YMMV / Final Fantasy IX

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: How much influence did Kuja have over Brahne? Was Brahne's plan to take over the world her idea from the beginning or is Kuja the main instigator? Was even some magical mind-control involved at some point, before Brahne broke free? Garnet claims that her mother was a good person and only turned bad because he corrupted her, but she could very well be in denial. Kuja insists that the plan was Brahne's idea all along, but we know we shouldn't trust him. So the question remains open.
  • Angst? What Angst?: In contrast to Cloud and Squall, Zidane spends most of the game either chasing skirts, being Garnet's knight in shining armor, or being her knight while chasing her skirt. He spends almost no time at all being moody and depressing, with the notable (and brief) exception of his Heroic B.S.O.D. late in the game. This has been eluded to as a way of masking his problems, consciously or otherwise, which is hinted at as early as the middle of Disk 2, when Zidane tells Garnet about his past without actually telling her. Zidane is surprisingly well adjusted for a 16-year-old orphan with a tail that gets dragged along to multiple genocides over the course of the game. To the point where it's genuinely shocking that his true origins can actually cause a Heroic B.S.O.D., which he still gets over rather quickly. Even the adults in this game aren't that well put-together. And while finding out his origins did freak him out a bit, he immediately pushed it aside and turned on his creator while citing The Power of Friendship. The BSOD only occurred after said creator apparently ripped his soul out, and it took the rest of the party's Friendship speeches to help him recover.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Kuja. One of Square's rare sympathetic villains with understandable motives of wanting to defy his fate and mortality, or a whiny, petulant brat whose motives amount to a selfish, immature tantrum? Or both? His infamous(ly skimpy) outfit only further contributes to his divisiveness.
  • Best Boss Ever:
    • You finally get to fight Trance Kuja, who's ridiculously easy, but nevertheless beats you with Ultima. The player is lead into a state of WTF, and then suddenly the characters wake up in the afterworld and challenge what can only be some kind of god of death into a battle. The music alone makes the battle so awesome you're probably crying tears of joy, and in addition the boss is happily challenging if you haven't partaken any significant Level Grinding.
      • On the other hand, the fact that the boss comes out of absolutely nowhere in the story has made plenty of people pissed off. Even Zidane sounded annoyed at the development.
      • Normal Kuja as well. He's been built up as quite a villain for two whole discs, and now you finally get to do what you've been waiting to do for a LONG time now. There's no special boss music or anything, just the regular one—but arguably that makes it even cooler.
    • Every single Beatrix battle. Three reasons. One: they're insanely memorable. Two: every one is a Hopeless Boss Fight (which are always climactic). And three: that fucking song.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • The opening sequence. The combination of the play, the kidnapping, the swordfighting minigame, the wacky chase scenes when the kidnapping goes awry, the music (the sequence includes a variation on "Melodies of Life", "The Place I'll Return to Someday", "Vamo Alla Flamenco", "Jesters of the Moon", and a special battle theme), and the introductions of Zidane, Vivi, Steiner and Garnet all in rapid succession is a joy to sit through every time.
    • Memoria. The monsters are challenging but not annoying, the music is awesome and the scenery very interesting.
    • The alternate world of Terra. Beautiful music, amazing visuals, and great character development.
    • The Iifa Tree toward the end of Disc 2 was awesome as well.
    • At the start of Disc 3 in Final Fantasy IX the player is treated to the chance to use a Beatrix, who had been wiping the floor with the entire party for the entire game up until that point, along with a highly cinematic scene and a rock version of her theme that is never heard again in the game. The real CMOA is when Steiner, who has basically been beat on for the entire game to that point, confesses his love and goes Super Saiyan.
    • The You're Not Alone sequence, is not only a sweet, cool and awesome short battle gauntlet with a boss in the end, showing the power of friendship and how friends are there to pick you up when you're down, while also letting you kick some major ass. It also doubles as pretty much the definition of a BGM Override scene.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • The Ragtime Mouse stands out as one of the most bizarre enemies in the series. Randomly in the forests of the world, you may run into an odd cycloptic creature with a giant mouth. It asks you trivia questions, rewards you gil for a right answer, then flees to be encountered again. Do this enough times, and it'll die for no reason. There is no explanation ever provided for what it is or where it comes from.
  • Breather Boss: Soulcage, who has some pretty tough attacks (notably Mustard Bomb), and some fairly valuable items to steal. Once you have all three items, just hit him with a Phoenix Down, and then the next hit (even Eiko, your weakest physical attacker at that point) will take him out.
  • Broken Base:
    • The game, naturally, created a huge rift between the people who thought it was a good tribute to the old classical SNES-era games with its more lighthearted and idealistic themes and colorful world, and those who thought the FF series was, is, and should always be intended for more mature audiences, and saw IX as a big step backwards.
    • Other points of contention regarding IX: Sci-Fi vs Fantasy (VII and VIII had moved the series into almost completely Sci-Fi with Fantasy window-dressing, while IX was more 'pure' fantasy than FF had been since FF 4) and the art style (the change from VIII (the most realistic up until that point) to IX (the most 'moe' of the main games) was a bit much for some fans).
    • While this game doesn't attract nearly as much controversy as some other entries, when it first came out 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. This created a strong They Changed It So It Sucks base vs. "It's different but still really good" camp.
  • Chaotic Good: Zidane, who is extremely good, despite being a thief.
