Move Along – a Yuffentine Manifesto
Title: Move Along – a Yuffentine Manifesto
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Spoilers: If you haven’t played the games, then FFVII and Dirge of Cerberus. If you haven’t seen the movie, Advent Children spoilers too
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters/storyline of Final Fantasy VII.
Notes: My first ship manifesto. It’s been awhile since I played FFVII, so if there are any mistakes in my memory, please let me know.
I. Intro –
Final Fantasy VII is without a doubt one of the more popular games within the Final Fantasy world if not the most popular. It has many well-known and well-loved characters, from the Chocobo-haired leader, Cloud Strife, to the whimsical little doll, Cait Sith. During the three year span of time that the original game and its sequel movie and game cover, many relationships were born in the group known as AVALANCHE. One relationship in particular stands out, the relationship between the lone gunman and the hyper ninja. What relationship could these two seemingly entirely different people have? What could they possibly have in common? As a favorite gigantic robot of mine likes to say, “Like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye.”
Vincent Valentine aka Vince/Vinnie
"That was my sin, and this...this is my punishment."
Vincent Valentine is the lone gunman of AVALANCHE. He prefers to keep to himself and brood over his past, continually obsessing about his so-called sins. He comes off as cold and uncaring, only joining the group at first because he believes that he will be able to take revenge upon the man that experimented on him and made him a “monster.” However, Vincent does come to care for his comrades in the time that he spends with them and this is evidenced by his continual involvement with the group after Hojo is killed. Despite Vincent thinking of himself as being a monster, he has a very strong sense of justice. He disapproved of Hojo using live human beings as test subjects and stood up for that, which is what got him killed. I like to think of him as a kind of gentleman actually; he comes across as sarcastic and cruel but his actions, especially in DoC, speak of a hidden kindness within him. According to finalfantasy.wikia, Vincent “traveled the world” and helped “those in need” after FFVII. He rescues Tseng and Elena, saves Cloud, and helps the group defeat Bahamut SIN in AC. In DoC he saves Yuffie, talks to her, and tells her to stay put for own safety. Are those the actions of a monster? I think not.
However, he wasn’t always the dreary, dark, and angsty gunman we all know and love. Before he got four snarling beasties put in his head he was a Turk. He was a bit more open and cheerful than he is now, but he still had his issues. A Turk’s job isn’t pretty and involves a lot of blood. Still, Vincent seemed somewhat normal until he met the woman that led to his eventual downfall and death, Lucrecia Crescent.
Vincent acts the way he does because he blames himself for what happened to Lucrecia . He punishes himself for his inaction and inability to save her. He hates himself because he allowed a madman to experiment on him. He pushes others away because he believes that he is too full of sins and burdened by the past to be of any help. He believes himself unworthy of forgiveness for things that were never his fault in the first place.
Yuffie Kisaragi aka White Rose of Wutai
"I am the champion of the earth and the sky. I am the conqueror of evil. The single white rose of Wutai...Yuffie Kisaragi!”
Yuffie Kisaragi is the hyper, thieving ninja of AVALANCHE. She is cheery, upbeat, obnoxious, tom-boyish, brash, and a bit bratty and selfish. Many people get annoyed with her antics, in-game and in real life. I believe, however, that there is much more to her than that. First of all, in the original game she is just 16; she is a young teen passing from childhood into adulthood that happens to find herself mixed up with a bunch of messed up people. Not much was seen of her in AC, but it seemed that she matured somewhat. In Dirge it is obvious that she has matured. Actually, in the opening sequence that takes place when she is still 16 it is obvious that when the situation calls for it she can be mature and responsible.
I’m going to take the rest of Yuffie’s character analysis from something I wrote a little bit ago entitled “The Glue That Holds Us Together” (please pardon the mention of other characters):
Take the case of Yuffie Kisaragi from Final Fantasy VII. I've met quite a few people that dislike her a lot and I couldn't understand why. Then it occurred to me that they dislike her for the same reason that I dislike Starfire from Teen Titans.....she's cheery beyond belief. So why do I like Yuffie and not Starfire? I like Starfire now, but when I was younger and going through that "I hate everything" stage I couldn't stand her. Going back and watching the cartoons, yes, she is still cheerful but a lot of times it was not because she felt like it but because she HAD to be. Same with Yuffie.
