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Every blitzer knows: when you got the ball, you gotta score!
A blitzball (ブリッツボール, Burittsubōru?) is a spherically-studded ball about thirty centimeters in diameter utilized in a sport unique to Spira in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, where it is the main available form of entertainment. It can also be used as a weapon. Although blitzballs appear resilient against the powerful kicks of blitzball contenders, and the various hides of enemies Wakka and others strike with them, they are light; the material comprising the blitzball lacks the density to sink on its own, and even flies in an upward curve after receiving a Sphere Shot.
The aquatic sport is played on spherical stadia filled with pyrefly-infused water. According to the Final Fantasy X Scenario Ultimania the sphere pool utilizes pyreflies to congeal the water into a sphere. Blitzball players can stay active underwater for extended periods of time because they are supported by the pyreflies contained in the water.
The objective is for the player and their team to kick the blitzball into the opposing team's goal, while the opposing team simultaneously defends their goal and attempts to steal the blitzball to make an attempt at the player's goal.
The verb for playing blitzball is "blitzing" or "to blitz."
This is the only time! The players fight with all their strength; the fans cheer for their favorite team. They forget pain, suffering... Only the game matters! That's why blitz has been around for so long. Least that's what I think.
Blitzball is a sport over 1000 years old. After Zanarkand's destruction a millennium ago, and after Sin's emergence, blitzball became Spira's main form of entertainment. The ancient gesture used by blitzball spectators to cheer on their team was adopted by Yevon and became known as a religious gesture.
Blitzball is embraced by the Yevon faith, despite Bevelle not having a team in the league. Maesters of Yevon are known to attend important blitzball tournaments, and the blitzball stadium in Luca is one of the few examples of non-forbidden machina. Even the Al Bhed, who are usually ostracized for not following Yevon's teachings, are accepted. The annual blitzball tournament is a festival where all the peoples of Spira overcome racial barriers to banish thoughts of Sin from their minds.
Unbeknown to Spirans, blitzball is also played at Dream Zanarkand, the summoned version of the ancient Zanarkand set far out to sea. During the blitzball final in the Jecht Memorial Cup between the Zanarkand Abes and the Zanarkand Duggles, the game is interrupted by Sin. The Zanarkand Abes' star player, Tidus, comes in contact with the beast and is transported to Spira, a world that has only blitzball in common with his own.
Tidus washes up on the shores of Besaid and by returning a stray blitzball to the Besaid Aurochs practicing by the shoreline, he demonstrates his talent for the game. Wakka, the team captain, recognizes Tidus as a blitz player, and proposes he accompanies his pilgrimage alongside summoner Yuna and the rest of the team to the blitzball tournament in Luca in the hopes someone would know him there, seeing as he deems Tidus suffers from amnesia. In exchange for passage, Tidus agrees to join the Aurochs and help them win the tournament cup, even if they are known as the worst team in Spira.
Aboard the S.S. Liki Tidus learns of the rivalry between the Besaid Aurochs and the Spiran champions, the Luca Goers, and vows to change the Aurochs' strategy to a more aggressive approach. Upon arriving in Luca the teams are introduced to the crowds with the announcers mocking the Aurochs. Annoyed, Tidus grabs a megaphone and climbs on a stack of crates and announces that this year the Aurochs are taking the cup, much to Wakka's embarrassment.
During the tournament's first match Yuna is kidnapped by the Al Bhed Psyches to force the Besaid Aurochs into surrendering the match. While Wakka plays, Tidus accompanies Yuna's guardians to hunt down the kidnappers. After rescuing Yuna from the Al Bhed, Lulu sends a signal to Wakka; he wins the game just in time, ending the twenty-three-year-long losing streak without Tidus's help.
The Aurochs proceed onto the final against the Luca Goers. The outcome of the match depends on the player, though Wakka resigns from professional blitzball after the game regardless of the result. After the match fiends are unleashed upon the stadium, and Tidus and Wakka fight off the ones that foray into the sphere pool. They make it to the stands and are given the surprise aid of Auron, Tidus's old acquaintance and a legendary guardian in Spira. The rest of the fiends are dispatched by Maester Seymour's aeon, Anima. After Wakka retires from the captain's post, the Besaid Aurochs remain in the league. with Tidus as their new captain. He can recruit new players to the team from all around Spira.
The day that blitz freaks across Spira have been waiting for is finally here! That's right, folks! Blitzball season has begun!
The stadium in Luca is used as a concert hall off-season. Leblanc performs there under the guise of Yuna. Blitzball season opens again with the Gullwings' return. The Besaid Aurochs—busy with looking after Lulu and Wakka's son—ask the Gullwings to take their place in the upcoming tournament.
