These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Final Fantasy IX
Angst? What Angst?: In contrast to his immediate predecessors, Zidane spends most of the game either chasing skirts or being Garnet's knight in shining armor and not much time being moody and depressing, with the notable (and brief) exception of his Heroic BSOD. This is perhaps a subconscious or possibly even very conscious way of masking his very real problems.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked at times. The dev team wanted to include loads of world-building and character-developing material which doesn't really feel crucial to the story or gameplay, but becomes nice to have when looking back at everything. This manifests in Active Time Events, cutscenes showing what the party members are doing around town while the player explores, and most of their antics have nothing to do with the story and go nowhere but work to build up the world.
The very first fight in the game. Zidane and co. are waiting for their boss Baku to show up, which he does. Wearing a dragon head and attacking them. After the fight, nobody questions this. Presumably, it happens all the time.
Well, Zidane later has to fight Baku to be allowed to leave the troupe, and in a flashback, he mentions Baku beat the crap out of him when he came home after Walking the Earth trying to find his birthplace. So it seems, yes, it does.
One that really takes the cake is the ceremony performed at Cleyra that keeps its powerful sandstorm of magic in place: a riverdance jig.
This game is littered with random moments that do not really do anything for the plot. About half the Active Time Events can be skipped without missing anything.
Broken Base: While this game doesn't attract nearly as much controversy as some other entries, its low difficulty - and especially its character design - are contentious points for fans. Its return to a medieval-esque setting after its two futuristic predecessors also doesn't sit well with some.
Demonic Spiders: Yans. Just under 20,000 HP, very fast, they spam the Comet spell almost every turn which does random damage and thus can KO even the strongest characters, use Virus Powder to inflict the Virus status so you don't get Exp, and like to counter attacks with Snort to remove a party member from battle. Oh, and they can attack in pairs or even trios. Sadly, they're the best source of Exp in the game and are the only renewable source to steal Elixirs from.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Black Waltz No.3, the flying Black Mage who is Made of Iron and whose CG sequences are usually awesome. Some people may question why he gets this when he slaughtered the Black Mages, but, well, Draco in Leather Pants and all that. And if it weren't for him, we wouldn't see the ultimate manifestation of a Heroic One-Winged Angel in Vivi.
Black Waltz No.3 also gets a surprising amount of characterization relative to his screentime, and especially compared to Black Waltzes Nos. 1 and 2. Granted, most of that characterization was him crossing the Moral Event Horizon....
Beatrix is both feared and loved by fans of the game. Her popularity mostly stems from the fact she's a challenging boss and the only one in the entire game that the party never even actually defeats; she always brings you down to 1 HP at the end of the three fights with her and the fact you think she's so awesome that you wish she was a party member and that wish is granted for two portions of the game. She's got a lot of fan art and is decently popular cosplay material.
Vivi HIMSELF is one of the most loved Final Fantasy characters ever. The Final Fantasy Wikia has held two tournaments for the most popular character of the series. Vivi won the first one, beating KainHighwind of all people, and in the second narrowly defended his title against TerraBranford.
Should be noted that he did not, however, make it in the Final Fantasy Wiki's "Coolest Thing Ever" competition, in which voters could nominate entire games, game scripts, lines of dialogue, cutscenes, characters — basically anything. Only one character made it to the finals, and that honour belongs to Auron. Final Fantasy IX as a whole, however, came fourth in the competition.
Blank, the Tantalus badass who appears briefly as an optional party member.
Also from the Tantalus Ruby who has a good amount of fanart on deviantART.
Epileptic Trees: Fans have come up with any number of theories for Necron's role in the game (See Giant Space Flea From Nowhere below) and some have been listed as "official" explanations on this Wiki. The game supports approximately zero of them.
For the record, the game only gives hints that he is some incredibly powerful being that watches over all life and has the power to destroy the Crystal. It is possibly a manifestation of 'evil' emotions of sentient creatures.
