Concerning the crystals, RebeccaETripp once remarked:
The crystal is what holds everything in equilibrium. It is the source of all life and it contains within it both light and dark. It is the centre of the universe, and if it is ever destroyed the universe dies with it.
A hidden joke exists within Final Fantasy. Of course, crystals are typical for many fantasies. But consider our world, in which most electronics run on synthetic clear quartz crystals. By the 1930s, the electronics industry had become dependent on quartz crystals. As Final Fantasy is a video game, it’s essentially a simulation run on a device powered by…crystals!!!
The crystals, in this sense, really are at the center of Final Fantasy’s universe (i.e. their respective game systems). In Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IX, the crystals are the source of all life. They also seem to be based on the Japanese Five Elements: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Void. The crystals don’t seem to include the Void, however (unless you count Necron as arising from the Void). In Final Fantasy IV, they give the kingdoms their power.
In both Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy V, they provide jobs for the job class system. In Final Fantasy VI, the Gestahlian Empire mines espers for its magic. They’re turned into a crystallized form called Magicite when they die. In Final Fantasy VII, Materia is a representation of oil. Both oil and Materia are lifeforms that return to the planet. In Final Fantasy X, the crystals are “spheres” that retain their real-world counterpart. They record data, through use of energy source known as Pyreflies.
When pieces of the crystal break off, they contain special powers within them and when they are all used and/or combined they will unlock a pathway to another planet dimension, or moon, where there is an even greater power.
Final Fantasy I makes a big deal about the crystal shards the Warriors of Light are carrying. In the remakes, he states “Surely it is no coincidence that four warriors bearing Crystals have appeared now”. Maybe crystals are quite rare in that universe. But since much of the elements are like ours, I doubt it. Crystals are solid geometric materials of silicon dioxide. In other words, they’re fairly common. So common, you can visit your local rock shop and purchase a palm-sized one for about $20. Surely, it’s not a coincidence you’re a Light Warrior too? XD
Whenever the crystal is in danger of being destroyed or used to destroy others
it lends its power to a group of chosen “light warriors” or it summons a single entity whose up a bloodline that is more powerful and more closely connected to the dimension or sphere where the crystal resides. It is sometimes able to communicate with the heroes directly.
The ancients (and some modern day metaphysicians) believe crystals are living beings, incredibly old and wise, and willing to communicate when an individual is open and ready to receive. Ancients believed these stones to be alive, taking a breath once every hundred years or so, and many cultures thought them to be incarnations of the Divine.
But there is a dark side to the crystals, as Pitchfork explains in the article “Final Fantasy V: To The Old School”:
[T]he ideal society lives in harmony with nature. Ones which rely too heavily upon technology or abuse the natural world are doomed to collapse.
In Final Fantasy VII, the world depends on Mako energy. While at the same time, Mako extraction is literally killing the planet. Oil extractions, fracking and constant drilling all cause negative effects on the land in our world. We’re depleting the earth of its resources.
Mankind’s greatest breakthroughs always occur before mankind is ready for them.
Very much like our world, while the rapid development of technology makes our lives generally easier. We might be in danger of missing some of the wisdom from the old age. We might also be in danger of progressing too fast, only speeding up our destruction in the long run. The constant mining/drilling/extracting does heavy damage to the earth. The number of electronics we produce will only contribute to the trash heap. We’ve lost touch with the elements, while synthetically using them to our benefit. We have heaters, fans, TV and water purifiers. But all of this doesn’t secure our existence. It could all fade away in an instant if we’re not careful…