Summoner, Healer, Saviour

Another question about video games here, and it’s a much easier one for me to come up with an answer for than before.

Who is your favourite video game character?

In fact, there’s not really much in my mind to contend with my choice here, once she came to mind it was pretty much settled.  Before anything else, let me give you; Yuna.

Yuna’s a character in two of the Final Fantasy games for the Playstation 2; Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2.  She’s the supporting female in FFX and the lead protagonist in FFX-2.  I’ll talk you a little through her story in these games, and hopefully illustrate why I think she deserves the title.

WARNING – HUGE SPOILERS – If you plan to play these games in future, but haven’t before, don’t read further.

Playing as Tidus, the celebrity sportsman who’s been ripped from his own time by a gigantic monster known as Sin, the player in FFX first encounters Yuna on a small tropical island named Besaid, where she lives and was born.  She has been training all her youth as a Summoner.   Summoners are rare in Spira (the world in which the games are set), individuals with the power to form relationships with powerful beings known as Aeons, and summon them at will.  This is a large part of the gameplay for Yuna in FFX, but what’s really important about the fact that Yuna is a Summoner is the role she plays within the community of Spira.  I’ll explain; bear with all the new names, they’re not what’s really important.

The smallest part of the tip of Sin's mouth. It really is HUGE.

Sin, the monstrous creature mentioned before, resides in the sea.  It emerges to terrorise the people of Spira at regular intervals.  The entire population lives in a crippling fear of Sin, something which the state religion of Yevon uses to concrete its ideologies in their minds. This is where the Summoners come in; they’re devotees of Yevon who make a pilgrimage across the entire country to the ancient ruined city of Zanarkand (this is where Tidus is from, 2000 years previously) where they will be granted the ‘Final Summoning’, an Aeon supposedly capable of defeating Sin and bringing peace to Spira.  Almost no Summoners manage this feat; the pilgrimage is dangerous and taxing, physically and emotionally.  Those who do are given the title of Grand Summoner, and Yuna’s father Braska was one of these, although he died in his final battle with Sin.  The trouble is that Sin is never truly dispatched; when a Grand Summoner defeats it, a period of a few years of peace is enjoyed by Spira, but Sin always returns.  Yuna is convinced that even this small period of time without the fear of Sin weighing on the people is worth devoting her life and risking death for.

Much of the game is spent encountering different communities who have lost dear ones to attacks by Sin, and when you arrive at an island called Kilika, you witness one of its attacks.  Many people die, and Yuna is called upon to carry out one of the roles of the Summoner, called the Sending.  This is a funeral rite in Spira, in which the Summoner sends the now-wandering souls of the dead to a place called the Farplane, so that they do not become lost and grow resentful, turning into fiends who roam Spira.  This responsibility weighs incredibly heavily on Yuna, and she bears it strongly, despite having only just begun her pilgrimage.  By the way, this is the cutscene of the Sending; I really recommend you watch it, it’s one of the most beautiful bits of game cinema around;

Near the end of the pilgrimage, Yuna and her group of faithful guardians discover some disturbing truths about the entire system of the Summoners and the Final Summoning, exposing the church-state of Yevon as at worst corrupt, and at best woefully and deliberately ignorant of what is truly good for the people of Spira.  They are branded as heretics and become fugitives from Yevon.  This is in part due to the fact that Yuna spurned the love of one of the highest members of the church, who happens to be an incredibly powerful summoner himself.  She contemplates marrying him, seeing that the union would be something that would give the Spirans hope and cause for celebration, but in the end chooses to continue her pilgrimage against the ruling of Yevon.  She believes she can defeat Sin, and bring a much more meaningful and lasting period of peace to the world.

All of the events of Final Fantasy X would probably be enough to convince me that Yuna is a great character, worthy of being called my favourite; she’s strong, infinitely kind and inspires hope and happiness in every community of Spira that she encounters along her journey.  Towards the end of the first game however, she loses her great love (Tidus, the character you play in FFX).  This takes its toll on her spirit for a time, and she spends FFX-2 mourning Tidus, but she also embraces a new life; one he had always wished for her.