  • Creepy Cute: The Save-Moogle on the world map: while he acts like a normal Moogle usually, if you call and dismiss him over and over again, he starts to get annoyed, then angry, and then (eventually) threateningly states "I'm sharpening my knife, kupo..."
  • Cult Classic: IX did not sell well as either of the other Fifth Generation games, but, like Final Fantasy VI, it has a highly dedicated fanbase that points to it as being the series' high point. It also has the highest rating of all the FF games on Metacritic.
  • 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.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The fourth disc, the story runs out of steam with the destruction of Terra and Garland, and descends into Mind Screw territory with the introduction of Memoria as the final dungeon, an odd pocket universe made up of the accumulated memories of the world with numerous Giant Space Flea from Nowhere bosses, including the Final Boss and one of the most infamous examples of Giant Space Fleas, Necron.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Kuja is a smug bastard that manipulates people to gain power, kills the princess' mother, taunts Vivi on how he was manufactured instead of being a real person, and throws a cosmic tantrum when he finds out that his life span is short, so he destroys a planet and seeks to end all forms of life as a response. Many fans view Kuja as a poor sympathetic guy who is brainwashed to destroy and just needs some affection. While he gets an Alas, Poor Villain death, this assessment is inaccurate.
  • Ear Worm: One of the wormiest soundtracks in Final Fantasy, and that's saying something. Particularly tenacious pieces include Dark Messenger, Melodies of Life, and Vamo' Alla Flamenco to name just a few.
  • Evil Is Cool: Kuja. He purposefully invokes every villain trope he can, and they work, and he does so from a lavish underground palace.
  • 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. Despite not being the main character, his woobie moments about his soon-to-be death despite being only nine years old are offset by not choosing to whine or complain, but choosing to forge forward instead. That and blasting Black Waltz No. 3 out of the sky all by himself has contributed to him being a Badass. The Final Fantasy Wikia has held two tournaments for the most popular character of the series. Vivi won the first one, beating Kain Highwind of all people, and in the second narrowly defended his title against Terra Branford. note  Plus, he's utterly adorable.
    • Blank, the Tantalus badass who appears briefly as an optional party member and makes an excellent Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Also from the Tantalus, Ruby, who has a good amount of fanart on deviantART on account of her good looks.
    • Freya, given her tear-jerking story arc and being the game's resident Dragoon (and the first female one in the series). Many fans were disappointed with her being Out of Focus after Disc 2.
  • Epileptic Trees: Fans have come up with any number of theories for Necron's role in the game (See Giant Space Flea From Nowhere on the main page) 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.
  • Evil Is Sexy: General Beatrix is a Lady of War along with a Stripperiffic Metal Bikini as well. (It's no wonder why Steiner falls in love with her later on.) Also Lani, which Zidane points out, and Kuja, though he looks the wrong gender of sexy.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Amarant with Freya, even though she already loves Fratley.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Kuja. Kuja is the most over the top example of this trope, what with his man-thong. Not shockingly, his original character design was done by Amano, and was one of the few that made it to the final game relatively intact. It's hard to even describe what he's wearing, but whatever it is, it looks ridiculous, and the color scheme and Stripperiffic nature contribute to his Viewer Gender Confusion.
  • Foe Yay: There's enough between Kuja and Zidane to make it the most popular yaoi pairing in the game - and possibly the series as a whole, depending on how much hate FF7 is getting at the time. It gets a bit creepy when you find out that they're basically siblings...
  • Game Breaker:
    • Synthesis in general gives you access to extremely powerful items early in the game. One such use for it is the famous Cotton Robe trick; the Cotton Robe item sells for more than the combined cost of the ingredients and synthesis, for a 600 gil profit. With a maximum 99 Cotton Robes per round that's 59,400 profit.
    • Many of Quina's blue magic spells are extremely powerful, particularly White Wind and Auto-Life, but also Level 5 Death, which kills anything whose level is divisible by 5...such as Grand Dragons. It's the 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%. It continues during battle animations.
    • 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.
    • Another one for Vivi is his ultimate spell, Doomsday, but it takes some specialization to make it one. It hits both the enemy and your party for a huge amount of Shadow damage. Under normal circumstances, this would be a very bad thing, but if you equip gear that absorbs Shadow damage, you suddenly have a spell that heals your whole party to almost-full and damages the enemy, all in one turn.
    • 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 only affect you briefly if it does hit you. Good status effects you cast on yourself will last much longer, making effects like Haste and Regen becoming godly.
    • The Steam version of the game has several game boosters that are intentionally game breaking for players that need an easier time or just want to see the story without the fluff in between. However, the turbo mode cheat breaks the game in one particular way: while everything gets sped up (except for the loading and most CG cutscenes), the in game clock runs at normal speed. This means certain events that are timed can be completed with plenty of time remaining and it makes getting the Excalibur II a lot easier to obtain (especially if you enable the cheat that disables random encounters). Not only that, but farming items and raising Choco's beak level in the Hot Cold mini game becomes effortless and fast thanks to the timer not being affected by the cheat.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The music for one of the nastier dungeons uses a slowed-down version of the opening of "Dies irae," the best-known of Gregorian chants, as its bass line. Since it's an ominous chant about the Day of Judgment, it's rather appropriate.
    • Some secondary villains on the first disk are called The Black Waltzes. Zidane guesses there are only three of them because of the name. The Waltz uses a three-quarter beat.
    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...
