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Tropes I to P for Final Fantasy IX.

  • I Am Who?: Zidane is told late in the game that he was created by Garland to be Gaia's "angel of death". This, combined with Garland's attempt to destroy his soul, triggers a very uncharacteristic Heroic BSoD. Of course, Garland wasn't counting on his True Companions.
  • I Ate WHAT?!:
    • During the feast after the Hunting festival in Lindblum everyone, save for Garnet and Steiner suddenly collapse after taking a few bites. Garnet hasn't been eating at all, and Steiner, who has, and now noticed that everyone had collapsed, dramatically falls on his knees and gasps that the food was poisoned and he is dying for his princess... that untill Garnet says there shouldn't have been any in his plate. Upon hearing it, he utters that now that she mentioned it, he suddenly feels much better and stands up again. The alleged "poison" is revealed to be a sleeping herb.
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    • Then there's everyone's reaction to the fact that Eiko put an oglop in the stew.
  • Identity Amnesia: Sir Fratley.
  • Idle Animation: Zidane does some stretching exercises, Garnet fluffs her hair out, and Steiner in particular almost dozes off. He's a soldier, they can sleep anywhere.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Evil Forest. Lampshaded:
    "Plants that attack people... I guess they don't call it Evil Forest for nothin'."
  • If It Swims, It Flies: The steam-powered airship Hilde Garde III is similarly built from the hull of the Blue Narciss, a sailing vessel.
  • I Got You Covered: During the enormous airship versus dragons battle at the end of the game. As the party approaches the final dungeon on the Invincible airship, a legion of dragons comes to meet them to stop them from landing. Unfortunately, the ornate piece of junk actually has no useful weapons. But wait! Straight from out of the clouds comes every airship in existence armed to the teeth, who clear a path so that the heroes can put an end to the Big Bad once and for all.
    • A slightly more specific event comes right when the Invincible is about to get plowed down by a stream of dragons. Beatrix, in Queen Brahne's flagship, flies in from the blue and literally covers the Invincible so it can pass the final stretch.
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  • I Have Many Names: Princess Garnet til Alexandros XVII, princess and later queen of the kingdom of Alexandria and the female lead. After being kidnapped (under her request), her "captor" suggests that she drop her royal bearing and adopt an alias, which she chose Dagger. Lastly, it turns out that Garnet is not her real name, nor is she the real Alexandrian princess. She is in fact one of the last remaining summoners in the world, and her original name was Sarah.
  • I Have Your Wife: Kuja pulled this off, holding the entire party hostage in order to get Zidane and the party members of Zidane's choice to go fetch the Gulug Stone from Oeilvert. (This was immediately followed up by him kidnapping Eiko, though in this case, it was for his own purposes, not because he wanted something from the party.)
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  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: This line is said using "miracle-worker".
    Dammit Jim! I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker!”
  • Immortality Immorality: This seems to be an underlying theme. Many of the themes center around the meaning of life and what it means to live, and the attempts by the people of Terra (through Garland) to stave off death and stay alive lead them to commit horrific crimes (the mass murder of the Madain Sari summoners, Kuja being sent to cause more havoc in Gaia), to the point where it's implied that Terra has destroyed several younger planets already in its quest to stay alive. The quest for immortality leads its pursuers to inflict no end of misery on others.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Kuja goes into a Villainous Breakdown and becomes an Omnicidal Maniac when he learns of his own mortality, deciding that if he doesn't get to exist, nothing else should either.
  • Implacable Man: No matter what you do to Quina, regardless of if s/he ends up getting lost in a dungeon, getting left in the middle of a city being blown up by friggin' ODIN, dropped into a river, or whatnot, s/he WILL come back somehow. You can't get rid of him/her or kill him/her off for good, no matter what you do.
  • Important Haircut: Dagger gets one. So important that it's even shown as a FMV scene. Doubles as a Call-Back to the end of disc 2. In this case it's symbolic of her leaving her princess persona behind so she can focus on stopping Kuja. Tellingly her hair has grown back to its old length by the end of the game.
  • Improbable Age:
    • Eiko being just six years old is incredibly hard to believe given that she's been essentially raising herself, with help from a group of moogles, ever since she was four or five years old. She's also incredibly well read, well spoken, and is able to cook and provide for herself. Despite being raised in isolation from the rest of the world, Eiko adapts to it incredibly quickly. What's more is that in the game's hierarchy Eiko is second. That's right - she outranks both the captain of the Alexandrian guard, and the experienced dragon hunter.
    • Zidane is just sixteen years old, and yet acts as if he's in his early to mid twenties, and apparently has years of thievery under his belt. However Zidane was raised by Baku, who isn't exactly child friendly, meaning that he would have had to mature quickly. Additionally he was raised amongst a group of thieves, so Zidane would have been most likely stealing from a very early age. Genomes may also mature at different rates to humans, though Zidane was designed to 'age normally' so he could experience the emotions that came with it, so he's able to learn to enter Trance, and he certainly looks around sixteen years old.
    • Freya is twenty one, though acts far older than that. It's also revealed that she's been a Dragoon Knight for 'several years' and that she has been searching for her love, Sir Fratley, for five of those years. Though given the time period, it wouldn't be all that unusual for a fifteen or sixteen year old to become a knight, and it's possible that Burmecians mature more quickly than humans do.
    • Vivi is listed as being nine years old, and certainly looks and acts it. However he's only six months old as of the start of the game. Vivi was clearly created to look that age and size, as his adoptive grandfather's height chart shows that Vivi never grew during the time he spent with him.
    • Kuja is only slightly better in this regard, being a famed "weapons dealer", rich Treno personality, proprietor of a massive desert palace, and doing all his villain accomplishments at the tender age of 24.
    • Beatrix is a little more plausible - commanding Alexandria's army at the age of twenty-seven. She's referred to as General, but she doesn't appear to have any subordinates.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Garnet is able to cut off her long hair into a perfectly styled bob with one slice of a dagger while her eyes are closed. Look up a video of someone cutting their hair off with a blade, and you'll find that no matter how sharp it is, it's impossible to cut through hair with just one stroke. Garnet's hair also appears to grow up fairly quickly, as her hair is back to it's full length at the end of the game. However we don't know how much time has passed, it's never stated if it's been one or two years since Kuja was defeated.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Black Waltz No. 1 rains icy death upon you with a jingle bell. This is a reference to the Final Fantasy V Geomancer job, which uses a bell as its primary weapon and could easily attack with a deadly blizzard in a place like the Ice Cave.
    • And of course there's Eiko's flutes and Quina's forks. Although this refers to Quina's culinary theme, tridents are a classic military weapon, and no torch-bearing angry mob or traditional devil warrior would be complete without a good pitchfork. Quina's forks are generally big enough to stand in for either. Stranger are the lacrosse-like "racket" weapons Garnet and Eiko often use, hurling projectiles of unstated composition and endless supply. Given that both Garnet and Eiko are magic-users, it can be justified in that the projectiles are actually magic. They certainly look magical.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: There are several times that Steiner pleads with Princess Garnet to return to Alexandria, usually referring to Zidane (who is standing right next to her) as a "kidnapping scoundrel", or some variation, who is trying to use her. At least once, he reacts this way.
  • In a Single Bound: This is displayed even out of battle wherein the game's two dragon knights, Freya Crescent and Fratley Irontail, easily leap from rooftop to rooftop and leap four to five times their body height from a complete standstill. Even the most athletic members of the party can't keep up. (Although this could be somewhat explained by the fact that the dragon knights are a non-human race of rat people with supposedly much greater leg strength than humans.)
  • Indy Hat Roll:
    • Zidane does this while escaping the Evil Forest. Garnet of all people does this in an airship through quickly-closing humungous doors. Doubly awesome because a much faster craft, which is chasing the party, fails to make it through the doors and crashes spectacularly.
    • Notice who Zidane's barely clinging to as the airship makes it through the gate? That's right, Mr Nice Hat Vivi himself.
  • Indy Ploy: Kuja's goal for most of the game is to enslave an eidolon that he can use to destroy Garland and establish his rule over both Terra and Gaia. Interference by Zidane and Garland ruins these plans, but Kuja develops a new plan that involves seizing control of the power contained within the Invincible and using it to make himself... invincible, so to speak.
  • Ineffectual Loner: The trope is borne out normally, where Amarant is the Ineffectual Loner, and Zidane tries to teach him The Power of Friendship, or at least of discretion.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Queen Brahne while watching the play "I Want To Be Your Canary". As the play is performed every year, she's likely just getting into the spirit of it (it's a tragedy). She pauses for a moment to wonder where her daughter has wandered off to before resuming bawling over the heroine's death.
  • Inevitable Tournament:
    • The game holds not one, but two Inevitable Tournaments. The first being a hunting tournament that you compete in against two other party members. The second is a card tournament. Both you must participate in, but you don't need to win either, although you still need to beat the first two opponents in the card tournament. In fact, the prize you get from the hunting tournament is better if you finish second instead of first.
      • The Festival of the Hunt is a tournament that Zidane, Freya and Vivi end up participating in. Various monsters are let loose on the streets of Lindblum, and points are rewarded for each monster slain. The stronger the monster, the higher the points, and the hunter with the most points come the end is declared the Master of the Hunt. Each hunter is able to pick what their prize will be; Zidane goes for gil (which isn't all that much) and Vivi asks for a Tetra Master card. But Freya asks for an accessory, which happens to be the Coral Ring; an incredibly powerful item in the early game as it can absorb Thunder spells. As Zidane doesn't need to win to progress the game, it's better to let Freya win instead, which can be done by getting Zidane to attack himself in the first battle that he comes across.
      • There's a Tetra Master tournament in Treno that Zidane enters, and unfortunately you need to beat the first two opponents that you face, but you don't need to win against the third and final opponent. Fortunately you can save before each round, and the games aren't terribly difficult. You can also get a decent accessory for winning the final match, but there's plenty of other ways to get it by that point in the game.
  • Infant Immortality:
    • During the attack on Cleyra, Zidane has to choose which way the refugees flee from the black mage army. Even if you make nothing but wrong choices, the two Burmecian kids survive.
    • Potentially subverted however when everyone in Cleyra dies anyway due to Odin's attack. However given that Cleyrans are seen after Clerya is destroyed, then it's possible that the mother and two children also somehow survived.
    • Averted with poor Vivi, who is technically only six months old, who dies during the post game.
  • Infernal Retaliation: The boss of the Iifa Tree isn't very tough, unless you somehow assume that a wood-based creature is weak to fire, in which case you're in for a world of flaming hurt. Using fire spells against Soulcage is ill-advised. Life magic, on the other hand...
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • Stats-wise, this sword is the Ragnarok for Steiner. However, as noted below it's a subversion in that, if you play the game at a normal pace and do most of the sidequests, the Ragnarok will inevitably be his Infinity Plus One Sword. The Infinity Minus One Sword in a normal game will be Steiner's Excalibur, which is still a terrific weapon in its own right. His best weapon, Excalibur 2, is difficult to obtain to the point of being a Bragging Rights Reward—it is found only in one single spot in the final dungeon, but only if you can get there in under twelve hours. This means a lot of missed content and rushing through the entire game for a weapon that is simply not worth the hassle.
    • Steiner's Excalibur sword is something of an Infinity Minus Two sword, if such a thing exists. If you skipped out on Chocobo Hot and Cold and didn't get the Ragnarok, you can obtain the Excalibur with enough gil, a Chain of Deals and a Fetch Quest. The Excalibur is an excellent weapon on its own, and teaches a very good ability in Climhazzard. Shock, the ability Steiner gets from the Ragnarok, is quite frankly overkill in most situations, and since the damage cap doesn't go past 9999 and Shock will do that to almost any enemy unless Steiner is horribly underleveled, the only benefit Excalibur 2 would give him is maybe saving some MP in the long run, which isn't an issue by the time you have access to Shock.
