Final Fantasy IX is a jRPG created in 2000 by Square Enix. The game has some of the most unique characters. Even Steiner, a basic knight character, has many stereotype-breaking moments and actions, that separate him from other knight RPG characters.
Definitely the most unique by far though, Quina Quen is a Blue Mage character (a character that uses enemies’ spells against them after learning them through eating the enemy) that is somewhat of an enigma. S/he is from a genderless race known as Qu, which all go by the “S/he” pronoun. Although, in some countries, the game creates a gender for Quina (for example France uses the “She” pronoun, and Germany uses the “He” pronoun), however it is still an overall consensus that the race that S/he comes from is genderless. Though there are some hints at him/her being biologically male (for example, being able to get hit by Lamia’s Entice, which only works on males). However, no matter what Quina is biologically, their race does not have the socially constructed gender norms that ours does.
The other player characters also seem to completely accept this about them, and always refers to them by the appropriate “S/he” pronoun. In fact, there is a cute optional scene in which Quina can marry Vivi, a male Black Mage.
Quina consistently speaks in broken English, and is obsessed with eating, which confuses Vivi, however he cares much more about those things than about his/her gender identification
While there is some confusion about Quina’s gender, it’s never a very serious issue. For the most part, Quina’s gender consistently goes unquestioned, and Quina is completely comfortable with themself.
Overall, despite being highly eccentric and far too obsessed with eating bizarre foods and monsters, Quina is still a progressive genderqueer character produced by a major gaming company.
Vivi Ornitier, occasionally stylized as VIVI, or with the surname Orunitia, is a playable character in Final Fantasy IX. He is a black mage, differentiated from humans by having a black aura surrounding his visible outer skin, glowing yellow eyes, and the ability to cast magic.
Vivi is designed after a traditional Final FantasyBlack Mage with a pointy hat and blue clothes. Vivi's hat is too large for him and flops down his back instead of pointing straight up like those of his fellow brethren. Vivi wears a blue jacket, green and white stripy trousers, red and white gloves, and brown boots. In Trance, Vivi's clothes are replaced by a full-length white robe, gloves, and an appropriately-sized hat that stands at a point. The straps crossing over his chest are replaced by a stylized design down the middle of his robe including a wing-like design on his chest. The black shadow under his hat gives off a dark bluish hue while his eyes are stark white instead of yellow.
Initially, Vivi is clumsy, shy and gullible, almost to a fault. Often stumbling over his speech and lacking in self-confidence, he is afraid to use his magic to save his friends, believing himself incapable. During his journey, his personality develops and Vivi gains confidence and bravery in the face of danger. Despite his new-found confidence, Vivi questions his existence and discovers he must find answers to some of the big questions in life himself, instead of relying on others' help.
Vivi is a black mage created in Dali at the behest of the kingdom of Alexandria after Queen Brahne learns of this technology from Kuja. Vivi is a prototype black mage who fell out of the cargo ship into a forest near the town of Treno. Two months later he was found by a Qu named Quan who raised Vivi out of the hope he would grow big enough for him to eat, but after six months Vivi was still as short as before.
Vivi was oblivious to Quan's intentions and lived happily with his "grandpa" in Quan's Dwelling. During this time Quan named Vivi, and taught him many things about the world, sparking a curiosity in him to see it for himself. When Quan died, Vivi was left alone. A week later he headed to the nearby town of Treno and got a ticket for a play, and the next day he hitched a ride on a nobleman's airship to Alexandria.
In Alexandria, Vivi has a ticket for the Tantalus Theater Troupe's performance of Lord Avon's play, I Want to be Your Canary, but when he shows it at the booth he is told it is a counterfeit. A sad Vivi stumbles upon a street-smart rat, Puck, who helps him sneak over the rooftops into the show.
Vivi and Puck are caught watching the play without tickets and are chased through the crowd by guards. Puck deserts Vivi who is chased onto the stage where he casts a fire spell to defend himself. He accidentally sets ablaze "Princess Cornelia's" cloak, revealing her identity as the Princess Garnet to the crowd, and chaos ensues.
The Theater Ship takes off and crashes in the Evil Forest. A member of Tantalus, Zidane, tries to convince the confused Vivi to help him find the princess who fell out of the ship during the commotion, but Vivi is unsure if he wants to use his magic. Steiner, the captain of the Knights of Pluto and Garnet's bodyguard, convinces him, as he has taken a liking to the mage and calls him "Master Vivi".
Although Vivi is at first hesitant, he tags along and helps the others defeat a carnivorous plant keeping Garnet hostage. After escaping the forest, the party travels through the Ice Cavern to get above the Mist where Vivi casts Fire spells to melt the ice to reveal hidden treasures.
When the group reaches the village of Dali Vivi is captivated by the windmills. A villager captures him and brings him to the underground black mage production plant, thinking he got away by accident. Zidane and Garnet rescue Vivi, and discover the Dali villagers are manufacturing black mage drones for Alexandria.
