In the Spotlight: Yuna

Final Fantasy X is a game developed by Square Soft, now Square Enix, for the PlayStation 2 ten years ago. A critical and commercial darling, this classic RPG not only set a higher standard for the genre, but videogames in general, thanks to its jaw-dropping production values and intricate storyline. Filled with unforgettable gameplay, music and visuals, FFX went on to become one of the most successful PS2 games of all time and a favorite among Final Fantasy fans.

Of course, it’s impossible to weave a compelling plot without great characters, and in this respect, FFX certainly delivers the goods, with standout performances from the likes of Auron and Rikku. In fact, some of them played their parts too well, and somewhat overshadowed other characters. However, today we put the spotlight on one of those characters overlooked and underrated in Final Fantasy X: Yuna.

Yuna’s first appearance is a particularly memorable moment in the game, and one that I can recall vividly. A young woman walks out of a summoning chamber, sporting one blue and one green eye, before proclaiming: “I have become a summoner.” And she was indeed a summoner; that is, one of the Spira civilians with the ability to call upon an ‘aeon’, a powerful creature that proves a valuable ally in battle.

So begins the journey to defeat ‘sin’, a merciless beast that destroys everyone and everything in its path. To defeat this enemy, Yuna must travel to temples and pray, receiving aeons at each temple and eventually sacrificing herself to the Final Aeon to kill sin. The main character, Tidus, is the only one ignorant of this fact and walks through Spira in the dark. Little did Yuna, Wakka, and everyone know they were all fooled. . .

On the way to Anarkand, Yuna comes across a number of people, including fellow summoners. She also encounters Seymour, a half gado and half human, who ends up becoming her husband in a forced marriage. Last, but not least, Yuna falls in love with Tidus.

After her marriage to Seymour, Yuna and her guardians are branded as infidels and are shunned by the people of Spira. When trying to pass through the Ronso tribe on their way to Zanarkand, the race refuse them. This is when Yuna’s true strength shows: burning with resolve, Yuna tells the Ronso leader her goal is still to give Spira the calm, despite the fact they are now known as traitors and she will die during the Final Summoning.

The Ronso tribe let the group pass, and after fighting Seymour yet again, as well as many other foes, they make it to Zanarkand. There, Yunalesca is waiting for them. She is prepared to give Yuna the Final Aeon, with a twist: one of her guardians must become it. The person would defeat sin, but would also turn and kill Yuna. Before Yunalesca could transform one of them, Yuna asks whether sin will come back after defeat.

Yunalesca explains to Yuna that sin will not be permanently vanquished and that the final aeon just gives Spira ‘hope’. Yuna then makes the bold statement that the tradition should be thrown away, along with ‘false hope’. The summoner and her guardians end up fighting Yunalesca and defeating her. So begins their new goal: abolishing sin once and for all.

After drawing sin out by singing the “Hym of the Faith”, the party defeats him and proceed to navigate the beast’s innards via airship. Inside, they neutralize and finally ‘send’ Seymour to the Farplane or the afterlife. Eventually, Tidus’ father is found and so commences the final battle: kill him and Yevon, the one pulling the strings, will appear.

An arduous fight ensues, though ultimately the party emerge victorious as Yu Yevon materialises in the form of a bug-like creature. Yuna then summons her aeons and, possessed by Yevon, they are destroyed. Yevon is finally defeated after a lengthy boss battle and so the fayths are freed from their bondage of eternal prayer.

The end of Final Fantasy X is a touching one. Tidus, being a dream of the fayths, begins to fade. For the first time in the game, Yuna encounters something she cannot stop. She admits her love to Tidus and the two part ways. Credits follow and the last scene of Final Fantasy X shows Yuna speaking to the citizens of Spira. Apparently, she has gone from being an outlaw to a major leader of Spira. Tidus and Auron may be gone, but they are certainly not forgotten.

When we first meet her, it’s not difficult to harbour the false perception that Yuna is a relatively harmless young woman and not at all capable of the feats she would later achieve. We later discover, however, that the FFX heroine is not only the kind hearted individual you would expect her to be, but also incredibly strong-willed and fearless. Indeed, while the other characters may stand out more in their own respect, Yuna is an integral component in the plot and effortlessly helps shape one of the best videogame stories of all time.

Article by Shawnee Lee