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Final Fantasy IX / Tropes A to H

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Tropes A to H for Final Fantasy IX.

  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Accidental Pervert: At the Bohden Gate, Steiner sneaks Garnet through by hiding her in a bag of Gysahl Pickles, and letting her out in an alleyway. While he's watching the alleyway's entrance, Garnet chooses that time to change out of her pickle-stained clothes. The player is given the option to check the other end of the alleyway, which sends Steiner to the back end of the alleyway, right past Garnet. While the player is doing it deliberately, from Steiner's perspective, he's just properly guarding the alleyway.
  • Action Commands:
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    • 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.
    • There's also one isolated example of Press X to Not Die when Zidane and Quina are entering the Earth Shrine and need to hit X when '!' pops up to avoid a trap.
  • Action Girl: This game has quite a strong Action Girl presence. Notably, it has one of the series' firmest placements on the equal section of the Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality.
    • Dagger and Eiko are powerful magic users who can summon Eidolons to smite their foes.
    • Freya Crescent. To put it in the words of one reviewer:
    "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.
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  • Adipose Regina: Queen Brahne is very large. She's mockingly called the "elephant lady" by Kuja.
  • 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.
  • Adult Fear: The party enter a town that has been conquered by the Black Mage army, and we get to see ruined buildings, bodies in the streets and an old woman crying that she will never see her grandchildren because she was blinded by a fireball. Replace the Black Mages with the modern weapons system of your choice, and this could be a scene from any of today’s war zones.
  • 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. And her mother Jane.
  • 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 her.
  • 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 on the Mist Continent 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.
  • 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. He also has a straight example in the middle of Disk 2 when Brahne announces she will execute Garnet as soon as they land at Alexandria - and he immediately rushes to stop it.
  • 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 {{Beast |Man}}Folk, 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 epilogue. However, he is beginning to return Freya's affections and she plans on trying to start over anew anyway.
  • An Aesop: Several.
    • Friendship is a two-way street; if you're always there for your friends, count on them to be there for you when you need them back, and be willing to lean on them the same way you encouraged them to lean on you. Remember, You Are Not Alone.
    • We don't know how much time we have before we die. But that's okay, as long as we make the most of the time we do have.
    • Blind honor and loyalty are admirable, but should be secondary to standing up for what is moral and right. And that can only come from within.
  • Anchors Away: Boss Hilgigars 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. Interestingly enough, not long before this the Big Bad quotes the Trope Namer speech from Star Wars almost verbatim.
  • 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.
    • Though unintentional, Kuja qualifies as well, if what Mikoto states in the ending is anything to go by. His actions were selfish, but they inadvertently gave the genomes hope and demonstrated that they, too, could form their own lives and identities.
  • 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. But according to Garnet, she did use to be a benevolent ruler and was corrupted by Kuja's influence.
  • 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 {{Beast |Man}}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.
    • During the boss battle against the Black Waltz II, he won't attack Dagger because he's been tasked with bringing her back to Alexandria. If he manages to defeat the rest of the party, he'll simply put Dagger to sleep, causing a Non-Standard Game Over. It appears that all of the Black Waltzes follow these instructions while Dagger never faces Black Waltz I, or Black Waltz III during his first appearance, when she ends up fighting the latter later on in the game he won't attack her either. If she's the only party member left alive, he will start to take damage from a prior injury instead of fighting.
    • On the other end of the scale, in the boss battle against Lani, she will purposefully focus her attacks on Dagger until another party member physically attacks her. She'll even use Scan to see what Dagger is weak to, and then use that against her. It's because Queen Brahne's intentions have changed with time; initially she just wants Dagger bought back unharmed, but later in the game, after she's extracted her Eidolons from Dagger, Queen Brahne just wants the royal pendant back and doesn't care what happens to her daughter.
