This F3 we are going to take a look at one of the oddest and funniest sets of characters to come out of the Final Fantasy universe: The Mandervilles.
The FF universe is full of oddball characters, from moogles to lecherous cephalopods. Like any good story, Final Fantasy games have their own special brand of comic relief to help lighten the sometimes somber tone. Add to this the fact that the humor hails from Japanese culture and we end up with the truly, truly odd. Remember, this is the same country that thinks the funniest thing a guy can do is dress in women’s clothing and has odd gameshows that include one that forces men to recite a tongue twister within a certain amount of time or they get whacked in their testicles with a bat (look it up on YouTube, its there, honest)!
Eorzea’s very own agent of enquiry and inspector extraordinaire, Hildibrand Helidor Maximilian Manderville is the Final Fantasy universes answer to The Pink Panther’s Inspector Clouseau (excellently played by Peter Sellers, and a fairly decent Steve Martin). Accompanied by his trusty sidekick, Nashu Mhakaracca (of a cat race known as the miquo’te) he searches the land for cases in need of cracking and ne’er do wells in need of apprehension. Never really in the know, this gentlemanly sleuth lands himself, his assistant and you (the Warrior of Light) into all manner of oddball situations.
A highly expressive person, he is almost always wearing his gentleman’s coat, providing he doesn’t need to don a disguise (which could include a pretty wedding dress). He has a tendency to drop into a ‘gentleman’s pose’ whenever possible that includes at least two flexes and a twinkling smile.
When we first meet him he has lost his memory, thinking himself a zombie after falling from the moon, Dalamund, undoubtedly travelling there in an attempt to stop the dragon god, Bahamut from breaking free of its prison and destroying everything. He thinks he’s a zombie because he wakes up amongst the presence of zombies, who he deems to be ruffians, and thus trains them to be Gentleman Zombies. Yes, you read that right.
From there we continue on to weird adventures involving, amongst the many: A shadowy figure, massaging a mans head with ointment until it glows, an otherworldly adventurer whom Hildebrand mistakenly keeps calling ‘Greg’ (its actually Gilgamesh, looking for his pet demon whom he has temporarily replaced with a green chicken), a stolen sword, a wedding, more zombies and his own father.
No doubt due to the technological advancement of modern day gaming that include 3D graphics, voice acting and the ability to clearly convey facial expressions the story of Hildebrand Manderville has been one of the highlights of Final Fantasy 14. More than a dozen times throughout the story I have found myself laughing hysterically while wondering what in the world is going on. Japanese humor is very, very odd and the Hildebrand quest line takes full advantage of it. I highly recommend watching a few of the provided videos.
Overall Hildebrand is probably one of the most manly men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in literature. Despite his somewhat lack of awareness he is kind hearted, never gives up, stands up for the weak and oppressed, offers aid wherever and whenever he can and, despite never really having to fight, can take one heck of a beating but stay on his feet.
Now, one caveat. You either love Hildebrand or you hate him. There are plenty of people in the FF14 community that can’t stand the guy and he certainly isn’t for everyone, but personally I find him to be a riot!
If you think Hildebrand is odd then you need to prepare yourself for the senior Manderville.
Godbert Manderville is a man amongst men. We first meet him as Hildebrand is searching for a way to fix a particular broke vase. The vase, being such a delicate and important item, can only be fixed by a master goldsmith, and it just so happens that he knows one. Describing said goldsmith as masterful and fearsome, he informs you that the only way to show you mean no ill intent is to dance the dance of the Mandervilles, a secret dance handed down from generation to generation, which he gladly teaches you. A wise decision considering the amount of carnage left in the said goldsmiths wake.
After performing the most wacky of dances and reciting the Manderville mantra…
I’m a Mander-Mander-Manderville man,
Doing what only a Manderville can,
From the peaks of Coerthas to Thanalan,
…we are met with an older gentleman who is built like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, wearing little more than sandals, shades and what can only be described as hot pants. Upon seeing his only son he proceeds to chase him down, grab him, then pile drive him with great force, leaving him stuck head-first into the ground with only his legs exposed. A word of note: This is not the only time in this storyline that this happens.
Godbert is a member of the Ul’dah syndicate that controls trade routes and pretty much the entire city, as well as the proprietor of The Manderville Gold Saucer, a theme park of sorts wherein one can play a number of games such as the Triple Triad card game, Lord of Verminion, a host of mini-games and chocobo racing.
Apparently rich beyond comprehension Godbert doesn’t let it go to his head. He’s a decent kind of fellow who loves his wife, Julyan, and his only son, working hard to give Hildy, as he calls him, every opportunity to become a true Manderville man. The scenes where Julyan wants to rush to Hildy’s side to protect him, only to be held back by the hand of Godbert are touching because we know he has confidence in his son to overcome the situation at hand, even when things are looking grim.
Not a lot is known about the Manderville matriarch other than she carries a frying pan which can, apparently at will, become a large, two-handed weapon, she glows red with dark energy when she is especially upset and she absolutely, positively, DOES. NOT. LIKE. TO. BE. CALLED. GRANDMAMA! We first meet her under some very interesting circumstances and then proceed to watch as she becomes irate at Hildebrand’s lack of a proper wife and his adoption of Gigi as a ‘son’.
Wait a minute…what? The youngest Manderville, an adopted mammet, looks awfully familiar……
Not an “official” Manderville, Nashu is never apart from Hildebrand’s side….except when he is suddenly, oh, I don’t know, launched off into the upper stratosphere by a sword which acts like a rocket, propelling him across the continent and into a barren wasteland of ice.
Always supportive of her employer and seemingly always ready with bombs, Nashu is nearly always chipper, despite being
slightly very gullible. She agrees with Hildebrand and his “brilliant deductions” regardless of how far fetched they seem and thinks that a gazebo is a large, fierce animal. Nevertheless she is a faithful companion and always ready to assist in whatever seemingly ludicrous solution comes to the inspectors mind.