The series has often featured male characters with slightly effeminate characteristics, as well as female characters with slightly tomboyish, but still feminine, characteristics. This trend has generally increased as the series evolved. These characters are usually teenagers, which some critics have interpreted as an effort on the part of the designers to ensure the players identify with them. At the same time, some female characters have been increasingly designed to wear very revealing outfits. Square Enix has stated that a more rugged looking hero had been considered for Final Fantasy XII but had ultimately been scrapped in favor of Vaan, another effeminate protagonist. The developers cited scenaristic reasons and target demographic considerations to explain their choice. For Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix settled on a female main character, described as a "female version of Cloud from FFVII." This aspect of Final Fantasy can also be seen in Sora, the protagonist of Kingdom Hearts, a crossover series featuring Final Fantasy and Disney characters.
Maria is a maleToulouse Goose (Anser anser), formerly living in Echo Park, Los Angeles who became the subject of news reports in 2011 after forming an unusual association with a local resident, named Dominic Ehrler.
Maria, named by locals and assumed to be female, was familiar to users of the park for several years as a goose which preferred the company of humans to that of his own species, often pecking at homeless people or following walkers and runners around.
Ehrler, a retired salesman, first encountered Maria at Echo Park lake in the summer of 2010 when the bird began to follow him on his daily walks around the lake, readily accepting food from him and soon becoming so attached that he would wait beside the road every morning for Ehrler to arrive at the park. Maria would walk alongside and possessively 'protect' Ehrler from other park users and their dogs and would also attempt to follow him from the park, flying closely behind him as he rode away on his scooter, necessitating attempts to distract the goose, or lock him behind a fence when leaving, to avoid being followed all the way home.
The game's story centers on four youths whose parents were killed during an army invasion by the empire of Palamecia, who are using hellspawn to conquer the world. Three of the four main characters join a rebellion against the empire, embarking on missions to gain new magic and weapons, destroy enemy superweapons, and rescue leading members of the resistance. The Game Boy Advance remake adds a bonus story after the game is completed.
Maria is a 1995 critically acclaimed album by Canadian singer and songwriter Jane Siberry. It was her first album not to include any musical contributions from longtime collaborators such as Ken Myhr, John Switzer and Rebecca Jenkins.
The album ends with "Oh My My," a 20 minute-plus ode that gathers the themes from the entire album. Rolling Stone wrote: "[I]n this heap of Siberjazz you realize that everything that has arisen on Maria has indeed converged and that you've actually been led on an unforgettable walk in a garden facing fall with a tour guide who's sure-footed in her wobbly pace. Awesome."
Maria was her last major label album. In 1996, Siberry started her own independent record label, Sheeba Records, and has released all of her subsequent recordings on that imprint.
Rolling Stone wrote about Maria:
"[H]ot damn, the girl's back in the driver's seat with Maria...This is vintage Siberry: scissor-kicking around the soul's messiest spots in search of anything hinting toward redemption... That's exactly what this album's about: the pull of life. Not specifically the good or the bad or the ugly but just the pull and the subsequent release"