    • For those attempting to level grind by fighting Grand Dragons on Lanar Island, the Gimmie Cat is incredibly annoying. It appears almost as frequently and acts in a way similar to a Friendly Monster (the lack of their unique theme should tip the player off), by asking for a Diamond. If you give it one, it runs away. If you attack it while it's in that mode, it reacts with Comet. You can defeat it by waiting long enough or using a non-damaging command on it (like Steal), and your reward? One EXP point.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • By adding Auto-Haste and Auto-Regen, and some other things, you can effectively have Auto-Regen fire off so fast, your characters can't die unless they've been hit with an attack that takes out more than their max HP.
    • Ipsen's Castle screws with the normal battle mechanics so that the stronger your weapon, the weaker your physical attacks are. To get the most mileage out of your physical attacks, you need to go back and re-equip your weaker starting weapons. Unfortunately, since your characters learn most of their special attacks from their weapons, this will cramp the ability of your fighting characters to learn many abilities...until you realize that the changes Ipsen's Castle makes to the battle mechanics only affect the Fight command. Special attacks aren't affected at all, not even physical ones, so you can freely use attacks like Zidane's Thievery, Freya's Jump and Lancer, Steiner's Darkside, and Amarant's No Mercy and Throw attacks to full effect while still learning new abilities from your weapons.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Ladies' man Zidane forgetting Freya's name is Played for Laughs, but this becomes a lot less funny when Freya's long lost lover Sir Fratley also forgets her name, as well as everything else about her, due to amnesia.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    Jade: Well, you know what they say. Anyone who interferes with others' romances should be kicked by a horse and die.
  • Ho Yay: Zidane to Vivi while they're pissing into the ocean together:
    "This is an age-old ritual between male friends!"
  • Hype Backlash: A small but growing segment of the fanbase is getting tired of hearing this game getting praise and acclaim while VIII and X get spat on.
  • Lawful Evil: Queen Brahne, the fat, evil empress striving for world domination, and Garland, whose evil is enacted because he wishes to salvage the planet he presides over.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Both Kuja and Garland, who together orcheastrate most of the events behind the game and are usually always one or two steps ahead of the heroes.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • In a way, Stiltzkin is this In-Universe to the other moogles, being a traveler who has been to a number of dangerous places and always survived to tell about it.
  • Memetic Molester: Kuja. Just look at this screencapture from Dissidia.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • CLANK CLANK CLANK. A reference to Steiner's noisy armor.
    • Garnet's formal gown is surprisingly popular cosplay material.
  • Moe: Vivi is the best example in the series. He has many of the standard moe traits: he is clumsy, shy, young and innocent. Add in existential angst to justify his social awkwardness and a doll-like appearance and you have a character that most players just want to give a hug to.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Black Waltz No. 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 annihilate 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.
    • Kuja crosses this over and over. He was created to wipe out all life Gaia, and doesn't care for his orders, but wants to do the mission of his own will in part to prove his superior to Zidane. He manipulates Brahne's actions, but in addition to that there's his creation of the Black Mages, which he brags he creates from combining peoples' souls! But his biggest comes from when he learns how little time he has to live, and decides to destroy all reality just because he feels the universe shouldn't exist without him.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • That weird screeching sound preceding a spell cast.
    • Also the constant CLANKCLANKCLANK whenever you have to play as Steiner. This is usually redeemed by the fact that every sequence in which you play as Steiner is absolutely hilarious, though.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • "K-KWEEEHHH! Found a treasure chest!"
    • "Choco says he can't find any more Chocographs here for now."
    • As always, the victory fanfare too.
  • Narm:
    • The dancing scene in Cleyra. Bad celtic folk music + Irish dancing. Dancing anthropomorphic rats no less. Awesome.
    • Kuja's horrifying fashion sense. For God's sake, the man's wearing a thong!
  • Never Live It Down: Though not as negative as some examples, Zidane will always be famous for that one scene—"Ooh, soft!". As well-known among fans of the game as that scene is, groping Garnet really was an accident and he apologized afterwards. He may be a Chivalrous Pervert, but he's more the former than the latter.
  • 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.
  • Polished Port: The smartphone/Steam versions have higher resolution textures for all character and enemy models, more save slots compared to the Playstation version, the ability to skip FMV cutscenes, and several game boosters (speed up, max levels, max damage, no encounters, etc) for people that either need an assist or just want to get to the story. note 
    • The Steam/smartphone version has been refined in just about every way. The graphics are much higher resolution than their native PS1 counterparts (albeit with backgrounds that are still the same), and the FMV cutscenes can now be skipped. In addition, Square Enix added several game boosters which are Purposefully Overpowered, including "all attacks hit the damage cap," "always in Trance," and "no encounters." You even get the ability to reach the level cap instantly with a menu option. However, all of the game boosters are optional, so you can still play the normal way. Finally, there's a button that greatly increases the game speed while the game's clock still runs in real time, making the insane "reach this one spot in less than 12 hours to get the Excalibur II" sidequest a bit more feasible, as well as letting you breeze through anything you don't want to watch. In short, whether you want to Play the Game, Skip the Story or Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game, there's something for you in this port.
  • Player Punch:
    • The mindless Black Mages aboard an airship. They all resemble the party member Vivi, and they get annihilated by the boss one by one when trying to protect the party.
    • The destruction of Cleayra and Lindblum, thanks to Queen Brahne's Eidolons. The former is horrible, because it's performed by Odin, a summon that most players have likely used in previous games and was generally righteous. And the former lets the player see the inhabitants getting sucked into the abyss within Atomos.
