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Moments: Leaving Home In Grandia III

by Kimberley Wallace on Oct 03, 2012 at 12:00 PM

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I’ll be the first to admit that Grandia III doesn’t set the gold precedent for storytelling and characterization. Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some wonderfully crafted scenes throughout the tale. One scene I reminisce about is the main character, Yuki, deciding to leave home for the first time. Perhaps the scene resonated so strongly with me because it coincided with my life; at the time, I was leaving my family behind every year to go out-of-state for college. The scene strikes a chord because it’s driven by such relatable emotions. At one point or another, we all have to grow up, leave our families, and pursue our dreams. Yuki’s goodbye to his mother Miranda captures this rite of passage perfectly.

Minor spoilers ahead

Yuki is set on being a pilot – a dream he’s been pining for since childhood. His aspirations are noble: become the second pilot to fly across the ocean, just like his hero, the renowned Schmidt. But Yuki isn’t being honest about this dream: he’s been hiding his plans from his mother. The dissonance is palpable; he’s trapped between the fear of leaving his mother behind and fulfilling his deepest passion. This all changes when Yuki meets an enigmatic girl named Alfina, who he’s drawn to helping. He realizes he must now leave the only village he’s ever known along with his mother, with whom he shares a close bond. 

That’s a heavy decision in itself, but Grandia III’s writers also did an exceptional job creating an attachment to Miranda before this difficult choice was decided.  She’s even a party member for the early portion of the game, making it easy to take for granted that she’ll always be there. Add the fact that she’s one of the coolest moms ever – acting more like an older sister – and it’s hard not to like her. She’s so hip that Yuki doesn’t even call her mom, but refers to her by first name, “Miranda.” Still, you see her motherly devotion and love for Yuki spill over.

The goodbye scene says it all: a mother struggling to let go of her son, and a son overcoming his fear to step into the unknown. The developers did an excellent job letting Miranda’s facial expressions and tears convey the difficulty of this moment. Her face tells the story of a mother torn; you can see her reluctance as she even runs toward the plane, not wanting to let go of her only son.  But she knows her son must do this and she has confidence in him. And just like that, Yuki vanishes into the sky, but not without surprising Miranda by flying past one last time and yelling, “Mom,” as if he’s acknowledging she’ll always have a place in his heart. This is the first time he actually calls her “mom,” which lets Miranda knows how he truly views her. Cue in the music that builds up to this climax and the scene captures the emotional intensity and hardships every step of the way.

Ironically enough, when I started my position at Game Informer, I thought back to this moment again. I was leaving home just like Yuki to chase my passion, but I also had to leave behind my family, including a mother I’m very close to. All the feelings of uncertainty and excitement Yuki showcases are on par with my own feelings about leaving. Any time a game can capture such a universal feeling with such complexity and subtlety that I can relate it to my own life, it’s done something right. After all, isn’t a main message from Grandia III about discovering your dreams and not being afraid to see them through? That’s worth celebrating.

Check out the scene below.