Picture courtesy of Finalfantasy.wikia.com
I’m not a fan of a game throwing a girl at you while you’re trying to save the world. It’s distracting. However, I knew from the cover that Rinoa and Squall were going to get together so while I wondered how they were going to build a game that was actually fun to play around a “love story” I was mentally prepared to find her a little irritating.
She made a great first impression with her audacity, specifically because Squall was limited in his social skills, not that he was shy; he just didn’t want to be bothered. Rinoa was idealistic and simple in the beginning. She didn’t have the military training everyone else had. Her father was a dirty politician himself. But under his nose, she was starting a rebellion called the Timber Owls.
I knew when she showed up that she didn’t know what she was doing. However it was only an implicit knowledge because I was a kid when the game came out. I expected things to work out the same way she did. I was sure I’d seen something similar in a movie or read it in a book but in the end it wasn’t until I was older than her that I could see the holes in her plans. She was sheltered but she had been watching the Galbadian soldiers mistreat and harass people for a while. She was tired, angry and she wanted ato end things quickly but at the same time she was out of her element.
Of course, she can’t see that. She’s a teenager. Are they known for being reasonable? Granted, there have been many young leaders that were great at their jobs but then there are incidents like the Shimabara rebellion, which ended horribly. She was also Seifer’s girlfriend at some point. Seifer, the emotional extremist… This was a Shimabara rebellion in the making.
I like that the game gives you the option of telling her just how you feel about her “orders” in the beginning. It didn’t improve her management skills but I certainly felt better afterwards. Her management skills didn’t improve until the last of her harebrained schemes landed her in a difficult ordeal with sorceress Edea.
As a kid I thought it was her execution of it that was bad but I’ve since realized it would never have worked. After you save her from some monsters Sorceress Edea summoned she says she was scared and starts clinging to Squall aka the player. I was initially like “Yeah? It’s gone now; so get off me.”
I didn’t know that the reason she was carrying on about this was because she was surprised by the fact that she was scared in the face of danger. Of course, this was a crucial moment in the game where a lot of characters made mistakes.
Quistis running off to apologize to Rinoa for so thoroughly running through how stupid her plan was even though she was right she seemed to question her own motives behind it and couldn’t get it off her mind until she apologized.
Irvine couldn’t shoot the woman who was practically his mother and he went into this mission knowing but didn’t say anything until it was time to make the shot.
However, I did see a change afterwards in all of these characters or at least a reaction to their realization that they made some terrible decisions. The next time you see Rinoa and Irvine, they’re breaking you out of prison.
Despite the terrible decisions that were made, your loss wasn’t anyone in your group’s fault. The idea that you’d ever be able to shoot her and it would be over is a joke once you’ve played the rest of the game. You were sent to fight someone stronger than you and lost. But while Rinoa was able to shed that bit of stupidity from her, she still had a sense of humor. She was just more aware of herself and the situation.
You’re still going to have to save her a few more times. During the conflict between the gardens you have to keep a level head and make sound decisions knowing that a girl that you’ve gotten rather close to lately is in danger because so are many other students are also in danger. Squall doesn’t drop everything to save her. He does his job. He only found her by chance. But this time she doesn’t balk or get upset. The situation is over and she’s ready to fight the enemy.
Her character works because she knows that she’s being a load when she’d been a load. She knows that everyone else has years of training over her. She knows that she’s the outsider. But she never gives up and that’s what really gets her out of the fight alive. As many times as you have to rescue her she still comes back strong and ready to fight ans with every set back she tries harder.
It’s not something to take lightly because she can be safe and comfortable in her own home just by turning a blind eye and a deaf ear like her father apparently does. She doesn’t have to fight for people whose problems have nothing to do with her but she’s passionate enough that she’ll risk her life for the cause of strangers.
She compliments Squall’s personality. They’re both passionate about their beliefs and what’s right or wrong in the world. They also avoid the “damaged and healer” relationship which can be parasitic and destructive. He doesn’t lean on her or use her as an emotional crutch and she doesn’t try to make up for the bad things in his life or “change” him so much as look deeper and get to know what he’s thinking or feeling.
On a final note, if Zell didn’t get a hot dog before that game ended I don’t know what I’d have done. I mean, after a while it’s suspiscious.
Next week I’m going to write a character Spotlight on Kannagi from Arata Kangatari. He’s the type of character I usually despise.