Faux Symbolism: For people who really pay attention to the plot, it's obvious what Necron is supposed to be; the real theme of the game is death and dealing with its consequences (with everyone dealing with it in their own way), so Necron literally is death (in case the name didn't give it away), and as the final boss, the player and characters literally have to "fight death" to resolve the core issue of the game. The developers might have thought this was clever, but it's unfortunately about as subtle as a brick to the face. (The ending is still awesome and tragic, though.)
Foe Yay: There's enough between Kuja and Zidane to make it the most popular yaoi pairing in the game. It gets a bit creepy when you find out that they're basically siblings...
Game Breaker: Take the time to learn Quina's spells and you win.
Same deal with any attack that you can power up, such as Zidane's Thievery, Freya's Dragon Crest, etc. Also Steiner's Shock, which doesn't get a unique power-up method, but is ungodly powerful from the get-go.
Get Auto-Regen for everyone and your chances of dying go down by roughly 95%. Having regeneration continue during battle animations was not a good choice on Square's part.
Also, the x2 Reflect ability for Vivi. It causes any spell Vivi casts that gets reflected to do twice the damage it would normally do to the target it hits. Now, normally, this would be a bad thing, but keep in mind you can cast any spell on your party, and that there's an item in the game (called the Reflect Ring) that grants a permanent reflect effect, and that mass-casting a spell on a group of reflected characters causes every instance of the damage the spell did being focused on one creature on the other side, and you get to meet the Damage Cap.
The Spirit stat if you boost it high enough. With a high Spirit stat, bad status effects will miss against you more often and will brief if it does hit you. Good status effects you cast on yourself will last much longer, making effects like Haste and Regen becoming godly.
Zidane: He said waltz, right? Don't you think No. 3 would be the last one?
Goddamned Bats: The Seeker Bats in Fossil Roo. You're about to get to the Moogle to use a tent/save, and all of a sudden, woosh! Made even more annoying is the fact that they have a bad tendency to spam you with status effects that make the battle last even longer than it should. Goddamned Bats, indeed...
Harsher in Hindsight: Lady's man Zidane forgetting Freya's name is played for laughs. Becomes a lot less funny when Freya's long lost lover Sir Fratley forgets not only her name, but everything about her, due to amnesia.
In the Lindblum weapon shop, Zidane comments on a large sword, noting that he remembers a guy with spiky hair who carried a similar one. An obvious reference to Final Fantasy VII, but after 2009, it feels like a reference to something else.
In the German version, the Town of the Black Mages is once called "The Town where not even the Ratzinger sleeps".
In Esto Gaza Zidane has the option of hitting on a random NPC. Nothing new there. But if you talk to the girl's boyfriend, right beside her, he says "I hope you get kicked by a horse..." This is twice as funny after knowing the romantic credo of Jade Curtiss:
Jade: Well, you know what they say. Anyone who interferes with others' romances should be kicked by a horse and die.
Magnificent Bastard: Kuja, so, SO much. To really put this in perspective; he manipulates Queen Brahne into attacking the Mist Continent, and through this sows general dissent across Gaia, puppeting events while watching from the background. When he's confronted the first time, he has the heroes in a death trap, and you have to do what he wants to survive. After he seizes control of the Invincible and you fight him directly for the first time, he essentially toys with you while you feed right into his Batman Gambit, attacking him until he can achieve his specialized Trance. Then he kills Garland... and finds out he's a Flawed Prototype with a very short lifespan, and has one of the most catastrophic and awesome Villainous Breakdowns in the ENTIRE SERIES, proceeding to switch gears from "I'm going to control everything forever" to "If I have to die, then I'm taking everything with me". He then proceeds towards this goal while all attempts to stop him fail, eventually breaking through REALITY to strike at the very foundation of the universe/multiverse. And even in the final confrontation with him, there's a major question as to whether or not the party actually defeats him, or he just ran out of time. And to top it all off, at the very end, he's redeemed, when he teleports the heroes to safety.
