The Final Fantasy Awards: Best Cast – Ethos

ffixEthos’ Pick: Final Fantasy IX

Finally I can start mentioning this game in these awards! The game for which I am known for loving to death just wasn’t even in the running for the last two awards. Then technical difficulties had to push my gushing for yet another day. Anyway, on to said gushing.

This actually wasn’t an easy choice for me, initially. Final Fantasy has a number of fantastic characters and some extremely memorable casts. Still, while Amarant may be a bit of a dud, Final Fantasy IX sports the strongest overall and supporting cast in my books.

There may not be one stand out hero like Balthier or timeless villains like Sephiroth or Kefka, but all of IX’s varied characters react to and learn from each other like no other game I’ve seen. Quina – although s/he’s often hilarious – is the only gimmick character. Steiner is a bumbling, annoying tart, but he reacts realistically within the game’s world until he finally has to face his own stubbornness and blind faith. Zidane is a sappy lost boy who hides his vulnerabilities behind inflated confidence. Freya attempts to cling onto her heritage and lost love while actually moving away from both. I could go on to list – character by character – how each has to come to terms with very difficult things about themselves, but that’s not the only reason why FFIX has the best cast.

Even the supporting cast overflows with personality. Baku and Blank, Zorn and Thorn, the Black Mage Village, the list goes on. It’s not just that they’re great minor characters, it’s that they get a bigger chance to be in the spotlight than in any other game in the series. You get to watch Cinna and Marcus going to save Blank, you get to see Kuja fall even more in love with his melodramatic self, and Disc 2 even starts with a Shakespearean-style aside with two comic relief character with very little bearing on the story itself.

All in all, Final Fantasy IX has a depth in its cast that spans from great individual characterizations to countless entertaining and believable interactions with a huge and likable variety of personalities.

Runner Up: Final Fantasy VII

I’m with Riddles on this. Excepting FFIX, Final Fantasy VII is the only game in the series with a proper sense of humour. I didn’t mention this is the blurb above, but it’s so much easier to buy into melodrama when it’s offset by a legitimate sense of humour. Other than that point, Riddles said it all. Final Fantasy VII was the game to get me into the series, so Tifa, Cloud, and Sephiroth will always have a place in my heart. Not really Aeris though. Sorry.

Dishonourable Mention: Final Fantasy VIII

Dear god, so many options. FFXIII is really, really bad. FFX-2 has more Brother (was that his name?), the creepy incest-maniac, FFX has the insufferable Rikku and Yuna, FFXII is bland as shit, and I really hate FFIII. Still, no cast has such a collection of either idiots or forgettables as Final Fantasy VIII. There is literally not a single redeeming character for me in this game. Rinoa comes the closest to someone likable but she ruins that by liking Squall the tard, and then every single character following that is either a gimmick with a catch-phrase, entirely forgettable or both. At least Sazh was cool a lot of the time and Lightning punched Snow in the face repeatedly.

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3 Responses to “The Final Fantasy Awards: Best Cast – Ethos”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    Oh come now, VIII’s cast isn’t as bad as XIII’s. VIII’s cast doesn’t really add too much to the game, but XIII’s characters actively make the game worse, and hurt my brain with their cliché, one note, one dimensional personalities.

  2. Ethos says:

    See, I felt that way about VIII.
    And yeah, XIII IS really bad. It was definitely between VIII and XIII for me.

  3. DarthGibblet says:

    - I think it says a lot for IX that I can’t really remember the plot, but I can remember most of the cast.

    - I love how FFVIII’s cast was so forgettable they didn’t even bother coming up with separate backstories for everybody. They just lumped them all together.

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