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Tidus

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Tidus
Final Fantasy character
An illustration of a fictional character. He is a blond teenager wearing a uniform consisting of black gloves, black pants and yellow shoes, as well as a right yellow shoulder and a blue one on the left. He also wields a light blue long sword with his right hand.
Artwork by Tetsuya Nomura of Tidus and his sword, Brotherhood
First game Final Fantasy X (2001)
Created by Kazushige Nojima
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura
Voiced by
Yūto Nakamura
Motion capture Masakazu Morita[3]
Fictional profile
Weapon Longsword
Race Human
Home Dream Zanarkand

Tidus (Japanese: ティーダ, Hepburn: Tīda) is a fictional video game character in Square Enix's Final Fantasy series. He was introduced as the protagonist of the role-playing video game, Final Fantasy X, in 2001 as a 17-year-old expert in the fictional sport of blitzball from the city of Zanarkand. After a mysterious creature named Sin attacks his hometown, Tidus is apparently transported to the world of Spira. Shortly after his arrival he meets Yuna, a new summoner, and her guardians. The summoner will soon set out on a pilgrimage to destroy the creature which attacked Tidus' city; by joining them, Tidus hopes to find his way home. He has appeared in other video games, including the Final Fantasy X sequel Final Fantasy X-2, the Kingdom Hearts series, and several Square Enix crossover games.

Tidus was designed by Tetsuya Nomura with a cheerful appearance, in contrast to previous Final Fantasy protagonists. Scenario writer Kazushige Nojima wanted to expand the relationship between player and character with monologues describing the game's setting. Tidus is voiced primarily by Masakazu Morita in Japanese and James Arnold Taylor in English. Both actors enjoyed voicing the character, and Morita also performed his motion capture.

He has been generally well received by video-game critics. Tidus' cheerful personality and heroic traits make him an appealing protagonist, contrasting with previous male characters in the franchise. His character development and romantic relationship with Yuna are considered among the best in video games, although reviewers and fans were divided on Taylor's voicing. Tidus has been popular with fans, often ranking as one of the best Final Fantasy characters in polls. Action figures and Tidus-related jewelry have been produced, and he is a popular cosplay character.

Creation and development

A smiling Yoshinori Kitase
According to Yoshinori Kitase, Tidus and Yuna's romance was a focus of Final Fantasy X.

Before the development of Final Fantasy X, game scenario writer Kazushige Nojima was concerned about the relationship between the player and the main character in a Final Fantasy title and wanted to try to make the story easier to follow. Since the player and the main character find themselves in a new world, Nojima wanted Tidus' understanding of that world to track the player's progress in the game.[4] Nojima felt that Tidus was the easiest character to draw in the first half of Final Fantasy X, because character and player learn about the storyline together.[5] Nojima created a brief description of Tidus for character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and Nomura created a sketch for input from Nojima and other staff members.[6] Nomura was asked to design Tidus differently from the game's theme so he would stand out.[7] Movie director Hiroshi Kuwabara noted the difficulty the developers had in making Tidus and the other main characters realistic.[8] The staff wanted to use an undead person as a playable character, and Tidus was meant to be that character. During Final Fantasy X's development, however, Nojima saw a film with a similar idea for its protagonist. The role of an undead person was then given to a secondary character, Auron.[9]

Nomura mentioned the contrast between the lead male and female protagonists established by their names; Tidus' name is based on the Okinawan word for "sun", and Yuna's name means "night" in Okinawan.[7] The contrast is also indicated by the items required to empower their celestial weapons: the sun sigil and crest for Tidus, and the moon sigil and crest for Yuna.[10] The developers had difficulty with Tidus and Yuna's kissing scene, since they were unaccustomed to animating romantic scenes. According to Visual Works director Kazuyuki Ikumori, this was due to the use of 3D models, and it was revised several times due to a negative response from female staff members.[11] Director Yoshinori Kitase said that in the development of Final Fantasy X, one of the staff's main objectives was to focus on the romance between Tidus and Yuna.[12] Nojima said that he cried during the game's ending, when Tidus and Yuna separate and Tidus vanishes.[8]

