One of the Final Fantasy IX’s greatest strengths, in my opinion, is its story. It’s a beautiful existential narrative on the meaning of life. It also works well as one of the most comprehensive Final Fantasy homages up to that point.
Much of the homages are pretty thought out rather than being simple references (well, OK – some aren’t). And we all know Final Fantasy IX has gone through a major concept shift during its development. So I don’t think it too much of a stretch to say that Eiko would have been to Amarant.
This isn’t a theory as much as it’s something I’ve wondered about.
If this would have materialized, this would have been an interesting twist reminiscence of Final Fantasy VI.
Amarant and Shadow both work for money; one works as a mercenary, the other works as a bounty hunter. They both share the similar job classes; Shadow is a ninja whereas Amarant has Monk/Ninja abilities. Both are loners. In each game, you’re urged to wait for and even go back to help, the other.
But there’s one scene in Final Fantasy VI that players have the option of seeing:
If the party allows Shadow to die on the Floating Continent, the flashback sequence viewed when rescuing Relm shows Strago speaking to Relm who cries out for “Daddy” and asks where he went and if he will come back before Interceptor leaves the house. This fits with the flashback viewed if the party rescues Shadow instead of Relm, which shows him, as Clyde, walking away from Strago’s home when Interceptor runs up from behind him. In the original North American Super NES release, he tells Interceptor to stay with “the girl,” but the word used for “girl” in the Japanese release could also be used as a humble form of “daughter.” In the Game Boy Advance release the word “daughter” is used instead, making it clear Shadow fathered a child in Thamasa before fleeing the village.
As for Relm and Eiko, both are loud, domineering and bossy, yet competent mages. One is a pictomage, and the other is a summoner/white mage. Their respective grandfathers raised them both. And both have animal buddies: for Relm, it’s Interceptor; for Eiko, it’s Mog.
So is it a stretch to say the story originally allowed Amarant to visit the hometown of his daughter?
But Amarant’s skin color is blue, right? Maybe Eiko could have taken the skin color from her mother? Consider the contrast and parallels between summoner/white mages who’ve had biological and adoptive caretakers with blue skin (Garnet and Queen Brahne).
Then again, there’s this picture of Amarant, which shows him with a less bluish skin tone. Maybe, if they wanted to, they would have given him a different skin color?
Consider their last names: Coral is an anagram of Carol in English. In Japanese, it might be a stretch: Saramandā Kōraru and Ēko Kyaruoru. So some phonetic similarities, but not as pronounced as it would be in the English version. Then again, Shadow and Relm don’t share the same last name in the Final Fantasy VI either.
Of course, nothing came of it in the game, probably because the developers didn’t want to pursue this connection. Perhaps the homage works best if our minds are led to believe the connection, rather than a connection being present. Either way, I’m sure it would’ve been way too similar to Final Fantasy VI. Maybe even more like a reproduction of the story, rather than a simple homage.