Analysis

Although Selphie already does her own deal of self-analysis in her ever so creatively titled diary (and surprisingly enough, is actually good at it), I insist on giving my own two cents on Squaresoft's most hated "spunky young woman with a carefree spirit". Over time I've come to realize that the reasons for which people in general can't stand Selphie are the exact same traits that cause me to admire and like her so much, so don't be surprised if this turns out to sound a lot like one of those pathetic yet mandatory "Why you shouldn't hate the bunch of pixels I love" articles.

I sincerely think that, out of the whole "orphanage gang" (how can you possibly not love that expression??), Selphie turned out best (sorry, Quistis). If not, just take a close look at the facts: she's spirited, sociable, independent, fun, intelligent and, most importantly, doesn't suffer from the self-esteem issues and damsel complex that seems to haunt most female game characters. Selphie is the hyperactive, happy kind. She's involved, outgoing and proud, and gives out that ever so rare, yet so healthy and truly admirable impression of being deeply in love with life. If I were to sum it up, I'd simply say that Selphie is all about the "Love! And Peace!": she knows she is, she knows you know she is, and, most importantly, she loves to live up to the reputation. In fact, I think she'd be the perfect hippie, if she weren't so hysterical (and if they actually had weed in the world of Final Fantasy VIII, that is).

On a more serious note, while Selphie may seem rather immature on the outside, and more often than not behave as such, she's actually very aware of her surroundings, and understands people quite well maybe because she is predisposed to. Due to her adjusting to and caring about new people so easily, she also finds it possible to relate and forgive more quickly than others. Her diary is actually a good, wide open window to her soul: it is the living (well, written) proof that she is extremely supportive and encouraging of her comrades, especially Squall, whom everyone seems so determined to misunderstand. Even if she were wrong in her assumptions (not that I think she is, mind you), what truly matters in the end is that she actually tries to put herself in other people's shoes and see from their point of view. Despite what many people might think, Selphie doesn't make a s**tload of friends just by being silly and running around screaming "Whoo-hoo!" to whoever will listen: she does care, and she does offer practical help that goes way beyond mere comforting words. In short, she possesses an innate ability to easily reach out to all kinds of people, as can be seen in one particular scene in the destroyed Trabia Garden where she tries to cheer up two little kids who have pretty much lost everything they ever knew: the way she deals with them is extremely and unexpectedly heart-melting.

It seems that Selphie has always been this way, too. Even as a child, after losing her parents and ending up in an orphanage, she would not cry, instead choosing to create bonds with the other kids and play all day long: an attitude that brought about otherwise hardly attainable happiness and conquered the heart of at least one small boy (and we all know how hard it is for any female to get on Irvine's good side!). Indeed, Selphie has a never-ending stock of energy that she always manages to use for the good: through thick and thin, she tries to look on the bright side of life. Even when things go wrong and loss or pain threatens to take her over the best example of this being Galbadia's attack on Trabia Garden, her former home , she forces herself to take action and react rather than freeze on the spot and break down to cry. Selphie consistently achieves what a lot of people would kill to be capable of: turning rage, hate and potential tears into something productive that, in the end, allows for closure instead. Because she always speaks her mind, never gives up on herself and others and does all that she can for the sake of the people she cares about, she has no regrets: and that, my beloved reader, is worth admiring. (Ummm... sorry, Squall.)

Bonding, caring and loving aside, Selphie is also talented and intelligent. Yes, she is certainly clumsy, klutzy and reckless as well, and yes, she may possess the dangerous habit of not considering consequences before jumping off cliffs, smashing buttons and moving levers around, but hey, creativity is actually one important side of intelligence: one that is rare and one that will sometimes get you out of life or death situations more effectively than others (in her case, it effectively does). Furthermore, Selphie was one of the only four people (and the only girl) to pass the SeeD field exam, and from then on kept on showing her talent and quick wits in more than one occasion: she built a website, became the head of the Garden Festival Committee, was the first person to pilot the Ragnarok (and is its default pilot throughout the rest of the game, unless you have her in your party), successfully took over the Missile Base mission and even organized a concert where she actually performed, too. On a different note, she wields a rather difficult weapon with excellence, and is a kick-ass, independent fighter who can stand on her own two feet. Come on, someone this prolific can't be stupid.

But Selphie doesn't only possess the emotional intelligence, talent and brightness mentioned so far. I saved the best (or, at least, what I like best but then again, my opinion is sort of the only one that matters here, with me owning this place and authoring this article and all) for last: she is hilarious, and has some of the most unique quotes in the whole Final Fantasy series. If you can get over all the "whoo-hoo!"s and general hyperactivity, she will make you laugh very easily without even trying: she simply speaks her mind at all times, mostly without thinking, and sometimes the result just happens to be extremely laughable. The ability to make others laugh is one of the qualities I appreciate the most, even in a fictional character.

In conclusion, Selphie is just... happy. More importantly, she builds her own happiness from scratch, values it, will do anything in her reach to maintain it and is not afraid of sharing it. Even though she's still blossoming in many ways, she is already a strong, independent woman with a marked personality, strong beliefs and an open spirit; she requires no rescuing (actually, she's usually in the rescue team) (sorry, Rinoa) and she always manages to come out of whatever blue phases she may go through and channel her energy into something useful, not only to herself but also to others, and sometimes the whole world. Selphie won't let an unresolved issue linger around for too long; she's her own mistress and a natural-born leader. She loves herself, the people around her and life itself, and that is a message that, no matter how old or corny, should never be underestimated. Let's face it, people, emo is cool and all, but it gets you nowhere.

Now, I can understand why some people would find her annoying, irritating or just downright impossible to put up with, but maybe they are just missing the point: Selphie is not the sort of character you're supposed to analyze to death (yay for hypocrisy). Don't take her too seriously; if she were you, she probably wouldn't. Just sit back, relax and enjoy what she has to offer beneath the childish surface: you'll be sure to get a lot of laughs that way, and also witness some endearing scenes as a special bonus. If after all this you still don't think that is something you can do, then I am sorry, because that probably means I suck at making points you're missing out on one of the most well-achieved female characters in the world of RPGs. Not that I'm in love or anything, but she's pretty damn cool.


Final Fantasy™ VIII, Selphie and all characters and locations mentioned are ©1999 Squaresoft, now Square-Enix.
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