    • Vivi's voiceover saying his goodbye to everyone in the ending. It's strongly implied that Vivi dies, or is about to die, at the end of the game.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Either the bizarre Quina or the bratty, clingy Eiko. Two characters are regularly dismissed as Scrappies: Quina, who was supposed to be the comic relief but came off as useless because s/he was essentially a Blue Mage with a gimmicky way of learning spells and a borderline useless Trance that only contributed toward it instead of making him/her more useful in combat and being repulsive due to looking like a clown with a gigantic tongue and acting like Jar Jar, and Eiko, who was much more useful but even more annoying due to her clingy personality as well as being a Bratty Half-Pint. Quina is an interesting case, in that s/he could learn some of the best offensive and defensive abilities in the game (provided you know where to look), to the point many vets consider him/her the best character in the game. Thus, you have a lot of players who love the hellraiser who can double the party's defenses, heal like a White Mage, and dish out 9999 damage for a measly 8 MP. - but hate the ugly fat thing that contributes nothing to the plot and won't shut up about eating things.
    • Zorn and Thorn, Queen Brahne's Monster Clown Creepy Twins henchmen, also get Scrappy points for being annoying lackeys to Queen Brahne who habitually repeat what the other just said. All the time. On the plus side, they end up Not So Harmless Villains and provide a good boss battle. On the other hand, they keep giving a status effect that won't let you gain AP from them, which is vital for permanently learning skills. 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).
    • Steiner might also count too for being the narrow-minded Jerkass he is in the first half of the game, but his great fighting skills make up for it (and he eventually washes away all Scrappy points in the second half). Not to mention Beatrix, who is responsible for destroying two cities in cold blood yet never gets punished for it. Basically, all is forgiven after her Heel Realization.
    • Necron gets this certain portions of the fanbase for the fact that he appears at the end of the game just to serve as a boss and adds nothing to the story, after Kuja is already defeated.
    • In a meta example, the strategy guide written to accompany the game is recognized as perhaps the worst one ever made. The guide itself doesn't actually explain how to do anything and simply gave the reader a search term to input into Playonline.com and look up the actual answer there. This was of course back in the day when the majority of internet users were still on dial-up and Playonline.com is long gone, making the strategy guide even more useless than at the time of release.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Trance system, because the gauge tended to be wasted at the end of a random encounter by the computer and the Trances themselves were extremely uneven, with Quina's being mostly useless and Zidane's turning him into a controllable god. And because of how the Trance gauge filled up, one was frequently playing through the game for hours without hitting Trance mode, unless a story event maxed it out. 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.
    • Quina's "Eat" ability. It instantly kills the enemy and possibly earns Quina a new ability, however it will only work if the enemy is at 1/8 of its health, a stupidly small window. Oftentimes whittling down the enemy's health will result in accidentally killing it. It doesn't help that a lot of the powers can be collected from enemies when you first meet Quina, meaning you don't yet have Scan to determine how much health they have left.
    • The card game, Tetra Master, qualifies too. Particularly the first time one played the game and aren't expecting to have to win a couple of games to complete the storyline. There's a half hour long tutorial at the start of the game with unlimited consequence free practice games available. Moreover, playing it the way it looks like it ought to be played (stronger cards beat weaker ones) doesn't 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.
    • The HP in the game being capped at just-below five digits and, even for the lowest-level characters, HP starts at three digits. There are several segments in the game, where one has no access to any character with a healing or revival spell/technique. And if one does have such a character in the party, the spells cannot be accessed due to 'anti-magic fields' in the area or because your healing mage is technically available but broken. And Phoenix Downs in this game only restore single-digit HP.
    • The fact that being killed does not negate the Zombie status. It prevents the character from being revived, until it is removed and Remedy does not work on it.
    • Stop does not wear off with time, making it one of few games in the series where a party afflicted with Stop faces the Game Over screen. 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.
    • The Overly Long Fighting Animations can be quite tedious, as well as the long camera pan around the battlefield at the beginning of every random encounter.
    • During the mid-point of the game, Dagger will frequently fail to perform actions, instead presenting you with a "Can't concentrate" message. When Garnet goes through a broken phase note , she becomes useless in battle. She completely loses her ability to go into Trance and has a random chance of skipping her turn, because she is incapable of focusing. It also doesn't help that the other white mage of the party has gone missing. Fortunately, you can still use Garnet's magic outside of battles. While justified based on story-related reasons, from a gameplay standpoint this renders one of the stronger mages in your party (the primary summoner at that) effectively useless.
    • The stealing mechanic can drive players up the wall, they're widely hated due to how luck based it can be. Most enemies carry up to 4 items to steal, ranging from common to rare and bosses, naturally, tend to hold the better items. Even with add-on abilities that increase the success rate of stealing, it still doesn't help a lot. Almost every boss has several items and the more rare ones are harder to steal. Rare items have a 16/256 success rate in being stolen and very rare items just have a 1/256 odds. note  While the majority of the items from bosses can either be found/bought/synthesized later on, you will pull your hair out trying to get the best items early so that your characters can have stronger stats and/or learn abilities sooner. Stealing from Beatrix is doubly painful because all of her battles are timed and once she decides to end the fight, any items you didn't steal are Lost Forever.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer:
    • "Chocobo Hot & Cold". It helped that some of the things you could find included the best armor for four different characters, the best weapons for four different characters, and the best weapon you're likely to get for a fifth. It also gave you access to the Bonus Boss. And that the music was catchy like nothing else.