Designer Nomura said that he wanted Tidus' clothing and accessories to suggest a relationship with the sea. Tidus' clothing has a distinctive blue motif; his blitzball team logo, based on a fish hook, is an amalgam of the letters "J" and "T" (the first letters of Tidus' name and that of his father, Jecht).[7] Because a player can change Tidus' name, the character is not referred to by name in audible dialogue; however, a character in Dream Zanarkand uses Tidus' name in a dialogue box. The only other in-game appearance of his name is "Tidu" in Spiran script on the nameplate of an Auroch locker in the Luca stadium.[13] Before Final Fantasy X's release, Tidus was known to the media as Tida.[14] In early 2001, PlayOnline changed the character's name to "Tidus".[15] Because his name is never spoken in Final Fantasy X, its intended pronunciation has been debated. Interviews with James Arnold Taylor[2] and spoken dialogue in the English versions of Dissidia Final Fantasy, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts (with cameo appearances by the character) indicate that it is pronounced /ˈtdəs/ (TEE-dəs); in the English version of Kingdom Hearts II, Tidus' name is pronounced /ˈtdəs/ (TY-dəs).[16][17] According to Taylor, it was pronounced TEE-dəs during the localization of Final Fantasy X because the narrator of an early English trailer pronounced it that way.[18]

For the sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, producer Kitase thought that the greatest fan expectation was for the reunion of Tidus and Yuna after their separation in the first game.[19] The game generated rumors about Tidus' connection with the villain, Shuyin, who was physically similar and had the same actors. Square responded that such a storyline, given Tidus' nature, would be too complicated.[20] For the remastering of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, producer Kitase's motivation was to have people too young to have played the games experience them; his son was only old enough to know the characters of Tidus and Yuna from Dissidia Final Fantasy and its prequel.[21] For the first two X games' rerelease, Nomura redesigned Tidus based on his older appearance from the audiodrama Will. For the franchise's 30th anniversary, Square presented Tidus' new design in a museum.[22]

Personality

According to Nomura, he wanted to give Tidus a cheerful persona and appearance after designing serious, moody main characters for Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. He wanted to continue the recent trend of sky-related names, and Kazushige Nojima chose a name based on tiida (Okinawan for "sun").[7][23] Nojima called Tidus' personality "lively" and compared him to Final Fantasy VIII's Laguna Loire and Zell Dincht, two other cheerful characters.[24] Tidus was initially a rude plumber who was part of a delinquent gang, but Kitase said he would be a weak protagonist and he was made an athlete instead.[25]

His relationship with his father was based on "stories throughout the ages, such as the ancient Greek legends" and would reveal the key to the weakness of Sin, the game's main antagonist. Kitase noted that, in contrast to previous orphan characters seen in the franchise, Tidus' character arc included accepting Jecht's seeking redemption for Tidus' child abuse. Kitase felt that the voice acting and facial expression were crucial to Tidus at this stage.[26] Motomu Toriyama said that when Final Fantasy X was released, he saw the story from Tidus' point of view: "about parent, child and family".[27]

Voice actors

Masakazu Morita voiced Tidus in Japanese. He called the character a career highlight, comparable to his voicing of Bleach manga protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki. Morita also enjoyed performing Tidus' motion capture, which gave him a greater understanding of the character's personality; when he recorded Tidus' dialogue for the game, he moved his body.[3] Morita said that Tidus was his favorite, calling him "the most outstanding, most special character to me". As his first work as an actor, he has fond memories of voicing Tidus and interacting with other Final Fantasy X staff members.[28] Morita said that there was no difficulty in working as Tidus, since the character's personality was similar to his own,[29] and he did not need to study the character. However, he was concerned that if fans did not enjoy Tidus it would impact his career.[30] When it announced the Japanese actor, Square said that Morita was chosen because he also did the motion capture for Zell (which would make fans remember previous games).[31] Across Final Fantasy X there are also flashback scenes which depict a seven-year old Tidus. For these scenes Tidus is instead voiced by Yūto Nakamura.[32]

For the fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy, Morita returned to voice Tidus. He was concerned about being able to perform the character's lines like the original Final Fantasy series, since it had been nearly a decade since he voiced Tidus. By that time, he was also more accustomed to acting as Ichigo and Keiji Maeda from Capcom's Sengoku Basara hack-and-slash games and the characters had a different vocal tone than Tidus'. When Moriata returned to voice Tidus, he tried to make it match his original performance. When the game director complimented Morita for keeping the character's tone, Morita was relieved and joked that he felt younger.[30]

A blond man wearing a short black shirt
Tidus' English voice actor, James Arnold Taylor, gave the character a friendlier characterization than his Japanese counterpart Masakazu Morita.[33]

