There’s a scene where Selphie and Zell are dancing for joy at the chance of becoming SeeD.
Selphie: “SeeD! SeeeeD! SeeeeeeeD!”
Zell: “Yo! Squall! Let’s get back to class. What do you mean, why’?’ Don’t you remember what new Seed members do?”
Yeah, they’re mercenaries who kill:
SeeD is a mercenary force in Final Fantasy VIII whose operatives graduate from Balamb Garden. SeeD is a mercenary force for hire, conducting missions around the world as battle support and undercover operatives. Their services are requested by governments and civilians; their tasks range from providing military support to protecting civilians to slaying monsters.
I know this scene is humorous and has allusions to joys of passing a high school exam. But Nojima was going for context. Selphie and Zell aren’t really school kids, they’re kid soldiers. And how they’re acting isn’t intentionally ironic on their part. They’re seriously happy at the idea of killing.
This is who they are. This is all they know. Zell, Selphie, Squall, and Quistis live in a type of military cult. They train to kill under the guise of peace-keeping missions. Becoming SeeD is such a big deal that Selphie and Zell are literally jumping for joy at going to war. They’re fanatics. They have honeycomb minds with compartmentalized psyches.
Teenagers elated about becoming child mercenaries, going on dangerous, life-threatening, missions? It’s just a way of life for them. But they’re generally innocent to the fact that this is what they’re doing. That’s the real scary part.
Have you taken the SeeD test? Of course, if you have, it’s to test our memory of the game’s mechanics and bestiary. But for the characters, it’s to test their way of life. Well, and make sure the GFs aren’t wiping their mind clean of ways to kill.
Don’t let the bright atmosphere of Balamb Garden’s confuse you, this is a military school. They use weapons and GF junctions, and kill monsters. They have an actual Tyrannosaurus Rex in a training room. And they go on dangerous missions where they could, and many of their peers do, die. And they’re teenagers. All of this, when you think about it, is terrifying.
Balamb Garden is somewhat of a cult denomination. The kids live a simulation of school life, studying nothing but the art of war. They’ve been learning this from an early age, but they’ve neglected emotional growth. So in a sense, they’re still children who look like teenagers.