Spiran Inscriptions and Writing in FFX
Decoding Spiran Texts
Throughout the game of Final Fantasy X, there are inscriptions, glyphs, and graffiti. They add to the texture and realism of the backgrounds. Sometimes, they reveal hidden details about the game's characters, cultures and history.
There are three different alphabets in Spira used in different contexts, plus magical symbols used for summoning. So I've divided this tour into four parts: Spiran Script (this page), Al Bhed writing, Yevon Script, and summoning mandalas. You can download fan-made fonts of the three alphabets here.
Right: the Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster added a "Loading" screen with lettering in everyday Spiran script.
Spiran Script: The Everyday Alphabet of Spira
Okay, let's follow in Tidus' footsteps and uncover the signs and writing he passed along the way. First up, Baaj Temple.
GALLERY: Baaj Temple Floor InscriptionsClick thumbnail to view full-size
The floor of Baaj has "salam jyscal guado" scrawled around the perimeter, and Tidus is lying across "guadosalam." This is where Seymour and his mother were exiled from Guadosalam by Seymour's father, Jyscal. Did Seymour write these in anger or longing? Or did his mother?
commenter rodrigo_vda helped me with a dim inscription on the upper floor. Click the thumbnail above to view. I've adjusted the Exposure on it and most of the screengrabs on this page to bring out details.
Besaid Crusaders Flag - "Wisdom / Bravery"Click thumbnail to view full-size
Aha! I was wondering what this concept art was for. The HD remaster helped me find this banner in the Besaid Crusader lodge and at Operation Mi'ihen HQ (click the thumbnail). All capitals:
Not sure about the "P.S." part, but maybe these poor schlubs should pay a little more attention to the "Wisdom" part of their motto. Just to be confusing, the central design is flipped in the lodge: a common problem with textures. Also, there's some gold lettering around it that I can't quite make out.
Blitzball Team Logos - Zanarkand and Luca
A rare typo in FFX
Top Row, left to right:
ZANARKAND DUGGLES, ABES ZANARKAND,* BLITZ BALL, BESAID AUROCHS, LUCA GOERS
Bottom Row, left to right:
PSYCHES Al Bhed [the latter in Al Bhed script], GUADO Glories, RONSO FANGS, BEASTS Kilika, BELLS BEVELLE, YOCUN NOMADS
The Spiran teams' logos show up on locker room signs, balloons, and banners all over Luca. It looks like there are two teams that failed to make it into the game's playable teams! I bet the Nomads are from the Crusader camp on the north side of the Calm Lands, where Lady Yocun once trained.
The Duggle players have their logo on the back of their uniforms: you can see it clearly on the woman whom Tidus punts out of the sphere pool in the opening sequence.
*No, I can't read the teeny tiny white-on-black letters at the top of this design. It only appears now and then.
Aurochs Locker Room... Waaaitaminute...
In the "bet no one will notice" department, check out team logos in the Aurochs' locker room. Wakka, you meanie, you pretended you'd never heard of the Abes!
There's posters all around the room showing the Aurochs team logo vs. one other team, presumably from past matches. That left-hand screencap suggests that the Bevelle Bells were an opponent not all that long ago.
That's Not What He Wrote! - Wakka's note in Aurochs' locker room
To the dreams of my childhood... Farewell.
Captain Wakka, Besaide Aurochs
During the final match of the Luca tournament, Wakka sits out the first half in the locker room, waiting anxiously with Lulu. As the tournament starts, the scene switches to both of them gazing at a chalk inscription. The subtitles say, "My best memories are here." But that is an English translation of the Japanese subtitles, which were in turn a translation of the English written on the wall in Spiran Script. Confused?
There's a ton of writing around Luca, including numerous hints that the Sphere Theater underwent design changes too late to re-render it. I think it was originally an auction house like those in Final Fantasy VI and IX.
Luca Stadium Entrance
Kiosk outside Luca Stadium's main entrance. Of COURSE there would be a weapons shop right outside a public venue. What security problems?
"LUCA STADIUM" in dark letters on that big blue canopy that's clearly visible from most of the city on the mainland.
No corporate sponsor getting naming rights for the stadium? Must be a fantasy world.
