Simple and Clean - The story of pure love that is behind every Fantasy.

They say that every good story is a love story at heart, and the Final Fantasy series is no different. Ever since Cecil first laid eyes on Rosa way back in the dark misty days of Final Fantasy IV, every hero has had love to fall back on, no matter how hard saving the world may be. One thing to consider is this, though - is it the love that saves the world?

Take a case in point - Final Fantasy VII. Even early on in the first disc, it becomes apparent that Cloud cares more for Aeris than for AVALANCHE - he makes Barrett and Tifa pay for the mission to blow up the Mako reactor, but he protects Aeris out of the kindness of his heart - which is a rare thing for a mercenary. It is Aeris who helps Cloud realize that the world is more important than just him - and then she makes the ultimate sacrifice so that he may continue on. It is the hope that he may find Aeris again in the lifestream which drives him to save Planet, for her.

The first really developed love, though, was that between Squall and Rinoa in Final Fantasy VIII. It wasnít as drawn out or as complicated as Cloud and Aeris - it just happened, and it seemed perfectly natural. It was here that we first gain a look at the concept of fate - Squall and Rinoa were meant to be together, just as Zidane and Garnet were meant to be - people from completely different backgrounds, thrown together by fate.

And talking of fate, there is perhaps the most grand and tragic love in any Final Fantasy - the love between Tidus and Yuna. The star player of the Zanarkand Abes is taken from his home, and taken to an otherworld - a place where he finds his true love. Even from the start, Tidus is in love with Yuna. The instinct he has to protect, which eventually blossoms into a full self-sacrificing love for each other. It is Tidus who works to find a way so that Yuna doesn't have to die, and it is his love for her that drives him to defeat Sin, even at the cost of their love.

However, it isnít just about a relationship between two characters. The main theme behind the love is hope; with love, they never lose hope, and this gives them the strength they need to fight evil. It shows a pure, unselfish relationship, which is different to all that you see in other media - it is a way for the Final Fantasy series to promote the pureness of good - the Light Warriors are no longer the chosen ones they were in Final Fantasy I, but rather normal people who have been thrown into extraordinary circumstances, and pull through thanks to their love for each other. Because the love isn't just between the main leads, it is also the friendship love that is between the members of the party. Itís a link that goes beyond friendship, and they become a family, all of who support each other.

I think that the cleanest image of this is in Kingdom Hearts - Sora and Kairi are young enough that they realize that they love each other, but donít have any of the complications that comes with being older. Sora just knew that he had to find Kairi, and keep his love pure. It was that which led Sora down the right path, and why he managed to rescue Kairi - once again through self-sacrifice. And, in a beautiful twist of fate, it is Kairi who saves Sora after his sacrifice. And love comes from the heart - so the heartless are the downright evil, those without love. So, the purest good in all the Final Fantasies, and many of Square's RPGs is love... and that is truly a message for us all.

Hold me...
Whatever lies beyond this morning
Is a little later on.
Regardless of warnings,
The future doesn't scare me at all...

Nothing's like before

- "Simple and Clean" Hikaru Utada, Kingdom Hearts OST