This world continues to fail us, and what's worse, I failed to protect you. Vegnagun will make that all go away.Shuyin to Yuna, thinking she's Lenne
Shuyin is the primary antagonist of Final Fantasy X-2. He bears a striking resemblance to Tidus. When Yuna is given a sphere Kimahri discovered on Mt. Gagazet, showing Shuyin in a cell beneath Bevelle, she mistakes him for Tidus, which sets her off on her career as a sphere hunter.
Shuyin has shoulder-length disheveled blond hair and blue eyes. He wears a jacket with a yellow back and pale dark-green front with a blue armlet and red-and-black elbow-long square sleeves. On his left hand he wears a black glove with a green cuff and red elbow-long sleeve, while his right glove is plain black without decorations. He wears black shorts and yellow boots with high footings. His sword has a black hilt and light blue to black blade.
Maechen implies Shuyin's resemblance to Tidus is more than coincidental, but what he means by this is not made explicit. It is possible that the fayth summoning Dream Zanarkand "dreamed" Tidus in an attempt to recreate what they remembered of Shuyin, as they were charged with remembering and preserving every aspect of the destroyed city.
The Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission Ultimania posits that Dream Zanarkand was created as the ideal representation of the original Zanarkand, a wish given form. Since the original Zanarkand was the model for everything in Dream Zanarkand, this extended to its inhabitants, who would marry one another and have children, continuing the cycle of life. Thus the genes of the dream's inhabitants blended to form a unique populace. According to this it is unlikely Shuyin is the direct model for Tidus, as Dream Zanarkand's Shuyin should have lived a millennium ago.
Shuyin? Just a shadow. It may look like him, but the real Shuyin died long ago. Even after a thousand years, his hate and misery linger on. His feelings grew so strong, they began to act on their own... eventually, they became a shadow—a shade that wants only to vanish, but cannot.Bahamut's fayth about Shuyin's nature.
Shuyin loved Lenne deeply, and wanted to stop the war to save her, no matter the cost. After his death, never hearing Lenne's proclamation of love, his spirit was corrupted with negative feelings of failing to protect Lenne and hatred for those responsible as he was forced to endlessly relive the memory of his death. Shuyin lost his sanity and became driven by fantasies of revenge against all of Spira.
The Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission Ultimania elaborates in its "Four Puzzles" section that the "Shuyin" who Yuna and others meet is not the original Shuyin, but his "shadow" full of the despair and hatred the Shuyin of 1000 years ago felt, preserved by pyreflies. Places where pyreflies are dense "remember" moments from the past and project them, such as the Zanarkand Dome where Yuna and her guardians witnessed visions during her pilgrimage. In the case of Shuyin these "phantom thoughts" began acting on their own.
The difference between Shuyin's shadow and a true unsent is that its pyreflies cannot interact physically. While Shuyin's shadow lacks physical substance, it can produce extensions of itself, and to influence the state of mind of those around it, as seen inside the Den of Woe. For it to physically interact with the living world the shadow needs to possess someone to act as its vessel. A suitable vessel would be someone in similarly despairing disposition who is strong both physically and spiritually. However, should the shadow's vessel lose consciousness, transferring to a new one is not possible.
A thousand years ago Shuyin was the lover of a popular songstress and summoner named Lenne. They lived during the time Zanarkand was at war with Bevelle and ordered all summoners to the front lines, including Lenne. Shuyin wanted to end the war and save her by activating Vegnagun, Bevelle's machina weapon stored away in an underground chamber due to its destructive power and inability to tell friend from foe. Though captured when he penetrated the heart of the complex, Shuyin eventually reached Vegnagun and activated its cannon before Lenne appeared and pleaded with him to stop. Amazed to find Lenne standing before him, Shuyin embraced his love before the two were surrounded by soldiers and shot. Shuyin died not hearing Lenne's declaration of love for him.
Shuyin's spirit was filled with such hatred and bitterness, and desire for vengeance he could not pass on to Farplane yet not manifest into a fiend and became a shadow of his former self. Within the Den of Woe, the pyreflies that continuously replayed his memories came to be imprinted with his hatred and began acting on their own. Rumors began circulating of a vengeful presence inhabiting the cave with reports of people seeing the illusion of a "gigantic machine" within; this was really an illusion projected by Shuyin.
A thousand years later, right before the Operation Mi'ihen, Maester Wen Kinoc sent the Crimson Squad aspirants to the den for "a final training mission". His true agenda was to investigate the rumored illusions and collect information on Vegnagun. Among the recruits were Baralai, Gippal, Nooj, and Paine. The recruits were driven mad and slaughtered each other due to exposure to Shuyin's grief and despair, while Shuyin's shadow possessed Nooj's body.
Nooj and his friends escaped the cave and Kinoc's machinations, and arrived at one of Rin's travel agencies. Saying their final farewells and turning to depart, Shuyin's shadow took control of Nooj and shot his three friends in the back. Although they were not gravely wounded, it caused enmity and confusion among the companions, as they could not understand why "Nooj" would do such a thing.