James Arnold Taylor was Tidus' English-language voice. Taylor was offered the role by voice director Jack Fletcher (who believed that he would fit the character), and translator Alexander O. Smith explained Tidus to him. In contrast to Morita, Taylor made the character friendlier and less serious with the staff's approval. After recording Final Fantasy X, Taylor said that he would enjoy voicing Tidus again; the character was "like an old friend to me now. I know so much more about him now than I did when we first started, knowing hardly anything about him. I would really hate it if anybody else voiced him".[33] Recording the game took Taylor three-and-a-half months, and he enjoyed the experience.[34]

According to Taylor, it would be unrealistic for Tidus to hide emotion. He said that although there were things he would change about his performance (such as the scene where Tidus and Yuna begin laughing together), he was grateful for the warm fan reception of his work.[2] Smith felt that the forced-laugh scene was adapted well from the original Japanese scene, because of how "stilted and out of place" it was in the original version. Smith was confused by Morita and Mayuko Aoki's performance, but after discussing it with Nojima he found it well done in both languages and called it "awkward" and "funny".[35] When Final Fantasy X was re-released in 2013, Taylor said that he was proud to be Tidus' voice.[36] For Dissidia NT, Taylor commented that while Tidus' new role would seem new to players due to how he is lead once again into battle, people would still find him as an appealing new trait.[37]

Appearances

Final Fantasy X series

In Final Fantasy X, Tidus is a player in the underwater sport of blitzball in an advanced, technological version of Zanarkand.[38] Belying his cheerful, carefree attitude, Tidus hates his absent father, Jecht—initially because of his mother's neglect, and later for their rivalry at blitzball.[39][40] During a blitzball tournament, Zanarkand is destroyed by a huge, shrouded creature known as Sin. Sin transports Tidus and Jecht's friend, Auron, to the world of Spira.[41][42] After his arrival on Spira, Tidus drifts to the island of Besaid and joins a number of guardians on a journey to help Yuna defeat Sin.[43] Tidus joins them in the hope of finding his way home.[44]

When he meets Auron, Tidus learns that Jecht and Auron made the same pilgrimage ten years before to protect the summoner Braska (Yuna's father) and defeated Sin (who was reborn as Jecht).[45][46][47] As the journey continues, Tidus, losing hope that he will return home, begins a romantic relationship with Yuna and swears not to let her die after the guardians tell him that Sin's battle will kill her.[48][49] When the party approaches Zanarkand, Tidus learns that he and Zanarkand are the dreams of dead people known as fayth.[50] "Dream" Zanarkand was created when Sin was born during the war between Zanarkand and Bevelle and the original Zanarkand was destoyed. If Sin is permanently defeated, the summoning of Dream Zanarkand and its people (including Tidus) will cease.[50] In the real Zanarkand, the group decides to find a way to destroy Sin which does not require the sacrifice of a guardian or a summoner.[51] They attack Sin, entering its shell. They eventually find Jecht (whom they must defeat to eliminate Sin),[52] and Tidus makes peace with his father in the aftermath.[53] After defeating the spirit of Yu Yevon (who is responsible for Sin's rebirth), the fayth are allowed to leave and the summoning of Dream Zanarkand ends. As he vanishes, Tidus says goodbye to his friends and joins the spirits of Auron, Jecht and Braska in the afterlife.[54]

Tidus makes few appearances in the plot of the 2003 sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, although meeting him is the player's objective. Two years after the events of Final Fantasy X, Yuna sees a sphere with a young man (resembling Tidus) trapped in a prison. She joins the Gullwings, a sphere-hunting group, and travels around Spira in the hope of finding more clues that Tidus is alive.[55] The individual in the sphere is later revealed as Shuyin.[56] Depending on the player's development during the game, the fayth will appear to Yuna at the end and tell her that they can make Tidus return to her.[57] He then appears in Spira, and he and Yuna are reunited.[58] In another final scene, Tidus (unsure whether or not he is still a dream) wants to remain with Yuna.[59] He is also an unlockable character as Star Player, a blitzball player.[60] In Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission (the game's updated version), Tidus is a playable character for battles. An extra episode, set after the original game's play-through, reveals that he is living in Besaid with Yuna. An illusion of Tidus also appears as a boss character.[61][62]

