There’s so much to admire in this piece from Polygon last week in which fashion editors from Racked critique the ever-changing look of Final Fantasy’s Cid, the character/archetype who appears in nearly every game in the series.
Cid frequently bounces back and forth between high-fashion aristocrat and form-practical mechanic, but going down the list, I appreciate that the criticism isn’t a straight split between culture and function. While the regal usually beats the modest overall, that’s not always the case, and just like in the fashion world, I’m fascinated to see where workaday minimalism wins out and overdesign goes overboard. It’s wonderful how the editors find implicit character details in these outfits that players might not immediately pick up on; the suggestion that anyone who could pull off this many belts and layers must be a fairly capable person is a pretty clever insight.
Above all, though, I love that two separate but, for outsiders, equally inscrutable institutions – fashion and JRPGs – each have valuable things to say to one another. That there are current, real-world analogues for some of the most fantastic of Final Fantasy’s designs, and that they are debated/puzzled over just as fiercely, makes the works of both worlds just a little more interesting.
…and the sheer sense of betrayal the editors feel when they see the design for FFXV’s take on a female Cid is priceless.