    • Zidane has The Tower and the Masamune, if for some reason you skipped the chocobo hot and cold sidequest, both of which have debatably better Soul Blade abilities and decent attack stats.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Played straight with most of the characters, but subverted with Steiner. A variation exists whereby in order to obtain Steiner's Infinity +1 Sword, the Excalibur II, the player has to go from the start of the game to a point roughly halfway through the final dungeon and search in a specific area, in less than 12 hours. In a game that spans four discs. This time limit is infamous for making it almost impossible to get the sword on the EU version due to the game not having been adapted to the European 50Hz refresh rate, which makes it run a bit slower while the timer (which is linked to the PSX clock) runs normally. The only way to still get the sword in those versions is to exploit a bug and open the console's disc hatch whenever a video cutscene starts, which allows you to skip them and saving you just enough time to get the sword, if you are lucky. The Excalibur II is technically his Infinity Plus One Sword, but you can only get it by rushing through most of the game and skipping almost all of the sidequests, which diminishes a lot of the experience and makes the sword simply not worth the hassle. As a result, for all intents and purposes Steiner's Infinity Plus One Sword is actually the Ragnarok.
  • Informed Attribute: The Alexandrian Army are made out to be a Badass Army, yet when you actually fight them, their most common tactic is usually to flee after taking a bit of damage.
  • Informed Flaw: The Knights of Pluto are mocked as being incompetent... and they are in the first part of the game. Later on, though, they come through in a major crisis when Alexandria is destroyed. One of the soldiers poking through the rubble of Alexandria Castle mentions that the Knights ensured that there were very few casualties of the invasion.
  • The Ingenue: Garnet is so sheltered she doesn't know what a dagger is (although that opens up some Fridge Logic considering that it's a fairly standard piece of weaponry for, say, a castle guard). She spends most of the first disc trying to overcome it.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: Garnet is injured *psychologically* after her home kingdom is attacked and suffers heavy casualties with her unable to do anything to defend it as queen. For awhile she will fail to cast spells or do attacks when told because she is to busy replaying the scene in her head. She also does not speak in game at all during this section.
  • Injured Vulnerability: In order for Quina to successfully eat an enemy, it needs to be under 25% of its maximum HP. If Quina is in Trance mode the target only needs to be below 50% instead.
  • Innocent Prodigy:
    • Vivi is adorably naïve and innocent about the world around him, and he just so happens to be a powerful black magic user. He's also shown to be quite smart and perceptive, especially for his age.
    • Eiko, aged six, meanwhile, has been living on her own as Team Mom to a bunch of moogles. While she's clearly an incredible child (not to mention her white magic), she's very naive, due to her age and lack of interaction with adults.
  • Inspector Javert: As The Captain of Alexandria's 'Knights of Pluto', Steiner is naturally distrustful of Zidane's intentions with Princess Garnet. Zidane's a decent guy, though, if a bit of a Chivalrous Pervert.
  • Instant Runes: Freya's best Dragon skill uses this, despite not being "magic" (as it can be used on the Anti-Magic continent). There's also Zidane and his Dyne attacks. Almost all of them result in runes appearing, whether they simply signal some huge effect or are the weapons themselves. No circles, though, just the runes. And of course, they are in full force for his appearance in Dissidia Final Fantasy. Finally, the Eidolon Ark "draws" a magic circle beneath the enemy party with its laser eye, using it more as a targeting reticule for its subsequent attacks.
  • Instant Sedation: The game plays this straight after the Festival of the Hunt. Princess Garnet puts a sedative in the food that her uncle Cid provides, making sure to leave it out of her own food and Steiner's. Within less than a minute, everyone who has consumed the affected food is down for the count, and Garnet is able to make her planned escape. The sedative in question was designed to work instantly on Garnet herself so she could be kidnapped.
  • Instrument of Murder: Eiko's flute.
  • Insufferable Genius:
    • Beatrix before her Heel–Face Turn.
    • Kuja is highly intelligent, and looks down on almost everyone he meets.
  • Insult Backfire: Not so much a straight-up insult, but in explaining to Quina why he chose him/her to accompany him to the Earth Shrine, Zidane states "Well... I sort of got stuck with the leftovers..." Quina reacts with delight, which puzzles Zidane, until s/he explains, "There old saying in my tribe... 'Leftovers good!'"
  • Insult Misfire: When Zidane taught Dagger how to try and scare off people coming after her, he says to say "Get away from me you scumbags." Later, when Zorn and Thorn have Dagger, she says this but it goes over her attackers heads. They don't understand what a "scumbag" is.
  • Insult of Endearment: "Rusty", Zidane's nickname for Steiner.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence:
    • Dali has an annoying example, where you actually need a key to get over it (and that can be easily missed and Permanently Missable).
    • It is actually impossible (at least while exploring the Alexandrian castle in the timed sequence) to step from the paved sidewalk in front of the west tower onto the lawn right next to it. That blades of grass could be an insurmountable obstacle for anyone is a bother.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Actually bells, which not only open doors, but also shatter after doing so. The doors in Burmecia are opened with bells, of all things. Moreover, those bells shatter after being used for no adequately explored reason. Since some of these doors lead to fairly important areas, such as the palace and the place people get married, one must imagine that somewhere a government contractor is raking in the gil making disposable bell keys.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • It's pretty obvious that one can tell that Marcus, Blank, and Beatrix aren't permanent party members simply because they have no "Trance" bar.
    • Garnet's spell list contains the names of several summons, a few of which are well-known Final Fantasy staples — she just doesn't have the MP to cast them, and won't for some time. It's still a fairly large clue about her origin.
    • You'll know Freya is a Chekhov's Gunman simply by the fact that she's named when she's first introduced within the story (before she becomes a player character).
  • Interspecies Romance: Zidane and Garnet. Genome and summoner, respectively. Garnet and Eiko were Summoners, apparently a different species from normal people, since they were born with horns. Also, Zidane's not entirely human either — obvious from the start since he has a tail, but this turns out to be more than a cosmetic quirk. And then there was the Vivi/Quina marriage, which involved a techno-magical construct and an ambiguously gendered giant frog thing.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Obliquely, Stiltzkin, as every time you encounter him he offers you a trio of items for a set price, and he uses the money to finance his travels.
  • Irony:
    • Zidane and Blank dress up like the Knights of Pluto in order to blend in inside the palace so they can kidnap the Princess. Garnet mistakes them for soldiers and so runs away from them, thus starting the whole fiasco that got the Theatre Ship crashed and Blank petrified. The irony here is that if Zidane and Blank hadn't been so careful in their plan (i.e. just knocking the guards out and sneaking in wearing their normal clothes), Garnet would have recognised them and gone with them immediately.
    • Also Situational Irony that Tantalus thought up a very complicated plan to kidnap the Princess when she was planning on stowing away on their ship anyway.
    • At the Black Mage Village they inhbitants are all scared of the Party that arrives because they're scared of humans, yet at that point the party doens't contain any humans: Zidane (a Genome), Garnet (Summoner), Quina (Qu) and Vivi (a black mage like themselves)
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: It's never a good sign when the princess wants to be kidnapped. It's an even worse sign when her mother and some threateningly-androgynous sorcerer are seen plotting to take over the entire world.
  • Item Crafting: Synthesis shops which allow you to combine your old weapons, armour and accessories in order to make brand new ones.
  • It's All About Me: Kuja, who robs the whole bakery. The motivation for his Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: He was informed that he was mortal and thus would die soon, and he found it utterly unfair that the rest of the universe was allowed go on existing without him. Naturally, something had to be done to correct this grave injustice.
  • It's All My Fault: Dagger blames herself for the destruction wrought on the Mist Continent, and otherwise feels a very heavy sense of responsibility, beating herself up for not living up to her own standards. Zidane and Eiko manage to cheer her up later on.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Memoria. However, the fact that the laws of physics aren't strictly followed here makes it more difficult to say "upstairs".
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Zidane's party arrives in Lindblum just in time for the Festival of the Hunt, where various animals (notably a giant warthog-like creature called a Zaghnol) are let loose in the streets for contestants to hunt. By taking down the Zaghnol, you all but guarantee that Zidane will win the competition (and 5000 gil).
    • Or you can hang back and be a spectator instead, thus letting your Lady of War friend win the competition and setting up the means of getting a nice Disc-One Nuke in the process...
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Despite being an agent of Garland, Kuja manages to inspire just about everyone to have a personal grudge with him, including Vivi (whose people Kuja created and then used as cannon fodder), Freya (whose country he destroyed), Garnet (whose kingdom he destroyed and mother he killed), and most importantly Zidane (who is Kuja's younger brother and personal target of most of Kuja's hatred and contempt). Later, Kuja kills Garland and takes over as the true Big Bad of the game.
  • I Work Alone: Amarant works alone. Naturally he is a "survival of the fittest" kinda player... and eventually learns The Power of Friendship from Zidane, after an object lesson or two.
  • Jiggle Physics: Among the clean-up done to the Steam release, these were added to some (female) character models. Most noticeable in Beatrix, who would clap her hand over her chest in a loyal salute to Queen Brahne, which would cause her breasts to sway rather widely.
  • Joke Item: The tropical gear set (Straw Hat, Aloha T-Shirt, Pearl Armlet, and Sandals) have zero stats on them, which is the same thing as not wearing anything. Worse yet, the Straw Hat makes you weak to all elements. There's no purpose to the items other than a joke or to give players an extra challenge in battles.
  • Just Friends: After Zidane and Dagger/Garnet get "married" at Conde Petie, Zidane comments to Eiko "Anything for my lovely wife," and Dagger says that they're actually "just friends." Zidane comments that that's better than nothing. Later, Eiko asks if they're really "just friends" because it seems to her like they're something more. Zidane says that they are more than friends: they're a team.
  • Justified Save Point: All of the save points (except the ones in the final dungeon) were moogles, who would chronicle your journey in a giant journal. The final dungeon, meanwhile, had a running theme of storing people's memories, thus handily explaining why the non-moogle save points existed there.
  • Justified Tutorial: You get an optional interlude scene in which a moogle is teaching another moogle.
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: The so-called Cotton Robe trick, wherein you can buy Wrists (for 130 gil), Steepled Hats (for 260 gil), synthesise them into Cotton Robes (for 1000 gil), and sell those (for half the 4000 gil purchase price, 2000 gil). Result: 610 gil profit. By two more iterations you'll have enough profit to process Cotton Robes two at a time for 1220 profit. Twenty goes can turn an initial 1390 gil into over 1.3 million.
  • Kid-anova: Zidane is 16 years old, and even though his love interest Garnet shares his age, he hits on much older women as well.
  • Kidnapped by an Ally: The start has the main characters trying to kidnap Garnet for their employer Cid in Lindblum, while at the same time she's trying to escape her Alexandria to reach Cid.
  • Kidnapped by the Call: Played with, Cid Fabool orders Tantalus (Zidane's group) to kidnaps Princess Garnet to initiate a political observation at Queen Brahne's corruption, but it turns out Garnet wants to be kidnapped in the first place for a similar reason.
  • Kid with the Leash: Eiko is the last of the summoners and is one of the two youngest in the group.
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • Yan. They're so adorable... but they're the strongest monsters in the game, and can easily take out a full party in seconds with Comet, which they will take full advantage of, Virus Power, which will prevent the afflicted from gaining any EXP you get in the battle, and has Float/Snort combo, which blows away one of your party members and counts them as Dead.
    • The Bandersnatch, which also has More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • Killer Space Monkey: Kuja.
  • Kill Sat: Ark, complete with mystical targeting electronics readouts.
  • King Bob the Nth:
    • Princess Garnet is the 17th actually 18th person to hold that name. The game doesn't elaborate on how many people have held the name Brahne, but it can be assured that there won't be any more after the game's events.
    • A lesser example from the same game, but the regent of Lindblum is Cid Fabool IX.
  • King of Games: The card game Tetra Master, of which Cid Fabool is the champion in Treno, and is famous for using only oglop cards.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: We see Garnet leaning up for a kiss and then an image of Gaia and Terra crashing together.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: The ending had a "Hug Hug Slap": Garnet ran to Zidane upon his dramatic reveal and happily embraced him, then beat on his chest angrily, because she thought he had died.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The Hero is a thief, so he's naturally kleptomaniac. A notable example however goes to Vivi, a child Black Mage who can spend his intoduction chapter looting multiple stuff from other people's gardens, shelves, beds, displays, and even their chimneys. This includes the infamous "Grandma's Savings", amounting to a measly 9 gil. Nobody minds you stealing from the old lady, and you're never punished, not even by Granny herself who is standing across you at the time.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Steiner, to the point that he makes a clanking sound whenever he walks. He is also chivalrous to a fault, and is torn by his conflicting duties to Queen Brahne and Princess Garnet.
