Ark (アーク, Āku?) is a recurring airship-like summon in the series that first appeared in Final Fantasy IX. Although initially appearing as an airship with a dragon's head at the helm and a long blade out front, Ark can transform into a mecha; in this state, it can attack with an arsenal of explosive laser weaponry.
Ark appears to be an eidolon of Terran origins, guarding the Gulug Stone in Oeilvert, an ancient Terran archive, and a red moon features during its summoning. The pattern its lasers draw on the ground includes the triangular emblem of Terra that appears in many locations associated with the planet, and the glyph-like language that appears throughout Terran related artifacts. Ark is also the only eidolon not featured on the Eidolon Wall in Madain Sari. As eidolons are born of people's collective imaginings, most often based on myths and legends as in the case with Gaia's eidolons, Ark may be based on Terran collective memories of an ultimate Terran warship, as told in the Oeilvert records.
Whether the Ark fought in Oeilvert and the one learned as an eidolon from the Pumice are the same being is ambiguous, as the Ark protecting the Gulug Stone never transforms. It is presumed to be less powerful at this point, as Ark cannot be summoned until Dagger obtains a full Pumice.
Ark seems to be Terra's equivalent to Gaia's Alexander, their elements mirroring each other: Ark is Shadow-elemental, Alexander Holy-elemental; both are mechanical, being feared as ancient weapons and summons, with Alexander being an immobile megalithic fortress, while Ark takes a form similar to an airship. They share the theme of Heaven and Earth, Ark being airborne and Alexander being earthbound. Both represent their respective worlds of origin and their names relate to a theme of judgment and punishment, with Alexander known for his attack, Divine Judgment, while Ark's original attack name in Japanese was Dark Fate.
When equipping Dagger with a Pumice she can learn to summon Ark for 100 AP. The party can locate two Pumice Pieces, which can be forged into Pumice by Hades at his Synthesis Shop in Memoria. Pumice can also be received by beating Ozma, the most powerful enemy in the game.
When summoned, Ark departs from the red moon of Terra, and transforms into a mecha as it reaches terminal velocity within Gaia's orbit. A hovering Ark targets the enemy with a laser glyph before firing a salvo of explosive lasers from its wings to scorch the battlefield, and finishes by readying a larger laser whose impact can be seen from space. Its attack is called Eternal Darkness (暗黒の運命, Ankoku no Unmei?, lit. Dark Fate), which deals Shadow-elemental damage to all enemies.
Ark has the longest summon animation—the full attack is almost two minutes, and the short animation is longer than most summons' long animations. Ark's spell power is equal to 106 plus the total number of Lapis Lazulis in the party's inventory. (See Summon (Final Fantasy IX)#Mechanics for damage formulae.)
If Ark is added to Dagger's roster of summons since the beginning of the game via a cheating device, it would originally cost 320 MP to summon, before she has her eidolons extracted. Its normal cost is 80 MP.
Location: Treno Card Stadium, Chocograph treasure "Forgotten Island".
The Cruise Chaser boss in Alexander - The Heart of the Creator is based on Ark, being a transforming airship, using its signature Eternal Darkness attack, and even using the codename Blassty seen in Ark's Final Fantasy IX concept art.
Ark is a light-elemental Eidolon for Jornee and Aemo. Jornee's version of the signet teaches her Aura abilities, while Aemo's version teaches her Blasty abilities. Both artworks of the summon take inspiration from the summon's multiple appearances in the series.
Ark appears in Final Fantasy Trading Card Game with a dark-elemental card depicting an artwork of it.
Ark appears in the version available via Final Fantasy Portal App.
Etymology and symbolismEdit
Noah carried seven pairs of each clean animal species and one pair of each unclean animal species, each pair a male and female, into a giant ship called the Ark. The Ark was built by God's command to survive the deluge He sent to purge the world from the sins committed by mankind. This may relate to the place where Ark is fought, Oeilvert, the archive of that is left of the Terran civilization after most of it was destroyed. If Ark is the manifestation of what is left of Terran memories housed in the archive, it would also befit its name.In the Bible,
Its origins of coming from invaders from another world, being an airship of an advanced degree of technology, and its Dark-elemental affinity, likely hearken to the Japanese Edo Period-born concept of the black ships. How it is a robot, but described as "the beast from the dark", is also a wordplay on the suffix counter word -goki, where it is used to count machinery, but can also mean "strong demon" by homophone. Its name as Aku-Gouki, can be read as "Evil Strong Demon". This stems from outdated superstitions, including how such ships were related to demons of local myth, and to initial fears of such advanced technology, including how cameras stole souls and trains were untrustworthy explosive death traps.
Being presented as a light-elemental summon Final Fantasy Legends II refers to the legends of the Ama-no-Iwafune, the mythical heavenly stone boat used to carry Nigihayahi no Mikoto to the earthly realm. Its light-elemental association also further references Cruise Chaser Blassty's themes of duality, where the player has the choice of joining the Commune Empire or the Inverse Rebels.
Ark's summon attack is called Eternal Darkness in English, or Dark Fate in Japanese. The main theme of Final Fantasy IX is life and death, and the summon attack's name may relate to the latter. Its transformed appearance is also similar to what can be described as an "angel of death", a purpose that Zidane and Kuja were conceived for by Garland.
- The Pumice item used to summon Ark in Final Fantasy IX is known as (ふゆう石, Fuyuuishi?, lit. floating stone). In the original NES version of the original Final Fantasy this item was translated as "FLOATER", and was used to lift the ancient airship from the desert.
- Ark's transforming capabilities can be seen not only as a precursor to the transforming Eidolons in Final Fantasy XIII, but also an indirect reference to the Transformers franchise, which features a spaceship called the Ark.
- Ark's design is a nod to the 1986 Square sci-fi Mecha RPG Cruise Chaser Blassty, influenced by the mecha SPEX-07 Blassty. The game was made in conjunction with Sunrise Entertainment, who are best known for their mecha anime series, including Mobile Suit Gundam.
- Ironically, had Kuja not sent Zidane to Oeilvert to claim the Gulug Stone, he might have found an eidolon to rival Alexander like his plan was.