets. This carries over into Dissidia: Final Fantasy.
  • All Part of the Show: The Tantalus production of "I Want to Be Your Canary" twice, once in the beginning and once at the very end. At the beginning, the Tantalus theatre troupe stages a production of "I Want to Be Your Canary", as part of a plan to kidnap Princess Garnet. Four of the game's eight player characters accidentally end up on-stage (which is actually the deck of an airship) in the middle of the performance. Although the characters play along at first, the performance eventually falls apart, with Steiner attempting to thwart the "kidnapping", Tantalus attempting to fly the ship away, and Queen Brahne ordering weapons fired at the ship. Then it's revisited in the ending, to reveal that Zidane lived, and to reunite him with Garnet.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Every city that is allied with or is home to the heroes is either conquered or downright annihilated by Queen Brahne of Alexandria.
  • Almost Dead Guy: A few Burmecian soldiers take this role. A wounded Burmecian soldier dies telling the party about the attack on Burmecia. One wonders how he managed to make it from his country, on the other side of a mountain range, all the way up to the top floor of another country's castle, and none of the guards thought to help him or relay his message for him.
    • Perhaps justified as he seemed reluctant to tell anyone besides the king. Since it was humans that attacked his town and Alexandria once had a close connection Lindblum, he may have been worried about spies...
  • Always Close: The Zaghnol deployed at the beginning of the hunting festival is the one you have to kill for a vital score boost, but won't show up unless you reach the right place with about 5 minutes left on the clock.
  • Always Night: The city of Treno is only ever shown at night; even the plains surrounding it are affected. It's lampshaded before you travel there for the first time:
    "Nightfall comes early around these parts."
  • Always Save the Girl: One of Zidane's talents gives him a 50-percent chance to take damage in place of a female party member.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The Amazing Technicolor Battle against Ozma.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: A number of people, including the inexplicably blue Brahne and Amarant. Combined with the numerous Petting Zoo People, it is a matter of much debate whether these characters are supposed to be fully human or not. Word of God says they are, but it doesn't settle the arguments any.
  • Amazing Technicolor World: Terra.
  • Amazon Brigade: It's actually inverted for Alexandria. In that nation, an all-female army is the norm. Steiner's Knights of Pluto are the odd ones out - as a group of nine males against an entire army of females.
  • Amazon Chaser: The game alluded to this when Zidane is helping the princess escape. This is after he chased her around the castle, watched her jump off a tower and then swing to safety using a street decoration.
    "Wow, you're really athletic. I think I'm falling for you"
  • Ambiguous Gender: Quina (and by extension, most of the Qus, essentially a Genderless Race). The Lamias' "attract" attack works on them, so whatever they are they're attracted to women. Zidane won't protect them when equipped with the Protect Girls ability, though that could mean he doesn't know himself.
  • Amnesiac Lover: Again with Sir Fratley, amnesiac lover of Freya. A particularly bittersweet example in that the game shows this to still be the case in the epilog. However, he is beginning to return Freya's affections and she plans on trying to start over anew anyway.
  • Anchors Away: Boss Hillgigas uses one as a brass knuckle.
  • Ancient Keeper: Garland. He's the ancient Artificial Human caretaker of the planet Terra, whose original inhabitants died out after creating him to ensure their souls would be reborn on another planet. He's a bit more active in the plot than most examples, but his on-screen actions are mostly limited to expositing about Terra to the heroes.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: There are many points when you get suddenly thrown into another character's shoes (to the point that you get to - with the exception of Amarant - control all members of the party at least once, despite Can't Drop the Hero being in effect), but the most jarring example is probably when the party is trapped in Desert Palace, and you suddenly have to rescue them as Cid, under a time limit.
    • After the introduction, you actually start the game out playing as Vivi before regaining use of Zidane. Later on in the disc, the viewpoints split between the parties of Zidane, Vivi, and Freya, and Dagger, Steiner, and Marcus, and the game switches between the two all the way up to about 1/3 of Disc 2. Disc 2 also notably has a mission where Dagger becomes the main character even while Zidane is still in the party. Disc 3 again starts out with the player controlling Vivi, and later on your party splits up and Eiko is the default character to lead the Desert Palace group, if you included her as you're expected to do.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: During their stay at the Black Mage Village, Zidane tells Garnet a story about a young adopted boy who went in search of his real parents, thus revealing some of Zidane's Back Story.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Zidane has opted to stay behind and rescue his brother Kuja, and, after a year, was presumed dead. Cue this absolutely touching ending.
  • Anime Hair: The villain Kuja has hair that appears to coalesce into feathers.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Necron, the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, is revealed in the Ultimania to be the personification of death.
  • Anti Anti Christ: Zidane Tribal is revealed as The Antichrist late in the game, born for the sole purpose of spreading destruction on Gaia. He just taunts his creator at first, but said creator temporarily reverts him into what he "should" have been by removing Zidane's soul. He gets better; encouragement from his friends somehow snaps him out of it, by pointing out all the not-antichristy things he's done to help them.
    • To a certain degree, Kuja qualifies as well, if what Mitoko states in the ending is anything to go by.
  • Anti-Hero: Amarant, who under goes a Heel–Face Turn and joins your party purely to observe Zidane, not that he worries about bad guys taking over the world so much.
  • Anti-Magic: Oeilvert has an anti magic field within the structure, which completely disables your party's magic, meaning that you should probably send your physical fighters there. You will have an extremely hard time if you wind up taking any of your party's magic users with you on the trip. The problem is that the magic-users left behind will have to get through a dungeon on their own too...
  • Apocalypse How:
    • Throughout Discs 1 and 2, Queen Brahne causes a Regional Catastrophe on the Mist Continent. With an army of Black Mages and the Eidolons she stole from Garnet, she annihilated the cities of Burmecia, Cleyra, and Lindblum.
    • At the end of Disc 3, Kuja appears to have subjected Terra to Planetary Annihilation. This makes him one of the few FF villains to actually succeed in destroying a world.
    • In Disc 4, Kuja attempts to cause the Total Destruction Of All Of Reality.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The FMV scenes in which most of the above happens.
  • Arbitrary Head Count Limit: No more than four characters at a time. The game employs various other tropes to enforce this. Since in most cases the parties are naturally separated from each other, or formed based on immediate need in the story, it's usually a Justified Trope. Can be rather egregious, though, as at one point Marcus leaves about three seconds before the rest of the party show up, so Steiner can join them with no issues. Justified as Marcus only tagged along so he could get to Evil Forest and save Blank and Alexandria was a lot closer then Treno.
    • At the very beginning, you only have three or four characters in the party at a time, with the guest character getting a bridge dropped on him to make room for the fourth. Later on, when the fifth main character appears, the party splits up into two groups, each of which can accommodate the limit. When the two parties reunite, some of the characters are Put on a Bus for the rest of the disk to make room for the final party members. When the entire party unites at the start of Disk 3, they are frequently seen gathering in various dungeons, sometimes offering explanations as to why they split up again, but by the final few dungeons it's assumed that the entire party is travelling together, and the fact that whichever four characters the player isn't using don't seem to be doing anything is pretty much Hand Waved.
  • Arboreal Abode: The citizens of Cleyra live in a giant tree that is protected by a sandstorm.
  • Arch-Enemy: Zidane who's motto is to help anyone who needs it and his brother Kuja who is unable to see the value of anything but himself.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Queen Brahne Raza Alexandros XVI has no remorse stealing other people's powers and using them to commit multiple genocides.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Tin Armor, which can only be acquired by defeating a Bonus Boss and having him synthesize it from two items, one of which is incredibly common and the other of which can only be acquired by doing a lengthy sidequest.
  • Arms Dealer: Kuja sells factory-built black mages to Alexandria for use as shock troops and walking artillery pieces. His motivation isn't necessarily profit though.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: An unknown character in an optional scene keeps Zidane interested from the other side of a stone gate with her voice. The speaker is never revealed, but, given that it was a gate to the Burmecian territories, the odds are that she was a Petting Zoo Person.
  • Artifact Alias: Dagger, aka Princess Garnet. Her identity is never a secret from either the player or the party, but she still goes by her pseudonym much more often than her real name, even when there's little practical reason.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The Cactuars can cause Confusion to your party, making them have a random chance of attacking enemies or their own party. Think that is bad enough? The same Cactuars will also cast Haste on confused characters, making them faster to attack and faster in destroying themselves.
  • Artificial Human: The Black Mages. And the Genomes.
  • Artistic Age: Probably one of the most extreme examples out there. All the characters are chibi, so their real age is hard to pin down by just looking at them. Their ages ranged from a 6 year old white mage to a 33 year old knight and Quina, who's an nonhuman gag character with little in the way of biographical information like age or gender. Zidane and Garnet are both 16, but you'd be forgiven for thinking they were as young as 10 or 12, Garnet's slight assets notwithstanding. Could be justified by the fact that neither is human.
  • As Lethal as It Needs to Be:
    • While all weapons are subject to RNG that modifies damage to a small degree, Quina's forks deal wildly fluctuating damage.
    • Beatrix's Climhazzard and Stock Break attacks freely switch between doing normal damage and doing exactly enough damage to set HP to 1 depending purely on the story.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: Said by Necron during its Technicolor Death.
    Necron: "This is not the end. I am eternal... as long as there is life and death..."
  • Asshole Victim: Lampshaded by Vivi, who states (in narration) "I hated Brahne. I wanted this to happen to her." However, it's subverted second later, when he laments "But then I saw Garnet cry...".
  • The Assimilator: The villain's main plan, except between planets and using The Lifestream. Garland is trying to assimilate Gaia into Terra in an attempt to avert the death of his world. And it turns out that Kuja, previously thought to be the Big Bad of the game, was actually working for him in starting wars across Gaia.
  • Ass Kicks You: Hilgigars does this, with the help of a flying leap. It's called "Hip-hop".
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The game features normal Mooks that work like this. For example, Random Encounters in Cleyra include sand-elementals, the Sand Golem, which will revive over and over again no matter how many times you defeat it. You have to destroy its Core in order to defeat it for good: you actively need to target a little, pink heart-like part of it. Not realizing this fast enough can result in throwing away lots of HP and mana in battle against the main body of the Mook.
  • Attract Mode: The game contains brief cuts of other FMVs in the game as well as a sweeping view of the world map which isn't seen anywhere else.
  • Auction: Several items can be obtained by participating in the auctions at the Treno Auction House. It is the only way to find the Dark Matter, which can be equipped to allow casting one of the most powerful summon spells in the game (or tossed at an enemy to be used as a one-shot).
  • Auto-Revive:
    • One of the learn-able skills for all characters and a spell of Quina's and Amarant's.
    • The summon, Phoenix, which can revive all fallen allies when used. However, if the entire party is wiped and Eiko (who is the only character that can use Phoenix) is in the lineup, there's a small chance Phoenix will come on its own and revive the entire party, giving you a second chance. This can happen multiple times in a single fight, but the odds of it happening diminish each time.
  • Award Bait Song: "Melodies of Life".
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Excalibur II is the most powerful weapon in the game, but due to the requirements not worth getting for any reason other than the challenge of it. The main issue is the damage cap. Steiner can easily hit for 9999 damage without Excalibur II, so skipping a huge chunk of side-quests to reach almost the end of the game in under 12 hours ultimately makes you weaker for no real noticeable benefit other than slightly improving Steiner's non-trance normal attack damage by a very slight amount, although it is beloved of speedrunners of this game for good reason.
    • Ark is an example. He does a lot of damage, but in the time that his 2 minute summoning animation takes to finish you could have defeated every enemy on screen with lesser spells and taken a short nap. Although if your party is outfitted with auto HP regen, it's actually useful as a way to stop the enemies from attacking without actually pausing the game. Typically you'll regenerate to full HP with just one summon sequence. Adding another nail into Ark's coffin is that enemies weak to Shadow Magic by the time you get him are painfully rare, if not non-existent.
  • Awesome McCool Name: Zidane, Dagger, Steiner, and Amarant.
    • Ruby and Blank from Tantalus. Oh, and Lord Puck of Burmecia. Amarant in Japanese is Salamander Coral, too, which means his nickname in that version is "The Flaming Salamander".
  • An Axe to Grind:
    • Bounty hunter Lani fights with an axe. In her first scene in the game, when she learns that she doesn't need to spare any of your party members on her mission to obtain Garnet/Dagger's pendant, she speaks as though her axe has a mind of its own.
    Lani: "My axe is pleased to hear that."
    • Sir Fratley carries a large poleaxe.
    • Averted with the Lizard men; they prefer to just bury the hatchet.
  • Babies Ever After:
    • Vivi's "children" in the ending sequence. The game has possibly the most touching subversion in the series: The ending sequence is occasionally interrupted by a letter, with an unknown author. It turns out to be written by Vivi, a main character who was revealed to be a puppet with a very limited lifespan. As the ending sequence proceeds, the letter grows more and more depressing, slowly making it clear that the author is dead or dying - but we see Vivi happily walking around the city of Alexandria just like in the opening sequence. It turns out Vivi did die after all, and the boy we see is his "son" - the first of about a dozen. Vivi ends his letter with a final goodbye to everyone.
    • Also, a moogle couple in Gizamaluke's Grotto and a pair of Burmecian refugees who make it to Lindblum. Moogles and Rat-people breed very quickly and develop even more quickly, given that the kids are old enough to walk by the time Zidane returns.
  • Background Magic Field: To a lesser extent, the Mist. It's less dramatic in its wildness, but still responsible for the shape of travel and civilisation on the Mist Continent, as well as its hordes of ravenous beasts.
  • Background Music Override:
    • The most notable is the naming sequence for You Are Not Alone below. The song plays while Zidane doubts himself and his right to live, and is considered by many an absolute masterpiece from the beginning of Zidane's black thoughts until his friends have made him see that he's not alone.
    • "Protecting My Devotion" is also pretty epic and memorable. It plays when you are defending the city of Alexandria from Kuja's monster invasion with Steiner, and the badass guest character Beatrix.
    • Also applies for urgent scenes like fighting your way through Cleyra to the chapel and through Alexandria castle to save Dagger.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Beatrix and Steiner do this at one point. As do Freya and Beatrix.
    • The game invokes this trope at the start of disc three, when Beatrix and Steiner run out of Alexandria Castle to fight monsters attacking the town. The scene also becomes a CMOA for Steiner as he confesses his love for Beatrix and then goes into Trance.
  • Badass: Kuja, even more so than any other villain in the entirety of the Final Fantasy series due to his Magnificent Bastard status.
  • Badass Adorable: Eiko, being only 6, and Vivi, who's also the ultimate Iron Woobie.
    • Vivi. I mean, come on. The little cutie is the freakin' Woobie, but if he gets angry and/or determined, he will own you.
  • Badass Beard: Amarant sports a goatee, while the eidolon Ramuh has one that reaches the floor.
  • Badass Boast:
  • Badass Longcoat: Freya Crescent. Coat, hat, spear. Talk about awesome costumes.
  • Badass Mustache: Regent Cid's gigantic mustache is so awesome, he gets to keep it even when transformed into an oglop, and later as a frog.
  • Badass Normal: In Trance, each character gets an upgrade to their unique skills that lets them become extraordinarily powerful. Not Steiner, though, he just gets three times as strong.
    • Although he spends half of the game portrayed as the Butt Monkey, Steiner is the only character in the game (if not the entire planet) who isn't either a Super Prototype creature, a Half-Human Hybrid that can call destruction from the heavens, a petting zoo person with natural gifts, or some chi master who can jump 100 feet in the air and throw fireballs at people. He just hits people really hard with swords, and is the only party member who can hit for max damage unaugmented.
    • This is also doubly true for his Trance abilities. Every party member that goes into Trance gains new abilities or have their current abilities enhanced for extra power or additional properties. What does Steiner have for his Trance skills? Not a damn thing. Instead, he just has tripled attack power.
    • Vivi, however, can turn him into an Empowered Badass Normal by enchanting his sword to summon magic attacks to hit enemies. When they are in the party together, Steiner can use his own MP to use Vivi's black magic against one target.
  • Badass Princess: Although she acts like a Princess Classic throughout the game, it is Garnet's idea to escape from her castle, trek across thousands of miles of dangerous territory, and seek political assistance in stopping Queen Brahne.
  • Bag of Sharing: The game takes this trope to an extreme.
    • The characters will often split into several parties, and still have access to a single shared inventory. They can be halfway across the continent, or on different continents entirely.
    • Sometimes the inventory violates causality. For instance, Party A will finish a dungeon, at which point the focus will switch to Party B. Party B's sequence of events happens simultaneously to (or earlier than) Party A's dungeon crawl. Party B will be able to use all the items Party A found in that dungeon, even though logically, Party A shouldn't have even picked up these items yet.
    • It may also happen that Party B has access to an item shop, while Party A is many miles away from civilization. After Party B stocks up on inventory and the focus switches back, Party A will have full access to Party B's purchases.
    • This also includes Mognet letters. Moogle X gives you (say, Zidane) a letter for Moogle Y, the game switches attention to another character in another place (and perhaps even an earlier time, see above), you (Dagger) deliver the letter to Moogle Y who is standing right next to where you start this part of the game.
    • About the only exception to the Bag of Sharing in this game is that you can't equip or remove items from the other party.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Regent Cid cheated on his wife Hilda, and she turned him into an oglop as revenge. After a failed attempt of curing him, he was turned into a frog.
  • Bandit Mook: The game has item-stealing enemies too, but you have to use Zidane to steal them back.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Kuja. He's a male, OK?
  • Barred from the Afterlife: This is part of the reason Kuja has nothing to lose and everything to gain in rebelling and attempting to take over Gaia. His boss, Garland, will provide him with as much power, wealth, and luxury as he could ever want, but only if Kuja follows his instructions. Otherwise, he'll just take Kuja's soul back and make a new version of him. The problem is, even if Kuja succeeds, Garland will do the exact same thing. So Kuja has absolutely nothing to lose by screwing over everyone but himself. Garland knows this.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • You get four neatly-labelled ones, with the four-way split of your team of eight, being Zidane and Quina, Garnet and Eiko ( true sibling summoners), Freya and Amarant and Steiner and Vivi. Special mention goes to Steiner and Vivi because of their in-game sword magic command combination.
    • Double Bash Brothers moment when Zorn and Thorn decide to mess with Eiko and Mog.
    • There's an implied Bash Brothers relationship between Blank and Zidane, but because Blank isn't one of your main characters, it never appears.
    • One iconic moment sees Steiner and Beatrix protecting Alexandria together by bashing in the heads of many, many Mistodons.
  • Bastard Understudy: Kuja to Garland.
  • Battle Aura: The game uses this for characters in Trance, for the duration of which their outfit changes, their body glows a metallic colour (different for each character) and they produce an aura.
  • Battle Couple:
    • When Steiner and Beatrix do this at the beginning of Disk 3, you can just FEEL their love growing for each other on the battlefield.
    • Zidane and Garnet also grow close through their travels, which feature many fights.
  • Battle in the Rain: The closing battle of Disc 1 is against Beatrix in Burmecia, the City of Eternal Rain. Made more ominous as, upon defeat, Beatrix will use a special technique to utterly demolish Zidane and his friends, so Queen Brahne, Big Bad Kuja, and Beatrix leave them for dead on the flooded marble halls of the central palace.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Done in the Black Mage village to get to a chest in the item seller's bedroom.
  • Beast Man: Freya which is more of subversion since she and her rather cultured race are more Petting Zoo People than Beast. There's also the bizarre, food-obsessed, frog-like Qu.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game:
    • Black Waltz No. 3. As his name implies, he fights with black magic, and your party includes a black mage of your own, Vivi. Black Waltz also has the ability to fly into the air, making him virtually impossible to hit with short-ranged physical attacks but still easy prey for Vivi's magic. And Vivi automatically begins the battle in Trance mode, allowing him to cast two spells per turn. It's obvious what you were meant to do (not that you have to, but...)
    • Black Waltz No. 2, however, is a subversion. If you use Vivi's spells against him, he will taunt you and counter with a higher-level spell, handily discouraging you from "fighting fire with fire". And if you're wondering about Black Waltz No. 1... Vivi isn't in your party then.
  • Beef Gate: The game combined this with a Solve the Soup Cans puzzle. Taking the wrong exit from an early cave (in spite of an ally's warning) would lead the player to an uninteresting plateau with really, really nasty random encounters. Until the player gets an airship and can use it as a convenient Door to Before (as the aforementioned ally is part of a quest) there isn't anything that the player can do on the plateau other than fight thunder dragons, so presumably the overpowered bad guys were there to tell you to turn around and come back later.
    • Of course, taking advantage of Quina's Limit Glove spell can render this plateau to be a fantastic location for level-grinding. Plus, one of Freya's later abilities deals more damage based on the total number of dragons you've defeated over the course of the game...
  • Belated Backstory: Kuja, which is especially grating because throughout most of the game he is a completely unsympathetic complete monster.
  • Belated Love Epiphany: Zidane only realizes that he loves Garnet after she is crowned queen (and thus becomes unaccessible for him). Before that, he's all playful and flirting but doesn't think it's for real.
  • Belly Dancer: The female members of the Cleyran tribe dress up like this to perform a dance in honor of a sandstorm that protects their settlement.
  • Berserk Button: Lani takes great pride in her beauty. When you fight her, she initially starts out focused on Dagger, but if you physically attack her, she'll fly into a rage and shift her attacks to whoever hit her.
  • Beta Test Baddie:
    • Kuja the villain is the original and Zidane the hero is the replacement. Kuja goes truly cuckoo after learning that his lifespan was purposely designed to be short as part of the plan.
    • The Black Mages are also this trope, except that the ones who become self-aware stop wanting to kill things.
  • Be the Ball: The Mimic enemy does this in its "Eat" attack, but instead of playing around after squishing them to a ball, it chomps down it's victim into its big gaping treasure chest mouth, crunches a few times and then belches them out whole with some random gold coins.
  • Betting Mini-Game&: There's a blackjack minigame after the ending.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Vivi is sweet, innocent, kind, and despite his species, looks massively adorable, so naturally he has powerful black magic up the ying-yang. Shown impressively at the beginning of the game when he's captured by a monster and then proceeds to fry the thing as it's sucking up his HP. Most notably during the battle with Black Waltz 3 where the little guy just went ballistic, while preparing to reduce Black Waltz No. 3 into a pile of charred feathers.
    • Eiko is protected by Maduin, Garnet by Bahamut, Quina will EAT YOU, and Zidane is a nice easy going guy — 'til you piss him off or threaten his friends. Actually, if you meet any nice people in Gaia, treat them like kings. They can tear your damn face off. Hell, that friendly Moogle who provides save-and-tent services while traveling on foot will threaten to knife you if you deliberately waste his time by calling him over and over and over.
  • Beware the Superman: When Kuja learns he hasn't got long to live, he destroys a planet and then attempts to destroy all of creation. Inverted, in that he was already evil.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Regent Cid was transformed into an Oglop (a beetle-like insect which is reviled by many people in the game) by his wife as a punishment for infidelity. Dr Tot attempts to concoct a potion that will restore him to human form... which turns him into a frog instead. Played for laughs in a few scenes following this, as one of your party members is an Extreme Omnivore with a particular taste for frogs...
  • BFS: Steiner has several of these, though some are more realistically proportioned. Some of Zidane's weapons get pretty big too, but it's a bit harder to judge their actual size since Zidane is pretty short.
  • Big Bad: The game had Kuja and Garland competing for the position, the winner being Kuja, although Garland, like Professor Hojo from VII, is responsible for nearly everything in the background.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The Siege of Cleyra, the Iifa Tree battle, Bahamut's assault on Alexandria, the Silver Dragon rush at the portal to Memoria. The Siege of Burmecia was also implied to be this.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: Technically, Garland is the actual Big Bad for most of the game, despite Queen Brahne and then Kuja being presented as such. However, Kuja snatches the mantle for real late in the game when he kills Garland. And that's all before the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere gets involved...
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • Queen Brahne is a pretty classic example of the "overconfident weakling" variant of this trope; an apparent menace to just about every major city on the Mist Continent during discs 1 and 2, she's certainly ruthless enough to be a Big Bad. It all falls apart when she tries to take on her own weapons supplier, Kuja, and ends up having her entire fleet obliterated in a single battle.
    • Garland is an example of the "legitimate and serious threat" type. Introduced with a lot of fanfare, revealed to be The Man Behind the Man extraordinaire, and shown to be more than capable of foiling Kuja's schemes - in fact, he's technically the Big Bad behind most of the game. In the end, though, he makes the mistakes of thinking kicking Kuja's ass was enough to keep him in check thus focusing only on Zidane while completely ignoring his friends, only to end up ousted from power and killed in a rather undignified fashion by Kuja.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Iifa Tree. The game hates you on this level, since if you didn't know you needed to pack special items to cure zombie status, your party members are going to be impossible to revive.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Sir Fratley at Cleyra. Zidane, Freya, Vivi and Quina are trapped, along with the few remaining Cleyrans, as numerous Black Mages come towards them. Zidane openly admits that they can't fight them all, just as Fratley jumps in from nowhere to save the day.
    • Marcus and newly non-petrified Blank in the Alexandria dungeon when Zidane, Garnet and Vivi are trying to escape. Zorn and Thorn activate the trap that caught Garnet and Steiner the first time, and it look as if they're going to succeed again. Then Marcus and Blank come to the rescue, despite poor Blank still being stiff from having been petrified.
    • One during a cutscene in Disc 3. Zidane when he saves Garnet from the crumbling Alexandria tower. Eiko and Dagger (Garnet) are praying to summon Alexander and save Alexandria. The Big Bad decides this a bad idea, however, and proceeds to destroy Alexander, with Dagger and Eiko still on him. Garnet falls off the edge, despite Eiko's best efforts to reach her in time, and looks to be falling to her death. Cut to Zidane swooping in to save Dagger at the last second, and Dagger with tears in her eyes hugs him for being there. Aww.. Zidane is left badly injured from his heroics, and is out cold for a few days.
  • Big Eater: Quina, along with the whole Qu tribe.
  • The Big Guy: As does Steiner. Freya can be this if she's not being The Lancer, and Amarant becomes this as well.
  • Bindle Stick: Steiner's plan to smuggle Princess Garnet through the South Gate border crossing involves carrying a bag of stinky gysahl pickles... and her using one of these. It works. (A concept art can be seen here.)
  • Bishōnen: As for Kuja, he reaches truly Dude Looks Like a Lady proportions. This is even Lampshaded by Queen Brahne, who outright calls him a "girly-man". To be fair, though, he calls her "elephant-lady".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The game has this, in a way. Sure, Zidane survives the events at the Iifa Tree and ends up with Dagger, Steiner ends up with Beatrix, Freya gets back together with a still-amnesiac Fratley, and Eiko is Happily Adopted by Cid Fabul and Hilda. But, Vivi died some time before the epilogue, and his dying words play out over the ending.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Ipsen's Castle is mirror-imaged on the underside. And it's nothing compared to Memoria.
  • Black Hole Belly: Atomos, a recurring summon/boss with what appears to be a literal blackhole for belly. Its signature attack is called "Wormhole" and its ability to remove a character from the battle in earlier installments is a mild example. The horrific one comes into play where Atomos is used to attack Lindblum, eventually wiping out a whole city district and sucking half the population into the void.
  • Black Mage: Black Mages are an entire race. One of your party members, Vivi, is a black mage.
  • Black Magician Girl: Vivi is a more contemplative Black Magician Boy than most of his female counterparts, but he packs more magic than any other mage into a body half their size!
  • Black Screen of Death:
    • Played with during some ATEs. Like the time two Conde Petie dwarfs greet a regular visitor of theirs, a self-aware black mage. Or one of Eiko's moogles fishing up Quina.
    • This is sometimes done to hide non-existing animations — while solving the moving maze of the Desert Palace, a white screen is used instead to transition to changed pathways.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: The Dead Pepper. When they were fed to chocobos, it drove them crazy and gave them supercharged abilities.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The game lost some of its callbacks to previous games through "Blind Idiot" Translation. Mount Gulug was supposed to be Mount Gurgu, referencing Gurgu Volcano from the first game. Mog's true identity, Madeen was supposed to be Maduin (both are romanized and pronounced the same), referencing the Esper from Final Fantasy VI, and her attack, "Terra Homing", was supposed to be "Terraforming". Other gems include "Maliris" instead of "Marilith" (the proper name of the fiend known as "Kary" in early translations of the first game) and "Rally-ho!" instead of "Lali-ho!" ("Lali-ho!" being the cry of the dwarves in Final Fantasy IV). Freya's long-lost love, Sir Fratley, was possibly meant to be Flatley, a reference to Michael Flatley, an Irish-American step dancer and actor.
    • According to the translators, however, Executive Meddling is the reason for most of these changes, as apparently the players were supposed to figure out the references themselves.
    • While it's often said that the boss Valia Pira was supposed to be Barrier Pillar, the katakana for the boss's name actually deliberately uses the "va" katakana - they write it as ヴァリアピラ (Varia Pira), whereas "Barrier Pillar" would be バリアピラー (Baria Pirā - also note the long "a" sound). Quina's Limit Glove move is another case of this - it's often thought to be "Limit Globe", but again, it's deliberately spelled with the "vu" katakana - リミットグローヴ (Rimitto Gurōvu), instead of リミットグローブ (Rimitto Gurōbu).
  • Bloodless Carnage: The game doesn't feature bloodshed, even in the grim aftermath of the sacking of several cities in the first one-and-a-half discs. The Alexandrian soldiers involved mostly used fire, so all the wounds would be cauterized as soon as they were made.
  • Blood Upgrade: Inverted by Kuja. When he sees that Bahamut has made him bleed, he's delighted (given how great a feat this actually is) and decides to recruit it. By force.
  • Bodyguard Babes: The game had Queen Brahne's main army troops be all female (and dressed in somewhat impractical armor and uniforms that flatter their figure); the men were in the Knights of Pluto, and had much less respect. The backstory indicates the country of Alexandria has been a matriarchy (both politically and militarily) for centuries if not longer.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Zidane quickly becomes infatuated with Garnet. While he definitely does as much guarding as her offiical knight (Steiner) he's officially her kidnapper.
  • Boisterous Bruiser:
    • Baku, the leader of the Thieves' Guild.
    • The bounty hunter Lani is a villainous example, even being described as "Boisterous Woman" before we learn her name.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Beatrix likes to finish her battles with Climhazzard and Stock Break, which reduces your entire party's HP to 1, before walking away bored and continuing her job. Then again, she's so badass that leaving you alive never comes back to bite her. In fact, it leads to her Heel Face Turn.
  • Bonus Boss: Master Quale, Hades, and Ozma, the giant marble OF DOOM! (unique in that his difficulty has little to do with inflated stats and almost everything to do with proper strategizing, albeit with more than a hint of Guide Dang It). Kinda complementary - Hades turns out to be a legendary synthesist, and one of the rewards for beating Ozma is something you can synth off to obtain Ark, the ridiculously over-the-top summon. There's also the Tantarian, another boss whose difficulty is based on strategy rather than just stats. Beating him nets an accessory that teaches the very useful Auto-Haste ability.
  • Boobs of Steel: Beatrix is easily the strongest female character and nigh-invincible, being able to crush almost any enemy with one or two attacks.
  • Book Ends: The game began with Tantalus coming to Alexandria to perform "I Want To Be Your Canary", and ended the same way, too, but as a front for a kidnapping the first time and sneaking someone in the second.
  • Books That Bite: The book monster had poisonous fangs. Possibly a Mythology Gag to the books from V, given the sheer number of references IX had to past games.
  • Bookworm: Princess Garnet alludes on numerous occasions to being one.
  • Boom Stick: The Racket-type weapons, for Dagger and Eiko, which allow them to (literally) fling a ball of energy at the enemy. These are quite useful, as they allow the normally weak mage-characters to deal somewhat decent amounts of damage (due to these weapons drawing on their Magic stat, rather than their Strength stat).
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Melodies of Life (at least the instrumental version) was largely Garnet's theme, as she hums it throughout the game. But ask anyone what song they associate with the game, it's just that.
  • Boring Return Journey: The game subverted this a lot. A big part of Disk 1 is getting from Alexandria to Lindblum. Once Garnet and Steiner separate from the party, they have to make their way back to Alexandria. While they don't go the same way they came, the journey still takes up half the second Disk. And when Garnet has to return to Lindblum, the way there is full of complications too.
  • Boss Bonanza: Let us count the penultimate bosses of this game:
    • Starting at the end of Disc 3, there's the three-boss marathon consisting of the Silver Dragon, Garland, and Kuja. Following those battles is a brief plot segment with no encounters.
    • Shortly after Disc 4 begins, the party can choose to go straight to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon. At the entrance is a battle against Nova Dragon.
    • Inside the final dungeon are four surprise encounters against the four fiends: Maliris/Marilith, Tiamat, Kraken, and Lich.
    • Waiting at the end is another three-boss marathon consisting of Deathgaze, Kuja, and finally Necron.
      • In all, a grand total of eleven (11) bosses in the final stretch of the game.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Grand Dragons. The first time you can encounter them, they will likely annihilate you faster than you can say "THUNDAGAAA!" Of course, it'll be your own damn fault, considering that they live in an optional area, and a Moogle will shout a warning to you if you try to go there.note 
    • Yans are the strongest random encounter in the game and can cast Meteor to boot. Don't judge a mook by its cover. Again, though, completely optional, out-of-the-way area. Unfortunately, if you want to be able to melee Ozma, you're going to have to go there to get the last friendly monster encounter (who also happens to be a Yan), making the risk is necessary. Since Ozma is the simplest source of the pumice...
    • In a way, the friendly Yan. It's the only friendly enemy not immune to damage, so you can kill it and still receive its 50 AP prize. However, at 65535 HP, it has the most HP of any enemy or boss in the game, and counters all attacks with a powerful group-hitting physical move that inflicts Silence.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • Earth Shrine, where you fight the Earth Guardian. A turning point in the plot, since it unlocks the passage to Terra, but the boss is a blend of Gimmick Level (you fight it with Zidane and Quina, of all characters) and Anticlimax Boss (unless you've neglected to learn Blue Magic).
    • The Hill of Despair, where you fight Necron.
  • Boss Remix: Beatrix's battle theme, "Sword of Doubt" a battle arrangement of Beatrix's theme, and "Protecting my Devotion" that plays when she and Steiner defend Alexandria from an enemy attack at the beginning of Disc 3. Kuja's theme is remixed as "Dark Messenger" when he's fought at the end of the game.
  • Boss Rush: The Four Guardians Of Terra, although at first only one, Lich, is actually fought (the other three were taken down off-screen). You do get to challenge them all in Memoria in a Call Back to the final dungeon of Final Fantasy I; at special points along the path, you are suddenly thrust into battle against one of them, with absolutely no indication of a boss encounter beforehand. Thankfully, save points are placed in between these encounters.
  • Bounty Hunter: Amarant before he joins the party, and his partner Lani. In Treno, Amarant has a bounty on his head.
  • Boyish Short Hair: In one scene , when Garnet/Dagger cuts off much of her hair it signifies her having Took a Level in Badass and also becoming a bit more boyish.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Eiko is another female example, and one often accused of being The Scrappy.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Lindblum is a pot seller who asks if you are happy with what you are doing. You can either answer that you are doing fine or "No, this game sucks!" to which she suggests that you maybe buy a different game.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Poor, poor Princess Garnet suffers so many traumas in a short space in time like watching her mother die, becoming the queen and never being able to see her love Zidane again, only to have her kingdom nearly destroyed by Bahamut that she goes completely mute for a good section of the game.
    • And Vivi. Everybody loves Vivi and his existential woes. Finds out he's a prototype model of mindless magical soldiers, watches his own kind get killed or sacrificed like cannon fodder, and then learns that all the black mages have a very short lifespan and his time could come any moment. No wonder he's The Woobie.
      • It's also heavily implied that his "Grandfather" was planning on eating him.
    • Everything Freya loves either gets overthrown, nuked, or forgets that she exists... Of course, by the end of the game, her homeland is recovering, and while Fratley does not remember her... they've STILL managed to get together.
    • Zidane, too, surprisingly. His androgynous looks aside, he's The Cutie because he is relentlessly cheerful and upbeat throughout the entire game. The few times that his optimistic demeanor vanishes are usually when it's replaced with righteous anger, like upon seeing enemies slaughtering helpless civilians. Just like Vivi, though, he learns that he's actually nothing more than a weapon. A highly complex and specialized weapon, but ultimately meant to bring war and destruction to the planet that is his home. He finds out that he was meant to be the one to destroy Gaia, the planet he's now fighting desperately to protect. This causes him to completely lose hope and march slowly towards his death during the famous You Are Not Alone scene. The happy go lucky guy who's been boosting everyone else's spirits throughout the game just breaks, and it's heartbreaking to watch.
      • The above is subverted, actually. When he discovered the truth, Zidane declared he would do what he was meant to do; by killing Garland. Garland then decides to rip Zidane's soul out of his body, causing his Heroic B.S.O.D..
  • Breather Episode:
    • The beginning of disc 3. Everyone in your party who's not Garnet or Steiner gets a brief holiday in Treno.
    • Once you defeat Lani at the beginning of Fossil Roo, the story is free of boss battles until after you've visited a village free of encounters, another village free of encounters, back to the first one again, and reached the end of a mountain path.
  • Brick Joke: Gysahl pickles.
    • Going near the fountains in the Conde Petie inn will cause the inn regulars to bring up the HP/MP restoration springs and the wishing fountain in Treno, both of which you come across one disc earlier... and promptly dismiss them as bull.
    • Returning to the Moogle couple in Gizamaluke's Grotto in disc 2, 3, and 4 adds a baby Moogle each time.
    • "Get off me, you scumbags!"
  • Bridal Carry: Zidane carries the unconscious Garnet this way when rescuing her from Alexandria Castle.
  • Bright Castle: Ipsen's Castle (as the McGuffin Storage Facility), and Alexandria Castle (as "home with a dark secret").
  • Bright Is Not Good: Ozma, essentially a big colorful swirly ball, is basically what happens when God has an abortion. It's the toughest boss in the game, and totally optional.
  • Bring My Red Jacket: Freya Crescent is also dressed in red, though she's a Dragoon rather than a Red Mage. Something of an aversion, since Freya's Jump ability means she tends to avoid getting hurt. Except emotionally of course, but then this is Final Fantasy IX we're talking about.
  • Bring News Back: A single Burmecian soldier arrives to inform King Cid of the attack on Burmecia. Combines with Determinator and Almost Dead Guy, since he crossed essentially the length of a continent, with the only passageway between Burmecia and his destination taken over by the enemy, and he died immediately after delivering the news.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Your party manages to defeat the apparent master mind behind everything... which allows Kuja to take control of the Invincible. Then your party beats up Kuja... which causes him to compliment you because he was depending on your party driving him to the edge so that he can go Trance (which he learned how to do during the course of your party punching out a lesser Cthulhu) and mainline the souls stolen by the Invincible into himself to make him a planet destroying god.
  • B.S.O.D. Song: Non-singing example: "You're Not Alone!". Also Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Chocobo's Air Garden if you play enough of the Chocobo Hot and Cold minigame.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Qu's Marsh.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Amarant holds a grudge against Zidane for copping out of a challenge by framing him for a crime he didn't commit and using the distraction to flee. Even though he doesn't reveal it to Zidane directly, Amarant and Zidane met once before the events of the game: Amarant was working as a security guard in Treno when he interrupted Zidane carrying out a heist, and Zidane managed to frame Amarant for the crime as he made his escape, leaving Amarant a wanted criminal. He isn't too happy to hear that Zidane doesn't remember it either... Zidane never acknowledges their shared past, and seems completely oblivious to the impact his actions had on Amarant's life.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • You get a humorous outburst as a reward for answering negatively to a question 64 times at the beginning of the game. (It was probably a way to test the counting variables.)
    • Most choices in this game take this direction, plot-centric or not. Just try turning down the Mognet thingy the first time you select it...
    • One of the funniest of these involves Steiner. When he's with Garnet and they're trying to cross back to Lindbum, Steiner encounters a guy who's been slacking off on his work, which is the reason why South Gate has been messed up.
    Steiner: (thinking) You were the reason we couldn't come in through this gate! (Choice: Kill! / Don't kill.)
    Kill!: (Garnet kicks Steiner from inside the bag she's stuffed in) I almost lost control of myself!
    Don't kill: I must tolerate him for the sake of the princess!
    • In the Steam re-release, you get an achievement for ticking off Moguo to the point where he has a tantrum by calling and then immediately dismissing him repetitively 64 times. Thus pissing off Moguo becomes this trope for those aiming for 100% Completion.
  • Cain and Abel: Kuja as Cain and Zidane as Abel. Sort of. Specifically, Zidane was created to be Cain to Kuja's Able, but then Kuja went sour and Zidane became the "good" one (though their "father" wasn't satisfied with either), plus Kuja grows jealous (after a fashion) of Zidane and wants to kill him (or at least make him suffer) which flips their roles. Then, at the climax, Zidane finally confronts Kuja and kills him, making him Cain once again.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Ragtime Mouse. That certainly doesn't look like any mouse we know, and there are mice people in the game. Also, the music playing during the encounter certainly isn't ragtime.note 
  • Call Back: To the previous eight games in the series.
