Zidane Tribal from Final Fantasy IX

So, I am totally one of those weirdos who thinks that Final Fantasy IX is the best Final Fantasy. I understand this may not be much coming from me as I don’t really consider myself a hardcore Final Fantasy fan, but of the ones I’ve played IX has always been my favorite. I honestly think this has something to do with my love for fairy-tales and Aladdin as a child (princess falling in love with the street rat), but I digress. One of the major reasons I love Final Fantasy IX so much is its incredibly lovable cast of characters: especially Zidane. At a time when the stereotypical Final Fantasy “hero” was a brooding, silent protagonist like Cloud, or an angst-ridden teenager like Squall, Zidane was a breath of fresh air. He was a trouble-making, ass-grabbing, tail-wielding thief. He took a piss with Vivi under the stars! He “accidentally” touched Dagger’s butt while she was climbing a ladder above him! Zidane is just a little bit more comical and sly compared to what I had known FF protagonists to be like, so it was kinda hard not to fall head over heels with that cheeky little monkey. :(

Trust me when I say that when I got the fanlisting approval for Zidane, I damn near cried from joy/excitement. My favorite Final Fantasy hero! (All the cool kids have Final Fantasy sites, okay. Zidane was one of the Final Fantasy characters I built a site for in my teenage years! We won't go looking for that though... it's probably super cringe and embarrassing.) To this day, FFIX takes me on a super nostalgia trip to some of the best gaming years of my life. Even though I no longer follow the Final Fantasy franchise, I'll never deny that FF immersed me in a gaming world like no other game before it had, and it's why to this day I still love RPGs so dearly. Just hearing the world map music from FFIX sets my heart ablaze and fills me with memories of summer vacations spent in front of the game.

"I shall hereby do my best to kidnap you!"
It’s pretty easy to understand why any girl might fall for Zidane's charms: aside from the fact that he has the brightest smile this side of Terra, he's also one hell of a ladies man and would do anything to help out a damsel in distress. (How else does a man end up with a beautiful girl like Princess Garnet?) He's also one hell of a bro. Zidane is always looking out to help another when they are in need, hence his titular quote: “You don’t need a reason to help people”! He consistently puts others before himself and is always looking out for other people regardless of whether or not he met them years or minutes ago. I suppose in a lot of ways he’s sort of your archetypal shounen anime hero: optimistic, upbeat and ready to be anyone's friend at a drop of a hat, but I've honestly always been a sucker for characters who are borderline cheesy in their disposition to help others. :’(
"I just wanna protect the people I'm with. Doesn't matter whether I can or not. It's what I believe in."
Like most Final Fantasy characters, Zidane is not without his faults, and he grows to become quite multi-faceted through the later discs. (Man, don't you miss the days of swapping in the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th discs of your video game?!) The final moments of FFIX really put the nail in the coffin of my love for Zidane—you never really know a person until you see them at their worst, and Zidane (and the friends he surrounds himself with) shines so brightly. While I was a fan of many Final Fantasy characters growing up (believe me, that list could probably wrap around the Earth twice...) to this day, Zidane still tops that list. I have a really big place in my big black heart for that cute little tail and cheeky smile. ♡