The Eternal Calm is an important event in Final Fantasy X. However, in order to understand what The Eternal Calm is, it’s important to understand Spira, the world that the game is set in.
The world of Final Fantasy X is marked by tragedy. This is because of Sin, a gigantic whale-like creature capable of leveling cities and wiping out entire armies. Society in Spira must constantly rebuild itself in the wake of Sin’s attacks. Meanwhile the people live in desperate hope that if they follow the religious teachings of Yevon, they will be spared from Sin’s wrath.
Sin can be defeated. Summoners from around Spira go on pilgrimages to gain Aeons, powerful creatures who can be called into battle. At the end of their journey, they get to summon the Final Aeon, a being powerful enough to take down Sin. This victory over Sin leads to the Calm.
The Calm is a respite from the devastation caused by Sin. With Sin gone, the people of Spira can live peacefully knowing their home isn’t about to be obliterated at any moment. However, the Calm is temporary, as Sin always returns after a few years. It’s an endless cycle that Spira is trapped in.
In Final Fantasy X, Yuna is one of the summoners who sets out on her pilgrimage to defeat Sin. She is joined by her Guardians, including the game’s protagonist, Tidus. During their journey, they learn many of the truths behind Yu Yevon and Sin and make a choice to end the cycle for good. They find a way to defeat Sin that leads to its permanent destruction.
This is where the Eternal Calm comes in. As with all victories against Sin, Spira enters The Calm. However, due to Yuna and her friends, Sin has no chance of returning, turning this into an Eternal Calm. In addition, Yuna’s actions have exposed the lies and corruption within Yevon, and the religious order collapses. With both of these changes, the Eternal Calm represents a new start for Spira and its people.
We don’t see much of the Eternal Calm in Final Fantasy X itself. Instead, its impact is seen in the direct sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, which wastes no time in showing how different the world is following the start of the Eternal Calm.
Many have derided the pop concert at the start of Final Fantasy X-2. It’s campy and over the top. It’s a drastic contrast to the somber ending of Final Fantasy X. However, this is the point. It’s a blunt way of showing it, but this scene is an illustration of why the Eternal Calm matters.
In Final Fantasy X, Spira was caught in the grip of a strict religious order and living in fear of Sin. The only levity the people were allowed was Blitzball. In Final Fantasy X-2, the Eternal Calm allows the people of Spira to live how they choose. And they choose to go to pop concerts, play coin games and form teams of treasure hunters with Charlie’s Angels style group poses. It’s all a little silly, but Spira in Final Fantasy X was a world in desperate need of some silliness.
The Eternal Calm is important to the story of Final Fantasy X because its arrival makes all the sacrifices of Yuna’s journey worth it. After her long and arduous pilgrimage, this is what she has gained for both herself and the population of Spira. A thousand years of oppression are over, and now everyone can play Sphere Break. It’s the happy ending Spira deserves.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is available now for PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.