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8

Gabranth’s voice acting in XII (performed by Michael E. Rodgers) is the greatest in the entire game, much less the entire series. If all you know of his voice is Keith Ferguson’s rendition in both Dissidia games, you’re missing out. While Keith Ferguson (who provides Basch’s voice in XII) is a splendid voice actor, he really did a bang-up job of butchering Gabranth’s voice.

Throughout Final Fantasy XII, Gabranth’s accent is intended to be New Zealand. It’s a stark contrast from the speech of other Archadians, all of whom (from what I have heard) are supposed to have London accents… although I’m no longer sure of the source of that information, so please do forgive me if I’m wrong.

Regardless, Gabranth’s speech is supposed to indicate a “common” upbringing. It’s been  almost twenty years since he left Landis, but that accent is still there, still a part of who he is. And as his conversation with his liege becomes more and more heated, the accent becomes stronger, until that last line is in full-blown “Landisian.” It reveals just how much emotion his words truly hold.

EDIT: I formerly listed the accent as being Australian. It is, however, New Zealand. My apologies.

2

This entire scene makes me rage.

Then again, Vayne’s actions are (from his point of view, at least) justifiable. While he wants to keep Larsa young and innocent, he knows that his brother needs some “toughening up” if he is to survive in any political sphere. He wants to show Larsa how to rule by force, because he believes that optimistic views of peace are naïve and unrealistic.

It makes you wonder what Vayne’s plans for Larsa entail in the long run. Does he want to keep his sweet little brother around, or does he intend to get rid of him when it’s convenient?

6

By now, Gabranth is clearly grasping at straws. He is so fixated on the past, and he simply cannot accept that Basch is working toward peace. In Gabranth’s eyes, anything that Basch is motivated to protect is a betrayal to Landis, to family, to the greater good, and he refuses to adjust that mindset.

And yet, there’s so much self-hatred in his insults. At the beginning of the game, his goal was to rise above Basch, to break his brother and become the superior one. Now, he knows he’s the one that’s broken. He’s just doing all he can to bring Basch down to his level, because he doesn’t have the strength or courage to admit that he’s the one that needs help.

4

This is an incredibly powerful moment for an extremely underrated character. This is the first time he and Gabranth have ever met face to face (unless you count the manga, which includes a scene where Gabranth refuses to kill Vaan for eavesdropping on Vayne because “he’s just a child”).

Vaan doesn’t forgive Gabranth for what he did, and rightly so. But he does acknowledge that more killing won’t bring Reks back. He’s crying as he speaks to the man who ripped his life apart. Think about Vaan at the beginning of the game, jumping on Basch’s cage and screaming “YOU KILLED MY BROTHER!” It’s like we’re dealing with two different characters. He’s matured so much.

2

This is where I promptly dissolved into a pile of tears.

You can hear Larsa crying over Gabranth, and then he turns to face the light coming in from the outside and he gives another sob.

By now, Larsa has lost everyone. Gramis and Drace are both dead, and he knows it’s only a matter of time before Gabranth dies as well. Only through the death of his own brother can things be made right again. Larsa should be happy about what’s come to pass, but he can’t. This is the first time in the entire game we’ve seen him show any sort of grief; that in itself is heartbreaking, because he’s only twelve years old and yet he’s arguably been through more than any of the other protagonists.

7

When you think about it, Larsa’s existence as a character is so sad. He’s too much of a politician to be a child, and he’s too much of a child to be a politician. We know next to nothing about what he was like before the events of the game, only that he was two years old when his older brothers were murdered. It’s implied that Drace had some influence in his upbringing, and that she and Gabranth served as his guardians. We are told literally nothing else of Larsa’s personal life.

At the Lhusu Mines, Vaan’s talk of how much Penelo means to him prompts Larsa to treat Penelo as a friend. She may very well be the first friend he’s ever had, and he doesn’t know how to conduct himself around her. He sits in a guest room at the Ondore residence and writes what looks like a letter, which is hardly something any normal twelve-year-old would do. When given the chance to act like a young boy, he’s very awkward. As cute and adorable as Larsa may be, he does not know how to be a child. Even Vaan and Penelo (who are seventeen years old and supposed to be able to fend for themselves as adults) seem more juvenile than does Gramis’s youngest son.

And yet we see time and time again that Larsa is often deemed too young to be a politician of note. Everyone from Al-Cid to Ondore to even Vayne sees Larsa as nothing but a child. Despite Larsa’s unrelenting insistences, his call for peace is written off as foolish and naïve. What’s truly remarkable about Larsa’s character, however, is that he never gives up or changes course. He’s one of the only characters in the entire game that’s not fighting for himself or for his country. He wants nothing less than peace, and he doesn’t care if he’s seen as a child or if he doesn’t make a difference at all. He knows that none of that truly matters.

6

XII has so many little intricacies that have a tendency to blow your mind.

The age of seventeen has a special significance in this game.

  • Basch was seventeen years old when he left Landis, his homeland. The guilt of leaving behind his family and his country is a large part of what shapes his character. He is loyal to Dalmasca and his friends as a sort of repentance for the past that he cannot change. He sees so much of himself in Reks.
  • The game takes place two years after the Dalmascan king’s death, making Vaan seventeen during most of the plot.
  • Ashe is seventeen when she married Rasler, and when she lost everything.
  • Although specific dates of Balthier’s life have never been confirmed (to the best of my knowledge), the earliest he could have left his own family and country is when he was seventeen.
  • In the manga, Vayne states that he killed his brothers when he was seventeen.

In many ways, XII presents a “coming of age” theme. That number, seventeen, marks the transition from innocence into the harsh realities of adulthood.

3

Time to talk about these two.

Let me start off by saying that I ship this so hard. But whether you think of it as a romance or a bromance, you can’t deny that they’ve got something awesome going on. Balthier’s talking to Vaan but he’s looking at Fran. It’s like he’s teasing her a little, but it’s a weird sort of teasing because his word choice, “deign”, implies that she’s superior to him. It’s kind of like he’s saying, “It’s funny how you put up with me.” Without any hesitation whatsoever, she retorts with another mild taunt.

They’re just the greatest.