  • Calvinball: Tetra Master is Calvinball to the people who play it. Nobody who you meet actually know the rules, and as a player you have to pick the rules up from other character's suppositions and actual gameplay. Apparently the cards sort of play themselves somehow. This is an unfortunate case of Guide Dang It. Back in the day, Square-Enix provided a full and detailed strategy guide on their website that explained how to obtain everything in the game. It even explained how Tetra Master uses a Hexidecimal numbering system to explain the strengths and weaknesses of the 4 numbers (or letters) listed on each card. Just learning this alone made the game far easier to play and understand. Sadly, around 2003 or so, the website was given a major overhaul and the entire strategy guide on the website was lost to Internet Oblivion.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Quina, the Blue Mage learned new spells by eating monsters that could cast them.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Averted, the Chivalrous Pervert Zidane makes open passes at Garnet throughout most of the game. In fact, as he gets closer to Garnet, his passes at other women become less frequent.
  • Can't Catch Up:
    • Your party shifts around so frequently in the first two disks that this could happen to any character except Zidane and Vivi. However, Dagger is a special case. She can't really use her summons on the first two disks and then spends half of the third disk in a Heroic B.S.O.D. which cripples her usefulness. By the time she's really ready to contribute, Eiko has taken over the White Mage duties, and her summons probably won't be powerful enough to justify using her over Vivi unless you grind for gemstones.
    • This can happen to Freya shortly after your party reunites in Disk 3 unless you take the time to evenly level her up again. It wouldn't be a problem, except the plot expects you to use her more later on (in the Desert Palace/Oeilvert and Pandemonium, specifically), and she can become a liability if she's not trained.
    • Steiner also qualifies - after he leaves the party for the first time, where the average level is around 8, he doesn't fight again until the rest of your characters are around level 20.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: The final dungeon is the only exception, although you still control him on the field. However, there are times when simultaneous events (such as Garnet's travels) allow you to control other characters instead. In fact, you control most of the other characters at least once during the game (Amarant is the only one never controlled by the player).
  • Card Battle Game: Tetra Master. Pretty fun once you get the hang of its hexadecimal rating system. Not nearly as infuriating as Triple Triad with its rules, although some find the fact that the numeric values are never explained in game or in the manual to be frustrating. Like everything else in this game this gets a Lampshade Hanging from the shop girl in Dali, who ponders the card game and actually says that she only thinks to know what the numbers do but really is not sure about it.
  • Cartoon Creature: Many characters are either people with various animal parts or anthro-animalesque creatures.
  • Cast from Hit Points: One of the abilities Steiner can learn is "Darkside", an attack that does darkness elemental damage, but drains his HP.
  • Casual High Drop: During Amarant's first scene, after he's finished talking to Queen Brahne, he leaves by jumping off the balcony (as opposed to Lani, who just uses the door).
  • Catch Phrase: Zidane: "Do I need a reason to help people?"
  • The Cavalry: In an homage to Final Fantasy IV, the game has the party aboard the Invincible, approaching the portal to the Final Dungeon... only to be surrounded by innumerable Silver Dragons. They're saved at the very last second by the Alexandrian Armada and the Lindblum Fleet, led by Beatrix and Cid, respectively. Despite being rival nations in the past, they proceed to clear a path for the Invincible to break through and reach the portal.
  • Central Theme:
    • The briefness of life, memory, and what makes a person human.
    • All living things strive to live. Don't obsess over stopping the inevitable, but focus on what you can accomplish with the time given to you.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: You start with a bunch of thieves/actors kidnapping a rebellious princess and a kid who goes to watch a theater play. The first 7 or 8 hours of the game (especially in the brilliantly done French translation) are lighthearted and fun. Then, the thieves'/actors' hometown is invaded, the rebellious princess sees the death of her mother and watches her kingdom getting nuked, the whole world comes close to destruction, and the little cute kid of the intro gets to deal with his own mortality.
  • Chained by Fashion: The enemy Cerberus features manacles with broken chains on its forelegs.
  • Chainmail Bikini:
    • The standard uniform for female Alexandrian soldiers. While the male Knights of Pluto get to clank around in plate armour, the Queen's all-female guard tends to invest in helmets, boots, and one-piece swimsuits. Not often where 'show some leg' meets 'oppressive imperial army'.
    • There's also Kuja, whose outfit consists of a puff-sleeved vest, sash, thigh-high boots and a Thong of Shielding. Justified in this case since armor wouldn't help him much.
  • Challenge Gamer: FFIX took the Level 1 Game (or at least complete the game at the lowest possible level, which is level 1 for most of your party), added in the Excalibur 2 Challenge (get to the room before the final boss in less than 12 hours to pick up the Infinity+1 Sword), and combined them together to make the Excalibur 2 Perfect Game Challenge. This involves getting to the room before the final boss in less than 12 hours, whilst picking up every missable treasure and field icon, purchasing "perfect" amounts of all equipment - defined as one for each member of the party that can equip it plus one for the inventory- and completing all this whilst remaining at level 1. The current record is a time of around 11:10, and the entire challenge is actually impossible on a PAL version of the game, due to the lower frame rate vs the ingame timer.
  • Character Focus: Some characters (particularly Vivi and Garnet) recieve significant focus, to the detriment of other characters (most noticeably, Freya, whose personal story line is completely dropped early on in Disc 2 and not picked back up until the very end of the game).
  • Character Tics:
    • Zidane bends over slightly to scratch his butt, which makes him seem very monkey-like when combined with the fact that he also has a tail.
    • It may just be a talking animation that translates poorly, but Quina appears to sniff the air quite often.
    • Vivi will fiddle with his hat when nervous.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: When entering Trance, most characters gain the ability to use powerful magical abilities. Steiner, on the other hand, just gets three times as strong! Add in that his endgame weapons are almost all Holy type, and Dark enemies should just give up when Trance Steiner's around.
  • Chef of Iron: Quina, who is also an Extreme Omnivore, wielding an oversized set of cutlery in combat, along with his/her chef-hat. It's never clarified if Quina's cooking is edible by humans. Quina fights with a toque blanche and cooking implements. S/he also helps Eiko make a delicious meal for everyone in Madain Sari and gives her cooking advice, and at the end of the game can be found working in Alexandria's kitchens.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The castle of Alexandria, which is actually the Alexander eidolon.
    • Similarly, Eiko's dress-up wings, given to her by her grandfather (making them summoner tribe relics) apparently have nothing to do with her flying to Garnet's side to summon Alexander.
    • Early on you are introduced to the Pluto Knights, and are told what their professions and specific duties are for no particular reason. Skip to Disc 3, and you are expected to remember said duties so that they can help defend their Doomed Hometown. Doing it perfectly nets you an awesome accessory.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The little boy Vivi befriends at the beginning of the game, for starters.
    • Eiko's personal Moogle turns out to be Maduin.
    • One of these in the form of an Easter Egg. When Baku is describing the plan to Tantalus on the ship at the start of the game, Zidane has the option of saying "That's when I kidnap Queen Brahne, right?" or "That's when I kidnap Princess Garnet, right?" Saying the "Queen Brahne" option a total of 64 times will eventually make Ruby come in and chastise Zidane, long before Ruby is ever properly introduced.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: The game establishes that Alexandria loves the play "I Want To Be Your Canary" and it's performed there every year. So when the escaping Princess Garnet finds herself on stage during a performance (with her mother watching), she's able to improvise and play Princess Cornelia's part. A flashback later reveals that she has been reading the play since she was six.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Subverted—despite Garnet listening to Zidane explain to Vivi how to escape from a potential kidnapper, when this actually happens to her, she only remembers what to yell. And then is promptly captured.
    • The talents of the Knights of Pluto become this when you have to send them out on different assignments when Kuja attacks Alexandria.note 
  • Cherry Blossoms: Freya Crescent, the dragoon PC, has an attack called "Cherry Blossom." It hits all opponents for damage and scatters petals all over the place. It's pretty much hitting all of the above-cited meanings - Freya's deadliness, her search for her first love, and her maturation.
  • Chest Monster: Mimics also make an appearance here as 'monster-in-the-box' enemies (of course, this time the monster is the box).
  • Child Hater: Amarant, though he'd never hurt one and attacked Lani who was using Eiko as a hostage. He's nice enough to Vivi, though.
  • Child Mage:
    • The party's Black Mage, Vivi, appears about eight or ten years old but is actually less than a year old. This turns out to be an Enforced Trope: Black Mages in the setting are actually a kind of golem with a very short lifespan. Vivi is a Super Prototype who might live longer than the rest, but still isn't likely to make it out of childhood.
    • Eiko, a White Mage who also wields powerful Summon Magic, is only six years old. Justified as she's the Last of Her Kind, so the party don't exactly have the option of choosing an older, more experienced summoner to accompany them.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Zidane was born an Angel of Death to cause death and destruction on Gaia but was abandoned on Gaia by Kuja so he grew to love the place and defy his creator, while still saving his kindred.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Princess Garnet, who turned 16 at the start of the game and by the end, she was ruling her kingdom after the death of her mother. She seemed to handle the job quite competently, as it's implied she was able to rebuild her destroyed Alexandria in the span of only a few years.
  • Child Soldiers: We have Eiko, a White Mage girl who can use Summon Magic. She happens to be six years old and is the Sole Survivor of her tribe, apart from a bunch of Moogles, who keep her company. She is also Wise Beyond Her Years and not only understands the complexity of the world-threatening conflict when Zidane and his friends meet her, but willingly joins them to Save The World. The rest of the cast, while not nearly as young as Eiko, are also mostly teenagers and overall Final Fantasy IX has the youngest cast on average of any main game in the series.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Zidane is practically the poster boy for the series alongside Edgar. He actually has "Protect Girls" as a support skill which lets him intercept attacks on women, and is constantly flirting with females throughout the game. He also subverts Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest, as he shamelessly makes passes at Garnet the entire game, though he backs off slightly when he realizes he's actually in love with her. There's also an instance when he touches Garnet's butt by accident, and his immediate response is remarking how soft it is.
  • Chokepoint Geography:
    • Conde Petie, the dwarf home situated on two roots of the Iifa tree spanning a chasm between a large plateau and the mountains, blocks passage to the Iifa Tree and Madain Sari, the village of the summoners.
    • Gizmaluke's Grotto is another example, a small cave that serves as the only ground passage between Lindbulm and neighboring Burmecia.
    • The various Gates (South Gate, etc.), in a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, are a mixed example. In-universe they regulate passage through the mountains, both on foot and by airship (at least those which rely on Mist). BUT, for the actual player's experience, they do not fit the trope at all. South Gate is the only one players can even enter, but the southern entrance/exit is up on a plateau they won't be able to reach or leave unless they already have one of the means to get past mountains (all of which render the chokepoint moot).
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Zidane, again. Check out the page quote: it's his life motto/Catchphrase. He also inspires it in his friends to varying degrees.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Eidolon Wall reveals that the Eidolons are in fact created by the belief of humans. The creatures of myth and legend in effect become real by people believing them, and serve as guardians of the planet.
  • Climax Boss: Meltigemini, Garland.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Eiko is extremely jealous that Zidane only has eyes for Garnet/Dagger.
  • Clock Punk: The game has strong elements of Clockpunk, mixed with a magical fantasy setting. Lindblum is probably the best example of the gear and clockwork machinery. Steam power has been developed, but due to the prototypes being stolen or faulty, it isn't harnessed by the heroes until the third disc.
  • Clones Are People, Too: The Genomes, a group of people from another world that have virtually no personality or unique traits and they all act very similar to each other. After their homeworld gets destroyed, Zidane decides to take the Genomes with the party and leave them in the Black Mage Village for shelter since he's a Genome too and they are like siblings to him in a sense. The people in the village are the Black Mages, who are constructs/androids that are similar to the Genomes, but have slightly more personality. The Genomes and the Black Mages quickly, if awkwardly, get along and learn the many aspects of life itself.
  • Cloning Blues
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Quina Quen. 7 of your team are out to Saving the World from the Big Bad. Your 8th member (Quina) is out to discover yummy yummies.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Kraken's tentacles.
  • Collection Sidequest:
    • Stellazzio coins, mini-figurines, coffee, and Chocobo-treasures.
    • Also, those awards for jumping rope and sprinting that are an agonizing hassle to get, especially since the latter can only be acquired at one point in the game.
    • There's also the treasure hunter rank, based on how many key items you've collected. Luckily, you don't have to get everything in the game to acquire it. If you get the S-rank badge, Alleyway Jack will reveal his true identity, Gilgamesh.
  • Color-Coded Stones: The game has the twelve birthstone jewels as equipped accessories, with their menu icons appropriately colored.
  • Colour Coded Timestop: Played with: When Stop is cast on a character (if it hits) it's not the character or the screen that goes greyscale, but rather their ATB gauge (which also stops moving). Likely done so that the player can tell at a glance who is affected.
  • Combat and Support:
    • Combat: Zidane, Steiner, Freya, and Amarant
    • Support: Garnet/Dagger, Vivi, Eiko, and Quina
  • Combat Medic: The medic is also the summoner.
  • Combat Tentacles: Stroper and Kraken have them.
  • Combination Attack:
    • Putting black mage Vivi and Big Guy Steiner in the party together allows them to perform "Magic Sword" techniques, where one of Vivi's spells is channeled through Steiner's physical beatings.
    • Zorn and Thorn's Twin abilities.
  • Come to Gawk: Amarant ventures into Ipsen's Castle by himself to make a point that working alone is better and smarter than working as a team. Zidane and a group of three others (the standard party) enter the castle, leaving the remainder of the party outside. Amarant makes it to the top first and declares his intention to Zidane to abandon the party, as he's proved his point, and leaves. When Zidane and the others complete their business, they head back outside, only to be informed that they won, as Amarant never returned. Realizing that Amarant must be trapped somewhere inside, Zidane heads back in to rescue Amarant, and when he finds him, Amarant asks if he's come to mock him. Zidane replies that he says some strange things, and Amarant admits that he doesn't understand how Zidane thinks. After a bit more talk, Amarant rejoins, this time for good, and slowly begins to come to understand Zidane.
  • Competence Zone: While older people are never shown fighting, the Competence Zone skewers very young, shown best in regards to the six-year-old Cheerful Child and summoner Eiko. She is equally as capable as her older comrades in surviving and tackling dangerous situations head on, and garners her Precocious Crush on the sixteen-year-old Zidane with poetry, cooking, and quoting classic literature. To top it off, when two members of the group go into a Heroic B.S.O.D., Zidane puts Eiko in charge. If Eiko was the same age as Garnet, Zidane's actual Love Interest, it would be highly likely that some serious shipping would ensue.
  • Competitive Balance: Despite that everyone has their own job class, they can all be very useful if one invests time into them. The only "imbalance" is that the more plot-driven parts of the game wind up leaving Freya and Steiner far behind everyone else.
  • Concert Climax: The play.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: This trope is the basis for both Beatrix and Steiner's character development, where they stand torn between their sworn duty to protect Princess Garnet, and their loyalty to Queen Brahne who means to kill the girl. It's only when they find the queen trying to kill the princess outright that they finally come their senses and rebel.
  • Conveniently an Orphan:
    • Zidane. Truth be told, he's revealed never to have had parents at all.
    • Eiko as well, though she actually gains parents by the end of the game.
  • Cool Airship:
    • The Hilda Garde III, the Invincible, and the summon/boss Ark.
    • The Hilda Garde II subverts the trope by being (in-universe anyway) the first and so far only Uncool Airship in Final Fantasy history.
  • Cool Boat: Blue Narciss.
  • Cool Pet:
    • Eiko carries around a moogle which, as it turns out, is actually a summon spirit.
    • Kuja uses a silver dragon to fly from point A to B before stealing Cid's prototype airship. The dragon turns out to be Garland's pet, but he's never seen riding it, sadly—probably because he already has a Cool Airship of his own.
    • The manager of the Treno weapons shop in tries to be like Jabba the Hutt, in that he keeps a massive creature all cooped up under the shop, just to see people try to fight it.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The only point in the series so far where one Summon directly confronts another in battle, when Alexander defends Alexandria castle against a rampaging Bahamut.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: At the beginning of Fossil Roo, involving a chariot-like automaton that can somehow PHASE THROUGH all the obstacles holding you up.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • Loads; the Rank S medal from treasure hunting, the Master Hunter from the Festival Of The Hunt, the King Of Jump Rope and the Athlete Queen.
    • Collecting all three types of coffee rewards you with the Mini Prima Vista figurine key item.
  • Cosmic Deadline: Square-Enix is prone to this — the Very Definitely Final Dungeon goes past 'trippy' and into 'incomprehensible,' introducing 'the source of all life' with no build-up, followed by famed Giant Space Flea from Nowhere with vague motivations, Necron.
  • Cosmic Entity: Necron, Darkness of Eternity and he who comes the very final minute of the game and refuses to tell what exactly is he.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: The final boss is Necron, apparently the embodiment of death and despair, who comes out of nowhere and starts quoting Star Wars: The Phantom Menace until you kill it despite Kuja being the main antagonist throughout the game.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Crystal is indeed a very Cosmic Keystone, as all life, everywhere, comes from and is sustained by it.
  • Counter Attack: One of the standard skills for physical fighters. And Quina.
  • Country Mouse: Quina forms a definite contrast to the sophisticated princess Dagger, though s/he is played mostly for laughs
  • Cover Drop: There's a glowing crystal in its logo which appears in the final dungeon as the source of all life in the world.
  • Cowboys and Indians: An unusual variant occurs when Vivi watches a couple of Lindblum kids playing a war between Lindblum and Alexandria. Rather than see one side as good and the other as evil, Vivi finds himself comparing his fellow black mages to the toys the kids are playing with, thinking that they're Not So Different.
  • Crack! Oh My Back!: An example of the character injury variant of this trope exists. If, during the second battle with Black Waltz No. 3, Dagger is the only player not KO'd, Black Waltz will not attack her and instead take damage, accompanied by a satisfying "Crack!". Understandable, since prior to the battle, Black Waltz was apparently hit by a train.
  • Creative Closing Credits: A Credits Montage of the game's FMVs play over the credits.
  • Credits Montage: Although the last sequence widens to show parts not included in the original shot.
  • Creepy Child: The two kids that Zidane knows in Lindblum might be this. One actually presents a pair of trick sparrow wings (trick sparrows are starter-level monsters) as his entry qualification into Tantalus, then survives meeting the Zaghnol during the Lindblum Hunting Festival (thanks to Zidane and Freya's Big Damn Heroes) only to claim "I coulda beaten 'im". It's implied that he stole the Trick Sparrow wings, which might mean he could have stolen them from someone else who had killed a Trick Sparrow, not necessarily killed it himself and taken them. The thing about the Zaghnol was most likely just childish egotism, or trying not to look weak in front of Zidane.
  • Creepy Monotone: The entire village of genomes are said to be emotionless.
  • Creepy Twins: Zorn and Thorn are examples of this trope, as they are nearly identical in appearance (with the exception of their colors) and constantly repeat what the other twin says (only in reverse with the case of Thorn). It turns out though that they aren't twins at all, but are really one grotesque and horrific monster that somehow poses as Creepy Twins.
  • Critical Hit: Your party members deal these sometimes. Enemies can deal these out, too, albeit rarely.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Steiner; in pretty much all his scenes, he's shown to be a naive, narrow minded, semi-incompetent non-trusting man obsessed with duty. But in battle, he's the strongest party member and eventually trusts Zidane and the others, seeing them as worthy friends.
  • Crowded Cast Shot: The beginning of disc 3, with all of Tantalus and The Last DJ Dr. Tot back in Alexandria. Benero and Zenero even meet up with their third twin.
  • Crush. Kill. Destroy!: There's an army of manufactured Black Mages who shout "KILL!" when they attack. The Black Waltzes aren't much better; "I EXIST ONLY TO KILL! I EXIST ONLY TO KILL!" Some Black Mages develop independent will and a better vocabulary, and form their own village. Another Black Mage, Vivi, is adopted by Quale, and later joins Zidane's party as they take on Kuja.
  • Cultured Warrior: Zidane Tribal: Warrior, thief and actor. Also Kuja, though in his case, it's the "warrior" part that comes as a surprise.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The game has Kuja destroy a frickin' planet! Also, any time an eidolon is summoned in FMV. And whenever you face Beatrix.
  • Curse: Cid's wife Hilda turns him into an Oglop as punishment for cheating on her and runs off in the only non-Mist powered airship in the world. This turns out to be supremely bad timing since Kuja has just manipulated Alexandria into attacking Lindblum. He later tries to undo it but ends up turning into a frog instead. Eventually they have to track his wife down and convince her to undo her curse. Wouldn't you know it, Kuja also kidnapped her since he needed her ship. When she's finally rescued, she changes Cid back, but threatens to curse him again if he ever acts unfaithfully again.
  • Cute Monster Girl:
    • Maliris’s concept art shows she’s one ,surprisingly
    • The Nymphs as well. They appear as humanoid women with leaves and flowers for hair. The evil ones have purple skin, while the good ones have green skin. They're easily the most attractive enemy you encounter.
  • The Cutie: Vivi, the adorable little black mage was so loved by fans, he made a cameo in Kingdom Hearts 2. Throughout the game he acts like Zidane's kid brother and fidgets with his hat when nervous.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The Eidolons shown during cutscenes (Odin, Atomos, Bahamut) are capable of leveling entire cities with their power. Once you're able to summon them yourself in battle, they are restricted to the same damage cap as your regular characters and abilities. What makes this especially odd is that the only playable characters that can summon Eidolons hail from a race of naturally gifted summoners, but the non-player characters that invoke their city-destroying powers do not.
  • Damsels in Distress: Garnet and Eiko. Though Eiko tends to subvert this trope more often than she invokes it, even beating Zorn and Thorn in a fight after they kidnap her. And Garnet is literally begging for Zidane to kidnap her as a means of rescue from her mother.
  • Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: A Summoner's sixteenth birthday makes them into an easy power source for the forces of evil.
  • Dark Action Girl: Beatrix, the general of Alexandria, is one for most of the first two discs. Anytime she's fought by the party, it's a Hopeless Boss Fight. Lani the bounty hunter takes over for the rest of the game.
  • Darker and Edgier: Despite the art style, colourful settings and generally whimsical first disc, this game is rife with dark themes that make it a top contender for most depressing game in the series. The villains commit genocide with varying levels of success (the lowest level being "about half"), almost every kingdom you go to is either invaded, destroyed, or both, an entire planet is destroyed (and the other was pretty much its life support), the woobie-riffic characters experience existential angst that makes Cloud Strife look absolutely normal in comparison, no less than three Heroic BSODs occur, and the party actually dies at the end. They get better, but still.
  • Darkest Hour: On Terra, at one point Zidane goes through an Heroic B.S.O.D.. Before the You Are Not Alone Power of Friendship saving throw, it looks really dire.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Vivi is a Black Mage, but far from evil. His "brothers" aren't either, when they aren't brainwashed or tricked into being evil.
  • Dating Catwoman: After Alexandria invades Lindblum Zidane meets with an enemy soldier named Nicole who is in love with a resistance man named Justin, and he loves her. However neither will stop doing what they feel is their duty to their nation.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
  • Dead Person Conversation: After being killed by Kuja, Garland starts talking to Zidane and the others, providing some much-needed information about Memoria before his soul passes on.
  • Death Equals Redemption:
    • As she lies dying from her horrible injuries after Kuja betrays her and annihilates her airship, Brahne tearfully begs Garnet for forgiveness and admits that she's been a monster and a horrible mother.
    • For that matter, Kuja invokes this trope in the most poignant way, since his encroaching mortality is what drives him over the edge to try and destroy EVERYTHING, until the last second when he has been defeated and it is literally the only thing that spurs him to any degree of redemption (and possibly the only thing that could do so).
  • Death from Above:
    • Although all the biggest lightning spells come from above, this Thundaga definitely looks the most impressive, almost like a small-scale reverse-Eden.
    • Ark, which combines Kill Sat with Cool Airship.
    • The game might be the number one for most Death From Above scenes in one game. There's Odin who Zantetsukens an entire city into ash, The Invincible which nukes Alexandria and Alexander simultaneously not to mention having done the same to the Maiden Sari in a flashback. Plus there's Kuja whose Ultima Spell is a horrifying combination of Planet Killer, Nuke 'em, and Rocks Fall Everybody Dies.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: You can add "One Thousand Needles" to your arsenal of skills. As Fixed Damage Attacks ignore defense by their very nature, this skill is most helpful against enemies with high defense or defense-enhancing abilities.
  • Decade Dissonance: Burmecia when compared to Lindblum and Alexandria.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Subverted. Amarant decides to tag along out of trivial curiosity once beaten in battle. Friendship is established after Zidane doubles back to find him after he left the party. It's also inverted with Beatrix. Her Heel–Face Turn comes after she has defeated you three times.
  • Degraded Boss: The Four Chaoses (Lich, Marilith, Kraken, and Tiamat) show up as regular bosses in specific points throughout Memoria. However, weaker, "Crystal" versions of them appear later in the Crystal World as random encounters.
  • Deliberately Distressed Damsel: Princess Garnet tries to invoke this trope by begging Tantalus member Zidane to kidnap her in order to escape the country. Unbeknownst to her, Tantalus was there to kidnap her anyway.
  • Delicious Distraction: Cinna just can't resist South Gate Bundt Cake. He can't even tear himself away from it to catch a cable car.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are common enemies in disc one.
  • Demoted to Extra: Freya features rather prominently in the first disc after her introduction, but pretty much as soon as her race is massacred, she only appears in battle until the epilogue. Painfully ironic given that her character quote is "To be forgotten is worse than death."
  • Designer Babies: All of the Genomes of Terra, including Kuja, Zidane, and Mikoto.
  • Desperation Attack:
    • Steiner's Revenge ability, as well as his Charge!, which causes every other party member at low HP to use their normal attack without using up their turn.
    • Quite a few moves, like Steiner's Minus Strike and the Pumpkin Head enemy skill, deal more damage when the caster is near death. Zidane even has a Sacrifice ability that he's not meant to live through (see The Dulcinea Effect below).
      • And the Blue Magic Limit Glove, an otherwise unremarkable spell which is guaranteed to do 9999 damage if (and only if) Quina has exactly 1 HP left when using it. Mostly useless because of this limitation, but with proper element cancellation...
      • The standard strategy is to give him/her Auto-Revive, and then let something kill him/her - which brings him/her back on 1 HP. Failing that, Phoenix Downs are close to useless for all other purposes, because they only provide single-digit HP; however, that means there's a one in nine chance...
      • A lot riskier and more luck-based, but if one of Necron, the final boss's, attacks reduces one character to 1 HP. However, that both requires Quina to be the target, as well as Necron not launching a follow-up attack that does any measure of damage to Quina.
      • Savvy players will knock Quina out in a battle, then go to a save point and revive him/her repeatedly (resetting each time) until s/he has 1 HP. Perfect for taking out that tricky boss in one shot! It's also available extremely early (from the moment you get Quina, in fact), letting you lay the smackdown on the rest of disc 1 and most of disc 2 (by disc 3 more reliable means of violence become available). By extension, it's also a valuable skill to have when doing the Excalibur II challenge.
  • Destructive Saviour: Quite common in the Final Fantasy series, but reaches its apex with Zidane. Pretty much every city and location Zidane visits gets spectacularly trashed at some point, earning him the title of The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés law, "Zidane's Curse." Justified, with some irony, in that he's actually designed to be a harbinger of destruction.
  • Determinator: Zidane. Finding out that he's an alien? Meh. Reveal that he was supposed to be Kuja's nastier successor? Annoying, but he'll still cite the Power of Friendship before charging the apparent Big Bad. Having his soul ripped out by said Big Bad to make him more pliable? He'll wangst out his nose, stagger around like a drunk, push away his friends... and still go after the guy who was responsible for everything.
  • Deuteragonist: Garnet and Vivi. Which one is the Deuteragonist or Tritagonist depends on your point of view.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If Zidane isn't in the party then the game has a "hierarchy" system with the other characters for certain quests such as the Desert Palace. If Zidane isn't in the party, the leader is Eiko. Next in command is Steiner, followed by Vivi and Freya. Each one of those characters will deliver a speech before the Final Battle against Necron if the previous ones aren't in the party.
    • Qu Marsh is accessible near the end of Disc one. IF you go there, you will recruit Quina earlier than you are required to. The game acknowledges that Quina is with you (and has him/her appear in scenes and even speak), and contributes to Quina's Running Gag where s/he is left behind. If you recruited Quina in Disc 1, when you are required to go to Qu Marsh again, s/he will remember Zidane&Co, and s/he'll explain how s/he got back there. If you didn't go to Qu Marsh in Disc 1, then the scene where Quina is asked to accompany the party plays.
    • If Eiko summons one of her Eidolons during the fight with the Hilgigas, Dagger will acknowledge it.
    • At one point during the game, Quina can be found eating lots pickles from a shopkeeper without paying, much to said shopkeeper's dismay. If Zidane comes to "rescue" Quina during around this time, he pays the money Quina owes her just so that she's satisfied, which happens to be 100 gil. If, for whatever reason, Zidane does not have that many funds, he'll put the tab on Baku instead, leading to an Active Time Event Easter Egg involving said lady asking him for the money.
    • The "Friendly Enemy" side quest is supposed to not only allow Ozma to be hit by physical attacks, but also make it weak to Shadow instead of being healed by it. Beating Ozma before completing this side quest will cause the last "Friendly Enemy" to comment about it.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: Necron. The last boss of the game, it is basically the god of death, and where he comes from, how you get to the area he resides in, or why he wants to kill you all is not even close to explained.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Final Boss is Necron (JP: Darkness of Eternity), the very embodiment of death in its most absolute sense. It's not clear exactly what Necron is, since he appears a bit as a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, but in the English version he claims to be Death itself. (And, of course, he gets obliterated by our heroes because they don't like his "destroy all existence" plan.)
  • Difficult but Awesome: Quina, who many people ignored due to him looking and acting pretty silly through the whole game, coupled with the relative difficulty of getting new magic spells for him. However, when used properly he's one of the best characters in the game, with the super buff spell Mighty Guard as well as a spell that is guaranteed to hit the damage cap every single timenote  with a bit of work on one of the mini-games.
  • Difficulty Spike: The game looks pretty easy, but then all of a sudden in Disc One, you get thrown with Gizamaluke.
  • Disc One Final Boss:
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • It is possible to net nearly every character's best or second-best weapons by abusing the Chocobo Hot-and-Cold digging side-quest. If you abuse it enough to gain the flying chocobo you can even enter other continents prematurely which causes the game to bug out and skip a large chunk of the plot. This was fixed in the greatest hits version of the game.
    • One of Quina's Blue Magic spells is Limit Glove, and you can learn it on Disc One. Get Quina to revive at exactly 1 HP from Phoenix Downs. Equip Antibody on everyone, and if you got it at Lindblum, the Coral Ring on Quina so it doesn't die. When the moogle in Gizmaluke's Grotto tells you it's dangerous out in a place, go there. Stay on the plains to meet up with a Grand Dragon. If you are lucky enough to get Limit Glove on it twice without dying, start watching your levels FLY.
    • Two easily-obtainable items sold at shops in two early towns can be synthesized en masse to create Cotton Robes, which can then be sold for a profit of 610 gold per robe after deducting the cost of the ingredients and labor. Congratulations, money is officially not a problem for you for the rest of the game.
    • And as a Disc Two Nuke, Ramuh. Normally, a spell power of 31 makes him effective enough, but when he does the full summon animation, his spell power is 32 plus 1 for each Peridot you have. It turns out about that five minutes after you acquire Ramuh, you enter a dungeon where the Griffen, a common enemy, often drops Peridots. Take an hour or two to farm the gems and Ramuh's full summon will One-Hit KO everything up until the end of the disk. Then teach Garnet High Tide so she enters Trance more quickly, under which conditions all summons are guaranteed to do their full animations....
    • A practical Disc One Nuke for Vivi: If you play Chocobo Hot and Cold a lot, you will eventually unearth the Small Beach and Healing Shore chocographs. This can be obtained as soon as you complete Gizamaluke's Grotto- instead of heading for Burmecia, head for the Healing Shore and unearth the treasure there which will upgrade Choco with the reef ability, then backtrack all the way back to Lindblum, cross the shallow sea to an island east of it, and unearth a treasure chest containing the Oak Staff. It's no Octagon Rod, but still Vivi will become a force to be reckoned with and the remains of Disc One and much of Disc Two can be breezed through with ease thanks to the devastating Bio spell.
    • There's a Bonus Boss in Alexandria Castle's library, Tantarian. If you beat this Boss, you will be rewarded with the Running Shoes, an accessory that teaches Auto-Haste status on your party. It's possible to fight Tantarian as early as Disc 2, although he would certainly be a challenge then.
  • Disc Three Final Dungeon: Pandemonium castle.
    • The entirety of Terra is a third disc final dungeon. This is where Kuja and The Chessmaster behind him are from, so it must be important, right?
  • Distant Reaction Shot: The attack of the Eidolon Ark culminates with a bolt of magic that smashes into the enemy from on high. As the screen whites out from the shockwave, the scene cuts away to outer space, where a brief burst of light shoots out of the planet and illuminates the adjacent area.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Zidane's head will move toward any attractive female NPC walking past him in a town.
  • The Dividual: Thorn and Zorn. In fact, they're literally one person, as shown when they rejoin into Meltagemini for their boss fight.
  • Doomed Hometown: Madain Sari, Alexandria, Burmecia, Lindblum, the entire planet Terra. The game has so very many contenders for this trope. Practically every major city is seriously razed by the end of the game, including Alexandria, the home of Dagger and the first place we meet Zidane and Vivi, and Burmecia, Freya's hometown. Lindblum, Zidane's de facto hometown also gets partially razed, and is in a constant state of rebuilding until the end of the game. Terra / Bran Bal also counts, since it's really where Zidane came from and is remarkable because it's a doomed alternate dimension.
  • Doom Magnet: Zidane Tribal has a strange Game Play And Story Segregation example... specifically that all these bad things would have happened eventually, as there's a war going on, but the kingdoms in question only lose/explode once Zidane arrives. Doesn't this seem familiar?
    • Perhaps it's linked to the circumstances of his creation as Garland's 'Angel of Death,' to aid with the collection of souls needed for Terra to assimilate Gaia?
  • Dork Knight: Steiner is not the main hero, but he is a Dork Knight at times. He leans more towards being more of an Idiot Hero.
  • Double Weapon: Zidane's secondary weapon is a Swallow (a dual-bladed halberd or sword), including his Infinity+1 Sword.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: In "The Festival of the Hunt" minigame, the goal is to earn the most points of all the competitors by killing monsters in the streets. If you (playing as Zidane) win, you get 5000 gil. If Vivi wins, you get a useless Tetra Master card. Letting Freya win, however, nets you a decent elemental-absorbing accessory that teaches your characters a few useful skills. To let her win, just put the controller down for 12 minutes or kill yourself in the first battle you come across.

    That said, the toughest monster in the Festival of the Hunt, the Zaghnol, has two items worth stealing and gives about enough points to single-handedly win the competition. By avoiding lesser battles, entering a certain area with 4:30 left on the timer, and making Zidane take a fall against the Zaghnol (or teaming up with Freya, which splits the points between them), the player can get all of the items.
  • The Dragon: The game shows Queen Brahne as the Big Bad, with Kuja as her dragon, though, because he has different motives, she is technically his (unwitting) dragon, too, as Kuja 'delegates' to her the task of waging war on Gaia. Eventually, Brahne decides he has outlived his purpose and tries to Bahamut his arse. In return, he becomes The Starscream good and proper. Towards the end, it is revealed that Kuja is in fact also the dragon to Garland, the game's true Big Bad. Because Garland anticipated Kuja pulling something like this, he gave him a lifespan to outlive, which is the thing that really threw him over the edge and made him work his way his way to being the Big Bad.
    • Similarly, Zidane was actually built to be Garland's second angel of death, except Kuja, fearing being replaced abandoned him on Earth, making Zidane the dragon that was not to be.
  • Dragon Knight: Freya Cresent, a Rodent of Unusual Size from a nation whose military is primarily dragon knights and comes packing with several non-standard dragon themed attacks for both offense and defense.
  • Dragon Rider: Kuja who rides a pretty Badass silver dragon. Ironic, considering that he himself is The Dragon to Garland and appropriately that particular dragon belongs to Garland and his dragon riding privileges do get revoked.
  • Dramatic Irony: Played for Laughs at Brahne's expense during the opening sequence; while she watches the tragic deaths of Princess Cornelia and Marcus on stage, she praises the performance, then ponders just where Garnet could be. Garnet is literally right under her nose, on the stage, as Cornelia - trying her best to get away from her.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: A variation: in the final cutscene, when Queen Garnet runs toward Zidane, her Falcon Claw necklace comes loose and lands on the pavement behind her. She glances at it briefly before leaving it behind and rushing into Zidane's arms. She also removes her crown at that point for some reason.
  • The Dreaded: General Beatrix. A paladin famous for her swordsmanship and powerful White Magic, she is a living legend who is considered the World's Best Warrior. She once fought a hundred knights alone and won, and not even you, as the player, can ever defeat her in battle.
  • Dream Melody: Garnet's song, which ends up as the game's main theme and vocal Theme Song, "Melodies of Life".
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Zidane and Blank disguise themselves as Pluto Knights in order to kidnap Garnet without raising suspicion. Zidane later does this in Lindblum, to someone who is theoretically not an enemy.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Subverted when Dagger snaps out of her Heroic B.S.O.D.. She picks up Zidane's knife and gives a vaguely suicidal speech before running off with it, but it turns out she was just borrowing it for a haircut.
    • Also used for a very dark piece of comedic irony early on; when Steiner is given medicine (for a poison he'd been infected with) by members of Tantalus, he incorrectly deduces that it's poison... then the text box slows down to a crawl as he says "I can't take it any more..." and chugs the whole thing. Then he comments "Not bad" and continues on like nothing happened.
  • Drop the Hammer: Cinna fights with a hammer. And won't even let anyone use it in construction efforts. Also cross over with Companion Cube.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: This is done to Blank at the start of the game to make room in the party for Dagger after the heroes escape from Evil Forest. He gets better, though.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: More or less speculative, but..., when Garnet resigns herself to becoming The High Queen, Zidane is found by their friends in a bar sulking about the possibility of his and Garnet now becoming more distant regarding their relationship. The way Zidane speaks throughout the whole scene certainly seems like he was in a drunk stupor, but...
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Kuja.
  • Dual Boss: Black Waltz No. 1 with Sealion, and Zorn & Thorn.
  • Dual Wielding: Zidane equips knives and swallows. Zidane's first weapon of choice is two daggers. Whenever he equips a knife, he wields the equipped weapon in one hand and pulls out another basic knife to wield in his other, sort of hitting with both daggers at once. (It's just for show — you can't actually dual-wield two different knives.)
  • Dub Name Change: Zidane's name is "Djidane" in the French version, to avoid confusion with famous French soccer player Zinedine Zidane. Didn't prevent jokes about Zidane headbutting Kuja.
  • Duel Boss: Scarlet Hair. Zidane duels Amarant (at that point known only as "Red") as a test of strength; he joins your party afterwards. Earlier, the first Black Waltz and Sealion fight Zidane in a combination of Duel Boss, Dual Boss and Wake-Up Call Boss.
  • Due to the Dead: Black Mages are typically mindless automatons crafted from the supernatural Mist. Thus, the few that have achieved sentience have no concept of death, only that their friends have "stopped moving." One of them buries his friend in the ground in hopes that he'll wake up soon, and thinks of washing him at the river when he does. It even extends to villains (sort of). Queen Brahne is taken back and buried in Alexandria in Disk 2's finale. Meanwhile Zidane also stays behind to make sure Kuja doesn't die alone.
  • Dug Too Deep: Probably explains the absence of the mole people and the presence of various dragons in Mt. Gulug.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: To be expected when you consider Zidane's personal creed up there as the page quote, but aside from learning the "Protect Girls" ability (which will let him take the damage for any women on the team), you get this line in particular.
    Zidane: Yeah! What's there to think about?! She's cute... and she's in trouble. That's all that matters.
  • Dumb Struck: Dagger is like this for a while near the end. Combined with Fake Difficulty here, as she is your only healer for about two or three somewhat tricky dungeons (your other healer has been kidnapped by the Big Bad) and Dagger being mute means that her magic fails to activate every other turn.
  • Dungeon Town: Burmecia pretty much solely exists to give players a Disc One Final Dungeon. Later, Alexandria becomes one once Kuja has Bahamut fry the town.
  • Dying Alone: Zidane goes back into the Iifa Tree to prevent Kuja from suffering this fate, defying the trope.
  • Dying as Yourself: Queen Brahne combines it with Death Equals Redemption. In the last moments before her death, she finally manages to break free of her greed, seems to revert back to The High Queen and mother she once was and makes peace with Garnet.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The many trials and tribulations which the major characters endure (up to and including death itself) only make it all the more potent and heartwarming when they make it through alive (Vivi expires, but not before having children and finding self-fulfillment) and manage to rebuild both their lives and the world. And as Zidane and Garnet embrace while everyone applauds, "Melodies of Life" plays in its most full and beautiful of renditions. Despite all the pain and heartache, one cannot help but feel a sense of triumph and heartwarming as the credits roll.
