• Better Know a F(r)iend- Man's Best Fiend

    Dogs are usually considered "Man's Best Friend". However, that's not always the case. As the species have evolved over these thousands of years, so has the relationship between canines and humans. The Final Fantasy series is no stranger
    to this concept.

    Cynophobia is the psychological fear of dogs and it is brought on by either being victim to, or witnessing a bad experience with a canine early in life. Sometimes cynophobia may be taught, through a cynophobic parent or culture. Evolutionary theorists, though, claim that the fear of dogs may be hard wired into our systems, as early man needed fear to survive against large predators.

    One of these large predators may have been the Grey Wolf, for which is theorized to be the ancestor to all domestic dogs this day. Wolves have been a popular enemy in the Final Fantasy series, dating to the original. Not only did you face common Wolves, but also supernatural versions like the Warg Wolves, Werewolves and Winter Wolves. Hyenadons, based on a prehistoric canine and Hell Hounds are two large canine foes encountered on the heroes' journey.

    Final Fantasy XII offered a larger variety of wolf/hyena enemies that bore an even more horrific imagery. The Cerebus spewed flames, the Hyenas had a large horn on their nozzle. Large, nightmarish beasts, roaming the land, attacking the party on sight. The Alphas of these species were almost even larger than the characters. Thextera dwarfs Penelo and Vaan.

    In reality, feral canines are more alert of humans than they are predatory. Mostly not agressive, they are curious and defensive. These traits are what biologists consider to be a key part of the Grey Wolf's domestication over 10,000 years ago.

    The Grey Wolf found humans a valuable source of food. While scavenging, they would go over the remains left by early human hunters. As so, some became comfortable being close to humans. These generally were more social, less fearful. Man began seeing the wolf as a beast of burden, for protection, fur and work. The wolves in turn gained food and shelter in return. As human society changed from Hunter/Gatherer to more agricultural, the need for dogs had changed to one more of friendship than for fur or hunter.

    Another theory on the domestication of wolves is that humans took wolf pups, nurtured them into domestication. Arryl in the South Bank Village of the Dalmascan Estersand and his friend Nathyl are a perfect example of this. As mentioned earlier, the canines in Final Fantasy XII are a viscious lot. Even the most normal looking ones, the wolves, are perilous. However, Arryl took the wolf pup and raised him to be as gentle and playful as any modern housepet.

    Even though dogs are generally still seen as the protectors of their human companions, which we see in the relationships between Shadow/Relm and Interceptor in Final Fantasy VI and Rinoa and Angelo in Final Fantasy VIII.

    Shadow's relationship with Interceptor, as with all his relationships with others, seems somewhat in the line of early man. Interceptor is there to protect Shadow and help mow down his opponents. However, you can still tell Shadow cares greatly for his dog. Relm's relationship with Interceptor is more modernistic. Interceptor is a little friend to the girl, playful and fun. If Shadow doesn't make it off the floating continent, Interceptor stays with Relm and protects her in the manner he did his former master.

    In modern history, dogs have even been used for entertainment. General part of obedience training, dogs will be taught to perform "tricks" by command. This could be anything from "shaking hands" to fetching a ball/stick. Some have trained dogs to perform feats at shows, such as jumping through hoops or wearing ridiculous costumes.

    Rinoa and Angelo have both this type of relationship and the former. Having purchased Angelo as a pup, Rinoa has trained her (yes, Angelo is a female) to assist her in battle in ways other than offense. While most are attacks or counters, Angelo can sniff out items on the battlefield, turn the party invicible and even recover KOed or injured party members.

    Even villains have taken to the use of domesticated dogs. Both Empires in Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy XII use dogs to guard against and attack the protagonists in their respective games. A notable one is Dark Nation, who protects Rufus Shinra in Final Fantasy VII. This Coeurl-esque pooch uses magic to protect itself and it's master from AVALANCHE.

    Even though canines have been used as enemies in the Final Fantasy series, the creators haven't been able to ignore the fact that people love their pooches and vice versa. Whether they are wild or tame, friend or fiend, dogs have played a big part in Final Fantasy.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Better Know a F(r)iend- Man's Best Fiend started by Colonel Angus View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. kotora's Avatar
      kotora -
      Don't meet with Putin if you happen to be afraid of dogs.
    1. Mirage's Avatar
      Mirage -
      lol what a dick
    1. Lawr's Avatar
      Lawr -
      Don't forget Gilgamesh and Enkidu!
    1. Colonel Angus's Avatar
      Colonel Angus -
      I forgot that Enkidu was a dog in XII! My most memorable Gilgamesh memories are from V, where Enkidu is a flying creature.
    1. Mirage's Avatar
      Mirage -
      Yojimbo has a dog too!
  • EoFF on Twitter

  • Square Enix on Twitter