    • There's the fact that the best armor for half your party, which absorbs damage from the Darkness element (used by some of 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.
    • That Bonus Boss (A big rainbow-swirl sphere named Ozma) required a further sidequest: Finding and satisfying all of the "friendly enemies" scattered all over the world by giving them their requested jewel(s). By doing this sidequest, the Bonus Boss goes from absorbing the Shadow element to being weak to it as well as now being within melee range, instead of only being targetable by magic and ranged attacks/skills.
    • The Blackjack mini-game after the end credits is a totally meaningless and yet addictive thing to throw in just for fun. You can basically play it forever; they give you a 1000 dollar payload to start.
    • The Tetra Master card game got so popular that PlayOnline released a pay-to-play online version of it along with Final Fantasy XI.
  • Signature Scene:
  • Signature Song: "Melodies of Life".
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: There's quite a handful of anvils that are dropped on a character by character basis:
    • One shouldn't look at romantic love as the solution to all one's problems, nor is obnoxiously and relentlessly pursuing someone a good way to win them over.
    • Don't fully shoulder all of the responsibility by yourself. You have people who can help you.
    • The best course of action can come from what you believe is right; blind honor and loyalty is not always right.
    • Trying to do things alone won't get you far and it's ok to rely on others for assistance.
    • Cherish and make the most of your time while you are alive.
    • You'll always have friends who will stand by you through the thick and thin, even in your Darkest Hour when all seems lost.
  • Special Effect Failure: The game was ported to Steam and Android/iOS and all the character models were given much higher resolution textures that makes everyone look smooth and crisp. However, the texture improvements also works against itself due to the pre rendered backgrounds still using the same low resolution and blurry assets that the original Playstation version used. It is believed that a fire that happened in Square-Enix's office some time ago destroyed a lot of the company's video game assets, which is why the developers couldn't use the original assets when it came to the backgrounds. You can see the worst of it when controlling Vivi for the first time in Alexandria where his high res character model sticks out a lot compared to the moving characters in the animated background as the game transitions from FMV to actual game; the characters in the FMV transition are hard coded within the FMV itself, therefore they're a low res and blurry mess until you meet NPCs with their higher res models once the game begins. The sound effects had also taken a hit by having them compressed so that the game can fit on smartphones, but they were left compressed on the Steam version; many sound effects sound a bit lower or muffled and the pitch for certain sound effects sound higher than the original.
  • 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • Kuja's theme, "Immoral Melody", is basically "Slumber of Ancient Earth" from Final Fantasy V with the drumbeat of Queen's "We Will Rock You" (though Kuja's theme goes "stomp-stomp-clap, stomp-stomp-stomp-clap" rather than "stomp-stomp-clap, stomp-stomp-clap").
    • Immoral Melody also bears unmistakable, strong similarities to "ShinRa Corporation" from Final Fantasy VII.
    • The opening song sounds like 'Stairway to Heaven'. Uematsu has said Led Zeppelin is one of his favourite bands. The main battle theme sounds like a cross between those from the sixth and eighth entries.
  • That One Attack:
    • Grand Cross, used by Necron.
    • The magic spell Curse also has the same effect while adding in significant damage. Bonus Bosses Hades and Ozma use this spell (without warning in Ozma's case).
    • Ozma has Those Two Attacks. Curse is as above: harsh damage plus a grab bag of all the Standard Status Effects you haven't immunized your characters against. Meteor, however, turns the whole battle into a Luck-Based Mission, as it deals slightly random damage, but will most often inflict 9999 damage on all party members. Did we mention Ozma likes to cast Meteor followed by Curse? Enjoy.
    • Trance Kuja's move Flare Star is incredibly annoying. He can continuously use the move many times with others up his arsenal dealing heavy damage to the entire team, bound to have at least one party member killed from it. Even though the move itself is avoidable, it's still a very lethal attack.
      • High levelled parties can take advantage of the long animations the strongest attacks (including your own) often have by combining the Auto-Haste and Auto-Regen abilities. That way, even if the first attack leaves you hurting, the second will take so long to actually inflict its damage that you'll have healed (nearly) to full.
  • That One Boss:
    • In nearly all Final Fantasy games, you have the distinct advantage of outnumbering bosses 4-to-1, occasionally being thrown a 1-on-1 against the main villain. But never a battle where you're outnumbered by bad guys. That is, of course, except for the battle against Black Waltz #1 and the Sealion. The protagonist has to fight them alone. The Black Waltz goes down pretty easy, but the Sealion had a ton of HP, hits hard, and even gets stronger the less HP he has. He can also heal the Sealion at any time, and if you somehow manage to defeat the Sealion before the Black Waltz, he'll just summon another one. Also take into account that you need to waste turns healing yourself with your ever-dwindling supply of potions— turns which could've been spent dealing damage. The best part? This is the second boss battle in the game.
      • The other frustrating thing about this boss is that it has great equipment to steal, so it becomes a balance between keeping Zidane alive, stealing what you want, and doing damage. It's still do-able, but succumbing to the temptation of that Mythril Dagger will make the battle that much harder.
    • The second-to-last boss of the first disc, Gizmaluke, is no slouch either. Especially since a lot of people didn't know they could get Quina. He has a Water spell that can hit for huge damage, and an attack that can hit the entire party for equally large amounts of pain. To make matters worse, the boss will also constantly inflict Vivi, your only damage dealing magic user, with Silence, preventing him from using magic at all.