  • Knight, Knave and Squire: Steiner, Zidane, and Vivi, respectively.
  • Kraken and Leviathan:
    • Lord Gizamaluke, who functions as an early That One Boss. He is revered as a god/king by the Burmecians, but the capacity to which is never touched upon in the game.
    • Additionally, there is a boss called Kraken, who is, unsurprisingly, water-themed, and has a knack for blinding your team with ink.
    • You can also run into Zombie Whales, which can shrink their victims with sonic screams or turn them into zombies by spitting toxic dust on them.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Zidane Tribal, the protagonist, has this as a major part of his Character Development. He starts out as a fairly open skirt chaser (at the age of 16, no less), but then he falls for Garnet/Dagger, causing some emo-ness to ensue. Of course, in his case, it's made worse by the fact that Garnet's a princess, therefore supposedly not "reachable" for him even if he changes his ways. Doesn't stop them from getting together in the end, though.
  • Lady of War: Beatrix and Freya. Freya is calm, polite and dignified even when dealing with opponents and is an excellent fighter while Beatrix is a gentlewoman who looks feminine without being over the top about it and is a skilled swordswoman.
  • The Lancer: The game rotates this role a bit during the game: it starts as Blank, but he doesn't last very long in the party. Then Steiner takes over the role, before Amarant firmly and truely takes on every trope associated with Lancerdom. Amarant is Zidane's psuedo-rival, and has a lot of Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy issues that get solved during the course of the game. Oddly enough, the one character that actually uses lances, Freya, never actually takes on this role at any point in the game.
  • Land of One City: Lindblum and Burmecia, which control a goodly portion of the continent with only one city. Also, narrowly averted in that Alexandria has a whopping three cities (or two, it's ambiguous where Treno stands)
  • Large Ham:
    • Kuja. He loves the dramatic, see Lava Pit just a bit below. He's also fond a grandiose speeches, whether or not anyone else is around to listen to him.
    • Again, Zidane's no slouch in that department either. Must run in the, er, family?
  • Last Ditch Move:
    • It's a staple of Final Fantasy games that there will be at least one boss that casts Ultima (usually the strongest spell in the game) as it dies. Here, it's actually a minor plot point.
    • Maliris' "Raining Swords" attack.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • The game is kind enough to not keep track of completion percentage, but it STILL manages to drive the player insane by having an obscure "treasure hunter ranking" that tracks how many treasures you collect. This includes many "key items" that can be permanently missable, one of which is because the guy who gives it to you needs three very easily missable key items and he DIES in the fourth disk — and no, you can't just steal it from his house. Many of the missable items are chests that, for some reason, get refilled (so you miss the chance to gain their previous contents), during periods when you have no reason to be anywhere near their locations.
    • Several of those key items are only available by playing very, very repetitive mini-games that don't otherwise grant a player any other rewards beyond non-unique Tetra Master cards (which aren't good for anything beyond playing Tetra Master anyway) long past most people's patience level. The worst of all is the Athlete Queen, which has a very small window of opportunity to get, and has you race against an NPC until he reaches racing level 80. His level only increases when you win, and he eventually becomes extremely difficult to beat. Good luck trying to get the Excalibur II in a perfect game if you count the Athlete Queen, as the limited window means you can't put it off until later.
    • Several of the best items that will help your party — with stats and by giving you abilities you otherwise couldn't get — have to be synthesised from weaker items that you probably already sold, or can be bought in stores that have already been destroyed, or are locked away in a town that was enveloped by giant tree roots.
    • Equipment that boosts stats also boosts stat GROWTH, meaning that you have to wear it starting at level 1 to get the maximum benefit out of it. Some of the best stat-boosting equipment is only available on disc four, and to get that far still at level 1 you need to run from every battle, find special "friendly monsters" to gain ability points, and use obscure strategies for many bosses. And to make matters worse, you have to get Marcus during the short period he is in your party to level 99, because Eiko later inherits his stat bonuses, but not his level (contrary to Amarant, who inherits Blank's level). Of course this also means you can't get perfect stats and Excalibur II in the same game unless you are willing to keep your game running for three years which is when the in-game clock resets.
    • Steiner's Excalibur II can only be found in the last dungeon of the game (the game is four disks long) and you have to get there before the twelve-hour mark to get it (else you have to keep the game on for TWO YEARS to get another chance at it). There's a guide online that perfected this challenge, showing that it's possible to get the Excalibur II and all missable items and remain at level 1 for stat gains. It'll take you hours to read it.
    • The nearly sole reason why many treasures, items, and events are a Guide Dang It! was due to Square releasing an online system alongside the game that told you where everything was, but to actually use the system proper, you needed a strategy guide published by Square which wasn't an actual strategy guide at all. Instead, the "guide" contained codes you used on Square's website to obtain the information.
  • Last-Name Basis: Aldebert Steiner is almost always referred to as Steiner, or occasionally "Rusty" by Zidane. He also holds the privilege of being the only Final Fantasy character to have his surname determined by the player.
  • Last of His Kind: Eiko and Garnet, last of the Summoners.
  • Last-Second Chance: At the end, right after the final boss is defeated, Kuja, the villain and Zidane's brother, is dying inside the roots of the Iifa Tree when he realizes the mistakes that he's made in his life, resolving to at least try to make up for them by teleporting Zidane and his friends with the last of his power safely away from the now convulsing roots of the dying tree. Zidane, being the good guy that he is, heads straight back into the roots, where he finds Kuja and tries to convince him that he doesn't have to die just yet, and that he can make up for what he's done. Kuja thanks Zidane for the offer, but knows that he's finished. Just then a root heads straight for them, with the scene fading to black right as it's about to hit. It's heavily implied that Kuja died saving his brother from the root, making this a Redemption Equals Death situation.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Amarant joins your party late into the second disc, and there are party members who fill his niche quite well. It takes quite a bit of grinding to set him up with the utility skills that your staple party members take for granted.
  • Late to the Tragedy: This gets ludicrous throughout the middle, wherein nearly every city the protagonist comes across is obliterated literally moments before he arrives. The list of console RPG cliches actually names this "curse" after the main character — who, granted, was created to bring destruction, but not by arriving five minutes after every plot-related catastrophe.
  • Laughing Mad: Kuja went Laughing Mad as soon as he learns from Garland's disembodied spirit that he'll die soon.
  • Lava Pit: Kuja traps your entire party in cells in his Desert Palace with floors that retract to reveal lava beneath them. He threatens to retract them all the way unless Zidane and his selected party members fetch him the Gulug Stone from Oeilvert. However, after Zidane and the others leave, he says he hates keeping promises and puts the remaining party members on a ten minute timer which can be reset by an hourglass, but only if Zidane makes it back in time.
    Kuja: Oops, just ten more minutes. Better start praying. Farewell... My sweet, lovable morons. Ahahahahahahaha!
  • Lawful Stupid: Steiner might as well be the poster boy for this trope. He eventually pulls his head out halfway through the third disc. In fact, his last line to Zidane notes his deep respect for the thief and thanks him for all he's done for Garnet and the world.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Averted. An NPC having a name isn't a hint of anything... unless there isn't an earlier Final Fantasy character with the same name. If there is, it's just a Mythology Gag.
  • Leaked Experience: Averted. Characters not in the active party won't gain any experience points, which can make leveling up certain characters quite difficult and time consuming when the plot removes them from the party and puts them back much later.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: When Zidane has everyone board the airship at the end of the game, Garnet and Steiner are the last to remain. Once he realizes that the two are about to say a heartfelt goodbye, Steiner silently walks off and faces away to stand guard until they're finished speaking.
  • Leitmotif: The soundtrack has so many leitmotif-using songs that it is actually one of the soundtrack's biggest criticisms (depending on whether you think they help tie things together, or simply make everything sound the same). Probably half of the 100+ songs in the game use the leitmotif of a previous song, and many of those that don't hail from earlier games in the series (the Crystal, Chocobo, and Moogle themes, for example).
    • Kuja's Theme, in one form or another, is guaranteed to show up any time that he does.
      • It also plays instead of the usual World Map theme when half the party travels to Oeilvert under his orders to save the other half. This, combined with the airship's eerie scripted flight, really drives home how dire things are.
    • "Melodies of Life". This song appears everywhere, from when the game starts to the ending credits.
    • Beatrix has three versions of hers, and they double as Mood Motifs. Though one of the three doesn't resemble the other two as much.
    • As an example for lietmotifs that subvert the "(character)'s Theme" naming convention, Zidane's lietmotif could be considered to be "A Place to Call Home" rather than "Zidane's Theme" since it frequently resurfaces in places like Oeilvert and other areas that are connected with his past.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Ironically, the Gulug Volcano dungeon contains no lava whatsoever (as it's extinct).
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Steiner and Quina mainly serve as the comic relief, but prove themselves to be valuable allies when they actually get into a fight.
    • Steiner spends most of the first half of the game as the Butt-Monkey and all-around buffoon, but when he actually gets into a fight, he's shown to be a pretty good swordsman. His general demeanor also starts to change when he helps rescue Dagger halfway through Disk 2, and he shows himself to be a competent leader and fighter alongside Beatrix during the invasion of Alexandria in Disk 3. This also happens every time he reaches Trance, where he goes from a knighty in rusty armor to a full on knight in shining armor. Since he's already one of the three melee monsters, this only makes him more dangerous.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang:
    • The game simply let you choose three party members to go with Zidane on one quest, and then take control of the other four as they battle through a dungeon. The next time you split up into four pairs only in the story sense, as you only control Zidane/Quina.
    • The characters split up early in the game to fit in with the Arbitrary Headcount Limit. The entire first third or so of the game is like this, with all the party members together, then splitting up on their own individual sidequests, before they finally reunite in Disk 2. At that point, however, some of the characters are Put on a Bus, leaving enough room for the last party members to meet the Arbitrary Headcount Limit. When the whole party reunites at the start of Disk 3, they never split up again, except for the previously mentioned example.
  • Letter Motif: We have Quina Quen a member of the Qu tribe, other members including its master Quale and Vivi's 'Grandfather' Quan.
  • Level Grinding:
    • Because there is absolutely no Leaked Experience, you will find at least one point in the game that requires some serious grinding (looking at you, Disc 3 Steiner and Freya). Luckily, the Level-Up passive ability makes it a little less painful.
    • The way the game's ability-system works (passive abilities like Auto-Haste and Auto-Regen are learnt from armour and accessories and AP earned in battle) actually provides some incentive for doing this, as you will want the most beneficial abilities (again, Auto-Haste and Auto-Regen) for your characters before entering a dungeon, and will generally only have one of the item teaching the relevant ability at a time.
  • The Lifestream: The Evil Plan is to prevent the souls of the people of Gaia from reincarnating, so the souls of the people of Terra can replace them.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: Black Waltz No. 3 uses Lightning based magic. In the cutscene battle with him, Vivi combats him with Fire magic.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Zidane and Freya most definitely. She's the only female he doesn't actively flirt with and they have a mutual respect and camaraderie from the beginning.
  • Like You Were Dying: Played straight by Vivi, whose race has a very short lifespan. Averted by Kuja, who doesn't take the news of his pending demise very well... Until the very end, where he finally regrets his actions and attempts to make peace with his arch-nemesis.
  • Limit Break: The Limit Break system is called Trance. As a plot device, no less. Even better, it lasts a few turns instead of just being a single attack. ...Or triggers just in time for the battle to end, depleting the bar, and giving you positively nothing to show for it. Although the typical super moves is just one aspect of it, it works more like a Super Mode for most characters and unlike other games, you don't get to choose whether to actually use it when you fill up the bar, meaning you might end up wasting it entirely on weak enemies. It also has plot significance and can be triggered automatically in the key points of the story. The One-Winged Angel form of the Big Bad is the result of this trope. For much of the game, Kuja had sought out the game's Summon Magic to gather the power needed to take his revenge on Garland. After failing to take control of Alexander, however, he decided to take a leaf from the book of the player character's party, and got them to induce a Trance in him. This resulted in the destruction of the planet Terra.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: The first type, for passive skills.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Garnet, the runaway princess, has to go incognito for awhile and needs a fake moniker. Seeing the hero's weapon of choice, she names herself Dagger—assuming the player picks that name, of course. Not doing so renders the scene nonsensical, however.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Being frozen and struck causes instant death, but the character doesn't shatter and can be revived in-battle.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Genomes have monkey tails.
