Part 99: Part Ninety-Nine: The Statue and the ManPart Ninety-Nine: The Statue and the Man
I'm starting off here with something that should be very familiar. I just need a couple of cards I thought I picked up ages ago, but I guess I didn't.
Literally a couple cards, by the way. I was two Iron Giants short of a Star Fragment.
At the same time, I finally modded these 20 Elnoyles I picked up at the start of the game. Collecting Elnoyle cards is the lowest threat/effort way to get Energy Crystals, and you can do it early, but it's not really worth the time investment.
On the other hand, modding the Minotaur card is the easiest and fastest way to get more Adamantine than you'll ever need. Since you should take the time to explore the Tomb of the Unknown King anyway, this is just gravy.
All that done, it's a quick trip over to any junk shop for a weapons upgrade. First up is Squall's ultimate weapon, the Lion Heart. This'll unlock his ultimate Renzokuken finisher, which is one of the most powerful moves in the game, but not particularly reliable due to being a random finisher. The Lion Heart is still worth picking up for it, though.
Also note that the Lion Heart is the most expensive weapon upgrade in the game, being the only one that costs more than 1,000 Gil. Of course, 2,000 Gil is a laugh. You start the game with more than that.
The other weapon I want to pick up is Selphie's Strange Vision. This has the distinction of being the only non-gunblade weapon in the game with 255% accuracy, so Selphie will now never miss on a normal attack. This secretly makes Selphie the second-best physical attacker in the game, and it's one of the two weapons in the game that's really worth going out of your way for.
By the way, if you do go out of your way, you can get most of the ultimate weapons as early as Deling City. The only one you have to wait on is Irvine's Exeter, since you can't refine Moon Stones. On the other hand, you can get Quistis's Save the Queen immediately at the start of the game if you have the patience to collect 40 Elnoyle cards.
Anyway, now Squall has the Lion Heart and Selphie the Strange Vision, which are the most important weapons in the game. I do like that the upgrade system changes weapon buying away from just going to the shop first thing every time you reach a new town, but unfortunately weapons are largely unimportant in this game.
Now that I have the game's important ultimate weapons, we can go into the extremely dangerous Shumi Village.
The Elder has nothing to say, which means the thing I want to happen is happening.
This is what I was looking for. The Laguna statue is finally finished.
Ah, the Elder followed us over.
Master Fisherman is also here.
Elder: Thank you very much. We could not have done it without your help.
Master Fisherman: Hey, as long as I can use the pond, it's all right.
The words "feeling of completion" flash yellow here. I think it's in reference to the fact that there's no material reward for this quest.
All we get is that the music from the FH concert plays again. In this case, that means the Irish jig.
The Elder's only got the one line here.
But we do have a chance to converse with the Master Fisherman.
Master Fisherman: You gotta problem, boy? It was played in FH, so I got a right to play it.
: I don't care about the song. I was going to ask you when you're going back to FH. Maybe the people are getting worried.
Master Fisherman: ...... I don't know why I came here, boy. Probably curiosity, more than anything. For some reason, I had to see this statue. I'm not into ceramics, or this Laguna fella.
Master Fisherman: You'll understand when you get to my age. It's important to act on your urges, especially at my age, since they're so rare.
The Master Fisherman here is the typical old guy telling Squall to do what he thinks is right and finds fulfilling and to not live a totally regimented life where he only follows orders. A much better mentor than, say, Cid. Too bad for Squall they only encounter each other in passing, maybe he could have learned some important lessons much earlier.
Congratulations to SeeD, whose efforts were instrumental.
: After things settle down a little.
Master Fisherman: I'll just kick back. it's your time now.
At this point, everyone's just filing out to get back to their day-to-day.
Before the Master Fisherman can leave, Squall has a question.
: You're still not gonna tell me where the name 'FH' came from?
Master Fisherman: What? Heheheh... Some other time, boy.
: I'm looking forward to it.
And then the old guy leaves. I guess we'll never find out about Fisherman's Horizon.