  • Artificial Stupidity: One Segment playing as Steiner, has Alexandrian soldiers that patrol around and chase him if they spot him, but the moment he gets on a ladder in plain sight, they suddenly look around as if he was missing, before going back to their regular patrolling
  • 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 You Know: In one Active Time Event,a member of Baku's band explains to Baku's band how Baku's Band escaped Evil Forest
  • 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 Mc Coolname: 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 has Steiner confesses his love for Beatrix and then goes into Trance.
  • 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 Beast Man 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.
  • 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. However she eventually changes him back into a human, but threatens to turn him into a Hedgehog Pie should he cheat on her again.
  • 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 and the bizarre, food-obsessed, frog-like Qu.
    • 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.
  • 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".
    • Zidane is a pretty and slight blond teenager, with only slightly more masculine features than Kuja. Genomes in general can be considered as bishounen, given that the males and females look extremely similar to one another.
  • 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.
  • Blatant Lies: Upon visiting black mage village, a sign tells you the path on the right is the path with no owls and the path on the left is the path with owls. The path on the right has several visible owls at its entrance
  • 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.
    • Dr. Tot claims he's read most of the books in the Alexandrian Castle library, has a tower filled with books in Treno, and seems to have inspired Garnet's love of reading.
  • 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 65,535 HP, it has the most HP of any enemy or boss in the game, in addition to having 255 Defense, Magic Defense and Evasion, which makes even hitting it a challenge, much less killing it. If that wasn't bad enough, it 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 BSoD.
  • 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!" Garnet overhears Zidane giving some advice to Vivi on how to fight back against potential kidnappers, and later uses this when she's approached by Zorn and Thorn. It doesn't work, but she tried.
  • Bridal Carry:
    • Zidane carries the unconscious Garnet this way when rescuing her from Alexandria Castle.
    • Steiner carries Garnet like this when they escape from the Evil Forest; she's sick from the effects of the plant monsters within and barely able to walk, let alone run.
  • 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. 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.
  • BSoD Song: Non-singing example: "You're Not Alone!". Also Awesome Music.
  • 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.
  • Caged Inside a Monster: The first major boss battle is against a giant plant monster currently holding Garnet trapped inside the cage formed by its own body. The battle is a Forced Tutorial that introduces the Trance mechanic to the game.
  • 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 BSoD 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. The fact that the numeric values are never explained in game or in the manual 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.
    • The The End screen in the original version also has a hidden minigame of Blackjack, accessible via a code. The Steam and PS4 versions instead unlock it on the title screen after you beat the game.
  • 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).
  • Catchphrase: 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:
    • Most broadly, the concept of mortality and how we deal with its inevitable end. More or less every party member, a number of NPCs, and the overall arc of the plot all address it and add various perspectives on the question.
    • 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.
    • It's worth noting that the overall strength and consistency of the execution of the game's theme is held up as one of its high points compared to its franchise-mates (particularly its PS1 stablemates, who often felt like they got distracted a bit too easily) and is one of the reasons it remains held in high regard, especially as time has gone on.
  • 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.
    • Why stay at level 1? Well there's an item in the game that increases your stats more when you level with it equipped as opposed to leveling up without it. Some gamers challenge themselves to get that 100% completation while keeping levels low to make the most out of the item. However, to get 100% completation, you have to fight the optional bosses in Treno that you have to get experience from, so there's a whole strategy about who you have to "sacrifice" to win those fights and take those levels. There's even a whole strategy to maximize Quinta's usefulness by deciding whether you wand him/her to magic exclusive, melee exclusive, or somewhere in between.
  • 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 turns out to be Prince Puck, heir to the Kingdom of Burmecia.
    • 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).
  • Chevalier vs. Rogue: Zidane and Steiner. Zidane is a professional thief and member of Tantalus, a thieves guild posing as a travelling theatre troupe, while Steiner is leader of the Knights of Pluto and responsible for the safety of the Alexandrian Royal Family. The two come into conflict when Tantalus attempts to kidnap Princess Garnet, but eventually agree to work together for the sake of the Princess' safety.
