Keep in mind that a story can be about a lot of things. This is just one interpretation of Final Fantasy VI.
Kefka: And have you found your “joy” in this nearly dead world of ours?
Terra: I know what love is…!
Locke: And I have learned to celebrate life… and the living.
Cyan: My family lives on inside of me.
Shadow: I know what friendship is… and family…
Edgar: It is my dream to build a kingdom in which I can guarantee freedom and dignity.
Sabin: I have come to experience anew the love of my brother…
Celes: I’ve met someone who can accept me for what I am.
Strago: I have a special little Granddaughter!
Setzer: My friend’s airship… and her love!
Mog: I have my friends here!
Kefka: This is sickening…You sound like chapters from a self-help
And they do.
“Depression is the persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem.”
People with depression may experience:
- Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
- Behavioral: agitation, excessive crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation
- Sleep: early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
- Whole body: excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite
- Cognitive: lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
- Weight: weight gain or weight loss
- Also common: poor appetite or repeatedly going over thoughts
Keep in mind that below might be spoiler heavy.
The World of Balance, also called WoB and Pre-C (Bonus section), is the title given to the unnamed world of Final Fantasy VI for the first half of the game. The name derives from the balance of power between the Warring Triad that upholds the world.
The World of Balance consists of two main continents: a northern continent and a southern continent. There are two remote islands: Crescent Island and Triangle Island.
The Warring Triad is responsible for all of the magic in the world. The world is hostile because of it. Even seemingly innocuous animals like Leaf Bunnies and Darkwinds (i.e. crows) attack you. But like actual depression, it doesn’t look that way on the outside. The grass is green and the sky is blue, despite the exploitation of resources and humans. This is the backdrop in which our characters experience the first stages of their depression:
- Terra: Terra begins the game as amnesiac. All her memories memories are disturbing. This leaves her confused, fearful and terrified for what she might do. Her inhumane actions lead her to conclude she might not be human. She struggles with human emotions, wondering if she can love.
- Locke: While Locke seems pretty confident, he’s neurotic. He harbours massive guilt over Rachel’s fate. This neuroticism eats him alive, and compels him to protect every girl he knows to atone for the past.
- Cyan: We’re first introduced to Cyan as the retainer of Doma, one of the finest and most noble soldiers. Yet, he loses his kingdom, his pride, and wife and son.
- Shadow: Shadow’s guilt over abandoning his friend gives him a hardened exterior. He drinks to forget his past, but his past resurfaces through his dreams.
- Edgar: Edgar’s flirting is a front to mask his more cunning nature. Also for revenge against the Empire who killed his father.
- Sabin: Sabin was so distraught over his father’s death that he fled the responsibility of kingship, inadvertently abandoning his brother.
- Celes: We first meet Celes in a dungeon, abused by lower ranked imperial soldiers. She doesn’t even attempt to defy her abusers. She feels worthless. Of course, she later finds a “saviour”…only to find out that he still cares about his girlfriend.
- Strago: Strago feels “energetic and spirited, although clumsy and prone to make mistakes”. He has an important joy in his life: Relm. He doesn’t want to lose her.
- Setzer: Sezter engages in risky behavior, trying to capture what he lost so suddenly years ago. His restlessness turns to apathy once his ship breaks.
- Mog: He’s the most cheerful on this list. He’s bright, in that he can speak human language. Yet he’s lonely as he’s the only one of his kind with his gift.
And what about Kefka? We tend to think of him as evil incarnate. But in the context of Final Fantasy VI, he’s depression. Kefka isn’t just the embodiment of all the traits of depression, he’s the source of their depression. The world itself:
The World of Ruin, also called WoR or Post-C (Bonus section), is the second of two worlds in Final Fantasy VI. The World of Ruin is characterized by barren wastelands, deserts, burned forests, and polluted water. It consists of a series of small islands that dot the world, and those islands are where most people live.
This is when the world, as we know it, ends. The world is toxic, plunged into nihilistic chaos. What’s the point? We lost and there’s no way we can win. We’re worthless and should just give up. But here is where the characters work through and overcome their depression:
- Terra: Terra finally finds love (after losing a shot at it with General Leo) protecting children. She’s generally afraid of her power. She doesn’t know if children will accept her for who she is.
- Locke: Locke finally has to accept the past through Rachel’s forgiveness. He’s able to trust that others that can help themselves, and that not everything is his fault.
- Cyan: Cyan’s loneliness takes shape in a less than honourable compromises of his character. First, he lies to a young lady who loses her boyfriend, writing letters in his stead. Second, his guilty thoughts plague his mind and chips away at his confidence. But he realizes that he doesn’t need to force reminiscence. He still has positive memories of his past.
Shadow: Shadow still engages in the same selfish, self-destructive behaviors. Yet if you’ve waited for him, congratulations! You teach him that friendship can exist in the world. But can he forgive himself?
Kefka is the source of their depression. Depression is “seemingly” all-powerful and multilayered. But we can defeat it. And depression, when conquered, fades away. Our character’s find the will to continue on. They overcome their depression together. The world has withstood the worst, survives and starts to heal.