  • Little Miss Badass: Eiko. Yes, she's six years old and adorable, but don't piss her off, or she will summon a giant monster to annihilate you.
  • The Load: Garnet in disc 3, who cannot reliably execute battle commands for plot reasons. She does however get control of her Eidolons this time, making her slightly more useful than she was at the beginning.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There's only 8 party members but there's 5 guest characters. A few of the main cast have their own sub-cast. Zidane has the Tantalus band, Steiner has his 9 Pluto Knights, Garnet has her own family/staff at Alexandria and Lindblum, Eiko has her family of moogles. All have names and there's many different personalties. There's more reoccurring characters than your regular JRPG.
  • Load-Bearing Boss:
    • Evil Forest's boss turns the whole place to stone when defeated.
    • Necron destroys Memoria and the Iifa Tree when he's beaten.
  • Logical Weakness: A stone based monster can be killed instantly by using a Soft on it, which is normally used on petrified allies. The game states that the monster "became too soft to live".
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: Amarant Coral was initially a loner who works as a bounty hunter living by the honor code of "only the strong survive". While he was the last character to join Zidane, he was still dismissive of The Power of Friendship, but that didn't last long when Zidane saved him from falling into his death, which is what changed his heart.
  • Long Game: It's revealed that Garland is playing one of these in his attempt to restore Terra and its people; essentially, he's merged Terra with the planet Gaia, and has been slowly assimilating the souls of Gaia's own reincarnation-cycle. He's also been using his personal Angel of Death, Kuja, to start wars on Gaia so that souls can be siphoned into Terra at acceptable rates. This is a long game that has been running for over five thousand years.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Kuja, the game's main antagonist, turns out to be the long lost brother of our intrepid hero, Zidane. This drives a great deal of the game's plot.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • "Zidane's Theme" is a very long track which only plays during one very short cutscene early on Disc 1. Hence, you're only likely to hear about half the track, if that. Noteworthy because, toward the end of the track, a melody plays which shows up on Disc 3 as "Unfathomed Reminiscence." It's a neat bit of thematic connection that no one would ever hear unless they put the controller down and didn't advance in the dialogue at all.
    • The theme for Fossil Roo. It plays for the dungeon's first couple of screens, but the rest of the dungeon uses the same music as Gargan Roo.
  • Look Behind You:
    • One of Zidane's thief skills is actually called "What's That!?", and makes enemies turn around temporarily to allow for a back attack.
    • In the third fight against Steiner, Zidane and co. desperately try to get him to look back, but he stubbornly refuses to fall for such a trick. In this case, he should have listened, since there was a Bomb growing behind him the entire time.
  • Lord Country: The royal family of Alexandria bear the name "Alexandros". Both double as foreshadowing of the kingdom's guardian Eidolon, Alexander.
  • Lord Error-Prone: Steiner, particularly on the first disc.
    • Though it should be noted, his main failings were his misplaced loyalty and the fact that his rival's biggest strength was cunning. He also undergoes a lot of Character Development over the course of the game and eventually makes even with Zidane, realizes his queen's misdeeds and finds true love. All of that helps him become much more competent.

  • Lost in Translation: The fight against final boss Necron won't make much sense unless you know his original Japanese name.
  • The Lost Woods: Evil Forest, which was actually quite evil, and Owl Woods.
  • Lost World: Three unexplored continents on Gaia, with only the Mist Continent being densely populated and civilised. As airships can't run without mist, and there's none on the other continents, travel to them has been rare. The Outer Continent mainly had its population wiped out in a disaster some ten years previously. The Forgotten and Lost Continents meanwhile have no settlements and are home to a few Eldritch Locations.
  • Lovable Rogue: Zidane Tribal.
    • The rest of Tantalus probably qualifies too.
  • Love Confession: Eiko tells Zidane that she loves him at the end of the game, though considering that he's already in love with Garnet, it doesn't lead to anything. It's likely Eiko just wanted Zidane to know how she felt about him.
  • Love Hurts: Sir Fratley, the love of Freya's life leaves on a journey of epic training. When she doesn't hear of him for some time, she embarks on the world to find him. During the events of the game, she eventually runs into him but he is suffering from amnesia and doesn't remember her. Ouch.
    • It's even on her quote in the game's manual. Quite a Player Punch when you find out what it means:
      Despair. To be forgotten is worse than death.
    • In the game's ending, his memory never returns, but he falls in love with Freya again, anyway. Awww.
  • Love Informant: Hilariously misfires. Eiko wants someone to be the love informant from her to Zidane. The letter Dr. Tot writes for her is misplaced several times, is misunderstood, and ends up sparking love between Steiner and Beatrix.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Eiko got help from the Doctor Tot to write a love letter to Zidane, and when hung on a peg she's forced to ask Baku to deliver it to Zidane. Baku accidentally drops it and forgets to mention the whole thing to Zidane. This leads to Beatrix believing the letter is from Steiner and vice versa; the two do wind up becoming a couple, and no one's the wiser. Even if Eiko, Blank, Markus and Baku do witness their first tentative meeting. The music that plays during that scene is even entitled, "Foolproof Love Letter Scheme." A nice alternate title for the trope...
  • Low-Level Run: The level 1 challenge. Yes, you can beat the whole game this way note  and even take out Ozma, the hidden superboss. Not for the faint of heart or patience.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The battle against Necron; his ability to take several consecutive turns means that whether you win or lose is largely determined by how often he attacks and what kind of status ailments Grand Cross inflicts upon you. The battle against Kuja isn't quite as bad, but he has a habit of countering every attack with the damaging Flare Star in the latter half of the fight, and can decimate your party if you don't pause to heal up.
    • The Superboss Ozma is an especially blatant example — its Meteor never misses and usually KO's the whole party instantly. Even if they are saved by Auto-Life, it's possible for Ozma to cast Curse right after it. Good luck.
  • Luck-Based Search Technique: The game had a list of options to search a secret wall, such as examining it, poking it, shoulder barging it etc. After a while it came up with the option "rest"... which led you to lean back on the wall, and open the door. Justified in that this was in the upside-down/backwards castle, so the the best way to get through the wall was to apply the smallest amount of force possible.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Not only is Kuja from the same world as Zidane, they were created by the same person, making them something like brothers. Don't ask where Kuja was hiding his tail in that scanty outfit. It's best not to think about it.
  • Luck Stat: The Spirit stat. Affects random damage, critical hits, how quickly the trance bar fills up, and just about anything else the programmers would normally just have a constant in the equations for.
  • Lucky Seven: The attack "Lucky 7s", a Shout-Out.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Dragon Kuja is a "brother" of sorts of the main character Zidane — they were both artificially created by the same man.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: The game makes you do this after your allies get grabbed. Not as jarring since it's basically an evil fetch quest.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Alexander versus Bahamut, Ark's first attack, Zidane's Grand Lethal Dyne skill, and Matra Magic.
  • Made of Iron:
  • Madness Mantra: Black Waltz no. 3's chant "I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill"
  • Magical Clown: Zorn and Thorn, two jesters who are also wizards and spymasters for Queen Brahne.
  • Magical Flutist: Eiko, a white mage and summoner, can use flutes as weapons.
  • Magic Antidote:
    • A "soft" (whatever that is) can instantly cure a character that has been turned to stone, except if you've been turned to stone by a forest, in which case you need to spend a quarter of a disc searching for a 'supersoft'.
    • There's also a "vaccine" that can cure a viral infection after the fact.
  • Magic Missile Storm: Alexander's Divine Judgment is depicted in this manner. Kuja's Ultima combines this trope with Death from Above.
  • Magic Pants: With both Zidane and Kuja, whose trance forms have all their clothes vanish in lieu of fur, yet reappear as soon as it ends.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Zidane, Freya, and Quina can eventually hit for 9999 damage every time, ignoring all defenses and immunities. However, to power the attacks up to that level, Zidane has to Steal successfully several hundred times, your party has to kill 100 Dragon-type enemies for Freya's attack, and Quina has to catch 99 frogs.
    • Steiner's Sword Arts is this. The first couple you have access to in the game are either flat out useless, require you to jump through some hoops to become useful (Minus Strike), or will just pale in comparison to him going Attack! Attack! Attack!. But once you start unlocking ones like Climhazzard and Shock... they will easily near the damage cap. Sure, they will chew through his MP, but this is easily mitigated by all the access to endgame resources.
    • In a sidequest providing an example, Chocobo Hot and Cold. When you first begin on Disc 1, you can get a few petty treasures, but once you get the Blue Narciss the sub-quest explodes, and with patience to find the Chocographs and track them down, you can get end-game equipment before you head to the Desert Palace, including armor to teach Vivi and Eiko Flare and Holy.
  • Male Gaze: FMV with Dagger atop Lindblum castle playing with the pigeons.
  • Mana Burn: The Venom status-ailment decreases your MP gradually along with your HP. And paralyzes you to boot.
  • Mana Drain: There's also White Draw, a Dragoon skill. It drains MP from an enemy and splits it among all the current party members.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Kuja to Brahne, and Garland to Kuja... until the beginning of the third disc. And at the end of the disc, too.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kuja plays the entire world against itself in his quest for power. He's so good at it that people think he has the power of mind-control, when he's really just giving them enough rope to hang themselves.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Kuja highly enjoys art and luxury. We also see that he owns an extremely wealthy estate in Treno. His Desert Palace displays his impeccable taste in architecture, as well.
  • Marathon Boss: The optional Marathon Boss was Ozma because the Ozma challenge was a Guide Dang It!, That One Boss Bonus Boss Luck-Based Mission, in which you would spend more time healing, reviving and waiting to counter its attacks than actually dealing much damage. With a mere 65000 HP, Ozma can be taken down with less than nine hits, but that's before he casts Curse, followed by Meteor.
  • Master Swordsman: General Beatrix, whose badass boasts get fulfilled with use of her swordplay. According to the manual, Steiner once beat her in a fair fight - making him an example too.
  • Matriarchy: Alexandria, a Patriarchy Flip of a monarchy, is a fairly bog standard monarchy. The leadership of the kingdom is passed down to female heirs instead of male ones, and the army, like that of Troia above, is almost entirely made up of women.
    • The male Pluto Knights, led by Steiner, also get a lot of grief from the rest of the female soldiers.
  • Matrix Raining Code: One of the first hints to Zidane and Kuja's shared origins shows up in various teleporters and during the Dyne abilities. It works as foreshadowing for the more technologically advanced second half of the game, but it's still slightly jarring.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Kuja" is the name of the ancient Babylonian god of war, most famous for wanting to murder his brother. There's also a shout out to this in the way Kuja's Trance (which gives him god-like power to boot) turns him red, the standard color of war deities in real world mythology. Bonus points, kujaku is the Japanese word for peacock. He certainly shares its flamboyance.
    • "Alex-ander" is Greek for "defender of man." Guess what the Eidolon called Alexander does.
    • The idol Lowell Bridges is apparently named for a whole family of well-known Hollywood actors.
  • Meaningful Rename: Garnet takes up the name Dagger (by default) early on in the game both to conceal her identity and to represent the beginning of her casting aside her previous identity as a sheltered princess. Later on in the game it's revealed 'Garnet' is one as well since her real name is Sarah and she was adopted by the Queen.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Late game, Kuja succeeds at achieving a power greater than Garland and killing him, securing his spot as the most powerful being alive. Unfortunately for him, he learns that his lifespan is about to run out and thus he'll never get to enjoy it. Even later still, a crazed Kuja succeeds in damaging the Original Crystal, which he believes will destroy all reality, but it's rendered meaningless because the embodiment of nothingness, Necron, is immediately defeated by the heroes, thus allowing the world to continue.
  • Meanwhile Scene: Done via the Active Time Event mechanic. This trope is actually a game mechanic, where you can see what other party members or even NPCs are doing by looking at "Active Time Events". A few of them can grant items, but most of them are just for fun. Some are mandatory, but most aren't.
