What happened to Final Fantasy X-2? Final Fantasy X was this grand sweeping epic, similar to an apocalyptic pilgrim’s journey. Final Fantasy X-2 was like a direct-to-video anime in comparison. What can we make of this game? Consider that Final Fantasy X was a metaphor for the Showa period. Final Fantasy X-2 is a satire on the Heisei period.
The first twenty years were characterized by the rise of extreme nationalism and a series of expansionist wars. After suffering defeat in World War II, Japan was occupied by foreign powers for the first time in its history, and then re-emerged as a major world economic power.
Let’s take a look at the history behind Final Fantasy X:
Sin was created during the Machina War between Bevelle and Zanarkand a thousand years ago. Bevelle relied on machina for weapons and Zanarkand used summoners. When Zanarkand was losing, Yu Yevon, a summoner of Zanarkand and its leader, devised a plan to both defeat Bevelle and preserve the city of Zanarkand forever. Yu Yevon called the surviving people of the city together and transformed them into fayth as conduits for a massive summoning that created a spectral version of Zanarkand from the dreams of the former Zanarkand inhabitants. Yu Yevon set this dream Zanarkand out to sea, then called pyreflies to himself to craft the first Sin.
Sin represents Japan’s misdeeds in the world, which came back in full force during World War II. The catastrophe Japan endured was due to their actions on the world scene. The monster of the expansionist war approached them in the form of the “Awakened Giant” (the U.S.). Japan paid dearly. It’s also no coincidence that Sin leveled a few cities.
What happens to Japan after WWII? First, occupied. Then, rebuilt:
By 1955, the Japanese economy had grown beyond prewar levels and it had become the second largest in the world by 1968.
In nearly three decades, Japan managed to become a global superpower, readily applying technology to its fullest extent. However, as soon as the Heisei period (1989) entered, the economic bubble popped. Stock and land prices plunged as Japan entered a deflationary spiral. Banks found themselves saddled with insurmountable debts that hindered economic recovery. In spite of Japan’s economic difficulties, this period also saw Japanese popular culture. The video games, anime, and manga became a worldwide phenomenon, especially among young people.
As for their pop music:
So now, we move to Final Fantasy X-2:
Advanced technology and the Al Bhed are now embraced by the population as a whole, which has begun to pursue leisures such as attending musical concerts and participating in the sport of blitzball.
And don’t forget, Rikku is also a fan of certain pop culture references.
Everything was intentionally goofy about Final Fantasy X-2 because Japanese media has become intentionally goofy. Japan presents a lot of silly cuteness towards society (even if the denizens think of the country as somewhat boring). This used to be the country of kimonos and not-so-concealed blades. Now it’s the land of Hello Kitty, with anime influenced logos and designs everywhere. Just take a look at their police logos!!! This is what Final Fantasy X-2 is mocking.
Final Fantasy X-2 was a rejection of the past. Like Japan, the political factions in Spira becomes empowered to become a global power in a less aggressive way. Spira becomes empowered to use technology and the people become empowered to live their lives. But Final Fantasy X-2 remarks “at what costs?” Sure, Spira is a mostly gentler, less racist place. Japan’s similar in this regard, I guess. But it’s in an economic slump of competing factions and the aesthetics are still very child-like.
It should be noted that “[w]hereas Final Fantasy X drew heavily on ancient Japanese culture and Asian settings, Final Fantasy X-2 incorporated a number of elements from modern Japanese pop culture.”