  • Earth Is a Battlefield: Once the player finishes the events in Terra. Kuja plans on waging war back on Gaia. Which the mist that used to only cover a bit of said continent has now covered the whole world. Making it hard to see what's in front of the player.
  • Easily Forgiven: Beatrix. She's guilty of war crimes, crimes against sentient races, and petty larceny. After her Heel–Face Turn, though, she's the only reason Dagger and co. escape Brahne, and then she fights to keep the citizens of Alexandria safe and leads an airship charge against an army of giant fiery otherworldly dragon death. Her past actions are never brought up after that. Freya seems to be the sole exception, saying to Beatrix that "[i]t's too late to seek forgiveness." In the ending montage, Beatrix reveals that she is unable to forgive herself, and plans to resign as a knight for her crimes and leave Alexandria. Steiner was having none of that.
  • Eating the Enemy: Quina eats enemies to gain new spells. The only reason the character joins your party is so he/she can eat things.
  • Eat the Dog: Quan's original plan for Vivi. If you find Quan's Dwelling early in disc 2, you can see writings on the wall that say “Six months since I adopted Vivi. Still too small to eat?” Thankfully, Quan changed his mind before trying anything carnivorous.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Played with for a laugh. Incognito princess Garnet picks up an oglop (a beetle-like insect), having no problem with the little critter whatsoever. However, since she's supposed to be undercover as a normal country girl, when an old woman comments that most girls hate them, she squeals theatrically and flings it into the air.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Apparently, Kuja was originally envisioned to be of this trope, but it was changed to make him look like a mini-Sephiroth.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Necron fits this to a T, with the effect being accentuated by horrific scenery and music. Necron (like Amarant) was a replacement name chosen because the original would have exceeded their name character limit. Its original name? "The Darkness of Eternity".
    • Also, there's Ozma. Like Necron, it happens to be a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. You've probably never fought an enemy quite like Ozma before. It appears as nothing more than a giant orb of Pure Energy, top half consisting of bright colors swirling clockwise and a bottom half made of dark colors swirling counter-clockwise. It has the most powerful spells in the game and appears in a cave on a floating island that drifts around the world. There is absolutely no indications of what it might be except for the possibility it is, or was, an Eidolon that was sealed away and forgotten long ago.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • Terra, a parasitic other planet, actually inserted itself into Gaia long ago and is feeding off the planet from the inside. Creepy.
    • Another present in the same game is Memoria, a world formed from the collective memory of the entire planet.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The avatars of the four elements, going by the name "the Four Fiends": Lich for earth, Marilith for fire, Kraken for water and Tiamat for air.
  • Elemental Punch: The game had it as a Combination Attack between Vivi and Steiner, where the latter had to use MP each time to use it.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Although it's not a traditional elevator, there are some battles on a giant leaf that acts as an elevator inside the Iifa Tree.
  • Elite Mooks/Superpowered Mooks: The black mages.
  • Elite Tweak:
    • Quina, the Blue Mage, can learn abilities by eating monsters. If you play his/her sub-game enough and eat the right monsters, you can have an attack spell that always hits for 9999 damage, and another spell that resurrects and fully heal everyone — before the end of disk 2.
    • Maximizing stat growth, however, requires late game gear like the Robe of Lords which is very hard to get. Some perfectionists players Elite Tweak by keeping the characters as close to level one as much as possible until they can Robes for at least four of their characters. Quina, ironically, is the worst example as s/he has an option between being a melee character (strength), a spell using character (magic), or balanced.note  Some 100% Completion players have problems with that.
    • Even at level 1 it's possible to have powerful characters. Way, way before you get Eiko in the party, you can power her up by letting Marcus go to town with the HP-absorbing Blood Sword during the Alexandria escape. Any stat bonuses he accrues from equipment will be transferred to Eiko when you get her, and she also enjoys an increase in ability-enabling Magic Stones. Freya's Dragon Crest powers up according to how many dragon-type enemies are killed, and you can kill one dragon-type in an encounter and then run away from the other to avoid gaining XP.
  • Emotionless Girl: Mikoto in her initial appearance.
  • Empathic Environment: Kind of justified on several occasions. Burmecia is introduced as the "Realm of Eternal Rain" which wouldn't fit as an example were you not only visiting it after it's totally devastated and almost all of its population killed. You have Freya in your party who laments the fate of her home, and the city stays in the same condition till the end of the game. Simirally but to a lesser extent Treno which is forever shrowded in darkness (apparently, being geographically located this way) and is all about night life of nobles and thieves.
  • Emperor Scientist:
    • Regent Cid is the regent of Lindblum, one of the biggest and most powerful kingdoms in the game. He also possesses a brilliant mind for engineering, being heavily involved in the creation of groundbreaking new airship technology, despite the fact that he has been transformed into an oglop (small, annoying creatures, similar to vermin) and later a frog And this transformation isn't because of an evil curse or experiment gone wrong. It's because his wife caught him with another woman.
    • On the darker side of this trope, there's Garland: the de facto ruler of all Terra, he's also a powerful mage and an innovative scientist; by the time you meet him, he's successfully created an entire species of soulless drones and planted an organic siphon-refinery on Gaia to slowly vaccuum Gaia's soul-cycle away. And then there's his greatest creations, his Angels of Death. Kuja and Zidane.
  • The Empire: Queen Brahne is in the process of creating one of these until her death.
  • Empty Levels: Although not quite as bad because your characters' base stats do increase somewhat when they level. However, their base stats increase more when wearing gear that increases that base stat. Therefore, to get the highest stats possible, you need to keep your characters at level one until you get gear with high stat bonuses. note 
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Several characters are theater buffs. One particular fictional play, I Want To Be Your Canary, has particular symbolic importance to the plot, and a few characters quote it during plot sequences.
  • Endless Corridor: Owl Forest.
  • Enemy Scan:
    • Dagger's Scan ability.
    • Lani also casts Scan on your party, which made little sense since the boss' attack patterns never changed after that.
  • Ensemble Cast: One of the game's strengths is its incredibly likeable cast of characters, which is strengthened by the fact that while Zidane is the protagonist, his plot doesn't really kick in until about two-thirds of the way into the game. Before that, the plot is really driven by Vivi and Dagger's story-lines, with Zidane just along to help because he likes helping people. Freya gets some plot focus early on, too.
  • Enter Solution Here: In order to obtain the eidolon Ramuh, he asks you to retrieve 5 pieces from a story and bring them back to him. Then, you must choose 4 of the pieces and order them to make a coherent story. There are two options that make sense for the final part: suggesting that the main character, though a hero, was only human after all, or saying that the way in which he died was what made him a true hero. No matter which of the two options is chosen, Ramuh becomes Garnet's eidolon when she explains what made her choose that way.
  • Epilogue Letter: The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue is described in a letter from an unspecified sender, presumed to be Vivi. He has presumably died in the meantime, but he's 100% absent one way or another.
  • Equipment Spoiler: There are claws and forks for Amarant and Quina in the shops way before you even meet them. You can even steal Needle Fork from Zaghnol long before Quina properly introduced, assuming you skipped meeting her/him before heading to the next dungeon.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Queen Brahne is seen only wearing the fancy elaborate finery wherever she is - including in private. Her daughter however averts the trope. She's only seen in her Pimped-Out Dress three times during the game - and each of those involves a formal occasion and public appearance. Lady Hilda meanwhile was apparently kidnapped by Kuja in the middle of the night and yet wears a very grand dress, despite having been kept prisoner in a Gilded Cage.
  • Escape Battle Technique: Zidane the thief, who can learn the Flee skill using his initial sets of weapons.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The game brings out one for almost every single character introduced- hero or villain:
    • Zidane, having already proved himself a talented fighter, thief and actor, turns out to be something of a Handsome Lech when he's sent into Alexandria castle to abduct the princess- only to end up getting distracted by an attractive woman.
    • Vivi, already introduced tripping over his own feet and staring in amazement at the sight of the airship flying overhead, spends the next few minutes getting knocked down, insulted, bullied and pickpocketed. For good measure, his ticket to the play turns out to be a fake. Then, just when it looks as though he's about to get arrested for tresspassing, he fights back by launching a fireball from his hands!
    • Garnet mistakes Zidane and Blank for palace guards and makes an impressive escape from them on foot. And when she realizes that Zidane's actually there to kidnap her, she changes tune and formally requests to be abducted.
    • Captain Steiner gets a whole segment of the game's earliest level to prove himself a laughingstock: not only is he constantly upstaged by Beatrix, forgotten by the Queen and saddled with the dumbest unit of soldiers in the entire Alexandrian military, but he's also a pompous twit with a habit of jumping up and down in impotent rage. But at the end of this segment, he sees Garnet being chased across the castle by Zidane; believing her to be under attack, he immediately grabs a rope and swings after them. True, he almost immediately crashes into a wall, but there's no denying the man's dedication.
    • "We are in trouble!" "Trouble we are in!"
    • After her unassuming introduction at a bar with Zidane, Freya Crescent is later seen wandering the rooftops of Lindblum, apparently lost in thought, musing on the war brewing and worrying about Sir Fratley.
    • Quina Quen trying to catch frogs and failing miserably- before joining Zidane out of a desire to see the world and sample its many foods.
    • General Beatrix: if the ominous music and the Badass Boast don't make it clear who you're dealing with, the Hopeless Boss Fight will.
    • Having been introduced as an advisor to Queen Brahne, Kuja proceeds to make as big a spectacle of himself as possible: overdramatically commenting on the weather, providing details on the Burmecian retreat using some oddly cryptic word choices, bragging about the magical power he'll use to defeat the Cleyran defences, and referring to Brahne's black mage army as "his." Then, when Beatrix has kicked the asses of Zidane and co, Kuja stays behind to examine them... then without saying another word, he departs on the back of a silver dragon. Hammy, melodramatic, weirdly-dressed... and the real power behind Brahne's invasion.
    • Disc 2 manages to establish the character of an entire faction in one short scene: after almost an entire disc of battles with Queen Brahne's mass-produced black mages, the party bumps into another one of them in Conde Petie. Unlike the others, this one appears to be sentient, and by all appearances, he's on a shopping trip. And when he finally notices the party, he responds not by shouting "KILL!" and pelting them with magic, but by turning tail and running as fast as possible in the opposite direction.
    • At the beginning of the third disc, the battle of Alexandria and Kuja's attempted capture of the eidolon Alexander is interrupted by the arrival of a huge, futuristic airship. Within, a mysterious figure dressed in a glistening black exoskeleton and cape surveys the scene below; he takes the time to muse in disappointment on Kuja's attempt at interfering with his plans, before casting a spell: minutes later, Alexander dies horribly and Alexandria palace vanishes in a colossal fireball, leaving Kuja upstaged, Out-Gambitted - and most notably of all, horrified at the fact that Garland himself is now after him.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Until she gets used to acting like a commoner, this is how Princess Garnet says hi. Not a good thing when she's supposed to be incognito.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Zidane Tribal has a monkey tail. He's also one of the most beloved main characters of the series, probably only behind Cloud. Better with monkeys indeed!
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Garnet/Dagger, who has a Heroic B.S.O.D. around the same time she's crowned queen. Also add that to the fact that she's revealed she wasn't born into the royal family. She washed up in Alexandria and happened to look a bit like the deceased princess.
    • There's an in-universe example. The popular play "I Want To Be Your Canary" features only one female character. She is of course a princess.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Tetra Master uses a power rating system based off of Hexadecimal computer coding. Only through the player guide on Squaresoft's Play Online website was it explained how the system worked.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Ark to Alexander. The latter is a Holy-elemental, defense-oriented transforming castle while the former is a Shadow-elemental, offense-oriented transforming airship.
    • Zidane to Kuja - both created by Garland to lead Gaia to war. Zidane is horrified when he thinks that if things had gone differently, he could be the one doing all the evil Kuja has been doing.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Kuja, Garland and Queen Brahne all come into conflict with each other over who gets to be the main villain. Brahne and Kuja work together until she betrays him and he kills her, and Kuja is Garland's servant until he overthrows him.
  • Evil Matriarch: Queen Brahne.
  • Evil Redhead: Kuja when in his trance form.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Iifa Tree fulfills this role in-game despite being, as its name implies, a tree.
  • Evil Versus Evil: A constant theme.
    • First, Brahne versus Kuja. Brahne wishes to rule the world with her army and will crush any civilization that gets in her way. Eventually, she realizes that the only serious threat (that she knows of) is Kuja, her weapons dealer. At this point, the only thing known about Kuja is that he likes doing things For the Evulz, so the fate of the world is being decided between a greedy dictator and a sadistic maniac. The maniac wins.
    • Next, Kuja versus Garland. At this point, we learn that Garland's goal is the genocide of everything on Gaia so that the people of Terra could live again, and Kuja was just his pawn. Kuja really doesn't care what happens to the inhabitants of Gaia so long as he escapes his original purpose and ends up in a position of power; defeating Garland means that Gaia is spared complete extinction. So again, it's maniac versus genocidal planet-assimilating sorcerer. The maniac wins again.
    • Finally, Trance!Kuja versus Dead!Garland. After death, Garland's purpose of recreating Terra is pretty much done for, given that Kuja blew up the planet out of pure spite. Now that Kuja knows his death is imminent, he's determined to take everything in the universe with him. Garland's spirit does not wish for this to happen: quite apart from being naturally opposed to the destruction of the entire universe, he also knows that the only way to save what's left of Terra-the few Genomes that Zidane rescued-is to stop Kuja. Finally, the maniac loses.
  • Evil Wears Black: Evil Overlord Garland wears a futuristic suit of black armor with matching cape. This is in sharp contrast to Kuja being a Man in White.
  • Exact Time to Failure: Relatively early on in Disc 2, when Zidane and co. arrive back in Alexandria to save Garnet/Dagger, you have exactly 30 minutes until Brahne arrives at the dock, and she intends to have Garnet beheaded. As soon as the 30 minutes is up, it's a game over.
  • Excalibur: The game has, in addition to the regular old Excalibur an even better Excalibur: Excalibur 2. It's pretty much impossible to get without specifically trying for it, since you need to reach almost the end of the game within 12 hours.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through!: In the final cutscene, when Zidane reveals himself, alive and well, to Queen Garnet Dagger, she runs down the stairs and tries to make her way through the crowd to be with Zidane again, even ditching her Falcon Claw pendant and crown.
  • Experience Points: Like most Final Fantasy games.
  • Exploited Immunity: Vivi's most powerful spell is Doomsday, which inflicts shadow damage on all allies and enemies on the field. Equipping your characters with gear that absorbs shadow will cause them to be healed by the spell instead. The Bonus Boss Ozma also tries this, but it's possible to invert it: it has Doomsday in its arsenal and normally absorbs shadow damage, but one sidequest rewards you by making it weak to shadow instead, so if it does use the spell, it'll harm itself.
  • Exposed to the Elements: The game provides a number of examples (such as walking blithely through a sandstorm without their faces covered). Averted when the party visits the Ice Cavern; Garnet, Steiner and Vivi are wearing appropriate clothing. Zidane is bare armed, and as as a result he rubs his arms and hunches over when he finds himself in a blizzard. In fact, as a whole the game provides a subversion of the usually horrendously impractical clothing of Final Fantasy games. Out of the main cast, only Zidane and Amarant are badly dressed; all the other characters are completely covered up.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In the last scene, Garnet's hair, which she had cut to chin length midway through the game, has grown back down to its original waist length, indicating the amount of time that has passed.
  • Extra Turn:
    • Zidane's "What's That!?" ability (aka "look, over there!") grants you one if it's used successfully.
    • The hidden Bonus Boss gets a free turn every time you take one of yours (okay, specifically, his ATB meter gets filled whenever you target him with an attack, so he always gets to move first). The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard indeed.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Quina Quen, the Qu that joins the party, has the "Cook" Trance Skill which allows it to eat any sufficiently-weakened enemy in order to learn its special skills. Quina will literally try to eat ANYTHING.
    • And "Cook" is just an upgraded version of "Eat" her(?) normal skill that does the same thing.
  • Eyeless Face: This version of Bahamut seems to lack eyes for some reason.
  • Eyepatch of Power: General Beatrix has a badass metal eyepatch, and the first fights against her cannot be won. The goal is only to survive.
  • Eye Scream: A surprising amount of it, during the end of Disc 3 and Disc 4.
    • Hecteyes, which are basically blobs of jellylike pink flesh studded with far, far too many eyes for any one living thing.
    • The architecture on Terra. Yes, it's sort of a Womb Level, what with all the seashell and spine and intestinal motifs, but still. What possible purpose could they have had in grafting giant eyeballs onto a teleporter? Points to Garnet for remaining unruffled.
    • The all-time winner, though, is the room on Memoria with the enormous red eyeball looming overhead. It watches you from the background for an entire boss battle... and then. Then. When you're ready to progress to the next room, you have to climb up a rickety staircase and crawl into its giant pupil. Hnnrgh.
  • Eyepatch of Power:
    • Beatrix has a Fatima brand eye-patch over her right eye.
    • Blank seems to have both eyes covered.
  • Faceless Goons:
    • Alexandrian Army.
    • The black mages, literally.
  • The Fagin: The Tantalus gang, led by a boisterous, bearded Petting Zoo Person named Baku. It's stated outright that he adopted the hero after finding him abandoned near the docks as a child, raised him and taught him to steal and perform on the stage; and it's implied that the rest of the gang may have been similarly recruited. Baku will knock you cross-eyed if you betray him...but eidolons help anyone who tries to hurt his gang.
  • Failure Knight: Steiner, literally and figuratively, for most of the first half of the game, but still bad ass as hell with that sword in a straight fight. Despite his personal skills, his platoon (The Knights of Pluto) is the laughingstock of the Alexandrian military, his attempts to help or protect the Princess are undermined by everyone else in the cast (including the Princess herself), and he eventually watches his own beloved Queen die, hoist by her own power-hungry petard. Fortunately, once he's hit rock bottom, things start to get better.

    When Bahamut attacks Alexandria, his men start to redeem themselves when they perform specialized duties like readying the cannons, gathering information, protecting the citizens, and sending for reinforcements. You learn about which knights specialize in each area when one of the Knights of Pluto gives information (in the first Disk) that this knight is a great fighter, these knights are great cannoneers, that this knight knows all the women in town, and things along that line.
  • Fairy Battle:
    • The Trope Namer, whose theme song for such encounters is aptly named "Fairy Battle". They come in two varieties: a Pop Quiz or Helpful Mooks requesting items in exchange for different ones. The monsters in question appear similar to ordinary monsters, but with slight differences, and they do not attack you. Some just ask for a specific type of gem, and there's even one that just gives you a pop quiz! The "Fairy Battles" were a requirement to be able to physically attack a side quest boss.
    • There is another monster called the Gimme Cat that pretends to be friendly and demands a rare gemstone from you. However, instead of the Fairy Battle theme playing, it's the standard random encounter battle theme, which should tip you off. If you actually give the monster your diamond, it'll run away and you gain nothing from it. If you attack it, it will fight back.
  • Fallen Princess: Princess Garnet who notices her mother's erratic behaviour and runs off with a band of thieves to try and help out. She becomes a fugitive and is promptly sentenced to death by her mother. She ends up becoming a queen though.
  • Famous Last Words:
    • " Ugh...! Sealion, kill him for me!" Black Waltz 1
    • "Wh-Why...!?" Black Waltz 2
    • "Mission...retrieve... princess...alive... Eliminate...all!" Black Waltz 3.
    • "I have seen the end of my thousand-year life, and it is not now. You cannot stop me. It is futile even to try." Soulcage.
    • "I led... Alexandria... down... the path... of ruin... The people... will be... happier... with you... on the throne..." Queen Brahne
    • "We will put you to death!" Zorn.
    • "Put you to death, we will!" Thorn.
    • "One is all, all is one... You'll never break the seal..." Taharka.
    • "Your power is...meaningless." Garland, speaking to Kuja.
    • "Even if I were created to serve one purpose alone, I do not regret being born to this world." Garland, before his spirit disappears for good.
    • "This is not the end. I am eternal... ...as long as there is life and death..." Necron.
    • "After you guys beat me, I had nothing left... nothing more to lose. Then, I finally realized what it means to live... I guess I was too late." Kuja.
    • "Everyone... Thank you. Farewell. My memories will be part of the sky..." Possibly Vivi.
  • Fanservice:
    • Dagger/Garnet's yellow outfit... as seen from the back.
    • Also, Garnet/Dagger's costume when she is in Trance, which consists of a cleavage baring swimsuit.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The summon Odin completely annihilated the settlement of Cleyra in a giant explosion (in a cutscene).
  • Fantastic Racism: Queen Brahne massacres Burmecia and Cleyra. No other reason than that the inhabitants resemble rats which she considers "Disgusting vermin" who contrast with her "beauty..."
    • The Burmecians are referred to as 'rats' and 'rodents' as a racial slur by those attempting their genocide.
    • Friendly NPCs are often shown to be afraid of Vivi because he's a black mage, and most of their experience with black mages involves them destroying their cities.
    • Nobody even once raises an eyebrow or disrespects any members of the Qu race, despite them being universally depicted as food-obsessed, bumbling, baby-talking clown-looking things. Though this may be due to their obsession with food making them great food critics and chefs.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Conde Petie (Scotland).
  • Feed It with Fire: The villain Kuja has just figured out that he can use the game's Limit Break system in order to make himself nigh-unstoppable, after absorbing a whole bunch of souls. All he needs is a lot of aggressive energy to trigger the transformation. So naturally he walks right up to the heroes and starts a boss fight.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: In the Evil Forest, the heroes are Zidane the thief, Vivi the Mage, and Steiner the Fighter-Knight. What's more is with Vivi's magic Steiner can become a Magic Knight.
  • Fighting Clown: Quina Quen looks like a Chef with his tongue sticking out and wields a giant dinner fork as a weapon. S/he also has one of the best attack stats in the game as well as Blue magic.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Kuja is so absorbed with himself that he decides that if he can't live forever, then the world doesn't deserve to go on without him. And as his boss battle proves, he's no slouch in a fight.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Baku is the Warmup Boss variant.
  • Fight Woosh
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The infamous fight against Necron, which apparently takes place in the afterlife.
  • Final Boss Preview: Kuja at Terra. Played with, the Big Bad requires a defeat by the heroes in order to gather enough energy to achieve Trance and transform into his final boss form, which naturally results in a preview of how overpowered you've helped him become.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: One of these moments with General Beatrix after she defeats you for the third time. She then realizes she was being used and buys the party time to escape. General Steiner and Freya remain behind with her to cover the parties escape. These were two of the characters in your party when she stomped you not five minutes ago. Freya had both of her hometowns destroyed by her in the last 48 hours.
    • Zidane says that they're "more than friends - we're a team"), even though most of the characters (namely Zidane & Steiner) don't get along with each other at first. When Zidane discovers his disturbing origin, he tries to leave the gang. Garnet/Dagger, however, convinces him that they'll stay with him no matter what.
    • Hell, at that time, even Steiner flat-out declares that he will not abandon Zidane, no matter what.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three Black Waltzes utilise each of the elements in your battles with them. Number 1 uses Ice (and conjures an ally from it as well). Number 2 uses Fire. And Number 3 uses Lightning. note .
  • First Contact: Goes extremely bad (Culminates in the destruction of one planet, and apocalyptic events for the other).
  • First Girl Wins: Zidane is a notorious womaniser and skirt chaser, flirting with nearly every female character in the game. Yet Princess Garnet is the first one we see him interact with as well as being the first character we're introduced to.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: There is a slight variation of this. An entire non-optional dungeon shows up pretty much out of the blue where the only weapons that can do any significant damage are the ones the characters started out with (many players would had sold them all long ago, after having milked them for their learned abilities. The designers factored this into the dungeon by conveniently providing copies of most of them near the beginning). There's also a dungeon that's covered by an anti-magic field, rendering over half your party (Garnet, Eiko, Vivi and Quina) useless.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Five Races: They are actualy present in the games setting, if often done unusally:
    • Stout: Burmecians are a mix of this, with a bit of High Men, breaking the stereotypes associated with Rats.They like war and fights very much , with the exception of the the much more peaceful Cleyran offshoot of them. But the Cleyrans still produce a lot of powerfull warriors, despite being relatively pacifistic, and living in seclusion. The High Men traits come from their sophistication, and the fact they're one of the more ancient civilisations on Gaia. The Dwarves also fit this archetype, at least visualy, being powerfully built(they look quite like the ogre enemies in game, but less monstrous and ferocious). But it's subverted by them living in sunlight and close to forests, and considering both to be sacred. They seem also to be pretty peacefull.
    • Fairy: Qu are a strange, highly magical species, who follow a philosophy and way of life concentrated on discovering and eating new foods. It's not to be laughed at, because they can eat their enemies and absorb their abilities. The Black Mages can also fit this archetype, although the fact many of them work, albeit unwiligly for Kuja and Brahne, makes them a bit the Eldritch .
    • Mundane: The Humans of course, although many of them have unusual visual traits, like Brahne's and Amarant's blue skin, or Marcus' pointy ears, and tusks. Most of the Beast-Folk, aside from the mentioned above Burmecians, also fit this archetype, being completely integrated into human society.
    • High Men: The Summoners, a species very proficient in magic that was close to nature, and the planet Gaia itself, capable of summoning powerful, god-like beings into battle, and were very similar in looks to Humans, aside from the horn on their forehead. They were very peaceful despite their great power, living in their Hidden Elf Village, Madain Sari, bringing them pretty close to the Elf-Archetype. Somewhat subverted, as all of them are extinct exacly because Garland feared their great power, aside from Eiko and Garnet.
    • Cute: Moogles, are as usually the series recurring version of this. Black Mages also count partialy, aside from what was written above.
  • Fixed Camera: The game had a fixed camera in battle scenes.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Several of these attacks usable by the player:
    • Freya's Dragon Crest, which does damage dependent on the number of dragons the player has killed throughout the game;
    • Zidane's Thievery, doing damage based on the number of successful steals, and his Lucky Seven, which does either 7, 77, 777, or 7777 damage if Zidane's HP currently ends in 7;
    • Quina's Frog Drop, which does damage according to how many frogs you've caught, and his/her Limit Glove, which does 9999 damage if s/he has exactly 1 HP remaining.
  • Flawed Prototype: The antagonist, Kuja, and protagonist, Zidane, are both constructs. Kuja is revealed to be a flawed prototype, causing his Freak Out on disk 3.
    • Also Vivi. Much more powerful than normal black mages and a longer life span, but he was never zombie-like and easily controllable like the others. While seen as a flaw by his creators, this worked out rather well for him.
  • Floating Continent: The Chocobo Sky Garden.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Brahne's ships are named Red Rose and Blue Narciss.
  • Flower Motifs: Beatrix is associated with roses throughout the game (even her leitmotif is called "Rose of May"), probably in association with her status as a Lady of War.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: The Lamias wear pink feathers for their headdress and Giant Poofy Sleeves.
  • Flying Car: Lindblum air cabs, proving that Mist can make vehicles smaller than airships fly equally well.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Zombie Whale, Gigan Octopus, and Vespal. Emphasis on the word seafood — all three are very tasty and teach some great Blue Magic spells.
  • Flynning: There is an episode where a fighting scene is played on stage. Since the hero pretends to be an actor, a mini-game is presented where you have to respond with parry high to threaten high et cetera. Your performance is then rated by the audience. No matter how badly you do, you're given a chance to improve your score. Depending on your score, you're given gil, and also an item by Queen Brahne if you talk to her as Steiner later. If you can manage to impress all one hundred nobles and Queen Brahne, then she will grant a Moonstone, one of only four available in the game. This is extremely challenging, however, and not really worth it unless you're the type that has to do absolutely everything, as the Moonstone really isn't needed for much. Furthermore, in order to get a perfect score, you're pretty much required to retry, as it's only in latter tries that the more dazzling moves that are likely to truly impress the audience become available with frequency.
  • Fog of Doom: The Mist was the source of many a scary monster. On the other hand, it was also the source of many a black mage. The Mist was created by the Iifa Tree, which processed the souls of the dead into Mist. This then was to clear Gaia of life to make room for the denizens of Terra. It had the bonus effect of making people bloodthirsty, accelerating the whole process.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: The game de-emphasizes level grinding but instead requires you to learn abilities from equipped gear, maxing out their AP before a character can use the skill without the item equipped. The system is not conducive to level grinding in this way, as you have to hold off on equipping the strongest new equipment so that you can first master the skills from your old stuff, or just equip items whenever you need their related skills.
  • Foreign Queasine: One of the selections from Eiko's Kitchen ATE involves putting an oglop in the stew.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The glyphs you see in Zidane's Dyne abilities. If they look alien, it's because they are.
    • Halfway through the game when the heroes meet the villain Kuja for the second time, he responds to Zidane's inquiries about his plots with the line "Oh, brother... But you're not ready yet!" On the first playthrough this just seems like uncharacterically crude choice of words from him (he speaks like he's in a Shakespearean play most of the time). After you play the game again, knowing that he and Zidane are brothers, the line seems like such an obvious hint.
    • Another bit is how the elevator-leaves in the Iifa Tree only responded when Zidane touched them. The Tree just didn't know the difference between genomes.
    • Letting the Cleyran priest take you on a tour of Cleyra will show you the correct evacuation path you must direct the civilians to later on.
    • The two themes you hear the most turn out to be significant to the story. The game loading screen is the Leitmotif of Terra, the world map theme is Melodies of Life, a.k.a. the song of the lost summoner tribe; both are hints to Zidane and Garnet's origins.
    • One young dwarf in Conde Petie says that he and his bride will go to the Sanctuary and engrave their names. Where do young lovers normally engrave their names? That's right, on trees.
    • Freya is introduced to you by Zidane claiming to have forgotten her name. Cut to Cleyra, and what do we get? Fratley having done just that, but for real. Probably overlaps with Harsher in Hindsight and Funny aneurysm
    • Watch Dagger closely in Disc 3 after Zidane saves her and Eiko from the collapsing Alexander. When Zidane apologizes, she doesn't say a word. There is a very good reason for this.
  • Forged Letter: The local Genki Girl writes a love letter to the protagonist but forgets to sign her name. After a series of wacky hijinks when the letter gets to unintended addressees and is thought as originating from various people, it brings the Beta Couple together. Accidentally.
  • Fork Fencing: Quina fights with big forks.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Princess Garnet has a particularly well-defined set of...assets, which are clearly visible, much to Zidane's delight.
  • Four-Star Badass: General Beatrix from Alexandria, whom you never beat during the game. You fight her three times.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The first party: Steiner (choleric), Vivi (melancholic), Garnet (phlegmatic), and Zidane (sanguine).
  • Freak Out: Kuja has one of these at the end of Disk 3.
  • Friendly Enemy: Zidane and Kuja have a moment of this after Kuja saves the team from the collapsing Memoria and Iifa Tree and Zidane decides to stay to save Kuja from the depths of the Iifa Tree. Then again, they are brothers and this brief moment of friendliness doesn't continue in their appearances in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Though that can be explained as having most of their memories wiped.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The game continues with the tradition of making your party members vanish before the summon attack begins. It also has a subversion in Quina's Night spell. Night hits your party members along with the monsters, but you can make yourself immune by equipping the Insomniac ability.
    • Also averted with the Dark based Doomsday spell.
  • Friend to Bugs: Downplayed but present. While trying to go undercover in Doma, Princess Garnet gently picks up an oglop without any revulsion, and only pretends to be freaked out after someone tells her that most girls hate bugs. It probably helped that her beloved uncle was turned into a sentient oglop by his scorned wife for some time.
  • From Bad to Worse: Pretty much the entire first two discs of the game are you asking "what next?" and the game answering you by blowing up a town or incapacitating a major character in some way (imprisonment, coma, death), culminating with the destruction of Alexandria and Garnet's Heroic B.S.O.D.. Things ease up a little there; true, your party is captured but they escape, but it's a short relief before Kuja's origins become a major plot point... and once you get to Terra, things pick up with where they left off and keep getting even worse.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: A variation. A chef wants to use his frying pan as a hammer to help rebuild Alexandria, but he's told his work is just as valuable making sure everyone else is fed and healthy, so they can rebuild.
  • Fugitive Arc: Zidane and company are on the run from the kingdom of Alexandria after kidnapping/aiding in the escape of Princess Garnet.
  • Full-Boar Action: The Zaghnol is vaguely recognizable as one.
  • Full-Name Basis: There are two black mages raising a baby chocobo... Bobby Corwen. Giving a chocobo a last name in the first place is noteworthy, but they say "Bobby Corwen" enough that Eiko points out, "Can't you just call him by his first name...?" It's worth mentioning, though, that this is also likely a shout out with "Bo"bby "Co"rwen referring to Boco, from Final Fantasy V and VIII. (Although the black mages themselves might just not understand that you don't always use last names...)
  • Funetik Aksent: The dwarves have ambiguously Scottish accents.
    • The Italian translators made a fantastic work by giving many Non Player Characters a different Italian dialect or foreign accent that even fits the character's personality. Baku (Tantalus' The Boss) has a Sicilian accent, Cinna a Roman one, Marcus speaks with a thick German accent and so on.
  • Fungus Humongous: Myconids, along with the landscape of Terra.
  • Funny Animal: in a world where the civilians are sometimes large badgers or blue tapirs, it's not surprising that Zidane looks less out of place than Vivi.
  • Funny Background Event: Quite a few, even outside of the ATEs. Most notably, during the escape sequence at the beginning of the game, Zidane makes faces and rude gestures with his tail at Queen Brahne. Similarly, while Zidane and Garnet are in the foreground while Brahne fires on their ship, Steiner tries to get closer to the princess, only to be tackled by Vivi.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Cid Fabool IX. His proficiency at designing airships has led Lindblum to become Gaia's prominent air power. He also spends some time as a frog after an argument with his wife.
  • Gag Censor: Among the many Urban Legends Of Zelda, one particular legend involves a risqué scene involving Cloud's head as a censorship method.
  • Gaiden Game: The developers weren't sure if it would be considered part of the main franchise due to how much is deviated from Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII; it was less than a year before release that Square officially called it IX.
  • Gainax Ending: The entire final dungeon is a huge Gainax ending. You basically go backward through your memories, then the planet's, and then the universe's. After you defeat Kuja, you take on the eternal darkness. The ending itself isn't so much, though.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Everyone's unique abilities are also their role in the story. Everyone's in awe of Vivi's ability to blow stuff up with his hands. Steiner's not just a knight by class, it's his job. Freya's ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound shows up in cutscenes, everyone is after Garnet's ability to summon, and so on.
    • Several characters go into Trance when the plot puts them in a suitable mood, and Trance becomes a plot mechanic during disc 3.
    • When Garnet becomes temporarily mute in disc 3, she becomes unable to enter Trance, and her magic and summons will occasionally fail.
    • A more subtle example is Zidane's trance abilities. All of the other characters get trance powers related to their class: Steiner hits harder, Vivi and Eiko can doublecast black and white magic respectively, Garnet/Dagger can summon Eilodons that stick around, Freya can hit all enemies with her jump attack, Quina can eat enemies that have more health remaining and Amarant can use his Flair abilities on the entire party (ally or enemy) at once. What about Zidane? His utility based thief skills become probably the most devastating attacks in the game. Seems kind of out of place until you realize that Zidane was created as an angel of death to destroy every living thing on Gaia using the power of trance.
    • Trance is also a minor plot element where you are told (at the first time you see Zidane use Trance) that Trance comes from a surge of emotions, which comes into play for several party members who automatically start the battle with a full Trance meter when they're completely enraged or have a strong desire to protect someone. Once Kuja sees Mog enter Trance, he attempts to gain the same power for himself by goading the party into attacking him until his life is put in danger. Having the desire to kill the protagonists and using Brahne's tortured soul as a catalyst to boost his power is what gives Kuja his own form of Trance.
    • Garnet is likewise given the ability to summon Eidolons right off the bat, but the MP costs are ridiculously high for her level. This is to show that she is afraid of her powers. When she starts learning them again and wants to take action, she grows more confident and the MP costs are lower. She's also unable to enter Trance and sometimes her commands will fail (due to being unable to concentrate) around the time she's in a Heroic B.S.O.D..
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: One glaring one. In the third battle of Zidane's funkout at Pandemonium, Garnet will join the battle and cast Curaga on Zidane. This will happen whether or not the player actually already has Garnet master Curaga or has an equipment that enables Curaga on Garnet at all. After that, she is unable to cast Curaga once more unless the player teaches her. One wonders why the developers didn't just throw the player a bone and have her auto-learn Curaga and get the spell permanently if she doesn't already have it at that point, and then throw in a lampshade after the battle.
  • Gateless Ghetto: Lindblum, Treno, and Alexandria, all rather large cities with innumerable neighborhoods, alleyways, plazas, and markets. All are reduced to isolated corridors in the actual game.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: It counts only if Quina is considered female, putting her alongside Garnet, Freya and Eiko opposite Zidane, Vivi, Steiner and Amarant.
  • Genius Ditz: The Knights of Pluto are an entire unit of these. While they're generally portrayed as incompetent, they all have their own specific talents, detective work, writing, gunnery, etc.
  • Genki Girl: We get Eiko, who is also the game's resident Bratty Half-Pint. She has a great deal of energy and is usually excited about something.
  • Genocide Backfire: The summoners of Madain Sari are also wiped out by the Big Bad long before the game... except for Eiko and Garnet, whose mother whisked her away to Alexandria.
  • Genre Savvy: Zidane and Kuja. One of the more brilliant aspects of FFIX is the fact that the protagonist and antagonist are both fully aware of their roles. Zidane—deputy leader of a theater troupe known for performing melodrama—is convinced that he's a swashbuckling hero long before the rest of the characters start noticing that bad guys end up dead around him. Likewise, Kuja, a fan of romantic fiction, has no delusions of being anything other than the bad guy of this story. His love of theatrics and hamming it up isn't just for show.
  • Gentleman Thieves: Tantalus.
  • Get on the Boat: Blue Narciss in disc 3.
    • There's a boat where nothing extraordinary happens. It acts just like an airship, only confined to water. In fact it is retrofitted into the party's first Global Airship because of how reliable it is. From there it survives all the way to the end of the game (even after your party replaces it with another Cool Ship). The trope is initially subverted when the party leaves the first continent originally using underground tunnels. They don't Get on the Boat itself until the 3rd disc.
      • The boat in question still cleverly provides broken bridges even without sinking, because the party can only get off it on low, smooth coast areas, thus preventing the player from accessing the Forgotten continent at all. The first airship is a boat too, in a sense, as it can only land on grassy areas.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • There is the ambiguous-gender Quina marrying the male golem Vivi. There's also a scene where Zidane and Vivi piss in the ocean, with dialogue that makes it sound like Zidane's teaching Vivi something else, while a secluded Eiko looks on.
    • It also has a character referencing a scene from a romance play where a man sneaks into his lover's bed chamber, Zidane suggesting Garnet can't sleep because she's too lonely and him outright grabbing her ass while they're both climbing a ladder.
    • It also has a rather uncomfortable character design for Eiko: her pants are somehow cut and show part of her legs. Unfortunately, it's the inside part of her legs which is shown. Including the crotch. Of course, she is supposed to wear slim underwear and not actually be naked, but you'd think they could have chosen a less confusing color than pale pink for that.
    • Rubber Suit armor, which can only be worn by female party members....
    • This conversation between Zidane and Dagger:
    Dagger: Oh... um... How were you planning to abduct me?
    Zidane: We were gonna put you to sleep with sleeping weed, then kidnap you. It's mostly used for kids, but a big dose can knock out an adult just as easily.
    Dagger: I guess you didn't need it, since I came along on my own. Hey... Would you mind giving me some? I've had a hard time sleeping lately.
    Zidane: Um, I don't think that's a good idea. You might get addicted. Maybe all you need is some company, eh?
    Dagger: Oh, please. Do you think I'm that naive?
    • The Stroper. With its head design. And it droops over upon defeat. Of course, Soft will bring it down.
    • A young couple in Alexandria has this to say:
    Husband: To think this destruction would happen just before our honeymoon.
    Wife: That's because your timing is always bad.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: Cool Ship Invincible has one on the bottom. Flashbacks show that an enormous, smoke-shrouded malevolent eye appeared above Madain Sari instants before the entire city was annihilated. The same eye appears over the Iifa Tree as Kuja commands it to corrupt Bahamut, and again when Alexander protects its city from the maddened dragon lord. However, in this last instance, it is revealed that the eye is actually the mind-controlling, corrupting device on the bottom of the Invincible, which only looks like a giant malevolent red eye.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves:
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
    • Perhaps the most notable example: Necron, the Final Boss. Once you defeat Kuja, the Big Bad, Necron, who has never before been mentioned or even hinted at, shows up. There is a sort of justification for him, though. As hinted at by his speech and name (particularly the Japanese one, the Darkness of Eternity), he represents absolute death/nonexistence in its most pure form. Kuja wants a Class Z apocalypse which could potentially cause a sort of Grandfather Paradox and gets frighteningly close to succeeding. Necron steps in as something of an overzealous antibody for reality. He's existence's lupus.
