Final Fantasy X-2 : Part 6
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You might remember from last time Jeanne left you guys hanging right as Yuna and the girls pulled into Kilika Port in search of the awesomely awesome AWESOM-O sphere currently residing in splendiferous splendor in the woods just beyond town. And now here I am to make it all better and pick up the baton she just used to beat me senseless as we find out if the girls are in time to get that wonderfully awesome sphere or not. For those of you already familiar with the concept of RPG time, the answer should be obvious, but we'll pretend we don't know, just so our gal-pals will feel a sense of urgency. The only sense of urgency I'm feeling at the moment is the one telling me that Mr. Blanton's would like to make the acquaintance of Mr. Coca-Cola, so I think I will do my best to facilitate that relationship. If we're going to search for this stupefying awesome AWESOM-O sphere, we may as well do it properly.
Speaking of doing things properly, I may as well warn you that you're in for a bit of a wait when it comes to seeking out the marvelously wonderful AWESOM-O sphere. Yuna's sightseeing spree on Kilika won't be denied simply because you people want to get on with the story. On the plus side though, there's tons of goodies to be had in the new and improved village proper, if you know where to look. A friendly villager tells us that the Youth League helped rebuild the place after Sin's baby killing rampage in FFX, and I for one would like to find the Youth League civil engineer so I could hang him from a tree by his own intestines. Yevon's pinky nail, is it too much to ask that the damned village not be a maze of ladders, staircases and plank bridges connecting in various head-splodey causing ways? It's a goddamned podunk village in the middle of the Spiran Ocean, not a shopping mall.
And there's just so much fun to be had in investigating the highways and byways of lovely Kilika village. There's the ever-present and not-at-all-annoying Publicity and Matchmaking campaign stumping, and some chick with a monkey fetish wants Yuna to count all the monkeys she can find in the forest. They're called Squatter Monkeys, and you don't have to look too far for an excrement comparison, so I'll just leave you guys to it. Quite frankly, if someone asked me to go out in the woods and count things called Squatter Monkeys when I was obviously on a single-minded quest to find the amazingly incredible AWESOM-O sphere, I'd tell them to go fuck themselves. But Yuna doesn't, because she's
a doormat nice. Yuna agrees to count the Squatter Monkeys in the forest for a garment grid she'll probably never use. Sucker.
Eventually, Yuna makes her way to the side of town furthest from the docks, where she and Rikku share a sickeningly spastic moment of joy over the awesome awesomeness the stupendously wonderful AWESOM-O sphere contains before they even get within a hundred yards of the thing. Paine manages to bring them back in line, telling them that if they don't get a move on instead of jumping up and down so their barely-clad boobies bounce in the Kilika breeze, someone will get to the sphere before they do. Girls, if Paine's willing to make that kind of sacrifice to get to the AWESOM-O sphere, you'd better believe it's something worth having.
Before they go off into the lush Kilika Woods to seek out fame, fortune, and one awesome AWESOM-O sphere, however, Yuna and the girls make a pit stop at the biggest house in the village, where Barthello has just come running out, sniveling. That should be your first clue Thonga McCuntypanties lives here, cashing in all her fame points on being a failed summoner, eating bon-bons all day and watching Dr. Phil. She and Barty are having themselves a lover's spat, and poor old Barty has been kicked to the curb. I'm betting it's because he hasn't washed his hand in the two years since the last game. I mean, slavering Auron fangirlishness aside, dude, after a year or so, that hand's just going be to as manky as anything. A little bit of soap and water won't dilute your love of the greatest guardian there ever was. I imagine he could smell you all the way from the Farplane, and who wants that? The poor man's going to be reduced to Yuna's frickin' cheerleader later on in the game anyway, and that's pain enough for any man to bear, even when you don't consider the ten-year living hell that was raising Tightass. Cut him some slack and make with the Dial, Barty.
