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You say my love is all you need / To see you through / But I know these words are not quite true.
—Angela Aki and Nobuo Uematsu, «Kiss Me Good-Bye»

Final Fantasy XII was, in many ways, a departure from previous Final Fantasy titles.1 The main composer of the series, Nobuo Uematsu, had left Square Enix a few years earlier [1] and the main responsibilities of composing the music fell to Hitoshi Sakimoto. Uematsu, however, would still compose the theme song, «Kiss Me Good-Bye», which was even «taken into consideration» before other tracks had been composed. [2]

Singer Angela Aki was approached by the Japanese composer around 2003 [3], saying that he «felt it had to be her when {Nobuo Uematsu} heard her voice». [4] She herself wrote the lyrics, citing a «scene of a new journey after good-bye» that she envisioned upon hearing the melody. These lyrics pair up quite well with the images and tone of the game’s ending, as analyzed elsewhere. [5]


Here is the path you’re looking for / An open door / Leading to worlds you long to explore

Coincidentally, it was also the last song I ever dedicated. I sent it as a deliberate message, asking—no, demanding—a parting of our ways. It wasn’t that we were actively hurting each other, but we were chasing a relation that could never be, despite The writing on the walls. We chased each other, but always met in secret, away from this or that person. We were careful never to hold hands except under the table, away from public view. We were living a lie and couldn’t let go of each other.

As time goes by, I know you’ll see this of me / I loved you enough to let you go free

Desperate times call for Desperate measures. I had just started to sketch «Kiss Me Good-Bye» on the piano when she called me. We talked for hours, as one does when compatibility is high. I told her about the piece («this one’s for you!»), I played an excerpt for her, I read her the lyrics. She liked it, she loved it, she wanted to hear the whole thing. I promised, she promised. I swear I forgot to tell her about my plans to move away a few weeks from then.

Pack and get dressed before your father hears us / before all hell breaks loose.
Radiohead, «Exit Music (For A Film)»

I was about to pick up the phone and text her, but something seemed wrong. Or was it right? I felt not just a great weight on my shoulders, but a way out of it. I felt excited to make a bold move, but also felt like a coward, as if I were fleeing, leaving her.

I never talked to her again. Well, only once: two years ago when she broke out the simultaneous news of her marriage and pregnancy. Congratulations were in order: the pleasantries were exchanged calmly, as any two adults are expected to behave, regardless of their common past. But in those few minutes she mentioned the song, maybe casually. In any case, my blood froze and I felt as if I had been caught lying. Somehow I avoided the subject and the distance returned to normal.

I dreamed of this song and that scene last night. More than a decade later, she still had an impact on me. Once more, the music made a deeper impression than I thought, but I’m not sure if it’s on me or on her. In any case, it made evident what I feared years and years ago: true forgetfulness was impossible, I hoped only for a painless parting. «Kiss Me Good-Bye» was trying to tell me what Neruda had already tried many many years before:

(…) Because on night like this, I had her between my arms
my soul can’t fathom losing her
Even if this is the last pain that she causes me
and these the last verses that I write her
Pablo Neruda, «Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada»; 20

THE IRON NODER CHALLENGE XII: WE'LL RUST WHEN WE'RE DEAD


References

[1] Niizumi, H. and Kohler, C. (2004). Nobuo Uematsu leaving Square Enix: Final Fantasy composer will establish his own independent studio, continue to work with the RPG publisher. Gamespot, ed Gamespot.

[2] IGN Music. (2006). Twelve Days of Final Fantasy XII: Hitoshi Sakimoto Interview Part I: We chat with the composer of Final Fantasy XII. IGN Music.

[3] IGN Music. (2006). Twelve Days Of Final Fantasy XII: Angela Aki Interview Part 1. IGN, ed IGN.

[5] IGN Music. (2006). Twelve Days of Final Fantasy XII: Nobuo Uematsu Interview. IGN Music.

[5] The Final Fantasy Wikia editors. (2019). Kiss me good-bye (song).Available at https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Kiss_Me_Good-Bye_(song).


  1. Apart from FF XI, whose main departure was being an MMO, but I will skip over such changes here and will focus only on the contrasts between offline, single player Final Fantasy titles up to that point.—A.

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