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The Al Bhed are a tribe of technologists in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. Making up ten percent of the Spiran population,[citation needed] they have a unique language and, unlike the other races in Spira, use machina. Spira's main religion, Yevon, views the Al Bhed as heretics and they are widely ostracized. Many Al Bhed, likewise, oppose the pilgrimage tradition the Yevon temples uphold as core dogma.

The Al Bhed have blond hair and green eyes with spiral-shaped pupils. They dress in distinctive colorful bodysuits and commonly wear goggles and masks. Despite being a marginalized group, the Al Bhed have a team in the blitzball league and excel at the sport.

Story[]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Final Fantasy X-2.5 ~Eien no Daishō~[]

The Al Bhed's origins are revealed in the sequel novel to Final Fantasy X-2. A mechanic called Alb created a race called Bedohls, humans who could not use magic but excelled at wielding machina, and used them to combat a Zanarkandian mage. The Bedohls' weapons were so powerful they were kept under surveillance at all times. It's speculated that their power might have been the catalyst for the Machina War. After the Yevon religion was established, the Bedohls were blamed for Sin's emergence and executed in numbers, casting them out of society. The surviving Bedohls became known as the Al Bhed, a corrupted mesh of their original name and their creator's name.

Final Fantasy X[]

Prominent Al Bhed by Yoshitaka Amano.

Around 1000 years ago, the Al Bhed society lived on Bikanel Island, whose most explored region is known as the Sanubia Desert. Sin destroyed their city, and the citizens scattered around Spira, often detested by the other races of the world. A millennium later, under Cid's leadership, the Al Bhed regrouped on Bikanel Island and built a new city called Home.

To further relations with the Al Bhed, the Yevonite Braska often traveled to Home. During one visit, he fell in love with Cid's sister, and the two eventually married. Due to choosing a 'heathen' Al Bhed for a wife, the Yevon clergy cast Braska out while Cid disowned his sister for marrying a Yevonite. The tension on both sides lessened after Yuna was born, and when she was four, her mother boarded a ship for Bikanel to repair her relationship with Cid. She died when Sin attacked her ship, starting Braska down the path of becoming a summoner.

Tidus arrives in Spira from Dream Zanarkand and camps out in the abandoned Baaj Temple. When a fiend attacks him, an Al Bhed salvage group led by Rikku comes to his rescue, startling him as he has never encountered an Al Bhed before. Only Rikku speaks the main Spiran language and acts as an interpreter. Tidus is allowed to come on board the Al Bhed's Salvage Ship, but he must assist the group in their salvage operation in exchange for their hospitality. Afterward, Sin attacks the ship and washes Tidus overboard. He wakes up in Besaid, where he joins Summoner Yuna's pilgrimage.

The Al Bhed kidnap summoners to prevent them from completing their pilgrimage. They do it to protect them, as performing the Final Summoning will kill the summoner. When Yuna and her guardians set out to complete her pilgrimage, the Al Bhed use machina in their three attempts to abduct her—the Oblitzerator in Luca, the Extractor on the Moonflow, and the Crawler on Lake Macalania—but fail every time. After failing to kidnap Yuna with the Extractor, Yuna's cousin Rikku joins her pilgrimage as her final guardian.

When Yuna gets lost in the Bikanel Desert, the Al Bhed find her and take her to Home. Under Maester Seymour's orders, the Guado attack Home, take Yuna away to Bevelle, and heavily damage the city. Amid the chaos, many Al Bhed flee onboard the airship discovered during the salvage operation Tidus participated in when he first arrived in Spira, and use its missiles to blow up Home. As they watch Home's destruction, the Al Bhed join in singing the "Hymn of the Fayth" in mourning.

Rikku is overjoyed when Yuna rejects the Final Summoning, and they find another way to defeat Sin: attacking it head-on with the Al Bhed's airship, the Fahrenheit.

Final Fantasy X-2[]

After the onset of the Eternal Calm, the Al Bhed expand their exploration of Bikanel Island. With the collapse of Yevon's teachings and the broader acceptance of machina, prejudice against the Al Bhed has eased, although not completely ended. The Al Bhed exercise their freedom by expanding upon the knowledge of machina and improving upon existing discoveries for innovation's sake, rather than only continue salvaging ancient machina.