Tidus' dialogue, monologues and songs were included on the Final Fantasy X Vocal Collection and feel/Go dream: Yuna & Tidus CDs. Although he does not fully understand that he is not the fayth's dream, Tidus feels that disappearing would be preferable to making Yuna cry again.[63][64] The novel Final Fantasy X-2.5 ~Eien no Daishou~, set after Final Fantasy X-2, explores Tidus and Yuna's visit to Besaid Island 1,000 years before.[65] The HD remastered version of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, adds an audio drama (Final Fantasy X: Will) in which Tidus is a new blitzball star who appears to be concealing an injury. After Yuna breaks up with him, Tidus helps her on a quest to defeat a reborn Sin.[66]

Other appearances

He also appears in games outside the Final Fantasy X fictional universe, and a younger version is a friend of the protagonists Sora and Riku in the Kingdom Hearts series. In Kingdom Hearts, Tidus appears with younger versions of Wakka and Final Fantasy VIII's Selphie[67] as an optional sparring opponent. The character makes a cameo appearance in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and is mentioned briefly in Kingdom Hearts II.[68][69] A digital replica of Tidus is a boss character in Kingdom Hearts Coded,[70] and he appears with Auron and Yuna in the board game-based Itadaki Street Special.[71]

In Dissidia Final Fantasy (an action game with several Final Fantasy heroes and villains), Tidus is the hero from Final Fantasy X: a warrior from the goddess, Cosmos, whose father works for the rival god Chaos.[72] Tidus has two uniforms in this game, and his thoughts and actions refer to Final Fantasy X.[73] With the cast, he reappears in the prequel Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy and represents Chaos in the previous war.[74] Tidus is confronted by Yuna and offers his life to save her from an attack by the villain Emperor, but is saved by Jecht to become a warrior of Cosmos.[75] In addition to his previous outfits, Tidus has a design based on an illustration by Square artist Yoshitaka Amano.[76] He appears in the third entry in the series, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.[77][78] Tidus is a playable character in the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy rhythm game.[79] He also appears in World of Final Fantasy,[80] and Fortune Street: Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary.[81] Tidus' disappearance between Final Fantasy X and its sequel is also explained in the game Mobius Final Fantasy.[82]

Reception

Young man and woman dressed as Tidus and Luna. Tidus wears dark leather overalls, and Luna is dressed in white.
Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto noted Tidus and Yuna's popularity, which is reflected in cosplay.[83]

Tidus had a positive reception in video-game publications. Raymon Padilla of GameSpy called him a "garishly dressed Leonardo DiCaprio", whose his flaws make him appealing.[84] According to GameSpot reviewer Greg Kasavin, players might not initially like the character but would eventually find him "suitably endearing". Kasavin wrote that Tidus had the "surprising depth" characteristic of past Final Fantasy protagonists, and called the game's ending "emotionally charged and satisfying".[85] PSXextreme's Arnold Katayev liked Tidus' easygoing personality, contrasting it with those of previous (antisocial) Final Fantasy protagonists.[86] Atlus character designer Kazuma Kaneko called him "a dashing lead character".[87] GameZone praised Tidus' role as the male lead compared with previous characters for its "perpetual feel of youth and innocence".[88] In the book, Dungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens: The Digital Role-Playing Game, authors Gerald A. Voorhees and Joshua Call compared Tidus with Final Fantasy VII protagonist Cloud Strife in appearance and weapon; however, they found Tidus more realistic than Cloud.[89] In Console video games and global corporations, Mia Consalvo that despite Tidus was designed from a Western's perspective which contrasted the others' Eastern designs, the game managed to blend their looks and appeal to the audience.[90]

Although the revelation of his true nature in the game's ending was third on 1UP.com's list of top-five video-game spoilers (reducing "at least two 1UP staffers to a state of misty-eyed mourning"), Tidus' resurrection in the sequel was called unrealistic.[91] GamesRadar's Dave Meikleham found the character's fate in the first game confusing; he appears to be alive in the epilogue despite his disappearance, which is not explained until the sequel's end.[92] Matthew Walker of Cheat Code Central wrote that Tidus told his father he hated him in the climax, but later appreciated him.[93] According to Walker, the game's final scene was intended to give hope that Tidus was alive; Walker found the ending (where Sin's defeat makes Tidus disappear) sad.[94]

