Ever since Final Fantasy II, Cid appeared in every Final Fantasy as an inventor, engineer or all around genius. Through Cid, our characters acquire an airship, which he built. And Cid lets us know he built it, and that he’s an engineer. All of the Cids happen to be male. Even in Final Fantasy XV, it seemed that Square Enix insisted Cid should be male. And none of the Cids present adequate social graces.
So why are all of the Cids males, inventors, and socially awkward? Perhaps Square Enix is trying to reflect the fact that Cid has Asperger’s Syndrome.
Maybe not, but let me indulge you…
According to Wikiperdia, Asperger’s Syndrome is:
This disorder affects males nearly five times more than girls. Certainly, it’s a stretch to say only males can be engineers, or that all engineers have Aspergers. However, what type of Aspergers characteristics does Cid have?
First, we can’t determine if their motor-sensory is evidence for Aspergers Syndrome. Well, at least not the Cids from the older 2D generation. But Cid Highwind has a strange running gait. However, people with Asperger’s Syndrome usually have a qualitative impairment in social interaction. You might not think this characterizes Cid, but consider that every Cid has a pattern of restricted interests. The only thing they seem to talk about it anything that relates to their inventions:
Cid Highwind: “She’s a beaut — my Sierra, latest model! I’ll give ya the damn tour afterward!”
The Cids can talk incessantly about their inventions, almost to the exclusion of everything else. Their preoccupations result in long, tedious and often times tangential discourse:
Cid Highwind: Vince, don’t worry about the reactors. We’ll take care of them. You work on those four wackos. I don’t like letting you have all the fun, but you know I can’t leave my baby here alone. Cloud and the others will be shutting down the power, and there’s no way we’re lettin’ Yuffie go down there by herself. Sorry buddy. Looks like from here on out it’s Vince versus the Tsviets. We’re counting on you, old pal. Yeah, but just look at Cait… I mean, Reeve. When the hell did he become so important? All this you see around you–everything here–he put up the gil for it. ‘Course that’s on the condition that I help him save the world. What I want to know is where he got that kind of cash. When all this is over, how about we grab a couple of cold ones. Just like the good ol’ days, huh? Even Shera’s been worried about you, and you know how she gets.
Hans Aspergers, the psychiatrist for whom the disorder gets its name, described people with AS as “little professors”. The same can be said for Cid Kramer, Headmaster of the Balamb Gardens.
Headmaster Cid Kramer: “SeeD is SeeD. The elite mercenary force of Balamb Garden. Hmm, do you know something about SeeD? SeeD will defeat the sorceress. The Garden will train SeeD members. The many missions around the world are only training for the final battle against the sorceress. But now that the sorceress has become a major threat, our true mission has begun. Edea had been a sorceress since childhood. I married her, knowing that. We were happy. We worked together, the two of us. We were very happy. One day, Edea began talking about building the Garden and training SeeD. I became obsessed with the plan. But I was very concerned with SeeD’s goal, that one day SeeD might fight Edea… She laughed and told me that would never happen. However…[Norg] is from the Shumi tribe. A black sheep of the tribe, one might say. We met while I was running around trying to find funds to build the Garden. He became interested in building the Garden, and we hit it off. Thanks to his funding, it was completed. However, we needed an enormous amount of funds to run the Garden. So we began dispatching SeeDs around the world as a means of supporting the Garden. NORG’s idea was right on the money. An enormous amount of capital began flowing into the Garden. And the Garden began to change. Lost sight of our high ideals, the truth was covered up… That’s probably enough. In the end, it was my fault, for giving up control. We must stop drifting around soon… I only hope that we can get things back to the way they were.”
Why does this always happen when you talk to a Cid? Well, one characteristic of Asperger’s Syndrome is one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic. Most of the times, the person with Asperger’s Syndrome doesn’t recognize the listener’s feelings or reactions, such as a wish to change the topic of talk or end the interaction:
Cid Pollendina: Rosa’s been worried sick about you, you know! Make that girl cry and you’ll have me to answer to, you hear? Speaking of girls, how’re my babies? Didn’t burn out any engines, did you? You and them goons of yours need to treat those ships with more respect! Hey…why the long face? Something the matter?
Cecil Pollendina: Cid, I, um…
Cid: What!? And he’s sending you to hunt the Eidolon instead? But what’ll happen to the Red Wings without you? I tell you, something’s gotten into His Majesty. He’s ordered me to build a new ship, you know – a more maneuverable one, with more firepower. What’s he thinking? I’m not building these things for him to wage war! There’s talk among the townspeople, too. Everyone’s worried about where Baron’s headed. And now the king’s sending you away from us! Mist, eh? Well, you take care of yourself. S’pose I don’t need to worry about you, though, do I? I’d best be on my way, too. That daughter of mine is going to wring my neck if I spend another night here working without checking in at home!
Sometimes, they fail to adhere to “polite conversation”. They may even appear to disregard other people’s feelings, coming across as insensitive:
Cloud Strife: Can we borrow the “Tiny Bronco”?
Cid Highwind: You know Shinra developed a lot of technological gadgets during the meaningless war, right? Now it’s a Mako company, but in the old days, it was a weapons manufacturer. Well, they came up with a Rocket Engine. There was so much excitement about the thought of going into outer space. Our dreams got bigger and bigger. They put a major budget into it and made prototype after prototype! Finally, they completed the Shinra No. 26. They chose the best pilot in Shinra–no, in the world–me. I mean, come on. And finally, we get to the day of the launch. Everything was goin’ well…but, because of that dumb-ass Shera, the launch got messed up. That’s why they became so anal! And so, Shinra nixed their outer space exploration plans. After they told me how the future was Space Exploration and got my damn hopes up… DAMN THEM! Then, it was all over once they found out Mako energy was profitable. They didn’t even so much as look at space exploration. Money, moola, dinero! My dream was just a financial number for them! Look at this rusted Rocket. I was supposed to be the first man in space with this. Every day, it tilts a little bit more. At this rate, I don’t know which will come first, this thing falling down or me gettin’ outta here. My last hope is to talk to the President……
Cloud Strife: …can we borrow the “Tiny Bronco”?
Cid Highwind: You out of your *&$^$# mind!? That’s my most cherished possession. I can’t let you take it.
If allowed, the Cids will speak for hours.
Perhaps I’m looking too deeply into it. As Sakaguchi once said:
There really isn’t any deep meaning to it, we just wanted to make a character that would appear in various forms in all the games. I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for that kind of character. Cid is like Yoda from the Star Wars series—very intelligent and wise.—Hironobu Sakaguchi in EGM2 August 1997.