The AVALANCHE group went through hell and back, not once, but three times. All the characters in the group had ghosts that haunted them. Cloud had Zack and Aerith. Tifa was riddled with doubt about her relationship with Cloud and the need to fix him. Vincent has Lucrecia, the experiments, and what he considers his sins. Barret has Marlene and what happened to his arm and her parents. Cid's dreams were ruined by Shinra. Reeve was Shinra's puppet for a time. Red was experimented on by Hojo, just like Vincent. And then there's Yuffie, the hyperactive ninja with klepto tendencies. I don't know why, but it seems that people overlook Yuffie's backstory. It is not told in great detail, but there are some things that we can gather from it.
So what is known about Yuffie?
She was born near the end of the Wutai War, which means that she grew up in a devastated country suffering economic problems and instability. Her mother died when she was younger, which would more than likely have left a scar on her had she been old enough to remember her or not. Her father would certainly have been depressed and Yuffie, being his child, would have been affected by this. She has to watch as Shinra turns her country into a mockery of what it had once been. Maybe it was a combination of these factors that led to her obsession of materia; her home was broken in more ways than one and you can hardly expect someone to come out of a situation like that without a few oddities. So yes, while she may not have Vincent's "sins," Cloud's guilt, and Tifa's doubt, the fact remains that Yuffie has had a tough time.
So why does she keep smiling? Why does Starfire smile? Why does Rikku, from Final Fantasy X continue to smile even after Home is destroyed? Yes, Rikku does have an emotional breakdown, but she returns to her smiling self and continues to help the others, despite the loss of Home and the impending death of Yuna. Simple. They know that without that one person seemingly untouched by tragedy and unburdened by guilt, the group would collapse. People need that one person, the person who smiles while everyone else cries, and believes in the best when everyone else is watching the clock count down to the end. They have to have enough cheerfulness for everyone, and that sometimes comes off as obnoxious. They are the seemingly only sane person in the party of the crazy, wacked people that make up the group.
Yuffie is also hyper and optimistic because of her age. In FFVII she is 16. She is 18 in AC, and 19 in DoC. When I got out of the "I hate everything" stage I was the same way. Smiling is also a defense against one's own insecurities; it creates the illusion that everything is ok and people don't pry. How do I know? Because I was that way, and so were some of my friends. It is quite possible that Yuffie is not as happy as she pretends to be. Just look at Rikku. Under her childish behavior she was worried sick about her cousin. Starfire had her moments when she was greatly distressed about something and hid it from the group as well. Yuffie could very likely be doing the same. Yuffie is the youngest in her group and is such is treated as a child. That probably doesn't do her self-esteem any help. Those insecurities would have to come out sometime, however, and based on what I've seen, it would be an upsetting affair for both her and the people close to her.
So as you can see, Yuffie has her own problems to deal with.
The Original Game
There isn’t much to say about them here in all honesty. They were optional characters and rarely interacted with each aside from a few comments. Vincent seemed to not care much about her (of course, he didn’t really care for anyone) and was quite annoyed at her materia stealing antics. Yuffie, for her part, didn’t really seem too interested in Vincent.
The reason given for neither one being present in the ending FMV is because they were evacuating the citizens of Midgard, as seen in the DoC opening.
On the Way to a Smile – Case of Yuffie
Found here: Case of Yuffie
Interesting enough, Yuffie’s novella seems to hint at some feelings for him. Translation by Xcomp:.
It was Vincent’s low voice. By the time Yuffie turned round to face him, his red mantle was already flailing behind him. What was with him, thought Yuffie. Is that the way he was going to part with us?
“Hold it- Hooold it!!”
She cried out hurrying after him.
“How can you part with us just like that? We’re all war buddies you know.”
Her protesting didn’t stop him. She ran ahead and the two of them stood face to face. He looked as if he was staring at a point far into the distance. Yuffie didn’t know what he was thinking or what was going through his mind but his gaze was very powerful. She stepped back immediately knowing that she couldn’t stop him.
“Take care,” Vincent said as he passed her. Yuffie never expected such words from him and let go of what just happened as she felt his heart for the first time.
... “felt his heart for the first time”? Is this, perhaps, where her crush starts on him?
IV. Advent Children
The two had no interaction with each other really. They fought together and were present on the Shera during Cloud’s fight with the Remnants, both offering commentary.
V. Dirge of Cerberus
This is where we get the most Vincent/Yuffie action. We have the opening scene which explains their absence at the end of FFVII, Yuffie saving Vincent from Rosso the Crimson, Yuffie watching over Vincent until he wakes up and the scene that follows after with some playful banter between the two, Vincent’s attempts to console and stop Yuffie from beating the crap out of Shelke, they are teamed up, Vincent saving Yuffie from Nero’s darkness, being concerned for her wellbeing and safety and standing in front of her telling her to stay back while he fights Nero, Yuffie’s heartbreak (did you not see her face?!) as Vincent seemingly dies saving the world, and Yuffie’s concern as to his whereabouts at the end of the game.