Al Bhed excavation camp on the desert.

The Al Bhed formed the Machine Faction, based in the abandoned Djose Temple. The group, led by Gippal, seeks to spread machina use throughout Spira and remove any past discontent by renaming "machina" as "machines". The faction is connected to the Al Bhed in Bikanel, enabling members and volunteers to excavate the desert.

Brother leads an Al Bhed sphere hunting group called the Gullwings, acting as their airship pilot. His friend, Buddy, acts as the navigator, using the Sphere Oscillo-finder to uncover leads for new treasures to salvage. The child prodigy, Shinra, develops the technology the Gullwings use, including the dressphere system the field operatives, Yuna, Rikku and Paine, use to help them in combat. During their quest to uncover ancient spheres, the group becomes entangled in Shuyin's plot to rouse an ancient machina with the power to destroy the world, as well as the factions' conflicts. The Al Bhed do their best to stay neutral, with the Machine Faction providing the other two parties—Youth League and New Yevon—with machina. When Gippal goes missing, the Machine Faction falls into disarray, and when he returns, he disbands the faction.

The Al Bhed excavate the Bikanel Desert for machina parts and try to build the ultimate robot in Djose, known as the Experiment. The ancient fiend, Angra Mainyu, hinders the excavation process, the nemesis of the cacti of the Cactuar Nation; an Al Bhed kid named Benzo is the only one who understands their language and works as the Gullwings' interpreter to help the cacti.

Three months after the Vegnagun crisis is over, the Machine Faction discovers Iutycyr Tower.

Spoilers end here.

Culture[]

A portrait of Rikku displaying typical green Al Bhed eyes.

Out of all the humanoid races in Spira, the Al Bhed are the most expressive in their emotions and body language; many of their more notable members also exhibit personalities that may classify as eccentric or juvenile. The Al Bhed take an interest in Spira's technological past, organizing salvage operations and excavations for ancient technology.

The Al Bhed are the only Spiran race to openly reject Yevon's teachings, especially regarding the machina ban. The rest of the population often ostracizes them, labels them heathens, and subjects them to attacks. Some Al Bhed have still found global acceptance, most notably Rin, who operates a chain of travel agencies throughout Spira. Some are allowed to participate in the Yevon-sponsored blitzball tournaments, with the Al Bhed being represented in the league by the Al Bhed Psyches.

The Al Bhed are forbidden to enter the temples of Yevon. At Macalania Temple, a guard refuses Rikku entry until Auron informs him she is Yuna's guardian, and as such duty-bound to enter the temple with her.

Al Bhed children wear full bodysuits, and many Al Bhed wear glasses or goggles to hide their eyes.

Biology[]

The Al Bhed have green eyes with spiral-shaped pupils. Regardless of skin color, all Al Bhed have blond hair (assuming they have hair). They are adept at swimming and holding their breath underwater, which serves them well during underwater excavations.

Language[]

Al Bhed Primer.

The Al Bhed have their own language. Working like a substitution cipher (a language system replacing certain letters with others), it shares the same syntax and grammar as English in the English versions of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. Any spoken Al Bhed is styled in purple in written dialogue, with characters translated from Al Bhed in pink.

The Japanese version uses the Japanese kana syllabaries to speak and translate Al Bhed. The replaced kana uses the same vowel sound, except for P-consonant kana, which interchange. Written Al Bhed text doesn't use kanji, and is presented in katakana (giving it a distinct foreign look), while the translated text is presented in hiragana. Specific words are often separated with spacing for clarity. Words that are said the same in Japanese/Spiran and Al Bhed are written in pink katakana.

Converting Al Bhed to English/Japanese is simple once a person knows which letter/sound stands for what, but in the world of Spira, people require entire books to translate one letter, implying the language may be more complicated than how the games depict it.