      • The worst bit is that due to Gizmaluke having great items to steal (Elixir, Magus Hat and Ice Staff), you have to keep the whole party alive while trying to steal it all.
    • 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.
    • If you don't know what you're getting into and aren't well-equipped for the fight, the Earth Guardian can be one hell of a boss. You're stuck with a character most people haven't really worked with (because said character has been gone for about 70% of the story up to this point), and while it's possible to win the fight with Zidane alone, it makes for a long and difficult fight if you can't snag a Trance in a pinch.
    • Nearing the end of the game, the party has to fight three bosses in a row, each one harder than the last— Silver Dragon, Garland, and Kuja. Two of those are also the game's main antagonists by the way. Anyway, all of them can do huge damage, and Garland can cast "Stop", which renders an ally motionless, unable to attack, and is basically counted as KO'd (meaning that if they're the last one alive or un-Stopped, you still get a game over). But what makes this battle (or series of battles) so difficult is that you can't even heal in-between them, it's just one right after the other. Throwing salt into the wound, right before you beat him, the now Trance'd Kuja decides to reduce the party's HP to 1 with Ultima and stop the battle.
    • The amount of successful steals that Zidane has powers up his Thievery technique, which in turn makes it very profitable to steal all the items from the bosses. However there are several bosses that will make this feat an absolute pain to accomplish:
      • The aforementioned Black Waltz and Sea Lion fight, for reasons mentioned above.
      • 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. The absolute worst fight in this category is without a doubt General Beatrix Round One, hands down, no contest. This is a Hopeless Boss Fight, so you would think all you have to do is heal when she attacks you and refrain from damaging her until you steal the items from her, but this not the case at all. After a certain amount of turns she loses her patience and ends the battle regardless of her overall health. Like Hilgigars, she also has a weapon that has a 1/256 chance of being stolen, and that must be stolen in approximately 8-10 turns, otherwise you have to retry from the last save point and watch a very long cutscene before the battle to try again.
      • 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. Hilgigars has a weapon that is very useful at that point in the game. Unfortunately, it must be stolen, with a 1/256 success rate. You can use Steal two times per minute at best. This can go on for hours.
      • The Tantarian. Yes, it's a Skippable Boss, but it belongs here because while defeating is simple enough when you know what to do, stealing its items and defeating it in the same try is a whole different story. Considering that it has a great piece of armor that it just doesn't want to be stolen can make this fight drag on much longer than it should, which makes the boss fight that much more dangerous.
    • Ozma again. Although optional, fighting him for the Pumice (which teaches the one ultimate summon for Daggeer) will be an exercise in patience and persistence, since as mentioned above he has one very cheap attack, the dreaded meteor, that is likely to annihilate your party immediately. Even if your entire party are at 80+ levels, the attack will reduce the entire party's HP to 0. And if you have auto-life, he has a way to fix that too- by casting curse right after meteor. It's one thing that you have to complete enough Chocobo Hot and Cold to be able to get to the Chocobo Sky Garden where Ozma resides, but you try resisting the urge to throw your TV/keyboard/mouse/joystick/tablet (pick one) out the window after losing 10 straight battles to Ozma.
  • That One Level:
    • The Desert Palace. Unnecessarily complicated light puzzles, completely full of extremely deadly random encounters, and finished with a potential That One Boss, who can be almost unkillable if you missed a few of the "bloodstones", completely optional item pickups that the game doesn't tell you about. Oh, and to make matters better, if you listened to Kuja's suggestions about party formation for the other dungeon, you probably sent all your heavy hitters there instead, leaving a bunch of undertrained characters and Squishy Wizards behind. The hardest monsters in the Oeilvert run are found in the short segment leading to the airship dock. Which, incidentally, is the Desert Palace.
    • And who thought Fossil Roo was a good idea? It separates two great portions of the game, causing the player to deal with puzzles where flipping switches will cause giant ants to take you to different places. Don't forget that if you miss an item and try to leave to reset the puzzle, it doesn't work. Random encounters occur every three steps, and the enemies all have annoying status effects; there are so many that you probably won't be able to block them all.
  • That One Puzzle: The "red light, green light" game where Cid has to evade the notice of a Hedgehog Pie enemy.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Obtaining the Excalibur II sword for Steiner, which requires a very difficult Speed Run of the game. And by "difficult", we mean you have to skip just about every FMV, which is only possibly by opening the PlayStation's disc tray. Otherwise, your only option is to wait for the game's timer to roll back over to zero, which takes three years of continuous play. It requires a ridiculous Speed Run, and is found in the final dungeon, after most other sidequests become unavailable- suffice to say that if you completed the game fast enough to find it, you didn't experience much of the game. The PAL version is an incredibly major offender. Because of the game playing slower but the timer still going at a normal pace, it's so extremely hard, for years it was thought to be impossible on the PAL version of the game.
    • In addition, locking it to those who don't do a speed run is. On that note, Quina's skills, like most games' Blue Magic, definitely qualifies. Instead of merely being hit by the attack, Quina has to 'Eat' enemies, meaning their HP must be dropped to 12.5% (or 25% if Quina is Tranced) and then using the command, with no indication whether the enemy will give a skill or not.