The Elder has nothing to say other than .
Well, I know when I'm not wanted.
Of course, through the magic of narratives, the player is privy to the conversation once the party leaves.
Elder: How can I forget...?
Elder's Attendant: He just barged into our village without warning. It shocked everyone...
I really can't imagine how Laguna would have announced himself before entering the Shumi Village.
Yeah, guy wavin' around a machine gun, running around the countryside, that's not at all like a bandit.
Laguna really made an impression on the Attendant. The player (and, by extension, Squall's party) are privy to how Laguna is kind of incompetent and goofy but even then, he's a charming kind of guy.
Elder's Attendant: At first, Attendant wanted to evolve quickly and be of some use to you. But 10 years have passed already... Now, Attendant wishes to...well...
Elder: I think I understand...
We don't get a lot about the Shumi in our travels. We learn a little hanging around the village and we encounter NORG, and that's really all there is. But there's some restlessness in the community, and their strict ways aren't working out quite as well as they used to for the Attendant or the Elder.
This was basically the lesson of him working on the statue in the first place, I think. I don't know exactly what was going on for Attendant, but he seems to have become more comfortable with being part of the community.
Elder: ...I see.
Elder's Attendant: ......
On that note, a flashback starts up.
: Oh! I haven't seen this yet. It's nice. Just as I imagined it. Elder, thanks for everything. I owe you a lot.
Elder: Not at all...it's unfortunate that we must part.
Now we just get a little glance at what happened with Laguna and the Moombas.
: What the...! That's it!? After all I taught you?
I wonder how he tried to teach them.
This is the real point of the scene. This is when the Attendant started longing to go out into the wider world.
It's kind of ironic that the Attendant would be inspired to travel by Laguna at this point. We know that by now, he was looking for a way into Esthar to rescue Ellone so he could go back to Winhill to settle down.
This is how Laguna started out, no doubt.
I think this is the Attendant's line, but you can see Laguna's taken aback by it. The Attendant thinks they're agreeing, but
: Umm...I don't know what to say.
Laguna's not so sure. And that's really a major part of his arc, trying to resolve the conflict between wanderlust and wanting to settle down with Raine and Ellone.
Elder: Maybe so, but as long as you are here, you must abide by your fate.
And so, the two shumis start arguing about how to live.
The Moomba is appealing to him, in case it's unclear.
: Nah, it's their business. Huh? But I don't want to. My duty? Ok, ok, fine.
This approach does not work for him.
: Tch, fine. I'll go with plan B.
Laguna doing this prostration thing is a little bit of physical comedy. It doesn't suit him.
But it's effective.
I also think it's cute how he just stands up and says this.
And there's Laguna's real wisdom for the Attendant. You don't always have to feel like you have all the answers right now.
: Besides, what's the most important thing? HEART, am I right!? Heart! If you don't have heart, it doesn't matter where you are. Heart's what brings people together.
Remembering this is probably what spurred the Attendant to change his mind. Laguna doesn't want people to follow him for the sake of following him, and he doesn't really want to make waves or change how people live. He does make waves and influence people, but it's never his intent.
: ...At least, that's what I read.
From nowhere, the Sculptor turns up and throws a wrench in the Attendant's plan to be petulant.
And that's the memory they captured.
Elder's Attendant: It was a short time, but...Attendant had fun.
After that, the filter and Laguna's ghost fade and we're back in the present.
Elder's Attendant: But...
Eventually, the Attendant came around.
End the scene with a laugh, I suppose.
And then, we get a shot of the completed statue. I think it's just the same as Laguna's victory pose.
There's also a little snippet of the Attendant's thoughts.
And that's all there is for Shumi Village!
These scenes aren't hugely important, and they don't contain any enormous revelations. Still, I think it's a nice little closer for the Shumi Village story and an interesting peek into some of the tertiary elements of the world. There's a little bit of insight into Laguna, but really the entire Shumi "arc" is presented as a break from the affairs of the larger world and from Squall's story. In that way, at least, it succeeds.