Thonga refuses to be moved, for all of Barty's heartfelt repetitions of her name. He eventually puts his meat-head upon his unwashed arms and cries like a little girl, before - you guessed it - running away crying like a little girl. Yuna heads inside to do a little bonding and watch some Lifetime movies with Thonga to make her feel better. Maybe they can go down to the other part of the village and shop for shoes or something. Thonga doesn't look terribly pleased to see Yuna, but she'll bitch and moan about her relationship trouble with Barty anyway, since naturally everyone wants to know just how put-upon Thonga is when it comes to dealing with her lunky boyfriend. Thonga is part of the Youth League and Barty has held fast to New Yevon, which makes living together no day at the funfair, she whines. Yuna, Rikku, and Paine issue various statements of support and commiseration, only to have Thonga tell them to "butt out." Nice. She reminds me of people who will friends-lock their Livejournal, only to leave one drama-laden public post begging for people to reply so they can be added to the person's friends list. If it's done with some "artistically"-done photo montage, double your drama points score.
For once Yuna takes the hint and leaves quietly, but not before she heads upstairs to the roof of Thonga's spacious digs to find a chest containing 1500 gil. Well, so much for those lessons on social skills you were saving up for, Thonga. I guess you'll just have to do without for a little while longer. Revengeful plundering of Thonga's savings complete, the girls finally head to the gate checkpoint at the end of town that leads to Kilika Woods and presumably a path to the prized AWESOM-O sphere. The guards chatter a bit about some briefing Meyvn Nooj will be making in a minute, then open the gate. Who cares, let's just go get the damned thing! Awesomeness awaits us, and you rubes are standing in the way, jabbering on about the stupid leader of the stupid Youth League and his stupid briefing!
Yes, we've finally reached the moment you've all been waiting for, the hunt for the astonishingly fabulous AWESOM-O sphere! Or not. Actually, not. But there is a nice, long cut scene to be had. Try to contain your disappointment, at least for the moment. We'll get to meet Meyvn Nooj for once and for all, and that should make it all worth it, right? Yeah, I'm not buying it either. Just humor me, dammit. You're not going to get to the sphere hunting any faster than I am, so we'll just have to deal in our bitterness. On the other hand, the cloth on the ever-so-sturdy checkpoint gate sure looks life-like, doesn't it? Oh, you don't want to be jollied along, do you? Well fine, just stare at the gathered crowd of former Crusaders, Luca Butt-Designers and Kilika Beasts, some of whom look as though the Spartans have not only come back from the dead, but got their hands on a five-year-old's primary colored finger-paint collection. That alone should scare the shit out of you, and pay you back for your impatience.
Yuna and Rikku are suitably perturbed at all these people gathered round. They must all be sphere hunters, right? Paine, once again standing in for the voice of reason, expresses her doubt that the huddled mass before them are all sphere hunters awaiting some kind of "go" signal to rush to the temple and take back the marvelously exquisite AWESOM-O sphere. I just don't know where those silly girls come up with their ideas, why, it's almost as though they read ahead in the game script! All those people can't be waiting to go running off after the AWESOM-O sphere; they must be waiting for something else. And right on cue, here that something or I should say someone comes, stumping his mack-daddy cane. A sudden desire to go post something on an online message board about my old war wounds (Band Camp '89) and a wish to die an angsty death (Band Camp '90) tells me that Meyvn Nooj has finally made his appearance. Let us take a moment to take him in, shall we? Believe me, after seeing his rail-thin frame in a tighter-than-tight red ribbed jumpsuit, bizarre fur armpit trim/bell-sleeve combo thing, and that nasty-ass ponytail that appears to be made from pubic hair (tm Jeanne), we'll need a moment to get over the urge to cut the damned thing off and/or master the urge to not run away screaming. Honest to God, it looks like Christina Aguilera mated with a Guado and their malformed slut-baby is precariously perched on top of the Meyvn's poor head like some kind of fashion-deficient parasite. The only thing I can even tolerate so far are the little glasses, but they only serve to remind me of the comparison we're supposed to be making between Nooj and Auron. This is supposed to be the successor to the studly mantle Auron left behind? Hmph, I say unto you, hmph indeed.