    • Getting the highest score in Tetra Master. There are hundred different cards in the game and you can carry 100 at once. For max points you have to get 1 of each, some of which are only used by one player in the entire world. If youíve found the right player, you may still have to play several times against him before he uses the card you want. Even if he uses it, you have to win the round and have the card turned into your color by the end of the battle to get it. That battles between cards are often randomly decided, doesnít help either. Then you have to have a different arrow combination on each of your cards. If two cards have the same arrow combination, you get less points, even if the cards are unique otherwise. And then you have to get each card to rank A. Normally cards start with either rank P(hysical) or M(agical). Then, when you use them in the card game, they get randomly (and very rarely) upgraded to rank X, if you have them battle other cards. Then, when you use them after they turned X, you use them again and they may turn to rank A (what is even more rare than turning to X). And you have to do this with all 100 of your cards. Oh, and while youíre trying to get them to rank A, you may loose a game and the other payer takes your unique card, meaning, you have to win it back from him. And the best of all? You donít even get a reward for doing all this. Not even a Bragging Rights Reward. Nothing, except the score shown in your card menu.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: A lot of characters, really. Outside of Zidane, Garnet, and Vivi, every character in the game has a certain point where not only do they stop adding anything to the story, for the most part, they just plain stop talking.
    • Freya. She has a focus during the Burmecia and Cleyra plotlines, but after that she becomes almost completely irrelevant to the storyline, with her plot around Sir Fratley being left unresolved. Quina, Amarant, Eiko, and to a lesser extent Mikoto and Lani fall victim to this as well.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: 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 I 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. Of course they are all later fought in the Memoria (and Maliris's dialogue implies they are the same ones) - but with a full party of four, rather than the teams of two.
  • 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.
    • Eiko, a Bratty Half-Pint combined with a Squishy Wizard that in the long run isn't very useful. Of the two summoners in the game, Eiko has only half as many potential summons as the other option, Dagger. Worse, Dagger has all the best summons, including the Game Breaker summon Ark (if you know how to get it), so Eiko doesn't even have quality over quantity. This also means that Eiko absolutely needs the Boost ability, which costs a whopping twelve ability orbs — and she has the lowest orb gain in the game (and, as result, the lowest overall orb total), which means buying Boost leaves her lagging in almost every other area. Even though she's the only character to get the Full-Life spell, there are plenty of easier ways to revive characters. The sequences where you are forced to use her are basically just so you will eventually use her, instead of ignoring her altogether.
  • 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.
  • True Neutral:
    • Amarant. He doesn't care about things. His battle strategy involves letting his opponents kill each other.
    • Toss Quina from the same game here. His/her only concern is literally where the next meal is coming from.
  • Unfortunate Character Design:
    • Garnet's trance form has some design elements that bear an unfortunate resemblance to a bare bottom. Made all the worse by how lovingly well-rendered her (tightly) clothed bottom is even out of trance.
    • Likewise, it wasn't such a good idea to give Eiko pants that are almost the same color as her skin, since it makes her look like she's nude from the waist down. Add to that the fact that she's six years old and looks very, very young and most fans react with Squick. Turns out it may not be a great idea to put a six-year-old girl in tight, flesh-colored pants. Most other art and her in game sprites make her pants a much darker red to avoid this.
    • Stroper. Just...why?
  • Values Dissonance: Many critics and analysts have compared the game's central themes (the inevitability of death, duty versus personal feelings, conformity versus individuality, and having a place to belong) to what essentially make up Japan's cultural mores. Japanese Zen Buddhism is centered around the inevitability of death and how one should live in the meantime (represented by Vivi and the mages). The Pillars of Moral Character are about how one juggles a divide between personal feelings and duty (represented by Dagger, Steiner and Freya). Zen-Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism and Shintoism are largely about knowing one's place in the world and how too much individuality or ego leads to selfishness and suffering for oneself and others (represented by Kuja), while too much conformity leaves one soulless (represented by Garland). Japanese society in general is based on in-group culture, where everyone needs a place to belong and can both achieve more and live happiest once they've found a place to fit in (represented by Zidane, Eiko and Amarant). For these reasons, FFIX is very poignant and beloved in its native Japan while in the Anglosphere, the reception to it was a bit more mixed and some of the characters and messages (Zidane, Garnet & Kuja especially) are interpreted a little differently. In particular, Western audiences tend to think of Kuja's fear of losing is soul as being akin to losing out on an afterlife from a Christian perspective. In comparison to the largely-atheist Japan, Western fans can very much relate to doing anything it takes to save your eternal soul.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Kuja, very infamously. He's the dude back on the main page. He's fair-skinned with soft features, has long silver-white hair, paints his nails, and walks around in revealing clothing colored purple and lavender. He even has feminine hips and waist, which arguably falls into "cheating." The only thing keeping him from being a woman, visually, is that we can't see the boobs or junk.
    • This is lampshaded when he confronts Queen Brahne after she (expectedly) turns on him, and she says, "It's about time you showed your girly face here."
  • 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 - and so, generally speaking, this is the least "contested" of the PS1-era Final Fantasies, and the one to most widely have its virtues acknowledged. Word of God also has this to a certain extent, as seen on the main page.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Dagger is kidnapped by Zidane and his crew under the order of Cid, the ruler of Lindblum (though Dagger wanted to get taken anyway). The reason for the kidnapping was to protect Dagger from her own mother, a queen that had gone mad with power. Dagger talks to Cid about her mother and hopes he can do something. Cid assures her that everything will be fine and he'll form a plan to deal with her mother. Dagger wants to go with Zidane to Burmecia so she can see why her mother attacked the kingdom. Zidane and Cid tell her that it's too dangerous and she could be killed.
