As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.
- Bhunivelze's weapon looks like a pair of scythes hooked together... but the way he uses it has him throwing it like a boomerang. Remind us again, exactly whose body did he hijack for most of the game?
- The fact that Hope cannot see Lumina, and is the only one who cannot, makes a ton of sense when it's revealed that Lumina is an aspect of Lightning's soul as well as a Soul Jar for Serah, and that Hope is possessed by Bhunivelze.
- Hope's trademark scarf has been traded for a checkered pattern. The same checkered pattern is on the armor of the Order's guardians. And Bhunevelze's clothing in the final battle.
- Additionally - Hope's eidolon is Alexander, who has in past games used light / holy attacks. Bhunivelze is the "holy" God of Light.
- Alexander's summoning circle (well, square) actually contains Bhunivelze's crest/mark
- In XIII, Alexander's special attack is Divine Judgement
- Lightning manages to reverse Snow's Cie'th transformation. This should be impossible, but then recall that the same thing happened in the first game when the goddess Etro intervened to change the party back after Orphan/Barthandelus changed them. Lightning is now so far beyond human she's barely a step below goddess-level: reversing a Cie'th change isn't beyond her abilities.
- Below goddess-level? Bhunivelze specifically intended for her to take Etro's place as the goddess of death; of course reversing a Cie'th transformation would be no trouble.
- Though it serves as fantastic foreshadowing to Bhunivelze's ultimate plan for Lightning. Etro was the last one we saw reversing a Cie'th transformation, and now Lightning does the exact same thing...
- A sidequest serves as foreshadowing, too: Light manages to save the souls of the dead, something she isn't supposed to do and she discusses this with Hope (who cannot see or hear the souls of the girls for the reason mentioned above). By the end of the quest, Lightning herself ponders if she's more powerful than Bhunivelze thought.
- Light deals a fatal blow to Bhunivelze using the survival knife she gave Hope in the first game, as it allows Hope's soul to escape the God of Light and takes a lot of his power with him. But this isn't the first time that the humble knife has been the most lethal weapon in the Final Fantasy series.
- When she returns to the Ark just before the final day, Lightning muses that Serah was always someone willing to help out anyone in need with no hesitation or regard of how it would affect her. In that case, it's no wonder she was attracted to Snow when they first met.
- A lot of complaint was levied against the lack of strength that the guest characters (Fang and Odin) have. However, this is easily explained: they're mortal, and while they are at the absolute threshold of physical ability for mortals, they're dwarfed by the Physical God that Lightning now has become; it makes sense that they would be far less effective in a battle than a goddess.
- Plus, it's a gameplay mechanic that the more Chaos in the world, the stronger monsters become. This has been happening for nearly 500 years, while Fang and Odin started battling on the home stretch of the end of the world - being at the peak of mortal physical ability simply gave them a little edge, compared to regular humans.
- The theme of The Ark incorporates a distinct One-Woman Wail. The same wail can be heard when fighting Bhunivelze's last form. On the other hand, when Hope disappears at the End of Days, the Ark's theme can be heard, except without the wail. It signifies Hope is disappearing, and is about to return to nothing while the theme heard during the boss battle is because Bhunivelze has hijacked Hope's body and soul. In fact, when Lightning finally frees Hope, the vocals return.
- The future that the Oracle Drive showed Noel reuniting with Yeul in the new world if he killed Lightning might come off as just a troll having some fun on Lumina's side, given that killing Lightning would cause the world to be destroyed since she isn't around to prolong the world's time until Bhunivelze's awakening. But the Oracle Drive is correct, in a sense, because Noel and Yeul do get reunited in the new world, but if he kills Lightning, Bhunivelze's plan fails and the universe gets destroyed - it depicts a part of the Ending, but also of the Game Over screen.
- Bhunivelze dangling Serah's soul over Lightning is an obvious bid for emotionally manipulating her, but there doesn't seem any particular reason to place Hope as Mission Control, let alone de-age him and hijack his body. Until you realize that it's yet another, more subtle bid to manipulate her. Lightning's relationship with Hope in the first game becomes very older sibling/Mama Bear like and while the player saw grown up Hope in 2, Lightning never did! Bhunivelze is dangling TWO younger sibling/child figures over Lighting's head, not just one.
- When Noel's Yeul died in FFXIII-2, as she gets the vision that kills her in the dying world, she smiles and tells Noel: "We will meet again". This vision comes true after Bhunivelze is defeated; the implications are absolutely devastating. Back then, it was already fate that this would happen. "Now and forever he remembers the entire timeline", could Caius have known what would happen in the end and was it all a plan to free humanity from the gods?
