So kiltia asked some time ago what people’s favourite moments from XII were. It made me think, so I thought I’d at elaborate on the things I responded. Here they are, in no particular order.
1) Gabranth executing Drace
Drace is the only Judge to speak her mind, to take a clear stand when she understands Vayne’s game. She and Gabranth agreed on protecting Larsa. As she is wounded, she understands that Vayne slash Bergan has more up their sleeves than she realized, and that she and Gabranth will have to up their game to stand a chance. Having Gabranth kill her off is the leverage needed to keep Gabranth in the game, and so together they make the decision to do what it takes to not let Vayne win. There’s just something to Gabranth’s face as he sinks the sword into her - he dies, somehow, his purpose now a target he simply must reach, no matter the means, which is protecting Larsa.
2) That Urutan-Yensa craziness when getting the Eksir Berries
There are certain scenes from an Final Fantasy game you simply remember better than others. A lot of people favour the opera house scene from VI - myself I have a thing for the rocket time elapse scene from VII. One of, if not the scene I remember the most from XII, is the cutscene you see after killing the Urutan Eater, right before you get the Eksir Berries. This scene just screams with that gritty realism that makes you feel hopeless and alive at the same time. In real life, helping out isn’t enough. You can have all the best intentions in the world and still be shunned - or, in this case, executed.
3) Fran holding Mjrn
Very few times in the game do we see Fran showing any form of emotion - this is, I believe, the only scene we see here truly happy. It’s just a wonderful scene that always makes me sigh happily.
4) Basch to Gabranth: “So you have lived”
Chills. I don’t think Basch is ever any more Basch-y than he is in this moment, and the ones that follows. Gabranth is his little brother (even for being twins) who he knows he has to stop. I love the entire arch between them that takes place from that moment.
5) Balthier and Ashe at Phon
There’s just so much going on in this scene. It’s Balthier revealing bits of his past to aid Ashe, but also confirming the change in his motivation. He’s there to keep the same thing from happening all over again. This is an important scene in the game, as easy as that.
6) Zargabaath on the Alexander near the end
This is a very vague title, but what I mean by it is - Zargabaath is probably the most realistic of all the Judges, not taking a stand in either direction. It’s easy to point out heroes and villains in a movie or a game - in real life, these borders are not so clear. After all he is a professional Judge, his job to defend Archadia and House Solidor. Drace takes a clear stand against Vayne, but Zargabaath understands that she will fall. And so he tries to remain in the background until the day he can make a difference. Near the end of XII, he is finally free to make a decision that will be seen as heroic from either end - so he prepares the Aleksander to ram Bahamut to save Rabanastre.
…and then, of course, there’s a few mandatory moments to mention that I’m not even gonna mention because they’re moments we all love so dearly. I could also chuck in the first bit of dialogue between Balthier and Cid, because there’s just something to the way Balthier twists his voice that… moves me. idk, stay tuned for a part 2 or something? (After all, 12 is a good number to get to!)
(Pics are shamefully nicked from FF wikia)