So you completed Final Fantasy X (FFX) and marveled over the epic story. Yuna’s character was devout and soft-spoken, and she often apologized for everything.
Maybe like me, you fell in love with Yuna. Being an introverted and soft-spoken person myself, her arc spoke to my then-teenaged self in a big way.
But in FFX-2, it is jarring to see Yuna in short shorts, posing with her backside to the camera with a playful smile. When playing FFX-2, I would stare closely at her face, wondering if that face was really actually Yuna’s.
I wasn’t even sure if the developers remembered the old Yuna until they animated her in those pre-rendered cut scenes.
Has the bone structure of Yuna’s face changed? I wondered. But I didn’t dive deeper into that thought — until now.
In this article, let’s discuss how and why Yuna looks so different.
A Side-By-Side Comparison
The screenshots below show Yuna FFX on the left and Yuna FFX-2 on the right (or top and bottom on mobile). In both screenshots, they are looking straight at the camera.
FFX Yuna has a neutral expression, is wearing no visible makeup, and has a sheen of sweat.
FFX-2 Yuna has a playful close-lipped smile, has glossy light-pink lips, and appears to have no visible sweat despite just doing a backflip.
How Yuna Looks Different
Here are the differences I observe in Yuna’s face:
- FFX-2 Yuna has a wider, more downturned nose whereas the FFX Yuna has more of an upturned button note
- FFX-2 Yuna has a smaller distance between her nose and her lips
- FFX-2 Yuna has narrower, more manicured-looking eyebrows that are more straight, giving Yuna a more devious or playful look
- FFX-2 Yuna has a different-looking eye shape with more noticeable lashes and a mischievous squint, which may account for the difference in these photos
- FFX-2 Yuna has a narrower-looking neck
- FFX-2 Yuna appears to have a rounder face and fuller cheeks although that may be an illusion because of her hair; this definitely appears so in the rendered versions of her
- FFX-2 Yuna has different colored hair. The Yuna in FFX-2 is a darker shade with darker highlights.
- Most obviously, FFX-2 Yuna has different styled hair, spiking outward similar to Tidus’ hairstyle and she has a super long ponytail that she miraculously grew in two years.
How Yuna Looks the Same
Here are similarities I notice:
- Yuna remains to have heterochromia, where her left eye is green to signify her Al Bhed side (although she doesn’t have the signature spiral) and her right eye is blue.
- Yuna’s lips are the same. The difference can be easily accounted for with light-pink lip gloss and a smile.
- Yuna’s brow ridge looks the same. Despite her eyebrow being manicured, her brow ridge looks the same.
- Yuna has the same chin. Her chin is pointed in about the same way.
- Yuna’s hair parts in the same place and falls in the same way. While Yuna’s hair ‘holds’ in a different way in FFX-2, spiking out at the sides, her hair certainly still looks like it is Yuna’s hair but styled differently.
How to Account for Yuna’s Changes
The developer, Square-Enix, clearly wanted to portray a different Yuna — a Yuna coming of age, finding adventure, and discovering herself. This is Yuna’s “breaking out” story — getting rid of the conventions that she was so tied to.
It is understandable that they wanted to create a sexier, more playful, and adventurous Yuna who adopts some of the characteristics of Tidus, who she still hasn’t gotten over.
Here are some ways we might justify the changes made to Yuna.
In FFX, Yuna does not wear makeup. But in FFX-2, Yuna looks glammed up.
Here are some ways Yuna may be wearing makeup:
- Lipstick or lipgloss: Yuna’s FFX-2 lips are light pink and glossy.
- Mascara or fake eyelashes or eyelash extensions: Yuna’s eyelashes are more pronounced
- Tweezing or other eyebrow-manicuring technique: Yuna’s eyebrows are narrower and more pointed.
- Foundation: To give her skin that matt look.
- Contouring: To perhaps optically make her nose look different.
Hair Gel / Anime Hair Magic
In Japan, there is no rhyme or reason for hair. In two years, it is impossible for Rikku and Yuna’s hair to grow that much. Hair gel or hair spray cannot perform those miracles on Yuna’s hair for hours on end.
But anime hair is anime hair, so we have to accept that for what it is.
Hair also has a huge impact on our perception of a person. It can change how we perceive head shape and neck size, which can account for why she looks so different.
FFX-2 represents a gigantic leap forward in technology. We have reached a modern world in the span of only two years, which means that Yuna now has access to a conventional Pop Idol look. Yuna herself is a celebrity in this world and looks the part. The changes she made to herself are deliberate and represent the changing times despite all of the reused assets from the original.
FFX-2 appears more catered to a Japanese audience than FFX. Yuna’s appearance and mannerisms appear to Western audiences more relatable than her bubbly pop-idol version. I imagine that differences that look so jarring to us are easily accepted in Japan.
Despite these huge changes, former summoners don’t shed their garbs — all except Yuna. Square-Enix calls on you to suspend your disbelief again.
Discuss with a Twitch Community
Despite how much I loved Yuna in FFX, I accept that FFX-2 is a different game that needed Yuna to serve a different purpose. While I absolutely love Yuna in FFX, I understand that that version of her could not carry over to its sequel.
But I realize this is a contentious topic and you may have your own opinion.
I stream FFX-2 and other JRPGs. If you want to debate this very important question about Yuna’s look, you can hit me up on my Twitch stream.