How many of you know the game show Press Your Luck, aka Whammy? Even without knowing the game, you may recognize the contestants imploring Lady Luck with phrases like “no Whammies!” and “big money!” until, ultimately, “STOP!” when they press the button to see what they’ve landed on.
Well, here’s Press Your Luck: Final Fantasy Lost Stranger volume 6’s version: “No book, no book, toad spell, toad spell…STOP!”
And that sound means
Whammy Byblos appears to taunt the party.
In truth, despite the Press Your Luck comparison, this isn’t a fun or silly volume. A better analogy is volume 6 is a long video game cutscene. Or, at best, one with minimal player interaction or decision-making like taking control of another character to find party members.
Shogo confesses to his party that he knows of certain things because he learned them from Final Fantasy. As they discuss that and other magical concepts, Shogo suggests having the current Frog-Rei hit with another Toad spell to undo the transformation. But Byblos has no reason to cast it on her again, so the only way is to have Alus cast Reflect and bounce it off on her. That requires Alus to pretend to want to go into Byblos’ book world. As they face the beast, Shogo realizes Alus does have a desire to be taken into the book world — and some of the group do, in fact, get whisked away!
Animanga and gaming fans can probably name a few speeches about accepting the pain to move forward or that fake albeit ideal worlds are not truly living that are particularly emotional. Here in Lost Stranger, Alus obviously has a lot of loneliness that perhaps can never be filled, and Shogo is searching for Raise to save his sister. The latter we’ve known since the start of the manga, but Alus I have a feeling we’re only scratching the surface of his character. Another member of Shogo’s party starts getting more backstory, and features the moment when, as in most FFs, the main/player character seems to formally be acknowledged as the leader.
But between all the musings and other dialogue, there’s not much time for anything else. Even though the manga is basically flashing neon signs of “THIS IS IMPORTANT!!” around several lines, right now…they don’t mean much, and who knows how long before they will be revisited.
So a lot of talking, flashbacks that don’t have a lot of context right now, and the current Big Bad mostly bragging. A section like this is bound to be considered a lull in the game, and it’s certainly a lull in manga form. In short, Final Fantasy Lost Stranger volume 6 is basically the Nibelheim flashback — important, but a little too long since you’d rather be doing Final Fantasy stuff.