  • 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.
  • Cliché Storm: Invoked for nostalgia. After the previous two games had taken the Final Fantasy franchise in a science fiction slant, IX was fully intended to be a return to the series' roots as a medieval fantasy. A lot of its plot elements parallel past Final Fantasy titles, especially the first game, as part of homaging what came before.
  • 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: Both Garnet and Eiko fulfil this role, as while they're both able to use white magic, they can also summon Eidolons to attack their enemies. Additionally they can both cast negative status effects, and Eiko can use Holy.
  • 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 BSoD, 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: Both scenarios come into play when Tantalus performs 'I want to be your Canary'. The troupe uses their first performance of the play in order to cover up Princess Garnet's kidnapping, they specifically time it so that a particularly dramatic scene will cover their tracks. Tantalus then performs the play again at the end of the game, in order for Zidane to return to Garnet and declare his love for her on stage.
  • 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 and Vivi. Truth be told, it's revealed they never had parents at all.
    • Eiko as well, though she actually gains parents by the end of the game.
    • Garnet is technically an orphan from the very start of the game; her real parents died when she was just six years old, but she was raised believing that Brahne and the unnamed King of Alexandria were her true parents. Though she's orphaned once again, as the King dies shortly before the game, and Brahne dies part way through.
  • 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.
  • Cowardly Mooks: The Alexandria soldiers that are fought in a couple of levels will flee from battle when they're low on health.
  • 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 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, who was so loved by fans that he made a cameo in Kingdom Hearts II. Vivi is shy, a little clumsy, and incredibly kind despite how the world treats him. He has a habit of tripping over his own feet, and fidgets with his hat when he gets nervous. This extends to the rest of the party, Zidane looks upon him as a little brother, Garnet isn't above hugging him when he's upset, Steiner shows an incredible amount of respect for him, Freya looks out for him, Eiko protects him when she realises how scared he is (and tries to help him save face by demanding he stay close for her sake) and even Child Hater Amarant gives advice to Vivi when he's feeling airsick. Even Quina shows moments of kindness to Vivi, especially when he's doubting that he might not be human.
  • 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 appears to be this when Tantalus are set to kidnap her, but immediately subverts it when she requests to be kidnapped in order to escape Alexandria. She then plays the trope straight when she's taken by Zorn and Thorn, who forcibly extract her Eidolons. Queen Brahne then decides that as Garnet is no longer of any use to her, she's to be executed for stealing the royal pendant.
    • Eiko is kidnapped by Zorn and Thorn, under Kuja's orders, who also wants to extract her Eidolons. However promptly subverted when Eiko is able to fight off her kidnappers by the time Zidane and the others show up to rescue her.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday:
    • When a Summoner turns sixteen, it's possible for their Eidolons to be extracted from them. Garnet undergoes this, and while she survives, she's left very weak. Kuja is set to do the same to Eiko, despite the fact she's only six years old; Zorn and Thorn even point out that she'll probably die if they do it while she's so young.
    • Garnet's sixteenth birthday ends up being fairly dangerous as she's kidnapped by a troupe of thieves, involved in an airship crash in the Evil Forest, ends up being taken captive by a dangerous plant monster, and ends up sick due to the inhaling the dangerous spores that said monster excretes.
  • 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 BSoD. 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.
  • Dark Reprise: A meta one for the series as a whole: the Crystal World's theme is a distorted, sinister sounding version of the Prelude, a typically hopeful song that precedes most of the earlier Final Fantasies.
  • 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 the early game.
  • 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 Quina captures most of the frogs in the marshlands, and then returns before the frogs have had a chance to fully repopulate, you can see tadpoles swimming around instead.
    • 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.
    • While there's no reason for the party to return to Ispen's Castle after Terra is destroyed and Mist now covers all of Gaia, the mist-free exterior of the castle has been replaced with a mist covered version. And while various places are sealed off from Disc Four onwards in order to free up memory, there's an in-story reason for it too; the roots of the Iifa tree have gone wild, sprouting up from the earth and physically blocking certain areas.
