ST AJORA'S GENDER
Ajora Glabados is referred to throughout Final Fantasy Tactics as a man, but when the saint finally makes an appearance in the games final scenes, the character inhabits the body of a woman (Alma Beoulve) and take on the form of what appears to be female demon. Fans have long speculated as to how to read Ajora's gender both in relation to the character's mortal life in the Yudoran empire and in their subsequent revival as Altima.
This section is not intended to make a specific case for one reading or another of Ajora's gender, but is meant to serve as a compilation of available evidence for fans interested in this question. I am of the personal belief that the evidence indicates Ajora as having originally been male (as much as I hate to agree with Yasumi Matsuno about his own games). However, I also believe that there are fruitful readings to be had that interpret Ajora as a woman, and I encourage anybody coming to this page to form their own opinion. In particular, if you happen to be fluent in Japanese to the extent you can provide insights into quoted segments of the original text, feel free to contact me with your observations!
FINAL FANTASY TACTICS: GENERAL REFERENCES TO AJORA PRIOR TO THE ENDGAME
Below is a comprehensive list of everywhere that Ajora is mentioned by name in the portions of Final Fantasy Tactics prior to the final series of battles and not inclusive of the Germonik Scriptures. Instances of the character's name and epithet ("聖", or "Saint") have been rendered in red, whereas gendered or seemingly gendered language concerning the character has been rendered blue.
BRAVE STORY ENTRY FOR AJORA GLABADOS
PSX Translation: Born around 12 centuries ago, in Bervenia of Lesalia. Raised in Milodos. Spoke of the arrival of a kingdom of a higher source, as feelings of antipathy grew from Father Fara. Executed as a traitor by the Holy Empire of Yudora. Soon after, the capital of the Church of Fara became submerged under sea, by an extraordinary natural phenomenon. Those disciples of Ajora believed this was his miracle, and these stories spread, and the Glabados Church became what it is today.
AGRIAS ON GOUG『CH. 2』
PSX Translation: I hear a 'lost civilization' is hidden under Goug.... When St. Ajora was alive, airships were in the sky, and human robots in town. But time passed, technology was lost, and no one knows if it ever really existed.
AGRIAS AND A KNIGHT AT THE GATES OF LIONEL『CH. 2』
PSX Translation: Agrias: I'm Agrias Oaks of the Lesalia St. Konoe Knights. I came from Orbonne to save the son of God, St. Ajora. Open the gate! | Knight: Saving the St. Ajora is the will of the high priest. The gate will open for he who would save the high priest. Open the gate!
DRACLAU TO MUSTADIO『CH. 2』
PSX Translation: St. Ajora is with us. There's no need to worry. Young mechanic. I heard your wish too. I'll send troops to Goug, to destroy Bart Company.
SIMON ON THE GERMONIK SCRIPTURES『CH. 3』
PSX Translation: Germonik, a disciple of St. Ajora wrote it... It had been missing...till I found it in the underground library.... It explains in detail about the Zodiac Brave Story...
THE FALSE CID (GREVADOS) BEFORE DYING『CH. 3』
PSX Translation: Everything's guided by the will of St. Ajora...
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FINAL FANTASY TACTICS: THE GERMONIK SCRIPTURES
Below is a full transcript of the Germonik Scriptures as they appear in Japanese and in the two English translations of the game. As with the excepts above, red has been used for the character's name and blue for language that seems to be gendered. Of particular note is the use of the third person pronoun "彼" which it is my understanding is very typically used to denote men.
PSX Translation: I picked up the 'Germonik Scriptures' Simon gave me and flipped through the pages... The text was in an ancient holy script with drawings in places. It was damaged and hard to read. I wondered what was written in it?
Then, I saw some words in a language I recognized. Somebody had written some notes in the "Ikoku language" Who could have done it?
Judging from the ink, the older notes, were written years ago. But the newer ones were written only days ago. It smudged when I rubbed it. The ink was not yet dry. They were written by the same person. I realized Simon had been slowly translating this book over the years.
...tried reading it by referring to his partial notes.
It says, This is written by a follower of St. Ajora, Germonik... Germonik...? I'd heard that name before... Must've been in history class.