Yuna and Tidus are transported to an ancient Besaid of a 1000 years in the past where Tidus comes across a bomb disguised as a blitzball.
Set-up and formatEdit
Blitzball is held in open-air water sphere stadium, designed in a traditional amphitheatre style. Once the sphere is filled, a pair of triangular goals are suspended at opposing points within the sphere's diameter (usually at the north and south horizontal points).
Each game lasts for two five-minute periods. The team with the highest score at the end of the second period wins. If the two teams should remain tied during regular League season or Exhibition play, the game ends in a tie. If the two teams are tied at the conclusion of Tournament play, the game proceeds to Overtime. Overtime consists of continuous 5 minute rounds in Golden Goal format.
By the time of the Eternal Calm the blitzball rules were altered slightly:
- If a team leads the game by seven goals at any point in the game, the game is ended and the team automatically wins.
- There are eight players per team: three fielders, four defenders, and one goalkeeper.
- There is only one five-minute round, with no break or half time.
- Overtime can last up to thirty minutes. At this point the match will end and immediately replayed from 0-0.
Locales and stadiaEdit
Blitzball stadia have a superstructure of varying design, supporting hemispherical seating around a circular masonry courtyard, above which an invisible spherical and semi-permeable force field is suspended. Water fills the force field to create the water sphere play-field.
It's not any different, but the stadium is here. The Crusaders fight to protect it with all their strength.
By the time of the events in Final Fantasy X, the Luca Stadium is the sole surviving blitzball stadium in Spira, and home of the Spira blitzball tournament. It sits at the center of Luca's docks. Protected by the Chocobo Knights, as well as Crusaders and Warrior Monks during visits from Maesters, as seen during the visits of Maester Seymour and Grand Maester Mika. The stadium is a vital monument of hope for the world's populace constantly under the threat of the monster, Sin. Bobba and Jimma commentate the blitzball matches held at the stadium, but are never seen.
If the player wishes to recruit any of the Besaid Aurochs into their team, all five original starting players can be found and scouted in the Aurochs' locker room in the stadium's basement.
Ten years later, the Jecht Memorial Cup tournament is today! The two teams that have won through to the finals are...of course, the Abes from A-East and the Duggles from C-South.
A locale in Dream Zanarkand, it was the home stadium for the Zanarkand Abes, Tidus and Jecht's team, and houses the Jecht Memorial Cup. It was destroyed along with the rest of the city during Sin's attack on the dream world. Its structure is similar to that of the Zanarkand Dome. Zanar commentates matches in Dream Zanarkand. He talks of his experiences watching Jecht play blitzball, conversing about him with his father, and the Jecht Memorial Cup, in which Tidus plays.
Zanarkand Stadium appears in a ruined, ethereal state Inside Sin called Dream's End. In Final Fantasy X, the party fights the game's final battles here. It also appears as the representative arena of Final Fantasy X in Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
There are six active blitzball teams from across Spira that compete in both Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. Blitzball teams are made up of six players per side; three fielders, two defenders, and one goalkeeper. Team captains tend to have bands on their left arms as a sign of their status.
The Aurochs hail from the seaside village of Besaid, and at the beginning of Final Fantasy X, are under Wakka's captaincy. The team have the dubious distinction of being the only team in Spira to have never progressed through the first round of the Luca blitz tournament. When Tidus joins in exchange for passage, their success rate increases. The player has control over the Besaid Aurochs following the events in Luca.
At the opening of Final Fantasy X, the Luca Goers reign as the Spira champions. They are captained by the confident and brash forward, Bickson. As they represent the city with the only blitz stadium, they are widely regarded as the most beloved team throughout Spira. The team members can be found in and around Luca stadium, if the player wishes to add them to their team.
The Al Bhed Psyches represent the Al Bhed race. During the Luca tournament of Final Fantasy X, they attempt to rig their opening match against the Besaid Aurochs by kidnapping Yuna. Their goalie, Nimrook, is the best goalie in the game. The Al Bhed Psyches can only be found on the Fahrenheit, and are only available when the player has access to the airship, which is right before entering Bevelle and permanently after the player has finished in Zanarkand.
The Ronso Fangs represent the Ronso race. Due to their physicality, they rely heavily on power and endurance in matches, while somewhat lacking in the speed statistics. The Ronso Fangs team members can only be found at the Luca Docks in Luca.
The Kilika Beasts hail from the small seaside town of Kilika. High Summoner Ohalland used to play for the team before he became a summoner. The Kilika Beasts' team members can be found throughout Kilika from the port to the temple.
The Guado Glories represent the Guado race, and hail from Guadosalam. Statistically, their players contrast the Ronso Fangs, with high speed at the expense of HP, Attack and Endurance. The Guado Glories team can be found in Guadosalam.