    • Garland talks about Necron for what seems like an hour. Almost all of his scenes that aren't directly about Kuja or Zidane deal with Necron. The majority of this guys entire character is this guy. Kuja gains power to bring him in, but they both talk about him as an entity quite a long time before the end of the game. It's really really hard to miss him.
    • Taharka, literally.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Clipper enemy.
  • Giant Spider: Carve Spiders.
  • Gimmick Level: Ipsen's Castle, where attacks with your strong weapons will be weak, and attacks with your weak weapons will be powerful.
  • Girly Run: Princess Garnet goes all out with this, especially when you control her. But then again, she is a princess.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item:
    • Purpose of the Fairy Battles. One of the more important sidequests was giving certain "friendly" creatures the specific gems they ask for. You're awarded a considerable amount of AP (requiring for mastering abilities), a clue to the next friendly in the chain, and in the later part of the chain, the gem that the next creature will want. Meeting and giving all of them what they want makes the Bonus Boss easier by making it targetable by normal attacks and making it take damage from one of its own attacks instead of getting healed by it.
    • And then there's the Gimme Cat, an enemy monster that purposely invokes this trope so that you'll fork over a rare accessory in the hopes of a major reward... only for it to mock you for your gullibility and run away. Of course, unlike all of the other Fairy Battles, which have gentler music playing in the background, when the Gimme Cat appears, the normal battle music plays. If this musical cue didn't clue you in, it's your own damn fault. But fortunately, you have the power to reset your console.
  • Glass Cannon: Vivi has the powerful attack magic and weak defenses of the archetypal Black Mage.
  • Global Airship: Played with, where by the time you get the second airship, the world has been flooded by Mist and there are only a few accessible locations left in the world. The first airship, however, does allow you to explore the world at your own leisure.
  • The Glomp: Garnet does this to Zidane in the ending, when she learns that he's still alive.
  • Go Back to the Source: The party's last voyage is into Memoria, an illusory world created by the memory of the planets Gaia and Terra... and then into the Crystal World, where the wellspring of life itself resides.
  • A God Am I: Kuja, after he achieves his Trance. The scariest part is while he doesn't say this line exactly, it's functionally true.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Brahne appears to embody this trope, although you learn later on in the game that she started out as a decent person, whom Kuja corrupted through his manipulation and promises of power. She starts out fine but is slowly driven to evil, recklessly waging war. This trope was later subverted when Brahne dies and Garnet is forced to become queen herself. Thrust upon a terrible situation, she does her absolute best to lead her people with compassion and strength. That is, before becoming completely overwhelmed.
  • Going Through the Motions: During scenes, each textual box is accompanied by a gesture. Played on a loop. This leads to hilarity, particularly with Steiner, since he notably shakes his fists up and down in front of him or actually jumps and has a tantrum: depending on how long you can keep laughing/bear to watch, he can stand there jumping indefinitely.
    • Similarly, Zidane will always go into his high-alert hald crouch position before a boss battle, even if there's a lengthy slab of exposition beforehand. Doesn't matter how long it takes you to read the text, he will be alert until the Fight Woosh.
  • Golden Snitch: Or rather the golden-brown Zaghnol in the Hunters' Festival in Lindblum, itself a Take That of the "running of the bulls" in Spain. Instead of bulls, monsters commonly fought in Random Encounters pepper the city, but the (appropriately golden-brown) Zaghnol is worth five times the points of any of them. Averted with the Chocographs in Chocobo Hot & Cold since the points aren't the real objective in that game.
  • Golem: The Black Mages are automatons created by the villain from inert materials; however, they slowly gain a consciousness as the game progresses. In a somewhat unusual variant, their primary skill is offensive magic (eg fireballs), not physical strength. The party fights a couple of special winged models sent out as assassins. Unfortunately for Vivi, Black Mages also come with an expiration date.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Something similar happens where the air forces of the entire world arrives to save the heroes from a hundred dragons emerging out of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The game has this with Garland's creation of Kuja and Zidane. Both of them were created to exterminate all life on Gaia, Kuja being the Super Prototype Garland created before he made what he considered the superior design. He was more Genre Savvy about this trope and realized Kuja might turn against him so he make sure he had a very short lifespan. Garland's fears proved completely justified as Kuja ultimately surpassed him, but knowing his Pride, Garland taunted him with how short his life was to push him over the Despair Event Horizon. It worked, but Kuja's reaction was far worse than he anticipated and he attempted to wipe out all life in the universe.
  • Gonk: Queen Brahne, who's morbidly obese and blue for no apparent reason (unless she's related to Cuchulainn), making the revelation that she's not really Garnet's mother make TOTAL sense... until you realize that Garnet was adopted *because* she looked like the deceased princess, and nobody in the kingdom ever seems to question her parentage, although there are a few people who are surprised that a beautiful girl like Garnet could come from Brahne.
  • The Good King: Regent Cid is the affable leader of Lindblum (unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be able to keep it in his pants.)
  • Goroawase Number: You can randomly run into a weird creature called Ragtime Mouse that asks you Pop Quiz questions. Once you answer all of them, the next time you run into him, he tells you the percentage of correct answers and if you got all of them right, he gives you 23852 Experience divided amongst the 4 party members, totalling 5963 Experience each as well as 59630 Gil: 5963 can be read as "gokurosan", which stands for "good job".
  • Graceful Loser: Necron doesn't really mind his defeat. After all, he is eternal...
  • The Grand Hunt: The Festival of the Hunt is an annual event in which beasts are let loose in the city. Contestants sign up to hunt the beasts, with prizes and fame awarded to the champion.
  • Greed: Queen Brahne's motivation (along with a little push) to wage war on Mist Continent.
  • The Grim Reaper:
    • He's back, and this time, he has scale armor.
    • Also Kuja, as an "Angel Of Death". It's what he was created for in the first place, after all (along with Zidane and Mikoto).
    • Necron, possibly. His Japanese name is the Darkness of Eternity, which would hint at the "force of nature" explanation.
  • Grotesque Cute: Quina might have been intended as this, but the honor goes to the oglops (combining the best known features of houseflies and cockroaches) and those gargants. Aww...
  • Grotesque Gallery: Meltigemini and hell, Queen Brahne.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Beatrix, the members of Tantalus.
    • Beatrix assists the party for a short while early on, and then a little later in a duo with Steiner for a segment that mainly exists so that Steiner can catch up. Though she's pretty powerful when she's playable, you can kill her off in the Steiner section so that Steiner gets even more experience from the ordeal.
    • Cinna, Blank and Marcus. Cinna joins for the first two fights of the game, and earns the distinctions of "lowest attack", "lowest defence", and generally "crappiest character." Blank also joins for the first few fights, leaves for a while, then comes back for the Plant Brain boss fight before getting turned to stone. Marcus is around for the same fights as Blank and Cinna, but he rejoins later when Dagger and Steiner split up from the main group. He's a Zidane clone, with slightly higher attack. (In fact, that last sentence applies to all three.) However, some of these guests transfer their stats to permanent party members (Blank and Marcus carry over to Amarant and Eiko respectively). Leveling with them makes future party members that much more powerful.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Any number of obscure secrets and fiddly requirements for non-obscure ones, along with the rules of the card game. Not only that, but many of these tips weren't even in the official guide — they were restricted to Square's PlayOnline Web site,note  with notes in the book to check the site for information that hadn't made it to print. Thus, FFIX is one of the only games whose Guide Dang Its have Guide Dang Its.
    • Certain details about the game's battle mechanics are explained only in vague terms, if at all. For example, the "Add Status" support ability, which adds status effects (poison, confusion, etc.) to melee characters' attacks, only works on Zidane if he is equipped with daggers; if he is using a sword, he must instead use the ability "Soul Blade" to achieve the same effect. The game never mentions this fact, leaving you to blunder onto it by chance. In addition, fixed-damage attacks like Dragon's Crest and Thievery provide no clues about how their damage is calculated; if you didn't already know how they worked, you'd have no way of finding out. The in-game help doesn't even tell you what Six Dragons does, inviting you to "see for yourself"!
    • This game has one of the highest Guide Dang It counts in the franchise, despite being the one with the most extensive in-game help system.
    • One of the most obscure secrets ever is the Nero Family sidequest. You have to progress with the final dungeon a certain amount but not too much, then backtrack to Lindblum to activate a cutscene, and repeat the process nine times. No wonder, really, that it remained unknown for over a decade after the game's release.
  • Gunship Rescue: The main character's airship is facing down a large flight of silver dragons when Lindblum's Aerial Fleet Arrives and takes them on to open the way for the heroes.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: The game continues the trend of exceptions: Two White Magician Girls (both of whom can use ranged attacks and summon magic) and a melee fighter round out the females, while the males have a thief, a black mage, a martial arts mercenary, and a knight. Quina's gender is unknown, and even called "s/he" throughout.
  • Hair Contrast Duo: Zidane and Garnet. It's hard to get more worlds-apart when one is a thief and an alien while the other is a princess.
  • Hair Flip:
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first part of the game focuses on Queen Brahne's conquest of the continent, the plot switch occurs when the party decides to go after Kuja, Brahne's weapons supplier, and he becomes the main antagonist when he promptly offs her at the end of the current disk. A plot switch then occurs a second time with The Reveal that Kuja is an alien from Terra sent by Garland to destroy the world, and Zidane was meant to be his successor and spiritually is his brother that Kuja abandoned on Gaia.
  • Handicapped Badass: Beatrix, given that she's obscenely powerful and a master swordsman, despite only having one eye.
  • Handsome Lech: Zidane "oo, soft" Tribal. The only girl that he doesn't flirt with (or better put, only does as a joke) is Freya. Unlike every other girl he's hit on, she's a giant humanoid rat. She was also in a committed relationship, though her love is currently MIA. She also hasn't given up on finding him, which Zidane is aware of. Zidane stops flirting with other girls as the game progresses and he falls in love.
  • Happily Adopted:
    • Princess Garnet, who loved her adoptive mother even after she was corrupted into stealing her daughter's Summon Magic by an evil manthong wearing Pretty Boy.
      Garnet: No I can't let anything happen to my mother! I've got to save her!
      Zidane: Uhh, Dagger? She extracted eidolons from you and started a war!
      Garnet: I still don't want her to die!
      Zidane: But she didn't care one bit whether you lived or died! You don't have to call her 'mother' anymore!
      Garnet: She's my only mother! I don't care if you don't understand!
    • Also Eiko Carol gets adopted by Cid and Hilda at the end of the game, and is clearly excited about having a real family, even calling her new parents "Mother" and "Father" rather deliberately.
  • Happy Fun Ball:
    • Forks (really big forks, but still...)
    • Don't forget about the strongest optional boss, Ozma. It is a giant floating ball that spins...and casts Meteor, among other things.
  • Happy Harlequin Hat: Evil court jesters Zorn and Thorn.
  • Harmless Freezing: The Frozen status effect which results in a One-Hit Kill if the frozen character then receives a physical attack. They can be thawed out with a fire-based attack too.
  • Have We Met?:
    Lani: I've been looking for you, Princess Garnet.
    Zidane: Have we met?
    Garnet: Quit flirting with her!
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: At any rate, while it doesn't change your actual outfits, the Nerf Arm armor is one of these, called Aloha T-Shirt. Similarly, the matching pieces for it is the Straw Hat, Pearl Armlet and Sandals.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Unusually frequent in this game (Beatrix and Kuja love to pull out an instant-win attack after you think you've beaten them).
  • Healer Signs On Early: Turns out the princess you are supposed to kidnap (and who, incidentally, actually wants to be kidnapped), Garnet, is a White Magician Girl, who is also able to summon Eidolons, powerful creatures.
  • Healing Hands: Garnet and Eiko.
  • Healing Shiv:
    • The Healer skill enables you to heal others with your normal attack. The right equipment also allows you to heal your party with offensive magic spells. However, Healer is also a Useless Useful Spell, as your "healing attack" still figures in defense values. Thus, when you equip your weak white mage with the Healer skill, she can only heal 30-40 HP (in a game where 9999 is the limit) with each hit because her attack is so weak and your party's defense is so high. The broken Auto-Regen ability provides the same range of healing... automatically, every few seconds.
    • It pays to note that Amarant can also learn Healer, which makes it useful if you need to heal in Oeilvert (especially against Ark when you need to get its items).
  • Healing Spring: The last appearance of this trope in the series.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Kuja redeems himself by teleporting the heroes out of the Hill of Despair and outside the Iifa Tree. It's probably because of this that Zidane decides to go back for him. If anything, at least Kuja didn't die alone.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After defeating Zidane and friends three times and getting a Pyrrhic Victory after the third battle upon realizing Garnet's condition, General Beatrix joins your party for a couple of fights and seeks to atone for what she has done.
    • An unusual, less extreme example, but it counts. Steiner, even though he's in your party for a greater portion of the game, spends most of his time trying to sabotage the party and deliver Dagger back to the queen. Zidane and the others win his loyalty, eventually.
    • Even Big Bad Kuja pulls this off before he dies at the end of the game. Just when Zidane comes to pull off a Heroic B.S.O.D. to pick him up just as the Iifa Tree is about to crumble.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]:
    • Steiner remains the only Final Fantasy character that the player can change the surname for. Those more literary players could get a kick out of changing his name to 'Benedick', since he ends up with Beatrix. Or those who liked to call him 'Rusty', in accordance with Zidane's nickname for him.
    • You also get to change Garnet's nickname rather than her real name, causing some players to call her Garnet 'Garnet' or 'Princess' when it comes time to give her a stealthy nickname. Strangely enough, her default pseudonym ("Dagger") is taken from an actual dagger, so if it's changed to anything else the scene stops making sense.
    • It may be too late for a nickname for Amarant, since it's after the fact that he tells you his title is "the flaming Amarant". Oh the possibilities...
  • Helpful Mook: Give certain rare enemies a particular item and they grant a large amount of AP. Plus, find and "help" them all, and Bonus Boss Ozma becomes vulnerable to Shadow-elemental magic, meaning when he uses only such spell that hits both parties, he damages himself instead of healing himself. He also becomes targettable by normal physical attacks.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: There's a heard hitting status ailment in the form of Trouble. When a party member is afflicted with Trouble, any damage they receive transfers to the rest of the party by half of that damage taken.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Dagger/Garnet, after the destruction of Alexandria. After her mother's death (suffered whilst trying to kill her, after finding out that she never loved her and just wanted her powers) closely followed by her witnessing the epic destruction of her new kingdom on the eve of her coronation, Garnet/Dagger spends a good chunk of the later game completely catatonic, unable to talk and just dragged around by her comrades. Oddly enough, she could still join you in battle, though her hit chance went right down, and occasionally, she just gave up, with the notice "Garnet can't concentrate". Her depressed state also prevents her from using her Trance abilities, which is signified by having her Trance gauge removed from the interface.
    • Well, she doesn't become catatonic until her homeland is nearly wiped off the map by an invasion of undead monsters and an incredibly destructive magical attack that had been stolen from Garnet herself. You can hardly blame Garnet for developing post-traumatic stress disorder after a trauma like that.
      • Also, during her death scene, Brahne apologizes for it and claims that she did it out of overwhelming (and recently realized) greed, not that she never loved Garnet in the first place.
    • Another prime case of Heroic B.S.O.D. occurs near the end of the game to Zidane. After finding out his true origins and the morbid purpose of his existence he goes temporarily insane, turning into a raging, foul-mouthed misanthrope who attacks everything in his path both verbally and physically.
    • Also Vivi after finding out the origins of the Black Mages. Heck, most of the main cast suffers some form of the trope after experiencing a personal trauma. Steiner doesn't know what to do or feel after he finally sees and gets that the Queen is truly a monster bent on conquering other nations and was planning to kill her own daughter off. Freya has a minor breakdown after seeing that the love of her life lost his memories and has no idea who she is. Vivi goes into complete shock after seeing the Black Mages being mass produced in a factory and they look just like him. The only people that don't go into a meltdown are Quina (too simple minded to really care about many things), Amarant (has a personal score to settle and focuses on nothing else), and Eiko (already gone through some tragedies when she was younger, so she's mostly over it).
    • Averted with Freya. The tragic end to her 5 year search puts her out of commission for all of 5 seconds.
  • Heroic Rematch: Double subverted in the rematch with Trance Kuja, which, after an epic boss fight, ends exactly the same way as the first fight. The third fight does not.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Zidane tries to pull one off in the Evil Forest, in order to distract the pursuing plant-spiders and let the rest of the party escape. Blank manages to shove him out of the way just in time.
    • Zidane can learn the "Sacrifice" skill, which sacrifices himself to heal his allies' HP and MP to full, sort of like Megalixir for Final Fantasy IX at the cost of his own HP and MP. But nothing you can't fix with Phoenix Down, Curaga, and some Ethers.
    • Zidane almost instinctively makes one to save Kuja from being crushed by the Iifa tree.
  • Hey, Wait!: Steiner is trying to smuggle Princess Garnet across the border to Treno, by posing as a travelling labourer while Garnet hides in a sack of pickles he's carrying. As he's about to walk out of the other side of the border control point, a guard yells after him to stop... because all the necessary paperwork has been completed and Steiner's new passport is ready.
  • Hidden Depths: Amarant has a lot of these, to the point where his character arc can go entirely unnoticed by a few players.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Black Mage village (of which Vivi was a member, though he had never been there before). It's more justified then the others: Black Mages are basically Golems and gain sentience somewhere along the way, the village being a hideout for them to escape the Big Bad who created them. It doesn't work. Vivi is a special case and is vaguely hinted to be the prototype.
  • High-Altitude Battle: United Alexandrian and Lindblum airship fleet versus Kuja's Silver Dragons in disc four.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn:
    • General Beatrix starts out as a loyal servant of the villainous Queen Brahne, but turns against her ruler once the party force her to realize her queen has gone mad. She briefly joins the party herself, despite having been a difficult boss fight earlier.
    • Queen Brahne herself has somewhat of a heel-face turn herself at the moment of her death, though this is more along the lines of Villain's Dying Grace due to a Heel Realization.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Baku, the leader of the Tantalus gang gives beatings to any of his children who leave the band or disobey him. Said beatings are played for laughs. The band is mostly composed of 16 year old teenagers. It's also played for drama and a little bit of laughs in Zidane's flashback.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Brahne is deep fried by her own summons.
  • Homage: The game is full of explicit references and other various thematic connections to earlier games in the series.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • The game plays with the trope with the Beatrix battles. It is entirely possible to get a Game Over if she kills everyone present (and she likes to spam Shock, which is a 1-hit kill barring Level Grinding and awesome gear), but you can't defeat her. Once you take out her allotted health pool for the fight, she fires off Shock Break or Climhazard (ironically, both cost less mana and do less damage overall than Shock when she or Steiner use them under the player's control) and reduces everyone to 1 HP before leaving. One useful thing about these fights is that she always has some very nice pieces of equipment for Zidane to steal off of her before she ends the battle.
    • There also when you fight the game's Big Bad, Kuja. At first it looks like you're going to beat him (prior to fighting him you beat someone that he was confident he couldn't beat), but then he activates Trance and nukes everyone with Ultima.
  • Horned Humanoid: Eiko and Princess Garnet/Dagger. Summoners are born with with a single horn, evoking the horn-like accessories of the Summoner class in previous games.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: When you're trying to invade Kuja's fortress, he takes your group hostage and has half of them go off and steal a Plot Coupon from a dungeon he can't breach due to its Anti-Magic field. The other half manages to escape, but not quick enough to prevent the hero from handing the item away.
    • In addition, since Garnet is a magic user and Zidane isn't, the player will probably put Zidane in the party going after the plot coupon and leave Garnet in the hostage party, fulfilling the "hostage is the hero's lover" variant of this trope.
  • HP to 1: Quina's Matra Magic. Also Stock Break and Climhazzard, but only when used on you.
    • Beatrix has this as her Finishing Move. When she executes it, the battle is over; from a story standpoint, the party is defeated as if it's a KO. She considers this her ultimate move and taunts/threatens the party with death after she uses it, which is very strange considering you can regen out of the critical status while the game fades to black, reducing the "impact" of the scene.
    • The final boss, Necron, boasts his "Blue Shockwave" attack, which cuts the victim down to 1 HP.
    • The final monster Zidane has to fight during the "You're Not Alone!" sequence has an attack that does this, which trigger's Garnet/Dagger's entrance by casting Curaga on you (even if they haven't learnt it yet).
  • Hufflepuff House: There are four major political powers on the Mist continent—Alexandria, Lindblum, Burmecia and Cleyra. The first two factions are the most prominent, with Alexandria as The Empire for the first half of the game or so and Lindblum as a safe haven ruled by Reasonable Authority Figure Regent Cid. The other two, you arrive at Burmecia to find it already invaded and destroyed by Alexandria, and once you arrive at Cleyra you get to look around the town for about half an hour or so before it too is invaded and wiped off the map. Though Freya is a Burmecian, the kingdoms themselves may as well vanish once you leave them because they're scarcely mentioned again except for the reparation efforts.
  • Humble Goal: Quina joins your party just to travel the world and sample new foods.
  • Humongous Mecha: The summon Ark. It's not just a summon; it's a Transformer!
  • 100% Completion: With Tetra Master, getting perfection in the form of a perfect Collector's Rank of 1700 is insane. To do this, you have to collect all 100 card types (and you can only have 100 cards total at a time). On top of that, you have to "level up" your cards by using them enough so that they all have an attack type of A, and have a different pattern of attack arrows on each one. Your reward for doing this, however, is very disappointing. "Would you like to discard?" is superimposed over the other text in the card menu. Yes, that's right, for all your hard work, you get a glitch.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Beatrix does all the heavy lifting, compared to Queen Brahne's incoherent rages.
    • That's why she's a general instead of a queen.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: During the fight with the second Black Waltz (when the party attempts to leave the Village of Dali), the Waltz will not attack Garnet/Dagger. This might sound as though it makes the fight a Foregone Victory, but no. Should the other characters be defeated, the Black Waltz will use "Hypnotise" on Garnet, and the battle ends.

    I-P 
  • I Am Who?: Zidane is told late in the game that he was created by Garland to be Gaia's "angel of death". This, combined with Garland's attempt to destroy his soul, triggers a very uncharacteristic Heroic B.S.O.D.. Of course, Garland wasn't counting on his True Companions.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: During the feast after the Hunting festival in Lindblum everyone, save for Garnet and Steiner suddenly collapse after taking a few bites. Garnet hasn't been eating at all, and Steiner, who has, and now noticed that everyone had collapsed, dramatically falls on his knees and gasps that the food was poisoned and he is dying for his princess... that untill Garnet says there shouldn't have been any in his plate. Upon hearing it, he utters that now that she mentioned it, he suddenly feels much better and stands up again. The alleged "poison" is revealed to be sleeping pills.
  • Identity Amnesia: Sir Fratley.
  • Idle Animation: Zidane does some stretching exercises, Garnet fluffs her hair out, and Steiner in particular almost dozes off.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Evil Forest. Lampshaded:
    "Plants that attack people... I guess they don't call it Evil Forest for nothin'."
  • If It Swims, It Flies: The steam-powered airship Hilde Garde III is similarly built from the hull of the Blue Narciss, a sailing vessel.
  • I Got You Covered: During the enormous airship versus dragons battle at the end of the game. As the party approaches the final dungeon on the Invincible airship, a legion of dragons comes to meet them to stop them from landing. Unfortunately, the ornate piece of junk actually has no useful weapons. But wait! Straight from out of the clouds comes every airship in existence armed to the teeth, who clear a path so that the heroes can put an end to the Big Bad once and for all.
    • A slightly more specific event comes right when the Invincible is about to get plowed down by a stream of dragons. Beatrix, in Queen Brahne's flagship, flies in from the blue and literally covers the Invincible so it can pass the final stretch.
  • I Have Many Names: Princess Garnet til Alexandros XVII, princess and later queen of the kingdom of Alexandria and the female lead. After being kidnapped (under her request), her "captor" suggests that she drop her royal bearing and adopt an alias, which she chose Dagger. Lastly, it turns out that Garnet is not her real name, nor is she the real Alexandrian princess. She is in fact one of the last remaining summoners in the world, and her original name was Sarah.
  • I Have Your Wife: Kuja pulled this off, holding the entire party hostage in order to get Zidane and the party members of Zidane's choice to go fetch the Gulug Stone from Oeilvert. (This was immediately followed up by him kidnapping Eiko, though in this case, it was for his own purposes, not because he wanted something from the party.)
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: This line is said using "miracle-worker".
  • Immortality Immorality: This seems to be an underlying theme. Many of the themes center around the meaning of life and what it means to live, and the attempts by the people of Terra (through Garland) to stave off death and stay alive lead them to commit horrific crimes (the mass murder of the Madain Sari summoners, Kuja being sent to cause more havoc in Gaia), to the point where it's implied that Terra has destroyed several younger planets already in its quest to stay alive. The quest for immortality leads its pursuers to inflict no end of misery on others.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Kuja goes into a Villainous Breakdown and becomes an Omnicidal Maniac when he learns of his own mortality, deciding that if he doesn't get to exist, nothing else should either.
  • Implacable Man: No matter what you do to Quina, regardless of if s/he ends up getting lost in a dungeon, getting left in the middle of a city being blown up by friggin' ODIN, dropped into a river, or whatnot, s/he WILL come back somehow. You can't get rid of him/her or kill him/her off for good, no matter what you do.
  • Important Haircut: Dagger gets one. So important that it's even shown as a FMV scene. Doubles as a Call Back to the end of disc 2.
  • Improbable Age: Top of the list has to be Eiko from Final Fantasy IX - she's only six years old.
    • Zidane and Garnet are both 16 and Freya is 21. If you weren't told this, you would never know it. They act much older, and have histories and experiences that imply they can't be that young, for example Freya being a member of the Dragon Knights several years ago and Zidane having years of experience as a thief. May be justified in that both Freya and Zidane aren't human and hence may age and reach maturity differently. Vivi looks to be about 9, but the official ultimania guidebook confirms that he was activated SIX MONTHS before the start of the game!. The age of 9 is likely a guess by his adoptive grandfather. Kuja is only slightly better in this regard, being a famed "weapons dealer", rich Treno personality, proprietor of a massive desert palace, and doing all his villain accomplishments at the tender age of 24.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Garnet is able to cut off her long hair into a perfectly styled bob with one slice of a dagger while her eyes are closed. Youtube anyone cutting their hair off with a blade and you'll find that no matter how sharp it is, it's impossible to cut through hair on one stroke. Garnet's hair also rapidly grows back to its original length in time for the game's ending which is only less than a year later.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Black Waltz No. 1 rains icy death upon you with a jingle bell. This is a reference to the Final Fantasy V Geomancer job, which uses a bell as its primary weapon and could easily attack with a deadly blizzard in a place like the Ice Cave.
    • And of course there's Eiko's flutes and Quina's forks. Although this refers to Quina's culinary theme, tridents are a classic military weapon, and no torch-bearing angry mob or traditional devil warrior would be complete without a good pitchfork. Quina's forks are generally big enough to stand in for either. Stranger are the lacrosse-like "racket" weapons Garnet and Eiko often use, hurling projectiles of unstated composition and endless supply. Given that both Garnet and Eiko are magic-users, it can be justified in that the projectiles are actually magic. They certainly look magical.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: There are several times that Steiner pleads with Princess Garnet to return to Alexandria, usually referring to Zidane (who is standing right next to her) as a "kidnapping scoundrel", or some variation, who is trying to use her. At least once, he reacts this way.
  • In a Single Bound: This is displayed even out of battle wherein the game's two dragon knights, Freya Crescent and Fratley Irontail, easily leap from rooftop to rooftop and leap four to five times their body height from a complete standstill. Even the most athletic members of the party can't keep up. (Although this could be somewhat explained by the fact that the dragon knights are a non-human race of rat people with supposedly much greater leg strength than humans.)
  • Indy Hat Roll:
    • In regular (Zidane escaping the Evil Forest) (with an airship) through quickly-closing humungous doors. Doubly awesome in that a much faster craft, which is chasing it, fails to make it through the doors and crashes spectacularly.
    • Notice who Zidane's barely clinging to as the airship makes it through the gate? That's right, Mr Nice Hat Vivi himself.
  • Indy Ploy: Kuja's goal for most of the game is to enslave an eidolon that he can use to destroy Garland and establish his rule over both Terra and Gaia. Interference by Zidane and Garland ruins these plans, but Kuja develops a new plan that involves seizing control of the power contained within the Invincible and using it to make himself... invincible, so to speak.
  • Ineffectual Loner: The trope is borne out normally, where Amarant is the Ineffectual Loner, and Zidane tries to teach him The Power of Friendship, or at least of discretion.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Queen Brahne while watching the play "I Want To Be Your Canary". As the play is performed every year, she's likely just getting into the spirit of it (it's a tragedy). She pauses for a moment to wonder where her daughter has wandered off to before resuming bawling over the heroine's death.
  • Inevitable Tournament: The game holds not one, but two Inevitable Tournaments. The first being a hunting tournament that you compete in against two other party members. The second is a card tournament. Both you must participate in, but you don't need to win either, although you still need to beat the first two opponents in the card tournament. In fact, the prize you get from the hunting tournament is better if you finish second instead of first.
    • To clarify, if Zidane (who the player controls in the tournament) wins, you get a cash prize (worthless, as you can grind for gil), If Vivi wins, you get a card (absolutely worthless, as it offers you nothing gameplay wise, just like every other card with the possible exception of one specific card that you can get without even touching the card game if you count being able to rename characters a gameplay feature). If Freya wins, you net yourself the Coral Ring, an accessory that you can't get anywhere else on Disk 1 and whose Thunder absorbing qualities just so happen to completely nullify the end-of-disk boss's most powerful single-target attack. You can also get a decent accessory for winning the final match of the card tournament, but there's plenty of other ways to get it by that point in the game.
  • Infant Immortality:
    • During the attack on Cleyra, Zidane has to choose which way the refugees flee from the black mage army. Even if you make nothing but wrong choices, the two Burmecian kids survive.
    • Subverted however when everyone in Cleyra dies ANYWAY due to Odin's attack.
  • Infernal Retaliation: The boss of the Iifa Tree isn't very tough, unless you somehow assume that a wood-based creature is weak to fire, in which case you're in for a world of flaming hurt. Using fire spells against Soulcage is ill-advised. Life magic, on the other hand...
  • Infinity–1 Sword:
    • Stats-wise, this sword is the Ragnarok for Steiner. However, as noted below it's a subversion in that, if you play the game at a normal pace and do most of the sidequests, the Ragnarok will inevitably be his Infinity Plus One Sword. The Infinity Minus One Sword in a normal game will be Steiner's Excalibur, which is still a terrific weapon in its own right. His best weapon, Excalibur 2, is difficult to obtain to the point of being a Bragging Rights Reward—it is found only in one single spot in the final dungeon, but only if you can get there in under twelve hours. This means a lot of missed content and rushing through the entire game for a weapon that is simply not worth the hassle.
    • Steiner's Excalibur sword is something of an Infinity Minus Two sword, if such a thing exists. If you skipped out on Chocobo Hot and Cold and didn't get the Ragnarok, you can obtain the Excalibur with enough gil, a Chain of Deals and a Fetch Quest. The Excalibur is an excellent weapon on its own, and teaches a very good ability in Climhazzard. Shock, the ability Steiner gets from the Ragnarok, is quite frankly overkill in most situations, and since the damage cap doesn't go past 9999 and Shock will do that to almost any enemy unless Steiner is horribly underleveled, the only benefit Excalibur 2 would give him is maybe saving some MP in the long run, which isn't an issue by the time you have access to Shock.
    • Zidane has The Tower and the Masamune, if for some reason you skipped the chocobo hot and cold sidequest, both of which have debatably better Soul Blade abilities and decent attack stats.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Played straight with most of the characters, but subverted with Steiner. A variation exists whereby in order to obtain Steiner's Infinity+1 Sword, the Excalibur II, the player has to go from the start of the game to a point roughly halfway through the final dungeon and search in a specific area, in less than 12 hours. In a game that spans four discs. This time limit is infamous for making it almost impossible to get the sword on the EU version due to the game not having been adapted to the European 50Hz refresh rate, which makes it run a bit slower while the timer (which is linked to the PSX clock) runs normally. The only way to still get the sword in those versions is to exploit a bug and open the console's disc hatch whenever a video cutscene starts, which allows you to skip them and saving you just enough time to get the sword, if you are lucky. The Excalibur II is technically his Infinity Plus One Sword, but you can only get it by rushing through most of the game and skipping almost all of the sidequests, which diminishes a lot of the experience and makes the sword simply not worth the hassle. As a result, for all intents and purposes Steiner's Infinity Plus One Sword is actually the Ragnarok.
  • Informed Attribute: The Alexandrian Army are made out to be a Badass Army, yet when you actually fight them, their most common tactic is usually to flee after taking a bit of damage.
  • Informed Flaw: The Knights of Pluto are mocked as being incompetent... and they are in the first part of the game. Later on, though, they come through in a major crisis when Alexandria is destroyed. One of the soldiers poking through the rubble of Alexandria Castle mentions that the Knights ensured that there were very few casualties of the invasion.
  • The Ingenue: Garnet is so sheltered she doesn't know what a dagger is (although that opens up some Fridge Logic considering that it's a fairly standard piece of weaponry for, say, a castle guard). She spends most of the first disc trying to overcome it.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: Garnet is injured *psychologically* after her home kingdom is attacked and suffers heavy casualties with her unable to do anything to defend it as queen. For awhile she will fail to cast spells or do attacks when told because she is to busy replaying the scene in her head. She also does not speak in game at all during this section.
  • Injured Vulnerability: In order for Quina to successfully eat an enemy, it needs to be under 25% of its maximum HP. If Quina is in Trance mode the target only needs to be below 50% instead.
  • Innocent Prodigy:
    • Vivi.
    • Eiko, aged six, meanwhile, has been living on her own as Team Mom to a bunch of moogles. While she's clearly an incredible child (not to mention her white magic), she's very naive, due to her age and lack of interaction with adults.
  • Inspector Javert: As The Captain of Alexandria's 'Knights of Pluto', Steiner is naturally distrustful of Zidane's intentions with Princess Garnet. Zidane's a decent guy, though, if a bit of a Chivalrous Pervert.
  • Instant Runes: Freya's best Dragon skill uses this, despite not being "magic" (as it can be used on the Anti-Magic continent). There's also Zidane and his Dyne attacks. Almost all of them result in runes appearing, whether they simply signal some huge effect or are the weapons themselves. No circles, though, just the runes. And of course, they are in full force for his appearance in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Finally, the Eidolon Ark "draws" a magic circle beneath the enemy party with its laser eye, using it more as a targeting reticule for its subsequent attacks.
  • Instant Sedation: The game plays this straight after the Festival of the Hunt. Princess Garnet puts a sedative in the food that her uncle Cid provides, making sure to leave it out of her own food and Steiner's. Within less than a minute, everyone who has consumed the affected food is down for the count, and Garnet is able to make her planned escape.
  • Instrument of Murder: Eiko's flute.
  • Insufferable Genius: Beatrix before her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Insult Backfire: Not so much a straight-up insult, but in explaining to Quina why he chose him/her to accompany him to the Earth Shrine, Zidane states "Well... I sort of got stuck with the leftovers..." Quina reacts with delight, which puzzles Zidane, until s/he explains, "There old saying in my tribe... 'Leftovers good!'"
  • Insult Misfire: When Zidane taught Dagger how to try and scare off people coming after her, he says to say "Get away from me you scumbags." Later, when Zorn and Thorn have Dagger, she says this but it goes over her attackers heads. They don't understand what a "scumbag" is.
  • Insult of Endearment: "Rusty", Zidane's nickname for Steiner.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence:
    • Dali has an annoying example, where you actually need a key to get over it (and that can be easily missed and Lost Forever).
    • It is actually impossible (at least while exploring the Alexandrian castle in the timed sequence) to step from the paved sidewalk in front of the west tower onto the lawn right next to it. That blades of grass could be an insurmountable obstacle for anyone is a bother.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Actually bells, which not only open doors, but also shatter after doing so. The doors in Burmecia are opened with bells, of all things. Moreover, those bells shatter after being used for no adequately explored reason. Since some of these doors lead to fairly important areas, such as the palace and the place people get married, one must imagine that somewhere a government contractor is raking in the gil making disposable bell keys.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • It's pretty obvious that one can tell that Marcus, Blank, and Beatrix aren't permanent party members simply because they have no "Trance" bar.
    • Garnet's spell list contains the names of several summons, a few of which are well-known Final Fantasy staples — she just doesn't have the MP to cast them, and won't for some time. It's still a fairly large clue about her origin.
    • You'll know Freya is a Chekhov's Gunman simply by the fact that she's named when she's first introduced within the story (before she becomes a player character).
  • Interspecies Romance: Zidane and Garnet. Genome and summoner, respectively. Garnet and Eiko were Summoners, apparently a different species from normal people, since they were born with horns. Also, Zidane's not entirely human either — obvious from the start since he has a tail, but this turns out to be more than a cosmetic quirk. And then there was the Vivi/Quina marriage, which involved a techno-magical construct and an ambiguously gendered giant frog thing.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Obliquely, Stiltzkin, as every time you encounter him he offers you a trio of items for a set price, and he uses the money to finance his travels.
  • Irony:
    • Zidane and Blank dress up like the Knights of Pluto in order to blend in inside the palace so they can kidnap the Princess. Garnet mistakes them for soldiers and so runs away from them, thus starting the whole fiasco that got the Theatre Ship crashed and Blank petrified. The irony here is that if Zidane and Blank hadn't been so careful in their plan (i.e. just knocking the guards out and sneaking in wearing their normal clothes), Garnet would have recognised them and gone with them immediately.
    • Also Situational Irony that Tantalus thought up a very complicated plan to kidnap the Princess when she was planning on stowing away on their ship anyway.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: It's never a good sign when the princess wants to be kidnapped. It's an even worse sign when her mother and some threateningly-androgynous sorcerer are seen plotting to take over the entire world.
  • Item Crafting: Synthesis shops.
  • It's All About Me: Kuja, who robs the whole bakery. The motivation for his Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: He was informed that he was mortal and thus would die soon, and he found it utterly unfair that the rest of the universe was allowed go on existing without him. Naturally, something had to be done to correct this grave injustice.
  • It's All My Fault: Dagger blames herself for the destruction wrought on the Mist Continent, and otherwise feels a very heavy sense of responsibility, beating herself up for not living up to her own standards. Zidane and Eiko manage to cheer her up later on.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Memoria. However, the fact that the laws of physics aren't strictly followed here makes it more difficult to say "upstairs".
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Zidane's party arrives in Lindblum just in time for the Festival of the Hunt, where various animals (notably a giant warthog-like creature called a Zaghnol) are let loose in the streets for contestants to hunt. By taking down the Zaghnol, you all but guarantee that Zidane will win the competition (and 5000 gil).
    • Or you can hang back and be a spectator instead, thus letting your Lady of War friend win the competition and setting up the means of getting a nice Disc One Nuke in the process...
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Despite being an agent of Garland, Kuja manages to inspire just about everyone to have a personal grudge with him, including Vivi (whose people Kuja created and then used as cannon fodder), Freya (whose country he destroyed), Garnet (whose kingdom he destroyed and mother he killed), and most importantly Zidane (who is Kuja's younger brother and personal target of most of Kuja's hatred and contempt). Later, Kuja kills Garland and takes over as the true Big Bad of the game.
  • I Work Alone: Amarant works alone. Naturally he is a "survival of the fittest" kinda player... and eventually learns The Power of Friendship from Zidane, after an object lesson or two.
  • Jiggle Physics: Among the clean-up done to the Steam release, these were added to some (female) character models. Most noticeable in Beatrix, who would clap her hand over her chest in a loyal salute to Queen Brahne, which would cause her breasts to sway rather widely.
  • Just Friends: After Zidane and Dagger/Garnet get "married" at Conde Petie, Zidane comments to Eiko "Anything for my lovely wife," and Dagger says that they're actually "just friends." Zidane comments that that's better than nothing. Later, Eiko asks if they're really "just friends" because it seems to her like they're something more. Zidane says that they are more than friends: they're a team.
  • Justified Save Point: All of the save points (except the ones in the final dungeon) were moogles, who would chronicle your journey in a giant journal. The final dungeon, meanwhile, had a running theme of storing people's memories, thus handily explaining why the non-moogle save points existed there.
  • Justified Tutorial: You get an optional interlude scene in which a moogle is teaching another moogle.
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: The so-called Cotton Robe trick, wherein you can buy Wrists (for 130 gil), Steepled Hats (for 260 gil), synthesise them into Cotton Robes (for 1000 gil), and sell those (for half the 4000 gil purchase price, 2000 gil). Result: 610 gil profit. By two more iterations you'll have enough profit to process Cotton Robes two at a time for 1220 profit. Twenty goes can turn an initial 1390 gil into over 1.3 million.
  • Kid-anova: Zidane is 16 years old, and even though his love interest Garnet shares his age, he hits on much older women as well.
  • Kidnapped by an Ally: The start has the main characters trying to kidnap Garnet for their employer Cid in Lindblum, while at the same time she's trying to escape her Alexandria to reach Cid.
