Zidane is a character that has always stood out to me. As Final Fantasy IX‘s protagonist, he serves as the main confidant for a lot of other characters in the game. He differs a lot from the previous protagonists like Terra, Cloud and Squall and I think that’s why he stands out to me so much.
Laid-Back And Genuine
Zidane is definitely one of the most laid-back characters in the series, especially when it comes to protagonists. Terra, Cloud and Squall are all brooding and serious, so Zidane was a breath of fresh air.
His flirtatious attitude brings a lot of comedic elements to the story and really fleshes him out as a character. When he begins to develop feelings for Garnet, he starts to be more of a gentleman, though not at first.
He can be serious when he needs to be, and definitely cares for the friends around him. He is often selfless when providing counsel, especially to Vivi, caring more about how Vivi feels than himself. This remains true even after finding out that he and Vivi are really in the same boat.
He is quite the social butterfly too, always friendly to strangers and people they meet along their journey. If I had to pick one character from this particular game that truly embodies the idea of friendliness, it would be Zidane.
The Angel Of Death
Kuja was created before Zidane in the hopes of assuming the role of Angel of Death, but because he was created as an adult, he lacked the necessary growth to enter Trance on his own. He proved powerful enough to start wars, but unstable and hard for Garland to control.
That’s where Zidane comes in. Zidane was created as an infant so he could experience the entire range of human emotions and growth. Then when he came of age, Garland would be able to utilize him as the Angel of Death and see to it that the Gaian souls were replaced by Terran ones.
Zidane spends the majority of the game unaware of the origins of his creation. Although Zidane was in the dark, Kuja knew who he was and out of jealousy, kidnapped him and left him on Gaia.
Growing up, Zidane always felt like there was something missing from his life. As a result, he longed to see the world and experience new things. Throughout Final Fantasy IX it is interesting to watch his development and growth.
Nature Versus Nurture
The theme of nature versus nurture is extremely high in Final Fantasy IX. We see it a lot in characters like Vivi and Zidane but even Garnet struggling with abandoning her royal upbringing is an example of that. In fact, most of the characters in this game have moments where they have to ask themselves, “who am I?”
That moment for Zidane is when Garland tells him about his creation. When Zidane finally finds out everything, he refuses to play his part in it. In retaliation, Garland tries to strip Zidane of his soul and he wakes up believing his only purpose is to assist Garland.
However, when the party comes to his rescue and Garnet makes him remember everything they’ve been through together, he comes to the realization that his life is his own and he can do what he pleases with it. Much like what Vivi had to struggle with, Zidane also has to come to terms with why he was created and what that meant for him.
It is interesting to see this play out too because in a way, this is what Garland wanted and needed from Zidane. He had every bit of human emotion but because of that, he also had the freedom to choose, something that Kuja lacked. In the end, Zidane ended up being just as powerful as Garland needed, but chose to use that power to do what was right.
A True Hero
The lore here is so deep and interesting, it could very well be its own article. Final Fantasy IX is rich with history and storytelling and its because of this that some many of its characters are so fleshed out and Zidane is no exception.
The Zidane we meet at the beginning of the game is laid-back and care free. The Zidane at the end of the game has made some tough decisions and ultimately pulled through for those he cares about. He is a fully fleshed out hero with an amazing backstory to match.
What I find most interesting about Zidane is at the very end of the game when he decides it is his duty to save Kuja. After having to come to terms with his own creation, it makes him realize that Kuja isn’t entirely evil but instead, is a product of his upbringing. If Kuja hadn’t abandoned Zidane on Gaia when he was young, its possible that Zidane would’ve ended up in the same place as Kuja.
In my opinion, that’s what makes Zidane a true hero. After everything Kuja does to them through the game, he is able to set that all aside and go to his rescue. He is able to take his life into his own hands and make the most of it.
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