Boarding a cargo ship, Vivi tries to converse with the black mage pilots, but is unable to elicit a response from any of them. Vivi's anxiety about his race is deepened when the evil Black Waltz 3 razes the ship, having been sent by the queen to capture Garnet, who had sought Tantalus's help to escape. The Black Waltz kills the black mages who attempt to defend Vivi, the latter beginning to question his identity and similarity to the mindless foot soldiers Queen Brahne manipulates.
As the party reaches the regency of Lindblum, Vivi learns of the Festival of the Hunt from a shop owner and is persuaded to join in along with Zidane and his friend, Freya Crescent. Vivi asks for a Tetra Master card for a prize, and wins the Theater Ship card if he succeeds. After the festival, a dying Burmecian soldier informs the leader of Lindblum, Cid Fabool IX, of the attack on the kingdom of Burmecia by the army of mages wearing pointy hats.
Vivi, determined to find out more, travels with Zidane's group to Burmecia only to discover the kingdom in ruins. The party travels to the Cleyra settlement, the sister kingdom to Burmecia, and witnesses it fall to the hands of Brahne and her army of mages. After saving Princess Garnet from the queen's clutches in Alexandria Castle, the party deduces Kuja's role in the black mage production, and sets out to hunt him down, following rumors he hails from the north.
After crossing Fossil Roo to the Outer Continent, the party visits the dwarven town of Conde Petie. The dwarves express a familiarity toward Vivi and the group discovers a black mage in the town's shop. After questioning the locals, they discover the "pyntie-hets" live in a village deep in a southern forest. The party follows the black mage to the Black Mage Village where many "awakened" black mages live, having defected Alexandria to live a life of peace. The black mages regard Vivi with suspicion at first, associating him with the humans.
Vivi is frustrated by their way of thinking and stops by the town's cemetery, and comes to learn that black mages have a finite lifespan of around one year. He talks with a wise black mage, Black Mage No. 288, who explains the nature of death to Vivi, who is, at first, distressed. It is suggested Vivi is a prototype build, and 288 tries to console him in saying Vivi may last longer than the one year afforded for the other black mages.
After meeting with an orphan summoner girl Eiko Carol, she leads them to the ruins of Madain Sari where Vivi ponders over his existence and is comforted by Zidane. They find Kuja at the Iifa Tree and witness him kill Brahne during his quest to overthrow his master, Garland, to become the master of the worlds Gaia and Terra. He enlists the sentient black mages from the Black Mage Village promising to prolong their lifespan if they follow him, and when Vivi learns of this he is upset, knowing Kuja is a liar. The black mages are abandoned by Kuja when he learns of the power of Trance and return to their village.
The party learns of the mysterious world of Terra, and after obtaining the elemental mirrors from Ipsen's Castle set out to place them in the four elemental shrines. Vivi and Steiner join forces to visit the Wind Shrine where Steiner shields Vivi from the blustering wind with his body, and the two defeat the shrine guardian, Tiamat. After opening the portal to Terra and traveling there, Zidane becomes troubled after learning he was created by Garland. Vivi empathizes with him, having gone through a similar identity crisis himself, and with his friends' help, Zidane snaps out of his depression. They confront Garland who is killed by Kuja who uses his new-found power of Trance to annihilate Terra.
The party ventures into Memoria where Vivi helps the party defeat Trance Kuja and the mysterious Necron. Sometime later, everyone gathers in Alexandria for another showing of I Want To Be Your Canary by Tantalus. Vivi is the only one absent, instead being represented by several children, each of whom looks like Vivi. It is uncertain how Vivi's "sons" came about as the Iifa Tree has collapsed, and the source of Mist, an ingredient used in black mage production, is gone.
The monologue during the ending is spoken by Vivi, indicating he has expired by the time the ending takes place, as he is saying goodbye to his friends and the final words of his monologue are "Farewell. My memories will be part of the sky", an allusion to death in the world of Final Fantasy IX. Because the speaker of the lines is not specified it has incited speculation among fans on Vivi's fate and who is the speaker of the monologue. The game's Japanese version is more explicit on the issue, as the speaker uses a speech pattern and pronouns that only Vivi used throughout the game.
Spoilers end here.
Vivi wields staves in battle, his special ability is Focus which boosts his magic power, and his skillset is Blk Mag which casts offensive and elemental magic. His Trance changes this to Dbl Blk, allowing him to cast two Blk Mag spells in one turn. If Vivi is in the same party as Steiner, Steiner can make use of these spells through his Swd Mag, which does not cost Vivi MP or a turn. Vivi has access to many support abilities which can improve his magic or shield him from statuses.
Vivi also appears briefly as a boss in the second battle against Prison Cage. Like other characters, a Mirror version of Vivi can be summoned by the Epitaph.
"Vivi's Theme" plays once early in the game when Vivi is wandering around Alexandria. The song is paced at a fast tempo and is mildly syncopated, which elaborates the aura of Vivi's curiosity. The song "Black Mage Village" uses parts of Vivi's theme in its melody in its second half, and the song "Limited Time" is the same melody, but slowed down.