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A tonberry, shown here under another name, battles in a tournament.
A tonberry, shown here under another name, battles in a tournament.
The Japanese first discovered the species known as tonberry many years ago, in the game Final Fantasy V. It was not until a few years later, when Final Fantasy VI was released in the Americas under the name Final Fantasy III, that much of the rest of the world learned of this creature. Originally they were known by another name, "pugs," and it was several more years before their true name was widely known and accepted throughout the world. The case of mistaken identity continues, however, due to the publication of an untimely and faulty English translation of the aforementioned Final Fantasy V which calls them "dinglberries," a truly ignoble name for such a being as the tonberry.

Tonberries are perhaps the most underestimated creature in the history of the Final Fantasy series. Standing only about two feet tall at the most, with a somewhat reptilian face, blank yellowish eyes, and a forked green tail that resembles that of a shark, they don't exactly look intimidating. Wearing heavy robes, they move slowly towards their enemy, armed with only a tiny knife and a copper lantern, and occasionally tripping over the hem of their robes. An unsuspecting bystander would think at first glance that they're easy prey - but these small monsters have a tough hide that is difficult to penetrate with almost any weapon, and when threatened, they will fight back viciously. The tonberry has an uncanny knack for sensing exactly how hostile its opponent is, and dealing out an appropriate amount of damage in the form of a magical attack called Everyone's Grudge. When they've advanced within a certain range, they will then strike a surprisingly deadly blow with the small knife they hold.

A defeated tonberry speaks to the victor.
A defeated tonberry speaks to the victor.
Despite its odd appearance and behavior, the tonberry seems to be a civilized creature, actually wearing clothing, unlike most monsters. They appear to have a social structure as well, and the strongest or most intelligent of the tonberries will be appointed as their king. Often the king will take it into his own hands to challenge the adventurer who has attacked his people, making the decision to fight a tonberry all the more unwise. Additionally, though they are usually silent, on rare occasions you will hear one utter a word or two in a human language, proving that the tonberry is a far more intelligent race than the more common monsters.

Tonberries enjoy dark, shadowy places lit only by their lamps or dim natural light, and are most often found living in the depths of empty caves or ancient ruins. Though they seem to be peaceful creatures living in large, friendly societies, the presence of an outsider in their territory can make them very angry. Likely the remote locations in which they choose to live are seldom travelled, and so they are unused to the presence of humans. However, on occasion one will strike out on an adventure with a human who is able to defeat them in combat. Many of them enjoy contests, and the more outgoing tonberries can sometimes be found fighting in battle tournaments. (Apparently, one famous tonberry even became a driver in the SatellaView game DynamiTracers, and was given the nickname "Sunset Jim.")

Tonberries enjoy contests of all kinds, including racing.
Tonberries enjoy contests of all kinds, including racing.
So why should you adopt a tonberry? Though they can be a little irritable at times, a tonberry is a loyal, steadfast friend who will always be there to defend you and light your path. If you treat it well (and give it plenty of delicious food), it will make an excellent companion for as long as it lives - and thanks to its hardy nature, that will likely be a long, long time.



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This page, including layout and graphics, is © 1999 by Andrea Hartmann. Tonberries and Cactuars (and the various mistranslations of their names -_-;;) are property of SquareSoft.