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My latest obsession: Final Fantasy VIII, the computer/Playstation game. Specifically, Squall Leonhart, the main character. He's such a cutie! (Yes, thank you, I know he's animated. That's why it's fantasy -- you know, imagination?) Even though Squall is in love with Rinoa Heartilly in the game, I personally identify more with the character Quistis. Great summaries of her character can be found at Ragnarok and Gamers eXtreme (whence you will recognize some of the following pictures). So here's the deal (in extremely short fashion): Squall is a student at a military academy where Quistis is a teacher (despite that she's just a year older than Squall; she's that talented). She likes him. He meets Rinoa. He likes Rinoa. Quistis doesn't like Rinoa (I wonder why). Rinoa wins. Sigh. But Rinoa was much more active, whereas Quistis, who is naturally more reserved, was shy about saying her feelings straight out. Let that be a lesson to you, girls! ;-)

The dashing hero!

This is what Squall's
action figure looks
like. That weapon
in his hand is a
Gunblade; see below.

Squall at Dollet. Wallpaper from ffnet.
Don't get this
boy mad at you!

Ditto! Click for the full wallpaper from ffnet.

Click for a better look at this cool picture! :-) It's a close-up of the weapon Squall uses, a Gunblade. It's a huge sword whose handle happens to look like a gun; as far as I'm aware, it doesn't actually shoot. The scar on Squall's face is a direct result of Seifer's Gunblade -- not that Seifer doesn't have one also, thanks to Squall; he'll get angry if you provoke him enough (and I think a slice across the face is justifiable provocation, not?).

And don't be cruel to him, either! This is just after Rinoa danced with
Squall and then left to greet some friends. They got over it.
Jumping off tall buildings, just to save Rinoa? Why?
But look at that expression...I'd hate to be on his bad side!
Oooh, and he can drive, too!
On his way to rescue beloved Rinoa. :-P

At least he got a happy ending!
This is the picture that won my heart.

My alter my dreams.

She doesn't really look like
someone you'd want to mess
with. And she's got CUTE hair! Why doesn't Squall see this?

Quistis in a more contemplative moment
(which I think is actually right before
she sees Squall and smiles... ;-) ).
She knows what's what, this girl.
Beauty and brains. Mm, mm.

She's got a sense of humor too.
And whom else but Squall would she be smiling at?
Oooh, Quistis gets down to business.
This is the model of her action figure.
She may be a teacher, but don't mess
with her! She's looking none too
shabby, either, if I do say so
myself, in her workaday clothes. If
you've seen some of the FF8 movies,
you know she can really kick butt, too.
A beautiful montage
of the many faces of
Quistis, shamelessly
ripped from the
excellent FF8 site
at Ragnarok.

This beautiful fan art from is a nice
rendering of Quistis and a more emotional feeling. A bit
too big-busted, if you ask me; but I wasn't asked. :-)
Still, the feeling is good. Click for a bigger picture.

A good conception of how Quistis might look on an evening out....
Wish she'd've gotten one with Squall. Well, I suppose
we can't complain because he's faithful, now, can we?

All right, all right, I'll be nice.
Her name is Rinoa Heartilly, and there's really nothing wrong with her.

This -- is -- Rinoa. Gosh, she is cute, isn't she? And happy.
She doesn't always look this dreamy, either; sometimes she's spunky
and intelligent! And Squall loves her, so I had to include her. Grr.
Hair blowing in the wind, she looks over and smiles...
how could Squall not love her? Don't answer that.

In the end, they've saved the world, defeated the evil sorceress,
survived several near-death experiences, and finally gotten
some quality time together. Ah, shoot, I'm a sucker for romance,
even if he is with the wrong woman.

Looks menacing...Ooh, where'd he get that nasty-looking scar? That's right! He gave one just like it to Squall, who returned the favor. Just for laughs, this is the bad guy....Rumor has it
that he and Rinoa were an item...until she met Squall,
that is. Then he went off and joined the evil
sorceress and got lost in time. Ah, well,
Rinoa can't help being a heartbreaker.

If you get the chance, AnimeTheme's Final Fantasy VIII videos are worth a look, especially the fan-made music video ("Eyes On Me," sung by Faye Wong) and the opening sequence of the game (the title video, if you will). The orchestrated soundtrack for FF8 and its piano equivalent, composed by Nobuo Uematsu, are amazing, but I'd try your local animania store before buying online.

Now send me back home!