Luca Dock Signs on Pavement
The five docks circle the stadium clockwise from the stadium entrance. Look down to see where you are. The pavement here says "DOCK 5 LUCA."
Less obvious, although it would be clear to seasick passengers exiting the ferries, is the dark "ENTRANCE >" sign overhead.
Also, there's "LUCA" banners hanging all the way around the stadium. Notice the Yevon symbol. Blitzball is sponsored by Yevon, to keep the people entertained and docil. There's also a certain amount of geopolitical tension between Luca and Bevelle, an underlying sub-plot of the game that's easy to miss.
Luca causeway signpost
Halfway across the Luca causeway, this handy signpost points you back to "PORT LUCA", towards the "Entrance" (to Luca town, I suppose), and off towards the "AUCTION HALL."
Again, I think the plan was for the sphere theater to be an auction like that in FFVI. The flags on either side of the causeway leading towards the sphere theater say "auction hall" in artsy and nearly illegible black letters:
Auction Hall signs (lowercase, actually)
We even know what the auction hall would've been called: GIL VENTURE. Take a look:
GIL VENTURE over the sphere theaterClick thumbnail to view full-size
But I suppose there wasn't much justification for Yuna and friends to keep turning aside from their pilgrimage to bid for luxury items in Luca. (It was difficult enough to justify keeping blitzball going, but at least there it was an integral part of the story).
Oh, speaking of corporate sponsorship, there's ads in the blitzball pool. Rumor has it there's an NHK ad as well; haven't found it yet. (I can't read the tiny text under BBC; maybe "news service").
Corporate logos in sphere pool
"Someone saw Sir Auron in a cafe!"
Yuna says she heard a rumor that "Someone saw Sir Auron in a cafe!" However, when she leads Tidus to the plaza, they search the "BAR" instead. So that's why Auron wasn't there! (And no, you can't get into the real cafe. I've tried.)
Come on, Auron, PUT DOWN THE CRUMPET and help us.
He had to be sitting in there chuckling to himself while watching the ineptitude of Yuna's guardians. (He knew perfectly well the Al Bhed wouldn't hurt her, of course.)
Luca Bar and Surroundings
Above: I'm guessing eggnog because Auron's jug is nog, and I can't think of another beverage starting with E. Here as elsewhere around Luca, there's team flags with the names of the teams on them hanging in the background; the Guado glories' flaming purple design is at upper left.
Trivia note: that yellow honeycomb-covered sphere in front of the counter was the prototype design for a blitzball (presumably scaled down).
Right: Sign partly covered by portly Al Bhed says "BUY" at the top, and "Crazy Fantas[y]" below the jug that the chickabo is popping out of.
Mi'ihen Highroad Graffiti and Mileage Markers
Right: There's markers like this all along the Mi'ihen Highroad.
[picture of map]
Below: wall next to the stairs at N. end of Luca, glimpsed during the infamous Laughing Scene. "kand" looks like it should be the end of "Zanarkand," but what comes before it really doesn't look like "Zanar." I'm stumped.
Need Help With This One
On the Pilgrimage Road...
I've left Rin's Travel Agencies for the Al Bhed page, but there's a lot of colorful signage along the way to Macalania. Also, sharp eyes will catch the names of at least two towns that never show up in-game!
Moonflow Signs: Shoopuf Landing - South Bank
If you look closely, the sign's silhouette is a Shoopuf, and I think there may be a map of the road back to Djose Temple on the tail.
Here's a Mystery Map inside the waiting area for the Shoopuf:
Shoopuf Waiting Area
"MAP" is plain enough, but what are these towns labeled "Kino" and "Gonkoga"?
There have actually been a huge number of maps in the background all through the game, on the ferry, in the travel agency, and on marker posts. This is a small piece of a map that was hanging behind the desk in the Travel Agency, which unfortunately was scaled down too small to read.
However, by fiddling with another Spira Map that I think may derive from the Ultimania guides, I think I've tracked down the identity of these two towns:
The "Kino" marker is probably pointing to the Mushroom Rock Road area (although it's hard to be sure; it could be pointing towards something back on the Mi'ihen Highroad). The "Gonkoga" arrow seems to point to the spot that's usually marked "Moonflow" on maps of Spira — I think it may be the north bank where the Shoopuf lets us off. And of course, "Gonkoga" sounds suspiciously like "Gongaga," home of FFVII's Zack Fair!
