Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I commented this thread into the reactions thread last night (under too little sleep) before this morning (better rested) realising that it should be its own thread so I'm moving it here. But basically Yumi and the Nightmare Painter shares a lot more DNA with the game Final Fantasy X Brandon has so far implied. I'm not saying anything crass about it being a knockoff of FFX's plot (because it isn't) but there are strong parallels between them throughout.

(copied over from my firstpost) - Well I've not been on these forums since the start of 2019 but finishing this secret project makes me want to discuss it. Mainly due to the DNA from Final Fantasy X weaved throughout it. For those of you who are involved in the 17th shard podcast you should really include someone with a good understanding of the thematic content of FFX when you film the Yumi and the Nightmare Painter spoiler episodes.

(Copied from the much longer second post) - OK, so below are massive spoilers for the game Final Fantasy X. Brandon has made clear how it was an inspiration for this project (one of many) in the section after the epilogues and has also spoken of the game recently but there are further parallels than the ones he has mentioned. I'll try to sum up the plot and themes of the game both for anyone who has no interest in ever playing it and therefore won't care about being thoroughly spoiled as well as those that do know the story but might want a reminder of some points. Definitely not for anyone who may want to play it for the first time in the future without knowing spoilers for the major plot points, so be warned.

The following paragraph is mostly spoiler free as it covers the beginning events of the game, I'll spoiler tag the few spoilers that are at the end then the second paragraph will break the narrative of the game in a Very spoilery way.

The game itself it told as a story from the perspective of the main character Tidas to his companions as they approach the end of a long journey they have been on, he is telling them how he got involved in their lives and reached this point (not particularly relevant to this thread but as good a starting point as any). His story begins in a futuristic fantasy mega-tropolis called Zanarkand where he is a famous sports star, he is in the middle of a game when the city is attacked by a gargantuan creature with devastating gravity powers which quite thoroughly wrecks his home city. During the attack he is guided by a friend of his missing father towards the creature which he names as 'Sin' and both of them are pulled through it into a dreamy reality before Tidas wakes up alone in the middle of nowhere by an abandoned temple. After managing to start a fire he is 'rescued' by strangely garbed people speaking another language, after finding one who speaks his language he explains how he got here but is told that Zanarkand was destroyed by Sin 1000 years ago. Before he can really process that he is somehow 1000 years in the future the ship they are on is attacked by Sin and he gets separated. This time he washes up on a small tropical island called Besaid. Here he meets a few more people who he will end up traveling with, primarily a woman his age (17) called Yuna (the character whose role Brandon has spoken on and even based the name of Yumi on). She has trained as a summoner and is about to embark on a strengthening pilgrimage that will end in the ruins of Zanarkand far to the north where she will gain the power to defeat Sin which has been devastating the world for the last 1000 years. The full details of the pilgrimage are only drip fed to Tidas/us but basically


the defeat of Sin will only be very temporary, has only been managed a handful of times in the past and will cost the life of the summoner that defeats it (and likely the lives of most who try it). The last person to achieve it was Yuna's father ten years before and Yuna wants to sacrifice herself for the people in the same way.

So this is Yuna's story as much as it is Tidas'.

Time to break the narrative by handling them chronologically rather than how the story tells them to us. -


So 1000 years ago the civilizations of the world were highly technologically advanced, the two most powerful were Zanarkand and Bevelle. For unknown reasons these two went to war but the machina weaponry of Bevelle was could not be countered by Zanarkand so Bevelle's victory was assured and Zanarkand was near annihilated (presumably by some analogue of long range ballistic missiles). Zanarkand's strength came not from weaponry but from summoning. Summoning was a magical art where human souls were trapped in special statues called Fayth, a summoner could commune with these statues and call forth a power where the dreams of the Fayth could be manifested into the physical world. Essentially the soul in the statue would be programmed with a specific type of dream, usually a magical being of great power (an Aeon) and the summoner could call this being into existence under their control. The leader of Zanarkand was a man called Yu Yevon and he was a peerless summoner, though the summons could not defend against the machina weaponry he formed a plan to save his city after its destruction. He gathered up the few hundred survivors and they volunteered to become Fayth for a massive summoning, using all their memories of their home they would recreate the entirety of the city and its people sustaining it with their dreaming. This summoned version of Zanarkand was hidden away and to protect it and himself Yu Yevon created a giant beast by gathering all the souls of the slain (summoning is essentially a form of necromancy) as his armor so the summoning could never be interrupted. This beast would protect Zanarkand by destroying anything/anyone that came near to discovering it, but in creating this creature Yu Yevon overstretched and destroyed his own mind, from this point on he existed purely to keep summoning the city and his armor would mindlessly attack all civilizations the world over reducing it from a high tech world to a very basic one.
The story of the summoning pilgrimage began with Yu Yevon's daughter Yunalesca, she knew of one way to defeat the beast, the bond between a summoner and the Fayth must be a true one so she sacrificed her husband Zaon as Fayth for her Final Summoning to create an Aeon strong enough to pierce the beast. However even though it could be killed Yu Yevon within it could not be, once forced out into the open the thing that used to be a man would simply possess the Aeon that defeated it and turn it against its summoner then regrow its armor around its new vessel. The period after its defeat where it regrows it body anew became known as The Calm, where people could have a short time of peace without fear of rampaging destruction. Over time a theocracy rose from Bevelle that worshiped Yevon and taught that Sin was a punishment leveled on the world for its over-reliance on machina, that one day when humanity had atoned for its past the beast bearing the name of Sin would be vanquished. They taught that Zanarkand was the first place that Sin appeared and destroyed and that it was the sacred duty of those who could become summoners to go on a dangerous pilgrimage to gather power from all the Fayth of the world, ending in the ruins of Zanarkand where they would find the Aeon for the final summoning and sacrifice their lives to stop Sin and bring a new Calm (though in the 1000 years between Yunalesca and Yuna's father Braska only three other people would succeed).

