Welcome back to Save File Plays Final Fantasy VII! Last time, we made a pit stop at Gongaga, and found a town destroyed by a Mako Reactor explosion. We fought the Turks, and learned a little bit of backstory. Upon continuing the journey, our new buggy broke down. Pretty lame, right? IF ONLY THERE WAS A TOWN NEARBY WHERE WE COULD GET IT REPAIRED!!
Oh. Hey. Look at that.
Man, NUTS to that! I’m not doing what you tell me to, game! What happened if we keep moving? I’M GONNA FIND OUT!
I mean, we were doing just fine without the buggy before, right?
…oh. Well played then, game.
MUSIC: Valley of the Fallen Star
Guard: Let me explain. People from all over the world gather here to seek the Study of Planet Life.
: Wooooooooo! I always wanted to come here!
Guard: Ummgah! I’m sorry, it’s full now, so I can’t let you enter.
I just like Barret’s pose of… shock? Anger? I just like his pose here. Also, what the heck is “Ummgah?”
Gee, thanks for clearing that up, guy.
: My tribe were protectors of those who appreciate this beautiful canyon and the Planet. My brave mother fought and died here, but my cowardly father left her… I am the last of my race.
: Cowardly father?
: Yes. My father was a wastrel. And so the mission I inherited from my ancestors is to protect this place. My journey ends here.
???: Hey, Nanaki! You’re home!
: Coming, Grandpa!
And so the party disbands, leaving Cloud on his own to explore.
Shopkeeper: The people of this canyon hate to compete. So almost everything here are replicas. But that’s all right. Some of them you really can use.
So everyone has an upgrade available here. And I do not have that much money. There’s also an armor upgrade. Soooo… blech. I pick up a Butterfly Edge for Cloud, the Prism Staff for Aeris, the Silver Barrette for Red XIII (Nanaki?), and a Pinwheel for Yuffie. Red XIII is required for the next dungeon, as is Cloud (obviously). I can get the rest of the upgrades after I’m done with that, if I want to.
The architecture of thus place is kind of weird.
But I guess since it’s built into a sheer cliff face, I can excuse it.
Plus, it also helps knowing that the place I have to go is UP, so all I have to do is keep ascending.
: He is incredible. He knows everything.
: Ho ho hoooo. I hear that you looked after Nanaki. Nanaki is still a child, you see.
: Please stop, Grandfather. I’m 48.
: Ho ho hoooo. Nanaki’s tribe has incredible longevity. So you see his 48 years would only be equivalent to sat that of a 15 or 16 year old in human reckoning.
: 15 or 16?!
: He’s quiet and very deep. You thought he was an adult?
I’m amazed he spikes his hair instead of letting it flop to one side over one of his eyes. LOLOLOLOL EMO JOKE.
: I want to grow up to be able to protect you and the village.
: Ho Ho Hoooo. No, Nanaki. You can’t stand on your own yet. To do that now would destroy you in the long run. Reaching up into the heavens, threatening to snatch the very stars from the great city of Midgar. You’ve seen it, haven’t you? Well, that’s a bad example. Looking up too much makes you lose perspective.
: Didn’t you hear it? As if to say… I hurt, I suffer…
: They have come here on a journey to save the Planet. Why don’t you show them your apparatus?
: To save the Planet? Ho Ho Hoooo! But then again, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to show them.
At this point, we can go find a teammate to form a party. They’re all scattered around the canyon. But just talking to one of them is good enough.
Yuffie and Cait Sith are closest. I put Yuffie into the party, because Yuffie, and also Barret, because he seems fascinated by this place, so it seems appropriate.
MUSIC: The Flow of Life
This is one of the few times that this song plays in the game. It plays in the beginning, but it segues into “Bombing Mission,” rather than continuing on.
: Well, let’s get to the subject. Eventually… all humans die. What happens to them after they die? The body decomposes, and returns to the Planet. That much everyone knows. What about the consciousness, their hearts and souls? The soul, too, returns to the planet. And not only those of humans, but everything on this Planet. In fact, all living things in the universe, are the same. The spirits that return to the Planet merge with one another and roam the Planet. They roam, converge, and divide, becoming a swell, called the “Lifestream.” Lifestream… In other worse, a path of energy of the souls roaming the Planet.
Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know I signed up for a class in HIPPIE BULLSHIT!
Geez, he’s not even done yet! AUGH.
First of all, that’s TWO words.
And second, that makes me think of Dragonball Z, so I’m back on board for now. Continue. If this ends with you teaching Cloud the Spirit Bomb, you’ve won me over.
: Then, the time comes when they die and once again return to the Planet. Of course, there are exceptions, but this is the way of the world. I’ve digressed, but you’ll understand better if you watch this.
Dude, you’ve got illustrations? WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST JUMP TO THOSE STRAIGHT FROM THE START?!
It’s a guy! He dies.