Then, it came to me. Germonik was the disciple who betrayed St. Ajora by selling him to the Yudora Empire...... It was amazing Germonik's book was even still in existence!
Calming myself, I turned the pages. Then, I found something more amazing than the historical legacy in my hands.
I thought Germonik compiled St. Ajora's words in this book. But I was wrong. It's a record of St. Ajora's activities. And not the St. Ajora we knew. A record of Ajora, the human.
First off, St. Ajora is not human. I'm not a true believer in Glabados like Zalbag, but I do believe St. Ajora was a 'Child of God' sent from Heaven to save this troubled world. Rather, I should say I did believe.... until I read this book...
It was the golden age, when many airships flew all over the sky...
The day St. Ajora was born in Bervenia of Lesalia, he stood up, walked to the well and said. 'Calamity will come from this well soon. We must seal it so people don't drink the water.'
Days later, plague swept over Bervenia. The people who drank the tainted water died... But the only family who believed him didn't get sick and survived. Since then, people called him 'MiracleChild', 'Child of God'.
When St. Ajora turned 20, he became a 'Saviour', and was sent to Heaven as 'a member of God'...
Long before Ivalice was united, it was divided into 7 small kingdoms. Zeltennia, Fovoham, Lionel, Limberry, Lesalia, Gallionne, Murond. As the kingdoms continued to increase their territories, the wars continued.
In the several hundred years of war, an ambitious young king was born in Murond. Though he lead an army large enough to cover Ivalice, the way to victory was long and hard. Using the secret method from an ancient book, the king tried to summon a evil spirit and use its power. But the evil spirit killed the king and tried to destroy the world...
One Brave with 12 followers collected 'Zodiac Stones' from all over the world and revived them. They destroyed evil in an instant and succeeded in sending the evils back to Hades. This's how they became 'Saviours'.
That's the 'Zodiac Braves' legend. Ever since, every time the world is in danger, they appear, save the world and disappear.
When St. Ajora was alive, similar things occurred. The King of Limberry summoned an evil Spirit to take over Ivalice. The world once again fell into crisis. St. Ajora collected 12 Holy Stones, just like the legend, formed the Zodiac Braves and killed the devil.
But 'Heroes' are always a nuisance to rulers of a country...
The Yudora Empire was afraid of Ajora who was gaining power, announcing the arrival of God's kingdom. Yudora sent troops against one of his sect. The priests of Fara, the largest sect then, were afraid of Ajora's power. He was caught and executed at Golgorand Execution grounds after Germonik told of His wereabouts for money.
But St. Ajora was a 'Child of God' and the priests of Fara were smitten by an angry God. After the execution, the base at Fara, Murond sunken by various natural disasters.
This is how St. Ajora was sent to Heaven as a 'Child of God', and became a 'Member of God'...
And that's all I know. Almost anyone in Ikoku knows of the 'Myth' of St. Ajora. But the St. Ajora in the 'Germonik Scriptures' was a totally different person.
Ajora was not a 'Child of God', but a human just like us. An ambitious revolutionary who fought to fulfill his dream. Moreover, he loved peace and was not a hero who risked his life for others.
This is what Germonik wrote...
A founder of an advanced new religion, Ajora was a threat to the Empire. But Ajora had another 'side' to him other than being a priest. He was a spy who entered enemy territory agitating and gaining information.
Anyhow, Ajora was a threat to the empire. The empire sent Germonik to find proof that Ajora was a spy. Yes, Germonik was also a spy of the empire watching Ajora's activities.
They say Ajora tried to revive the Zodiac Braves. Germonik found some Holy Stones to prove it. But, what does that have to do with reformation?
I don't know if young King Limberry really summoned an evil spirit. At least nothing is written about it in the book. However, it's a fact that Murond met with natural disaster and sunk into the sea at the time of Ajora's death.
This is where Simon's notes were most interesting. They appeared to be his personal opinion...
"Despite rumors of its existence, no one ever saw the 'Germonik Scriptures'. I don't know whether the book tells the truth or fabricates Ajora's great achievements..."
"When I was a heresy examiner for the Church, many examiners felt afraid to show the people the book. The High Priest probably felt the same because everything the book said was true."
"After Ajora's death, the church had to unite St. Ajora with God making him divine. To do that, unsuitable facts had to be deleted from history and St. Ajora had to become a 'Child of God'."