  • Kidnapped by the Call: Played with, Cid Fabool orders Tantalus (Zidane's group) to kidnaps Princess Garnet to initiate a political observation at Queen Brahne's corruption, but it turns out Garnet wants to be kidnapped in the first place for a similar reason.
  • Kid with the Leash: Eiko is the last of the summoners and is one of the two youngest in the group.
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • Yan. They're so adorable... but they're the strongest monsters in the game, and can easily take out a full party in seconds with Comet, which they will take full advantage of, Virus Power, which will prevent the afflicted from gaining any EXP you get in the battle, and has Float/Snort combo, which blows away one of your party members and counts them as Dead.
    • The Bandersnatch, which also has More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • Killer Space Monkey: Kuja.
  • Kill Sat: Ark, complete with mystical targeting electronics readouts.
  • King Bob the Nth:
    • Princess Garnet is the 17th actually 18th person to hold that name. The game doesn't elaborate on how many people have held the name Brahne, but it can be assured that there won't be any more after the game's events.
    • A lesser example from the same game, but the regent of Lindblum is Cid Fabool IX.
  • The Kingdom: Alexandria during Queen Brahne's reign is actually an exception to the trope.
  • King of Games: The card game Tetra Master, of which Cid Fabool is the champion in Treno, and is famous for using only oglop cards.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: We see Garnet leaning up for a kiss and then an image of Gaia and Terra crashing together.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: The ending had a "Hug Hug Slap": Garnet ran to Zidane upon his dramatic reveal and happily embraced him, then beat on his chest angrily, because she thought he had died.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The Hero is a thief, so he's naturally kleptomaniac. A notable example however goes to Vivi, a child Black Mage who can spend his intoduction chapter looting multiple stuff from other people's gardens, shelves, beds, displays, and even their chimneys. This includes the infamous "Grandma's Savings", amounting to a measly 9 gil. Nobody minds you stealing from the old lady, and you're never punished, not even by Granny herself who is standing across you at the time.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Steiner, to the point that he makes a clanking sound whenever he walks. He is also chivalrous to a fault, and is torn by his conflicting duties to Queen Brahne and Princess Garnet.
  • Knight, Knave and Squire: Steiner, Zidane, and Vivi, respectively.
  • Kraken and Leviathan:
    • Lord Gizamaluke, who functions as an early That One Boss. He is revered as a god/king by the Burmecians, but the capacity to which is never touched upon in the game.
    • Additionally, there is a boss called Kraken, who is, unsurprisingly, water-themed, and has a knack for blinding your team with ink.
    • You can also run into Zombie Whales, which can shrink their victims with sonic screams or turn them into zombies by spitting toxic dust on them.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Zidane Tribal, the protagonist, has this as a major part of his Character Development. He starts out as a fairly open skirt chaser (at the age of 16, no less), but then he falls for Garnet/Dagger, causing some emo-ness to ensue. Of course, in his case, it's made worse by the fact that Garnet's a princess, therefore supposedly not "reachable" for him even if he changes his ways. Doesn't stop them from getting together in the end, though.
  • Lady of War: Beatrix and Freya. Freya is calm, polite and dignified even when dealing with opponents and is an excellent fighter while Beatrix is a gentlewoman who looks feminine without being over the top about it and is a skilled swordswoman.
  • The Lancer: The game rotates this role a bit during the game: it starts as Blank, but he doesn't last very long in the party. Then Steiner takes over the role, before Amarant firmly and truely takes on every trope associated with Lancerdom. Amarant is Zidane's psuedo-rival, and has a lot of Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy issues that get solved during the course of the game. Oddly enough, the one character that actually uses lances, Freya, never actually takes on this role at any point in the game.
  • Land of One City: Lindblum and Burmecia, which control a goodly portion of the continent with only one city. Also, narrowly averted in that Alexandria has a whopping three cities (or two, it's ambiguous where Treno stands)
  • Large Ham:
    • Kuja. He loves the dramatic, see Lava Pit just a bit below. He's also fond a grandiose speeches, whether or not anyone else is around to listen to him.
    • Again, Zidane's no slouch in that department either. Must run in the, er, family?
  • Last Ditch Move:
    • It's a staple of Final Fantasy games that there will be at least one boss that casts Ultima (usually the strongest spell in the game) as it dies. Here, it's actually a minor plot point.
    • Maliris' "Raining Swords" attack.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • The game is kind enough to not keep track of completion percentage, but it STILL manages to drive the player insane by having an obscure "treasure hunter ranking" that tracks how many treasures you collect. This includes many "key items" that can be lost forever, one of which is because the guy who gives it to you needs three very easily missable key items and he DIES in the fourth disk — and no, you can't just steal it from his house. Many of the missable items are chests that, for some reason, get refilled (so you miss the chance to gain their previous contents), during periods when you have no reason to be anywhere near their locations.
    • Several of those key items are only available by playing very, very repetitive mini-games that don't otherwise grant a player any other rewards beyond non-unique Tetra Master cards (which aren't good for anything beyond playing Tetra Master anyway) long past most people's patience level. The worst of all is the Athlete Queen, which has a very small window of opportunity to get, and has you race against an NPC until he reaches racing level 80. His level only increases when you win, and he eventually becomes extremely difficult to beat. Good luck trying to get the Excalibur II in a perfect game if you count the Athlete Queen, as the limited window means you can't put it off until later.
    • Several of the best items that will help your party — with stats and by giving you abilities you otherwise couldn't get — have to be synthesised from weaker items that you probably already sold, or can be bought in stores that have already been destroyed, or are locked away in a town that was enveloped by giant tree roots.
    • Equipment that boosts stats also boosts stat GROWTH, meaning that you have to wear it starting at level 1 to get the maximum benefit out of it. Some of the best stat-boosting equipment is only available on disc four, and to get that far still at level 1 you need to run from every battle, find special "friendly monsters" to gain ability points, and use obscure strategies for many bosses. And to make matters worse, you have to get Marcus during the short period he is in your party to level 99, because Eiko later inherits his stat bonuses, but not his level (contrary to Amarant, who inherits Blank's level). Of course this also means you can't get perfect stats and Excalibur II in the same game.
    • Steiner's Excalibur II can only be found in the last dungeon of the game (the game is four disks long) and you have to get there before the twelve-hour mark to get it (else you have to keep the game on for TWO YEARS to get another chance at it). There's a guide online that perfected this challenge, showing that it's possible to get the Excalibur II and all missable items and remain at level 1 for stat gains. It'll take you hours to read it.
    • The nearly sole reason why many treasures, items, and events are a Guide Dang It was due to Square releasing an online system alongside the game that told you where everything was, but to actually use the system proper, you needed a strategy guide published by Square which wasn't an actual strategy guide at all. Instead, the "guide" contained codes you used on Square's website to obtain the information.
  • Last Name Basis: Aldebert Steiner is almost always referred to as Steiner, or occasionally "Rusty" by Zidane. He also holds the privilege of being the only Final Fantasy character to have his surname determined by the player.
  • Last of His Kind: Eiko and Garnet, last of the Summoners.
  • Last-Second Chance: At the end, right after the final boss is defeated, Kuja, the villain and Zidane's brother, is dying inside the roots of the Iifa Tree when he realizes the mistakes that he's made in his life, resolving to at least try to make up for them by teleporting Zidane and his friends with the last of his power safely away from the now convulsing roots of the dying tree. Zidane, being the good guy that he is, heads straight back into the roots, where he finds Kuja and tries to convince him that he doesn't have to die just yet, and that he can make up for what he's done. Kuja thanks Zidane for the offer, but knows that he's finished. Just then a root heads straight for them, with the scene fading to black right as it's about to hit. It's heavily implied that Kuja died saving his brother from the root, making this a Redemption Equals Death situation.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Amarant joins your party late into the second disc, and there are party members who fill his niche quite well. It takes quite a bit of grinding to set him up with the utility skills that your staple party members take for granted.
  • Late to the Tragedy: This gets ludicrous throughout the middle, wherein nearly every city the protagonist comes across is obliterated literally moments before he arrives. The list of console RPG cliches actually names this "curse" after the main character — who, granted, was created to bring destruction, but not by arriving five minutes after every plot-related catastrophe.
  • Laughing Mad: Kuja went Laughing Mad as soon as he learns from Garland's disembodied spirit that he'll die soon.
  • Lava Pit: Kuja traps your entire party in cells in his Desert Palace with floors that retract to reveal lava beneath them. He threatens to retract them all the way unless Zidane and his selected party members fetch him the Gulug Stone from Oeilvert. However, after Zidane and the others leave, he says he hates keeping promises and puts the remaining party members on a ten minute timer which can be reset by an hourglass, but only if Zidane makes it back in time.
    Kuja: Oops, just ten more minutes. Better start praying. Farewell... My sweet, lovable morons. Ahahahahahahaha!
  • Lawful Stupid: Steiner might as well be the poster boy for this trope. He eventually pulls his head out halfway through the third disc. In fact, his last line to Zidane notes his deep respect for the thief and thanks him for all he's done for Garnet and the world.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Averted. An NPC having a name isn't a hint of anything... unless there isn't an earlier Final Fantasy character with the same name. If there is, it's just a Mythology Gag.
  • Leaked Experience: Averted. Characters not in the active party won't gain any experience points, which can make leveling up certain characters quite difficult and time consuming when the plot removes them from the party and puts them back much later.
  • Leitmotif: The soundtrack has so many leitmotif-using songs that it is actually one of the soundtrack's biggest criticisms (depending on whether you think they help tie things together, or simply make everything sound the same). Probably half of the 100+ songs in the game use the leitmotif of a previous song, and many of those that don't hail from earlier games in the series (the Crystal, Chocobo, and Moogle themes, for example).
    • Kuja's Theme, in one form or another, is guaranteed to show up any time that he does.
      • It also plays instead of the usual World Map theme when half the party travels to Oeilvert under his orders to save the other half. This, combined with the airship's eerie scripted flight, really drives home how dire things are.
    • "Melodies of Life". This song appears everywhere, from when the game starts to the ending credits.
    • Beatrix has three versions of hers, and they double as Mood Motifs. Though one of the three doesn't resemble the other two as much.
    • As an example for lietmotifs that subvert the "(character)'s Theme" naming convention, Zidane's lietmotif could be considered to be "A Place to Call Home" rather than "Zidane's Theme" since it frequently resurfaces in places like Oeilvert and other areas that are connected with his past.
  • Lethal Joke Item: One would think it would be insanity to use tents (powerful healing items) on enemies. It turns out that pitching tents hits them with many negative status effects, as well as healing them. Do this at the start of a battle, and it makes the fight much easier.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Ironically, the Gulug Volcano dungeon contains no lava whatsoever (as it's extinct).
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Steiner and Quina mainly serve as the comic relief, but prove themselves to be valuable allies when they actually get into a fight.
    • Steiner spends most of the first half of the game as the Butt Monkey and all-around buffoon, but when he actually gets into a fight, he's shown to be a pretty good swordsman. His general demeanor also starts to change when he helps rescue Dagger halfway through Disk 2, and he shows himself to be a competent leader and fighter alongside Beatrix during the invasion of Alexandria in Disk 3. This also happens every time he reaches Trance, where he goes from a knighty in rusty armor to a full on knight in shining armor. Since he's already one of the three melee monsters, this only makes him more dangerous.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang:
    • The game simply let you choose three party members to go with Zidane on one quest, and then take control of the other four as they battle through a dungeon. The next time you split up into four pairs only in the story sense, as you only control Zidane/Quina.
    • The characters split up early in the game to fit in with the Arbitrary Headcount Limit. The entire first third or so of the game is like this, with all the party members together, then splitting up on their own individual sidequests, before they finally reunite in Disk 2. At that point, however, some of the characters are Put on a Bus, leaving enough room for the last party members to meet the Arbitrary Headcount Limit. When the whole party reunites at the start of Disk 3, they never split up again, except for the previously mentioned example.
  • Letter Motif: We have Quina Quen a member of the Qu tribe, other members including its master Quale and Vivi's 'Grandfather' Quan.
  • Level Grinding:
    • Because there is absolutely no Leaked Experience, you will find at least one point in the game that requires some serious grinding (looking at you, Disc 3 Steiner and Freya). Luckily, the Level-Up passive ability makes it a little less painful.
    • The way the game's ability-system works (passive abilities like Auto-Haste and Auto-Regen are learnt from armour and accessories and AP earned in battle) actually provides some incentive for doing this, as you will want the most beneficial abilities (again, Auto-Haste and Auto-Regen) for your characters before entering a dungeon, and will generally only have one of the item teaching the relevant ability at a time.
  • The Lifestream: The Evil Plan is to prevent the souls of the people of Gaia from reincarnating, so the souls of the people of Terra can replace them.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: Black Waltz No. 3 uses Lightning based magic. In the cutscene battle with him, Vivi combats him with Fire magic.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Zidane and Freya most definitely. She's the only female he doesn't actively flirt with and they have a mutual respect and camaraderie from the beginning.
  • Like You Were Dying: Played straight by Vivi, whose race has a very short lifespan. Averted by Kuja, who doesn't take the news of his pending demise very well... Until the very end, where he finally regrets his actions and attempts to make peace with his arch-nemesis.
  • Like You Were Dying: Vivi and the other Black Mages, who have very short lifespans. Also Kuja at the end after his defeat when Zidane tries to rescue him.
  • Limit Break: The Limit Break system is called Trance. As a plot device, no less. Even better, it lasts a few turns instead of just being a single attack. ...Or triggers just in time for the battle to end, depleting the bar, and giving you positively nothing to show for it. Although the typical super moves is just one aspect of it, it works more like a Super Mode for most characters and unlike other games, you don't get to choose whether to actually use it when you fill up the bar, meaning you might end up wasting it entirely on weak enemies. It also has plot significance and can be triggered automatically in the key points of the story. The One-Winged Angel form of the Big Bad is the result of this trope. For much of the game, Kuja had sought out the game's Summon Magic to gather the power needed to take his revenge on Garland. After failing to take control of Alexander, however, he decided to take a leaf from the book of the player character's party, and got them to induce a Trance in him. This resulted in the destruction of the planet Terra.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: The first type, for passive skills.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Garnet, the runaway princess, has to go incognito for awhile and needs a fake moniker. Seeing the hero's weapon of choice, she names herself Dagger—assuming the player picks that name, of course. Not doing so renders the scene nonsensical, however.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Being frozen and struck causes instant death, but the character doesn't shatter and can be revived in-battle.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Genomes have monkey tails.
  • Little Miss Badass: Eiko. Yes, she's six years old and adorable, but don't piss her off, or she will summon a giant monster to annihilate you.
  • The Load/Scrappy Level: Garnet in disc 3, who cannot reliably execute battle commands for plot reasons.
  • Load-Bearing Boss:
    • Evil Forest's boss turns the whole place to stone when defeated.
    • Necron destroys Memoria and the Iifa Tree when he's beaten.
  • Logical Weakness: A stone based monster can be killed instantly by using a Soft on it, which is normally used on petrified allies. The game states that the monster "became too soft to live".
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: Amarant Coral was initially a loner who works as a bounty hunter living by the honor code of "only the strong survive". While he was the last character to join Zidane, he was still dismissive of The Power of Friendship, but that didn't last long when Zidane saved him from falling into his death, which is what changed his heart.
  • Long Game: It's revealed that Garland is playing one of these in his attempt to restore Terra and its people; essentially, he's merged Terra with the planet Gaia, and has been slowly assimilating the souls of Gaia's own reincarnation-cycle. He's also been using his personal Angel of Death, Kuja, to start wars on Gaia so that souls can be siphoned into Terra at acceptable rates. This is a long game that has been running for over five thousand years.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Kuja, the game's main antagonist, turns out to be the long lost brother of our intrepid hero, Zidane. This drives a great deal of the game's plot.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • "Zidane's Theme" is a very long track which only plays during one very short cutscene early on Disc 1. Hence, you're only likely to hear about half the track, if that. Noteworthy because, toward the end of the track, a melody plays which shows up on Disc 3 as "Unfathomed Reminiscence." It's a neat bit of thematic connection that no one would ever hear unless they put the controller down and didn't advance in the dialogue at all.
    • The theme for Fossil Roo. It plays for the dungeon's first couple of screens, but the rest of the dungeon uses the same music as Gargan Roo.
  • Look Behind You:
    • One of Zidane's thief skills is actually called "What's That!?", and makes enemies turn around temporarily to allow for a back attack.
    • In the third fight against Steiner, Zidane and co. desperately try to get him to look back, but he stubbornly refuses to fall for such a trick. In this case, he should have listened, since there was a Bomb growing behind him the entire time.
  • Lord Country: The royal family of Alexandria bear the name "Alexandros". Both double as foreshadowing of the kingdom's guardian Eidolon, Alexander.
  • Lord Error-Prone: Steiner, particularly on the first disc.
    • Though it should be noted, his main failings were his misplaced loyalty and the fact that his rival's biggest strength was cunning. He also undergoes a lot of Character Development over the course of the game and eventually makes even with Zidane, realizes his queen's misdeeds and finds true love. All of that helps him become much more competent.
  • Lost Forever:
    • The infamous "Excalibur II" sword, which requires the player to run through almost the entire game in less than 12 hours to obtain. It necessitates leaving behind several other items and time-consuming sidequests that become unavailable on the final disc.
      • There is a common rumor that you can still get the sword if you let the clock go past 99:99:59 (thus resetting it) and then go to the location before it reaches 12 hours for the second time. This does in fact work, but it takes significantly longer than a mere 100 hours of playtime — the internal game clock actually goes through several iterations of 100-hour cycles before actually resetting to zero. This takes 2^32 ticks, or over two years. And, though it may seem absurd, several players have succeeded in getting the Excalibur 2 (the normal way) together with all the other missable items and sidequests.
      • This is now known to be possible on the PAL version as well, but significantly harder (the game runs at 5/6 the speed on PAL, so in effect you have to get the sword in 10 hours instead of 12).
    • The Sword is just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who wants to do a 100% completion run of this game has their work cut out for them. Some events (lookin' at you, Burman Coffee) require deviating from the story, at a precise (read: small, and totally unmentioned) time to get it, and follow a specific sequence of events to get it even if you do think to wander off. Seriously, this game is DESIGNED to make you want to rip your hair out without a Guide.
    • One particular big Lost Forever example is the end of Disc 3/start of Disc 4, where a good deal of the towns, such as Conde Petie, on the map become unaccessible because of the plot. Esto Gaza is a great example of this trope. The town can only be visited on disc three, as it's blocked off after going to Terra. What makes it notable is that the shop there has some of the best and most useful weapons/armour in the game (including the Octagon Rod, which is the only way for Vivi to learn Firaga, Blizzaga, and Thundaga; it also sells other items like the Zorlin Shape that are useful for synthesis once endgame hits)... and nearly all of them are lost on disc 4. Furthermore, going through Esto Gaza is the only way to get to Mount Gulug, so everything in there is also locked off by connection.
      • Disc 3-4 transition closes up Esto Gaza, the only place you get Scissor Fangs. The other one is synthetized with a one-shot (but thankfully unmissable) weapon, the Dragon's Claws, and the Tiger Claws, which can only be bought on Daguerreo, during the events of disc three. If you get to disc four without either Scissor Fangs or Tiger Claws, bye-bye Aura flair.
      • Scissor Fangs be damned, Esto Gaza is also the only place in the game that sells the Octagon Rod, which is the only item that teaches Vivi all 3 of his -aga spells, making him a lot less useful if you miss it since without them, he has no way to hit multple enemies late in the game without either wasting a ton of MP to do it, having a chance to miss enemies entirely or damaging the party members that don't have armor that absord Shadow-elemental attacks in the process.
    • The Hippaul racing minigame and Nero Shuffle game. The only time you get to do these are only during a small window period at the start of Disc 3, right after Garnet is crowned queen but before Kuja's siege on Alexandria. Think you can leave it a bit and come back to complete it later? Sorry...
    • Also, weaker weapons become unavailable by Disc 4. Better make sure you learn all abilities before progressing, and for good measure, do not sell your old weapons or armor, ever (something someone playing older versions of Final Fantasy will instinctively do when short on cash). This is especially true for Steiner's Bright Eyes ability, which requires an Iron Helm, an item that becomes no longer sold on Disc 4.
  • Lost in Translation: The fight against final boss Necron won't make much sense unless you know his original Japanese name.
  • The Lost Woods: Evil Forest, which was actually quite evil, and Owl Woods.
  • Lost World: Three unexplored continents on Gaia, with only the Mist Continent being densely populated and civilised. As airships can't run without mist, and there's none on the other continents, travel to them has been rare. The Outer Continent mainly had its population wiped out in a disaster some ten years previously. The Forgotten and Lost Continents meanwhile have no settlements and are home to a few Eldritch Locations.
  • Lovable Rogue: Zidane Tribal.
    • The rest of Tantalus probably qualifies too.
  • Love Hurts: Sir Fratley, the love of Freya's life leaves on a journey of epic training. When she doesn't hear of him for some time, she embarks on the world to find him. During the events of the game, she eventually runs into him but he is suffering from amnesia and doesn't remember her. Ouch.
    • It's even on her quote in the game's manual. Quite a Player Punch when you find out what it means:
      Despair. To be forgotten is worse than death.
    • In the game's ending, his memory never returns, but he falls in love with Freya again, anyway. Awww.
  • Love Informant: Hilariously misfires. Eiko wants someone to be the love informant from her to Zidane. The letter Dr. Tot writes for her is misplaced several times, is misunderstood, and ends up sparking love between Steiner and Beatrix.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Eiko got help from the Doctor Tot to write a love letter to Zidane, and when hung on a peg she's forced to ask Baku to deliver it to Zidane. Baku accidentally drops it and forgets to mention the whole thing to Zidane. This leads to Beatrix believing the letter is from Steiner and vice versa; the two do wind up becoming a couple, and no one's the wiser. Even if Eiko, Blank, Markus and Baku do witness their first tentative meeting. The music that plays during that scene is even entitled, "Foolproof Love Letter Scheme." A nice alternate title for the trope...
  • Low Level Run: The level 1 challenge. Yes, you can beat the whole game this way note  and even take out Ozma, the hidden superboss. Not for the faint of heart or patience.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The battle against Necron; his ability to take several consecutive turns means that whether you win or lose is largely determined by how often he attacks and what kind of status ailments Grand Cross inflicts upon you. The battle against Kuja isn't quite as bad, but he has a habit of countering every attack with the damaging Flare Star in the latter half of the fight, and can decimate your party if you don't pause to heal up.
    • The Superboss Ozma is an especially blatant example — its Meteor never misses and usually KO's the whole party instantly. Even if they are saved by Auto-Life, it's possible for Ozma to cast Curse right after it. Good luck.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Not only is Kuja from the same world as Zidane, they were created by the same person, making them something like brothers. Don't ask where Kuja was hiding his tail in that scanty outfit. It's best not to think about it.
  • Luck Stat: The Spirit stat. Affects random damage, critical hits, how quickly the trance bar fills up, and just about anything else the programmers would normally just have a constant in the equations for.
  • Lucky Seven: The attack "Lucky 7s", a Shout-Out.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Dragon Kuja is a "brother" of sorts of the main character Zidane — they were both artificially created by the same man.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: The game makes you do this after your allies get grabbed. Not as jarring since it's basically an evil fetch quest.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Alexander versus Bahamut, Ark's first attack, Zidane's Grand Lethal Dyne skill, and Matra Magic.
  • Made of Iron:
  • Madness Mantra: Black Waltz no. 3's chant "I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill"
  • Magical Clown: Zorn and Thorn, two jesters who are also wizards and spymasters for Queen Brahne.
  • Magical Flutist: Eiko, a white mage and summoner, can use flutes as weapons.
  • Magic Antidote:
    • A "soft" (whatever that is) can instantly cure a character that has been turned to stone, except if you've been turned to stone by a forest, in which case you need to spend a quarter of a disc searching for a 'supersoft'.
    • There's also a "vaccine" that can cure a viral infection after the fact.
  • Magic Missile Storm: Alexander's Divine Judgment is depicted in this manner. Kuja's Ultima combines this trope with Death from Above.
  • Magic Pants: With both Zidane and Kuja, whose trance forms have all their clothes vanish in lieu of fur, yet reappear as soon as it ends.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Zidane, Freya, and Quina can eventually hit for 9999 damage every time, ignoring all defenses and immunities. However, to power the attacks up to that level, Zidane has to Steal successfully several hundred times, your party has to kill 100 Dragon-type enemies for Freya's attack, and Quina has to catch 99 frogs.
    • In a sidequest providing an example, Chocobo Hot and Cold. When you first begin on Disc 1, you can get a few petty treasures, but once you get the Blue Narciss the sub-quest explodes, and with patience to find the Chocographs and track them down, you can get end-game equipment before you head to the Desert Palace, including armor to teach Vivi and Eiko Flare and Holy.
  • Male Gaze: FMV with Dagger atop Lindblum castle playing with the pigeons.
  • Mana Burn: The Venom status-ailment decreases your MP gradually along with your HP. And paralyzes you to boot.
  • Mana Drain: There's also White Draw, a Dragoon skill. It drains MP from an enemy and splits it among all the current party members.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Kuja to Brahne, and Garland to Kuja... until the beginning of the third disc. And at the end of the disc, too.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kuja plays the entire world against itself in his quest for power. He's so good at it that people think he has the power of mind-control, when he's really just giving them enough rope to hang themselves.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Kuja highly enjoys art and luxury. We also see that he owns an extremely wealthy estate in Treno. His Desert Palace displays his impeccable taste in architecture, as well.
  • Marathon Boss: The optional Marathon Boss was Ozma because the Ozma challenge was a Guide Dang It, That One Boss Bonus Boss Luck-Based Mission, in which you would spend more time healing, reviving and waiting to counter its attacks than actually dealing much damage. With a mere 65000 HP, Ozma can be taken down with less than nine hits, but that's before he casts Curse, followed by Meteor.
  • Master Character Heroines: Garnet til Alexandros fits this archetype very well, as she struggles with standing on her own two feet without the help of her mother, Zidane, or anyone else.
  • Matriarchy: Alexandria, a Patriarchy Flip of a monarchy, is a fairly bog standard monarchy. The leadership of the kingdom is passed down to female heirs instead of male ones, and the army, like that of Troia above, is almost entirely made up of women.
    • The male Pluto Knights, led by Steiner, also get a lot of grief from the rest of the female soldiers.
  • Matrix Raining Code: One of the first hints to Zidane and Kuja's shared origins shows up in various teleporters and during the Dyne abilities. It works as foreshadowing for the more technologically advanced second half of the game, but it's still slightly jarring.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Kuja" is the name of the ancient Babylonian god of war, most famous for wanting to murder his brother. There's also a shout out to this in the way Kuja's Trance (which gives him god-like power to boot) turns him red, the standard color of war deities in real world mythology. Bonus points, kujaku is the Japanese word for peacock. He certainly shares its flamboyance.
    • "Alex-ander" is Greek for "defender of man." Guess what the Eidolon called Alexander does.
    • The idol Lowell Bridges is apparently named for a whole family of well-known Hollywood actors.
  • Meaningful Rename: Garnet takes up the name Dagger (by default) early on in the game both to conceal her identity and to represent the beginning of her casting aside her previous identity as a sheltered princess. Later on in the game it's revealed 'Garnet' is one as well since her real name is Sarah and she was adopted by the Queen.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Late game, Kuja succeeds at achieving a power greater than Garland and killing him, securing his spot as the most powerful being alive. Unfortunately for him, he learns that his lifespan is about to run out and thus he'll never get to enjoy it. Even later still, a crazed Kuja succeeds in damaging the Original Crystal, which he believes will destroy all reality, but it's rendered meaningless because the embodiment of nothingness, Necron, is immediately defeated by the heroes, thus allowing the world to continue.
  • Meanwhile Scene: Done via the Active Time Event mechanic. This trope is actually a game mechanic, where you can see what other party members or even NPCs are doing by looking at "Active Time Events". A few of them can grant items, but most of them are just for fun. Some are mandatory, but most aren't.
  • The Medic: Dagger/Garnet. The Chick, Mysterious Waif, and meekly-Rebellious Princess. There was also Eiko Carol, a Bratty Half-Pint with even more White Magic.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: Chocobo Hot & Cold. Playing it is the only way to teach your Chocobo new abilities, and by extension the only way to reach certain areas and collect certain items (including Zidane's Infinity+1 Sword).
  • Metaphysical Fuel: Most technology is ultimately powered by dead people's souls.
  • Midair Bobbing: Flying enemies mostly bob; Floating party members, interestingly enough, don't, acting as though they were standing on an invisible platform about four feet off the ground.
  • Mighty Glacier: Adelbert Steiner is pretty slow in body, and before Character Development kicks in he's not exactly swift when it comes to brains, either. On the other hand, he can give a tremendous amount of punishment.
  • Military Mage: Black Mages are actually artificially-created golems used as slave soldiers by the Alexandrian army. Vivi was intended to be one as well, but is a Super Prototype which developed free will and apparently escaped. Standard Black Mages appear to be used exclusively as artillery; the more-powerful flying Black Waltzes are special forces assigned to solo tasks. Vivi himself can act as both artillery and support, empowering Steiner to use powerful elemental sword attacks.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Averted. On the three occasions that cities are attacked and/or destroyed altogether, there is a huge amount of mourning: when Cleyra is wiped off the map, the main characters (Freya in particular) are shocked by the loss of life- though they are forced into action very quickly; Zidane and Garnet are visibly horrified by the attack on Lindblum, especially since they actually have to walk through the ruins soon after; finally, Garnet actually loses her voice when confronted with the destruction of Alexandria and the casualties that resulted.
    • Doubled by the fact that the Eidolons used were forcibly extracted from Garnet.
  • Mind over Matter: At least three mages have psychokinesis among their magical repertoire: Kuja and Queen Stella restrict it to taking items from Zidane, while Garland puts it to better use in his boss battle.
  • Mind Rape: Zidane suffering a BSOD... not from finding out that he was an alien who was meant to be the Angel of Death for his adopted homeworld, but from actually having the man who created him rip his soul out. Fortunately, that just made him wangsty until his friends could give him a sequential pep talk.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The summoning doodads (which are implied to look like regular gemstones) get considerably more play than the traditional Four Crystals also in the game.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Lani the Bounty Hunter.
  • Mini-Game: Tetra Master and Chocobo Hot & Cold.
    • The game had a horribly implemented card game that most people don't remember because it wasn't clearly explained, there were no rewards outside of a card player ranking, and the ranking system made it so difficult to max out that the only person in the world who bothered to do it discovered that the game designers never even anticipated it happening as he was rewarded with a glitch. Oddly, it was this card game that Square chose to include with their PlayOnline service, alongside Final Fantasy XI.
  • Mini-Game Credits: You can play a Blackjack mini-game after the credits if you put in a certain code.
  • Minigame Zone: The auction house in Treno, and the three areas that host the 'Chocobo Hot and Cold' game. The fact that the latter has such insanely catchy music probably helps.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Subverted with Kuja. When Queen Brahne summons Bahamut to blow him to atoms, Kuja simply steps protectively in front of his dragon and takes the full blast. He is smirkingly uninjured, until a trickle of blood runs down his forehead, causing him to react in shock for a moment... then immediately sing the praises of the powerful summon monster.
    Kuja: You even managed to hurt me!... a little.
  • Mirror Match: The Epitaph enemy summons random clones of party members to fight alongside it. And if that person is in your party, it somehow causes a paradox which instantly KOs the person it's a clone of (unfortunately, resurrecting that character during the fight will only cause another immediate one-hit kill from the mirror monster). On the bright side, each mirror-monster will spawn up to three doppelgangers per battle. Defeating them grants lots of experience - you may find yourself enjoying the company for a while.
  • Missing Secret: Examining a fountain in Lindblum yields the message "There's no place to insert the medal". This appears to be a Shout-Out to Resident Evil 2, which featured a fountain that the player had to insert a medal into, but that didn't stop eager item collectors searching for both the "medal" and a place to insert it...
  • Mistaken Declaration of Love: Eiko writes Zidane a love letter, and drops it off where Zidane will find it. Steiner finds it instead, and assumes it's a love note to him from Beatrix. He drops the letter, causing Beatrix to find it, who assumes the inverse.
  • Mistaken Message: The reason Beatrix and Steiner fall in love with each other... at least in theory. The passive-aggressive Belligerent Sexual Tension was already thick enough to cut with a knife, this scene just happened to be said knife.
  • Modest Royalty: Garnet dresses fairly casually for most of the game, and actively tries to behave in a more "common" fashion, as well as changing her name to Dagger. And again, she is a princess who actually does something.
  • Moment Killer: Poor Steiner and Beatrix simply don't have a chance when Baku, sneezing loudly, enters the scene...
  • Money for Nothing: The enemies give absurd amounts of gil when beaten, and Quina can learn the "Millionare" ability fairly early too to increase that amount even more. In addition, the majority of the game's weapons and equipment can either be stolen from bosses, found in dungeons, or aquired in various side quests for free, so there isn't nearly as much a need to buy equipment in stores. Not to mention you'll probably find yourself with boat loads of various consumable items just from stealing and enemy item drops. There still are a few money sinks like synthesizing and the Treno Auction house, but getting the money for them is extremely easy. And if you exploit the Cotton Robe trick, it's more noticeable; for every 1690 Gil it costs to produce one, you can sell it to any merchant for 2000 Gil for a clean 310 Gil profit. If it's exploited in early Disc Two when you first visit Treno, you will end up with a ridiculous amount of cash (and consequently the funds to sink into powerful equipment at the Auction House), and if you do it after you get the Global Airship in Disc Three (by which time you will in most likelihood have 99 of every healing item already), you can end up with millions of useless Gil within an hour of gameplay.
  • Monster Arena: Knights House in Treno, housed in the local weapon shop. A series of four Elite Mook monsters can be fought here at various points in the game.
  • Monster Clown: Zorn and Thorn. It gets better, later we find out they're actually two halves to the same being, known as Meltigemini. The lack of any explanation makes it all the stranger.
  • Monster Town: Black Mage Village.
  • Mood Dissonance: The game's visual style looks very bright and cutesy, but a shocking amount of depressing and violent scenes happen in the game, including war and genocides.
  • Mood Whiplash: Things can go very bad VERY fast, before shifting back to a lighthearted tone. More prevalent in the early game, before it settles into a more general sense of Mood Dissonance as described above.
  • Mook Maker: Black Mage factory in Dali.
  • Morphic Resonance: Both of Regent Cid's Baleful Polymorph-induced forms - an oglop and a frog - retain his characteristic crescent-shaped moustache.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Princess Garnet is revealed to be one of the last Summoners, who survived a great catastrophe by going away with her mother on a boat. Her mother, though, had died as soon as they got to Alexandria. Also, Zidane qualifies once the full scope of his origin is revealed
  • Mr. Exposition: Dr. Tot, Dagger's former tutor, gives a lot of interesting background on summoning and other parts of Gaia's history along with the truth about Dagger's past.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Garnet wears a skin-tight orange latex outfit showing off a great butt, and her Trance outfit swaps in a different outfit to add Absolute Cleavage to the mix. Bonus points for her nice rear being lampshaded for a Crowning Moment of Funny when Zidane accidentally gropes her while climbing up a ladder. "Ooo, soft!"
    • Beatrix, to whose Boobs of Steel the camera also devotes plenty of affectionate attention.
  • Mugged for Disguise: First happens early in Alexandria (see Not My Driver below) and later when Zidane sneaks onto the restricted elevator in Lindblum, all in disc 1.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Fire Shrine guardian Maliris, definitely; Alleyway Jack, not so much.
  • Multiple Endings: Having certain items in your inventory alters the ending very slightly.
  • Mundane Utility: Vivi successfully uses his fire spells to cook food a few times, and he can melt giant icicles blocking treasure chests.
  • Musical Assassin: The game plays with this. Eiko's weapon class is a flute that she hits people with it for her standard attack. The real reason she has it is to do Summon Magic. She's a White Magician Girl.
  • Musical Nod: It's also used at least once; the Castle Pandemonium theme in that game is a slower organ version of the Castle Pandemonium theme from Final Fantasy II.
  • Musical Spoiler: The intro to the "Fairy Battle" theme is meant to sound just like the intro for a standard battle, probably to avoid the Musical Spoiler — but the instruments are different enough that if you're paying even a bit of attention, you can tell the difference.
  • Musical Theme Naming: The Black Waltz #1, #2, and #3 bosses. Zidane was right on the money in guessing how many of that threat they'd have to face.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Both Steiner and Beatrix are this during the first half. Beatrix's case is much like General Leo's above, while Steiner, being a main party character, is constantly attacked by the queen he's trying to serve. They both come to their senses as the story progresses.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Beatrix turns on Queen Brahne halfway through the game, after the Queen uses Odin to destroy Cleyra, and then proceeds to order Princess Garnet's death. The party still has to fight her one more time after she starts doubting her liege, though.
    • Steiner's character arc is explicitly stated in the opening scroll as choosing between what's lawful or right. He also has this issue initially and is very unhappy that Garnet willingly went with her kidnappers. Like his counterpart, he starts doubting his faith in Brahne after handing Garnet back over to the queen's men, and eventually turns on her entirely around the same time Beatrix starts having doubts (in fact, he's the one that puts the discontent in her head).
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Vivi's adopted grandfather Quan becomes disenchanted with the traditional Qu way of life and decides to seek new methods of eating and tasting instead of simply gobbling up everything in sight. Seeking new ways to taste food, Quan thought of attempting to fish the Mist from the sky and eat it, but eventually realized the importance of imagination and sharing one's experiences and memories after he catches Vivi instead. Teaching Vivi gives Quan a new perspective on life and eating, which he eventually shares with Quina and Quale. His fellow Qus are disgusted by this act and disown him, although Quina comes around later on.
    • This actually ties in rather beautifully with the driving themes of the game when you think about it. Consider that the main theme of the game is, ostensibly, that "Life is precious not because of how long you live or how important you think you are, but because of how you choose to live it and what you do with the time you have". Quan's rejection of the shallow ways of most of his people - which basically consist of simply eating, and cooking for one's own self - enabled him to learn something deeper, giving him a unique individual strength and character which he shared with Vivi and later shared with Quina and Quale. Quina himself/herself is seen giving the same lesson to the Qu working in Alexandria's royal kitchens during the Epilogue.
  • Mysterious Mist: Lower parts of the Mist Continent are covered in mist that spawns monsters and are known to increase aggression in other beings. It's discovered early in the game that the Black Mages are beings manufactured using mist, and later on it turns out mist is the by-product of the Iifa Tree removing Gaia's souls from its cycle of souls and replacing them with Terran souls.
  • Mystical Waif: Garnet One of only two remaining summoners.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the game's reasons for existing.
    • The play in the ending sequence includes the line "No cloud, no squall shall hinder us!" This is one of many such references to the game's predecessors.
    • Getting the Ramuh Eidolin requires gathering parts of a story. Said story is about Josef's Heroic Sacrifice in Final Fantasy II.
    • When the main character is in a weapon shop he sees a sword on the wall. He remarks that he remembers "a guy with spiky hair" who used a sword like that. The sword looks very similar to Cloud's Buster sword from Final Fantasy VII.
    • In fact, the game was filled with these, since it was basically a reference to the series as a whole, to wit: the return of the Battle Theme Music that had been last heard in Final Fantasy VI, a sidequest involving characters named Doga and Une, the in-game band's performance of the Rufus march from Final Fantasy VII, the appearances of black mages as faceless people with glowing eyes underneath wide-brimmed hats, which had been avoided (at least for player characters) after Final Fantasy V, and the general return to cartoonish proportions in the character design, which had been eschewed in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII.
    • One of the villains is named Garland and the four fiends are named after the ones from Final Fantasy I.
    • Zidane and Kuja, technically brothers, came from a different world, and were being manipulated by someone there to destroy all life on this world. Sound familiar?
    • Kuja kidnaps a princess named Sarah (Garnet's real name) and a woman named Hilda like the original Garland and Emperor Mateus respectively. He also goes on a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum upon learning he is mortal like Xande and like Golbez he is the brother of the main protagonist. His character design bears resemblance to Sephiroth and his plan disrupts the natural cycle of life. Finally, like Kefka he uses this game's summons to gain more power and usurp his boss with Garland's death mimicking that of Emperor Gestahl.
    • And of course, the Trance powerup, which turns the characters into furred versions of themselves for an incredible power boost, is a reference to Final Fantasy VI's Terra.
  • The Nameless: Subverted for Vivi in the beginning. You actually control him, walk around Alexandria freely, while his name is literally unrevealed until some time later. Even if you open the menu, his name is really written as "??????????????". This also happens to Zidane, but with much more brief time. No other protagonists experience this. While Amarant is briefly called as "Red-Haired Man", he is yet to join the party so you can't see his name in the menu at the time. This foreshadows Vivi and Zidane's true nature. Specifically, their lack of identity.
  • Names to Run Away From:
    • Necron.
    • A subversion with Tantalus - in this case the name belongs to the Tantalus Theatre Troupe. They're not so much terrifying as they are...well...they're a group of laid-back, Large Ham actor-thieves, including a beloved Ensemble Darkhorse, Blank. The game's main character is also an on-and-off member of the troupe.
