Devilishly suave and easy on the eyes, the internet quickly fell in love with Balthier Bunansa when Final Fantasy 12 first graced our lives in late 2006. Old flames, nearly extinguished, were reignited with 2017's multiplatform remaster, Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age. The self-titled "leading man," Balthier has long been deemed one of gaming's steamiest fellows.
It's time to put the gun down, Balthier. Here in the real world, you may have stolen the show, but I'm about to prove that the cast of Square Enix's grand Ivalician adventure knew better than to get all weak-kneed with you. It's the former captain of the Knights of Dalmasca to whom they owe their most intimate allegiance, the iron-willed and endlessly honorable Basch fon Ronsenburg himself.
Vossler York Azelas
Vossler and Basch were comrades-in-arms for years before the fall of Dalmasca. They basically loved each other. Like brothers, yes. No, this isn't about to get weird. That brotherly love was a beautiful thing. It helped bind them together when their lives were brighter, and it's their shared sense of duty that ultimately prevails over Vossler, permitting him to accept the truth that Basch is not the traitor the Archadian Empire claims him to be.
Obviously, that's when things begin to escalate. Vossler vacillates on whether to trust Basch and Ashelia's bizarre choice of companions, which bolsters his diminishing confidence that Dalmasca will ever be free without the Resistance striking some form of deal with the empire. He's worried about Ashe because she's the princess of his country. But he's definitely, I mean unequivocally, worried about Basch because he's begun to see him as the sexy bearded fellow he is.
Hell hath no fury as a Vossler scorned. Basch is so in love with his newfound freedom that he doesn't see Vossler's burgeoning affections for what they are. Basch rebukes his friend's concerns on several occasions, so it's no surprise when Vossler agrees to a secret deal with the wicked Judge Ghis to fork over the Dawn Shard in exchange for (supposed) help restoring the monarchy to power.
Besides, look where he's pointing that thing. All these allegedly unsavory characters and that's where he tilts the pointy end?
Like Vossler, Vaan is duped into thinking Basch is the one who murdered King Raminas. Unlike Vossler, that wouldn't necessarily mean much to Vaan. And, more to the point, Vaan also thinks Basch killed his older brother, Reks. Needless to say, the street urchin is less than pleased when first they meet.
But there's something ragged, something primal, about the way in which Vaan rattles the imprisoned Basch's cage. He overdoes it. Look, Vaan's just a kid. He hasn't fully learned how to process these unexpected emotions. Here he is, the man who is his nemesis, and even emaciated, there is a chiseled strength to fon Ronsenburg that cannot be ignored. Put plainly, Basch rattles Vaan's cage.
Some players criticize the swiftness with which Vaan forgives Basch, recognizing that it was all just a misunderstanding. (To be fair, "I have an evil twin brother" is somehow genuinely compelling proof when spoken aloud in this game.) Just a few cutscenes later, Vaan agrees to a plan in the aerial city of Bhujerba which involves him screaming to the citizenry that he's the real Basch fon Ronsenburg.
The screaming, like the cage-rattling, is overdone. Again, just a kid. If he can't be with Basch, he'll become Basch. Adolescence is a weird, weird time.
Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca
Basch is clearly Princess Ashe's noble pillar. She spends much of her time in Final Fantasy 12 belittling Vaan (until she stops) and bickering with Balthier in a bit of a Leia-and-Han relationship (this never stops), and it's easy to fall into the trap, then, that she fancies Balthier instead. But whenever she's down, it's Basch's figurative embrace she retreats toward, except when it's Vaan, but that's totally different because I said so.
Basch is the valiant knight to Ashe's princess. It writes itself. Thankfully, goofy pink miniskirt aside, Ashe largely represents the sort of princess who must be taken seriously both on and off the battlefield. Her fierceness of spirit makes her the perfect candidate to desire a partner who is more of a bulwark, a pile of sandbags, a defensible position. If all else fails, retreat into his arms.
Admittedly, there's this whole thing with Ashe grieving over her dead fiancé, Rasler. But who says she can't admire someone else in the interim? No one. Plus, have you played FF12's DS-bound semi-sequel, Revenant Wings? In every shot of Ashe and Basch together, Basch is either staring at her or she's staring at him.
Basch's stares, for the record, are out of an oath to protect her. There's a gross age gap, so we refuse to believe otherwise because Basch is a good guy (ergo, not gross). But Ashe, she's 19, so like Vaan, she's basically still a kid, so she's allowed to think an older guy is hot, I mean, I already knew Johnny Depp and Liv Tyler were hot when I was her age, even though they were way older than I was. It's fine.
Vayne Carudas Solidor
Of all the Judges in the Archadian Empire whom he could have chosen, Gabranth —Basch's twin, born Noah fon Ronsenburg — he elects to spend his cutscenes with. You can see it in the image above; Vayne, for all his schemes, cannot help but draw an eye in Gabranth's direction. The level of spice here is off the charts. And since Gabranth and Basch are identical, the same degree of physical attraction would inevitably exist.
Think of it like this. Vayne could have gone with Judge Zargabaath. He didn't. Zargabaath's English voice actor is Simon Templeman. Have you ever heard that man speak? Happily married monogamists have nonetheless openly swooned over that voice for decades. Vayne could have had that voice in his private chambers on any given Friday evening.
Do you remember when I said Vaan screams that he's Basch? The party uses Vaan's screaming — okay, fine, the party decided to have him scream in the first place — to attract Marquis Ondore into hosting an audience with him.
Back up. Ondore is a very busy man. When he's not placating the Empire whilst pretending not to, he's failing to placate his people whilst pretending that he is. He probably plays tennis, even. Plus, he's like 61 years old. I know when I'm 61, I'll have no interest in being bothered by trivial things.
How do you get the guy's undivided attention? You claim Basch is alive. Along he comes, doing the prim and proper political leader version of a hot-and-bothered dance. How does that translate to Ondore having the hots for Basch? I think the more apt query is, how doesn't it?
Every Single Monster in the Game
You could choose Job Classes for Basch that don't fit a tank role. I would never tell you that you're wrong. Not to your face. I do think you're wrong, however, and I'm going to assume everyone in the world always makes Basch a tank.
Tanks draw aggro. Aggro is a measure of hostility, so tanks soak damage while other characters slice and shoot and smack the foes into submission. But what happens when aggro doesn't trigger malevolence, but rather a deep sense of longing, a need to be closer, and to lash out in angst if, upon closeness, the target does not reciprocate?
Monsters know no better way to handle rejection than to kill the rejecter. Why do you suppose it's Basch in particular who groans "they're killing us" when he's about to fall in battle? It's not about us, bub, it's about you. They've torn you apart because they wanted to destroy something beautiful.
Of course he'd hit it. The man flirts with anything that moves.
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