  • The Medic: Dagger/Garnet. The Chick, Mysterious Waif, and meekly-Rebellious Princess. There was also Eiko Carol, a Bratty Half-Pint with even more White Magic.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: Chocobo Hot & Cold. Playing it is the only way to teach your Chocobo new abilities, and by extension the only way to reach certain areas and collect certain items (including Zidane's Infinity +1 Sword).
  • Metaphysical Fuel: Most technology is ultimately powered by dead people's souls.
  • Midair Bobbing: Flying enemies mostly bob; Floating party members, interestingly enough, don't, acting as though they were standing on an invisible platform about four feet off the ground.
  • Mighty Glacier: Adelbert Steiner is pretty slow in body, and before Character Development kicks in he's not exactly swift when it comes to brains, either. On the other hand, he can give a tremendous amount of punishment.
  • Military Mage: Black Mages are actually artificially-created golems used as slave soldiers by the Alexandrian army. Vivi was intended to be one as well, but is a Super Prototype which developed free will and apparently escaped. Standard Black Mages appear to be used exclusively as artillery; the more-powerful flying Black Waltzes are special forces assigned to solo tasks. Vivi himself can act as both artillery and support, empowering Steiner to use powerful elemental sword attacks.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Averted. On the three occasions that cities are attacked and/or destroyed altogether, there is a huge amount of mourning: when Cleyra is wiped off the map, the main characters (Freya in particular) are shocked by the loss of life- though they are forced into action very quickly; Zidane and Garnet are visibly horrified by the attack on Lindblum, especially since they actually have to walk through the ruins soon after; finally, Garnet actually loses her voice when confronted with the destruction of Alexandria and the casualties that resulted.
    • Doubled by the fact that the Eidolons used were forcibly extracted from Garnet.
  • Mind over Matter: At least three mages have psychokinesis among their magical repertoire: Kuja and Queen Stella restrict it to taking items from Zidane, while Garland puts it to better use in his boss battle.
  • Mind Rape: Zidane suffering a BSOD... not from finding out that he was an alien who was meant to be the Angel of Death for his adopted homeworld, but from actually having the man who created him rip his soul out. Fortunately, that just made him wangsty until his friends could give him a sequential pep talk.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The summoning doodads (which are implied to look like regular gemstones) get considerably more play than the traditional Four Crystals also in the game.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Lani the Bounty Hunter.
  • Mini-Game: Tetra Master and Chocobo Hot & Cold.
  • Mini-Game Credits: You can play a Blackjack mini-game after the credits if you put in a certain code.
  • Minigame Zone: The auction house in Treno, and the three areas that host the 'Chocobo Hot and Cold' game. The fact that the latter has such insanely catchy music probably helps.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Subverted with Kuja. When Queen Brahne summons Bahamut to blow him to atoms, Kuja simply steps protectively in front of his dragon and takes the full blast. He is smirkingly uninjured, until a trickle of blood runs down his forehead, causing him to react in shock for a moment... then immediately sing the praises of the powerful summon monster.
    Kuja: You even managed to hurt me!... a little.
  • Mirror Match: The Epitaph enemy summons random clones of party members to fight alongside it. And if that person is in your party, it somehow causes a paradox which instantly KOs the person it's a clone of (unfortunately, resurrecting that character during the fight will only cause another immediate one-hit kill from the mirror monster). On the bright side, each mirror-monster will spawn up to three doppelgangers per battle. Defeating them grants lots of experience - you may find yourself enjoying the company for a while.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Freya lets out a mirthless laugh of shock upon learning that her long-lost boyfriend, Fratley, has amnesia and no memory of her whatsoever.
  • Missing Secret: Examining a fountain in Lindblum yields the message "There's no place to insert the medal". This appears to be a Shout-Out to Resident Evil 2, which featured a fountain that the player had to insert a medal into, but that didn't stop eager item collectors searching for both the "medal" and a place to insert it...
  • Mistaken Declaration of Love: Eiko writes Zidane a love letter, and drops it off where Zidane will find it. Steiner finds it instead, and assumes it's a love note to him from Beatrix. He drops the letter, causing Beatrix to find it, who assumes the inverse.
  • Mistaken Message: The reason Beatrix and Steiner fall in love with each other... at least in theory. The passive-aggressive Belligerent Sexual Tension was already thick enough to cut with a knife, this scene just happened to be said knife.
  • Modest Royalty: Garnet dresses fairly casually for most of the game, and actively tries to behave in a more "common" fashion, as well as changing her name to Dagger. And again, she is a princess who actually does something. She has a fancy gown, but she only wears it for formal occasions.
  • Moment Killer: Poor Steiner and Beatrix simply don't have a chance when Baku, sneezing loudly, enters the scene...
  • Money for Nothing: The enemies give absurd amounts of gil when beaten, and Quina can learn the "Millionare" ability fairly early too to increase that amount even more. In addition, the majority of the game's weapons and equipment can either be stolen from bosses, found in dungeons, or aquired in various side quests for free, so there isn't nearly as much a need to buy equipment in stores. Not to mention you'll probably find yourself with boat loads of various consumable items just from stealing and enemy item drops. There still are a few money sinks like synthesizing and the Treno Auction house, but getting the money for them is extremely easy. And if you exploit the Cotton Robe trick, it's more noticeable; for every 1690 Gil it costs to produce one, you can sell it to any merchant for 2000 Gil for a clean 310 Gil profit. If it's exploited in early Disc Two when you first visit Treno, you will end up with a ridiculous amount of cash (and consequently the funds to sink into powerful equipment at the Auction House), and if you do it after you get the Global Airship in Disc Three (by which time you will in most likelihood have 99 of every healing item already), you can end up with millions of useless Gil within an hour of gameplay.
  • Monster Arena: Knights House in Treno, housed in the local weapon shop. A series of four Elite Mook monsters can be fought here at various points in the game.
  • Monster Clown: Zorn and Thorn. It gets better, later we find out they're actually two halves to the same being, known as Meltigemini. The lack of any explanation makes it all the stranger.
  • Monster Town: Black Mage Village.
  • Mood Dissonance: The game's visual style looks very bright and cutesy, but a shocking amount of depressing and violent scenes happen in the game, including war and genocides.
  • Mood Whiplash: Things can go very bad VERY fast, before shifting back to a lighthearted tone. More prevalent in the early game, before it settles into a more general sense of Mood Dissonance as described above.
  • Mook Maker: Black Mage factory in Dali.
  • Morphic Resonance: Both of Regent Cid's Baleful Polymorph-induced forms - an oglop and a frog - retain his characteristic crescent-shaped moustache.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Princess Garnet is revealed to be one of the last Summoners, who survived a great catastrophe by going away with her mother on a boat. Her mother, though, had died as soon as they got to Alexandria. Also, Zidane qualifies once the full scope of his origin is revealed
  • Mr. Exposition: Dr. Tot, Dagger's former tutor, gives a lot of interesting background on summoning and other parts of Gaia's history along with the truth about Dagger's past.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Garnet wears a skin-tight orange latex outfit showing off her butt, and her Trance outfit swaps in a different outfit to add Absolute Cleavage to the mix. Bonus points for her nice rear being lampshaded for a Funny Moment when Zidane accidentally gropes her while climbing up a ladder. "Ooo, soft!"
    • Beatrix, to whose Boobs of Steel the camera also devotes plenty of affectionate attention.
  • Mugged for Disguise: First happens early in Alexandria (see Not My Driver below) and later when Zidane sneaks onto the restricted elevator in Lindblum, all in disc 1.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Fire Shrine guardian Maliris, definitely; Alleyway Jack, not so much.
  • Multiple Endings: Having certain items in your inventory alters the ending very slightly.
  • Mundane Utility: Vivi successfully uses his fire spells to cook food a few times, and he can melt giant icicles blocking treasure chests.
  • Musical Assassin: The game plays with this. Eiko's weapon class is a flute that she hits people with it for her standard attack. The real reason she has it is to do Summon Magic. She's a White Magician Girl.
  • Musical Nod: It's also used at least once; the Castle Pandemonium theme in that game is a slower organ version of the Castle Pandemonium theme from Final Fantasy II.
  • Musical Spoiler: The intro to the "Fairy Battle" theme is meant to sound just like the intro for a standard battle, probably to avoid the Musical Spoiler — but the instruments are different enough that if you're paying even a bit of attention, you can tell the difference.
  • Musical Theme Naming: The Black Waltz #1, #2, and #3 bosses. Zidane was right on the money in guessing how many of that threat they'd have to face.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Both Steiner and Beatrix are this during the first half. Beatrix's case is much like General Leo's above, while Steiner, being a main party character, is constantly attacked by the queen he's trying to serve. They both come to their senses as the story progresses.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Beatrix turns on Queen Brahne halfway through the game, after the Queen uses Odin to destroy Cleyra, and then proceeds to order Princess Garnet's death. The party still has to fight her one more time after she starts doubting her liege, though.
    • Steiner's character arc is explicitly stated in the opening scroll as choosing between what's lawful or right. He also has this issue initially and is very unhappy that Garnet willingly went with her kidnappers. Like his counterpart, he starts doubting his faith in Brahne after handing Garnet back over to the queen's men, and eventually turns on her entirely around the same time Beatrix starts having doubts (in fact, he's the one that puts the discontent in her head).
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Vivi's adopted grandfather Quan becomes disenchanted with the traditional Qu way of life and decides to seek new methods of eating and tasting instead of simply gobbling up everything in sight. Seeking new ways to taste food, Quan thought of attempting to fish the Mist from the sky and eat it, but eventually realized the importance of imagination and sharing one's experiences and memories after he catches Vivi instead. Teaching Vivi gives Quan a new perspective on life and eating, which he eventually shares with Quina and Quale. His fellow Qus are disgusted by this act and disown him, although Quina comes around later on.
    • This actually ties in rather beautifully with the driving themes of the game when you think about it. Consider that the main theme of the game is, ostensibly, that "Life is precious not because of how long you live or how important you think you are, but because of how you choose to live it and what you do with the time you have". Quan's rejection of the shallow ways of most of his people - which basically consist of simply eating, and cooking for one's own self - enabled him to learn something deeper, giving him a unique individual strength and character which he shared with Vivi and later shared with Quina and Quale. Quina himself/herself is seen giving the same lesson to the Qu working in Alexandria's royal kitchens during the Epilogue.
  • Mysterious Mist: Lower parts of the Mist Continent are covered in mist that spawns monsters and are known to increase aggression in other beings. It's discovered early in the game that the Black Mages are beings manufactured using mist, and later on it turns out mist is the by-product of the Iifa Tree removing Gaia's souls from its cycle of souls and replacing them with Terran souls.
  • Mystical Waif: Garnet One of only two remaining summoners.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the game's reasons for existing.
    • The play in the ending sequence includes the line "No cloud, no squall shall hinder us!" This is one of many such references to the game's predecessors.
    • Getting the Ramuh Eidolin requires gathering parts of a story. Said story is about Josef's Heroic Sacrifice in Final Fantasy II.
    • When the main character is in a weapon shop he sees a sword on the wall. He remarks that he remembers "a guy with spiky hair" who used a sword like that. The sword looks very similar to Cloud's Buster sword from Final Fantasy VII.
    • In fact, the game was filled with these, since it was basically a reference to the series as a whole, to wit: the return of the Battle Theme Music that had been last heard in Final Fantasy VI, a sidequest involving characters named Doga and Une, the in-game band's performance of the Rufus march from Final Fantasy VII, the appearances of black mages as faceless people with glowing eyes underneath wide-brimmed hats, which had been avoided (at least for player characters) after Final Fantasy V, and the general return to cartoonish proportions in the character design, which had been eschewed in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII.
    • One of the villains is named Garland and the four fiends are named after the ones from Final Fantasy I.
    • Zidane and Kuja, technically brothers, came from a different world, and were being manipulated by someone there to destroy all life on this world. Sound familiar?
    • Kuja kidnaps a princess named Sarah (Garnet's real name) and a woman named Hilda like the original Garland and Emperor Mateus respectively. He also goes on a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum upon learning he is mortal like Xande and like Golbez he is the brother of the main protagonist. His character design bears resemblance to Sephiroth and his plan disrupts the natural cycle of life. Finally, like Kefka he uses this game's summons to gain more power and usurp his boss with Garland's death mimicking that of Emperor Gestahl.
    • And of course, the Trance powerup, which turns the characters into furred versions of themselves for an incredible power boost, is a reference to Final Fantasy VI's Terra.