OK that was a lot. This last section is about Tidas' story and ties together the above two sections.


For 1000 years the dream city of Zanarkand was hidden from the world, a physical simulation of its old self with the inhabitants unknowing of their reality. One day one of these people, a star blitzball player by the name of Jecht went out to sea to train and somehow ran into Sin patrolling the waters nearby. Jecht was pulled through Sin and found himself in a new world (which was actually the real world outside of dream Zanarkand) with no way back to what he knew. After hearing of a man claiming to be from Zanarkand newly anointed Summoner Braska persuaded Jecht to join his friend Auron and himself on his pilgrimage as his guardians with the hopes that he would find his way home to his son. Along the journey Jecht began to believe in the need for Braska's duty as he lost hope of ever returning to his family, when they eventually made it to journey's end at Zanarkand the still lingering spirit of Yunalesca told them the truth of the final summoning, that Braska must choose one of his guardians to become the Fayth for his own final summoning. Auron rails about the pointlessness of the sacrifice but Jecht volunteers saying that maybe he'll figure out 'something' to end the cycle, Both Jecht and Braska request Auron to look out for their respective children - Tidas and Yuna.
After Jecht and Braska both sacrifice their lives to bring the Calm an enraged Auron returns to Yunalesca intent on destroying her but is struck down by her instead, he manages to crawl away and finds someone to fulfill Braska's last wish for Yuna before dying. Like Yunaleca however he is able to cling onto the world as an unsent spirit fueled by his duty to Jecht, as an unsent he is able to 'ride' Sin and find his way into Dream Zanarkand where he would watch over Tidas. Ten years later the lingering aspects of Jecht within Sin guides it to Dream Zanarkand where it attacks the city and hoovers up both Auron and Tidas depositing both in the 'real' world with the hopes that Tidas will be able to live a real life outside the 'simulation' that they were raised in and find a way to destroy him and end the cycle. Tidas finds his way to Yuna (who believes him about being from Zanarkand because Jecht once told her of it) and she invites him to be her guardian as Jecht was for her father along with her friends and Auron when they meet up with him too. Auron tells the truth only to Tidas that Jecht is Sin (without explaining how) but to keep it from Yuna.
Throughout the pilgrimage fish-out-of-water Tidas encourages Yuna to question the 'truths' that she has known all her life and not to so easily accept the necessity of the culture of self sacrifice she lives. In the end upon learning the truth from Yunalesca that the pilgrimage only brings false hope she defies convention and refuses the final Aeon stating that she would gladly give her life for the people but not for false hope. Yunalesca pities their lack of (false) hope and decides to 'put them out of their misery'. She is defeated and the possibility of the final summoning is destroyed. Guided by the spirits of the Fayth themselves they learn of Yu Yevon and come up with a plan to defeat him by entering Sin and finding its core. Inside they find Jecht as Braska's Final Aeon and defeat him separating out Yu Yevon then summoning all the other Aeons to be possessed until it has nowhere left to retreat to and can be fought directly. Upon Yu Yevon's defeat Sin is vanquished for good and all the Fayth are finally put to rest, the summons that they have been dreaming fading away as well. Tidas having already learned the truth that he is a dream of the Fayth and does not exist without the summoning/Fayth slowly fades away as he says his farewells to his surprised friends. His last act to give a non-corporeal hug to a devastated Yuna before leaping to oblivion and greeting the spirits of Braska, the now faded Auron and his father Jecht.
Tidas has sacrificed his existence instead of Yuna hers but has helped bring an eternal Calm instead of false hope. Yuna tells the world of its new hope and exhorts everyone to never forget those they have lost. Then after the credits have rolled we see watery depths and Tidas fading into existence before stretching and swimming upwards to (presumably) the surface with a hopeful smile on his face as the scene fades away.
It certainly seems to imply that he has somehow found his way to the real world once more but is left ambiguous. Yes FFX-2 explains it but this is likely a retcon that wasn't in mind when the story of FFX was written.

