Deep Look: Final Fantasy 9- Why Amarant is So Cool

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thatpinguino

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Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

Hey Duders,

Here is the latest Deep Look! Deep Looks are largely gameplay and commentary like a Giantbomb quicklook; however, I try to cover games that have been out for a while and I intend to use the videos to highlight moments and mechanics that I found particularly worthy of highlighting and exploring. Also I aim to keep the videos under 20 minutes.

Come join me in checking out one of the most under-appreciated characters in Final Fantasy history. In this Deep Look I explain what makes my roguishness friend Amarant so awesome. I show how the most rough and tumble member of the cast of FF9 is actually the game's best support character and I also dive into how his abilities perfectly match his characterization and some of the twists in his story line.

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Fredchuckdave

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Amarant is okay, which is more or less how I feel about every cast member other than Steiner and Beatrix. He's another of many supposed to be cool characters that are ultimately just kind of bland.

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Amarant was one of my favorites. I named him Bomb Diggity Dog. Well no, I didn't, but I wish I had. Because that's how he lives on in my arm heart.

Steiner and Beatrix are cool, word, but Freya was my number 1 pick. Pretty much since Kain I'll take a character that can Jump over any other. Then again Vivi and Steiner do have them combo attacks.

What I like most about Amarant is that like any good silent type character he.. unfurls over time, slowly warming you up before finally revealing his true character.

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Fredchuckdave

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@geraltitude: Ah, actually forgot about Freya, she's alright too; though she is a rat and thus disreputable.

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#4 thatpinguino  Staff

@geraltitude: Freya is definitely my second favorite character to play as in FF9. Her combination of jumping, medium damage attacks, and odd support skills really made her fun to use. For example, I was mistaken in my video when I said Amarant was the only character with mp healing abilities since Freya's white draw ability also heals mp. Freya can heal, but only with regen and by sacrificing 2 characters in favor of healing the other 2, and she can attack, but only for high mp costs and with odd abilities. Freya also has a ton of back-story and history that makes her pretty darn compelling in her own right. All told, Vivi is by far my favorite character from a story perspective. Not close.

What I like most about Amarant is that like any good silent type character he.. unfurls over time, slowly warming you up before finally revealing his true character.

I agree with this 100%. He really goes through some big changes over the course of the game, attitude-wise.

@fredchuckdave: I really love Steiner's character arc and his romantic/ moral growth. His relationship with Beatrix adds some much needed levity to an otherwise straight-laced character and it gives him something to do beyond chastising Zidane. Him coming to grips with his Queen's madness is also one of the more unique moral struggles in an FF game since he believes in his Queen and his lot in life so completely. It is not easy or trivial for him to change his allegiances.

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@fredchuckdave: lol. I live most of the year in Alberta, where SAS-style snipers eliminate the rat threat before it ever crosses the border. They don't really have a reputation as disreputable here since we never see them, and movies like Ratatouille convinced me rats are nice guys. Plus it's real sad when that tree full of rats gets Odined in the game.

@thatpinguino: I'm sure you/we have talked about Vivi being the "unofficial" main character of Final Fantasy IX before? Obviously his screen time pales in comparison to Zidane but where/when the game gives you control of him has a huge impact, and then there's the fact that a lot of what happens in FFIX is directly about Vivi and his people.

You concisely described pretty much everything I love about Freya. Nicely done!

Reading/writing this makes me think about how Final Fantasy's historical classes affect the individual characters of the games based on your own preferences. I just usually don't like abilities like Throw and Cover, don't usually like Claw weapons either. Who knows why but it is what it is. On the flip side, I'd say Vivi was the character who made me appreciate Magic Users for the first time, laying the groundwork for my appreciation of Lulu. I really didn't like Amarant until my second or third playthrough of that game, when his arc was a little more transparent for me, and I was invested in actively experimenting with my party.

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#6  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

@geraltitude: We certainly have! I think Vivi gets comparable screen time to Zidane considering that every moment with the Genomes is both a Zidane and a Vivi moment. I think I might need to do a Vivi video somewhere down the line...

Yeah Freya's forgotten love story is quite well done and I wish she got more screen time after disc 1. Once you leave Burmicia she takes a back seat to pretty much everyone else.

I know that Freya and Amarant made me appreciate the dragoon and martial artsy classes in FF games. I played FF6 after FF9 and Amarant made me want to use Shadow more than I usually would. Quina made me like Kimari more, even though Kimari is much easier to use than Quina.

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#7  Edited By Fredchuckdave

@geraltitude: The Odin/Bahamut genocides must stop!

