For the past five years, this game proved to be the bane of my existence. In my first-go with the game, I only managed to complete the game up to the Adel/Rinoa boss fight (I rushed through the game with GFs). Deeply frustrated at my repeated failures in annihilating this foe, I simply gave up and tuned down this game for the longest time. Recently, I played this game again, determined to beat it. I am proud to announce that I accomplished this feat and then some. However, several aspects of the plot struck me as odd. For instance, why does Rinoa suddenly fall for Squall? Why does the Sorceress easily manipulate Seifer? Why does everyone think Rinoa is Ultimecia? Believe me, there are more questions, and I hope to answer all in the below paragraphs.
Rinoaís love. How did the stubborn and recalcitrant Squall Leonhart easily attain it? It truly doesnít make sense when perusing through the script. Sure, heís good-looking, but that is about as definitive and shallow as the answer will get. The game does not perform a decent job of explaining her deeper affections for him. They simply write it away with her sentence, ďOh! Those words!Ē when Squall tells her to stay close to him. If you recall, he makes the same exact statement towards the end of disc one after the Lizard attack.
So supposedly she falls for him right then and there? I honestly donít understand it. What if Zell or Irvine had taken his place instead? Would she have fallen hard for them too? Unfortunately, given the limited text of the game on her initial feelings, thatís what the situation indicates. Conversely, however, I think they do a marvelous job of explaining Squallís gradual transition from annoyance to love using subtle reverences from his past. That traumatic experience in his past sufficiently explains why he did a 180 when it came to losing Rinoa.
Another issue that arises is Seiferís manipulation. Sure, she enticed him with dreams and what not, why was he specifically chosen? To me, itís just a case of extremely bad writing. Prior to the gameís release he was built up as this foil to Squall and companyís plans, so one can surmise that they just conveniently placed him there with President Deling just so they can label Seifer a villain. Instead, we get a weak Seifer in each of the discs who is merely a puppet without machinations of his own. Moreover, they throw us a bone and reveal that Seifer and Rinoa went out before, but never fully utilize this fact to its advantage. By doing so, they missed a great opportunity at exploiting the antagonistic relationship between Seifer and Squall, which quite possibly could have gone down as one of the greatest rivalries in Final Fantasy lore. But alas, I ramble of dreams forgone.
Ultimecia as Rinoa truly does not make any sense. Why? Simple because people are reading too deeply into certain aspects of the game, when in reality, this question arose because of bad writing. Look at the case of Seifer. Why was he manipulated so easily? Why did Rinoa fall for Squall so easily? If you could provide me with an answer to those questions, Iíll buy you a case of beer. In all seriousness, bad writing proved to be the bane of this game. The only areas they seemed to get it right was creating distinctive personalities for each individual and developing the love relationship between Squall and Rinoa (not the start, however).
But I digress, why one would think Rinoa is Ultimecia is beyond me. It truly does not make any sense. GF Griever? Please. Any future Sorceress couldíve found that ring on the floor and turned it into a huge lion, ala Edea with those marble lizards. Moreover, they barely delve into the relationship of Ultimecia and her goals. Sure, she wants time-compression. Why? Again, bad writing. How is it that Squall and his comrades are able to survive time-compression, while everyone else cannot? Truly, the game begins to take a nonsensical tone towards the end, and anyone even entertaining the thought of Ultimecia as Rinoa should take that into consideration.
After playing this game again, I truly enjoyed it. Iím a sap for love stories and this one turned out to be phenomenal (notwithstanding the glaring mistakes noted above). I really enjoyed their conversations with one another as it took me back to conversations of yesteryear. Moreover, the FMV features were well placed and timed and only added to the ambience of the scenes. I should state that the main purpose of this essay is to completely destroy the argument that Rinoa is Ultimecia. It truly does not make any sense and does not deserve serious attention unless it is in a fanfiction.