    • In the final dungeon, you are traveling corridors that represent the past; the further you travel, the further you go back into the past. In Final Fantasy I, the final dungeon involves traveling back in time to get to the core of the world's problem. In both instances, you fight the four fiends along the way.
  • The Nameless: Subverted for Vivi in the beginning. You actually control him, walk around Alexandria freely, while his name is literally unrevealed until some time later. Even if you open the menu, his name is really written as "??????????????". This also happens to Zidane, but with much more brief time. No other protagonists experience this. While Amarant is briefly called as "Red-Haired Man", he is yet to join the party so you can't see his name in the menu at the time. This foreshadows Vivi and Zidane's true nature. Specifically, their lack of identity.
  • Names to Run Away From:
    • Necron.
    • A subversion with Tantalus - in this case the name belongs to the Tantalus Theatre Troupe. They're not so much terrifying as they are...well...they're a group of laid-back, Large Ham actor-thieves, including a beloved Ensemble Dark Horse, Blank. The game's main character is also an on-and-off member of the troupe.
  • Nature Spirit: The game features Nymphs in two categories - antagonists who appear as enemies in battle and benevolent creatures, that give the party money and AP in exchange for ore.
  • Nature Vs Nurture: Zidane decides to try to rescue Kuja at the end of the game, stating that had things turned out differently, he could have ended up like him. Both of them were created and manipulated by Garland, but Zidane was abandoned on Gaia unaware of his true heritage, while Kuja learned the truth of things and went on a mad rampage. Players of the game are left to wonder if Zidane, who lives by the motto "you don't need a reason to help people," could have ever been like Kuja, given his apparent nature.
    Eiko: Come on, Zidane! Why are you doing this!?
    Zidane: Because... Because I might've done the same thing if I were in his shoes. I probably would've fought against you guys and wreaked havoc in Gaia like he did... I know it sounds crazy... ...but I know, deep down inside, I have to do this.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Kuja almost succeeds in destroying the universe. Thanks to Zidane and co., this is averted. He only totals one world.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Played straight with Freya but averted with Garnet and Eiko. Freya's motivation stems from her lover Sir Fratley going off to war and never coming back which is also the reason she's never returned to her home. Garnet is essentially the main hero of the story with the other characters getting yanked into the plot based around the decisions she makes. Her main source of motivation is what's happening to her mother. Her father is dead but she doesn't express much angst over that. Eiko also serves as a sort of surrogate sister figure to Garnet. She mentions her dead grandfather a few times and is motivated by a crush on Zidane (that quickly disappears) but her protector Mog is revealed to be female, thus averting the trope. It's arguably inverted with Zidane whose main motivation is based around his attraction to Garnet. But then subverted at the end of Disk 3 for the poor guy.
  • Nice Hat:
    • As always, the Black Mage's pointy hats are awesome, but Freya's and Sir Fratley's hats are also nice. Freya's red hat is a mix between the Red Mage pimp hat and the Dragoon helmet. It's so awesome that we never get to know what she looks like under it.
    • Steiner's conquistador-like helmet.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: First our heroes open the path to Terra (just what Kuja wanted) and later they defeat Garland, allowing Kuja to reach ultimate power. Nice job guys.
    • The heroes arrive at Cleyra to warn the people there that Alexandria is coming to attack them. This spurs the Cleyran leaders to enact a special, ancient ritual to strengthen the defensive spell that already protects the region. In performing it, the artifact that keeps the spell going breaks, leaving them defenseless instead. Oops.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Creating the Black Mages was certainly a good plan...except that your Super Prototype is highly likely to be one of the four people killing you at the end of the game.
  • The Nicknamer: Kuja tends to refer to Garnet as a "canary" and Queen Brahne as an... "elephant-lady."
  • Noble Top Enforcer: Beatrix is the toughest opponent in the first two discs. She sides with the heroes when she learns that Queen Brahne was plotting against her own daughter.
  • No Flow in CGI: A cloth example in Princess Garnet's white dress, most memorably seen in the game's opening and closing FMVs. In the FMVs, the dress's motion flow is pretty natural, but in-game, the dress literally doesn't move. After speaking to the rest of the party at the beginning of Disc 3, Garnet steps backward and turns, and the dress stays the exact same shape. In fact, it doesn't seem like any part of her body or her clothes move at ALL in that dress, at least not below the waist.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Lampshaded when Eiko's hitting on Zidane makes him realize what he's been putting Dagger through. In this case, it's "Nobody Wants To Be Chased."
  • Noisy Nature: During the dramatic opening, there's a close-up of a pigeon crying like a red-tailed hawk.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Ark. How does the party even survive that?
  • Not the Intended Use: One would think it would be insanity to use tents (powerful healing items) on enemies. It turns out that pitching tents hits them with many negative status effects, as well as healing them. Do this at the start of a battle, and it makes the fight much easier.
  • No Pronunciation Guide:
    • Zidane's name comes from the French 'jitan', so it should be pronounced 'zid-an'. Essentially the same way as footballer Zinedine Zidane. Judging from the fan dubs on YouTube, a good portion of fans assumed it was 'zi-dayne'.
    • Eiko usually gets 'ee-koh' or 'eye-koh' - sometimes even 'ei-ee-ko' (as in Aisha) - when it's 'ay-koh'.
    • To a lesser extent, Garnet's name sometimes gets wrongly pronounced by putting emphasis on the second syllable (gar-net).
    • Let's not forget Oeilvert. Discussed here.
  • Nominal Importance: Played straight and almost Deconstructed with the Black Mages, who are all named numbers, being mass produced. Even after they gain sentience, they still refer to each other as #86 or #147. Even the leader is #288. Only Vivi has an actual name, and learning about the Black Mages, goes through an existential crisis as he wonders if he too has a number.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Queen Brahne from the first half.
  • Non-Human Undead: A zombie whale.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: Players will sometimes go through the game without gaining a single point of experience, competing it at level one. Through creative use of abilities, spells and equipment, most early bosses can actually be killed faster than if one were to play through normally. Quina's Limit Glove Blue Magic deals 9999 damage if s/he has 1 HP remaining, which is enough to one-shot everything until Oeilvert, by which time Zidane and Freya are able to do the same with their own attacks.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: Regent Cid keeps his mustache when transformed into an oglop and a frog.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: There are two instant-lose conditions at the start of the Evil Forest section. Garnet and then Vivi get abducted by a monster, and you have to kill it to free them. During each fight, the monster sucks up Garnet and Vivi's HP, and if their HP hits zero, they die and the game ends. Also, in the fight against Black Waltz #2, it will not attack Garnet. However, if all the other party members are KO'd, it will cast Sleep on Garnet and spirit her away, ending the game.
  • Noob Cave: Two: Evil Forest and Ice Cavern, with the latter has Dual Boss.
  • Noodle Incident: Steiner's ATE in Dali Village ends by cutting back to Zidane in the middle of recounting a past exploit to Garnet, much like Jack Sparrow's 'chief' story.
  • No-Sell: Characters learn Equip-abilities, which remain active through every battle. Several of these are status-effect related (Body Temp, Antibody, Locomotion), and grant perpetual, permanent immunity to their respective status effects (Heat/Freeze, Poison/Venom and Slow/Stop, respectively), allowing you to render many of the game's nastier status effects ineffective. Knowing which ones to equip is essential for late-game bosses.
  • Nostalgia Level: Several, calling back to dungeons of the oldschool games of the franchise:
    • The Ice Cavern early in the game was originally in Final Fantasy I, as was Mount Gulug, which shares music and revamped bosses from the first game's Gurgu Volcano.
    • Pandemonium Castle, Garland's fortress, was the capital city of Hell in Final Fantasy II. The BGM is, again, a rearrangement of the original Pandemonium theme.
  • Nostalgic Musicbox: There's a phonograph music box at the Inn in the Black Mage Village. If you have certain special items purchased at the auction house in Treno, it will play pieces from earlier Final Fantasy titles corresponding to the special items.
  • Not Himself: Zidane displays this for a short while near the end of the game. Given his normally cheerful personality, this moment is notable as it hints at what he was really capable of if he had been acting towards his intended purpose — i.e., an angel of death and destroyer of worlds.
    • A good chunk of the game's first half is driven by Princess Garnet wanting to find out why her mother was not acting like herself. Turns out she was being influenced by Kuja.
  • The Nothing After Death: The infamous Necron, who isn't exactly foreshadowed all that well by any account; but as the True Final Boss this seems to be what most agree that, at best, is what it's supposed to represent.
  • Notice This: The game uses this by having an icon "!" appear over the character's head whenever he approaches a treasure or trigger. This is immensely helpful to the player when the character is "off in the distance" where perspective makes everything ridiculously small, or when triggers are part of the natural landscape, or when chests blend in with the environment.
    • It tried to keep things interesting by making a number of those "!" just pointing out signs or notes. But if you didn't see something tacked on a wall, it's a fair bet there's an item there.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Quina reminds blissfully unaware of the plot for most of the game. Quina just likes food. Lots of food.
  • Not My Driver:
    • Variation. Steiner's first assignment is to find all eight of the Knights of Pluto — he comes across a ninth. It's Blank, who waits 'till Steiner finds Garnet to reveal himself.
    • On disc 3, when Kuja's Bahamut fails against Alexander, he summons the Invincible to summonjack it instead... before realising that Garland is at the helm.
  • Not So Different: Vivi compares his fellow black mages first to the toys he sees little kids playing with, and later to the Genomes. Like the toys, the black mages and the Genomes are both created to be the puppets of others, without any will of their own.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Zorn and Thorn, the annoying jesters, turn out to combine into a relatively tough (and downright scary) boss. The resulting monster spams the more harmful status ailments (Virus and Venom) while also bombarding you with powerful black magic (notably Bio... which also inflicts Poison!), making for a surprisingly challenging - and satisfying - Climax Boss. note 
  • NPC Random Encounter Immunity: Zig-zagged. The mist covering the world or the first continent, at least is well-known to cause mental problems and give rise to monsters, so the cities are all built high up in the mountains... but there are still random encounters up there!
  • Nude-Colored Clothes: Eiko. The official art makes her look like she's totally naked from the waist down, when in fact she's wearing very tight flesh-colored pants. Considering her age, this is the cause of much Squick among fans. Judge for yourself. Thankfully her in-game sprites and most other artwork use a much darker red for them.
  • Odd Couple: Vivi and Steiner. Steiner is a knight captain, and he's very loud, very chivalrous, hilariously misguided, and prone to making an utter fool of himself. Vivi is a black mage, and he's quiet, introspective, under-confident at times, and pretty much universally agreed to be the most adorable thing in the series. They're insta-bros from the start of the game to its very end, and they have an awesome team-up attack they can only perform when they're both in the party. (Vivi enchants Steiner's sword, basically adding an element and a little extra oomph to Steiner's already devastating physical attacks.)
  • Official Couple: Zidane and Garnet. Beta Couple Steiner and Beatrix as well.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • Brahne attempts to do this to Garnet once all her Eidolons have been extracted and she's of no further use to her (the fact that Brahne had been manipulated by the evil Kuja towards this end didn't do much for poor Garnet's state of mind after the battle with her). It is later revealed that Garnet is Brahne's adopted daughter, after the real princess died very young.
    • Honorable mention goes to Garland attempting to repossess his creation, Zidane's SOUL once it becomes clear Zidane is no longer willing of carrying out his original purpose.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Towards the end of Disc 3, the gang splits up to take on the Four Fiends, sending two people to each shrine all at the same time. Despite being teased by showing some of the team members face-to-face with the fiends, the player only gets to witness and play the battle at the Earth Shrine. The other three fights happen completely offscreen. Making things worse, the shrines themselves only appear in cutscenes and aren't even true dungeons. Seemingly to make up for it, you do get to actually fight all four fiends in Memoria.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The look on Black Waltz No.3's face when he realises that he's accidentally set his own airship on fire- just before he crashes into the South Gate. [1]
    • Also, Hades has this reaction before the battle begins if you've already beaten Ozma. Nothing quite as gratifying as seeing one of the most difficult bosses in the game essentially wet himself over the prospect of fighting you.
      • Hey, at least realizes that beating the Superboss means you're the real deal.
