I’ve said this before, and you know it well if you are a regular reader but, for anyone who might discover this review through the magic of search, I don’t play games. It’s not that I am philosophically opposed to them – I don’t find them an entertaining way of spending my time. Not board games, card games, RPGs, Visual Novels or computer games. Games simply are not my cup of tea.
So, I am always thankful when someone who has played a game with Yuri content writes a guest post for us! In this case, I’d like to welcome Taz, who answers the question, “Is FFXIII Yuri, or not?”
This review, like pretty much every review on this site, contains spoilers.
Take it away Taz!
In brief summary, the plot of FFXIII is as follows: A band of heroes, some more likely than others, get branded with the “l’Cie” cursed seal that comes with a mission, called a Focus: to become the beast Ragnarok and destroy the world. Through positive thinking and sheer bullishness, they resist their mission and instead defeat the being who tried to make them tools of apocalypse.
A large portion of the game involves your characters discovering new abilities, burdens and challenges. At the end-of-chapter divisions you’re often rewarded with a cut scene flashback from the near two weeks preceding the beginning of the game. Both the chapters and the flashbacks go towards showing you just how much can go wrong in a fortnight. This is balanced with heartfelt speeches about not losing hope (and sometimes not losing Hope) and being true to themselves. The speeches are in turn balanced by some wonderfully badass fight scenes and the characters Lightning and Fang (yeah, the names in this game border on unfortunate) being generally awesome.
Fang was a good suspect for being lesbian from the first release of her character design. She had the anime version of tough-girl styling and was named Fang, for a start. Also, Square couldn’t be accused of subtle weapon design: Her double sided lance must have raised a few amused and appreciative eyebrows. When first mentioning Vanille, Fang refers to her as her ‘partner.’ Considering that they were given the same mission at the same time, it’s not such a telling remark. That one of her next comments is about being willing to tear apart both worlds for the other woman does sort of draw attention to the possessiveness of the title, however. When Vanille is in more peril than usual, Fang starts to invoke the nearly requisite Psychotic LesbianTM scene, but it’s not so bad since she can’t actually make herself go through with it.
Vanille is a lot less obvious contender. My first impression was that she’s the bubbly, happy, possibly dim archetype with a little of the feral child (a la Mikoto of Mai HiME). Her attitude and actions in the early part of the game take on some very different implications when you learn more of her story. Of course, she’s still a version of the bubbly, happy type, but she’s not nearly dim enough to misunderstand just how seriously not good things are.
Yuriwise, what the game doesn’t have are the markers that define “couple”– no kissing, no confession. Fang and Vanille do hug a number of times and exchange significant looks. They are also inclined to shout each others names in distress, and at least once (well, Fang does, Vanille is busy feeling guilty) in happiness when they’re reunited. At the end of the game, they do become one… literally become one beastly Ragnarok who doesn’t destroy the world, but wipes out the monsters that are rampaging around, and makes a crystal pillar between Pulse and Cocoon which……might have served more purpose than looking impressive. Inside said impressive pillar, the two have become crystal versions of their human forms, holding hands in a sort of yin-yang like pose. It makes an absolutely gorgeous screenshot but also tends to make you think, “But actually, that would really suck.”
Art – 10
One of the few things that people really agree on concerning Final Fantasy is that it’s pretty.
Characters – 8
This, people are not going to agree on. There are some tedious moments, but by the end I even liked Hope and Snow fairly well, and I really didn’t think I would. And, though not mentioned specifically before in this review, Sazh is fantastic.
Story – 7
The story is uneven. There are some wonderful parts and some distinctly not-wonderful parts. It could just be me who feels this way, but I think that epic plots need to stop having significant connection to God, for at least a decade, so that it actually has a little shock value again.
Yuri – 3
There’s quite enough fodder for fond hopes, but nothing leaves the realm of implication.
Service – 3
It’s a video game, which with their semi controllable characters could be the impetus behind most self insert fan fiction…. Maybe I’m going easy on it, but as I don’t remember any bouncing boob shots (remember Tifa?), I think they kept it comparatively classy. Of course, manly Snow did get the Eidolon that was actually two hot babes.
Overall – 8
Final Fantasy XIII is what it aims to be: a fun game. It would still be a fun game even if there weren’t highly slashable characters, but they are a huge bonus.
Thank you Taz for an excellent – and amusing – review. Sounds like they’re the next generation’s Xena and Gabrielle.
It’s a safe bet that the ambiguity is placed there on purpose, since ambiguity sells. I’m beginning to understand that, too – by forcing you, the viewer/player to make decisions about the characters, it means you *make decisions*. Once you’ve picked an opinion, you buy into that opinion, and so, work harder at reinforcing it. That means you have to buy into the game as a whole, or why would you care at all? The more ambiguous a situation, the more you have to care to make your decision make sense. So, in effect, the less the story tells you, the more you’ll defend your point of view about it. It’s an interesting bit of psychological manipulation, isn’t it? ^_^