One question before we get into "spoilers-behind-the-cut" territory: Has anyone ever found the Espers useful, or am I just doing it wrong?
- Family reunion in the lighthouse! First Gabranth, then Dr. Cid, and though the interactions are short, there's a lot of meat to them. You get the sense that Gabranth has been rehearsing the speech in his head for a long time. (Do we know which of the brothers is older?) Then Cid and Balthier; it seems to me that Balthier had been holding out hope for some level of reconciliation, but Cid shows him little more than contempt, even in his dying moments -- he shows much deeper feeling for Venat. Chilling, in a way, and kind of sad too.
- Why did it take me until fairly recently to figure out that Venat is female, as much as the Occuria can be said to have gender? There also some interesting echos between her character design and Drace's, and I wonder if that's intentional. Or maybe I'm just seeing things.
- Al-Cid returns, and he is just as awesome as he was the first time. Love the interplay with Ashe, and Balthier watching on, Not Amused. Is it any wonder that I 'ship Balthier/Ashe/Al-Cid? Of course, I'm also interested in Balthier/Ashe/Basch, not to mention Larsa/Penelo/Vaan. Something about this game really lends itself to love triangles. I suppose Ashe/Balthier/Fran fits in there, too, although I persist in seeing Balthier and Fran's relationship as strong friendship rather than anything more. Although...
- If any Fran/Balthier people wanted to point to the moment in the lighthouse as hard-core evidence for their 'ship, I'd be hard pressed to argue with them. There is strength of feeling between them, for sure. I just have a difficult time seeing it as romance. It's the same "problem" (if you want to call it that) I have with some of the more popular FFX/X-2 'ships: Auron/Braska/Jecht, Lulu/Wakka (in FFX anyway), Paine with Baralai and Gippal both. You pretty much have to whack me over the head with romantic subtext before I notice, which is why I tend to be so stubborn about the pairings I like because of canon evidence (rather than the pairings I like because of character dynamics).
- I like the way some of the hunts tell mini stories, and also how they sometimes tie in together. The kid who ran away from home the first time you visit Bhujerba becomes the boy you have to rescue from the Antlion, and then you have to find the key he dropped into the ocean before you can do the next hunt in the mines. You learn a lot about the Garif by doing hunts for them, too. Yet another example of the depth in this game, which I noticed the first time but am seeing a lot more clearly the second time through.