Yellow, huh? He must have been Asian. (I’m allowed to make those jokes since I’m Asian myself [that’s how that logic works, right?])
The Spirit Energy from the top of the Planet makes it’s way to the bottom and turns into a baby. So THAT’S how babies are made!
Hey, that’s kind of pretty. I know they refer to it as “the Planet” throughout the game, but later one, it was retconned into being called “Gaia.” I’m sure that’ll be in the remake.
What? He has a vacuum sleeve! I want a vacuum sleeve!
Ooo, that doesn’t look too healthy. It’s crumbling like an overcooked brownie.
: If Spirit Energy disappears, our Planet will die.
: Ho Ho Hoooo. Spirit Energy is efficient BECAUSE it exists withing nature. When Spirit Energy is forcefully extracted and manufactured, it can’t accomplish its true purpose.
: You’re talking about Mako energy, aren’t you?
: Everyday Mako reactors suck up Spirit Energy, diminishing it. Spirit Energy is compressed in reactors and processed into Mako energy. All living things are being used up and thrown away. In other words, Mako energy will only destroy the Planet…
So hey, remember way back in Episode 1 when I said if you replace “Mako” with “Oil,” or “Fossil Fuels?” This may be getting a little more spiritual than I would intend, but it makes a lot of sense to me… using Mako will destroy the Planet… using fossil fuels will destroy the planet.
BUT HEY, I DON’T THINK YOU CAME HERE FOR MY POLITICAL OPINIONS. And if you did, I don’t really talk about them that much, sorry.
BACK TO THE GAME.
LET’S GET OUTTA HERE!
MUSIC: Anxious Heart
I really like that Cloud sits down next to them, too. It’s a nice attention to detail.
: Biggs… Wedge… Jessie… Now they’re all gone… died for the Planet. Really? To save the Planet? We all… we all hate the Shinra. But is it right to go on? Will they… will they ever forgive me? Right now, I don’t really know. But I do know one thing. If there’s anything I can do, to save the Planet… or the people livin’ on it… Then I’m gonna do it! I don’t care if it’s for justice, or revenge, or whatever… I don’t care.
While I don’t think this is my favorite Final Fantasy, I think it has some of the best character development. Some of the later games had some very static characters that never really have much characterization. (I’m looking at YOU, FF8. A shoe-horned, forced love story is NOT characterization!) Barret, in particular, is very well done, in my opinion. We got his character arc out of the way kind of early.
At first, he just seemed like some kind of hardass vigilante, rallying against the Shinra Corporation, but over the last few episodes, we discover his motivation. He trusted the Shinra at first, and in doing so lost his wife, his hometown, the trust of his friends, and eventually his best friend, as well as his allies in AVALANCHE. At this point, we see him starting to question if it was all worth it, and if it’s still worth it to continue. But he owes it to those who have lost their lives, and he’s going to continue on their behalf.
: Bonfires are funny, aren’t they? They make you remember all sorts of things. You know, Cloud, five years ago… It’s nothing. No, forget it. I’m afraid to ask.
: What is it?
: It feels like… it feels like you’re going far away… You really, really are… you… right?
It’s clear that something is bugging Tifa, and has been for awhile now. It’s still going to be a little while until we see what that is, but her tension and discomfort have popped up multiple times, and it seems like there are some issues between her and Cloud.
Aeris has clearly had trouble throughout her entire life, but has turned out very well. As she learns what makes her special though, it only serves to make her more and more isolated, something she’s having trouble coming to terms with. What does it mean for her to be the last Cetra? Is there some sort of role she should be playing? That seems to be what she’s searching for.
She turns away after Cloud’s last remark. Never a good sign.
: When I was still very small. We were all around this flame. No, never mind.
: What happened?
: It’s about my parents. When I talk about my mother, I am full of pride and joy… and that’s fine. But when I think of my father, my heart is full of anger.
: Of course. He… left Mother for dead. When the Gi Tribe attacked, he ran off by himself, leaving Mother and the people of the Canyon!
: …Come, Nanaki. There’s something you should see. This place may be dangerous. Cloud, will you and one other person come with us?
Shit, why don’t we ALL go? It can be a group journey! …no? I guess not, huh?
Welp, let’s go, Yuffie.
Anyways, Red XIII has always been quiet and reserved, but now that the party is in his hometown, he’s spoken more here than he has for the rest of the entire game. It’s clear that he feels very strongly about his hometown, and there are also some problems that he has with his father, which we’ll delve into very soon.
Talking to the rest of the party around Cosmo Candle gives us a chance to switch them around if we want to, but Cloud and Red XIII are required for the next area.
Also, aren’t we stuck here because the buggy is broken? ARE WE DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THAT?!
Ah, there we go. Even if we don’t talk to this guy, the car will get fixed, but I like that he’s here. It gives it a sense of world building, ya know?
NEXT LOADUP ON SAVE FILE: THE CAVE OF THE GI!