    • Additionally after defeating Taharka in Ipsen's Castle, a cutscene will show one character nearly falling through a trapdoor. Who this happens to depends on who's in the party, similar to the hierarchy system. First Garnet, then Eiko, then Vivi, then Quina.
    • The conversation with Amarant changes slightly when he is confronting Zidane at the Eidolon Wall, based on whether the player read his wanted poster in Treno earlier in the game.
  • 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 BSoD. 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 BSoD 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, though apparently she was a sweet and benevolent ruler before the death of her husband, and before Kuja came into her life.
  • 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 vs. 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, is able to eat weakened monsters in order to learn specific skills from them. Entering Trance upgrades “Eat” to “Cook”, which allows Quina to eat an enemy which is at 50% health, rather than 25%. Quina is able to eat almost everything you face.
  • Eye Motifs: All over the place. Eyes appear to be symbols of Terra - and eye symbols can be found in Desert Palace, Oeilvert and Mt Gulug. The Invincible's base resembles an eye (and Garnet mistakenly remembers it as a giant eye in the sky). There are also eyes in the final arena. Hades has several eye symbols on it, as a leftover from when he was the final boss.
  • 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 Beast Man 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.
    • Steiner calls Zidane a monkey arguing over Garnet's safety.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Conde Petie (Scotland).
  • Feathered Dragons: Both the Nova Dragon and Silver Dragon have this appearance. You fight them both as bosses and Kuja uses the latter to travel throughout a good portion of the game.
  • 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: The transition from the overworld to a fight is done via the screen blurring into a spiral effect, that then wooshes into the battle screen.
  • 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.
  • Fish out of Water: A lot of the humor comes as the characters struggle to blend in with town life. The castle-bound Garnet does well but the older Steiner fails e.g. in Lindblum Steiner is looking for Garnet, a red mage mistakenly thinks he's chatting her up and a shop keeper gives him a strong pickle to make him faint. The swamp-bound Quina also has their moments, in the seedy Treno they jump into a river to find a meal but a man nearby thinks it was suicide.
  • 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 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 has a fixed camera both in battle scenes and in cities, towns and dungeons. The only place you have control over the camera is while travelling through the overworld.
  • 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 increases stats by a fair bit and teaches Garnet Shell, so it's useful to get one so early (you don't get another one until about halfway through Disc 2).
  • Foil:
    • Steiner and Zidane, Steiner's self-seriousness and over-protectiveness of Princess Garnet is a contrast to Zidane's outgoing personality and when he's trying to encourage Garnet to interact with the normal world.
    • The children Eiko and Vivi, her confidence and authoritativeness makes Vivi uncomfortable at first, whose was uncertain and shy. Vivi is a prototype for the black mages, one of the first of his kind whilst Eiko is one of the last survivors of hers.
  • 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.
    • In Dali, some of the color fortune omens from the first time you can read it refer to events later on in the game's day. Both smaller ones such as Garnet getting pickpocketed in Treno, and more important ones like meeting Freya in a pub in Lindblum or enlisting the help of Quina.
    • 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 Dali, 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.
  • 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 BSoD. 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 an oglop, then 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. Vivi's fire magic comes in handy while travelling through the Ice Cavern as he's able to melt the ice that is blocking their way, along with thawing out a frozen moogle.
    • The Black Waltz that Garnet fights directly will avoid harming her, because they're under orders to abduct her. The second one will avoid attacking her until everyone else is KO'd, then puts her to Sleep for a Non-Standard Game Over. The third, having been badly wounded and rendered unstable in a previous encounter, just avoids attacking her at all and will begin skipping turns if only she is alive at the moment.
    • Numerous times with Trance.
      • The story explanation for Trance is that it is induced by a surge of powerful emotions. Thus several times in the game when a party member is experiencing powerful emotions, they will enter Trance for an upcoming boss fight. Disc 3 makes Trance a plot point when Mog enters a Trance and turns into the Eidolon Madeen, and Kuja absorbs the captive souls aboard the Invincible to enter a Trance of his own.