Garland also qualifies, as he is the one who truly orchestrated most of the events in the game including the abovementioned destruction of major cities, successfully performs a Mind Rape on Zidane and actually gets him to feel ANGSTY, and helps to screw Kuja over even after death.
Magnum Opus: Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi considers this to be his favorite game in the whole franchise. Nobuo Uematsu also agrees with this sentiment, as he considers the soundtrack to be his masterpiece.
Memetic Badass: Zidane has reached this status in some circles due to his ability to create blasts of energy despite apparently having no magical powers.
Garnet's formal gown is surprisingly popular cosplay material.
Memetic Sex Goddess: While not really a Sex Goddess, Garnet's rather shapely rear is quite memetic. Zidane declaring its softness didn't hurt.
Moral Event Horizon: Black Waltz 3 cruelly slaughtering a group of Black Mages, his own allies, just because they were in the way of his mission. And when an enraged Vivi calls him on it, he laughs it off and casually declares they're easily replaceable, which pisses Vivi off more.
Brahne using an Eidolon to annhilate a city, laughing about it, then coldly stating that now Garnet is no further use to her she'll have her executed (in a rather gross manner) could qualify as this too.
"Choco says he can't find any more Chocographs here for now."
As always, the victory fanfare too.
Needs More Love: This is probably the most underrated game in the main series. If you like modern FF (VII - VIII onward), you'll dig the dark story, the well-developed characters, and the PS1 performing at the height of its graphical capabilities. If you like old FF (VI - VII and older), you'll like the brighter look of the game, the return of a more familiar character customization interface, and the well-developed characters. If you like the series in general, you'll dig the fantastic music and well-developed characters.
Nightmare Fuel: Your first boss battle against Beatrix for sheer shock at how good she is, Atomos's rampage on Lindblum, Meltigemini, a good portion of the song "Last Battle", etc.
Player Punch: It's strongly implied that Vivi dies, or is about to die, at the end of the game.
According to the localization team, Zorn and Thorn's speech-patterns were a conscious choice — in the original Japanese dialogue, they spoke with a very specific phrasing that's next-to-impossible to translate sensibly into English. As a compromise, the localized dialogue was written in the nearest English equivalent, which was 'Yoda'-style speech for Thorn (while Zorn speaks normally).
Trance mode. It fills up very slowly, and is activated automatically. After the battle that Trance was activated, it wears off no matter how long the duration was!
Imagine this — your Trance bar is almost filled, when you order an attack on an enemy in a random encounter. Before the attack goes through, the enemy attacks, the Trance bar fills, and you enter Trance. You attack, kill the enemy, battle ends, Trance gauge is depleted. This will happen.
Even more, who ends up in trance matters. They're extremely uneven. Quina? Oh so slightly easier to learn blue magic. Zidane? Congrats, you're a God, you win!
The card game, Tetra Master, qualifies too. The only in-game instructions of how to play it come from the Moogles in Qu's Marsh, who only give you vague hints. Moreover, playing it the way it looks like it ought to be played (stronger cards beat weaker ones) doesn't actually help you much, because there's some kind of random element to it, to the point where even FAQ writers haven't been able to fully figure out how the mechanics work. On top of that, you're forced to play several rounds of it at one point to advance the plot, and it's the only time in the entire game where being good at it gets you anything besides more useless cards. Finally, the only Tetra Master card that does anything outside the minigame (which allows you to rename your party members if you show it to a specific NPC) can be gotten without ever playing it.
There's a half hour long tutorial at the start of the game with unlimited consequence free practice games available.
Stop does not wear off with time. As such, this is the only game in the series where you lose the game if the entire party is afflicted with Stop. There is also a worse version of the Poison status called Venom, which combines the slow HP drain of Poison with the effect of Stop and adds a slow-MP-drain on top of that.
