Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rinoa = Ultimecia?

Gentle Reader,

All right, this is a Final Fantasy VIII thing, so feel free to skip if you aren't into that game.

Wow, I just discovered that there is this big controversy among fans of Final Fantasy VIII about whether or not Ultimecia is a future version of Rinoa.  I am really surprised because, when I played this game back in the day, I thought it was pretty obvious that you are supposed to come away from the final battle with this possibility in mind.

I think it would be wrong to say that Rinoa is Ultimecia, or that the game intends for you to believe that Rinoa is Ultimecia.  Rather, I think the storyteller is having a bit of fun with the player.  The storyteller wants to plant the idea of there being a connection, but the question is never really answered.  There isn't necessarily a correct answer at all.  Still, I was really surprised that so many people insist that this idea comes totally out of left field or is otherwise absurd.

I'm not going to recount the entire Rinoa/Ultimecia theory here, but I will remind the reader of just a couple of points.

- Ultimecia's costume is essentially a duster, like Rinoa's, and it also includes a wing motif, as does Rinoa's.

- Ultimecia's castle stands on the spot that Rinoa and Squall promised to return to if they ever had to find each other.

- While on the Ragnarok, Rinoa tells Squall that she wants time to stand still.  This is also what Ultimecia wants, ultimately.

- Squall idolizes the lion, and he has a lion necklace which he calls Griever.  Rinoa is the only person with whom Squall shares the idea of Griever.  Later, Zell promises to make a ring for Rinoa to match Squall's necklace.  Later still, the player can find a GF called Doomtrain that is housed within a ring.  Then, at the end of the game, Ultimecia summons "the ultimate GF," which turns out to be... Griever.  So, the idea is that Griever was more than just an idea, and that it was in fact a GF that came to be housed within the ring, and to which Ultimecia was junctioned.

- As described more than once during the game, junctioning a GF causes the user to lose parts of his/her memory.  This could explain why Ultimecia does not seem to recognize the heroes when they confront her.

It has often been said that Square officially denied the idea of Rinoa being Ultimecia (though I have yet to find a cite for this).  However, even if this is the case, then how does one explain a few oddities that appear in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, in which Ultimecia is a playable character?

Point #1 - Ultimecia's unique weapons are all weapons that were used by Rinoa in Final Fantasy VIII.

Point #2 - When Ultimecia and Squall meet, Ultimecia's way of greeting Squall is to ask him if he wants to dance.  This is similar to the first time that Squall met Rinoa, at which point Rinoa asked him to dance.

Seems to me like the folks behind Dissidia are playing with the player, and toying with the idea that these two characters are in fact the same person.  That doesn't make it canon, but it underscores that it isn't completely out of bounds to draw such a connection.

Again, I am not saying that Rinoa is or must be Ultimecia.  But, I do not understand why people say that the idea is unfounded.  It seems to me like everything about Ultimecia is designed to hint at the possibility of her being Rinoa.  But, whether or not it is actually the case is for each individual player to decide.  That's all!

Ever Yours,


  1. The crazy part is, that makes a lot of sense. I'm still not completely convinced it must be the case, but I can at least see where it has plenty of basis. Now I'm starting to understand -why- Ultimecia would have some of Rinoa's weaponry in Dissidia/Duodecim...was definitely a mystery to me.
    "Once upon a time, we could innocently believe in the future... Those days are gone forever." / "Everyone wishes they could change the past."
    I have greater respect for Ultimecia as a villain, as well as Final Fantasy 8's plot in general...heh.

    1. Yeah, exactly! I don't think you're supposed to walk away from it saying, "ZOMG RINOA IS ULTIMECIA!" But I think you are supposed to think that it's a possible outcome. Everything about Ultimecia in the Dissidia series reinforces the concept. (Personally, I don't think that Rinoa grows up to be Ultimecia, but rather, Rinoa and Ultimecia are two halves of the same coin. Ultimecia represents the realization of everything that hopeful young lovers like Squall and Rinoa fear about the future.)


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