@thatpinguino: Vivi is a cool character design and a perfectly fine character, same with Zidane. Garnet named herself after a tiny sword though; that's pretty stupid. Amarant has some of the more interesting monk moves in the entirety of Final Fantasy (I guess the Final Fantasy Tactics monks are the only ones that are better). Dragoons have always been the shit.

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he was a cool design. About all I can say about him. I wish SE kept going down this road for character design, but now its all either FF Tactics style dudes with no noses (for games with classes like Bravely Default/4 Warriors of Lite/3d remakes) or the Nomura jpop star stuff. They dipped their toe in the "hey what if each character was instantly recognizable from the silhouette alone, you know like how Disney designs characters" and immediately fell back into their comfort zone afterwards. Unfortunate.

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@thatpinguino: I totally missed the Quina-Kimahri link until for some reason I thought Quistis! Blue Magic! What a weird/cool class combo Blue Mage + Dragoon is. He's an odd character all in all from a stats/abilities perspective, or at least I felt he was. Everyone always says Kimahri's sphere grid is the most open of them all, but I've never read much about the ramifications of that (or affect on perceived character personality) other then "this is the ult path", and I still see a lot of "is Kimarhi useless??" posts around. I never managed to be a Quina guy. Just couldn't stick it out with her over all the other characters.

It's funny you don't have a Vivi video since he was such a prominent part of your previous FFIX writing. Should definitely do one! I would send you all my notes. Not that you need them though :P

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#10 thatpinguino  Staff

@bargainben: Yeah the Nomura design is in full effect in FF15. I really don't like the intensely Anime/ Jpop inspired character designs that the FF series has used for the last 5 games. I suppose the really stylized character designs were in FF4, 5,6, 7, and 9, back when Amano was in charge of character conception. The Nomura stuff really does nothing for me aesthetically. You are right to point out the Disney connection. Visual distinction goes a long way to making memorable characters and Amarant's huge red dreads and ludicrous forearms definitely make him stand out.

@fredchuckdave: I want to know where the big Eiko fans are. There has to be someone right? I mean she is the more offensive white mage/ summoner when it comes to white magic and the more supportive summoner. That's something right? She's sort of cute and annoying? Any one?

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@thatpinguino: Isn't Garnet's super gauge thingy way better than Eiko's (along with mostly better summons)? She has a good relationship with Amarant in the game I suppose, decent amount of humor even in the dearth of content that is the entirety of the 3rd and 4th discs. Double White Mage was alright for some of the fights so she must've been used at some point even after the forced period.

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#12  Edited By sawtooth

Yeah, Amarant is my favorite character from FFIX. He doesn't get really introduced until so late in the game and even then doesn't get a whole lot of story elements, but the parts he does get are great. Really cool spin on the monk class. Who was the mercenary lady who follows him when he wanders off at the end?

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#13  Edited By GERALTITUDE

Nah, nobody likes Eiko. You could cut her from the game entirely and no one would bat an eye I'm sure.

@sawtooth: That's Lani, the "Boisterous Woman".

Lani & Amarant, together again in the end.
Lani & Amarant, together again in the end.

Queen Brahne originally hires Amarant and Lani to go after Garnet's pendant thing. You fight her in Fossil Roo.

Edit: All anyone knows about Lani is here, in case you care. Our page is here.

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#14 thatpinguino  Staff

@geraltitude: I would make a video on Vivi, but I am currently doing no editing and the stuff I want to show of Vivi is all sorts of spread out. I also don't have saves all over the game for that. Maybe I could just show his bit at the end and talk about him while that is happening?

@fredchuckdave:

The Odin/Bahamut genocides must stop!

FF9 is a better metaphor for the dangers of WMDs than Metal Gear. You heard it here first!

Isn't Garnet's super gauge thingy way better than Eiko's (along with mostly better summons)? She has a good relationship with Amarant in the game I suppose, decent amount of humor even in the dearth of content that is the entirety of the 3rd and 4th discs. Double White Mage was alright for some of the fights so she must've been used at some point even after the forced period.

Garnet gets boosted summon damage and her summons do their full animation more frequently when she is in trance. Eiko gets double white magic. The real issue is that Garnet's summons are way stronger and she is the stronger healer so she fills the traditional white mage and summoner roles way better than Eiko. If you want straight forward power, Garnet is your girl. Holy just is not as strong as most summons and it only hits one enemy. So double white magic is better in boss fights against a single enemy, but it is not great in other situations since most healing spells will fully heal your whole party at the end of the game in one cast. Eiko really shines if you use her phoenix summon to revive your party since phoenix has a chance to save you if you get wiped. Ideally that never happens, but I really loved Eiko when her phoenix thing worked when I was fighting Necron.

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