      • A more subtle example is Zidane's Trance abilities. All of the other characters get Trance powers directly related to their class, making their pimrary ability more powerful in some manner. Zidane, however, sees all his support Skills replaced by raw power attack commands that deal heavy damage. Seems kind of out of place until you learn that Zidane was created by Garland as his Angel of Death to kill off the populace of Gaia. His Trance is likely his true potential as a Person of Mass Destruction manifesting.
    • Garnet hypothetically has 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 BSoD.
    • The Eidolons themselves also tie into the story with their various abilities. Odin's attack is a One-Hit Kill - which is used to wipe out the entire settlement of Cleyra. Atomos has a gravity-based attack - which is seen being put to use in a cutscene where it attacks Lindblum. Bahamut's Mega Flare is also shown doing hefty amounts of damage in custscenes. Garnet also realises she can't use Leviathan to help her mother - because his attack causes a tidal wave and her mother is with the Alexandrian fleet.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • All characters and parties share the same inventory with the same items in gameplay, no matter who or where they are.
    • The Evil Forest gets petrified and seals itself up, making the player unable to get back inside. Marcus is able to re-enter it during Disc 2 to rescue Blank, but the player is still blocked from going back inside.
    • When the crew reaches Madain Sari, Zidane will ask Eiko about her using Eidolons even if she hasn't cast any at this point.
    • Similarly, during the Hilgigars fight, Garnet will react to Eiko summoning Fenrir against them. However, it's entirely possible for Eiko to have summoned Fenrir multiple times before - and Garnet will never have reacted.
    • In the third battle of Zidane's breakdown at Pandemonium, Garnet will join the battle and cast Curaga on Zidane. This will happen whether or not the player has actually taught her Curaga. After that she is unable to cast Curaga unless taught.
  • 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....
    • 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.
    • Taharka, literally. The thing jumps out as a boss in Ipsen's Castle, with some justification of guarding the mirrors of the shrines. But he's not foreshadowed and not mentioned after he's defeated.
  • 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 Mode: Available via the Pause menu in the PS4 port:
    • Clicking L1 enables "Battle assist": HP and MP refill immediately, and all characters are put in Trance mode, which enables more powerful attacks. Characters are still vulnerable to One Hit Kills and status effects.
    • Clicking L2 enables "9999": all attacks do 9999 damage.
  • 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.
  • Golden Super Mode: For seven of the eight player characters, entering Trance changes their outfits and appearances to heavily include golden highlights and/or clothing (from veins on Amarant to a gold-and-silver outfit for Vivi). The sole exception is Zidane. This is one of the hints that he's not from Gaia. Kuja has the same color scheme in Trance, but The Reveal about him and Zidane happens well before Kuja demonstrates this.
  • 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 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 “Ooh, soft” Tribal. The only woman he doesn't flirt with is Freya, possibly because she doesn't look human, is an old friend of his, or because she's in a committed relationship with Sir Fratley; not that the latter has stopped Zidane before.
  • 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. However, Garnet only remains with the main party for all of one boss fight before leaving. She then returns about third-way through the game.
  • 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. There's a healing spring just outside of Lindblum. It's used by Tantalus after they escape from Evil Forest, and Zidane and company can later come across it when travelling to Gizamaluke's Grotto. It comes in handy, as the party is without a healer at the time.
  • 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 BSoD 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 BSoD: 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 BSoD 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:
    • When Black Waltz 3 charges a Thundaga spell to launch at the heroes, the bolts of lightning from the spell causes his ship's engines to catch fire. Moments before it explodes, we get to see his excellent Oh, Crap! face as he realizes he screwed himself over.
    • Later in the game, 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. However, Garnet's was removed when she was a child in order to be passed off as the real Princess Garnet.
  • 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.

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