"They were wise to use the Zodiac Brave story, widely believed in Ikoku. It was easy to make people believe the Zodiac Braves led by Ajora killed an imaginary evil spirit."
"When I read this book I lost my faith. But I'm not sad... because it inspired me to search for the truth."
"At the same time, I'm guilty for not bringing it to light, even through I knew the church was lying. Why? Because if I told people about the book, I was afraid they would take the library away from me."
"I would have been devastated if the library was taken away from me because it satisfied my thirst for knowledge. But, my curiosity got the best of me."
Simon spoke of 'An imaginary evil'. But I sensed a scheme by someone other than the High Priest, after seeing the berserk power of the Holy Stones.
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FINAL FANTASY TACTICS: ENDGAME
Below are key moments relating to Ajora in the game's final battles. Beyond looking to how the character is named and gendered (again marked by red or blue text), this section includes passages that I believe to offer opportunities to readers looking for a framework in which to understand Ajora's second coming/reincarnation/resurrection. In particular, I think it is worth looking to Kletian's description of Ajora's "incomplete parts" or "imperfect state," as well as considering what to make of Ajora's own pronouncements about having a body again.
KLETIAN AT MUROND DEATH CITY『CH. 4』
PSX Translation: Where? What an odd thing to say... We came to Death City to revive our master. He slumbers in this world incomplete parts. Vormav is heading for the master's resting place... where St. Ajora died!
VORMAV UNCERTAIN『CH. 4』
PSX Translation: The Holy Angel's spirit is around in here... Why...? Maybe it's Ajora reincarnated...? ...No, that can't be. Certainly, Virgo did react.
AJORA REMARKING ON HIS/HER/THEIR RETURN『CH. 4』
PSX Translation: I have my body back...
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FINAL FANTASY XII
Below is a transcript on the Sage Knowledge entry for the Light of Kiltia in Final Fantasy XII. In it, Saint Ajora is mentioned, but the character is given the epithet 聖女アジョラ (Holy Woman Ajora) instead of the--to my knowledge--less explicitly gendered 聖アジョラ (Saint Ajora) from the original Final Fantasy Tactics.
English Translation: Religion begun by the prophet Kiltia over two millennia ago. The religion of the Ordalian peoples is a dualistic system -- a polytheistic pantheon with a God of Light, Faram the Father, at its head. After embarking on a pilgrimage to proselytize and deliver the word of the vision he had seen to the people, Kiltia came to Mt Bur-Omisace, and from there his teachings spread. The Light of Kiltia, as his teachings were called, continued even after his death, until they covered all of Ivalice. Though the followers and churches of Kiltia are spread far and wide, they do not interfere in affairs of state or governance. Though at one point the church held considerable influence, they willingly discarded that power, fearing oppression. Ever since, church officials with the rank of celebrant or higher have been forbidden from participating in statecraft. In addition, Mt Bur-Omisace maintains a mutual non-incursion policy with the surrounding territories. Several years after Kiltia's founding, Saint Ajora began a new teaching, claiming that Faram alone was the one true god, the popularity of this new sect further lessening the power of the Light.
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AJORA IN CONCEPT ART
Below is an image of Final Fantasy Tactics concept art for the character of Saint Ajora that was shown as part of a live broadcast by Matsuno in relation to Final Fantasy XIV's "Return to Ivalice" raid (Date: May 19, 2018). The female symbol is clearly visibly in the character's description, which appears to read "71. 聖女アジョラ(偽りの聖者) Age: 20 ♀" (Saint Ajora(False Saint) Age: 20 ♀).
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YASUMI MATSUNO ON TWITTER
Embedded below is a tweet by Yasumi Matsuno on May 24, 2013 [Archived Link] indicating that Ajora was originally male. Machine translation of his comment reads "No, the original of St. Ajora is a man. In FFT, it is set that he was reincarnated as a woman. I am not aware of St. Ajora in FF12, so I will refrain from answering."
@goukei いえ、聖アジョラのオリジナルは男性ですね。FFTでは女性に転生していたという設定です。FF12における聖アジョラについては私は関知しておりませんので回答を控えさせていただきます。— 松野泰己 (@YasumiMatsuno) May 24, 2013
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