In blatantly throwing the Auron fanfolks a bone, the game designers once again show they can do nothing without abject cruelty and thus prolong the suffering on the part of their customers. This is, without a doubt, the definitive moment proving just how deep the crack addiction goes in the game designer circles. Mark my words, one day you'll see "I Was A Game Designing Crack Whore" in theaters and the whole sordid history will come to light. They'll probably loop it endlessly on G4, right after "Cheat" and that stupid little asshat Jay Sparks doing the umpteen-millionth update from Vegas where players of Madden '05 act like they're the ones out there throwing the goddamn winning tournament pass.
At first Rikku and Yuna don't know who this strangely dressed fellow happens to be until Paine spits out that he is indeed Nooj. From there, it's just a hop, skip, and a jump to the conclusion that he's that Nooj, the Meyvn of the Youth League. To give Nooj his due, he has a lovely speaking voice, but that still doesn't make up for the fact that's he's a Noojie-come-lately, trying to fill some mighty big stud shoes. Nooj, you're hereby renamed N00b and will remain so until I don't feel bitter anymore, i.e. never. Still, you've got this big announcement to make so I'll just let you get on with it.
N00b makes your traditional rabble-rousing speech. New Yevon has the AWESOM-O sphere, yadda, yadda, the Youth League wants a peek, blah, blah shoopufcakes, it's ever so unfair that New Yevon won't like, let them have a movie night at the temple, so on and so on. He ends this powerful oration by inciting the crowd to rush the temple and take back the sphere, but cautioning them to not overdo their sphere stealing efforts, since their opponents aren't as young as they used to be. Speak for yourself, N00b. You're all of what, 25? You'll be pushing up pyreflies soon enough yourself, you old fart.
The girls are suitably disappointed that the crowd has rushed off en masse into the woods to beat them to the terrifically wondermous AWESOM-O sphere and its important contents. Why, poor little Rikku is almost ready to throw in the towel! Don't do that, Rikku! You might catch a chill later, and the towel would at least provide you with some coverage besides that Dr. Who-lite scarf you've got there. Paine thinks that going after the glorious AWESOM-O sphere is just what she needs. Yuna agrees. It's Mission Time!
Our mission this time is fairly straightforward, which means that there's going to be an assload of stupid obstacles getting in the way once we're well and truly into it. The girls have to head into the Kilika Woods and get to the temple, all the while avoiding the New Yevon guards stationed on the pathways leading there. Yeah, right. Luckily, the guards are extremely easy to kill though the pain of seeing Yuna wield the Sword of Wank in her skanky little Warrior costume almost makes me want to let them get in a potshot or two. There are random chests scattered around the paths, and the layout hasn't changed from FFX, so if you know where the chests were then, it's pretty easy to find them now, not that I've got the layout memorized or anything at all like that. I mean, why should I? It's also important to note at this point that Paine's Word(s) of the Recap is "Pocket Rocket." What? It can't be about penises and buttplugs and sex toys all the time you know. Oh, wait. Never mind. Anyway, "Here comes the Pocket Rocket" has a zippy ring to it.
It's also at this time when you can start looking for those disgustingly-named Squatter Monkeys, should you be so inclined. They chitter at you as you pass certain points on the forest path, and you have to hit the X button in just the right spot to find them. Bah. I don't know about you guys, but I've got a tremendously important AWESOM-O sphere to capture. The damned monkey will just have to wait for another chapter. And if you're so inclined to fire off an email telling me how you did the Squatter Monkey quest in Chapter 1 and that somehow makes you a much better gamer than I am, neener, neener, let me simply reply that your cookie is in the mail. I hope you like the latest Girl Scout offering, the Shutthefuckupfanpoodle Twistie. They're snarkalicious!