Friday, February 24, 2012

Final Fantasy VIII~Laguna Loire

Laguna Loire
"I speak with passion, from the heart! That's what matters most."
—Laguna Loire
Laguna Loire is a temporarily playable character in Final Fantasy VIII. For most of the game the player experiences Laguna through playable flashbacks that are explained to the player as the main characters' dreams. His weapon of choice is the machine gun.

Laguna is said to hail from Deling City, though most of his childhood and early adulthood remain a mystery. During his twenties, Laguna joins the Galbadian Army, and participates in the effort to invade Timber. His real dream, however, is to become a traveling journalist, acquiring information about the world and writing about his experiences. In the army Laguna is best friends with Kiros Seagill and Ward Zabac and the three form a platoon where they share each other's dreams and ambitions, Laguna's being the only one mentioned in the game.

Julia playing the piano as Laguna looks on
Throughout their time and adventures together, the three frequently fall victim to Laguna's clumsy nature, though always managing to complete their mission. During this time Laguna is in love with Deling City hotel's lounge pianist, Julia Heartilly, who feels the same way about him, but all of their interactions end awkwardly due to Laguna's nervousness. One night, at the behest of Kiros and Ward, Laguna manages the nerve to walk up to Julia's piano while she is playing, and though his leg cramps up and he is forced to retreat, Julia decides to invite him up to her room to talk. He follows and the two share their life dreams with each other before confessing they have always watched each other from afar. Julia eventually writes the song "Eyes on Me" as dedication to their love. Their romance is cut short, however, when Laguna, Kiros and Ward are called away to Centra and end up fighting for their lives against Esthar soldiers.
Laguna and his friends are severely injured while fighting off hordes of enemy forces and with no other options left, Laguna tosses his friends off the side of a cliff into the ocean before following after them himself. Laguna does not make the jump gracefully, plummeting to the waters, unconscious. The three are separated and Laguna drifts until he washes up on a shore where a woman named Raine finds him and together with her adopted daughter, Ellone, looks after him.

Kiros arrives at Winhill
For the next six months Laguna is bed-ridden due to his injuries. Raine nurses him back to health and he forms a close bond with her and Ellone, who refers to him as "Uncle Laguna". All the working men in the town of Winhill have been sent off to the war and so Laguna becomes the self-appointed "Monster Hunter of Winhill". He declares Raine to be his commander and Ellone to be the assistant-commander, but never lets either of them go out with him on his hunting. After another six months roll by; Kiros, who has been searching for Laguna ever since he recovered eleven months ago, finally finds him and tells him what has been going on with Ward and Julia. Ward has permanently lost his voice and become a janitor at the D-District Prison (which Laguna has trouble believing) while Julia's become a famous singer/songwriter and married a General Caraway from the Galbadian army after her "true love" never returned from war.
Laguna takes Kiros out on a monster hunting mission where he declares him his assistant, and the two talk about Laguna's plans of still becoming a journalist. Upon arriving back at the house, the two eavesdrop on a conversation between Raine and Ellone about Raine marrying Laguna, to which Raine responds that they are two entirely different people, and that there are things about Laguna that are just too tentative. Afterward, Laguna gives Raine the report of how many monsters were killed and decides to rest. He hopes and prays that when he wakes up, he is not anywhere but where he is right now, so that he can see Ellone and Raine again. Kiros responds that Laguna's changed a lot since they last met.

Raine and Laguna are betrothed.
Laguna and Raine fall in love and Laguna proposes to her in the middle of a field and the two marry shortly after. One day, however, Sorceress Adel's forces come and kidnap Ellone to Esthar while Laguna is away with Kiros getting his first article published in the Timber Maniacs magazine. Laguna promises Raine he will bring Ellone back to Winhill, and an unknowingly pregnant Raine promises she will be waiting for him. Laguna and Kiros recruit their old friend Ward and the search for Ellone begins.
Along the way, the three encounter many difficulties in finding Ellone and actually getting into Esthar. They participate in a movie deal to raise money for their travels where Laguna is forced to fight a Ruby Dragon with a gunblade, a weapon he hasn't used since his training at the military academy. With the help of Kiros and Ward, they are able to escape from the dragons' nest hidden on the mountainside. At one point, Laguna meets with Edea Kramer in her orphanage and asks her to keep an eye out for Ellone, as well as Sorceress Adel, as she's looking for a successor for her Sorceress Power. Laguna eventually becomes separated from Kiros and Ward and once again becomes injured, this time winding up in Shumi Village where he repays the Shumis' kindness and befriends the Moombas, attempting to teach them to speak. The Moombas learn only a single word, "Laguna", which they exclaim whenever they see him.

Laguna finally rescues Ellone
Eventually, Laguna reunites with Kiros and Ward and they finally find a way into Esthar by walking across the Horizon Bridge, but are captured and become imprisoned within the Lunatic Pandora Laboratory, where they join the resistance against Sorceress Adel. Laguna is appointed their leader after displaying his kindness to one of the Moombas, and immediately afterwards stages a jailbreak. After escaping, Laguna and the others find Ellone, who has been kept safe the entire time by Dr. Odine who wants to study her power to send a person's consciousness back in time. To come up with a plan for capturing Sorceress Adel the resistance end up at the Sorceress Memorial, and as part of their plan to seal away the evil sorceress, they construct an armored cryo-capsule, placing it inside the Memorial. They craft a simulacrum image of Ellone, whom Adel is searching to continue her reign of terror through her successor, and use it as a bait. Once Adel is informed Ellone is being held inside the newly constructed building, the sorceress transports herself there at once. Within the Memorial Adel sees the fake Ellone, but before she can act Laguna pushes her into the cryo-tomb (later known as Adel's Tomb) where she is trapped and flash-frozen.
Because of his bravery and wisdom, the people of Esthar appoint Laguna the new president, replacing Adel's former reign. Laguna sends Ellone back to Winhill where she stays with Raine as she gives birth to Laguna's child; Squall Leonhart. Raine dies soon after giving birth and Ellone and Squall are sent to Edea's Orphanage on Centra. Laguna later hears Raine has died and Ellone has been taken to an orphanage, but never learns that he has a son.

Laguna finally meets Squall in Esthar
Laguna remains the president of Esthar for the next seventeen years, and because of his duties to uphold a policy of seclusion and neutrality for his nation, he cannot get away to see Ellone, who has been hidden away from the world to protect her on the White SeeD Ship. Laguna is mortified of having heard of Raine's death, but never knows of Squall, until Ellone seeks him out years later and tells him. This event most likely occurs during the time Laguna is visiting the Lunar Base to oversee Adel's Tomb and Ellone is sent up to the space station to see him. Even if Squall and his friends are later sent up to the space station to meet Ellone, Laguna only interacts with Squall and his friends with his space suit on, concealing his identity.
Towards the end of the game, Laguna finally meets his son as well as his comrades, as the SeeDs are called to Esthar for a mission to defeat Sorceress Ultimecia. Laguna doesn't reveal his status as Squall's father, although he says the two of them will have a lot to talk later, and mentions that Ellone has "told him everything". Laguna aids Squall's party in infiltrating Lunatic Pandora, a fortress-like structure excavated from the ruined civilization of Centra, where Adel, being possessed by Ultimecia, is being held after her tomb falls due to the recent Lunar Cry incident. When Ellone sends Ultimecia's consciousness back in time it triggers the time compression, which lets Squall and his friends travel to the future and defeat her once and for all. In the end Laguna visits Raine's grave in Winhill and is joined by Ellone, Kiros and Ward, while Balamb Garden soars overhead.


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