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Defending the Laughing Scene From "Final Fantasy 10"

Jeremy enjoys anime when not working as a chemist or building manager.

One of the many memes about Tidus's laugh

One of the many memes about Tidus's laugh

What's the Laughing Scene in FF10?

Gamers fondly remember Final Fantasy 10, one of the most beloved entries in the turn-based RPG series. Yet despite its well-earned reputation, the infamous "laughing scene" has become a textbook example of poor voice-acting in gaming, which was a new innovation for the game's 2001 release date.

But here's the thing: the laughing scene is often taken out of context, and when given proper explanation, is not only actually decent voicework, but a solid character-building moment. Don't believe me? Let's explore the ins and out of Tidus and Yuna's laughing scene in FF10 and argue why it actually works!

Auron reveals Sin is Jecht

Auron reveals Sin is Jecht

The Setup for the Scene

First, let's refresh our memories about what's happening right before the incident in question. Despite a blossoming romance with summoner Yuna, main character Tidus is understandably downtrodden; he's been sent to a strange new world constantly under attack by the giant monster known as Sin, and more recently, his enigmatic mentor Auron has claimed that Sin is actually Tidus's long-lost father Jecht.

Yea, the poor guy's stuck in a strange land with a missing father (who was neglectful even when he was present) now claimed to be the very monster terrorizing the land.

Kind soul that she is, Yuna sees Tidus's bleakness and advises he try what she's been conditioned to do her whole life: fake it until you make it. Since Yuna is the daughter of the deceased but revered High Summoner Braska, she's been in the public eye since her youth and often had to bottle her emotions to put on the strong public face people want to see. So she tells Tidus to force a laugh: cue the following scene.

Forced vs Genuine Laughter

Is the scene silly? Sure. But it's supposed to be: Yuna's telling Tidus to fake a laugh and maybe he'll actually start to feel better, and despite feeling silly, he does exactly that, emitting his infamously awkward fake laughter. Yuna at first seems embarrassed, gently suggesting Tidus stops, but perhaps because it's his only true emotional outlet, he continues. Seeing his silly but unabashed antics, Yuna actually joins in, leading to more (purposefully) weird laughter between them.

Upon hearing their ridiculous joint laughter, the two burst into genuine laughter, and it's here you hear their true laughs, Tidus teasing Yuna about it being her idea and her thanking him for bringing some laughter to her solemn journey. The game itself also acknowledges the absurdity, with the rest of the party members soon after asking Yuna if she's okay, as it sounded like she and Tidus had been going crazy.

And keep their ages in mind: these are 17-year-olds with large footsteps to follow, and like most youth, when they see a rare chance to just be silly and enjoy themselves for a few seconds, they'll happily take it.

The Laughing Scene in Other Games

So while many cite this scene as one of the worst examples of voice-work, I'd argue it's exactly what it's trying to be: a goofy but establishing moment that's perfectly in character for the two parties involved. Some also find the Japanese voices work better, but as the whole point of the scene is silly, you'll see the awkwardness either way.

And the FF series isn't afraid to pole fun at their own work, referencing the scene in one of Tidus's interaction in World of Final Fantasy, where he suddenly laughs and his teammate Reynn quips "I have no idea how to react to that so I'll just ignore you," referencing many players' surprise. Between this, the controversy over how to pronounce his name (Tie-dus or Tee-dus?), and his relatively lackluster role in Kingdom Hearts, poor guy can't catch a break.

So there it is: the laughing scene explained. Share your thoughts on whether it's a cute moment between two teenagers or a hilariously out-of-place oddity in an otherwise decently acted game and I'll see you at our next Final Fantasy countdown!

© 2022 Jeremy Gill