Final Fantasy VI: Shadow and The Returners (FFVI-6)

This ones going to be a double feature! It really is just a feature on Shadow with a little extra part on The Returners, because I don’t have much to say about either of them.

Shadow Amano

Shadow

Shadow Sprites

This guy is pretty much awesome. He’s a pretty cool guy, I mean look at him, he’s a ninja! That’s about it. Really though, he is probably the least interesting out of the heroes minus the fact that he is the only one that could possibly considered morally ambiguous at first glance. His real name is Clyde and him and his friend Barum robbed a train for a million gil (the money of the game). Baram was wounded during the robbery and when they were being chased Barum asked Clyde to kill him so that he wouldn’t get caught. Clyde didn’t kill his friend and fled. He made it to a town, fell in love, married his lover, and had a baby girl. As great as this all was to him he could not forgive himself for his past, and so, changed his identity and swore to always be a ninja called Shadow (+10 to Awesome). Well his wife, as do all the lovers seem to in this game, died, but believe it or not it seems she died of some form of natural cause, and not from the Empire (it’s not really said how she dies). He leaves the town he made his new life in and left his daughter (this is important later) there with his main motivation being the peaceful upbringing of his daughter. He does this by being a mercenary who seems to generally try to be hired with a good reason, but even then it’s not really known. This is why I like to just think of him consistently being a ninja, and thus a baus. I feel like at this point you are probably thinking I don’t like him, or at least think he could be much better, but I actually believe his role fits very well. Sure, maybe he doesn’t have the most complex character, and the majority of the time is just silent, he even has a random chance every battle to leave the party after he’s hired for a big portion of the game, but both the simplicity of his character and the presence he brings are very unique and add a very nice aspect to the heroes as a group. He even shows he has a true side later in the game and saves the entire party at the risk of his own life (he is the only one of the heroes that can possible die). Another interesting thing is the only way to learn about his backstory is sleeping in a specific inn multiple times and his dreams show his backstory. His backstory is the really easy to miss and very hidden with only adds to his whole presence and character, and the fact its shown in the form of his dreams is possibly the best way to show that his past is constantly haunting him without actually stating it.

Shadow’s Theme

For such a simple character, his theme actually is one of my favorites. To me, his theme are the words he never speaks and his real nature. Listening to it at first, one can kind of get the idea that it’s for a cowboy, and the Lone Ranger type really doesn’t fit at all. Well, once the bass and the main melody on the flute-ish instrument come in the feel changes from being overbearingly cowbow-riding-into-the-distance, and to me that just makes that cowbowish sound that exists a statement. The Lone Ranger side of that sound does fit Shadow, and VERY well, because that is literally his part in the game. Even with he is in the party he always seems alone. He’s on his own agenda, with you, never fully apart of the group. So really the Lone Ranger sound is just a way of stating this guy is seriously alone all the time through the music. The melody on the flute only accents this even more and it gives an even greater feeling of seclusion. However, there is this underlying feel of heroism in the song, just with the way that the bass gives the song subtle movement. All of this perfectly sums up Shadow and says a little more about him just to make him that much cooler.

The Returners

I really don’t have much to say about them, but there are just a few things I’d like to point out in their theme. Also, while the Returners are the only real resistance to the Empire, their role in the game is actually very minimal. That happens to be something that this theme actually states as well. Listening to the theme one can get the idea that they do have power, but not much at all, and they don’t know what to do. The melody on what seems to be a French Horn in the beginning sounds like an un-finished melody with how short and scattered it is. On top of that, the whole time the snare, bass, and other strings give the feeling of a march and moving forward, but without a complete melody they have no final goal to reach. The full melody that the trumpet comes in on is just one of the Returners shining moments–a time when they make an advance against the Empire, or discover something that could get them the upper hand. Well the latter of those two is this game. Terra becomes their key to defeating the Empire, so to me, that full trumpet melody becomes their pride in the fact they might have a chance finally, while the rest of their song is their usual. Look at the from a different point of view, but not at all conflicting, one can get the idea from listening to this theme that The Returners are very undercover (which they are). Locke is a great face to put as the face of The Returners simply because his character is the representation of how The Returners worked up to this point (the game). Finding whatever information they can without being found so they can get the upper hand–that is Locke’s job for them and a great way to describe them. So while The Returners aren’t of the biggest importance in the game (I mean common, the heroes do all their dirty work for them…as all heroes do…) their theme, as are pretty much all the themes in the game, is a great summing up (plus some) of them in musical form.