You know, it’s very rare for me to get genuinely angry at someone over Final Fantasy. Very rare. When it comes to opinions or interpretations, I usually agree to disagree.
But I think the time I’ve been the most angry at another person’s opinion was when someone reblogged one of my posts and called Ashe “just another virginal princess.”
I actually had to walk away from the computer.
I probably wouldn’t have reacted so strongly if Ashe weren’t one of my favorite characters. I can put up with all the “omg squeenix y u no remake FF7!!!!!” because I simply just don’t care anymore, but Ashe? Ashe associated with a character type that I tend to dislike? The gloves come off.
Or maybe it just pissed me off because of how wrong it was. The implication being made is that Ashelia B’nargin Dalmasca represents some sort of divine presence in the lives of the other characters. Let’s take that claim and and break it down:
- Ashelia B’nargin Dalmasca not only gets married but is in love with her husband. Although the period of time between the wedding and the Battle of Nalbina is unknown, one can assume that Ashe and Rasler consummated their marriage, which defeats the “virginal” argument.
- For a very large portion of the game, Ashe’s main goal is to gather enough power to destroy the Archadian Empire. She doesn’t care about any Archadian lives that might be lost, nor does she think of the retaliation that her own countrymen might face for Archadia’s destruction.
- Just listen to her creepy theme music.
- The first time we see her after Dalmasca’s fall, she’s killing soldiers and threatening to kill more. With a sword, I might add, not with a rod or staff. Not only that, she shows zero hesitation when it comes to defending herself. She does not think twice about these men’s lives, not in the heat of the moment and not after the battle ends.
Ashe fucks up. Ashe makes mistakes that threaten the fate of the entire world. But the remarkable thing about her as a character is that she learns, and that she becomes a better person. It’s hard to become a better person if you’re portrayed as perfect from the very beginning, which Ashe is not.
Also, she’s cold, she’s brusque, she’s occasionally ruthless, and that line she quotes about Dalmascan justice is hardly “pretty princess” material:
“Dalmasca does not forget kindness, nor ill deed done. With sword in hand, she aids her allies, sword in hand she lays to rest her foes. This nethicite must be my sword. I will avenge those who have died, and the Empire… will know remorse.”
Many fans are critical of Ashe because she’s not traditionally “feminine” and does not fit the “virginal princess” type. She’s aggressive. She refuses to suffer fools, she’s arrogant, she’s even a little power-hungry.
Which is why I like Ashe. Same argument we have with Lightning: why do female characters have to be nice, have to be accommodating, have to be polite and sweet and friendly?
Ashe is a fricking queen who’s trying to take back her throne and mete out vengeance. Her whole story arc is “Will she seize a powerful weapon and beat the snot out of Arcades in revenge for what they’ve done, or will she find a more peaceful way to reclaim power and free her country from foreign occupation?” This princess does not get crowned by kissing a prince or anointing a hero. She wins by choosing which power to wield, by convictions, and by daring. (I keenly remember Margrace suggesting a more passive strategy that she soundly rejects, preferring to do things her way.)
I think some fans may be judging by appearances, although the stereotypical interpretation of a bright red miniskirt is hardly “virginal princess” either. Squeenix has an annoying habit of softening the strongest characters — Fran, Lulu, Ashe — with a hefty dose of fanservice. And there’s that bizarre moment early in the game when Ashe jumps down into Vaan’s arms like a Disney princess, although it’s exploded about two minutes later when she proves herself anything but a damsel in distress.
FFXII subverts some of the traditional Final Fantasy tropes and conventions (the Leading Man isn’t, nor is Vaan, and there’s no romantic storyline) much as XIII does. But people keep looking for the storylines and archetypes we’ve come to expect from this franchise, even when for good and ill the recent installments have tried to break free of some of them.
Very excellent commentary.
If only FF12 wasn’t such a shitty game to play, I’ve mighta appreciated the characters more, ‘cause hot damn, Ashe sounds like my kinda woman. XD
Might make room for a Let’s Play down the road. o3o ~
Haha, it’s not that shitty. :D Sure, it’s different, but you should try out the “International Zodiac Job System” version (where you have to choose jobs, which defines what licences can you learn). The gameplay is much smoother, you can even control the Espers. I really hope later on you will give it another go, I think it’s really worth it. :) And the character’s are really fun! (Vaan not included of course)
This wasn’t hard at all, and I’m pretty sure, most people will go ballistic about this, but my fav FF girl is:Ashelia B’nargin Dalmasca (Ashe) from Final Fantasy XII.
“I am simply myself. No more and no less. And I want only to be free.”
I was pretty sure the whole time, that she is the true main character of FFXII and I’m happy about this, because in my opinion, Ashe is just perfect. After all the sadness what happened to her, she still stays strong and fights for Dalmasca’s freedom. I like how badass she can be, but still has her soft spot (her husband).
Runner-up: Celes Chere (from Final Fantasy VI)
I really want to have a Final Fantasy where we can recruit a garif for our party. I mean, look at it! Pure awesomeness! :D
And that garif would be a geomancer or something other awesome job. :D
And his name would be Fluffy!
Just finished Final Fantasy XII. And wow. Just wow.
Vayne was a bit disappointing as a final boss, but the cutscenes and the music was still perfect, especially the ending. Maybe FFXII is not the best in the series, but I really enjoyed it! The characters were cool too (no, not Vaan), I really liked Basch, Ashe and Balthier! :)
“YRP” my ass, these sexy people really know how to slay thousand of monsters.
(I’m really happy that I didn’t finished FFX and started to play with FFXII instead. This is really amazing, the story, the characters (Vaan not included), Ivalice, everything!)
If the game is so awesome, like the soundtrack, I really have to try this game (Nier) out. But still playing with Final Fantasy XII, and I love it! :D