So that was all a very long recap of Final Fantasy X with oodles of the game missed out but gimme a break, its a 45 hour game. I think I've recapped it thoroughly enough to show the similarities it shares with Yumi and the Nightmare Painter for those who can spot them, along with enough that its story hopefully makes sense to those unfamiliar with it.

but now it's 2:30am and I've been typing for way too long, maybe with this as a base I'll be more specific with the similarities tomorrow


Edited by ChocolateRob
whoops, poor copying.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I've slept properly and moved the above into its own thread. Time to be on with it. Going forward with this thread there is no point not spoiling the events of FFX as this whole thread is about them. I'm leaving the spoiler tags in place for the initial comment above because 1) Members can understand the point of this thread by reading it without getting into spoilers of the game if they choose not to and 2) It nicely breaks up the structure of the gargantuan post into easier sections.

So be warned. Final Fantasy X spoilers will not be hidden ahead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One relevant thing I did not include in the FFX story description above is the cycle of souls in the world (Spira). Upon death souls escape the body in the form of Pyreflies - rainbow-like glowing wisps of energy that float around. It is the duty of Summoners to put these souls to rest by performing a Sending ritual that ushers them to the Farplane (realm of the dead). As I mentioned above Summoners are basically necromancers that manipulate dead souls, though usually for benign purposes.

Souls that are not sent to the Farplane roam the world resentful of the still living and will eventually coalesce into monsters called fiends that will attack anyone. More powerful people are likely to retain their human form but still be mindless fiends with maybe a few leftover abilities. Those with particularly strong wills however become true Unsent, they retain their human form and their minds, usually powered by a single goal they wish to accomplish before moving on. Even rarer/stronger still are Unsent Summoners who not only retain their human forms and minds but can manipulate pyreflies to alter their bodies into more dangerous monstrous forms while still being in control.


With all of the above There are many parallels between the book and the game.

1) First off Brandon has said what he most liked about FFX's worldbuilding is that Yuna has a magical (to us) occupation (Summoner) that is important and necessary to the nature of the world she lives in. In crafting a fantastical world a fantastical occupation in that world naturally arises and becomes a natural aspect of that world. This is how Yuna directly inspires the role and even the name of Yumi.

2) Secondly are the parallels of self sacrifice that both Yuna and Yumi are brought up in. They are taught that sacrificing their own wants for the good of all people is their duty to the world and they never even question it until someone from outside their system begins to influence them.

3) Yumi and Tidas are living in a simulation of civilization that once existed many centuries ago but is now long dead, its presence has become a poison holding the rest of the world from advancing. For Yumi she lives the same day over and over like a groundhog day that she does not remember. For Tidas his Zanarkand is less a prison and we aren't explicitly told if it exists in a looped period or something more organic. Is it only ever the same souls being reborn over and over? Are new souls born into it like a natural world and the city simply prevents its people from looking to its borders? We know little of the details on how Dream Zanarkand operates, only that Jecht managed to leave and ten years later so did his son (probably the Fayth managed to intervene in Jecht's case in order to eventually trigger their own escape/rest).

4) The false realities of both stories are both sustained by the power and substance of trapped souls formed from the 'soul soup' of both the Shroud and Pyreflies.

5) Yumi and Tidas in the end must sacrifice their own existences and everything they grew up knowing in order for the 'real' world and its inhabitants to be able to move on.

6) The souls of the dead are trapped in a half dead state that coalesces into monstrous forms that stalk the living in a near futile attempt to regain their own former humanity.

7) The Spirits/Fayth that power the simulated world are tired from their long imprisonment and beg Yumi/Tidas to free them so they can finally rest.

8) Yumi and Tidas somehow manage to hold on to their existences at the end of the story and reunite with the one they love (In Tidas' case it is only strongly implied until the sequel).  In both these cases there are also strong parallels to the story of Pandora's Box. Pandora is tempted into opening a mysterious box that she should be protecting and she unleashes evil into the previously sinless world (seven deadly sins and all that). After making this costly mistake she recognizes her own folly but hears one last quiet voice from the box begging for freedom. Warily she open the box one last time and releases Hope into the world as well. The reason that I bring Pandora's box into this is that the good intentions of people (building a machine to attract spirits, summoning a city of people back into existence) unleashed catastrophic disaster upon the world but also releases a tiny sliver of hope as well, Yumi and Tidas get their happy endings. These three examples are also paralleled to Cinderella, that one last bit of magic that doesn't fade away and brings on the happy ending, despite everything else turning back to rags at midnight the glass slipper remains bringing hope.


There are probably more parallels that could be made but they aren't coming to mind right now. I'll add any more that I'm reminded of while re-reading again.

Edited by ChocolateRob
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...