  • Nature Spirit: The game features Nymphs in two categories - antagonists who appear as enemies in battle and benevolent creatures, that give the party money and AP in exchange for ore.
  • Near Villain Victory: Kuja almost succeeds in destroying the universe. Thanks to Zidane and co., this is averted. He only totals one world.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Played straight with Freya but averted with Garnet and Eiko. Freya's motivation stems from her lover Sir Fratley going off to war and never coming back which is also the reason she's never returned to her home. Garnet is essentially the main hero of the story with the other characters getting yanked into the plot based around the decisions she makes. Her main source of motivation is what's happening to her mother. Her father is dead but she doesn't express much angst over that. Eiko also serves as a sort of surrogate sister figure to Garnet. She mentions her dead grandfather a few times and is motivated by a crush on Zidane (that quickly disappears) but her protector Mog is revealed to be female, thus averting the trope. It's arguably inverted with Zidane whose main motivation is based around his attraction to Garnet. But then subverted at the end of Disk 3 for the poor guy.
  • Nice Hat:
    • As always, the Black Mage's pointy hats are awesome, but Freya's and Sir Fratley's hats are also nice. Freya's red hat is a mix between the Red Mage pimp hat and the Dragoon helmet. It's so awesome that we never get to know what she looks like under it.
    • Steiner's conquistador-like helmet.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: First our heroes open the path to Terra (just what Kuja wanted) and later they defeat Garland, allowing Kuja to reach ultimate power. Nice job guys.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Creating the Black Mages was certainly a good plan...except that your Super Prototype is highly likely to be one of the four people killing you at the end of the game.
  • The Nicknamer: Kuja tends to refer to Garnet as a "canary" and Queen Brahne as an... "elephant-lady."
  • Noble Top Enforcer: Beatrix is the toughest opponent in the first two discs. She sides with the heroes when she learns that Queen Brahne was plotting against her own daughter.
  • No Flow in CGI: A cloth example in Princess Garnet's white dress, most memorably seen in the game's opening and closing FMVs. In the FMVs, the dress's motion flow is pretty natural, but in-game, the dress literally doesn't move. After speaking to the rest of the party at the beginning of Disc 3, Garnet steps backward and turns, and the dress stays the exact same shape. In fact, it doesn't seem like any part of her body or her clothes move at ALL in that dress, at least not below the waist.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Lampshaded when Eiko's hitting on Zidane makes him realize what he's been putting Dagger through. In this case, it's "Nobody Wants To Be Chased."
  • Noisy Nature: During the dramatic opening, there's a close-up of a pigeon crying like a red-tailed hawk.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Ark. How does the party even survive that?
  • Nominal Importance: Played straight and almost Deconstructed with the Black Mages, who are all named numbers, being mass produced. Even after they gain sentience, they still refer to each other as #86 or #147. Even the leader is #288. Only Vivi has an actual name, and learning about the Black Mages, goes through an existential crisis as he wonders if he too has a number.
  • Non-Human Undead: A zombie whale.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: Players will sometimes go through the game without gaining a single point of experience, competing it at level one. Through creative use of abilities, spells and equipment, most early bosses can actually be killed faster than if one were to play through normally. Quina's Limit Glove Blue Magic deals 9999 damage if s/he has 1 HP remaining, which is enough to one-shot everything until Oeilvert, by which time Zidane and Freya are able to do the same with their own attacks.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: Regent Cid keeps his mustache when transformed into an oglop and a frog.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: There are two instant-lose conditions at the start of the Evil Forest section. Garnet and then Vivi get abducted by a monster, and you have to kill it to free them. During each fight, the monster sucks up Garnet and Vivi's HP, and if their HP hits zero, they die and the game ends. Also, in the fight against Black Waltz #2, it will not attack Garnet. However, if all the other party members are KO'd, it will cast Sleep on Garnet and spirit her away, ending the game.
  • Noob Cave: Two: Evil Forest and Ice Cavern, with the latter has Dual Boss.
  • Noodle Incident: Steiner's ATE in Dali Village ends by cutting back to Zidane in the middle of recounting a past exploit to Garnet, much like Jack Sparrow's 'chief' story.
  • No Sell: Characters learn Equip-abilities, which remain active through every battle. Several of these are status-effect related (Body Temp, Antibody, Locomotion), and grant perpetual, permanent immunity to their respective status effects (Heat/Freeze, Poison/Venom and Slow/Stop, respectively), allowing you to render many of the game's nastier status effects ineffective. Knowing which ones to equip is essential for late-game bosses.
  • Nostalgia Level: Several, calling back to dungeons of the oldschool games of the franchise:
    • The Ice Cavern early in the game was originally in Final Fantasy I, as was Mount Gulug, which shares music and revamped bosses from the first game's Gurgu Volcano.
    • Pandemonium Castle, Garland's fortress, was the capital city of Hell in Final Fantasy II. The BGM is, again, a rearrangement of the original Pandemonium theme.
  • Nostalgic Musicbox: There's a phonograph music box at the Inn in the Black Mage Village. If you have certain special items purchased at the auction house in Treno, it will play pieces from earlier Final Fantasy titles corresponding to the special items.
  • Not Himself: Zidane displays this for a short while near the end of the game. Given his normally cheerful personality, this moment is notable as it hints at what he was really capable of if he had been acting towards his intended purpose — i.e., an angel of death and destroyer of worlds.
    • A good chunk of the game's first half is driven by Princess Garnet wanting to find out why her mother was not acting like herself. Turns out she was being influenced by Kuja.
  • The Nothing After Death: The infamous Necron, who isn't exactly foreshadowed all that well by any account; but as the True Final Boss this seems to be what most agree that, at best, is what it's supposed to represent.
  • Notice This: The game uses this by having an icon "!" appear over the character's head whenever he approaches a treasure or trigger. This is immensely helpful to the player when the character is "off in the distance" where perspective makes everything ridiculously small, or when triggers are part of the natural landscape, or when chests blend in with the environment.
    • It tried to keep things interesting by making a number of those "!" just pointing out signs or notes. But if you didn't see something tacked on a wall, it's a fair bet there's an item there.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Quina reminds blissfully unaware of the plot for most of the game. Quina just likes food. Lots of food.
  • Not My Driver:
    • Variation. Steiner's first assignment is to find all eight of the Knights of Pluto — he comes across a ninth. It's Blank, who waits 'till Steiner finds Garnet to reveal himself.
    • On disc 3, when Kuja's Bahamut fails against Alexander, he summons the Invincible to summonjack it instead... before realising that Garland is at the helm.
  • Not So Different: Vivi compares his fellow black mages first to the toys he sees little kids playing with, and later to the Genomes. Like the toys, the black mages and the Genomes are both created to be the puppets of others, without any will of their own.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Zorn and Thorn, the annoying jesters, turn out to combine into a relatively tough (and downright scary) boss. The resulting monster spams the more harmful status ailments (Virus and Venom) while also bombarding you with powerful black magic (notably Bio... which also inflicts Poison!), making for a surprisingly challenging - and satisfying - Climax Boss. note 
  • Nude-Colored Clothes: Eiko. The official art makes her look like she's totally naked from the waist down, when in fact she's wearing very tight flesh-colored pants. Considering her age, this is the cause of much Squick among fans. Judge for yourself. Thankfully her in-game sprites and most other artwork use a much darker red for them.
  • Odd Couple: Vivi and Steiner. Steiner is a knight captain, and he's very loud, very chivalrous, hilariously misguided, and prone to making an utter fool of himself. Vivi is a black mage, and he's quiet, introspective, under-confident at times, and pretty much universally agreed to be the most adorable thing in the series. They're insta-bros from the start of the game to its very end, and they have an awesome team-up attack they can only perform when they're both in the party. (Vivi enchants Steiner's sword, basically adding an element and a little extra oomph to Steiner's already devastating physical attacks.)
  • Official Couple: Zidane and Garnet. Beta Couple Steiner and Beatrix as well.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • Brahne attempts to do this to Garnet once all her Eidolons have been extracted and she's of no further use to her (the fact that Brahne had been manipulated by the evil Kuja towards this end didn't do much for poor Garnet's state of mind after the battle with her). It is later revealed that Garnet is Brahne's adopted daughter, after the real princess died very young.
    • Honorable mention goes to Garland attempting to repossess his creation, Zidane's SOUL once it becomes clear Zidane is no longer willing of carrying out his original purpose.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Towards the end of Disc 3, the gang splits up to take on the Four Fiends, sending two people to each shrine all at the same time. Despite being teased by showing some of the team members face-to-face with the fiends, the player only gets to witness and play the battle at the Earth Shrine. The other three fights happen completely offscreen. Making things worse, the shrines themselves only appear in cutscenes and aren't even true dungeons. Seemingly to make up for it, you do get to actually fight all four fiends in Memoria.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • The look on Black Waltz No.3's face when he realises that he's accidentally set his own airship on fire- just before he crashes into the South Gate. [1]
    • Also, Hades has this reaction before the battle begins if you've already beaten Ozma. Nothing quite as gratifying as seeing one of the most difficult bosses in the game essentially wet himself over the prospect of fighting you.
      • Hey, at least realizes that beating the Superboss means you're the real deal.
    • Don't forget both Zidane and Steiner in an early FMV after they watch Garnet jump off a ledge while fleeing the castle.
    • Queen Brahne's horrified expression a split second before Bahamut incinerates her ship.
    • Kuja, upon realising that Garland has arrived in the Invincible.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Kuja also gets "Immoral Rhythm" and "Dark Messenger". His boss, Garland, has "The Keeper of Time."
  • Omnicidal Maniac/Straw Nihilist/Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kuja, after finding out he has a sharply limited lifespan. Particularly noteworthy because it is a well-justified example. Since Kuja is shown to be particularly vain, and is revealed to have a very limited lifespan, as mentioned above, he decides the world has no right to exist without him - and has the frightening ability to pull it off.
  • One Head Taller: Inverted with Beatrix and Rusty... Steiner. She's definitely taller.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Along with the Death spell, some weapons have an Instant Death ability. Zidane's Soul Blade move, which gives the target the status effect of the weapon equipped with 100% success rate (barring immunities). With the Masamune equipped, which has the Doom status effect, all you have to do is survive until the countdown runs out.
    • Also, anyone affected by the Freeze status ailment is instantly killed if any physical attack connects against them.
    • Heat status is reminiscent of Edgar's Air Anchor and acts as a sort of inverted Freeze — if the afflicted takes any action, they will be KO'd immediately afterward.
  • One-Man Party: The main character Zidane eventually does orders of magnitude more damage with his standard attacks and is much faster than Steiner (without his secret weapons) or Freya. Vivi can eventually outmatch him once he gets Doublecast, but at the cost of ludicrous amounts of MP. Unless Freya has her Dragon's Crest ability and the party has killed enough dragons, in which case she winds up dealing 9999 damage every turn, regardless of enemy defence, for a paltry MP cost.
    • However, a player can either knock Zidane out or infect him with the Virus status to let other party members catch up. The game splits EXP among conscious and non-Virus party members after a battle so there's no lost experience for doing this.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other: You are told that the Black Mage Village is found so deep in the forest that even the owls don't go there. The entrance is a repeating screen (it doesn't even reload; Zidane just walks through one entrance and comes out in another as though they were Scooby-Dooby Doors), and a sign in the middle helpfully informs you where there are no owls. You only have to go through the puzzle once, thankfully, given how many times one must return to the village.
  • One Size Fits All: The game will have armor or clothes that can be passed around relatively universally, even if the sizes of your teammembers range from "7-foot-tall muscle-bound dude" to "8-year-old girl." Especially odd when many people on your team aren't even the same species, with all the differences in physical build that would imply. However, they at least make an attempt to address this trope with some male/female specific equipment.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Spirit is by far the most useful stat, as it affects many different aspects of combat — including speeding up both your Trance gauge and the rate of Auto-Regen.
  • One Time Dungeon: You only get one chance to visit Evil Forest, Ice Cavern, Cleyra, Fossil Roo, and the entirety of Terra (which includes Bran Bal and Pandaemonium).
  • One-Track-Minded Hunger: Quina is always on the lookout for new food to try and will eat, or express interest in eating, anything, including at one point, a rock.
  • One-Winged Angel: The game has Kuja invoke the game's Limit Break Super Mode Trance, shedding his clothing to become a glowing super-powered being covered in red fur and feathers.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Garnet is introduced by her given name, but once she goes incognito, the player chooses a new one, by which she is called almost exclusively for the rest of the game, even long after she's come out of hiding.
    • This trope is zigzagged by the fandom; many players keep the name "Garnet" when she goes incognito because they think it's a much better name than "Dagger," which is her stock alias. Later, however, you find out that this still counts; Garnet isn't her real name either. It's Sarah.
  • Only Mostly Dead: There are two ways to "die" in this game: KO from HP loss, and being Stopped. KO can be remedied via the usual tactics, but Stop cannot be reversed until the spell wears off on its own. If all characters are stopped, it's Game Over.
  • Opening the Sandbox: When you receive the Hilda Garde 3 airship, but some sidequests can only be completed after getting the Invincible airship.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: This trope applies to Kuja, from disc 3 onward. In the first two discs, Kuja had a true Evil Plan, but it gets immediately curbstomped the second that his boss, Garland, decides that he has outlived his usefulness. Kuja immediately goes into hiding and, with his treachery revealed, has no choice but to acquire power any means he can. He tries a few things that also fail, before opportunity shines and one of the good guys taps into their Super Mode right in front of him. From that moment on, his plan is to let the heroes fight both him and Garland, and win, and then Turn Red and invoke his own Super Mode permanently. And it works. At that point, Kuja had everything he needed to take over the world, but there was one thing he didn't count on...
  • Optional Character Scene: Quan's Dwelling in has an extra scene if you return there with Vivi and Quina in your party at a certain point of the game.
    • In fact, the game's main conceit is the ability to view scenes with characters you don't have with you. All of these are optional, but can sometimes net the player a nice item or piece of equipment via the offscreen characters actions.
  • Optional Party Member: Quina is a permanent party member (s/he officially joins just before Fossil Roo), but is optional before you enter Gizmaluke's Grotto on Disc 1. And recommended. Gizamaluke is easier with Quina helping you, and he's still a pain even then.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket:
    • Eiko and Mog have a matching pair of ribbons given to them by her grandfather before he passed away leaving her all alone, save the moggles, in the ruins of their hometown. After a certain Heroic Sacrifice, it becomes a very useful accessory that she can learn her most powerful summon from.
    • Not a physical trinket, the song that Princess Garnet is always humming turns out to be a lullaby from Madain Sari, the lost village of summoners, revealing that Garnet is actually one of only two surviving summoners in the world, and not the true princess of Alexandria, who died before Garnet came on the scene. Which makes this somewhat of a subversion, as Garnet didn't actually know she was an orphan.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Though this time they're green. They also are different from the standart sort of dwarves, and those in other Final Fantasy games, in that they live on the suffrace, and worship trees and the sun.
  • Our Founder: Lindblum is dotted with monuments to Cid and all his predecessors.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Most of the characters in comparison to Zidane, Garnet, and Vivi, although almost everyone gets their day in the limelight at some point.
    • Pretty much everyone in comparison to Garnet. Sure, the rest of the group gets some notice at one point or another, but Garnet's issues take up the whole of just about every disk. Furthermore, the majority of the cutscenes are centered on/about/around her.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Terrans, which, like IV, include the hero, who, like IV, has gone native. Unlike IV, all the other aliens are of the "invade and help their planet devour the souls of those that live on ours" variety.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic:
    • A stone monster can be killed instantly by using a Soft (normally used to heal petrified allies) on it.
    • Inflict Blind on Ozma. It only uses magic, so it should not impede his performance, but he wastes time curing it anyway. Such time wasting strategies are often the best to beat it. Also, Vivi and Amarant using Return Magic to send his Doomsday back at the source; a true Tactical Suicide Boss.
  • Overheating: Actually one the game's status ailments: if a character afflicted by it does anything, s/he dies instantly.
  • Overly Long Fighting Animation: Almost every summon, but each one had a shortened version that ran about 75% of the time after the first use (which was always the full animation). The reappearance of the longer animation meant that the attack would be more effective (offensive summons would do more damage, support summons would cause more positive status effects, etc). Ark in particular took so long that people didn't usually use it to cause damage - it was better to cast Regen on the party and let everyone heal while waiting the three minutes (ish) it takes for the giant Transformer to do its thing.
    • Interestingly, the Summoners in IX each got an ability, called "Boost" to make sure the longer animation played, so you could more reliably take advantage of the higher damage.
    • This is actually the trick to easily defeat Ozma, the bonus boss. His constant barrage of attacks is because he has a special battle script that gives him a free turn every time a PC inputs a command while he's neutral. Neutral meaning not in the middle of an attack animation. While he's casting Doomsday which has a several second long animation, that's your chance to get a full round in without him being able to get 4 free actions.
  • Overrated And Underleveled: We have the character Beatrix. Being the general of an entire army, she can take quite a few hits from the party before she falls, and in fact can't be defeated at all. However, in the short time you fight alongside her, she is just about as strong as just any other party member, and it shouldn't take more than a few hits to K.O. her. Of course; she doesn't have as much health as she appeared to have .
    • Though this is in part due to a glitch; her HP, stats and abilities are identical to when she's a foe (save for the plot-convinience version of stock break she uses to end the battle), save a glitch in her two strongest attacks mean they don't register as special attacks rather than regular attacks. thus going from awesome to fail...
    • However, Steiner can actually learn Beatrix's moves - including Shock (Which was pretty much an instant-kill attack). By the time you get Shock, it's actually stronger in your hands than when Beatrix uses it due to mixture of the aforementioned glitch as well as the fact that Steiner's stats will get higher.
  • Packed Hero: Zidane, Garnet, and Vivi fall into the black mage packing machine and get boxed up.
  • The Paladin: Beatrix. Each character in the game represents a class from the previous games and Beatrix, while she is never outright called one, she can use White Magic and the equipment of a paladin. She actually starts out as a villain in the game and a Hopeless Boss Fight, but over the course of the game she begins to have doubts about her queen and eventually joins the heroes' side as an ally.
  • Palette Swap: Fairy Battles, Vepals, Wraiths, and the crystallized four fiends in Memoria.
    • The game had just about as little of it as possible. The only palette monsters are the friendly monsters, the black waltzes and the crystal versions of the four chaos bosses. Mind you, while the -enemies- were almost all unique, the NPCs could be another story (though they too were often more varied than expected).
  • Paper Cutting: Played with, where the papercut effect is not deliberate from the point of the attacker, but rather to emphasize powerful magical defenses of the target. The great dragon Bahamut fires his breath weapon at Kuja, just one, normal-sized, not very manly wizard who should by all accounts be squishy. A whole war fleet is firing cannons at the same guy. The results? Ow, a paper cut.
  • Parental Abandonment: Zidane not only has no parents, but is phenotypically unique on Gaia (and in that game's verse, that's really saying something) and doesn't know anything about his origins. Garnet's an orphan who's been raised by Queen Brahne, who also dies part-way into the game. Vivi also is unique and unaware of his origins. Eiko is an orphan who lives alone in the ruins of her hometown... I think what we can take away from this is that Final Fantasy loves this trope.
  • Parental Substitute: Vivi is adopted by the Qu known as Quan, who becomes a surrogate grandfather to him and teaches the little black mage about the world.
  • Party in My Pocket: Simultaneously used and kind of averted. The whole party can be seen only when something plot-centric happens. Usually you would only see Zidane in the field areas, and the rest of the party would materialize through a quick in-and-out fade to black when they're needed, but at other times Zidane is simply travelling by his lonesome while the rest of his party are doing other things, and the game even lets you see what they're doing with the Active Time Event system.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: No less than three examples, with the party giving one each to Garland, Kuja, and Necron. At least it's lampshaded somewhat in the instance with Garland, who summons one of his mooks and tells the party to "lecture me again when you are on the verge of death."
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Freya. The low resolution of the character models make it difficult to tell, but the CG cutscenes and her character artwork shows that her hair does cover her right eye.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • The Popos Heights is a mountain cliff area that can be accessed from Gizamaluke's Grotto, relatively early in the game. However, the mighty Grand Dragons reside there, and are way too powerful for the party to last two minutes against it at that point in the game. However, it is possible to defeat it relatively easily with Quina's Limit Glove, which inflicts 9999 damage if Quina's HP is 1. So just KO Quina yourself (Or let him/her be K Oed), then revive him/her until s/he only has one HP left, then go to the Popos Heights, save your game, and let 'er rip !
    • An alternative way, which can be done much later but is much easier, is to use Level 5 Death. Since the Grand Dragons are level 60, they'll die instantly, and you can earn their experience points without breaking a sweat. However, as mentioned earlier, this is only doable much later in the game, so you might wanna save this method to make any underleveled characters catch up with the rest of the party.
  • People Jars: The Genome, some of whom are seen in jars. They also have Uncanny Valley tendencies, but (since it's already canon that Zidane is male) they aren't clones, since they have sex.
  • Percent Damage Attack: Gravity-based damage is calculated based on an opponent's maximum HP rather than their current HP and therefore becomes a Fixed Damage Attack.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: The Cleryans had isolated themselves from the rest of the world by living in a tree that's surrounded by a tornado powered by their magic. The Cleryans have lived in peace for so long that the concept of violence and fighting is absolutely foreign to them. Their everlasting pacifism kicks them in the rear when the Big Bad invades the tree and slaughters the entire colony.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Steiner and Amarant, but ESPECIALLY Steiner, a cantankerous grouch of a knight whose only two emotions are angry and dead serious. The number of times he's seen without his signature grouchy frown can be counted on one hand with fingers remaining.
  • Perpetual Storm: The kingdom of Burmecia is known as the 'Land of Eternal Rain,' for obvious reasons- The entire game, there's a downpour.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Kuja who had a Taking You with Me so epic he managed to destroy a planet single-handedly. He then upped the ante and nearly destroyed the entire universe at its point of origin.
    • Also anyone who can use summon magic. While Queen Brahne was wielding Dagger's summons she was able to conquer an entire continent. Given how it compares to when your characters use the same summons this is also an example of Cutscene Power to the Max
  • Petal Power: Freya's Cherry Blossom attack, which is a pretty standard slash that erupts into flowers for some reason.
  • Petting Zoo People; In addition to the Burmecians, who look like rats, there's a number of other miscellaneous characters, like "Hippo Lady" and her son "Hippaul". A few of the members of Tantalus look like certain unorganized humanoids.
  • Phlebotinum Muncher: Black mages and many other monsters are spawned from concentrated Mist, which is a decidedly evil fog composed of souls of the dead that have been blocked from going to the afterlife.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: World-stealing badnik Garland brought down by his own creations, Kuja and Zidane, created to be his "angels of death".
    Garland: Regrettable... I thought your soul would be perfect for a new angel of death...
    Zidane: I AM the new angel of death! Yours!!!
  • Pillar of Light: The ultimate Eidolon, Ark, smashes the enemy down with a magical explosion so potent that it's briefly seen from outer space as a brief pillar bursting from the ground.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Garnet's royal dress. Also, Lani's outfit has a fur-trimmed miniskirt.
  • Pink Means Feminine: The Lamias act really dainty (save for attacking the party) have pink scales, pink hair, and pink Fluffy Fashion Feathers for their headdress and Giant Poofy Sleeves.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Tantalus have a reputation as a band of prolific thieves and con artists, yet they are never depicted doing much of this; Zidane talks about past heists, an ATE shows him in the aftermath of robbing the Treno Auction House, and Marcus fully intends to rob a synthesis shop to get his hands on the Supersoft, but that's all. Admittedly, this is largely because Tantalus are a bit preoccupied for much of their time in the game: in the first disc, they're busy trying to find their way out of Evil Forest and back to civilization; in the second disc, they're trying to save Blank and regroup; and in the third, they're busy rebuilding their hideout. For good measure, Regent Cid even uses Tantalus as a contracted mercenaries - or even special forces operatives, given that it's never specifically mentioned that Cid paid Baku for abducting Garnet.
  • Planet Eater: Terra is a parasitic other planet gradually dining on the souls of Gaia, a planet it has been slowly trying to devour for a very long time.
  • Planet Terra: The setting is called "Gaia" (Greek for Earth) but the plot's impetus is an invasion by another planet known as Terra.
  • Planning with Props: The very beginning shows the planning of a kidnapping using dolls and a model airship.
  • Player Character Calculus: The game, as an intentional throwback to the series' classic roots, goes back to an up-to-four-member party that is sometimes swappable and sometimes plot-mandated a la VI.
  • Please Wake Up: You meet a Black Mage who's just buried his friend after he 'stopped moving'. "I sure hope he wakes up soon. I'm going to wash him off in the pond'. Semi-subversion in that most of the mages look like adults and don't understand death (or much about the world), while Vivi, the one that looks like a little kid, understands exactly what's going on and only avoids calling it death out of politeness. Some of the mages eventually grasp the concept, but continue to use the term anyway.
  • Plot Armor: The game has particularly bad examples of this where the main characters lie prostrate at the feet of the villains only to not be killed. And this happens no less than three times.
    • At least one of these is justified. Especially at the end of Disk I, because the person looking at the party is none other than the Smug Snake Kuja.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Two of the major driving plot points are Kuja trying to get a hold of explicit battle commands (First the Eidolons, then the Trance).
  • Plotline Death: Queen Brahne dies in the arms of Garnet/Dagger. At this point not only your party shall have a Phoenix Down, but this character already has a couple of healing/reviving spells.
  • Point of No Return: You cannot return from Terra until you finish the plot arc there, and by the time you do, you're on disc 4 - some areas are locked off (as in the previous game). The game is merciful enough to warn you of this fact.
  • Poisoned Weapons: The Rune Tooth and the Poison Knuckles can both inflict poison, while the Scissor Fangs can inflict the more dangerous venom.
  • Poison Mushroom: The Tent, an item that normally restores the party's HP and MP to full when used at a save point or on the world map. Tents can also be used in battle for a single character, but there's a random chance that the character would be bit by a snake inside the tent, causing Poison, Blind, and Silence on them. However, you can also use the Tent on enemies and hope they also get hit by the status ailments, including boss characters.
  • Pop Quiz: The Ragtime Mouse, who'd pop up in random battles and ask you True or False questions. The reward for answering each question started with money, which increased in value with every new question answered. Then you would get a Protect Ring if you had answered all of them correctly.
  • Port Town: Lindblum, and it's also an airship port town.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: The Trance System has this effect on every character whose hair we can see. The heroes turn into a white-silver color despite their default. The main villain's hair turns from silver to blood-red.
    • Zidane, though, doesn't turn silver. He goes blonde to pink!
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Quina the Blue Mage. To learn blue magic spells, s/he has to eat the enemy. His/her weapon? An oversized fork. Additionally, the fuel everybody uses to power airships, Mist, is made of souls barred from the afterlife, but it's never made quite clear whether they're actually consumed in the process.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • Zidane and Vivi and Zidane and Amarant in particular, and it saves Zidane from a very uncharacteristic Wangst-fest Heroic B.S.O.D. after his Tomato in the Mirror and ensuing Mind Crush moment late in the game.
    • Also played with in the latter scene. Zidane, being the plucky hero, gives moral support to his friends and has the personal motto of "You don't need a reason to help people". Then he finds out that Kuja, the one who has been sadistically responsible for ruining his friends' lives in one way or another, is his older brother and he was created to replace him. If Kuja hadn't ditched him on Gaia as a child, it'd be Zidane doing all those horrible things to his friends and he'd probably be just as smug about it. Ouch.
    • After a particularly distressing revelation, Zidane turns into a zombie-like Jerkass note  and tries to go it alone. His friends gather around him and convince him that they need each other, helping him turn back into a nice guy.
    • This is used more literally during the ending; after the party is completely wiped out by Kuja's Ultima and helpless when Necron appears, the four party members not participating in the final battle hand their power over to the four others, fully healing them and giving a few encouraging words as they do so.
  • Powers as Programs: Quina, a creature who can learn monsters moves by eating them, and equipment such as magic wands that can teach your black magician spells permanently.
  • Power-Up Full Color Change: The Trance ability. Zidane's skin (or fur, since he looks like a monkey) changes to pink. Vivi's clothes change to white. Steiner's armor gets green details. Freya's clothes change to purple. Quina's skin color changes to black. Eiko gets white clothes and yellow hair. Scarlet Head Amarant becomes Purple Head Amarant. Garnet gets pink skin and yellow hair and clothes. Kuja's purple robes and silver hair both turn red. Unlike the other examples, this is not a good thing.
    • Unlike other examples, the characters also undergo costume alterations in addition to color alterations, some minor (Vivi's hat straightens out, Steiner gets a faceplate for his helmet, the wings on Eiko's costume grow), some major (Amarant and Zidane lose their clothes entirely, while Freya's outfit upgrades into a full set of plate armor, including, gauntlets, greaves, and a face-concealing helmet).
  • Power-Up Letdown: The Trance state, unlike VII's Limit Breaks, can't carry over from battle to battle. If you happen to hit Trance while in a fight with a bunch of common mooks that you're perfectly capable of one-shotting without it, which statistically is bound to happen far more often than not, then too bad, it's wasted.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Knights of Pluto act as the personal guards to the Alexandrian Royal Family in Final Fantasy IX.
  • Precocious Crush: Eiko has a crush on Zidane.
  • Prehensile Tail: Zidane has one, although he only used it once (to hang from the rafters of the pilot's cabin of an Airship).
  • Pre-Meeting: Zidane shows up to kidnap the princess and gets bumped into by a cute girl wearing a White Mage hood departing the castle.
  • Press X to Not Die:
    • In one Active Time Event, you can evade Alleyway Jack's theft attempt by pressing X at the right time. Trap doors in Ipsen's Castle can also be averted this way.
    • Your team splits up into 4 pairs, each headed for different elemental temples. In the one temple you actually get to play (the rest are taken care of automatically), you have to press "X" to get past a trap. It's really easy, and other than the boss, it's the only obstacle in the temple.
  • Prison Episode: You have to escape a prison in the middle of a desert.
  • Proper Lady: Princess Garnet Til Alexandros, AKA Dagger, who's a demure little princess when she's not being a rebellious one.
  • Psycho Prototype: Kuja is this in addition to a Flawed Prototype (albeit, intentionally flawed).
  • Public Domain Artifact: One of Zidane's thief swords is called Masamune.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The chocobo minigame music, Vamo Alla Flamenco is a very upbeat remix of Greensleeves.
  • Puni Plush: IX is to this what VIII is to Bishōnen. Exceptions seem to be limited to named characters (civilians exhibit this on a massive scale, even the furry ones.)

    Q-Y 
  • Quad Damage: Steiner's Trance doesn't give him a new ability like every other character gets, but triples his attack power.
  • Quicksand Sucks: There's sand whirlpools on the path leading up to Cleyra. Iif you end up in one, you whirl towards the centre, sinking in. Mashing X repeatedly allows you to jump out, failing to do so will land you in a fight with a sand scorpion. The scorpions are presumably causing the whirlpools in order to trap prey.
  • Quirky Mini Boss Squad: Court jesters Zorn and Thorn, who later turned out to be less "quirky" and more freaky. It also had the Black Waltz, a trio of elite Black Mages.
  • Quote-to-Quote Combat: The end of disc 2 gives us the following exchange:
    Amarant: "'He who hesitates is lost.' You should remember that."
    Zidane: "Yeah? Well, I prefer 'my way or the highway.'"
  • Racing Minigame: There's a race where you race Hippaul as Vivi near the start of the game, when playing as Vivi (though if you miss it, you can go back and do it as Eiko later, when you get free access to Alexandria). It's another one where you mash Square and Circle to run. It's completely unnecessary, though participating in it will trigger an extra Mognet letter (describing an "amazing sprinter"), and if you win 80 times or more, the letter will name Vivi as the "amazing sprinter" (otherwise it will say the sprinter's name is Hippaul).
  • Rain of Lances: Freya's Jump when used in trance.
  • Random Drop: A variation on one of these: Eiko's Fairy Flute can stolen from Hilgigars on disk 2, a full disk before it becomes available in a Mogshop. Not hard - equip Bandit and spend a few turns trying to steal it, right? Wrong. It is quite the hardest item to steal in the entire game, and Hilgigars isn't an easy boss, either. Most walkthroughs advise just giving up on the Fairy Flute and buying it later. Not necessarily a random drop, but the difficulty and time required in getting the item definitely qualifies.
  • Randomized Damage Attack: Quina's normal attack does random damage which is either pathetic or higher than any other physical attacker. This makes him/her a capable (if unreliable) Fighter-type character, but his/her specialty is Blue Magic anyway.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Princess Garnet has hair that reaches her butt until she cuts it, it also has very rapid growth as it grows back to that full length in presumably half a year (though this could be attributed to the devs not bothering to make yet another model for the ending scenes and her hair growning back would be a good indicator that time had passed).
  • Rat Men: The Burmecian and Cleyran races, to which your dragoon Freya belongs, are anthropomorphic rats. They avoid the stereotypes normally associated with this trope, instead being portrayed as a peaceful and civilized race.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Garnet "Dagger" Til Alexandros XVII. She has light skin and black hair, and is stated to be a refined and beautiful princess.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Zidane actually gets a couple of these when in Terra.
  • Rebellious Princess: Dagger is a borderline member — she has a much calmer, shyer personality than most, but she's still a Rebellious Princess. And there's also rebellious prince Puck of Burmecia.
  • Recurring Boss: Beatrix is of the second variety.
  • Recurring Riff: It's perhaps the most extensive use of this, for example:
    • Variations of Melodies of Life show up in at least eight places: it occurs briefly in "Memories Erased in the Storm", it's the main theme of "Sto, len Eyes", it's part of the overworld music "Crossing Those Hills", Dagger sings it "Song of Memories", it's the main theme of "At the South Gate Border", it's "Garnet's Theme", it shows up in the ending in "Towards That Gate", and you have the full version in the end credits "Melodies of Life" (which eventually changes into the "Final Fantasy" music).
      • Not to mention a pipe organ version that plays while Steiner is hiding Garnet in a bag, a high speed version that plays during the beginning scenes and the remix used for the FF IX Coca Cola ads. The game also has the Burmecia theme appear in at least three different versions, both sad and dramatic versions of Beatrix's theme, and instances of music from other games in the series.
      • One scene had Melodies of Life played over Eiko's (melody-lacking) theme. As Melodies of Life is properly Garnet's theme, and the scene in question involved both Eiko and Garnet, this makes a certain amount of sense.
    • The 'World' Theme that plays during in the video sequence in the title screen "The Place I'll Return to Someday" eventually appears in the game itself in "Oeilvert", "A Transient Past", "Ipsen's Heritage", "The Four Medallions", and "Terra".
    • The 'Action' Theme that plays during the fake sword fight "Vamo' alla flamenco" early in the game, reappears in "Limited Time", "Rose of May", "Black Mages' Theme", "Protecting My Devotion", "Terra", "You're Not Alone!", and "Passing Sorrow".
  • Recurring Traveller: Stiltzkin the travelling Moogle. He even turns up in the alternate dimension Terra!
  • Redemption Demotion: Slight example with Worthy Opponent Beatrix, who proves to be more than a match for your party as you battle her time and time again. When she realizes the ruler she has sworn fealty to has gone mad, she joins your party, and proves to be every bit as powerful as she was when you fought her. (Sadly, she doesn't stay long.) However, her MP seems to take a nosedive upon joining you, meaning that she can't use her frighteningly powerful sword skills as often as she could when she was against you. And said sword skills have been downgraded from "Total Party Kill" to "slightly better than Steiner's" when used against monsters instead of your party. On the other hand, you learn that she did not use all of her spells against you, such as Full-Life or (thankfully) Holy.
  • The Red Mage:
    • Several of the PCs combined several of the classical FF jobs. Freya Crescent, although outwardly a Dragoon, also had MP-based spell-like abilities, something that other games' Dragoons rarely had. She could heal friends and hurt enemies with these abilities , but not as effectively as the actual Black or White mages, could wear heavy armor, and didn't fight quite as well as the Knight. She wears a red coat reminiscent of a Red Mage's cloak—and even a Nice Hat.
    • Some have also considered Kuja a Red Mage for his ability to use both the highest level black and white magic spells, along with a few of his own exclusive ones.
    • The class is also namechecked with a random, otherwise anonymous NPC you can talk to who is identified only as "Red Mage."
    • Garnet/Dagger counts as well; for the first two Discs, she functions almost solely as a White Mage (her Summons are unavailable for plot-related reasons), but once she starts re-learning her Summon Magic, she veers more into this: her White Magic, while always useful, isn't as extensive or complete as Eiko's, and her Summons - which consist mainly of elemental attacks - are also useful, but don't have the same range as Vivi's Black Magic, leaving her as a useful middle-ground between the two characters.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Zidane and Kuja, which sort of makes sense when you consider they're brothers. It is later subverted: Zidane becomes a lot more responsible and thoughtful, while Kuja becomes an Omnicidal Maniac. Even the planets Gaea and Terra are color-coded according to this convention.
  • Redshirt Army: The Cleyran and Burmecian troops.
  • Relationship Reset Button: Freya and Fratley. Freya's love, Sir Fratley, is wounded in battle and forgets who she is. Although she does eventually meet up with him again, he still doesn't know her.
  • Remixed Level: Two dungeons late in the game are based on Mount Gulg from Final Fantasy I and Pandaemonium from Final Fantasy II, even featuring remixes of their background music.
  • Renamed the Same: There's a scene in which Garnet changes her name to an alias, which she takes from Zidane's dagger, but then a naming screen pops up prompting the player to enter whatever they'd like if "Dagger" doesn't sound good enough. You're free to rename her "Garnet", which will render the whole scene rather pointless.
  • Required Party Member:
    • The game does this constantly until Disc 3. It also does the inverse, having characters just randomly walk away so that you can't add them to the party.
    • Occurs during the attack on the four shrines where Zidane is forced to take Quina with him since everyone else was already partnered up. This means the upcoming boss fight will force you to drag Quina along and if you haven't been leveling them up and teaching them new blue magic skills, the fight will be much more difficult.
  • Rerouted From Heaven: The Evil Plan of Garland is to reroute the souls of the entire population of Gaea through an artificial tree which will "cleanse" them (purge them of identity) and then reroute them to his planet, Terra, so that the long-dead Terrans that created him will be reborn.
  • Rescue Arc: Two examples, and both victims happen to be the party healers!
  • Rescue Romance: Zidane stole Garnet from the castle, and One Thing Led to Another.
    • It should also be noted that the romance between them only really begins to show through after Zidane (and Co.) save Garnet from the Alexandria Dungeon during Disc 2.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: After the angstfests of VI, VII and VIII, IX brought back some much-needed humor. It's still a dark game (its main theme is genocide), but it's significantly cuter and sillier than the previous installments.
  • Reverse Grip: In the Final Fantasy series, dual wielded daggers are very commonly seen in the hands of thief and ninja characters and classes. Zidane Tribal was possibly the first one, though the dual wielding part was purely visual.
  • Revisiting the Roots: VI was a steampunk world that coined the term Magitek, VII and VIII shifted to a modern-esque setting with electricity spaceships and cities. IX then brought things back to a medieval setting of castles, airships, and villages. As well, while VII and VIII had a three-character party system where they were as unique in battle (or not) as the player customized them to be, IX went back to the style of four party members with pre-set skills as earlier games had done.
  • Revive Kills Zombie:
    • Restorative spells and items deal damage to the undead, including one boss, Soulcage. The standard cure reversal works, and Life and Full Life both kill undead monsters instantly, while Phoenix Down causes HP to 1 to zombies, allowing even Dagger, whose weapons are the weakest, to finish them off. Oddly enough, though, zombification doesn't wear off upon death, making the game hate you during the Iifa Tree level, where your characters keep getting zombified. You can't revive a zombified party member unless you first remove the zombie status with an item — and Remedy (the cure-all for status effects) doesn't cure zombification or viral infection.
    • A variation exists where a Soft Potion (or Spell) can be used to kill Stone class monsters (like Epitaph or Stroper) (though you don't gain XP using this method). They become too soft to live.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Zorn and Thorn often do this.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: This is what prompts Kuja to change course from gathering Summon Magic to harness the game's Limit Break system instead. In the process of attempting to extract Eiko's Eidolons, Mog (her best friend, a Moogle) comes to the rescue by revealing her true identity as the Eidolon Madeen, which Kuja interprets as the Moogle having gone into a Trance. He then decides that attaining a Trance of his own will give him the power he needs to take revenge on Garland, and, to say the least, it does.
  • Rings of Death: Amarant's standard Throw-weapons. Most Ninja characters in the Final Fantasy series throw shuriken at their opponents, but Amarant Coral is an exception. Instead of throwing stars, he can throw chakrams at his enemies.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Princess Garnet/Dagger, who in a twist on the usual application turns out to not be royalty after all, but rather an adopted Last Of Her Kind. Aside from the obligatory adventuring, Garnet makes reference to the political and economical aspects of ruling a country, especially after she becomes the Queen.
    • Queen Brahne is no slouch either; she is personally present at every siege and attack, and is the one to use Garnet's summon magic to put and end to each and every one.
    • Regent Cid also accompanies the party from the start of Disc 3, at one point saving them from Kuja in Desert Palace, and even before that was the world's best engineer, only man able to build airships that don't run on Mist.