Yuna and Tidus share their first kiss, and declare their love

Coming from outside the established traditions of Spira, Tidus sees the expectations and pressures placed on the Summoners by the world and becomes angry.  He doesn’t feel that such a heavy responsibility should be put on anybody, let along this young, kind-hearted girl.  He falls in love with her, and becomes one of her guardians, but is always searching for ways to free her from the pains of the pilgrimage.  He discovers late in FFX that the Summoners in fact always die when they banish Sin, just as Yuna’s father had done, and can’t handle the idea.  He kicks back against the established expectations and eventually gives his life to enable Yuna to defeat Sin without losing hers.  In FFX-2, she embraces this wish of his and lives a life of adventure, hunting artefacts known as spheres with a team of like-minded girls.

Their final moment together

All in all, Yuna is a character who brings a huge amount of emotional value to Final Fantasy X and X-2, provides us with one of the most powerful stories of love and loss in computer games, and represents a great range of truly good personal values and strengths.  A good role model, and an integral part of what made those games what they are to me.

Even though I’ve just covered a lot of the story, I can’t urge you enough (if you haven’t played it and didn’t heed my spoiler warnings) to play Final Fantasy X.  If you’re looking for a game with a truly involved story to get taken in by, this is where you should be.  This is one of those things I love that I honestly can’t wait to see other people enjoy.  Find a PS2 and a copy, and get going; you won’t be disappointed.

I hope you have a game character you like this much lol; who is it?

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10 Responses to Summoner, Healer, Saviour

  1. Sean Duffy says:

    Excellent write-up on Yuna! I never actually put quite as much thought into her character as you have, and now I’m wishing I did! I might need to run through FFX again sometime soon.
    I have to agree regarding the game though, I loved it! I never actually played FFX-2, but after reading this, I’m thinking maybe I should grab a copy of that as well!
    Now you’ve got me thinking… Who is my favorite character? Gah! Brain explosion! So many!
    Awesome post and keep it up!

    • fateamenable says:

      Thanks very much! I honestly hadn’t really though that hard about it either until I looked at that question lol. I highly recommend FFX-2, but it’s more of a love-or-hate game based much more on the actual gameplay. I found it really fun, I have friends who absolutely LOVED FFX and didn’t take to X-2 as much. It’s a completely different fight mechanic etc.
      Haha, do I feel a post coming on? Have a think :D

  2. Steve Fulton says:

    Final Fantasy X was great – but FFX-2 nailed the combat far better, IMO. Great write-up too, but my heart will always belong to Aeris from FFVII… *sobs*

    This reminds me, I really have to finish FFXIII…

    • fateamenable says:

      I actually have to agree with you on the combat in X2, the real time mechanics were done really well I thought… Lol, never a huge fan of Aeris, gimme Yuffie anyday :D
      Im of the opinion that nobody needed to finish FFXIII, I was pretty disappointed with that game! Looked beautiful but it was just so boring!

  3. Sean Duffy says:

    Hahaha there may be a post coming on indeed! But what a difficult question that is!
    Woo so many characters! I might need a couple days… or weeks… for that one!
    Ah yeah I’ve heard that about FFX-2, I’m not sure why I didn’t ever play it though! Maybe I will have to try it sometime soon! Though I’m going to be swamped pretty soon with Kingdoms of Amalur coming out Tuesday! So at SOME point I will have to try FFX-2 hahah

  4. I still believe FFX was groundbreaking. The first time a FF game had voices! The story was insane as well. Very Inception-like which is always cool. Oh and it was a great post as well. Yuna is a pretty cool female protagonist as she is very unique. She doesn’t fit any type of female archetype which is why I think her character is appealing. The female protagonists of the FF series have always been far more interesting than their male counterparts I think. Lightning is still my favorite female lead in a FF game. Tidus is probably the coolest male lead for me anyways.
    :D

    • fateamenable says:

      Haha, it totally was the first with voices wasn’t it?! I never thought about that. I think Cloud’s the only real competition for male leads tbh, can’t think of any others up to it! I agree though, the FF women are brilliant; Lightning, Yuna, Aeris and Tifa. I actually even really liked Vanille for God’s sake!

  5. Dave says:

    I didn’t go past the spoilers, might play that. Is she your favourite because she’s hot?

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