English E P S T I W K N U V G C L R Y B X H M D O F Z Q A J
Al Bhed A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Japanese
A

I

U

E

O

Ka

Ki

Ku

Ke

Ko

Sa

Shi

Su

Se

So

Ta

Chi

Tsu

Te

To

Na

Ni

Nu

Ne

No
Al Bhed
Wa

Mi

Fu

Ne

To

A

Chi

Ru

Te

Yo

Ra

Ki

Nu

He

Ho

Sa

Hi

Yu

Se

So

Ha

Shi

Su

Me

O
Japanese
Ha

Hi

Fu

He

Ho

Ma

Mi

Mu

Me

Mo

Ya

Yu

Yo

Ra

Ri

Ru

Re

Ro

Wa

Wo

N
Al Bhed
Ma

Ri

Ku

Ke

Ro

Ya

I

Tsu

Re

Ko

Ta

Wo

Mo

Na

Ni

U

E

No

Ka

Mu

N
Japanese
Ga

Gi

Gu

Ge

Go

Za

Ji

Zu

Ze

Zo

Da

Ji

Zu

De

Do

Ba

Bi

Bu

Be

Bo

Pa

Pi

Pu

Pe

Po
Al Bhed
Da

Ji

Zu

De

Zo

Ba

Gi

Bu

Ge

Bo

Ga

Bi

Gu

Be

Go

Za

Ji

Zu

Ze

Do

Pu

Pe

Pa

Po

Pi
Japanese
(a)

(i)

(u)

(e)

(o)

(ya)

(yu)

(yo)

(tsu)
Al Bhed
(a)

(i)

(u)

(e)

(o)

(ya)

(yu)

(yo)

(tsu)


Al Bhed Script as it appears in Spira.

Some words have been adopted from the main Spiran language, such as fiend, magic, aeon, airship, and Sin. The name of the people and their language is Al Bhed in their own language as well as in the main Spiran language.

The games differentiate Al Bhed words from the common Spiran language by printing them in blue text (for non-translated letters or words) or pink text (for translated words or letters). The player can learn the Al Bhed language by picking up Al Bhed Primers. Each Primer translates a single letter of the alphabet (or multiple in Japanese). When the player picks up a Primer, the next time someone speaks Al Bhed with that letter, it's translated automatically.

In Final Fantasy X, Primers are either given by non-player characters or found in the field. The player can also use an Al Bhed Compilation Sphere to load Primers from another saved game. In Final Fantasy X-2, Primers are obtained either by listening to the Al Bhed language or digging in the Bikanel Desert. If the player uses the New Game Plus feature, their primers carry over.

Behind the scenes[]

Concept art of various Al Bhed.

Fumi Nakashima, the sub-character designer for Final Fantasy X, has stated the aspect she concentrated on the most during the design phase was giving the characters from different cultures distinctive styles of clothing. Because the Al Bhed function in a machine-oriented society, she wanted to make them stand out from the other Spirans by wearing goggles and masks to make them look more eccentric and mysterious.[1]

Writer Kazushige Nojima wanted the Al Bhed language to have a proper linguistic system, and read up on ciphers. In the end, the language became a simplistic substitution cipher so it would fit with the translation mechanics, but the hidden meaning in the lyrics of the "Hymn of the Fayth" song is a leftover from his initial plans.[2]

Yuna is half-human and half-Al Bhed. Her mixed-ethnicity is seen through her heterochromia as she has one blue eye and one green, albeit without the signature spiral. Yuna - Portrait

Al Bhed society appears to be influenced by the Middle East. Besides the desert environment, "Al" is the definite article in the Arabic language.

Ships, hovers, cranes, lifts, machina, and the walls and floors of Home and the Fahrenheit are emblazoned with a bilingual crest whose lettering says "Salvage Dream" in Al Bhed script and "Cid" in regular Spiran script.

Gallery[]

Etymology[]

The name Al Bhed might originate from the word "alphabet." Their creator's name "Alb" could be a play on "Alba", which means "dawn" in association with him creating the Al Bhed race.

References[]

  1. "Beyond Final Fantasy" bonus DVD included in the International and PAL versions of Final Fantasy X.
  2. 28 July, 2021. How kamikaze pilots inspired FFX – Final Fantasy X 20th Anniversary Developer Interview (Part 2/4). Frontline Gaming JP. Archived from the original on 1 August, 2021.

See also[]

External links[]