    • Don't forget both Zidane and Steiner in an early FMV after they watch Garnet jump off a ledge while fleeing the castle.
    • Queen Brahne's horrified expression a split second before Bahamut incinerates her ship.
    • Kuja, upon realising that Garland has arrived in the Invincible.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Kuja also gets "Immoral Rhythm" and "Dark Messenger". His boss, Garland, has "The Keeper of Time."
  • Omnicidal Maniac/Straw Nihilist/Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kuja, after finding out he has a sharply limited lifespan. Particularly noteworthy because it is a well-justified example. Since Kuja is shown to be particularly vain, and is revealed to have a very limited lifespan, as mentioned above, he decides the world has no right to exist without him - and has the frightening ability to pull it off.
  • One Head Taller: Inverted with Beatrix and Rusty... Steiner. She's definitely taller.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Along with the Death spell, some weapons have an Instant Death ability. Zidane's Soul Blade move, which gives the target the status effect of the weapon equipped with 100% success rate (barring immunities). With the Masamune equipped, which has the Doom status effect, all you have to do is survive until the countdown runs out.
    • Also, anyone affected by the Freeze status ailment is instantly killed if any physical attack connects against them.
    • Heat status is reminiscent of Edgar's Air Anchor and acts as a sort of inverted Freeze — if the afflicted takes any action, they will be KO'd immediately afterward.
  • One-Man Party: The main character Zidane eventually does orders of magnitude more damage with his standard attacks and is much faster than Steiner (without his secret weapons) or Freya. Vivi can eventually outmatch him once he gets Doublecast, but at the cost of ludicrous amounts of MP. Unless Freya has her Dragon's Crest ability and the party has killed enough dragons, in which case she winds up dealing 9999 damage every turn, regardless of enemy defence, for a paltry MP cost.
    • However, a player can either knock Zidane out or infect him with the Virus status to let other party members catch up. The game splits EXP among conscious and non-Virus party members after a battle so there's no lost experience for doing this.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other: You are told that the Black Mage Village is found so deep in the forest that even the owls don't go there. The entrance is a repeating screen (it doesn't even reload; Zidane just walks through one entrance and comes out in another as though they were Scooby-Dooby Doors), and a sign in the middle helpfully informs you where there are no owls. You only have to go through the puzzle once, thankfully, given how many times one must return to the village.
  • One Size Fits All: The game will have armor or clothes that can be passed around relatively universally, even if the sizes of your teammembers range from "7-foot-tall muscle-bound dude" to "8-year-old girl." Especially odd when many people on your team aren't even the same species, with all the differences in physical build that would imply. However, they at least make an attempt to address this trope with some male/female specific equipment.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Spirit is by far the most useful stat, as it affects many different aspects of combat — including speeding up both your Trance gauge and the rate of Auto-Regen.
  • One-Time Dungeon: You only get one chance to visit Evil Forest, Ice Cavern, Cleyra, Fossil Roo, and the entirety of Terra (which includes Bran Bal and Pandaemonium).
  • One-Track-Minded Hunger: Quina is always on the lookout for new food to try and will eat, or express interest in eating, anything, including at one point, a rock.
  • One-Winged Angel: The game has Kuja invoke the game's Limit Break Super Mode Trance, shedding his clothing to become a glowing super-powered being covered in red fur and feathers.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Garnet is introduced by her given name, but once she goes incognito, the player chooses a new one, by which she is called almost exclusively for the rest of the game, even long after she's come out of hiding.
    • This trope is zigzagged by the fandom; many players keep the name "Garnet" when she goes incognito because they think it's a much better name than "Dagger," which is her stock alias. Later, however, you find out that this still counts; Garnet isn't her real name either. It's Sarah.
  • Only Mostly Dead: There are three ways to "die" in this game: KO from HP loss, being turned to stone, and being Stopped. KO and Stone can be remedied via the usual tactics, but Stop cannot be reversed until the spell wears off on its own. If all characters are stopped, it's Game Over.
  • Opening the Sandbox: When you receive the Hilda Garde 3 airship, but some sidequests can only be completed after getting the Invincible airship.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: This trope applies to Kuja, from disc 3 onward. In the first two discs, Kuja had a true Evil Plan, but it gets immediately curbstomped the second that his boss, Garland, decides that he has outlived his usefulness. Kuja immediately goes into hiding and, with his treachery revealed, has no choice but to acquire power any means he can. He tries a few things that also fail, before opportunity shines and one of the good guys taps into their Super Mode right in front of him. From that moment on, his plan is to let the heroes fight both him and Garland, and win, and then Turn Red and invoke his own Super Mode permanently. And it works. At that point, Kuja had everything he needed to take over the world, but there was one thing he didn't count on...
  • Optional Character Scene: Quan's Dwelling in has an extra scene if you return there with Vivi and Quina in your party at a certain point of the game.
    • In fact, the game's main conceit is the ability to view scenes with characters you don't have with you. All of these are optional, but can sometimes net the player a nice item or piece of equipment via the offscreen characters actions.
  • Optional Party Member: Quina is a permanent party member (s/he officially joins just before Fossil Roo), but is optional before you enter Gizmaluke's Grotto on Disc 1. And recommended. Gizamaluke is easier with Quina helping you, and he's still a pain even then.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket:
    • Eiko and Mog have a matching pair of ribbons given to them by her grandfather before he passed away leaving her all alone, save the moggles, in the ruins of their hometown. After a certain Heroic Sacrifice, it becomes a very useful accessory that she can learn her most powerful summon from.
    • Not a physical trinket, the song that Princess Garnet is always humming turns out to be a lullaby from Madain Sari, the lost village of summoners, revealing that Garnet is actually one of only two surviving summoners in the world, and not the true princess of Alexandria, who died before Garnet came on the scene. Which makes this somewhat of a subversion, as Garnet didn't actually know she was an orphan.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Though this time they're green. They also are different from the standart sort of dwarves, and those in other Final Fantasy games, in that they live on the suffrace, and worship trees and the sun.
  • Our Founder: Lindblum is dotted with monuments to Cid and all his predecessors.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Most of the characters in comparison to Zidane, Garnet, and Vivi, although almost everyone gets their day in the limelight at some point.
    • Pretty much everyone in comparison to Garnet. Sure, the rest of the group gets some notice at one point or another, but Garnet's issues take up the whole of just about every disk. Furthermore, the majority of the cutscenes are centered on/about/around her.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Terrans, which, like IV, include the hero, who, like IV, has gone native. Unlike IV, all the other aliens are of the "invade and help their planet devour the souls of those that live on ours" variety.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic:
    • A stone monster can be killed instantly by using a Soft (normally used to heal petrified allies) on it.
    • Inflict Blind on Ozma. It only uses magic, so it should not impede his performance, but he wastes time curing it anyway. Such time wasting strategies are often the best to beat it. Also, Vivi and Amarant using Return Magic to send his Doomsday back at the source; a true Tactical Suicide Boss.
  • Overheating: Actually one the game's status ailments: if a character afflicted by it does anything, s/he dies instantly.
  • Overly Long Fighting Animation: Almost every summon, but each one had a shortened version that ran about 75% of the time after the first use (which was always the full animation). The reappearance of the longer animation meant that the attack would be more effective (offensive summons would do more damage, support summons would cause more positive status effects, etc). Ark in particular took so long that people didn't usually use it to cause damage - it was better to cast Regen on the party and let everyone heal while waiting the three minutes (ish) it takes for the giant Transformer to do its thing.
    • Interestingly, the Summoners in IX each got an ability, called "Boost" to make sure the longer animation played, so you could more reliably take advantage of the higher damage.
    • This is actually the trick to easily defeat Ozma, the bonus boss. His constant barrage of attacks is because he has a special battle script that gives him a free turn every time a PC inputs a command while he's neutral. Neutral meaning not in the middle of an attack animation. While he's casting Doomsday which has a several second long animation, that's your chance to get a full round in without him being able to get 4 free actions.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: We have the character Beatrix. Being the general of an entire army, she can take quite a few hits from the party before she falls, and in fact can't be defeated at all. However, in the short time you fight alongside her, she is just about as strong as just any other party member, and it shouldn't take more than a few hits to K.O. her. Of course; she doesn't have as much health as she appeared to have .
    • Though this is in part due to a glitch; her HP, stats and abilities are identical to when she's a foe (save for the plot-convinience version of stock break she uses to end the battle), save a glitch in her two strongest attacks mean they don't register as special attacks rather than regular attacks. thus going from awesome to fail...
    • However, Steiner can actually learn Beatrix's moves - including Shock (Which was pretty much an instant-kill attack). By the time you get Shock, it's actually stronger in your hands than when Beatrix uses it due to mixture of the aforementioned glitch as well as the fact that Steiner's stats will get higher.
  • Packed Hero: Zidane, Garnet, and Vivi fall into the black mage packing machine and get boxed up.
  • The Paladin: Beatrix. Each character in the game represents a class from the previous games and Beatrix, while she is never outright called one, she can use White Magic and the equipment of a paladin. She actually starts out as a villain in the game and a Hopeless Boss Fight, but over the course of the game she begins to have doubts about her queen and eventually joins the heroes' side as an ally.
  • Palette Swap: Fairy Battles, Vepals, Wraiths, and the crystallized four fiends in Memoria.
    • The game had just about as little of it as possible. The only palette monsters are the friendly monsters, the black waltzes and the crystal versions of the four chaos bosses. Mind you, while the -enemies- were almost all unique, the NPCs could be another story (though they too were often more varied than expected).
  • Paper Cutting: Played with, where the papercut effect is not deliberate from the point of the attacker, but rather to emphasize powerful magical defenses of the target. The great dragon Bahamut fires his breath weapon at Kuja, just one, normal-sized, not very manly wizard who should by all accounts be squishy. A whole war fleet is firing cannons at the same guy. The results? Ow, a paper cut.
  • Parental Abandonment: Zidane not only has no parents, but is phenotypically unique on Gaia (and in that game's verse, that's really saying something) and doesn't know anything about his origins. Garnet's an orphan who's been raised by Queen Brahne, who also dies part-way into the game. Vivi also is unique and unaware of his origins. Eiko is an orphan who lives alone in the ruins of her hometown... I think what we can take away from this is that Final Fantasy loves this trope.
  • Parental Substitute: Vivi is adopted by the Qu known as Quan, who becomes a surrogate grandfather to him and teaches the little black mage about the world.
  • Party in My Pocket: Simultaneously used and kind of averted. The whole party can be seen only when something plot-centric happens. Usually you would only see Zidane in the field areas, and the rest of the party would materialize through a quick in-and-out fade to black when they're needed, but at other times Zidane is simply travelling by his lonesome while the rest of his party are doing other things, and the game even lets you see what they're doing with the Active Time Event system.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: No less than three examples, with the party giving one each to Garland, Kuja, and Necron. At least it's lampshaded somewhat in the instance with Garland, who summons one of his mooks and tells the party to "lecture me again when you are on the verge of death."
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Freya. The low resolution of the character models make it difficult to tell, but the CG cutscenes and her character artwork shows that her hair does cover her right eye.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • The Popos Heights is a mountain cliff area that can be accessed from Gizamaluke's Grotto, relatively early in the game. However, the mighty Grand Dragons reside there, and are way too powerful for the party to last two minutes against it at that point in the game. However, it is possible to defeat it relatively easily with Quina's Limit Glove, which inflicts 9999 damage if Quina's HP is 1. So just KO Quina yourself (Or let him/her be K Oed), then revive him/her until s/he only has one HP left, then go to the Popos Heights, save your game, and let 'er rip !
    • An alternative way, which can be done much later but is much easier, is to use Level 5 Death. Since the Grand Dragons are level 60, they'll die instantly, and you can earn their experience points without breaking a sweat. However, as mentioned earlier, this is only doable much later in the game, so you might wanna save this method to make any underleveled characters catch up with the rest of the party.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • The infamous "Excalibur II" sword, which requires the player to run through almost the entire game in less than 12 hours to obtain. It necessitates leaving behind several other items and time-consuming sidequests that become unavailable on the final disc.
      • There is a common rumor that you can still get the sword if you let the clock go past 99:99:59 (thus resetting it) and then go to the location before it reaches 12 hours for the second time. This does in fact work, but it takes significantly longer than a mere 100 hours of playtime — the internal game clock actually goes through several iterations of 100-hour cycles before actually resetting to zero. This takes 2^32 ticks, or over two years. And, though it may seem absurd, several players have succeeded in getting the Excalibur 2 (the normal way) together with all the other missable items and sidequests.