  • Rule of Seven: The attack "Lucky 7s".
  • Rule of Symbolism: Necron serves more of a symbolic meaning than an actual in-story role. Necron is one of the biggest cases of Giant Space Flea from Nowhere in the industry, but fans of the game justify his appearance with this. The main theme of the game is that everyone and everything wants to live, and even the Big Bad Kuja is only trying to kill everyone because his own life has been robbed from him by his father, Garland. Necron is the Anthropomorphic Personification of death, and shows up in the end to give the heroes a chance to literally defeat Death itself.
  • Sad Battle Music: Beatrix's fight theme.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: The Character Development of Garnet hinges around this. She wants to be a royal princess (and later queen) who actually does something for her people, but starts blaming herself every time a tragedy strikes her home country, a neighboring country, or anything in the world goes wrong. Her Heroic Self-Deprecation eventually leads to her going temporarily mute with grief after Alexandria is destroyed, her mother dies, and her entire kingdom is left in ruins. Garnet finally starts snapping out of it when the other heroes tell her that no one is blaming her for the tragedy.
  • Sand Is Water: The sand that flows through and down Cleyra acts very much like water. There are even floodgates for it. There are also sand whirlpools here and in one of the deserts, which will pull you under if you step into them.
  • Sand Worm: Land Worm.
  • Save Point: Moogles (serving as save points: they allow you to save, use a tent to restore party, do a certain sidequest, and occasionally buy items, including weapons) and later colorful orbs in Memoria (a more traditional variety, with the added ability of teleporting you back out).
  • Save the Princess: Zig-Zagged at the start; your task is to kidnap Princess Garnet, but when you confront her, she actually requests the kidnapping - making it clear this is more of a rescue mission. Later dialogue with Regent Cid reveals that he had commissioned the kidnapping as a cover for the rescue, as taking Garnet away openly would cause quite a political stink.
    • Much later, Queen Brahne orders Garnet's execution, and Zidane and the rest of the party must storm the castle to find her before it's too late.
  • Save the Villain: The ending... except, not so much "save," as "don't let him die alone."
  • Save the World Climax: The game starts with a performance troupe putting on a play as a distraction while they kidnap the princess from her domineering mother of a queen. One thing leads to another and soon a weapons merchant is threatening the destruction of not one, but TWO different worlds. And then the personification of Death shows up to determine whether the universe itself is worthy of existence.
  • Save Token: The game somewhat qualifies at one point. Moogles located at specific locations save the game for you, thus serving as save points. But you are given a special Moogle's Flute item to call for them, if you need your game saved in the Overworld. You get it with no effort just before you go to World Map for the first time, never lose it and it costs you nothing to use (except Moogle's patience), but as a matter of fact it's still a kind of a Save Token.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Terrans are stated to be a group of people that have been absorbing the souls of the planet to merge it with their own planet's souls, which would cause the Terran's planet and the victim planet to merge and fuse together. This was done to preserve the lives of the Terran people since their planet's crystal (its source of life and souls) was too weak to sustain itself. In other words, they wipe out all forms of life on one planet so that their own planet can survive. The people of Terra are willing to essentially commit genocide on the people of Gaia so that their own world can live longer. Mikoto implies that this isn't even the first time the Terrans have done it. This drives the entire plot for the game as Zidane discovers that he and the big bad, Kuja, hail from that planet and were created to destroy all life on Gaia so Terra can advance and flourish.
  • Scenery Porn: The game's breathtaking intro. Also many of the locations, such as the party's first visit to Lindblum and Terra.
    • The game had a lot of fun with the scenery: Alexandria's crystal-obelisked palace; the Steam Punk industrial metropolis of Lindblum; the eldritch branches of the Iifa Tree; Kuja's desert palace in all its stained-glass glory, the most extraordinary are Terra (alien landscape with otherworldly blue sky dotted with mushrooms like skyscrapers) and Memoria (tangle of different environments and architecture manifested from the collective memory of the entire planet).
  • Scenery Gorn: Any location that ends up being laid to waste.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • The game has several friendly monsters that ask you for an item, which they will give you tons of AP for it and their battle theme is different to show they're friendly. However, there's a monster called the Gimme Cat that tries to trick you by demanding a Diamond and if you give it one, it runs off with it and you leave with nothing. However, since the normal battle theme plays, that should tell you "do not listen to this monster". Be careful fighting it because it attacks with the powerful Comet spell.
    • If you call Moguo once and don't save, he'll angrily say "Don't call me if you don't need me, kupo!" All this does is tip off players that you can tick him off more and more by doing it repeatedly.
    • When exploring Gizamaluke's Grotto, you'll encounter some Moogles who warn you not to travel up the ladder they're standing next to. But since said Moogles just let you save, it's irresistible for players to do it anyway...and get horribly annihilated by high-level dragons.
    • Freya's Six Dragons, erm, dragon ultimately counts as one. So you have this ability whose help text is an extremely vague See For Yourself. When you select it, it defaults to selecting everyone in your party. Now, given that Reis' Wind and White Draw are healing abilities, you would naturally think that this would be beneficial to your party in some way. So you cast it. For your troubles, random members in your party would have their HP and MP randomly cut down to one. Yeah, you just screwed the battle up. While it does have some legitimate uses (ie to bring the party health down so that "desperation attacks" like Quina's Limit Glove hit stonger, but all things considered it is kind of pointless, and pretty much skews the battle to the favor of your enemies if you're not prepared for it).
  • Schmuck Banquet: A variation when the party celebrates the Festival of the Hunt by eating the feast already laid out for them. Technically there was nothing wrong with the food but Princess Garnet just managed to slip sleeping weed into everyone else's dishes so she could sneak off.
  • Schrödinger's Question: A funny example occurs when Zidane, in attempt to be serious, calls Dagger by her real name. If you name her Garnet from the get go, it comes out as "Garnet. No... Princess Garnet."
  • Science Fantasy: The game is mostly fantasy, but includes quite a lot of Steampunk technology and a Sufficiently Advanced Magitek alien race to which both the protagonist and the Big Bad belong.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Some of your more intelligent enemies (and one subterranean serpent) will choose to flee the battle before they're killed off. This gets played for laughs initially.
  • Scripted Battle: Beatrix and Kuja defeat your party instantly with a powerful attack once you drop their HP to zero or after a certain amount of time has passed and it is completely unavoidable. On top of this, they are still standing, despite everything you threw at them. The only exception is the final battle against Kuja at the end of disc 3 since his lifespan is nearly at its end and he does collapse later on after the Final Boss. This is to emphasize just how powerful these characters are, no matter how much Level Grinding the player had done previously.
    • Similarly, the fight against the Masked Man in the very beginning advances the plot whether you win the battle or not since the fight was just a surprise training for the party.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: The Black Mage Village.
  • Secret Shop: It's actually a synthesis shop, and it's hidden behind a rock, in the last level, and requires you to fight the owner. Plus, you'll need the ingredients for whatever you want him to make... a few of which are unique.
  • Seeks Another's Resurrection: The villain Garland was created, and strives solely for, the resurrection of the Terran people.
  • Selective Memory: The game featured a card game with vague rules which are not particularly explained to the player. Justified in that nobody you talk to know the rules either, and you can only pick up the rules from people's suppositions about them. These people are otherwise avid players, but they only know half of one rule each... Fortunately, none of the rules matter much. The outcome of each game is more or less random, and the few rewards with an actual use you can get out of it are easily gotten elsewhere...including one of the very few cards you can get outside of the treasure hunt sidequest that actually has an use beyond using it in the card game itself.
    • A full explanation of the rules was eventually provided...in the manual for Final Fantasy XI.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The game steps up the Low Level Run to the unique Level 1 Challenge, requiring players to skip and avoid all possible experience in battle, resulting in a Level 1 team against the final boss.
    • Final Fantasy IX has another challenge unique to that game. Obtaining one secret weapon requires reaching the final dungeon in 12 hours from the start of the game. Therefore, a "perfect" game requires completing a speedrun and picking up along the way all the game's missable items and sidequests, of which there are a lot.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Kuja, a man with an effeminate appearance who wears a thong and a midriff-baring top.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Not a bad thing in this case — the mechanics of the game are a little more straightforward compared to the more recent Final Fantasy titles, and the game itself also has a very friendly difficulty curve outside of a couple candidates for That One Boss on the first and second disc. This actually probably makes it a very good game for newcomers — perhaps a better introductory game than Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, which was intended as one.
  • Sequence Breaking: In one of the first towns, it is possible to view certain cutscenes out of sequence merely by going to part of the town in the wrong order. This will cause Zidane to already know about things he shouldn't, only to be clueless later.
    • It's easy to exploit a bug in disc three by getting a gold Chocobo early, then skipping nearly to the end of the disc while skipping a few Scrappy Levels and messing your plot up. This results in the resident White Magician Girl staying in a state where she randomly fails to use her commands for the rest of the game unless you hack it back to how it should be at that point.
  • Servant Race: Black Mages were created for no other reasons than to be servants and shock troops, and don't live long beyond that purpose. The same turns out to be true of genomes, the race that Kuja and Zidane belong to, although they are significantly longer-lived and more powerful.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: After Hilda restores her husband Cid to his (rather dashing) human form, he apologizes profusely for having been a cheating no-good and takes her in his arms. Cue Fade to Black and the "nighttime" musical sting.
  • Shaggy Search Technique: The game had a list of options to search a secret wall, such as examining it, poking it, shoulder barging it etc. After a while it came up with the option "rest"... which led you to lean back on the wall, and open the door. Justified in that this was in the upside-down/backwards castle, so the the best way to get through the wall was to apply the smallest amount of force possible.
  • Shaped Like Itself: There is a weapon called "Mythril Dagger". Its description reads "Thief's dagger made of mythril."
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Ozma, a bonus boss that can be defeated this way, by letting your characters counter attack, since inputting actions causes it to have an immediate turn.
  • Sherlock Scan: Eiko thinks she's a master at this, and it does work out (on Dr. Tot), but fails on Quina (who she deduced to be KUJA.)
  • Shonen Hair: Zidane.
  • Shout-Out: There are references to all eight previous installments in the series, although some are difficult to find. Here's a link that will save up the walls of text.
    • The Festival of the Hunt in Lindblum draws many parallels to the Running of the Bulls. Some of the locals' attitude towards it even suggests some Testosterone Poisoning has taken place.
    • Lady Hilda breaking the spell and returning her frog husband to his true form with a kiss... What does that remind you of?
    • To Shakespeare: Not only is 'I Want to Be Your Canary' an obvious parallel to Romeo and Juliet, but the play is credited to a Lord Avon — as in Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace. Also, one of the minor characters in the game is named Puck. Additionally, in the original Japanese, the king, played by Baku, was named King Lear.
    • This little gem courtesy of Zidane: "No cloud, no squall shall hinder us." Could also double as a Stealth Pun.
    • "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!", a reference to the slogan for Coco-Puffs.
    • Steiner: "Bah! Only a flesh wound!"
    • "A veritable emergency of terrible urgency!" Also counts as Waxing Lyrical.
    • Zidane is an alien who was sent to the planet in order to wreak havoc, but lost his memory of his origin and ended up turning out to be a pretty nice guy. He then meets his more-or-less brother, who is also an alien and who is decidedly more willing to slaughter everyone on the planet. Oh, and Zidane has a monkey-like tail. Now where have I heard this story before?note .
    • The sandstorm ritual in Cleyra is basically Riverdance. Sir Fratley's name is a reference to/mistranslation of Michael Flatley, a famous step dancer who is known for performing in Riverdance.
    • Before the encounter with Final Boss Necron, it says "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." - Yoda's famous line from The Phantom Menace. Additionally, Kuja uses the line "Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen," which was Emperor Palpatine's line in Return of the Jedi.
    • When you talk to one of the NPCs in Lindblum, he remarks "Dammit, Jim! I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker!", which is a reference to Leonard "Bones" McCoy's catchphrase from Star Trek (although Bones never actually said "Dammit, Jim" in the show, just "I'm a doctor, not a _____.")
    • There is one for Resident Evil 2, in Lindblum examining a fountain, Zidane says "It looks like something fits in here" otherwise is completely useless. In Resident Evil 2, there is a fountain that says pretty much the same thing, in which you need to insert a medal to access a new area.
    • In the French version, the Bonus Boss Tantarian is named "Lovecraft", referring to the famous author.
    • Castle of Cagliostro featured a monkey-like thief who attempts to rob a corrupt kingdom, only to run into and help the princess as she tries to flee her own country. The princess carries an heirloom that triggers a giant mechanism within the castle. It also had a comically ineffective authority figure constantly failing to thwart the thief, but in time takes his side to fight the greater villains. Steiner even has the same face as that character down to his eyelashes.
  • The Show Must Go On: In the opening sequence, when the main character's Thieves' Guild disguise themselves as an acting troupe performing the most popular play in the world as a guise to kidnap Princess Garnet. When Zidane, Garnet, and Captain of the Guard Steiner find themselves on stage in the midst of the production, Hilarity Ensues as they take the plot Off the Rails entirely in their bid to escape. And the Queen still loves it!
  • Shown Their Work: When it comes to the culinary, Quina knows his/her shit.
  • Show Within a Show: The setting for the start of the game revolves around the theater troupe Tantalus performing a play called I Want to be Your Canary (Queen Brahme's favourite) for the birthday of Garnet, princess of Alexandria. In actuality, the performance is merely a front, for Regent Cid of Lindblum's order to 'kidnap' Garnet (who, ironically, wanted to run away, anyway).
  • Shrinking Violet: Male example: Vivi.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Garland tells Zidane to destroy Gaia, since he's an Artificial Human created for exactly that purpose. Zidane refuses, obviously, but when Garland tries to push he delivers an amazingly snappy and spoilertastic comeback:
    Garland: Regrettable. I thought your soul would be a perfect choice for the new Angel of Death.
    Zidane: I am the new Angel of Death. Yours!!!
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Garland brings up a rebuttal when confronted by Zidane and three other party members at the end of disc three; after listening to them explain how they're better than him and how they know more than him (sometimes using arguments which don't apply to him in any way, shape or form) Garland challenges them to actually demonstrate their superiority.
    Lecture me again when you are on the verge of death!
  • Sidequest: The game averts this with two of the mini-games, as they are required to play in order to advance the story.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: The game centralizes this with Vivi. After learning that he's going to die at an early age, Vivi doesn't let it get him down. He still chooses to keep going, because he has friends who need him and care about him.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The series of Lighter and Softer events surrounding Garnet, Steiner and Marcus run in parallel to Zidane, Vivi and Freya's increasingly grim journey to Burmecia and then Cleyra during late Disc One/early Disc 2. They finally converge when Garnet and Steiner return to Alexandria willingly... but are taken prisoner anyway, Cleyra is destroyed by Brahne, and Zidane and co. use a teleport device to return to Alexandria and rescue Garnet. This has the interesting effect of making the Bag of Sharing transcend not only space, but time too, as any items you collect as one party are still present in the other party's inventory, even if you pick up their story at an earlier point in time.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Zorn and Thorn. They habitually repeat what the other says (i.e. "what the other says they habitually repeat"), and their boss reveals they aren't even really two beings just before they merge into a single two-headed Eldritch Horror body for their final boss fight.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: The Odin summon and Steiner's Iai Strike.
  • Sinister Geometry: Ozma.
  • Sissy Villain: GOOD GOD, KUJA. So much so he's the page image on Viewer Gender Confusion! Taken Up to Eleven in Dissidia, where his main form of offense is slapping people in the face with giant balls.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke:
    • Ark, whose attack animation shows it creating a crater that appears to be at least a mile in diameter, deals damage approximately equal to Zidane's Ultima Weapon blade.
      • Nearly every summon in that game is a city-destroying weapon in cut-scenes but not in combat. This is either subverted or reaches it's peak when cutscene Bahamut only gives a bloody scratch to Kuja.
    • The second-to-last boss ends the battle with an Ultima spell... the same spell you barely survived the last time it was used.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • All of the character's classes are highly integrated into the plot. Vivi's ability to shoot stuff with fireballs with black magic becomes very important, the hidden Summons inside Garnet are a MacGuffin unto themselves, and Freya, a dragoon, is able to leap to the tops of roofs effortlessly in cutscenes as easily as she can leap into the sky to use her "Jump" ability. Sometimes even their personality traits become gameplay mechanics; Zidane, the Chivalrous Pervert, has a "Protect Girls" skill that lets him jump in front of a female party member to protect her.
    • In at least two battles (one of which is mentioned below) the boss is coded to only target specific party members: Your three aside from Dagger in the fight with Black Waltz Number 2 (to the point were he'll cast AOE spells that in every other circumstance would hit all your party members only on those three), and Dagger specifically in a battle with the bounty hunter Lani. The former is tasked with returning Dagger to her mother, and if he succeeds in killing all of your party members aside from her, he'll cast a spell to put her to sleep and the game will end.
    • In a similar instance to the above, the rematch against Black Waltz Number 3 has similar stakes; they are tasked with returning Dagger to Brahne, and if they succeed in killing the rest of the party, instead of attacking, it will start hitting itself due to a combination of its mission (the only foe left is the one they're supposed to bring back alive) and some rather severe malfunctioning, by virtue of having their ass handed to them earlier. It's possible to win the fight by just letting your other members get killed, then wail on it with Dagger until it kills itself. This also doubles as a convenient anti-frustration feature, since there's a lenghty several minute cutscene between the last savepoint and this bossfight which you'd have to watch every time you lost this fight, if it were possible.
    • When Dagger loses her voice in the plot, during game-play her ability to cast spells is impaired: every couple of turns will fail with a "Can't concentrate." She gets better, though.
    • Most characters will skip their post-battle victory poses during plot circumstances that concern them in some negative way, including Garnet losing her voice described above.
    • Garnet can't summon her Eidolons on the first two discs and the in-story reason is that she is afraid of them. As a result, the MP costs for her Summons are incredibly high. When she has gotten over her fear of them by Disc 3, the MP costs are considerably lower. note 
    • The biggest example of this is probably the Trance State. After witnessing Mog transform into Madeen using Trance, Kuja deduces that Trance is the key to unlocking a Super Mode for himself. He's right, and he does... by having you defeat him in battle. It also ties directly into Zidane's Dyne abilities, all of which are a miniaturised Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Quite an unusual skill-set for a Thief-type character... when he finds out that he was intended to be Kuja's successor and Garland's tool for annihilating Gaia, this suddenly makes much more sense.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: The game hands super powers of mass destruction and Heroic BSODs to both genders equally (if you take Kuja into the consideration, if not then the girls win on the superpowerful magic side of things). With several competent females in positions of power, and an amazon army for Alexandria.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Firmly on the Idealism side. The main character starts as a cheery fellow, and one Heroic B.S.O.D. notwithstanding he stays that way (and he even gets out of the Heroic B.S.O.D. through The Power of Friendship played completely straight).
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Lost Continent.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Hades fights this way.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: The Earth Shrine is booby-trapped this way, forcing Zidane and Quina to jump past the traps in order to get to the inner sanctum:
    Quina: Aiya! We almost flat like pancake!
  • Smooch of Victory: Averted when Zidane rescues Princess Garnet from the crumbling castle. She hugs him very warmly, but never actually kisses him.
  • Smug Snake: Kuja is a genuine threat—but not only is he obscenely arrogant and cruel, he's ultimately unable to overcome his fear of death. Essentially, he has the mind and air of a wicked genius, but the temperament and personality of a frightened, spoiled child. This mainly shows up in the latter half of the game. It's played Up to Eleven in Dissidia: Final Fantasy.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Yan's Snort ability.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: Steiner's consumed something that he initially found disgusting on two occasions — they both paid off.
  • So Last Season: While inside of Ipsen's Castle, the lower a weapon's attack power, the more damage it does.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: Melodies of Life".
  • Solitary Sorceress: There's one as well, though this one is different from all the others in that she's much younger. Eiko, roughly six years old, plays this role. She's encountered in Madain Sari, and is the last summoner (aside from Garnet), living alone except with the moogles, which can be counted as her Familiar. She helps the group get into the Iifa Tree and is one of the few examples on this page who abandons solitude and joins the party.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: The game did this every ten minutes. At least you get the gear back when the party members return, but that's small comfort when the fancy new super gear you blew all your cash on wanders off before you can use it. However, the Bag of Sharing effect means that even when two of your party members decide to split off from the main group, they can use items in the shared inventory and even buy items for the other party members (who are now halfway across the continent) to equip later.
    • The Guest Star Party Members are an exception, however. You can remove Beatrix's armor when she fights alongside Steiner in Disk 3 (although there's no real reason, considering that you'll be able to buy it soon enough anyway), but when Marcus leaves the party after you escape from the Alexandria dungeon in Disk 2, his equipment is gone for good. This is particularly bad if he's got a Mythril Sword equipped, since you need that blade to be able to synthesize some of the very best armor in the game.
      • The Mythril Sword loss is only a problem if the player doesn't think to visit Esto Gaza before going to the Desert Palace.
    • However, you can give Beatrix one of the summoning items and cause it to be Lost Forever.
  • Someone's Touching My Butt: Zidane reaches for a rung in a ladder the group is rushing up. Garnet is up ahead, and when he grasps something that isn't a rung...
    Zidane: Ooh, soft.
  • Something About a Rose: Beatrix is surrounded by rose imagery and her leitmotif is called "Rose of May". This probably symbolises her status as a Lady of War: Beautiful, but with sharp thorns.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Zidane and Garnet, the leads, actually get married in order to get past a roadblock. When Zidane tries to move in on Garnet for the traditional kiss, his tail is, for a brief second, actually standing up straight.
  • Song of Courage: Several songs, such as Those Whom I Must Protect and You Are Not Alone.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: A dungeon has bells as Interchangeable Antimatter Keys.
  • Sorry I'm Late: A few times in one sequence near the end of the game.
  • Soul-Powered Engine: The Big Bad blocked the Well of Souls that takes the dead to the afterlife, leading to the backed-up souls piling up in the form of dense, magically potent Mist. Not knowing the source, people naturally began using this Mist as fuel for magitechnology and airships.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Black Waltz 3 kills a group of black mages while Vivi looks on in horror; a soft, sad piano theme plays in the background. Yeah, it's a Tear Jerker.
  • Source Music: Early on, Zidane can hear Garnet singing and looks for her. As he searches, the BGM is Garnet's voice. Subverted in that she's accompanied by a harp in the BGM, but seems to be singing a cappella once Zidane reaches her.
  • Sour Supporter: Amarant joins Zidane's party after being defeated by him, but he is absolutely puzzled as to why Zidane wastes so much energy sticking with his friends when Amarant believes the strong works alone and how people could get things done if they just did it themselves instead of relying on others. At one point, he ditches the party after beating Zidane in a race to see who could reach a specific room in a castle first, but after falling into a trap, Zidane runs back to save him, causing Amarant to rethink his logic after seeing Zidane had gone out of their way to save him just because he needed help.
  • Speech Bubbles: Every character has them throughout the game, even with the scrolling text in them.
  • Speedrun: The game actually rewarded the player for doing a speedrun. Getting to a certain area in the final dungeon in less than 12 hours will net you an Infinity+1 Sword.
  • Spell Blade: Vivi could do this for Steiner when they were in the same party.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": This game has it in spades. Pick a name, any name. Non-primary characters, equipment, monsters, locations, anything; odds are pretty good that it's been badly maimed.
    • The worst offender is probably the Iifa Tree. That's an I, not an L.
    • There's a recurring enemy called the Ragtime Mouse in the English release. It's almost certainly a mistransliteration of Ragtime Mouth (since the character in question is not a mouse, but does have a giant mouth: behold!)
    • The main character Zidane has been a strong victim of this trope. Zidane's name (originally romanized as Jitan) is supposed to be "Gitan", which is French for "gypsy". Since "ji" is used in Japanese to approximate the "zi" sound, the translators got it wrong. However, Zidane is also the name of a famous French footballer who helped his team win the World Cup in 1998, so one has to wonder if the change wasn't intentional (the game was in the works in 1998 and released in the west in 2000 for the USA, and 2001 in Europe). In the French version, his name was changed to Djidane because Zidane is the name of France's most popular football player. For the same reasons, he's called "Yitán" in the Spanish translation.
    • A lot of Shout Outs to other Final Fantasy games were messed up due to incorrect romanisation; for instance, Mount Gulug, which was supposed to refer to Mount Gurgu (written "Gurugu" in Japanese) from Final Fantasy I (which itself has been alternately translated; as of the PS1 remake it is now called "Mt. Gulg"), and the summon Madeen (written "Madin" in Japanese), supposed to be a reference to Maduin, an Esper from Final Fantasy VI (both are romanized as "Madin" in Japanese). Madeen's attack, Terra Homing (Terahōmingu), was supposed to be Terraforming. The Fire Guardian Marilith is rendered as Maliris. The boss "Hilgigars" is clearly supposed to be "Hill Gigas", which is a recurring enemy in the series.
    • The names original to the game don't really fare much better: Quina's Limit Glove obviously involves a large sphere so it should be called Limit Globe, and the boss of Desert Palace is a hovering magical slab of stone with increased stats if the bloodstones scattered around the dungeon empowering it aren't removed: which name makes more sense, Valia Pira or Barrier Pillar?
    • Averted in the Spanish translation, almost every name is well translated (Zidane: Yitán (the same pronunciation as Jitan). Even Necron's name had a better translation ("Tiniebla Eterna", which means "Eternal Darkness", and the real name of Necron was Darkness of Eternity).Although, the Spanish translation comes with its own, different problem: while the translations of things from the game itself are well-done, what's totally lost are the allusions to earlier games, since it was only the second game translated in-house and third game translated overall, so they had no series mythology to reference to. The worst offender in this case is "Doga's artifact", which is translated as the equivalent of "Vase of Gauss". Furthermore, the only game they could really reference was VIII, so the rendering of the "Ultima" magic as "Artema" was kept, and from there to the entire franchise (and Kingdom Hearts). The thing is that that translation ultimately comes from the decision to render Ultimecia's name as Artemisa, so yes, a (good) decision about the romanization of the Big Bad of one game in the franchise has as a result the mangling of one major franchise-wide element... especially bizarre since, being a Romance language, "Ultima" in Spanish makes a lot of sense.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The game uses 2D backgrounds except for the world map, which is fully 3D. It also has a few cases of FMV backgrounds, mainly in the form of the character running into a scene and it turning from bitmap to FMV.
  • Squishy Wizard: Heavily averted, magicians actually have some of the best defense in the game.
  • Standard Royal Court: We get a fairly good look of Alexandrian Royal Court. Includes: a bombastic tyrannical queen who is the first and second disc villain; her captain of the guard (Playable character) and the guards themselves (comic relief NPCs); the general of the army (Guest character / Sixth Ranger); a naive, sheltered princess who has no idea what's going on (Playable character); a duo of twin jesters who are in fact something between spymasters and court wizards (recurring villains); and a mysterious favourite / phlebotinum supplier (Big Bad).
  • The Starscream: Kuja's original ultimate goal is to destroy Garland with an eidolon and enslave both Gaia and Terra, turning both worlds into his own eternal kingdom. This later changes when Garland reveals that Kuja's lifespan is ultimately limited, which provokes a massive Freak Out on Kuja's part, and he decides to go from conquering the world to destroying it.
  • Starter Villain: The Three Black Waltzes.
  • Status Buff: Regen is Game Breakers because it heals in real time instead of at the end of every turn, meaning you can just fire off a summon spell and be 100% fighting fit once the animation finishes.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The location with the tolling bell in Memoria is called "Familiar Memory."
    • The Cleyran sandstorm ritual turns out to be a Riverdance — would that make them river rats?
    • Probably unintentional, but one of Zidane's weapons is named Sargatanas, which could be read as saru katana (Japanese for 'monkey' and 'sword').
    • The Knights of Pluto consisting of nine members.
  • Steam Punk: Airships and other heavy machinery are mostly run by the Mist, a strange natural resource with magical properties that is later discovered to be derived from the souls of the dead. Halfway through the game, the heroes slay the monster who was capturing these souls and as a consequence, all long-distance travel halts due to the Mist vanishing. Thankfully, Regent Cid has been developing the steam engine- which eventually results in the creation of a steam-powered airship which the heroes can use to their advantage.
  • The Stinger: Entering a code while "The End" shows on screen allows you to play a game of blackjack.
  • Stop Poking Me!:
    • If you call the moogle, Moguo, who acts as your save point on the world map without saving enough times, he gets angry and threatens you, first by stating that he's "sharpening his knife, kupo..." before ultimately his dialogue devolves into "STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT, KUPOOOOOH!!" In the Steam version, there's an achievement for this, "One Nag Too Many." The description reads "Cause Moguo to have a tantrum."
    • Answering the question that Baku gives you in the beginning (whether to kidnap the ugly queen or the princess) wrong (as in, "we'll kidnap the queen") 64 times will lead to Ruby storming into the room to tell you to stop messing around and already answer the question right.
  • Storming the Castle: You fly your airship into Memoria, going head to head with an army of dragons, when The Cavalry arrives in the form of an airship fleet that shows up and blasts most of the dragons to pieces.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Variation. When the party first meets Eiko, she flees but they find her hanging on a root. The first thing she screams out is that she "tastes awful", and Zidane assumes that Quina was also thinking of eating her — and he's right.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: Thorn uses inverted sentences, like Yoda (and usually says the same thing Zorn says, except Zorn doesn't invert them.)
  • Strategy Guide: The official guide was amazingly sparse. It was very general and less than 100 pages. Why was it so empty? Well, it had several codes that would reveal "secret information" if you joined Squaresoft's website and entered them. Yes, they made an awkward competitor to GameFAQs. GameSpy readers listed it among the dumbest moments of the gaming industry, noting this only made Square avoid this for Final Fantasy X.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: At the end of the third Disc Kuja goads the party into attacking him specifically because he needs to harness their aggression and put himself in a state of physical desperation so he can Trance with the accumulated energy of all the souls stolen from the Invincible, gaining god-like power
  • Stripperiffic: Kuja, a male example. Just like all Terran males that aren't Zidane. Oddly enough, the females actually dress fairly modestly in this game, except for Beatrix's Amazon Brigade and Garnet/Dagger's Trance costume.
  • Stuck Items: You cannot have your weapon slot be empty, though you may change weapons around and run around "naked" except for your dagger/staff/racket/spear whatever.
  • Stupid Good: Similarly, the Cleyrans that lived in a big tree in the desert for hundreds of years without any fighting, thus they forgot how to defend themselves. When Brahne's forces invade to kill everyone in the tree in order to get a MacGuffin, the Clyerans try to reason with the soldiers as the soldiers are attacking! Unfortunately, unlike the above example, this gets them killed very quickly.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Hell, the trope might as well be called "Stupid Sexy Kuja" for the number of fans whose reactions run in that direction. (If they accepted that he was male at all, anyway.)
  • Stylistic Suck: Though we don't see all of it, the play "I Want To Be Your Canary" seems to be an overdramatic mishmash of several of Shakespeare's plays (it's even been penned by a "Lord Avon" and has characters named Cordelia, Leo, and Marcus). Oddly enough, there are flashes of quite good dialogue and some interesting story; it's just the onscreen acting that's melodramatic.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Kuja. See above. He's a true example of the "temper tantrum" part of the trope and probably the best example from a Final Fantasy game. Upon discovering he's a mortal and is an Artificial Human who's due to expire any day now because he was only a temporary pawn, he decides if he doesn't get to live, why should anyone else? He's so selfish and arrogant he doesn't think it's fair that life will continue after he's dead.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: The citizens living in the tree display this when Queen Brahne's forces attacks them; they refuse to fight simply because they forgot how to fight after living in peace for so long. The citizens try to reason with the soldiers, but most people know how well that turns out.
    • It didn't help that they had an almost unbreakable natural defence protecting them until the moment they were attacked, giving them little reason to believe they would even be targeted.
  • Suicide Attack: The Zombies at the Iifa tree can MELT all over you.
  • Summon Magic: As in VIII, it's a major plot point, albeit a completely different one. This game has summon magic as an Inherent Gift of a tribe of people. In this game, abilities are taught by items, and Eidolons are taught by certain gems. Storywise, they are used as weapons of mass destruction by the villains. The effects of one Eidolon even looks like a nuclear explosion.
  • Super Empowering: Just before the Final Boss, after the party is wiped out by Kuja's self-destructive tantrum, you get to choose which party members to take into the Final Battle with Necron. The remaining ones will then surrender their life energies to resuscitate the chosen ones, in reference to a similar scene from Final Fantasy IV.
  • Super Mode: Every character's Trance mode.
    • What's interesting about Final Fantasy IX's case is that the big Bad's One Winged Angel form is a Super Mode; after giving up on wielding the game's Summon Magic, he actually seeks out and harnesses the game's own Limit Break system to empower himself!
  • Superpower Lottery: The main character gets this. He's spent sixteen years becoming a master thief and then founds out that he is actually the Angel of Death for his adopted world, complete with Badass powers. Unfortunately, presumably due to his lack of training in use of these powers he can only use them in Trance
  • Super Prototype: Vivi, like all Black Mages is an animated doll. However, as the prototype model, his power is greater than that of his "brothers", and his lifespan is much longer, as well.Also in a far darker sense Kuja is a Prototype of the real Angel of Death Zidane, though it is arguable who is more powerful/competent
  • Super Soldier:
    • Zidane and Kuja are this, but not because they were built to be different or stronger than the other Genomes, but simply because they have souls.
    • A slightly less traditional form of the Super Soldier would be the black mages.
  • Super Weight:
    • Type -1: Moogles, friendly monsters.
    • Type 0: Ordinary citizens, Regent Cid, Queen Brahne, soldiers of each kingdom, post-Heroic B.S.O.D. Dagger.
    • Type 1: Members of Tantalus .
    • Type 2: Steiner, most Qus, Zidane, Choco (without upgrades), weak monsters, Dagger (without Eidolons).
    • Type 3: Qu Blue Mages, Amarant, Freya, Beatrix, Dagger, Eiko, Black Mages (especially Black Waltzes), Vivi, Yans, weaker Eidolons, Choco (fully upgraded), Garland, Kuja, most of the main characters while in Trance, Zidane and Mikoto's full potential.
    • Type 4: Stronger Eidolons, The Invincible, Fat Chocobo.
    • Type 5: Soulcage, Ozma, Trance Kuja.
    • Type 6: Necron.
  • Supporting Leader: Cid and Beatrix play this role on Disk 4, leading the airship fleet in the Battle of the Iifa Tree against the thousands of Silver Dragons.
  • Support Party Member: Garnet (Before she got her summons).
  • Surprisingly Good English: The ending theme, "Melodies of Life", is performed in both Japanese (for the Japanese version) and very good English (for every other version) by Emiko Shiratori.
  • Suspiciously Cracked Wall: In the chocobo minigame there are cracks in the mountains that can be dug for treasure. You can't see the chocobo break them because of the graphical limitiations.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • When asked about Vivi's grandfather Quan, Quale replies "I not know that bigot!" And then, when Vivi questions why Quale looks so similar to Quan, Quale lets slip that they are from the same tribe... and still continues to deny any knowledge of him.
    • Quina accidentally brings this on his/herself during the "Quina Can't Communicate" ATE. Overhearing talk of a food thief (and having been previously accused of being said thief), s/he says "I-I not the thief". Of course this leads the people to doubt her sincerity.
    • Marcus is out to steal a Supersoft, necessary to revive his friend Blank, and Garnet agrees to help. Steiner reluctantly gets dragged into this in order to protect Garnet. When Doctor Tot (the character who owns the Supersoft) finds the three in his basement, Steiner insists that there's a perfectly good reason for it, and that they're not there to steal it or do anything else illegal.
    • An even better example is this exchange:
    Steiner: Have you seen a young girl around?
    Four-Armed Man: What? I haven't seen any beautiful girl with long black hair...
    Steiner: What did you say?!
    Four-Armed Man: N-Nothing! And I certainly didn't take any money from her!
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: First had a healing spring before the first boss battle in the Evil Forest. Later, right before the first Black Waltz, there's a split path. On the left is a Moogle, which can save and heal you, and on the right is the cutscene for the boss. The problem is this: you need Vivi to free the Moogle from the block of Ice it's trapped in, but if you went right and then went back, Zidane's alone and Vivi can't help him. It doesn't help that the boss has to be fought with just Zidane, so if you went right first, Good Luck!
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: A charming thowback to past Final Fantasies, where you play as chibi-characters consisting of a cheerful, Chivalrous Pervert Loveable Rogue with a monkey tail, a six year old Genki Girl with a small, adorable horn, and a klutzy Child Mage who is a walking embodiment of The Woobie, who each gain an integral and heartwarming lesson throughout the story. The save points consist of a wide variety of adorable Moogles (tiny winged bears with pomp pomps on their heads) that write your progress in a story book brought out of Hammerspace for goodness sake!
  • Tagline: "The crystal comes back."
  • Taken for Granite: Early on Blank is turned into stone to protect the heroes from the Evil Forest. He is eventually cured much later in the game.
  • Take That: The upbeat, optimistic, and very much non-angsty Zidane, male lead, delivers an affectionate barb to his predecessors. "No cloud, no squall shall hinder us!".
  • Take Your Time: Although not a very notable example, there is a scene where the main party has to chase Beatrix, which is, long story short, an enemy. She leaves the room and you have to go after her... but, not only you can take as long as you want talking to everybody, you can actually talk to the Moogle in the room to spend the night in a Tent. And when you leave the room, you'll still catch up with her right in front of the building. It's like a video game version of The Tortoise and the Hare.
  • Taking the Bullet: Zidane has the Protect Girls ability, which, as the name implies, is a variant of Cover that only protects female characters.
  • Taking You with Me: When you win the battle against Kuja he casts Ultima to kill off your party, but that leaves him drained off and almost dead — something he probably knows. He didn't succeed, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
    • Kuja's ultimate motivation is that, having discovered that his lifespan is limited and he's going to die soon, he decides to take two whole worlds with him and erase all of existence if he can last long enough.
  • Talented Princess, Regular Guy: Princess Garnet Til Alexandros IX, a white mage princess and summoner, traveling with Zidane, a regular teenage thief. ... He turns out to be an alien. She trained to be able to escape her castle, and is determined to fix things diplomatically on her own, but for the most part Garnet just makes things worse by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Zidane ends up cleaning after her messes every time. Garnet has talents, she just really sucks at using them.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: If you examine the Moogle's Flute key item (allows you to summon a save moogle on the World Map) in the menu, you get a quotation from a character just like any other key item. In this case, the quotation is from lead thief of Tantalus, Baku, and reads "Hey, let me touch that red...bonbon-lookin' thing on your head... Zzz..." =Baku sleeptalking=
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Zidane's plot-centric trance during the first miniboss in Evil Forest.
    • Averted in one hair-pulling instance. In order to get the Infinity+1 Sword you have to make it to a certain area near the end of the game before someone else does. If they reach it first, all you find is a note about the sword. The time limit for reaching it? 12 hours. Seems normal, right? Except that it's 12 hours of play time, the area is near the END of the game, and the timer starts from the moment you hit New Game, including every single conversation, battle, and yes, cutscene you've ever seen. You have to pull a Speed Run to get the sword. This can be mitigated by the fact that FMVs are skipped if you open the console's disc cover, but this is impossible if playing a digital version of the game, such as the one available for download on the PS3. The only saving grace is that you can pause at pretty much any time except when an FMV is running and, unlike some Final Fantasy titles, pausing the game will stop the clock.
  • Talk to Everyone: In the final dungeon, you can talk to thin air in certain spots to reveal "spirits" to play Tetra Master with.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Princess Garnet spiked a banquet with sleeping potion in order to knock Zidane, Vivi, Freya and Cid unconscious so they wouldn't try to stop her and Steiner from traveling alone.
  • A Taste of Power: Strangely, this is used a quarter way to halfway through the game when a certain character joins the party as a Guest Star Party Member. All of her sword skills and white magic are extremely powerful and you can learn every single one of them for your main party, but you won't get the gear that teaches such abilities until at least at the end of disc 2 and later. The character's abilities are there as a crutch to help Freya and Steiner level up since they had been falling behind due to the plot taking them out of the player's control.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Should you choose to recruit Quina on the first disc, you can do so by giving Quina its favorite food: frog.
  • Team Chef: Quina Quen is an apprentice chef who at one point helps Eiko prepare a feast for the team.
  • Team Spirit: This is a bit of a theme of the game. Zidane says that he and Dagger are more than Just Friends, they're a team, and later he and Amarant have a discussion about what being part of a team means. One of the game's Active Time Events is even called "Team."
  • Tears of Joy: Garnet in the ending, upon being reunited with Zidane, who she believed to be dead for a year. Combined with Anger Born of Worry and The Glomp too.
  • Technology Porn: We have Ark.
  • Tech Points: AP is used to learn skills and abilities. This game deployed perhaps the most complicated twist of any of them. Each character has various passive skills that can only be equipped permanently once mastered via TP accrual. Of course, once learned, they still have to be equipped, using a third set of points that provides a Cap on the number of skills you can use at one time.
  • Teleport Spam: Black Waltz No. 2 when it approaches the party.
  • Temple of Doom: Ipsen's Castle fits. It's never directly referred to as a "temple", but it serves similar purposes and has traps galore.
