The announcement of these classic Final Fantasy-themed music boxes...um, a full five months before their actual release date, for some reason, really delighted me yesterday. A little candy-colored crystal thing that plays a sweet version of a classic FF tune. What a neat thing to have! Man, I wonder what they're doing for FF4...

...*sigh.* I don't know why "Theme of Love" has become such an unassailable standard-bearer for the FF4 OST. Such a whiny song. Fits a whiny character.

(I know they're going for bittersweet, memorable, emotional tracks given the music-box medium, but the main overworld theme is the epitome of that for me. Just transcendent beauty and sadness. It is a crying shame that we're not getting a music box of that tune.)

(...And on the note of great crimes against music: I just loaded up the FF4 overworld theme on YouTube to listen to it again after typing that paragraph, and one of YouTube's suggestions - lower on the list than the original, thankfully - was the Pixel Remaster version of the track. Wondering how that turned out, I gave it a click...and some marketing genius who had never heard music before decided that the composition would be vastly improved by adding a Muzak record scratch by way of Silent Hill every other second. Square's modern handling decisions regarding its classic properties keep on winning.)

Maybe it's better just to go with the classic among classics. I assume that the "Opening Theme" is the composition that goes with that image, but given the developments above, I should know better to assume.

Like Locke usurping the spotlight from any character with two X chromosomes, "Searching for Friends" has gradually been replacing "Terra" as FF6's main theme in recent years. It's not a travesty like the constant paeans to Locke's ego, but I think "Terra" is still better, one of the great FF tracks, evocative, mysterious, sad, and adventurous, with a strong melody throughout. "Searching for Friends" is no slouch, and its tone of fledging, tenuous hope is perhaps more thematically representative, but the second half kind of goes nowhere.

I do have to say, though, that "Terra" gains a lot from its instrumentation, so maybe "Searching for Friends" was the right call here.

(Why is this box burnt umber? The FF4 one is the color of coal, but it deserves it.)

The obvious and probably correct choice here. After listening to the OST again yesterday, though, I have to note that "Pirates Ahoy" wouldn't have been bad, either. A bit specific in focus, but it would have meant more Faris, so who cares.

I'm not complaining about "Home, Sweet Home," but: "Dear Friends" would have also been worthy. There's a really satisfying sense of emotional closure with that song that I don't think any other FF track touches.

I wasn't going to do FF2, even though I've played a good chunk of it, but I loaded this theme up for laughs, not even remembering what it sounded like, and: Not a bad choice. ...Well: it's a memorable track, a memorably weird track, but most of that weirdness comes from the reverb of the lead synth. I think that a lot of its mystic flavor is going to be lost in a music-box translation and that it might sound rather plaid. Also: extremely short.

I still haven't played FF3. I listened to this track. It doesn't seem to go anywhere. The start resembles that of the FF2 selection, actually. Certain elements of it wouldn't be out of place in a racing game. It has no strong melody, though, and that's speaks poorly of it as both a classic FF track and as music box fodder. Doesn't speak well for the FF3 OST if this were the brightest light to cull for it.

This is about Sword of Vermilion, by the way. Sword of Vermilion engenders devotion this strong in 2021.

I should use the above image as my new banner.

Perhaps the most pivotal of Adol's acquisitions in Ys II is a spell that changes him into a monster and allows him understand their speech. While this spell figures into several puzzle solutions, you can also use it to talk with your fellow monsters, and though you might expect a lot of threats and growls, it actually yields adorable chit-chat about the ins & outs of monster life:

The townspeople are not so adept at conversation when approached in your monster form, however:

Another monster-related incident of note occurs when Adol is recruited to rescue a young kidnap victim from a nearby village. The abductee is trapped in the monsters' prison with a demon.

Right, so Keith mentions that he can break down the door with the right MacGuffin, which Adol passes to him, albeit with difficulty:

This cements Keith as an enemy of demonkind, so everywhere you go, the monsters are careful to track the movements, curse the name, and swear vengeance upon the great traitor, the hellbound terror...Keith.

There's also a sidequest where you're told of strange scratching about in a local cellar, whose walls you eventually have to bomb to reveal a secret passage to a nearby dungeon. Upon doing this, hordes and hordes of monsters will pour out, an order of magnitude beyond anything you'll encounter elsewhere in the game. It appears to be an onslaught from the depths of hell. If you transform and chat, though, every single one of the monsters says this:

They're not this marauding bloodthirsty horde that you originally thought; they're just blinded by the change in light and flailing & stumbling about, understandably disoriented by this inconsiderate weirdo messing up their home. They're just ordinary monster-people, freaking out after you've been a bad neighbor. I just thought that was hilarious.

I forget how I bumped into this, but yesterday, I ran across this promo flyer for a 7th Saga/Brain Lord/Mystic Ark fanart celebration of Saga's 30th anniversary:

Wow, how sweet! I just love this idea - a fan outpouring of love for some lesser-known, non-franchised RPGs for the underpromoted Enix side of the Square Enix catalog. Fanart tends to be concerned on the marquee titles, of course, so it's a delight to see lesser-known titles get some appreciation - to be able to enjoy new fan content for 30-year-old games. It touches my heart, honestly! I just can't wait to see everyone's great art! I go to the event's Twitter, and:

The second thing posted, right below the announcement of the event, is a pinned retweet of a ridiculously histrionic English-language Twitter thread about how if fanart is reposted, then Japanese companies will discover fanart exists! So if you speak English, don't make fanart, and don't say you like 7th Saga, and don't interact! Otherwise, no one will be able to make fanart ever again!

Like, motherfucker: DLsite has existed for over 20 years. If the metric tons of unlicensed, monetized tentacle hentai on that site hasn't inspired corporate Japan to sink the fanart enterprise, absolutely nothing will.

To reinforce this, the event's website has a special message for us filthy Anglophones:

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That is so hostile and antisocial that it's beyond self-parody. They even went out of their way to include the English-language titles of the games in the event listing, just to bait English-speaking fans: "Hey, you! Yeah, you! English-speaking gamer! You like these games, huh? Huh?! These games listed in your own language on this Japanese-language site? What do you think about a party dedicated exclusively to these underappreciated games?! A party the likes of which these games have never seen and will never see again?! That sound good to you!? Well, TOO BAD! You're not invited!! We could have excluded you just by talking about the project in a language you don't understand, but then you wouldn't know that you're excluded!"

This is just such petty middle-school bullshit by people who need to pretend they're being victimized for attention. Why did we need to resurrect the hyper-touchy Online Fanarts Protection stuff from the turn of the century; why couldn't we have just revived, like, KISS dolls or something.

ETA: I discovered by looking through this person's work that they're an Angelique fan. Oh, God, everything makes sense now. This "no gaijin allowed" mentality is exactly the attitude Japanese Angelique fans have toward anyone overseas so much as looking at the franchise. And I had seen new doujin this artist had put out for 7th Saga and Mystic Ark and Brain Lord a few months ago, and I was as delighted as I was when I discovered this festival. I suppose I can forget about those as well.