Shuyin used Nooj's eyes and ears in Spira, seeing the senseless violence and Yevon's corruption while concluding Spira had not changed and resolved to "fix" it. After lying latent within Nooj for two years after the onset of the Eternal Calm, the shadow manipulates him to infiltrate Bevelle Underground to steal Vegnagun.
Nooj resists Shuyin's control to an extent, wishing instead to destroy the weapon. Nooj's conflicted emotions rouse Vegnagun and it flees and burrows into the Farplane. Baralai, Gippal, and Nooj meet in Vegnagun's empty lair to discuss the weapon's disappearance. Shuyin leaves Nooj's body and takes control of Baralai, whose rage over Nooj's assumed betrayal makes the possession easy. With Baralai's body, Shuyin departs to the Farplane to find Vegnagun with Nooj and Gippal in pursuit. Shuyin takes control of the aeons and summons fiends pour out of the temples' Chambers of the Fayth.
With the help of Yuna and the Gullwings, the temples are cleansed, but during a battle with the aeon Ixion, Yuna falls into the pit in Djose Temple and ends up in the Farplane Glen where she encounters Shuyin in Baralai's body. As Yuna possesses the Songstress dressphere comprised of Lenne's memories, Shuyin mistakes her for his lover.
He reveals his plans to use Vegnagun's cannon to destroy Spira and end humanity's warring. Shuyin steps through a portal that would take him to Vegnagun, and Gippal and Nooj find Yuna, asking her to take care of things "topside" while they follow Shuyin through the portal to save Spira and free their friend. The portal disappears, leaving Yuna behind.
Holding a concert to ease the tension throughout Spira, Yuna sings a song implied to have been composed by Lenne about her romance with Shuyin. The Songstress dressphere interferes with the sphere display broadcasting Lenne's final memories for the crowd, and Yuna learns of Lenne and Shuyin's existence as a shadow.
The Gullwings investigate the Den of Woe, and are nearly driven to kill one another from the residing pyreflies' influence as they are shown Shuyin's memories of how he tried to use Vegnagun before he and Lenne died. After YRP return to their senses, fighting illusions of Nooj, Gippal, and Baralai soon after, they conclude Shuyin's ancient feelings caused the Crimson Squad candidates' deaths. The venture shows Paine the truth behind Nooj's actions two years ago, Rikku reminding her that Shuyin's shadow had transferred into Baralai's body.
Yuna, Rikku, Paine, and Leblanc—with her cronies Ormi and Logos—follow Gippal and Nooj deep into the Farplane and help them defeat Shuyin. While Nooj's original plan is to graze Baralai enough for Shuyin to reenter him and then take his own life, Yuna proposes dismantling Vegnagun instead.
Once Vegnagun is damaged beyond use, Shuyin leaves Baralai's body when Yuna tries to talk him into resting in peace by relaying Lenne's message. Gaining a physical form, Shuyin realizes Yuna is not Lenne and attacks her, Rikku, and Paine. After the Gullwings defeat the angered shadow, Lenne's spirit emerges from Yuna's dressphere and soothes Shuyin. As the shadow's anger and hatred dissipate, Lenne and Shuyin fade away to find peace in the Farplane.
Lenne's lover from the Zanarkand of a thousand years past. He could not save her, and his consequent sorrow and despair linger in this shadowy form.
"Shuyin's Theme" is the leitmotif of Shuyin. It is a haunted melody which subtly uses drums. It plays in the Den of Woe and in the Crimson Spheres that were recorded within the Den.
"Their Resting Place" is the track that serves as his final boss theme. It contains a dark reprise of "1000 Words", a song made for him by his lover Lenne that he never got to hear before they both died.
Shuyin appears in Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as Water-elemental cards.
Behind the scenes
Shuyin did not exist at the time Final Fantasy X: Eternal Calm, an extra cut scene included in the International version of Final Fantasy X, was originally made. The movie's scene depicting Shuyin's sphere recording originally featured Tidus. When Eternal Calm was released on a demo disc with PlayStation Magazine, the scene depicting Tidus in prison was changed to Shuyin's recording found in Final Fantasy X-2.
Shuyin was created to initiate Yuna's search for Tidus as they look similar. Shuyin is based on an ikiryō, a manifestation of the soul of a living person separately from their body, a concept present in the Japanese mythology. The ikiryō are said to be able "to possess another living person without the originator even being aware of it". The spirits are not "tied to whomever they possess", and "may freely move about bodies".
The exact reason why Shuyin looks so close to Tidus is not disclosed in the game, though Maechen hints it is not coincidental. Shuyin may have been a blitzball player in antebellum Zanarkand, as he uses a blitzball during his special attack, Terror of Zanarkand. His costume also resembles Tidus's blitzball uniform. Unlike Tidus, however, Shuyin is never explicitly mentioned having been a blitzball player. Because of the similarity in appearance to his son, when Jecht's spirit gives words of encouragement and advice to the Gullwings during the final battle, he calls Shuyin a crybaby.
- Final Fantasy X-2 – Ultimania Translations FAQ by Ryu_Kaze (Accessed: March 24, 2020) at GameFAQs
- Final Fantasy X-2 Ultimania Omega p080