You'd expect: Dagger would stay put in Lindblum and let her companions get to the bottom of the situation without risking her life as Alexandria's princess. Instead: Dagger laces everyone's food with sleeping weed (except for Steiner's food) to knock them out so that she can return to Alexandria herself to talk to her mother (Keep in mind that Dagger wanted to leave Alexandria because her mother was going insane). This results in Dagger being put under a spell by Kuja, having her eidolons extracted from her in order to be used by her mother for war, and then being set up for execution due to her "treason" by her own mother. If it wasn't for Zidane overhearing Brahne's plans to kill her own daughter, Dagger would have been dead already.
  • 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.
  • 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. The way he trips and falls, how everyone is out to get him because they think he's a soulless monster when he's really just the woobiest thing on the surface of Gaia. Insecurity and adorableness all in one little package, complete with sad glowing eyes and a mispointed pointy hat. Comes to a head when he finds out that he's the prototype to a lesser version of an Artificial Human, and he doesn't know just how long he has to live. The ending heavily suggests that he had less than a year as of when he found out. There's even an optional, easily-missable cutscene (it's a message instead if you find Quan's Dwelling early in disc 2) that you'd have to go out of the way at a certain point in the game to watch that turns this Up to Eleven. His adoptive "grandfather" Master Quan indicates that he intended to raise Vivi enough to fatten him up into something more edible, but innocent young Vivi completely missed this subtext. 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. Princess Garnet, or Dagger, had her father die when she was young, her mom go bat-shit insane and try to take over the world, is hunted down when she tried to tell her "uncle" about her mother's genocidal tendencies, had her magic ripped out of her by two freaky clown guys, is sentenced to death by her mom after she is seen as having no more use, had the stolen magic used by her mom to kill countless innocent people, and then watches her pathetic mom die at her feet. This is all before she finds out that she wasn't the queen's real daughter and her real mother had also died getting her to safety. Eventually, this gets too much for her, she has a nervous breakdown and goes mute.
    • Also Freya Crescent, who loses everything she has during the first half of the game. Everything. She suffers a massive Trauma 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.
    • Zidane. He spends the majority of his life trying to find a place where he belongs, being that he had dreams about Terra and all. When he doesn't find it, he returns to his adopted father Baku. Just like Tidus, Zidane is welcomed back with a punch from Baku. When he finds out he is not from Gaia and realizes he was created to be Garland's puppet, he has a breakdown rejecting his friends and all. The whole game for him, he's basically a Stepford Smiler.
      • Zidane is an Unlikely Woobie as not only is he an orphan from Tantalus raised by Baku, who could give Homer Simpson a run for his money when it comes to parenting, but also he's an Artificial Human made to destroy the world, he's dreamed about Terra all his life just so he could find a place where he belonged after leaving Tantalus. What's more is that he was going to eventually be offed by his actual father (or rather creator) because he created a new Angel of death and you've got one heck of a Woobie main character. During the story, he witnesses his hometown demolished, his planet destroyed, his best friend and "brother" petrified and then captured along with all the other crazy shenanigans he has to put up with even having to find out both his black mage friend and actual brother die. The former from natural causes and the latter from saving his life just because Zidane's good nature took pity on him, the Big Bad! Poor guy has gone through hell and yet he manages to keep smiling.
    • Eiko is the sole survivor of the summoner tribe aside from Garnet, making her an orphan with only moogles to look after her. She's an adorably cute six year old girl who has no family aside from the aforementioned moogles. As her quote in the game suggests, she doesn't want to be alone anymore and is overjoyed at Zidane coming to her home. In the third disc, her love letter to Zidane is misplaced, she's kidnapped by Zorn and Thorn (who are now working for Kuja), loses her guardian Mog, and finds out Zidane loves Garnet more. After all this she gets her happy ending when Regent Cid adopts her.
    • It's implied that your chocobo ran away from an abusive owner before being taken in by a Moogle.
    • Even the eventual true Big Bad himself Kuja could qualify, though he's probably a Jerkass Woobie. He's a product of an assimilation plot started by the Terrans and while he did have a good life, Zidane and Mikoto came along, and were to replace him, meaning he'd end up having to give up his soul just because Garland didn't think he deserved to live after better prototypes were made. And he does eventually redeem himself by teleporting the heroes out of the Hill of Despair, using the last of his strength. With all this, can you blame his selfish outlook on life and eventual Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum? Even Zidane and Vivi felt sorry for him by the end.
  • Woolseyism: Possibly Zidane's name. Zorn and Thorn's speech patterns are a definite (and welcome) example. And in general, this game is the moment when Square's post-Woolsey-himself localization practices really clicked into place - see here for more info.
    • The game localized the protagonist's name from Jitan to Zidane. The origins of the name are unclear (it was most likely supposed to be "Gitan", French for gypsy, and with his last name Tribal it would have been a Punny Name).
    • Incidentally, his name became Djidane in France to avoid the confusion. Probably because djinns are not far from gypsies in the French imagination.
    • The Spanish translation also changed it to "Yitán". If we keep in mind that Zinedine Zidane was playing in Spain during the time the game was released in Europe, Eduardo López (the game's Spanish translator) probably thought it was better not to distract the players imagination.
    • The Italian translation of the game changed his name to "Gidan" for the same reason, as Zinedine Zidane played for several years for Juventus FC
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/FinalFantasyIX