The character was compared to Squall Leonhart, the protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII. The staff of IGN noted differences in appearance between them, contrasting Squall's dark-colored outfit and "permanent mope" with Tidus' brighter outfit and weapon and "an indelible grin".[95] Kurt Kalata of Gamasutra found Tidus a more entertaining character than Squall, albeit "a bit whiny".[96] GameSpot criticized his English-language voicing, saying that they would have preferred "an almost-mute lead character, a la Squall".[97] 1UP found him the worst-dressed video-game character, citing Nomura's "deal with it" outfit design; despite the "preposterous" design, Square could "successfully sell" Tidus as Final Fantasy X's main protagonist.[98] According to Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto, Tidus cosplay has been popular.[83] The character has also inspired action figures and jewelry.[99] To commemorate the franchise's 20th anniversary, Square released figurines of Tidus and other Final Fantasy protagonists.[100]

In the English-language version, IGN said that the character "has a tendency to speak a little too high and fast when he gets excited".[95] Andrew Long of RPGamer criticized James Arnold Taylor's work, saying that Tidus is supposed to sound "impulsive and energetic" but his dialogue is "stupid and childish".[101] Eurogamer's Tom Brawell agreed, calling Tidus' voice "whiny" and "detestable".[102] Despite his dislike of the voice acting, Chris Carter of Destructoid enjoyed playing as Tidus in the crossover fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy and looked forward to its reboot.[103] On the other hand, PSXextreme liked Taylor's work in voicing Tidus.[86] In the book Gaming Lives in the Twenty-First Century, the writers recalled that Tidus' characterization differs in the original Japanese release of Final Fantasy X and its English dub; the localized version failed to emulate the original Tidus.[104] In a Final Fantasy X scene, Yuna tells Tidus to laugh (to cheer him up) and Tidus forces a laugh. Although fans criticised the laughter as too forced, Taylor stated that it was an intentionally "awkward, goofy, dumb laugh."[105]

The relationship between Tidus and Yuna was listed as one of the video-game "great loves" by GameSpot, which called it "one of the best (and ultimately saddest) examples" of mature romance in games and cited its progression through the story as one of the game's best elements.[97] GamesRadar found the relationship realistic,[106] noting that they still try to reunite despite their sacrifices.[107] Kotaku's Mike Fahey wrote that the popularity of Tidus and Yuna's relationship and his fading away at the game's end forced Square to make a sequel so they could meet again.[108] Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander, calling Tidus a "forgettable hero", nevertheless praised his and Yuna's relationship.[109] In 2001, Tidus and Yuna won Game Informer's Best Couple of the Year award.[110] Their kiss was ranked the second-best in video games by Lisa Foiles of The Escapist.[111] Kotaku called the scene one of gaming's most romantic, and IGN listed Tidus and Luna as one of gaming's greatest couples.[112][113] Yuna's English voice actress, Hedy Burress, said that Tidus' interaction with Yuna gave her a humanized, "womanly aspect".[2] The 1UP.com staff described Tidus as the "good kind of jock" because of his support for the game's other protagonists, but his anger and growth kept him from being a "stereotypical boy scout".[114] According to Eurogamer's Tom Brawell, Tidus and the other characters "make much more dignified and believable decisions than those made by their predecessors in other Final Fantasy games".[102] NowGamer and Digital Spy found the remastered game lacking in emotion,[115][116] but Destructoid said that its models still look good in comparison to newer role-playing games released.[117]

Tidus' character has also appeared in popularity polls and features in video-game publications. He was Final Fantasy X's second-most-popular character (behind Auron) in a fan poll.[118] Complex listed him as the second-best Final Fantasy character, surpassed only by Cloud. His caring, cheerful personality (contrasting with previous Final Fantasy protagonists) was praised.[119] GameZone ranked Tidus the third-best Final Fantasy character (behind Cloud and Sephiroth, also from Final Fantasy VII), and Heath Hooker called him "a complete mixture of everything cheesy and everything emotional".[120] Tidus was the fourth-most-popular male Final Fantasy character in a 2012 Square Enix poll.[121] In a Famitsu poll, Tidus was voted the 20th-best video-game character in Japan.[122] Christian Nutt of GamesRadar wrote that despite initial issues, Tidus' character development during the game made him more likable; Nutt ranked him the fourth-best Final Fantasy hero.[123] Tidus and Yuna were included in The Inquirer's list of most memorable video-game couples, with Tidus' self-sacrifice and their farewell noted.[124]

See also

References

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