Friday, 11 July 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Thirty Six

 Part Thirty Five


 Day Fifteen: Mission Exposition

 This section is full of boring, boring exposition.

 But let's do the tiny fun bit before hand.

 Zog is concerned that the Sorceress will send troops to Trabia, showing that he does have a head for military tactics, even though he is lacking the experience and (currently) the temperament to do what Cid wants effectively.

 Talking to the others has Quistis wondering what the Sorceress wants with Ellone, Zell wondering if the Sorceress was living a normal life before all this, Nina saying she's been doing some thinking, and Irvine being hilarious.

 Okay, let me explain to you why this is so funny.

 This guy will lean against a wall in the classroom and when talked to will ponder out loud which one of two girls he will try and bang. Now, he will do this after trying (and my headcanon has him succeeding) to get into Selphie's pants, and will also say the exact same thing when Selphie is in the party.

 I get that he doesn't have to be romantically interested in her for him to care about her, but since he has tried to sleep with her, I do have to ask if he can really be this stupid.

 Rule one. If you want to be seen as dependable by someone, do not try to bang them and then talk about banging others in their presence. The appearance of promiscuity is not your friend here.

 That may seem like slut shaming, but it is true; promiscuity does make people seem a bit less reliable. Probably because reliable people seem like they have no fun, and promiscuous people are having way too much fun.

 Once you've talked to everyone, there's not much else to do, and once you attempt to leave Selphie shows up.

 She has a simple request:

 She wants them to take her with them when they go to fight the Sorceress.

 Seems reasonable enough to me, although I'm not sure why she'd think they wouldn't. She's an integral part of the team.

 At this, Nina voices her concerns and states that she'd much rather that they didn't have to fight at all.

 For some reason, Zog has totally forgotten that she's a civilian and that this is probably really intimidating to her.

 He does, however, have an internal monologue about how it would be great if they didn't have to fight, but that people generally don't have the answers that they claim to.

 Then, my favourite part of the whole section happens.

It's funny, because she's saying what we're all thinking.
 After this, Zog does ask what's happened, as she wasn't scared to fight Deling. Her response is that she's scared now. Which makes total sense.

 Before she was part of a resistance in another country (well, more like a city state), it was a small scale operation and she could pretty much abandon it whenever she pleased. Now, this is war and the most powerful military in the world is hunting her and her friends at the behest of an incredibly powerful individual.

 These are two totally different situations, and she wasn't emotionally prepared for either of them.

 I think he has a hard time remembering that, as much as he was raised to fight in these wars, she very much wasn't. She's tough, yes, incredibly so, but she's still an untrained civilian.

 She voices her feelings about how she's so behind all of them at this point and that she's scared that they won't all get out of this alive. (Which is funny, since every death so far has been unseen, of a character we've barely met, or of red shirts. From what we've seen so far, none of these characters are at risk of a Natasha Yar or Aerith Gainsborough.)

 And then it begins.

 The exposition.

 Irvine starts it and is the driving force of the entire section, so I'm blaming him.

 You are not good enough for Selphie, my friend, I will end you if you so much as touch a hair on her head.

 I'm going to give you the cliff notes version of this, because this section was ridiculously long for what it actually tells you.

 So, here we go:

 Irvine, Zog, Selphie, Zell, Quistis, Ellone and Seifer were all in the same orphanage after the last Sorceress war.

 Zell is adopted, and goes through this shamefully fast panic and acceptance arc about not feeling as though his parents were really his parents. (If you're going to use this cliche, at least do it properly).

 Irvine has always had a thing for Selphie and Selphie has always been adorable and violent.

Her answer to being asked what she'd like to play.
 Ellone left for some reason, leaving a gaping big sister shaped hole in Zog's heart that Quistis tried to fill. Which is the given explanation for why she was romantically interested in him at the beginning of the game, yet completely stopped being by the time Nina turned up.

 Which, frankly, was a massive cop out and we all know it.

 Seifer has always bullied Zell.

 The Sorceress is actually Edea Kramer, which we all already knew, and she was the one who ran the orphanage.

 Seifer had emo-hair as a small child.

 And the reason that everyone except Irvine doesn't remember any of this is because of the GFs.

 Which seems incredibly cheap, also Selphie shouldn't have suffered from any GF related memory loss. She didn't join Balamb Garden to become a SeeD until recently, so she should be in the same memory position as Irvine.

But no, see, apparently she was out in the field when she was twelve and just happened to find a GF and junctioned it.

 So this would make her the second female character who is more special than Zog, and yet is basically subservient to him. (Remember, Quistis is a child prodigy.)

 I despise this revelation.

 It undermines all their developments as a group of friends by essentially going 'see? They're meant to be close to each other. They're family.'

 This is exactly why I went into detail about Seifer, Fujin and Raijin (although I don't have much confidence that the same thing won't happen to them).

 Friendship is a powerful thing, it can create bonds that last for decades, but here it's basically been thrown aside for a forced familial relationship. Especially when it comes to Quistis and her relationship with Zog.

 Now, I don't know if this will actually have any relevance to the plot later on, so this is basically an uninformed opinion in that regard. But still, let me say this:

 I don't think this has added anything. To the contrary, I think it's detracted from the plot and character development and is basically 'men and women can't be just friends' rearing its ugly head again. If anything, it feels like a cheap as hell way to try and write Selphie and Quistis off from being romantic interests in favour of the only lady person Zog knows who isn't basically related to him or in a relationship with Raijin.

 I like Nina, I really do, but I don't appreciate the writers trying to present her as Zog's only option like this.

 I especially don't appreciate a budding BroTP being reduced to 'brotherly/sisterly' feelings.

 And I loathe that Quistis no longer being interested in Zog is down to her realising her maternal instincts towards him instead of it being because she realised that he just wasn't good enough for her.

 I think this should be considered a prime example of how female character development can be thrown under the bus for the sake of protecting a ship as well as not allowing the male character in said ship to ever look bad.

 Quistis and Selphie are much, much more interesting characters than Zog at this point and they deserve better than this.

 Hell, he deserves better than this.


 Ugh, I'm all ranted out.

 We'll cover what happens next on Tuesday in Part Thirty Seven.

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