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.
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.
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.
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?