The north shore has a "Shoopuf Landing" sign as well, where a snooty Guado is hiding part of the inscription.
Shoopuf Landing - North Bank
Orange sign: North to Gua[dosala]m
Green sign: Farplan[e]
Lake Macalania Travel Agency - Okay, Here's an Easy One
When you played the game, you probably noticed "Lake Macalania" neatly spelled out in capitalized Spiran Script in this flashback. The sign is on an arch just to the left of the Lake Macalania Travel Agency.
Bevelle Jail Cell Graffiti - Sorry, I'm stumped on this one
Blast, I was hoping the HD remaster would let us read the floor in the Bevelle jail cell. But even after taking a bunch of screencaps with Tidus shifting around, then stacking them to get an unobstructed view of the floor, I still can't read it.
Any ideas? Please leave them in the guestbook below.
The Airship's World Map: Place Names in Spiran Script
As you scroll down the airship map's locations list, the bottom bar displays the name of your current location and the selected destination.
I've screencapped all the different possible destinations and tiled them in strips across the bottom. Most are identical, but there are some minor differences.
- Sin, Baaj [Temple], Besaid [Island], Besaid Ruins, Besaid Falls, Kilika [Port]
- Luca, Mi'ihen [Highroad], Mi'ihen Ruins, Canyon → lowest level of Mushroom Rock Road, Battle Site → Operation Mi'ihen,Djose [Highroad], Moonflow
- Guadosalam, Thunder [Plains], Macalania, Bikanel, Sanubia [Sands]
- Bevelle → Highbridge, Calm Land[s], Zanarkand, Omega [Ruins]
Penance (International / FFX HD boss) - Ten botsu ("Sky death")
Tumblr user Froakie asked for help translating this one, and we had to put our heads together to decipher it. According to Froakie and Wiredclover, "Ten botsu" are the Japanese words for sky/heaven + death. Which certainly describe what Penance does.
Trivia note: Penance's name in several international editions is "Der Richter," German for "judge."
A Few Miscellaneous Signs
The Monster Arena says "Monster" across the top, as you no doubt noticed.
Auron's Bright Idea:
Oil Tanker in Zanarkand
"OIL" on the side of this tanker; hitting it causes a large explosion and breaks the bridge.
Tidus has a set of Strength and/or Magic boosting swords using this model:
A Guardian's Blade
The inscription on the blade says "GUARDIAN."
Zanarkand Scoreboard: Concept Art
I can't read all of it, but there's a "B" at the top, the left-hand fellow is "CC", the right-hand woman with the glasses is "Judy" (the woman whom Tidus punts out of the sphere pool, or just some random commentator?) , and the words "Jecht's Cup / Blitzball" between them.
"Zanarkand Duggles" is on the left, "Zanarkand Abes" on the right.
Below and to the left of the Duggles' logo is "Square"! FFX was created by Squaresoft, before it merged with Enix.
It's the 2nd half. Guest commenters leasspell_dael and Sadoko translated the katakana label next to "So So So": it says "Sponsor Space." (Thanks for the help, folks!)
Decorative Script in Opening FMV?
It's rare for Spiran Script to be used decoratively, but Yevon Script and Al Bhed certainly are. You might guess that the Zanarkand language has changed enough that its words don't translate, but no... FGHQRSTUV is unpronounceable.
FFX-2: Real Emotion - Monitors on the Creepy Buddha Drummer
The words "real emotion" scroll horizontally across the monitors under the stage during the opening FMV. Which it took me forever to notice, since the sight of Yuna turning from demure summoner into J-pop star caused my brain to freeze.
Kilika Port & Tea Shop
Kilika's added a few new signs after rebuilding: Welcome, Kilika Port, Tea, "cake, coffee, rum(?)"
Gun Mages With Names on Skirts
The Gullwings have their names on their Gun Mage outfits, spelled phonetically. Yes, Rikku is Likku; there's a sound halfway between L and R in several languages. I also double-checked Paine's outfit from other angles; it really does say Pain with no e.
I can't make out any real words on the gun mage's gun (although it might be Al Bhed); can you?
But Wait! There's More!
© 2011 auronlu