- So, Snow was branded a l'Cie, but five hundred years pass before he turns Cie'th in this game? That makes a lot more sense than it seems to at first. At the end of the Perpetual Battlefield DLC for XIII-2, Snow's brand is only in its second stage of thirteen. L'Cie brands advance with the passage of time, but XIII-2 ended with a Time Crash, so he's not on the clock anymore. However, brands also advance if the l'Cie's emotional state takes a nosedive, and slowly watching Nova Chrysalia die over 500 years is not going to be good for your emotional state. When he absorbs all the Chaos into his body to contain it, that's the last push that sends him to "Cie'th city".
- The reason Lumina was able to break Ultima Weapon in the opening cutscene? As one of the Soul Seed merchants reveals, Ultima Weapon was forged with Soul Seeds, making it vulnerable to Lumina's Chaos controlling powers.
- Humanity was used as tools to serve the fal'Cie's doing by being turned into l'Cie, and any l'Cie that failed their Focus or weren't assigned a Focus at all then turned into Cie'th. Cie'th are instinctive and hostile monsters, and the Undying were the most powerful of all Cie'th. Although they are robbed of their humanity and free will, the Gorgyra fragment in XIII-2 shows that the former l'Cie are still tormented, forced to wander in eternal darkness without their five senses. Taking all of this into account, you have to wonder the implied horrors of what Bhunivelze intended to do with using an Undying Cie'th as Ereshkigal as humanity's replacement. Seeing how Bhunivelze saw humanity as already soiled by the Chaos that is within them and the emotions that reside in their souls, he probably planned to take humanity and turn everyone into an Ereshkigal, an Undying Cie'th without emotions or free will but with pure power and the gift of eternal bliss. A creature "perfect" in his sense of an ideal creation.
- This is briefly covered in the game, but for those who missed that cutscene: no one has aged for 500 years. Now imagine being old and frail for all that time. Imagine looking after a new-born child for all that time, and it never losing its total dependence on you. The old people would probably eventually die off naturally from accidents and disease, but the infants might suffer from cot death. Or from "cot death."
- The final fight with Bhunivelze one big double dose of Fridge Horror and Nightmare Fuel. It's explained better in Japanese where there aren't so many plot holes. The Japanese version of the game clearly states that each person is made of up three parts: the Body (physical form), the Soul (memories), and the Heart (emotions), and explains the reason each why Yeul is a different person. While all Yeuls share the same Soul, each Yeul has a different Heart. The game also implies that the Body is the least important component of the three. Plenty of beings are able to hold on to themselves inside the Chaos with out true Bodies (the Yeuls, Alyssa Zidell, and the various trapped souls including the Speaker for the Dead) and each Yeul is identical in appearance in spite of genetics, likely because she possesses the Soul of the previous Yeul. It's probably safe to say that the Body is just a shell. Continuing onwards, the Japanese version flat out tells you that the reason that Hope can't feel emotions is because Bhunivelze is in possession of Hope's Heart (and implies that the version of Hope on the Ark is made from the Soul), and he's had it for over a century and a half (and torturing Hope the whole time). This is how he's using Hope's voice to speak (and the reason Hope and Bhunivelze share a voice actor in the Japanese cut) as the gods of the FFXIII universe don't have voices humans can hear. The Ultimania for Lightning Returns says that the reason Lightning casts Last Resort (Hope's Limit Break) and uses the survival knife is that she's actually trying to appeal to Hope's Heart inside of Bhunivelze. This really is her last resort. And remember, Bhunivelze has Hope's soul now too, so he's got two of the three components that make a person (and the two that actually matter at this point). But its the final boss theme that gives you the last piece of the puzzle: the closest thing Hope has to a theme in Lightning Returns is The Ark. It plays inside the Ark where he stays (read: is trapped) the whole time. It's featured in Meeting You which plays when Hope says goodbye to Lightning before fading away and also plays when Hope is restored after being freed from Bhunivelze. Bhunivelze's Final Boss theme, Almighty Bhunivelze, repeatedly features a HEAVILY distorted arrangement of The Ark. That's right, the Final Boss music uses Hope's theme. You're not just fighting Bhunivelze, you're fighting an insane Hope!
- Further supporting this is how, during the fight, Bhunivelze goes from calmly talking about how he's going to win (which is what you'd expect from a god) to yelling at Lightning to just submit already, and before that his dialogue suggested he had a Villainous Crush on her. In other words, he was displaying emotions—anger, frustration, and obsession—he, as a god, shouldn't have...emotions that Hope would. Taking into account how his fighting style is remarkably similar to Hope's (as pointed out above), the impression given is that Bhunivelze wasn't just possessing Hope's Heart, his Body and Soul were merging with it. So if each person is differentiated by their Heart (like the Yeuls above), then Lightning really WAS fighting an amnesiac, evil and insane Hope.
- According to the Ultimania Guide, Bhunivelze planned on ruling over humanity directly in the New World, using Hope as a vessel.