Thanks to Schwahn for the inspiration!
Just how implausible is the orphanage story in Final Fantasy VII anyways?
A lot of people criticise the game for the “all too convenient” and “unbelievable” orphanage scene.
But how many of us remember those from your daycare or even kindergarten? Would we remember them without the aide of a yearbook?
Like Selphie said: “I had loads and loads of fun after going to Trabia. That’s probably why I forgot all about my childhood.” We have a new life and forget the old one. The new one is always when we get older, the old one was when we were younger.
The Orphanage scene isn’t terribly pointless, but the lead into it throughout the game is weak. If NPC spoke more about the GFs fading their memory, this story would be more poignant. But it’s way too subtle. Imagine if Final Fantasy VIII had a bigger emphasis on losing one’s memory. This would make sense of Squall’s outburst and Ultimecia’s final speech. This reveal would have been more powerful.
We might also be able to relate it to ourselves better through a less subtle script. These kids grew up in an orphanage together as adolescents. And now they’re teenagers, essentially going through what they think is the most important phase of their life. Most of us have a lot on our minds during that time. We end up forgetting those we haven’t talked to in a while. Their excuse was the junction system.
How would they feel knowing their friends forgot them? Life is short; it might pain us to remember the bad, but it also pains us to forget a part of our life.
Try this thought experiment. How much do you remember from your youth in detail? How many of the people did you go to grade school with?
Think about how they might take such a revelation. We think “corny device plot”, they think “OMG, how did I miss so much of my life, and all this time I fought alongside you, you were…wow, you’ve grown!”
You know what, I think what they think is what we’re supposed to think about the people in our lives.
Was the Orphanage scene necessary in the story? Yes! and not just due to the themes in the plot. How Irvine reacts to Edea, Squall’s development, and even SeeD selection, all connected. But it’s too subtle, so people understandably missed it.
Then again, don’t we even tend to miss the obvious at the off chance for camaraderie through schadenfreude?
“HA HA HA HA HA”
the scene was “evidence” of horrible voice acting. Until James Arnold Taylor finally came forward to explain the obvious. We made fun of him until he decided to defend his talent when he didn’t have to. Sometimes I think we forget how to empathize with the characters within the context of the story. Maybe one day, Final Fantasy VIII will get the same official defense concerning the Orphanage scene…
And Ultimania will ultimately shoot it down.