Final Fantasy XIV KFC combo meal comes with special in-game items, and also a side of complex emotions.

Not that it’s ever all that hard to talk us into eating fried chicken, but this week it was an especially appealing meal option. That’s because Wednesday was the start of a crossover promotion between KFC Japan and online multiplayer role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV.

First teased last month, the campaign’s edible portion is the Final Fantasy XIV Collaboration Set, which KFC is offering for 1,240 yen (US$8.30). There’s no mistaking the inspiration, as the combo meal comes in a special box with the familiar drawing of Colonel Sanders flanked by the Final Fantasy franchise’s two most popular mascot monsters, a Moogle and a Chocobo, each wearing a KFC staff cap.

The set includes a Wafu (meaning “Japanese-style”) Chicken Cutlet Burger, one piece of Original Recipe fried chicken, a small order of French fries, and a medium soft drink of your choosing. The Wafu chicken cutlet burger seems like a good choice for this tie-up, since both the sandwich and Final Fantasy are examples of distinct and appealing Japanese flavor being added to originally Western-sourced concepts (fried chicken and Western-style adventurers-and-monsters medieval fantasy).

▼ KFC’s Wafu Chicken Cutlet Burger, with shredded cabbage and a soy sauce/teriyaki glaze

Also part of the set is a sheet of stickers…

…and as cute as they are, it’s what’s on the back that’s really going to bring a smile to Final Fantasy XIV players: a code for a special in-game item.

Redeeming this code gives your character a new emote: “Eat Fried Chicken,” and players who’ve gotten theirs have already begun posting shots and videos of their characters chowing down on drumsticks.

With it’s eclectic aesthetic mix, fried chicken itself, and even a takeout bucket, doesn’t look all that distractingly out of place within the world of Final Fantasy XIV. The two companies did, however, show restraint in not putting the KFC logo on the bucket, which probably would have been a bit too much .

As for the food itself, the items in the set aren’t new, but they taste as reliably delicious as they always have…if you can get past one problem.

The Moogle, with its fuzzy bipedal body, bay wings, and pompom-tipped antenna, doesn’t look like any real-world creature. The Chocobo, though? It’s a flightless bird, and while it’s big enough to ride like an ostrich, its beak, body, and feathers bear a much stronger resemblance to a chicken.

And so it was that our taste-testing reporter Ahiruneko found himself feeling a certain psychological resistance as he prepared to chow down on fried chicken:

“For years, no, make that decades, the Chocobo has been our friend. We’ve travelled the world with these brave, adorable yellow birds. And now KFC is telling us to eat fried chicken right in front of one? Have they no heart?”

Still, he had a job to do, so he hardened his heart and bit into the Wafu Chicken Cutlet Burger, which he was trying for the first time, and his brain reacted with:

“Yessss! This tastes soooo good!”

There were still other complications, though. The Chocobo on the box/sticker is drawn without a very clear facial expression. This is something you’ll see a lot in Japanese character design (most famously with Hello Kitty), and the intent is for whoever’s looking at the drawing to see their own emotions reflected in the character. With Ahiruneko already feeling a little guilty, the more he looked at the Chocobo, the more it looked like it was silently judging him.

At the same time, his impression of the drawing of Colonel Sanders began to shift. Ordinarily, the KFC founder’s smile feels warm and welcoming. With Ahiruneko imagining the Chocobo’s shock at watching him eat fried chicken, though, the Colonel’s carefree cheerfulness began to look more and more like maniacal laugher.

▼ “HAHAHA! Good, Ahiruneko…devour your friend!”

Some of you may say we’re overthinking all this…but for those of you who feel we still haven’t thought about it enough, let’s delve deeper into the subject. First, Chocobo meat doesn’t seem to have ever been canonically consumed be humans within the Final Fantasy games. An optional sidequest in Final Fantasy XIV involves Chocobo meat, but it’s eaten by a dragon, and though one of the items you can obtain in Final Fantasy XV is called a “Chocobo Club Sandwich,” the name seems to be more of a theming/branding strategy at a Chocobo stable’s attached cafe than an indication that the sandwich actually contains Chocobo meat.

However, if we’re counting TV commercials, there is precedent of a Chocobo being saddened by people eating birds. In 1997, Square released Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon for the original PlayStation. With the game coming out on December 23, Square decided on a Christmas theme for the commercial, and when the family’s mom puts a platter with a roasted bird on the table, it makes the Chocobo cry.

But while Japan does have a tradition of eating fried chicken at Christmas, both the commercial’s dialogue and subtitles, as well as the size of the bird, indicate that what that family is eating is a turkey. So there’s still no precedent of a Chocobo being heartbroken about humans eating chicken specifically, and it could be that genetically they’re closer kin to turkeys.

In addition, a separate video created for the KFC/Final Fantasy collaboration shows Alpha, a Chocobo who debuted in Final Fantasy XIV and also appears in the most recent entry in the Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon series, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy, hanging out with Colonel Sanders within the world of Final Fantasy XIV. With the Colonel being history’s most prolific pitchman for fried chicken, it doesn’t seem like Alpha would be up for adventuring together if he had a problem with that particular food.

Ultimately, as with all dietary decisions, it’s up to all of us to arrive at where we feel about this unexpectedly complex issue. If you do decide that you’re OK eating KFC in front of a Chocobo, though, the limited-time promotion is still going on.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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