VI. Relationship Analysis and the Reasons Why I Ship Them
So what do these seemingly completely different characters have in common? Why do I ship them like there is no tomorrow?
First of all, as I explained in the character analysis of Yuffie, she has more depth than people give her credit for. She’s no stranger to death and suffering and has had her share of trauma. Vincent lost someone precious to him, was killed, and was resurrected as a mutated man with demons in his head. Yuffie’s mother died, her country fell, and she has been on her own for God knows how long collecting materia in a vain attempt to save Wutai. Not to mention she had a close friend, Aertih, die and then Shaula. She is perhaps the most underestimated in her group and sometimes considered a nuisance. Imagine how that must make her feel; no one likes to be seen as the annoying brat. So, as you can see, Yuffie can relate to Vincent in some respects; he is a “monster” and she is a “brat.”
She is, in some ways, the antithesis to Vincent. While Vincent chose to dwell on his pain and sins, Yuffie chose to smile. As I said earlier, in the messed up people that compose AVALANCHE, someone had to. They got irritated with her antics, but think about it…wouldn’t that anger distract them, if only momentarily, from their sorrows?
The saying “Opposites attract” may be true to some extent, but I don’t see Yuffie as Vincent’s complete opposite. They represent the side that the other is trying desperately to hide. They need each other; Yuffie needs Vincent to ground her to reality and Vincent needs Yuffie to remind him that life is not as bad as it seems and that it is ok once and awhile to have some fun and smile.
I believe that Yuffie’s crush on him could/possibly did develop into something more. In DoC she does make a scene, but once again that might be because of her age (coincidentally we’re the same age at the time that I’m writing this and I do stupid stuff like she does on occasion…but hey, I’m just having fun and living life!), but her obvious concern and worry for Vincent is evident. In the second to last scene in which we see her, she is looking at the sky saying Vincent’s name in distress; the look on her face was one of sadness and despair, one of the few times we see her visibly upset. In the way that Vincent’s first great love was Lucrecia, I believe that Yuffie’s first great love is Vincent.
As for Vincent…well, he’s a little bit harder to read. By the end of DoC I believe that he was ready to finally, FINALLY move on. He was able to come to terms with what had happened to Lucrecia, why she did the things she did, and with who he was. As far as his relationship with Yuffie goes, it’s obvious that he values her as a good friend. Their relationship changed greatly over the course of the games and movie; he went from not giving a care in the world about her to jumping in to save her from Nero’s darkness without a second thought. He was worried about her (“Are you alright?”) and coming from him, that speaks volumes about how far she’s managed to worm her way into his heart. If Vincent had been the way he had been when he had first met her, I don’t believe he would have cared much about her safety or wellbeing at all.
While Lucrecia may have saved Vincent, and he may hold her in a special place in his heart forever, Vincent must now have a new reason for living. The world is safe again, Hojo is gone for good…what is there? If he is finally able to let go of the past and truly move forward, I don’t think it would be out of character for him to pursue some sort of relationship with Yuffie. She tried her hardest to be there for him in his time of need and perhaps is the closest one to him out of AVALANCHE (besides Reeve). Vincent is the kind of man that needs something to live for. He lived for the Turks, then he lived for Lucrecia, then he lived for revenge. Between the original game and AC he seemed to be stuck between the past and present, hence his traveling around without a clear purpose.
So why do I love them? I’m not a very romantic person and I usually scoff at relationships. So what makes them different? I like them because they are so different and yet so alike. I like them because Yuffie is not like a typical fangirl that sits on the sidelines waiting for her man; she will go out and grab him by his crimson cloak and knock some sense into him. I like them because Vincent thinks he’s so awful and sinful when he’s really just hidden his inner nice guy under all that leather and that he’s super-duber confused and messed up.
VII. In Conclusion
I love Yuffentine. I think that they are both dynamic and interesting characters that complement each other. They bring out the best in the other and show genuine concern for the other’s well-being. Whether they stay as good friends or become more than that is entirely up to Square Enix, but I have a feeling that if the storyline of FFVII was continued, Vincent and Yuffie would be in the beginnings of a beautiful relationship. I’m not saying that they wouldn’t have their problems; they’d argue and fight, but that’s only natural and healthy for couples (would you really like a partner that didn’t have their own spine and just agreed with you on every single thing?). They challenge the other and cause each other to grow, which is a key ingredient in a relationship. They discover the different sides of themselves through their interactions with each other.