There's also the fact that the best armor for half your party, which absorbs damage from the Darkness element (used by pretty much all the hardest bosses in the game plus the strongest spell you learn in the game), is the best prize to earn from it. It only takes a few hours of it to give you Game Breaker levels of power.
Surprise Difficulty: This is considered one of the easier games in the series, without breaking it. Now tell this to the people who thought it'd be easy when they suddenly had to fight Gizmaluke.
Gizmaluke? Oh please, why don't you try Beatrix? You'll be hard pressed to find one person that though she was a walk at the park. ESPECIALLY without proper leveling up and Quina on their team and with Big Guard, she'd spank you every time.
That One Boss: Gizmaluke. Especially since a lot of people didn't know they could get Quina.
The battles with Beatrix can be intensely annoying due to how difficult it is to steal all her items, two of which each time are powerful equipment pieces you can't acquire by other means yet, so you have incentive to get them, and it's a Timed Mission, so you only have so many turns to try and get them before she gets bored and deals a Total Party Kill.
Speaking of stealing from bosses, Hilgigars is one of the most hated bosses in the game because he's the second enemy in the game with a 1/256 stealable item. The first is the aforementioned Beatrix (round 1) and she only has a Mythril Sword that you can buy in the very next town. Hilgigars, however, holds a flute for Eiko that you won't be able to pick up for quite some time and packs some useful spells (Esuna, Haste, and Regen). It can take HOURS of dedicated stealing before you finally nab it.
Ark can also be a pain in the ass, especially because you're stuck with the party you selected with entering its dungeon to battle it. It loves to spam all-party targeting Confusion and has an attack that brings a character down to 1 HP.
That One Puzzle: The "red light, green light" game where Cid has to evade the notice of a Hedgehog Pie enemy.
They Wasted A Perfectly Good Boss Rush: When trying to break the seal on the Shimmering Isle so the party can get to Terra, the party splits up into four teams of two. Each pair of characters is attacked by a Guardian based off the Final Fantasy Four Fiends. Only the Earth Guardian is actually fought. Two other Guardians appear, briefly, with detailed character models, but their fights take place primarily off screen.
Tier-Induced Scrappy: Character-wise, Amarant is relatively popular; maybe not as much as Vivi or Steiner, but he has his fans. Gameplay-wise, not so much. Of course, it doesn't help that you get him towards the end of Disc 2.
Toy Ship: Many shippers interpreted Eiko's bossiness and Vivi's nervous compliance as cute enough to warrant one. Which, canonically, would end in tragedy, since Vivi is a very short-lived creature.
What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The Chocobo upgrading scenes. You open a treasure chest and suddenly a white mist consumes you. The next thing you see is your Chocobo walking through a field of stars to arrive at a planetoid topped by a temple full of various-colored Chocobos and ruled over by a giant Chocobo who grants him new powers, then suddenly the sequence ends and you and your powered-up Chocobo are back where you found the chest.
Woolseyism: Possibly Zidane's name. Zorn and Thorn's speech patterns are a definite (and welcome) example.
The Woobie: Vivi. You spend the first half of the game visiting places the Black Mages have been to, and thus Vivi is demonized while he just shakes, cowers, and protests he has nothing to do with them and doesn't even know what they and he are.
Granted, it's implied that Quan changed his mind along the line and instead found fulfillment in raising Vivi rather than eating him (established in a special cutscene with Vivi, Quina, and Quale), but yeah, it still counts big time.
Garnet would also count as a Woobie.
Freya Crescent. She suffers a massiveTrauma Conga Line over the course of the game that sees her forgotten by her lover and her entire civilization destroyed. Her quote is also particularly chilling given how the game promptly forgets her existence.
It's implied that your chocobo ran away from an abusive owner before being taken in by a Moogle.
Vindicated by History: Despite selling less than either of its immediate predecessors and often overshadowed by VII in particular, both new and old fans of the series have come to appreciate the narrative and character development of IX far more than when it came out. Word of God also has this to a certain extent, as seen on the main page.