One of the things that brought me to love Rosa from FF4 as my fave character before I learned of Polaris was Theme of Love. The song technically represents the relationship between Rosa and Cecil, but it always felt like it really represented Rosa and the love, hope and light she brings and inspires.

This is one rendition of the song with lyrics. It was made before the 3DS remake that led to the song being released as Tsukino Akari.


So, about Troia.

It took this new playthrough, and probably some of the clarity present in the “new” 3D translation, to help me sort out my feelings about this part of the plot. The party heads to Troia because Golbez has demanded the Earth Crystal in exchange for Rosa’s safety. 

We found out about Golbez after we cure Rosa’s illness in Kaipo. It’s clear by then that he’s seeking out the crystals for nefarious purposes. Up until Troia, everything the characters do is done with the intention to stop Golbez and prevent him from getting the crystals. Cecil’s motivations are obviously going to be shaken once Rosa is in danger—again—but it always bothered me that this was never discussed or explored. At this point, Cecil’s comrades are Cid and Tellah, a man who has sworn to avenge his daughter’s death by killing Golbez. Cecil is now setting a course for Troia to get their Earth Crystal in order to save Rosa. Does no one have any questions?

None of this is to downplay Rosa’s safety, or Cecil’s attachment to her. I would be horribly conflicted in this situation too. What always confused me is that no one seems horribly conflicted. It wasn’t until years after first playing through this sequence that I realized that what I really wanted was for someone to tell Cecil, Eleventh Doctor-style, that his girlfriend isn’t more important than the whole universe, followed by a Rory Williams-style “SHE IS TO ME.”

But that’s just part of my original issue. The thing that really bugged me as a kid/teenager is that you then get to Troia and start talking to people, and the clerics tell you that you can borrow the crystal if you’re able to retrieve it from the Dark Elf. No one mentions what Cecil plans to do with the crystal, and no one asks.

I’ve long believed that this feeds into why people reacted negatively to Rosa back in the day. I’ve long believed that this reaction was unfair. Cecil is willing to risk the security of the world to save her, and while that’s touching AF, that’s on him and not her. If we want to get into the ethical debate about whether the benefits of what he’s planning to do outweigh the cost, we need to consider that he’s the one making the decision. I remember fanpages with angsty rants implying that this somehow made Rosa a weak character. You know, since she planned the whole thing. I still believe it’s a small percentage of the fandom that made this argument, but the persistent blaming of Rosa for being kidnapped, and then for being saved at the potential cost of the safety of the world, drives me to distraction. For some reason, some people were more hellbent on blaming Rosa for other people’s actions than those people themselves.

So much this.

Back in 2007/2008, I had to spend a lot of time dismantling the BS smearing of Rosa as a character, and so much of it involved either blaming her for other characters’ actions or making her issues out to be somehow her fault and egregiously bad.

Like, people would completely disregard that she’s the badass who crossed at least a desert by herself (if not the mountains too) to get to Cecil, and badmouth her for getting sick. Or they’d ignore the fact Rosa was only captured because she was sacrificing herself so Golbez and Kain didn’t murder everyone. They’d look at that scene and act like she was a liability when in fact she was the only reason the game didn’t end with Golbez/Zeromus winning in Fabul.

Their “logic” was, as poster above says, to blame Rosa for things that other people decided to do, or for things out of her control. But then they wouldn’t use that same “logic” for things like when Leviathan sank the ship carrying everyone to Baron just to get to child Rydia.

And in all this, bountyandgrace gets at something really, really important: this is the sort of misplaced blame that happens when the audience is exclusively following a male protag and not given enough explicit cues to what’s going on with the female characters.

Properly understanding Rosa and everything she did and offered requires looking at more than just Cecil. It takes thinking about how the hell she got to Kaipo by herself, or how selfless it is of Rosa to offer herself in exchange for the lives of everyone in Fabul, things like that. When the audience doesn’t do that, you get things like the audience mistakenly blaming Rosa for Cecil’s inability to protect Fabul’s crystal in the first place.

This is official art drawn by Akira Oguro for the Final Fantasy trading card game in Japan.

It came up in my searches, I realized it’s not on the FF wikia, so time for a Tumblr post.

Also, it stands out to me that this art continues the strange perception of Rosa not having anything covering her belly. If you actually look at the 3DS version CG cutscenes, you’ll see she has a full leotard. If you pay close attention to her in-game 3D model, you’ll see her belly is whiter than her skin. But for some reason, people see it as if she’s showing her bare belly, and now that’s what it’s become in more and more art.