The next thing Kyle and I knew, we were back at the church from the prologue, just after Jerkface returned to Ramza’s life by kidnapping the Princess Ovelia. Gaffgarion was asking Ramza about Jerkface. Lady Agrias soon emerged from the church, and she and Gaffgarion got into a fight about whether or not this unusual was covered by Gaffgarion’s contract with the Order, and Gaffgarion suddenly about-faced on his interest in Jerkface and moved to leave the royal guard behind. Ramza, however, wanted to follow to find out what was up with Jerkface even if it means leaving Gaffagarion’s sellswords. Apparently attached to Ramza, Gaffgarion decides this means he’ll have to go too.
This begins Chapter 2: The Manipulative & The Subservient. Each new chapter means a new costume and portrait for Ramza, as well as a new ability for purchase for Ramza’s Mettle (and, as I mentioned, Ramza’s Mettle is powered up a touch in the remake). It’s not much, but it’s something and that’s appreciated. The chapter opens with you selecting from Gaffgarion and Agrais’ generic allies to decide if you wanted to add them to your force. Well, sure, right? I mean, I don’t want it to just be Ramza and two Guest characters, we’re going to need to build up a whole new force of our ow—wait. Our entire party is here?
Episode 5 – Cid: The Adventure of the Underground Waterway
Post is late! My fault!
Episode 5 begins by repeating the last few minutes of Episode 4, ala Ep 2. At this point, it segues to Lisa as she underlines what should already be obvious: that she thinks Kaze and Makenshi are the “Gun Dragon” and “Sword Dragon” that appeared in Japan during the prologue. And yes, those plain descriptors – “Gun Dragon” and “Sword Dragon” – are their official names! She decides that all she has to fight for these days are the two kids, what with her being cut off from the real world and all. On this important but blandly presented note, we cut to opening credits.
After the introduction, we see the Comodeen evacuating the base, since Makenshi was so disinterested in them that he left them largely intact. In fact, it seems like a lot of things are exactly how we left them before the attack, taking away considerably from the dramatic tension. Cid is still trying to get Lisa and the kids to the train, now using some underground waterways, but it’s tricky because Wonderland is constantly changing shape when they’re not looking.
Battle 08: Lenalian Plateau
Arriving at the first set battle on our way to the Brigade’s fort, we discovered that we had apparently only let Milleuda go for her to fight us again in the very next battle! I’m, uh… that’s really uninspired, FFT, I don’t know how else to put it. I would have expected at least one battle’s gap. Milleuda and her band were apparently trying to flee the scene of the fortress! Well, Ramza, you let her go last time, why not a second go? Oh, Milleuda herself is going to force the fight? Well good for you, lady, your poor judgment is an inspiration for us all.
Speaking to Milleuda, we learned that the bandits are under the mistaken impression that Tietra is a Beoulve, and so was a genuinely valuable prisoner who might stay the hand of the evil Bags. Unfortunately, Milleuda was too irate at the nobility to listen to Jerkface’s pleas that they’re mistaken about Tietra. In fact, they’ve mistaken Jerkface for nobility as well, even though that goes entirely against what he was just saying, and what Argath said to Jerkface in front of Milleuda when she was first captured and had no reason to lie! Milleuda decides to do fight just to spite him.
Episode 4 – Makenshi: The White Etude
We catch up to the kids and Lisa racing to get to the subway. Presumably this is directly after the last episode, and we’ll confirm as much in a minute or two, but who can say for certain in an episodic show like this? Unfortunately, they miss the train, and the chocobo tells Yu through the feather that the train is utterly unpredictable, and while the chocobo can tell when it leaves (we’ll learn why soon) he has no way of knowing when it will come back to this station, if ever. Cut to opening titles.
After the opening credits and Fabula’s introduction, we’re spared a pointless return to the fruit village when the thief that stole Ai’s bag pops out of a trap door right here at the subway station, thinking the party left on the train. This is Fungo, voiced by Marcos Lara, who hasn’t been in much, though he did appear in Get Backers with Shawn Sides. Once unhooded, we learn that Fungo’s appearance is strange, incredibly simplistic and rudimentary, which has an interesting effect when you combine it with his child-like voice.
After buying some heavy equipment in Eagrose, we headed out of town ended up being jumped again at Mandalia Plain. After that kind gift of EXP we gave Arthur the Knight ability Rend MP, in case we came across any serious casters in the next stage (Ed. we never used it, ever, at any point in the game, with any character, despite buying it for nearly everyone who ever became a Knight!), and then kicked him over to Monk, since his being a Knight was redundant next to Ramza. We then finally got Move +1 for Josephine, and converted her back to Black Mage. Thank goodness for those upgrades, because…
Episode 3 – Fruit: The Town of Sweet Scent
That’s, uh, not quite as ominous a title as the last two, is it?
