When naming shrines, the drive is to use some reference internal to the media source, such as a specialty attack, or to use a fitting external term that captures what makes the character in question worthy of tribute. I’m not great at that. I can pick something that almost fits, but it’s hard to get it right.

Anne-Helen Peterson reviewed the history of the term ‘it girl’ to articulate her irritation when she encountered the term applied to Rosamund Pike in a 2015 Vanity Faire cover. Her initial sense that “she’s no Clara Bow” became a larger disappointment with the way the term is wielded against Pike and Bow both. Though the press can’t articulate what gives the woman in question her appeal, neither does she control it: hence backhanded compliment of it.

‘Blonde bombshell’ is a term, like it, that marries femininity to an object as an alleged compliment. The idea is that she walks in the room and chaos ensues due to the flurry of interest in her, but like it girl, the interest is situated in something only quasi-controlled by her — namely, the color of her hair. Our introduction to Quistis in FFVIII emphasizes her competence and appeal equally, and the character design seems to suggest that designer and character alike arranged her appearance for lascivious intent. She falls short of that, as so many it-girls fall short of the ineffable promise of the term. Something that almost fits, as such, can be quite cunningly damaging.

What attracted me to the term as a title is something obscured in our usage of ‘bombshell’ as a metaphor for a flurry of interest: upon detonation, the object is destroyed. We never reference the logical conclusion when the term is applied to hair, but I think of it in conjunction to Quistis both because of the sense of intent in her design and how that sense is rapidly disabused, how hurt, how damaged she is, and yet I still believe her resolutely capable. My response to the character is an anger born from protectiveness; I wish she had had things so much better, though I recognize that the circumstances of the game are the crucible that form her personality and my understanding of it. Consider this shrine a tribute to what’s leftover.