Moments: Final Fantasy VI's Coin Flip

by Kimberley Wallace on Apr 08, 2013 at 08:13 AM

When we're young, nothing is more important than our pride.  We want to do everything ourselves, and carve our own way in the world. However, with adulthood comes understanding that our previous triumphs only could have occurred with the invisible hands of those that we love. This rings true with Final Fantasy VI’s story of Edgar and Sabin of the royal family of Figaro.

These young twin princes have been told that their father has left the kingdom to both of them, but each are handling his tragic death differently.  Sabin, furious at the rumors that the Empire has poisoned their father, wishes to live life on his own and eventually seek vengeance. The elder son, Edgar, also desires freedom, but knows that the kingdom would fall if neither he nor Sabin takes the throne.

What do the reluctant princes do when they must decide who will become king?  Flip a coin. They make a deal: If it lands heads, Sabin wins his freedom. With tails, Edgar does. Whoever wins can leave the kingdom behind without a care in the world, no regrets. The coin falls after a long flight, and Sabin is free.

The scene flashes forward a decade to the present day, and the discussions shifts to pride itself. Would the late king be proud of how Edgar took the reins of the kingdom on the flip of a coin?  As composer Uematsu's gorgeous minor-key music plays, the twins reminisce and toast their family and their kingdom.

But what does pride have to do with a moment left up to fate?  While the history of the twins has been set, there is a hidden meaning that isn’t revealed until after another important scene at the Opera House. With a flip of Edgar's coin, the gambler Setzer is duped: one side features the face of Edgar, the other embossed with Sabin.  The coin indeed is heads on both sides – the same coin Edgar used years ago.

Edgar realized what freedom meant to his younger brother, but also that pride was of utmost importance.  The younger twin couldn't be forced into leaving – he had to be tricked to make sure that there truly would be no regrets. Without context, the coin toss would simply be a reminiscence of a twist of fate. With the surrounding circumstances, though, it shows what those who love us will sacrifice so that we can keep our pride and independence.  After all, what is ten years of servitude to the kingdom for the freedom of your brother?