      • This is now known to be possible on the PAL version as well, but significantly harder (the game runs at 5/6 the speed on PAL, so in effect you have to get the sword in 10 hours instead of 12).
    • The Sword is just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who wants to do a 100% completion run of this game has their work cut out for them. Some events (lookin' at you, Burman Coffee) require deviating from the story, at a precise (read: small, and totally unmentioned) time to get it, and follow a specific sequence of events to get it even if you do think to wander off. Seriously, this game is DESIGNED to make you want to rip your hair out without a Guide.
    • One particular big permanently missable example is the end of Disc 3/start of Disc 4, where a good deal of the towns, such as Conde Petie, on the map become unaccessible because of the plot. Esto Gaza is a great example of this trope. The town can only be visited on disc three, as it's blocked off after going to Terra. What makes it notable is that the shop there has some of the best and most useful weapons/armour in the game (including the Octagon Rod, which is the only way for Vivi to learn Firaga, Blizzaga, and Thundaga; it also sells other items like the Zorlin Shape that are useful for synthesis once endgame hits)... and nearly all of them are lost on disc 4. Furthermore, going through Esto Gaza is the only way to get to Mount Gulug, so everything in there is also locked off by connection.
      • Disc 3-4 transition closes up Esto Gaza, the only place you get Scissor Fangs. The other one is synthetized with a one-shot (but thankfully unmissable) weapon, the Dragon's Claws, and the Tiger Claws, which can only be bought on Daguerreo, during the events of disc three. If you get to disc four without either Scissor Fangs or Tiger Claws, bye-bye Aura flair.
    • The Hippaul racing minigame and Nero Shuffle game. The only time you get to do these are only during a small window period at the start of Disc 3, right after Garnet is crowned queen but before Kuja's siege on Alexandria. Think you can leave it a bit and come back to complete it later? Sorry...
    • Also, weaker weapons become unavailable by Disc 4. Better make sure you learn all abilities before progressing, and for good measure, do not sell your old weapons or armor, ever (something someone playing older versions of Final Fantasy will instinctively do when short on cash). This is especially true for Steiner's Bright Eyes ability, which requires an Iron Helm, an item that becomes no longer sold on Disc 4.
  • People Jars: The Genome, some of whom are seen in jars. They also have Uncanny Valley tendencies, but (since it's already canon that Zidane is male) they aren't clones, since they have sex.
  • Percent Damage Attack: Gravity-based damage is calculated based on an opponent's maximum HP rather than their current HP and therefore becomes a Fixed Damage Attack.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: The Cleryans had isolated themselves from the rest of the world by living in a tree that's surrounded by a tornado powered by their magic. The Cleryans have lived in peace for so long that the concept of violence and fighting is absolutely foreign to them. Their everlasting pacifism kicks them in the rear when the Big Bad invades the tree and slaughters the entire colony.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Steiner and Amarant, but ESPECIALLY Steiner, a cantankerous grouch of a knight whose only two emotions are angry and dead serious. The number of times he's seen without his signature grouchy frown can be counted on one hand with fingers remaining.
  • Perpetual Storm: The kingdom of Burmecia is known as the 'Land of Eternal Rain,' for obvious reasons- The entire game, there's a downpour.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Kuja who had a Taking You with Me so epic he managed to destroy a planet single-handedly. He then upped the ante and nearly destroyed the entire universe at its point of origin.
    • Also anyone who can use summon magic. While Queen Brahne was wielding Dagger's summons she was able to conquer an entire continent. Given how it compares to when your characters use the same summons this is also an example of Cutscene Power to the Max
  • Petal Power: Freya's Cherry Blossom attack, which is a pretty standard slash that erupts into flowers for some reason.
  • Phlebotinum Muncher: Black mages and many other monsters are spawned from concentrated Mist, which is a decidedly evil fog composed of souls of the dead that have been blocked from going to the afterlife.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: World-stealing badnik Garland brought down by his own creations, Kuja and Zidane, created to be his "angels of death".
    Garland: Regrettable... I thought your soul would be perfect for a new angel of death...
    Zidane: I AM the new angel of death! Yours!!!
  • Pillar of Light: The ultimate Eidolon, Ark, smashes the enemy down with a magical explosion so potent that it's briefly seen from outer space as a brief pillar bursting from the ground.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Garnet's royal dress. Also, Lani's outfit has a fur-trimmed miniskirt.
  • Pink Means Feminine: The Lamias act really dainty (save for attacking the party) have pink scales, pink hair, and pink Fluffy Fashion Feathers for their headdress and Giant Poofy Sleeves.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Tantalus have a reputation as a band of prolific thieves and con artists, yet they are never depicted doing much of this; Zidane talks about past heists, an ATE shows him in the aftermath of robbing the Treno Auction House, and Marcus fully intends to rob a synthesis shop to get his hands on the Supersoft, but that's all. Admittedly, this is largely because Tantalus are a bit preoccupied for much of their time in the game: in the first disc, they're busy trying to find their way out of Evil Forest and back to civilization; in the second disc, they're trying to save Blank and regroup; and in the third, they're busy rebuilding their hideout. For good measure, Regent Cid even uses Tantalus as a contracted mercenaries - or even special forces operatives, given that it's never specifically mentioned that Cid paid Baku for abducting Garnet.
  • Pitiful Worms: Facing the party for the first time, Beatrix tells Freya and Zidane, "I once killed a hundred knights single-handedly... To me, you two are nothing more than insects."
  • Planet Eater: Terra is a parasitic other planet gradually dining on the souls of Gaia, a planet it has been slowly trying to devour for a very long time.
  • Planet Terra: The setting is called "Gaia" (Greek for Earth) but the plot's impetus is an invasion by another planet known as Terra.
  • Planning with Props: The very beginning shows the planning of a kidnapping using dolls and a model airship.
  • Player Character Calculus: The game, as an intentional throwback to the series' classic roots, goes back to an up-to-four-member party that is sometimes swappable and sometimes plot-mandated a la VI.
  • Please Wake Up: You meet a Black Mage who's just buried his friend after he 'stopped moving'. "I sure hope he wakes up soon. I'm going to wash him off in the pond'. Semi-subversion in that most of the mages look like adults and don't understand death (or much about the world), while Vivi, the one that looks like a little kid, understands exactly what's going on and only avoids calling it death out of politeness. Some of the mages eventually grasp the concept, but continue to use the term anyway.
  • Plot Armor: The game has particularly bad examples of this where the main characters lie prostrate at the feet of the villains only to not be killed. And this happens no less than three times.
    • At least one of these is justified. Especially at the end of Disk I, because the person looking at the party is none other than the Smug Snake Kuja.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Two of the major driving plot points are Kuja trying to get a hold of explicit battle commands (First the Eidolons, then the Trance).
  • Plotline Death: Queen Brahne dies in the arms of Garnet/Dagger. At this point not only your party shall have a Phoenix Down, but this character already has a couple of healing/reviving spells.
    • Possibly justified as Kuja later reveal that the Invincible had absorbed her soul at that point
  • Point of No Return: You cannot return from Terra until you finish the plot arc there, and by the time you do, you're on disc 4 - some areas are locked off (as in the previous game). The game is merciful enough to warn you of this fact.
  • Poisoned Weapons: The Rune Tooth and the Poison Knuckles can both inflict poison, while the Scissor Fangs can inflict the more dangerous venom.
  • Poison Mushroom: The Tent, an item that normally restores the party's HP and MP to full when used at a save point or on the world map. Tents can also be used in battle for a single character, but there's a random chance that the character would be bit by a snake inside the tent, causing Poison, Blind, and Silence on them. However, you can also use the Tent on enemies and hope they also get hit by the status ailments, including boss characters.
  • Pop Quiz: The Ragtime Mouse, who'd pop up in random battles and ask you True or False questions. The reward for answering each question started with money, which increased in value with every new question answered. Then you would get a Protect Ring if you had answered all of them correctly.
  • Port Town: Lindblum, and it's also an airship port town.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: The Trance System has this effect on every character whose hair we can see. The heroes turn into a white-silver color despite their default. The main villain's hair turns from silver to blood-red.
    • Zidane, though, doesn't turn silver. He goes blonde to pink!
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Quina the Blue Mage. To learn blue magic spells, s/he has to eat the enemy. His/her weapon? An oversized fork. Additionally, the fuel everybody uses to power airships, Mist, is made of souls barred from the afterlife, but it's never made quite clear whether they're actually consumed in the process.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • Zidane and Vivi and Zidane and Amarant in particular, and it saves Zidane from a very uncharacteristic Wangst-fest Heroic BSoD after his Tomato in the Mirror and ensuing Mind Crush moment late in the game.
    • Also played with in the latter scene. Zidane, being the plucky hero, gives moral support to his friends and has the personal motto of "You don't need a reason to help people". Then he finds out that Kuja, the one who has been sadistically responsible for ruining his friends' lives in one way or another, is his older brother and he was created to replace him. If Kuja hadn't ditched him on Gaia as a child, it'd be Zidane doing all those horrible things to his friends and he'd probably be just as smug about it. Ouch.
    • After a particularly distressing revelation, Zidane turns into a zombie-like Jerkass note  and tries to go it alone. His friends gather around him and convince him that they need each other, helping him turn back into a nice guy.
    • This is used more literally during the ending; after the party is completely wiped out by Kuja's Ultima and helpless when Necron appears, the four party members not participating in the final battle hand their power over to the four others, fully healing them and giving a few encouraging words as they do so.
  • Powers as Programs: Quina, a creature who can learn monsters moves by eating them, and equipment such as magic wands that can teach your black magician spells permanently.
  • Powerup Full Color Change: The Trance ability. Zidane's skin (or fur, since he looks like a monkey) changes to pink. Vivi's clothes change to white. Steiner's armor gets green details. Freya's clothes change to purple. Quina's skin color changes to black. Eiko gets white clothes and yellow hair. Scarlet Head Amarant becomes Purple Head Amarant. Garnet gets pink skin and yellow hair and clothes. Kuja's purple robes and silver hair both turn red. Unlike the other examples, this is not a good thing.
    • Unlike other examples, the characters also undergo costume alterations in addition to color alterations, some minor (Vivi's hat straightens out, Steiner gets a faceplate for his helmet, the wings on Eiko's costume grow), some major (Amarant and Zidane lose their clothes entirely, while Freya's outfit upgrades into a full set of plate armor, including, gauntlets, greaves, and a face-concealing helmet).
  • Powerup Letdown: The Trance state, unlike VII's Limit Breaks, can't carry over from battle to battle. If you happen to hit Trance while in a fight with a bunch of common mooks that you're perfectly capable of one-shotting without it, which statistically is bound to happen far more often than not, then too bad, it's wasted.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Knights of Pluto act as the personal guards to the Alexandrian Royal Family in Final Fantasy IX.
  • Precocious Crush: Eiko has a crush on Zidane.
  • Pre-Meeting: Zidane shows up to kidnap the princess and gets bumped into by a cute girl wearing a White Mage hood departing the castle.
  • Press X to Not Die:
    • In one Active Time Event, you can evade Alleyway Jack's theft attempt by pressing X at the right time. Trap doors in Ipsen's Castle can also be averted this way.
    • Your team splits up into 4 pairs, each headed for different elemental temples. In the one temple you actually get to play (the rest are taken care of automatically), you have to press "X" to get past a trap. It's really easy, and other than the boss, it's the only obstacle in the temple.
  • Prison Episode: You have to escape a prison in the middle of a desert.
  • Proper Lady: Princess Garnet Til Alexandros, AKA Dagger, who's a demure little princess when she's not being a rebellious one.
  • Psycho Prototype: Kuja is this in addition to a Flawed Prototype (albeit, intentionally flawed).
  • Public Domain Artifact: One of Zidane's thief swords is called Masamune.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The chocobo minigame music, Vamo Alla Flamenco is a very upbeat remix of Greensleeves.
  • Puni Plush: IX is to this what VIII is to Bishōnen. Exceptions seem to be limited to named characters (civilians exhibit this on a massive scale, even the furry ones.)

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