  • Temporary Scrappy: Garnet briefly flirts with this trope in disk 3 when certain events in the plot send her into a Heroic B.S.O.D.. This has the gameplay effect of giving all her spells a chance to simply not work about 50% of the time, though eventually she gets over it and the effect goes away. It doesn't help that during this time she's the only remaining healer because the other one got kidnapped.
  • Tempting Fate: A fairly spectacular example in Cleyra, a Hidden Elf Village protected by a magical sandstorm: "No enemy would dare attack us when we strengthen the storm!" "I think strengthening the storm would be good for me." "Strengthening the storm is the best thing you can do right now!" The attempt causes the enchantment to break.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: The Iifa Tree and the Mist are a mild example, because the heroes find an alternative energy source.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Kuja refers to Garnet as "my canary".
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Female Moogles are pinkish and wear pink halter tops. Except for Eiko's personal Moogle.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Kuja who decides to destroy all of reality in a last ditch effort to beat the heroes after he finds out he was created with an expiration date.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The Queen in Treno goes by Stella, but there's also a Bishop (who owns the synthesis shop and the tower Dr Tot lives in), a Knight (who owns the weapons shop and the creatures in the basement), and a King (who's really the main villain, Kuja).
    • The first and last women in Zidane's life are named Ruby and Garnet.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The game's end theme, "Melodies of Life," is also important in-game. Zidane first hears Garnet/Dagger singing it on "la" in Dali and later in Lindblum. He asks her what it is and she admits that she doesn't know, and can't even remember where she learned it, but singing it comforts her when she feels sad or lonely. Zidane says that it must be a mystical song. He later hears her singing it in Dali and when she stops, he tells her that it's okay for her to kee singing "'Cause it's our song, right?" As they float out to sea on a boat, they hear the song coming from the Eidolon Wall and hearing it causes Garnet/Dagger to have a flashback and remember some of the details of her early childhood. Finally, at the end of the game, everyone believes Zidane to be dead, but he comes back. Garnet/Dagger asks him how he survives and he explains "I didn't have a choice. I had to live. I wanted to come home to you. So... I sang your song. Our song." The game ends and the full vocal version of the song plays during the credits.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: According to Quina, there are only two things in this world: Things you can eat, and things you no can eat.
  • They Call Him "Sword": "Dagger" is Princess Garnet's alias, though it's Zidane's weapon rather than her own.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The game has one of the best non-vocal moments ever. Just two (glowing) eyes conveys Black Waltz's realisation that lightning magic+wooden airship=loss of control+mid-air explosion. You get a single shot of his eyes just as he works this out. It's BRILLIANT.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Vivi's Doomsday spell, the ultimate black magic that causes shadow damage to all enemies and all allies at once, making it very likely to cause a Total Party Kill. There's equipment that can nullify or absorb shadow damage, but they quickly get outclassed by better gear later on and there's no random encounter or boss encounter where shadow damage even happens. On top of this, you can cause just as much damage to enemies with Flare or abusing the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors and spending less MP to boot. The Bonus Boss, Ozma, has Doomsday in its arsenal and it will cast it while disregarding its own safety. Remember the equipment that could protect you from shadow damage? They're quite useful here.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Zorn and Thorn certainly count. As a bonus, they're also creepy clowns.
  • Those Two Guys: Marcus, Cinna and Blank.
  • Throw-Away Country: Burmecia and Cleyra.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Not just swords, but also staffs, rackets, flutes, and forks! Freya also throws her spear during her Jump attack.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Steiner, Knight In, er, Cheap and Rusty Armor, The Big Guy (and also The Lancer) spends a good portion of the game as the Butt Monkey to Zidane as well as a Chew Toy... BUT! He also manages to hook up with his long-time rival Beatrix in the end (it turned out that she had a crush on him, and then it might actually be mutual). Still feel sorry for the guy?
  • Time Abyss: Garland is at the very least 5000 years old, having started the process of assimilating the player's world of Gaia with his world of Terra that long ago through a ridiculously complex procedure too nonsensical to fully explain here, but it's never stated how long he lived before that. Ancient structures he built on Gaia can be explored as dungeons filled with Lost Technology. He's watched the growth of all the major civilizations on the planet. For example, he built the massive Iifa Tree and is responsible for the natural phenomenon called "Mist".
  • Timed Mission:
    • Chocobo's Hot & Cold.
    • Plot-related examples are the return to Alexandria from Cleyra, and Cid's role in the Desert Palace.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: One guy you can talk to asks you if the engine for an airship should go in the front or the back. If you reply that it should go in the front, he throws a fit and says that it should go in the back, because "putting it in the front provides more stability, but less power!" This is lampshaded by another guy standing next to him, who sagely points out that most airship engineers are weird, and wonders why that is.
  • Title In: This was the first installment to show the name of areas when you first enter.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Steiner and Beatrix both have to deal with this when they turn against Queen Brahne after they realize her lust for power has driven her mad. Steiner in particular is extremely conflicted about this. It takes Steiner much longer to realize the truth compared to Beatrix and it isn't until Steiner actually witnesses Brahne's lackeys, Zorn and Thorn, rip Garnet's Summon Magic out of her soul and learning that Brahne wanted Garnet dead and had her soldiers attack Beatrix (someone he had feelings for) for her betrayal that Steiner finally decides to go against the Queen and fight to protect the people he cares about.
  • Token Human: Possibly the case. Zidane is a genome, Vivi is a Black Mage, an artificial life form, Garnet is a Summoner, Freya is a Burmecian, Quina is a Qu, and Eiko is a Summoner. Amarant is never said to be non-human, but he has blue skin and rather strange hair, and there are plenty of unnamed but clearly non-human races around in world in the form of NPCs. It's possible that Steiner is the only outright human in the group.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Eiko (back to form: she's 6)
  • Token Nonhuman: Nearlynote  half the party, making them not really "token" at all.
    • The only one that is clearly human is Steiner. The other include a tailed Genome (Zidane), human-like summonersnote  (Garnet & Eiko), a Black Magenote  (Vivi), a Burmecian (Freya), a Qu (Quina) and a blue-skinned man who might be human (Amarant).
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Little Miss Badass eidolon summoner Eiko and Lady of War Freya. Garnet/Dagger plays with the two types. She's an elegant princess and white mage, but is also an eidolon summoner and shows tomboy traits when trying to blend in as a commoner. At one point, a villager sees her picking up an oglop bug and tells her that girls are usually afraid of them, so she pretends to freak out over it.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Presumably the book that contains Tantarian.
  • Tomato Surprise: Zidane is actually Garland's "Angel of Death" originally sent to destroy Gaia.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Elixirs and Dark Matter.
    • The Dark Matter item. Unstoppable 9,999 damage for zero MP cost, and there are only three in the game. Smart players, on the other hand, will keep it around just long enough so their summoners can learn Odin off it, and then use it on a boss.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When Eiko's personal Moogle becomes the whole-planets-squeezing Madeen.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Adelbert Steiner starts out as the most reluctant member of the party, only going along to protect Princess Garnet. He has a big grudge against Zidane for "kidnapping" her (it's complicated) and for being a no-good scoundrel, but he eventually realizes that Zidane is actually a good person.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: Guest Star Party Member Beatrix's special skill menu named "Seiken" ("Holy Sword"), despite her being a knight from pseudo-medieval Europe.
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: Non-antagonist example: This is approximately what happens when the player tries to use Quina's Eat/Cook ability on a not-yet-properly-beaten enemynote . So here we have the animation of Quina eagerly waltzing his/her way forward brandishing a fork in his/her attempt to "eat" the enemy, only to claim "I no can eat until it weaker!" a few seconds later.
    • Some enemies such as bosses and humanoids can't be eaten at all; trying this gives a slightly different message: "I no can eat!" after trying, regardless of the target's HP level.
  • Total Party Kill:
    • It's possible to do this to yourself. Doomsday casts Darkness damage on everything on the field, both your party and the enemies, and being the most powerful spell in your arsenal, it's more than capable of wiping out your entire party along with the enemies. There are two ways around this: you can either merge the attack with Steiner's sword to focus it on a single enemy, or you can equip gear that will negate or absorb darkness spells to each of your party members.
    • And then there is Ozma. If you're unlucky enough, Ozma may cast Meteor at the beginning of the battle, and it will kill your entire party before your first turn.
    • Similarly, climbing up the vines within Gizamaluke's Grotto leads you to a part of the world map that contain monsters that are at least 50 levels above your party's levels and you won't actually see them on a regular basis until disc 3 or 4. You face off against dragons that can cast Thundaga on your party and wipe them out in one shot or cause the Venom status that immobilizes the victim and has their HP and MP slowly drain. The other kind of monster in the area are large birds that can cast Firaga and Stop on your party. You're given a fair warning by a Moogle in the previous area to not climb up, so continuing anyway puts the blame on you.
  • Tournament Arc: There are 2 Breather Episodes disguised as these.
    • First, the Festival of the Hunt in Lindblum, where monsters are let loose on the streets; whoever kills the most wins. A fun competition in between the tense action leaving Dali and the onset of Cerebus Syndrome after leaving Lindblum for Burmecia, and an opportunity to receive a prize of your choice (win as Zidane for money, let Freya win for a useful Accessory).
    • The second is at the beginning of Disc 3; after the emotionally draining events of Disc 2's climax, your whole party (sans Steiner and Dagger - who have to deal with Alexandria in the wake of Brahne's death) takes a vacation in Treno, with Zidane partaking in a card-game tournament against players from all over the continent. Once again, winning nets you a useful accessory: the Rebirth Ring.
  • Town Girls: The game gives us the Burmecian dragon knight Freya (butch), Princess Classic Garnet (femme) and Bratty Half-Pint Eiko (neither).
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The village of Dali, which has a Black Mage factory underground.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Moogles are kupo for Kupo Nuts.
    • All Qu love frogs.
    • Steiner acquires quite a taste for gysahl pickles.
  • Tranquil Fury: The BSOD undertaken by the main antagonist by setting fire to an entire planet is done with just the hint of a serene smile on his face... although it may be more properly described as Dissonant Serenity.
  • Transforming Mecha: Ark when summoned.
  • Trap Door: These start to appear in Ipsen's Castle.
  • Traveling Landmass: The "Chocobo's Air Garden" will hover over 1 of 6 random locations on the world map. Once you've been there, it's current location can be found on the player's map, but before that it's identifiable by the circular shadow on the ground beneath it (hard to spot if it's over water). Getting there the first time requires the player to dig up all 6 pieces of the map to the island (which is really just a series of clues to the locations it might be found) by playing the Chocobo Treasure Hunt Mini-game and leveling up the Chocobo's abilities so that it is able to fly AND the use of a Dead Pepper every time the player wants to return to the Garden.
    • The Air Garden gets you access to last couple Chocobo treasure maps, the optional super-tough side boss Ozma (but not the ability to HIT it with attacks, that's a whole other side quest), and the most difficult but most rewarding area to play the treasure hunt minigame (helpful if one is trying to pick up some of the semi-unique rewards).
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome: The Very Definitely Final Dungeon is a collective mishmash of ancestral memories, taking the party to locations from the entire world's history and ending with the origin of the universe. And for some reason, after you win, there's a play.
  • Triumphant Reprise: Beatrix's gloomy theme is revisited as a much more uplifting, spirited theme later on during a fight in a certain plot-important town.
    • It's actually remixed once before that as well, into a sadder, more introspective version, when the player sees that she's actually torn for having to follow the queen's evil plans.
  • True Companions: There's a similarly strong message about the importance of true companions and how what you do and who you love is more important than where you come from. This is most strongly illustrated during the You Are Not Alone sequence, when Zidane's tendency to help people for no real reason other than it's the right thing to do pays off in spades. Broken in mind and spirit, he's in the middle of a Heroic B.S.O.D. when his friends risk life and limb to save him, because he'd have done it for them. It's absolutely beautiful.
  • True Love's Kiss: Hilda gives one to Cid when she releases him from her spell.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Steiner, much to the amusement of the main character.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Fenrir's default attack has this effect.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: The Four Shrines must be activated simultaneously, but the only impact this has on gameplay is forcing you to fight a boss with just two characters; you don't control the rest.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The party members split up halfway through Disk 1 to comply with the game's Arbitrary Headcount Limit, and the story shifts back and forth between them until they reunite halfway through Disk 2.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Princess Garnet turned out not to be the daughter of the gigantically obese, blue, ogreish Queen Brahne, seemingly averting this, but then you remember that Garnet was picked for Brahne's adopted daughter because she looked nearly identical to the Queen's recently deceased baby and then your mind starts boggling again.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: The game had one, in the form of Hades, situated in the Final Dungeon, and he's actually a GOD, and you have to beat him up. And he is also hidden somewhat offscreen nicely, so you could easily skip him without a guide if you're not rummaging every single corner.
  • Uncommon Time: "Run!" which plays whenever the party must escape a place within a time limit. It has three bars of 5/4 + two of 6/8 for the main melody, and uses 4/4 + 7/8 in the mid parts. The frequency of the time changes combined with the overall speed of the song is positively frantic - the player knows he's got to get out now.
    • "Ambush Attack" is mostly in 9/4, though it has a section in 8/4. This section ends with a measure in 10/4 just to make sure you're paying attention.
    • The final battle theme is mostly in 4/4, but there are some extra beats thrown in here and there, so there are some measures in metre signatures like 5/4.
  • Underground Level: Fossil Roo, Gargan Roo, and Mt. Gulug.
  • Underground Monkey: This game averts this wonderfully, as each enemy is unique and there aren't any Palette Swap foes, with the exception of the vepal, who appears in blue and red, the ten Fairy Battles, and the Crystal versions of the Four Fiends.
  • Underrated And Overleveled: Eiko. Her heritage as a member of the summoner tribe of Madain Sari explains her power to use eidolons. The fact that she's capable of powerful healing magic and has a level comparable to the rest of your characters, who by this point have fought their way through some of the strongest foes an entire continent could offer, when she's only six years old, is another matter entirely.
  • Undying Loyalty: Steiner is portrayed as loyal to the royal family of Alexandria, there in which lies his personal conflict when he's forced to choose between loyalty to Queen Brahne and his sworn duty to protect Princess Garnet.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • You play as Cid in a Red Light Green Light type minigame at one point.
    • The game had a number of minigames, including a footrace, a frog-catching game, a treasure hunting game, and a game where the player has to make a frog sneak up to steal a key without being noticed by a monster. Fortunately, most of these games are entirely optional, merely giving the player additional treasures and bonuses that make the player characters stronger but otherwise aren't needed to beat the game.
    • There is one short portion that requires you to play a card game, but you only have to win a few battles. However, you miss out on a nifty item if you don't win all the card battles. Besides that, the only reason to play the game is to... get all the cards.
    • It also features Chocobo Hot and Cold where you use a chocobo to dig around in a forest (and a few other areas) to get items. You also find treasure maps that guide you to treasures spread around the world that you can dig up with your chocobo. This is entirely optional, but you get some of the best weapons and armor in the game from it, sometimes much sooner than you should.
  • The Unfought:
    • Queen Brahne is never fought, and is instead killed by Kuja.
    • The game also subverts this trope with the Four Fiends. At first, when the characters split into four groups to take them on, only one (Lich) is actually fought by the player, the other battles taking place offscreen. However, in the final dungeon they're revived and all four are indeed faced in battle.
  • Unholy Nuke: The spell "Doomsday", which damages everyone on the battlefield with the Shadow element, and is the most potent Black Magic spell. To use it effectively, you have to shield your party from that element.
  • Unknown Rival: Eiko calls herself Garnet's rival to Garnet's face at one point. Garnet's reaction is basically "Huh?"
  • Unstoppable Mailman: The game has you being the Unstoppable Mailman for the Moogles, who are save points. While you rarely have to go out of your way to deliver their letters, you have to wonder just for what reason the Moogles are hanging around in deadly dungeons.
  • Updated Re-release: The game saw a re-release on Steam and Android/iOS in 2016. While the core game itself remained untouched (including whatever bugs and glitches the original game had), several enhancements were added; all character models gotten higher resolution textures, CG cutscenes can be skipped, achievements were added, and several game boosters (cheats) were added, such as turbo speed, max damage, max level, etc.
  • Upgrade Artifact: All the equipment in the game. A slow acting version, with gemstones and special weapons that contained special abilities that they "taught" to the character. Characters had to wear the item though enough battles to fully learn the ability. Afterward, they could throw away the mentor-item like so much used tissue paper.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: Zidane also seems to suit this trope. Although he admits freely to constantly having the ladies on his mind, and is an incorrigible flirt, his advances never seem to move past appreciative banter and the occasional suggestion of a date, usually rebuffed with a modicum of shyness/dismissiveness/pleased giggling. In fact, his overtures are so cheerfully obvious that they somehow manage to circle back around and become bizarrely charming. The fun for Zidane seems to be in the game of pursuit, not the 'catch'...and when he does find the girl of his dreams, it only takes a few weeks for his focus to narrow drastically.
  • Urban Segregation:
    • Lindblum where there are different districts, some of which are blatantly poorer than others. There's no tension because of this though as Lindblum is a giant sprawling industrial city with jobs for everyone.
    • Treno, reverses the usual trend as a city divided into the rich section by the low-ground (along the water) and the poor, crime-ridden section built up the hill.
  • Urine Trouble: Zidane and Vivi share a male bonding moment when they both pee off the edge of a cliff in one scene.
  • Vain Sorceress: Kuja is another male character along the lines of this (though his gender isn't necessarily obvious at first glance.) He's quite vain about his appearance and while he doesn't specifically pursue eternal youth, this is because he mistakenly believes he's already immortal; upon learning that he isn't, he has a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum because he can't bear the thought of the world existing without him.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Regent Cid was transformed into an insect-like creature called an oglop, and while he can still speak English, he still makes a "gwok" sound every few words or so. Then he tries to get cured, and turns into a frog, and the gwok is replaced with a ribbit. When he finally returns to being human, he's so used to the verbal tics that he still gwoks and ribbits on occasion.
    • Of course, there's the moogles too, kupo. (Except for Eiko's personal moogle, the only one with Pokémon Speak. At first, anyway. Stiltzkin is also an exception to this, as he says "kupo" little to never.)
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Memoria.
  • Victory Pose:
    • Gameplay and Story Integration adds an interesting layer, as characters will refuse to perform their victory poses after a battle if they're feeling depressed or worried due to their current role in the plot. Vivi, Garnet, and Amarant are the most prominent examples.
    • Amarant won't do his for ages. Not until he starts to accept the others.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: During the invasion of Cleyra, you can hurt the Alexandrian soldiers enough to make them flee, rather than killing them. After all, they didn't start the war either...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: One of the Knights of Pluto wants to quit the Alexandrian army to become a writer, and asks Steiner if he can leave the Knights. Steiner can either say that he'll eventually let the knight leave, but first he has to find Princess Garnet, or he can be a Jerkass and yell at the knight, telling him he can't leave before basically telling him to get off his lazy behind and find the princess. Either way, the poor knight runs off in tears.
  • Videogame Geography: If you fly off the east/west side of the map, you show up on the west/east side of the map. Good and logical for a spherical world, yes? However, if you flew past the north/south border, you would end up at the south/north border... thus leading us to realize that the world in fact, behave as toroid.
  • Video Game Stealing: The main character is a thief. Taken to ridiculous extremes for boss characters. Most bosses can have up to four items to be stolen and the more rare items are harder to steal. If you plan to get powerful equipment early or are aiming for 100% Completion, be prepared to spend a long time trying to steal everything from enemies.
    • Zidane actually got stronger the more you stole this way. Every successful steal would power up the damage done by a certain cheap ability. Zidane can become capable of dishing out far more magic damage then the dedicated Black Mage, and while Zidane can't cast osmosis to full his casting the extremely cheap cost of this ability will still allow him to spam it in boss battles. Making him as good a Black Mage as ViVi while still having higher health, good damage, and of course the awesome steal ability.
  • Villain Ball: Subverted with General Beatrix. She wrecks your party in a boss fight and leaves you for dead without finishing the job. You meet her later, a bit stronger then you were before, and she still stomps you effortlessly. The party fights here three times over the course of the game, they never win.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Black Waltz 3 and Kuja.
    • Kuja spends a good portion of the final part of the game hopelessly insane with rage upon discovering he's mortal and will eventually die, and was just a temporary tool of The Man Behind the Man (and that the protagonist Zidane is essentially a far more advanced model of what he was supposed to be.) Kuja ends up blowing up one world and very nearly blows up another in quick succession.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Zorn and Thorn.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Kuja refuses to let Zidane go down with him during the latter's attempts to save him. He teleports the Heroes away and to a safe location once they defeated Necron, the Avatar of Death.
  • Villain Song: There's the song Grand Cross. While not being sung by Necron himself and not having lyrics at all, this is still a music that contains lot of people screaming in panic and agony, which kinda goes along with Necron, being the embodiment of humans' fear, helplessness, and suffering when faced with death.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Literally, after Lindblum is invaded by Alexandria — pay attention to what the female soldiers say.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Done again where the queen attacks Clerya and the residents try to reason with the enemy, only to be killed. Zidane and some residents from Burmecia are fed up that the peace keepers can't fight and vow to slaughter every soldier that gets in the way.
  • Visible Silence: After the destruction of Alexandria, Dagger becomes mute out of shock and some of her attacks fail because she's unable to concentrate. She only breaks her silence after visiting the grave of her mother.
  • The Voiceless: Garnet after her Heroic B.S.O.D..
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The dwarves. They live on Chokepoint Geography, provide a lead to the Black Mage village, and conduct weddings for your characters. And that's it.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
  • Walking Disaster Area: Summed up well by The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés (such an example that it named this trope after him). Surprisingly, it all happens for plot reasons (at least in theory) and none of the characters in the game (Zidane included) seem to notice the pattern.
    Zidane's Curse (or, Dirty Pair Rule): An unlucky condition in which every major city in the game will coincidentally wind up being destroyed just after the hero arrives.
  • Walk into Mordor: An inversion: neither Terra nor Memoria is accessible by foot.
  • Wall Glower: All the characters gather round a table for a meeting...except The Stoic Amarant, who is leaning against the wall with his arms folded.
  • War Arc: From halfway through Disc One until the end of Disc Two is a long one, showing Brahne's bid for power - even going as far as stealing her daughter's powers to do it. She actually makes good progress on her goal of owning the entire Mist Continent - too bad Kuja turns Bahamut back on her.
  • War Is Hell: To prevent Princess Garnet from experiencing this is exactly why Steiner doesn't want her to get involved with investigating whether Queen Brahne was responsible for an attack on Burmecia.
    Steiner: War is a terrible thing! You must never experience it like I have.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Actually, you get to watch pretty much every city you come to burn. Several of these where summons are used as weapons of mass destruction. You are generally treated to the complete destruction, or in the very least decimation, of every single town or settlement, and in one case an entire planet, that you visit. Dagger's first hometown, the Village of the Summoners gets Death from Above from Garland before the game starts. Freya's hometown of Burmecia is a charred ruin by the time you arrive, Cleyra and its population get hit with Odin, whose attack sequence plays out like an atom bomb. Lindblum is treated to a dual attack by Brahne's black mages and the summoned Atmos. In a serious Player Punch, Alexandria is ravaged by Bahamut, becomes a battleground between it and Alexander, before being carpet-bombed by Garland- leaving poor Dagger mute. Finally, Terra is treated to multiple Ultimas via Kuja.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Ark's second attack and the eye of the Invincible.
  • Weaponized Landmark: Alexandrian Castle.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: The game allows characters to equip various "killer" abilities (e.g. Demonkiller, Birdkiller) that cause whatever weapon they have to deal bonus damage.
  • Weapon Twirling: Zidane does this when he's equipped with double-edged swords.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Sadly subverted, where Black Mages seem to have much shorter lifespans than regular humans.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: The game has this trope in the beginning of disc 1. Vivi, and then Garnet are captured by a plant monster and the monster gradually sucks up their HP. Vivi can cast Fire on the monster on his own while Garnet is helpless. Should either character have their HP be reduced to 0, Game Over.
  • We'll See About That: This is Zidane's response when the Earth Guardian tells him that it's futile for the split group to try conquering all four of the elemental shrines at once.
  • Western Zodiac: The game featured a Zodiac-themed sidequest, which required collecting Stellazzio coins for the amusement of Queen Stella. Collect all twelve and the engravings on them form a love story about who captured the heart of Virgo; suggest the existence of a 13th coin (Ophiuchus) and you'll be tasked with following the clues on each coin (a series of directions) to conclude the story. They point to the location of one of the previous coins, where the Ophiuchus is found with the final engraving.
    "Their future was uncertain, but Scorpio and Virgo kissed in the light of dusk. That moment meant everything."
  • Wham Episode: The entire portion spanning Gizamaluke's Grotto to the end of the current disc. This marks the first time the effects of the war are shown in detail, with the Burmecians being slaughtered by the Black Mage assault. The final scene in the disc is also the first glimpse you get of the true antagonist, and it ends with the party nearly getting killed by Beatrix. It really shows you exactly what kind of game you're going to be in for, despite everything beforehand. To compare, before all of this, the game has an overall light-hearted tone (especially given the art style), with a definite nostalgic overlay. Aside from the occasional glimpse here and there, it appears to be fairly standard fantasy JRPG fare. Then it takes a sharp left to Darker and Edgier.
  • Wham Line: Two, both from Garland:
    • "Twelve years ago, I lost one of my most prized Genomes. I created him and sent him to Gaia to disrupt the cycle of souls there. You are that Genome."
    • "I constructed the Genomes to be vessels for the souls of Terra when they awaken. But 24 years ago, I gave life to a Genome that was very much like you. His will was too strong to make him into a proper vessel, and I even considered discarding him. But then I thought that I should put his strength to use. I sent that Genome as my servant, to disrupt the cycle of souls on Gaia. The one I sent to Gaia might also be called your brother...and his name is Kuja."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • About the time Cleyra gets demolished, pretty much the entire sidestory involving Freya, Fratley, and their entire species gets dropped (apart from a couple who show up in Lindblum during Disc 3 if you saved them earlier in the game and an ATE showing the reconstruction of Burmecia, which Freya states that she'll help with after defeating Kuja). Bonus points for them being a literal rodent race.
    • Also happens halfway through the game when you lose half of your party (Freya included). They rejoin you without ever mentioning what they'd been up to.
    • Also, a very well hidden quest reveals Garnet's childhood name, to the amazement of the cast. And then it's never mentioned again.
  • What Is Evil?: Along with mortality, one of the main themes of the story.
    • Is Queen Brahne "evil" or simply misguided?
    • Are Zidane and Tantalus "evil" simply for being thieves, or are they heroic rebels?
    • Is Beatrix "evil" for helping Brahne commit the worst of her atrocities, or is she just a loyal subject attempting to serve her queen in the only way she knows how?
    • Is Kuja evil? He considers himself a Card-Carrying Villain, and delights in mischief, deceit, and death, as well as possessing an It's All About Me attitude that borders on sociopathy. However, he is so polite that a long-time captive actually vouches for him, he has a very understandable Freudian Excuse, he winds up switching his views right before his death, and in the end, Mikoto acknowledges that while what he did was far from right, it still demonstrated that the Genomes could be more than their intended purpose.
    • Is Garland evil? Not only is he responsible for Kuja's Freudian Excuse, he also gave Kuja the job of bringing war to Gaia in the first place, comitted genocide on the summoners for posing a threat to his plans, countered Kuja's attempt at claiming Alexander by carpet-bombing Alexandria (killing hundreds, if not thousands of people in the process), and his ultimate plan involves the assimilation of Gaia and the death of its people. However, this is all in the cause of allowing the Terrans to be reborn; literally everything Garland does is to accomplish this goal - to the point that Zidane notices that he doesn't seem to have any other goal or aspirations in life. (In fact, Garland explicitly states that this was the reason why he was created.) Finally, following his defeat, he helps Zidane stop Kuja from destroying the Crystal, ultimately saving Gaia in the process.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Two of the sentient Black Mages experience this with a Chocobo egg that they find and incubate within the village. When a healthy young Chocobo eventually hatches from the egg, its dedicated caretakers are of course excited about the new arrival. Unfortunately, they can't quite understand why liquid should be coming from their eyes — unaware that they are experiencing joy for the first time.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Deconstructed with the Black Mages. Ironically, Black Waltz No. 3 holds this attitude towards them. When Vivi and Steiner angrily confront him for callously slaughtering a group of Black Mages trying to protect Vivi, he brushes it off, claiming many more will be produced anyway.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: When looking for Dagger, Zidane asks a moggle if he had seen a "cute" girl. The moggle says he hadn't, but did see an "ugly" girl pass by not to long ago. A short time later, it was revealed to be Dagger after all.
    • The game has both fuzzy doll-like black mages, and the rat-like Burmecians and Cleyrans plus a plethora of bit player species whom you don't interact with much.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • The game has fun with this one when Zidane is going over the plan to kidnap Queen Brahne Princess Garnet with the other thieves. Their boss will ask you to confirm their target, and if you pick the wrong reply, he gets cross and asks the question again. Choose the wrong answer enough times (64!), and Ruby will actually come into the room and tell Zidane to quit being stupid and answer the question.
    • Calling the save moogle and canceling repeatedly will also cause him to give increasingly annoyed messages, eventually causing him to tell you that "I'm sharpening my knife, kupo" before he finally starts yelling "STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT! KUPOOOOH!" at you.
  • When It Rains, It Pours: It's always raining heavily in and around Burmecia. Initially this seems to be for dramatic effect, but you'll find it's still raining like crazy there long after the plot has forgotten it.
  • When Trees Attack: Soulcage (evil zombie tree) and Stroper.
    • The living avatar of the Iifa Tree, Soulcage, as a particularly nasty boss. Those who try to attempt the logically obvious "Kill It with Fire" will be unpleasantly surprised.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The game shows some animations of the principle players and their fates some time after the game as Queen Garnet recalls Zidane's sacrifice. Later, Garnet attends a play given by the Tantalus players, one of whom removes his hood at the climax of the drama revealing himself to be Zidane(although anyone with any sense would have figured that out ten minutes previous).
    • The ending scene shows other characters in its epilogue: Steiner and Beatrix are now Alexandrian nobles, Eiko is adopted by Cid and Hilda, Amarant returns to his adventuring days along with Lani, Quina keeps being a Chef, Freja and Fratley fall in love all over again, and Vivi dies, but not before leaving a load of clones around.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Kuja, who is ten times prettier than Sephiroth. He's referred to several times in-game as a "narcissist", which is a rather mild description for someone who dresses like this. Oh, and not letting reality exist without him. He even has a matching silver dragon.
  • White Mage: The game had Garnet dress as a White Mage, and this was her primary use for the first part of the game. Once she gets her summons back, however, she's more of a Red Mage. Eiko Carol is introduced immediately after as the party's white magic specialist.
  • White Magician Girl: Garnet/Dagger uses magical "rackets" as well as staves. She fit this trope to a T until she starts getting her summons back, at which point she shifts to a more offensive-oriented character. Interestingly, this change is also marked by her cutting her long hair.
    • Despite her superior White Magic, Eiko is absolutely not a White Magician Girl. She's aggressive, tomboyish, and her flirting as cheesy and annoying as Zidane's note .
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Steiner is terrified by oglops, which are squishy but otherwise harmless insects. So is Blank, though not to the same degree (he says he "can't stand them", but is able to put up with them for the sake of the plan to kidnap the princess). Though when Blank's armour breaks and the oglops are released, both Steiner and Blank begin running around in a panic. Garnet/Dagger later fakes a fear of oglops in order to make her "ordinary girl" act more convincing.
    • As part of its many Call Backs to earlier Final Fantasy games, Vivi Orunitia, just like Bartz, has a fear of heights stemming from falling from a great height when he was young (specifically falling out of the cargo ship.)
  • Wicked Cultured: Kuja, as evidenced by his ridiculously luxurious desert mansion decorated with pristine statuary and wall-to-wall stained-glass windows. He's also got extensive knowledge of theater, particularly Lord Avon's "I Want To Be Your Canary".
  • Winged Humanoid: The Black Waltzes that the Queen sends after Garnet have navy blue-feathered wings, matching their cloaks. The child Eiko wears a pair of tiny, decorative wings on her back, which are actually a hindrance due to the villains' fondness for catching her by them. Then, in possibly the strangest occurrence of the trope, the gigantic living castle, Alexander, grows shining white wings that it uses to defend Alexandria from Bahamut's attack; quite horrifically, Garland's fatal attack on Alexander causes the wings to rot.)
  • Witch Species: The Black Mages were manufactured in Alexandria as weapons, and are said many times to look just like humans, though we never actually get to see one's face.
  • "With Our Swords" Scene: A variation. Much of the story is about the characters' finding their purpose or reason for fighting. At the end of the game, a Hopeless Boss Fight sees your entire party defeated. Whichever four party members are inactive share their reason for fighting or the meaning they have found in their journey together, each reviving one of the active party members for the boss fight that immediately follows.
  • Wolverine Claws: Amarant uses them.
  • Woman Scorned: Lady Hilda. When she discovered that her husband, Regent Cid, had cheated on her, she used magic to turn him into an oglop (a type of bug) and he was left that way for quite a while because she ended up getting kidnapped. After she was finally found, she turned him back into human, but not before threatening to turn him into a hedgehog pie (a type of monster) if he ever cheated again.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Garnet/Dagger goes through this once or twice. She's certainly unprepared for the responsibility of being a ruler, but her sense of duty is far stronger than her personal desires - for the most part.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: Zorn and Thorn, twin jesters that give each other meteor and flare powers during one mini-boss sequence. The trick is to hit the jester who just received the power before he can use it. Though it turns out they're actually one creature with two bodies.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kuja wasn't that bad.... all he did was destroy an entire planet and horribly manipulate everyone.... OK, maybe he was that bad, but you still have to feel sorry for him in the end.
  • The Worf Barrage: There's Kuja's unforgettable fight with Bahamut. Kuja gets a Fantastic Nuke to the face. It barely draws blood.
  • World of Chaos: "Memoria", a mindscape created above the Iifa tree where Zidane and his party face off against Kuja in the final disc; it's a jumble of scenes and buildings gathered from the collective memory of the entire planet, where it's possible to walk through a giant, city-destroying eyeball into the ruins of a town it just attacked, walk up a staircase leading into space, pass through a waterfall and find yourself swimming through an ancient coral reef, or climb a ladder that overlooks the birth of the planet itself. Thankfully, Garland's around to explain what's happening.
  • World Tree: The Iifa Tree, whose roots spread worldwide and can be seen protruding in all the continents; grown by the Big Bad specifically to siphon souls away from the planet Gaia, it also pumps a noxious gas known as the Mist across the continents its roots have infested, gradually driving those who breathe it to violence and war. It also houses the gateway to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon on Disc 4.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The Mist. When the Iifa tree is destroyed, the mist covering the continents is removed, then when the party returns from Terra, it has returned. Though this is an example of the World-Wrecking Wave having been active before the start of the story.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: "To Brother Gil - Bro, I found the sword, like you told me. But there were two. One of 'em had a lame name, Something II. It was a dingy, old thing with flashy decorations, something you'd probably like. So I went with Excalipur. I'll be back after I find the Tin Armor." - note from Enkido found when the player obtains the Excalibur II, the best weapon.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Since Alexandria is a primary antagonist in the first couple of disks, their all-female army shows up a lot. The protagonists have no qualms about defending themselves against the women, or attacking Beatrix either.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Played with. The party has two children in it, meaning most enemies attack them too. For a looser definition of child, Garnet is only sixteen during the game.
    • Vivi and Eiko. The former is a child physically and mentally, but since he's a black mage "doll", adult workers in Dali promptly kidnap him and stuff him inside a box. In the latter case, Alexandrian jesters kidnaps her and perform a ritual to steal her spells. Due to an RPG format, both are defaultly subjected to physical and magic attacks, especially those from Kuja's minions.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Parodied. Zidane as the Chivalrous Pervert has a support ability called 'Protect Girls', in which he will take the damage for the female characters in your party, and in Dissidia: Final Fantasy says when up against Terra 'A girl? This'll be tricky...', though this doesn't affect his gameplay. He also once picks fighting a man over fighting a woman in the storyline. In his own game he has no compunctions about fighting and killing the Alexandrian soldiers when they're invading Cleyra or trying to stop him from rescuing Dagger.
    • As proven with General Beatrix and Lani, he will fight women without a problem, and in some cases flirt with them too.
    • Likewise the Black Waltzes never attack Garnet whenever she faces them in battle. If the male party is defeated against No. 2, it'll cast Sleep on her to end the battle. And if the same happens against No. 3 (the second time) the monster will attack itself instead.
  • Wretched Hive: Treno's slums.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Kuja had no less than two of these. First, it's revealed that his entire plan was revolved around stealing Alexander, the most powerful of all Eidolons (summon monsters). This fails when his boss shows up and blows it to hell. Panicked, his next plan involves using the protagonists to fetch a powerful stone for him and extracting other, lesser summon spirits from a little girl. This fails when her Moogle guardian goes Trance and proceeds to kick ass. Kuja then changes his plans AGAIN in order to gain his own Trance power. Kuja finally achieves this and proceeds to kill his former boss. It's too bad that he learns that he's going to die soon anyway, prompting the mother of all Villainous Breakdowns.
  • Years Too Early: Soulcage pulls something like this when you fight it, claiming that it has foreseen its death.
  • You All Look Familiar:
    • Justified in the case of Black Mages and the Genomes; they are manufactured.
    • Burmecians and Cleyrans all seem to be in uniforms of some kind — but human civilians have no such excuse (or Morrid really has two other triplets in Lindblum).
  • You Are Already Dead: There's a status effect known as Heat, which can be inflicted through Quina's Blue Magic attack "Mustard Bomb." How this works is that the afflicted will automatically KO if they take any action due to the intense heat surrounding them. If a character has already chosen their next move when they get inflicted with this status, they are pretty much doomed.
  • You Are Not Alone: The Trope Namer is the scene (along with Awesome Music of the same name playing during said scene) where Zidane's True Companions talk him out of a Heroic B.S.O.D..
  • You Are Number 6:
    • All of the Black Mages. Subverted: except for Vivi, they are all known by their numbers (Mr. 234, Black Mage No. 12, etc.), but this actually serves to humanize them as they begin developing their own personalities. They deliberately seem to adopt the numbers as their names, even going so far as to introduce themselves this way to strangers.
    • Interestingly, Vivi's name could be represented as the roman numerals "VI VI", which would translate as "6 6", qualifying him for this trope as well.
    • Played for laughs with the actor Lowell's fanclub.
  • You Are Too Late:
    • Zorn and Thorn to Zidane when he busts into the Alexandria dungeon to save Garnet, even if you beat the 30-minute deadline.
    • You are too late to prevent Brahne's attack on Lindblum.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: This happens to a lot of the characters due to the massive property damage over the course of the game, but special mention to the Terrans (including Zidane), whose home planet gets blown up, and the summoners Eiko and Garnet, whose village was nuked in the backstory.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Zidane always arrives just after the villain has finished destroying the town. If he's lucky, he arrives a few minutes beforehand, and then the town is destroyed.
  • You Did Everything You Could: Part of what helps Dagger get over her Heroic B.S.O.D. is Zidane and company assuring her that she's not to blame for the long stretch of tragedies that have befallen the world. One Important Haircut later, she seems to agree.
  • You Dirty Rat: The Burmecians are anthropomorphic rodents. The word 'Rat' appears to be a derogatory term for them, but they are mostly on the side of good.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Yet another long-silver-haired individual, Kuja, as well as the blue-haired Eiko. Trance Zidane also has pink hair. What little of Freya's hair we can see is also white, although since she is a anthropomorphic white rat...
  • You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me: Zidane says this almost word-for-word when the Armodullahan appears out of nowhere in an enclosed space. To his credit, he does start running before saying the line.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: At the end of Disc 2, Brahne decides to kill Kuja since he has nothing more to give her. Unfortunately for Brahne, Kuja was expecting this and considers Brahne to no longer be useful to him as well. Kuja kills her with ease.
  • You No Take Candle: The Qu, large gluttonous humanoids indigenous to swamplands around the globe.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Regent Cid learned the hard way that you shouldn't cheat on your wife.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: It is heavily implied that the Black Mage golems have a set expiration date. As does Kuja.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Master Quen discovered that if you imagine it hard enough, you can eat all the food in the world. But, because he didn't eat real food after that, he ended up dead (and apparently in Qu nirvana).
  • You Shall Not Pass: Freya, Steiner, and Beatrix pull one of these when covering Dagger's escape from Alexandria. Though it's initially unclear whether or not they survived, the party soon learns that they lived.
  • You Would Do the Same for Me: When Zidane goes back to save Kuja, he asks Kuja "Wouldn't you do the same for me if you knew I was dying?"
  • Zerg Rush: After killing Plant Brain, the army of Plant Spiders begin zerging the heroes as the last attempt to capture them when the entire Evil Forest is turning into stone.
  • Zettai Ryouiki:
    • Female Red Mages actually are Grade A.
    • And another one: Kuja. And he's a dude.

C'mon, Princess. Let's ditch Sir Rustalot and get outta here!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Videogame/FinalFantasyIX