on Oct 27, 2016
As she dies, Yunalesca gives Yuna’s party the name of Yu Yevon. So now they can go to the Maesters and demand some answers.
Outside, Sin is waiting, docile. It was anticipating fighting the Final Aeon, which isn`t happening now. Tidus has dialog that indicates that Jecht is driving, but it`s clear neither Yu Yevon nor Jecht wants to stomp all over the temple.
Which makes me wonder: Just how lucid is Yu Yevon? Bahamut makes it sound like Yu Yevon is just this monomaniacal dreamer, unable to think or do anything besides summon Sin. But his actions indicate some degree of forethought. Sin doesn’t attack the Blitzball arena or Bevelle, despite the technology present at those locations. He doesn’t stomp all over the Zanarkand temple, even though the place is totally undefended. His attacks seem deliberately orchestrated to incite a response from the people in the form of summoner parties. He’s certainly not trying to wipe them out. This behavior implies some degree of calculation and foresight.
So what does Yu Yevon need? Does he need new aeons to keep the cycle going? Does Sin “wear out” and require replacement, or does he just do that because it’s the easiest way of dealing with summoners? What would happen if all the summoners went off and raced chocobos for the rest of their lives and left events to run their course? Would Yu Yevon run rampant all over civilization, trying to provoke a final summoning that would never come? Would he withdraw to the ocean, no longer having an incentive to attack? Or would the current incarnation of Sin eventually burn out and leave him with nothing? Maybe the Ultimania guide has something on this, but within the game there’s no way to know for sure.
Yu Gotta Be Kidding Me
Oh hey. Look who suddenly jumped to the foreground and began speaking for the party.
Surprisingly enough, unraveling Yu Yevon’s weakness and beating Sin turns out to be not such a big deal. Unless you’re in the mood to grind away a dozen or so hours of Monster Arena, we’re really close to the end of the game.
There are two pieces to the puzzle, and both of them are conversations. You need to hear Rikku and Wakka’s suggestion that playing the Hymn of the Fayth might make Sin docile, since Jecht loved the song and we’ve observed Sin behaving in non-rampage-y ways in places where the song can be heard. The other piece is that we need to talk to Grand Maester Mika and squeeze him for information about Yu Yevon and then follow up with another chat with Bahamut.
The extra wrinkle here is that Tidus learns that his dream-fueled existence will come to an end once they win. The story doesn’t explain why killing Yu Yevon will end all Fayth, everywhere. But apparently this is the case. Once he dies, summoning will no longer work in this world. All the Fayth will turn to inert stone and all aeons will vanish. This will end Sin, but also Dream Zanarkand, Jecht, and Tidus.
This also highlights the fact that Yu Yevon is summoning an awful lot of aeons on both sides of the conflict. He’s summoning Sin. He’s summoning Dream Zanarkand. Which means he’s also summoning Tidus, who is fighting Sin. He’s also summoning Jecht, who is Sin.
Tidus doesn’t tell his friends that he’s going to die when the dream ends. This seems like a jerk move, but it’s no worse than the secret they kept from him during the pilgrimage. In fact, it’s pretty much the exact same thing. He faded into the background a bit at the end of Yuna’s pilgrimage, but now that her journey is over he’s in the forefront again. Previously Yuna was the one keeping it a secret that she was going to die saving the world, but now that person is Tidus. During the pilgrimage, the inner cloister of the temples were closed to him. He – and thus the audience – were left outside while Yuna prayed to the Fayth. But when Yuna returns to the cloister in Bevelle to talk with Bahamut, Tidus goes in with her. The old taboos are meaningless to them. Now Tidus is making decisions, getting answers to his questions, and keeping his own secrets from the rest of the party.
Wakka and Rikku
These two have probably the most interesting intra-party relationship in the game.
I find it interesting that Rikku and Wakka were the ones to come up with using the Hymn of the Fayth to pacify Sin.
Earlier in the story, Wakka rejected Rikku when he discovered she’s an Al Bhed. For the next few chapters he traded barbs with her and blames her people for a lot of their problemsWhich, to be fair, is sometimes correct.. But as the story progressed, he saw the suffering of her people and the cruelty of his own. As his personal faith became unraveled, he warmed up to her. When the Al Bhed Home was destroyed, he was the only one that tried to comfort her. He awkwardly failed to cheer her up, and ended up hurting her feelings. Afterward he seems really upset about it. Here at the end, the two of them have obviously been working together on the problem of how to beat Sin. Moreover, they seem to have developed a rapport filled with playful teasing.
The point is that these two characters share a story arc. Among the secondary charactersEveryone in the party who isn’t Yuna, Tidus, and Auron. they share the most lines of dialog, and of all the relationships in the party, theirs changes the most. Their arc also helps underscore the idea that the conflict with the Al Bhed is purely a thing manufactured and maintained by the teachings of Yevon, and without this false religion these two peoples would be able to live harmoniously.