The episode starts with the trio (plus the chocobo) riding the subway to some other world in Wonderland, but we quickly shift over to Early Tyrant after the credits and our daily trip to Fabula’s. The Earl stops his eating long enough to ask Oscha how “Chaos” is doing, in a fashion not unlike talking about the weather, and Oscha remarks that Chaos has “just consumed another of the outside worlds.”
The Earl then asks about Kaze, and Oscha tells us that he thinks Kaze might be: “Unlimited. It means that the person’s power exceeds that of gods.” The Earl insists that he’s the only god here, and tries to order Makenshi to kill Kaze. Unfortunately for the Earl, just because Makenshi lives here doesn’t mean he takes any orders, and he just turns back to his dawdling. Presumably to keep the Earl from throwing another tantrum (his Lieutenants tend to “play” the Earl like this), Herba drops in to volunteer to go after Kaze instead. (more…)
Battle 04: The Siedge Weald
(By the way, just to clarify, I’m going to start indicating exactly when each Journal was written so that you know exactly where we were when I made my comments. This has already been added to the first post, but for the sake of readers who are caught up: this first batch of Journals was written when were at the battle of Balias Swale in Chapter 2!)
The battle in the Siedge Weald was our first battle against an all-monster force, including Red Panthers, Goblins, a single upgraded Goblin, and a few Bombs. Unlike humans, who are differentiated by Jobs and skills, monsters are differentiated by species, aka who is a recolour of what. Monsters get their own unique attacks that humans do not, but don’t progress very dramatically as they get stronger.
Our party was cut down to 4 regular members at this point (Ramza and 3 generics), since Jerkface was taking the guest slot and that forced Some Stranger to fill our usual fifth. Speaking of Ambrose, he spent three of our four attempts at this battle moseying around the empty left flank, away from the rest of the party. While in two cases this led to him tackling a single monster that might otherwise have gone amiss. Of course, “tackling” in this case meant “watching a bomb explode in his face and then dying,” so I can’t help but think that if he had just held the line, that monster might have come to us. (more…)
Episode 2 – Magun: Man of the Black Wind
Episode 2 opens by repeating parts of Episode 1’s ending, as it continues directly from the previous episode. I suppose this makes sense, but this is followed by Fabula recapping the events on the previous episode, like she will in every episode to come, meaning we get the same information twice? That’s Fabula on the left, by the way. We don’t actually start the events of Episode 2 until we’ve gone through three minutes of recap and credits, where we return to the cliff side from the end of Episode 1, where Kaze’s Magun has closed back into a cylinder. Seeing this, he turns directly away from the trio, and walks away. I’m so glad we went to the trouble of picking up where we left off!
Lisa and the kids get back to the top of the cliff, where Lisa prevents the kids from following Kaze. Yu obeys, but starts shouting at Kaze that they’re all looking for someone, so why not team up? This provokes a memory in Kaze of a white-haired man, which shocks him so much that he stops dead, giving Ai an excuse to say “Oh now you’ve done it, Yu. He stopped and he’ll probably come back and shoot us!” Okay, that makes up for the recap a little.
After the second battle, the game threw us on to the map screen and asked us to march to the northwest. Um… aren’t we… you know… at a school or something? A school in this town? Shouldn’t we be staying at school? It turned out that we were actually following some interrupted, half-spoken orders that were given to us by our teacher before he got news of the bandits, which honestly should have been better handled. Kyle outright had to tell me to go back to Gariland so that we could do some shopping, because the game did such a poor job of revealing that to be an option. Along with the fact that the tutorial was only now unlocked, and the way that the game had for some reason declared Ramza an independently operating party leader of this group of students that are presumably of , with a war chest and everything (containing a bonus 2500 gold on top of what we had earned in battle), it kind of made me feel like I was missing a cutscene or three. (more…)
Final Fantasy Unlimited – or “FUF,” as I want to call it, considering its logo – was a Final Fantasy TV show that ran for 25 episodes from October 2001 to March 2002. The show, produced by Studio Gonzo, was supposed to run longer, but its budget was garroted in a back alley by the failure of The Spirits Within and the financial implosion Square went through as a consequence. Its release overlaps with the NA release of the FFX (it debuted after the game in Japan), as well as fellow Marathon game Mega Man Battle Network 1. I suppose if we had wanted to be strictly chronological, we could have held off on watching FFU until we were done The Spirits Within (the immediately previous Final Fantasy product), but there was no force in the world that could have convinced Kyle and I to watch twelve and a half hours of bad TV in one session. Instead, we started watching FFU during meal breaks somewhere in the middle of our playthrough of FFV if I’m remembering correctly, and carried on well until the days of FFVIII. Bear in mind that that span of games includes not just FFVI, VII and Tactics, but also the entire Compilation of FFVII and the overextended Persona 1 nightmare, and you can probably guess that we didn’t catch every meal break. (more…)