The Zanarkand Abes is Tidus's team in Dream Zanarkand, where he was known as the star player. They have yellow and black outfits. His father, Jecht, also played for the Abes, a shadow Tidus struggles to step out of. They are only available to play against in Final Fantasy X-2.
The Zanarkand Duggles is another team competing in the Jecht Memorial Cup, featuring black and red outfits. Little is known about the team due to Dream Zanarkand's destruction at the hands of Sin other than that they "play dirty".
Great players are treated as sport heroes, receiving extra attention and drawing in crowds to their games. For recreation, while they're not training, players usually either occupy the hot springs or participate in some "downtime activity" of their choosing.
Three of the main characters in Final Fantasy X, Tidus, Wakka, and Jecht, are professional blitzball players of varying skill. Other notable free agents include Al Bhed entrepreneur Rin, and Rikku's brother and Celsius pilot, Brother.
The player can play blitzball as a minigame in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2.
In Final Fantasy X the game is playable at save spheres after the storyline tournament in Luca. It is left ambiguous whether Tidus becomes the team's new captain after Wakka left the team after the tournament, but he is the only unit the player can't kick off the team, although it's not necessary to bring him to the games. Tidus is the only player in the game who can learn the famous Jecht Shot, used and created by his father. The player can recruit many new players into the Aurochs to develop the team. Playing the minigame is required to obtain new Overdrives for Wakka as well as his Celestial Weapon.
In Final Fantasy X-2 The player can have a more managerial role compared to the previous game, creating formations, adjusting how hard they play during a game and training their players to be the best in Spira. Instead of the players leveling up while on the field, the player must level up their blitzball players with points received after each game. Training one stat may lower another.
As a weaponEdit
Although blitzballs used in standard play default on a blue and white color-scheme embossed with golden Spiran script, Wakka employs the use of many differently-styled blitzballs as a ranged weapon in combat. The names of the balls Wakka can equip as a weapon are various homages to terms used commonly in real-world soccer or football.
During normal attack Wakka throws the blitzball at his opponent, dealing damage. Wakka is the only party member whose normal physical attack is ranged, meaning he can hit faraway opponents. Wakka's specialty is hitting flying and otherwise highly evasive opponents. During his Overdrives Wakka can charge his blitzball with elemental or status properties to hit enemies' weaknesses.
Shuyin uses a blitzball as a weapon against the player party during the boss battle against him. The blitzball he uses is the same model as Wakka's Celestial Weapon.
Blitzballs appears in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade, and Pictlogica Final Fantasy where they are merged into the thrown weapon type, which includes weapon types like boomerangs and blaster edges. Blitzballs are a ranged weapon type, which can be equipped by several Final Fantasy X series characters, mainly Tidus, Wakka, Rikku, and Jecht. The main character, Tyro, can also equip them.
Yoshinori Kitase has said he used football/soccer as a basis of blitzball because in 2000, Japan was getting excited about the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Japan and South Korea. He's also said he wanted to include a fictional sport like Lucas Films did with the pod races in Star Wars Episode I.
The blitzball poses and religious gestures originally had characters putting their fist up over their other arm as if giving someone "the finger", a gesture unfamiliar to the Japanese developers. The localization team had to request retakes at motion capture studios to take them out.
Tidus's introductory quote to Shantotto is "I can carry you like a blitzball".
Jecht says to Shantotto "oops, thought you was a ball". This refers both to blitzball, due to Shantotto's size, and the Final Fantasy XI fan joke of "taru punting".
Blitz is a German word for "lightning". In English it is associated with quickness. The term reflects the quick nature of the sport, also commonly used in the sport of American football.
- There is a game called blitzball in the novel A Separate Peace written by John Knowles and published in 1959.
- The blitzball players' names make a cameo in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- in Chapter 9, as the ID names of the reconnaissance Gun Bull Heads deployed in the Nibel Plains. The names are displayed when using the sniper rifle.
- In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Captain Cryptic's Confounding Quiz has a question regarding blitzball; the question is: "What is the name of the exciting underwater sport that requires a ball?".
- A parody of blitzball called "Drownball" appears in the webcomic 8-Bit Theater. The goal of the game is to be the first to drown. Fighter plays the sport out of the belief that he will obtain an ultimate weapon, referencing the means of obtaining and powering up Wakka's World Champion.
- During the time fiends invade the stadium in Final Fantasy X, the background will not change from a normal game, still showing the crowd cheering on the stands. Other scenes show the crowd fleeing in panic.
- A similar sport exists in real life called underwater rugby.
- Blitzball is based on football. The last attack sequences of the Jecht Shot and Blitz Ace allude to two of the most famous football tricks: The jumping volley (Jecht Shot) and the bicycle kick (Blitz Ace).