The XII Ultimania Omega reveals this nice bit of information about Yoshida’s artwork of Fran and Balthier, shown in the End Credits of the game (image in the middle to the right, from FF Wikia), and published in at least the Ultimania Omega (top picture) next to the following text:
吉田 出会って間もないころの、バルフレアとフランです。まあ、ヴィエラは寿命が長いので、フランの見た目は現在と変わらないはずなんですけど、バルフレアに合わせて少し 若作りっぽくしてみました。バルフレアのほうは、回想シーンのために描いた若いころのイメージ（P→.3）をそのまま使っていますが、メガネだけは、はずして います。
Balthier & Fran
(Art Museum card illustration)
Yoshida: Balthier and Fran from around the time they first met. Given the long life-span of the Viera, you could say Fran’s appearance is the same, although Balthier’s has changed a little. With regard to him, the sketch from his younger days (→pg. 3) was used for this flashback scene, just with the glasses removed.
The sketch on page 3 is the middle centre image, showing Balthier with his glasses, along with the text in the middle left image (untranslated).
So what do we take from this? Several things, I guess:
- Balthier wore glasses in his younger days.
- He wore only his shirt at first and started using his vest at a later point.
- The colourful wristbands has been with him since his younger days.
- He was still quite young (from what I can tell from his picture and the attitude) when he met Fran.
- Fran started wearing her armour after meeting Balthier (that, or she has a set of casual clothes she wears around him?)
- They have been to Eruyt before? (Check the background.) Did he pick up Fran from the Wood?! Or did they revisit it? Balthier’s dialogue does not rule out having met neither Jote or Mjrn before, although I guess we all thought this was his first visit to Eruyt when we played the game. This particular background might be for illustrative purposes only though. It is still strange, why Yoshida chose to use this particular background. Maybe he knew eff all what he was doing. Will we ever know?
Anyway what we CAN take from it is that they have both changed since they met, Balthier going from dork to pirate with an attitude, Fran… unless she keeps a change of clothes, having armoured up.
I can not thank TresDias enough for this translation. He is also doing the one of Ashe and Basch, where they are in their underwear. Kinda excited about that one as well.
South Gate Summit Station - Aerbs Peak Station, Final Fantasy IX