Anyway, once you’re done hopping around the planet collecting monsters and super-weapons, it’s time to move on to…
I forgot to get a screenshot of the infinite wading pool inside Sin, so here`s a shot just before they jump in. Again, Tidus seems to be taking point.
The heroes blast Hymn of The Fayth out of the soundsystem that the airship has for some reason, and then have a series of boss fights to blast pieces off of Sin until it’s grounded. Also, Sin can fly. Or it could, until just now.
After that they jump on its back, boss-fight in through its pores, and rummage around inside, trying to find Yu Yevon and / or Jecht.
Sin is… I don’t know what I expected to find inside of Sin, but I don’t think it was a cloudy white void with ankle-deep water.
Water is a major thematic or stylistic element of this story, and it’s omnipresence always made me feel like I was missing something.
Water, Water Everywhere
The afterlife is a waterfall flowing into an ocean with columns of water rising out of it. And also some flowers.
When Jecht was transported to Spira ten years ago, he did so by getting “lost at sea”. Tidus begins the story playing Blitzball in Zanarkand, which is played under water. Then Sin arrives and destroys the city with a tsunami. Then Tidus is dropped into watery ruins, taken to the Al Bhed Ocean platform to salvage sunken treasure, washes up in Besaid and even swims part of the way to the village, takes a boat to Kilika, plays Blitzball in Luca, and fights Sin on the coast in Operation Mi’ihen. In the first eight or so hours of the game, the Mi’ihen Highroad is the only area where water isn’t a major component of the scenery.
Yuna performs the sending by walking on water, while the dead are held beneath the water. Sin always attacks from the water. The boss that guards Jecht’s memory sphere is made of water. When we visit the Farplane, we see it’s basically one gigantic waterfall. When they cross the moonflow, they see an ancient machina city beneath the water. To get to the Al Bhed Home, the party falls through a frozen lake and lands on top of Sin in ankle-deep water. After they’re teleported, Tidus wakes up in a pool of water. When the party is thrown into the execution dungeon, you control Tidus during the underwater section and Yuna during the maze section. To get to ruined Zanarkand, you have to swim through watery caverns and do underwater puzzles. Ruined Zanarkand is right on the coast and most of the ruins are sinking into the water. The final meeting with Lady Yunalesca takes place in a Blitzball arena, which is… you get the idea.
Sure, you could argue that most of the game takes place on the coast, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of water. But this goes beyond just the scenery.
Old Zanarkand is a city built on the water, with water archways overhead, where people play football underwater, and which is ultimately destroyed by a tsunami caused by Sin.
Of the four elements in the game, only three are represented by aeons: Ifrit (fire) Ixion (lightning) and Shiva (ice). But there’s no aeon for water magic. Same goes for the temples. We visit temples themed around fire, ice, lightning, and technology, but none of them are water-based. Is this a deliberate message of some sort? Is the omission of water supposed to mean something? Is Sin the water aeon? Or is the Blitzball temple in ruined Zanarkand supposed to be the “Water Temple”?
Having said all that, I can’t really see a clear message behind this. What is the water supposed to represent? Death? Magic? Aeons? The past? The Al Bhed live on technology instead of magic and they live in a Desert devoid of water. Is that some sort of message, or did the designer just decide we needed a “yellow” environment?
Sure, maybe all the business with water is just the designer trying to show off some new water-rendering tricks in their pre-rendered cutscenes. It’s possible I’m just hunting for meaning amid noise. But there’s something about the way water is used in this story that makes me think the writer is saying something I’m not getting. Maybe I’m just an overly literal engineer and if I was an artist with one o’ them fancy degrees in Literary Symbolism And Shit I’d be able to understand this story in a new way.
The Final Haircut
What the hell is with those wheels, Seymour? Are you trying to destroy the world, or run a gameshow?
The party is looking for Yu Yevon, but instead they find Seymour. He’s still trying to control Sin so he can destroy the world. He seems to be crazier than ever, and is in need of one last beating. Oddly, he seems like a pushover at this point. I suppose if you go directly from Yunalesca to Sin without doing any of the side-content then he might be a handful, but I’ve found that just a little leveling in the Omega Dungeon is enough to turn him into a speed bump on the way to the end. I actually like that he fizzles out here at the end instead of becoming a next-level threat. We’re on our way to the final showdown and we wouldn’t want this goof to steal the show.
The dialog even shows that Tidus and company have stopped taking him seriously. They have grown in power, ambition, and perspective, and he hasn’t. Seymour isn’t the writer’s pet villain and they’re not afraid to give him the unimpressive end he deserves.
The party pummels him and then Yuna sends him to the afterlife once and for all. Once he’s gone, we are met with the profound realization that – regardless of what happens in the battle with Sin – the natural order of things has been forever altered. With both Yunalesca and Seymour gone, Wakka is now the owner of the most ridiculous hair in Spira.
If nothing else, this quest has done wonders for the overall quality of Spira`s hairstyles.
We’ll wrap up this series next week.