VIII. What About…
Not trying to be mean here or anything, but she’s dead or at least dead to the world. She sealed herself in a crystal and I don’t think she’ll be coming out anytime soon. Unlike Vincent, I do think she has some atoning to do. I mean, how could she let Hojo do that to poor Sephy? Another excerpt from something I wrote on her and her relationship with Vincent:
What is wrong with loving more than one person? Sure, you may love them for different reasons, but that’s ok. Lucrecia is Lucrecia and Yuffie is Yuffie. Falling in love with someone does NOT mean that you have to forget about someone you previously loved/still love. They will each occupy a different part of the man’s heart and bring a breath of fresh air.
Here is my point: do you really want the guys to mourn their loss forever? Do you want them to be unable to move on and thus be “emotionally constipated” until they die? There is nothing wrong with shipping Vincent/Lucrecia, Train/Saya, and Spike/Julia but what I don’t like is when their fans attack fans of Yuffentine, Train/Rins, and Spike/Faye. I adore both sides of the ships, but the fact is that the former ships have a dead woman. I do NOT want Vincent, Train, and Spike to remain alone and mourning for the rest of their lives. I want them to be able to move on, to live life. They had their times with Lucrecia, Saya, and Julia but they are all dead. It’s sad, but it’s the cold, hard truth.
Wouldn’t Lucrecia, Saya, and Julia want their guys to move on too? Would they be so selfish as to prevent their lovers from loving someone else? In my opinion, if that was the case, then what they felt for the guys wasn’t love in the first place but lust. I believe that love is about wanting what’s best for the other person, being selfless and truly caring about the other’s wellbeing and happiness. I believe that the girls would want the guys to move on and honor their memory, not live in the past and beat themselves up over what could have been.
Also, while Lucrecia may have been a good match for the past Vincent, I believe that the present Vincent needs someone like Yuffie to kick his butt into gear. He needs that irritation, that go-lucky attitude to get him on his feet. He needs someone to challenge him and not shy away. The Vincent that we see now is different than the Vincent that Lucrecia knew.
Not only is she trapped in a ten-year-old’s body, but the feelings she may have for Vincent originated with Lucrecia’s memories, much like what happened with Cloud and the memories he got from Zack. Perhaps something more could grow out of that, maybe not. Regardless, I don’t really see much of a relationship between her and Vincent.
Also, possibly the most ironic argument I’ve seen against Yuffentine is that Vincent is too old for her, and then they go and ship Shelke with him. She’s the same age as Yuffie…and she’s physically ten years old…um…what? I know she has Lucrecia’s memories, but still….that, and wouldn’t that be putting Shelke’s own character aside and favoring the part in her that is Lucrecia? Sounds kind of mean to me…
He has Tifa. Nuff said.
Perhaps the second most popular Yuffie pairing, I see Reno and Yuffie as potentially good friends. I don’t remember them having much, if any, interaction at all. They both have a similar playful persona, but I can’t see them getting involved in a long-term relationship. Besides, Reno getting with Yuffie would totally mess up the Rude/Reno bromance xD
Godo’s relationship with Yuffie is not clear in the games. Fans have depicted him as being cold and harsh towards her while others see him as kind and loving. Either way, I don’t think Yuffie would care much what he thought.
Vincent’s Age and Immortality
First of all, those years he spent in the coffin don’t count. So, at the time of his awakening he is 27, making him 30 by DoC. DoC Yuffie is 19, leaving about an 11 year age difference. That’s not horrifically bad; I’ve had friends whose parents have been 11 years apart.
There are some that speculate that upon losing Chaos Vincent lost his immortality. I can’t say if that’s true or not, but if it is, there goes that problem. If it’s not…well, I’m sure they’d figure out how to rid him of those demons eventually anyway. Who wants to be stuck with three unwanted tenants in their mind for all eternity? I highly doubt that his immortality could have been caused by his mutated body. If I recall correctly, I think that the modifications made to his body were just to enable him to shape shift so the demons could change his physical form.
VII. The Fandom
Elizamoonchild - http://elizamoonchild.deviantart.com/
RATED M http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1816630/1/
RATED M http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3937671/1/
RATED M http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4055862/1/
RATED M http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3143659/1/
RATED M http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4750300/1/