Wakka: Would a Blitzball Really Hurt Someone? – Final Fantasy X


Final Fantasy X is among my favorite games of all time. The story and characters are just superbly written, and the gameplay was at the peak of turn-based combat for that period. 
I had only a couple of issues with the game, and one of them was Wakka. 

Do not get me wrong, I really like Wakka’s personality and backstory: A blitzball player who never won a competition, with a blind faith in his religion and a hatred for the Al Bhed, which he considers to be the reason his brother, Chappu, is dead. 

He will end up joining Yuna’s guardians and eventually marry his dead brother’s girlfriend. Yikes.
Here is where I have a problem with Wakka: while the others will fight Sin and Yu Yevon with swords, halberds, grenades, magic and summons, he decided to bring a ball.  

Yes, I can’t stand the idea that this man one day woke up and said to himself: “You know what? I like blitzball, so I’m going to fight monsters with a ball”. I mean, I like music, but I am not gonna fight throwing a vinyl feeling like I am Xena the Warrior Princess.

Now I know that the game is called Final Fantasy for a reason, but today I decided to put on my math-hat and to roast his abilities, putting them in a more realistic setting. 


Assumptions for the Analysis

I think it is necessary to understand the setting for one second. Considering his lore characteristics, Wakka has no hidden physical enhancements, nor does he use magic to aid his normal attack throws. He does not use a special ball, and for the sake of keeping this analysis realistic, I decided to omit that variant of ball with metal spikes all over, because I want to leave Wakka some dignity at least. 

I will assume also that the Wakka in the analysis follows only his archetype and does not own any sphere points in any other character’s sphere grid. 

Wakka’s Unconventional Arsenal: The Blitzball


In order to do some basic math later, we must understand Wakka’s Weapon: a standard blitzball. 
According to the wiki, a blitzball measures 30cm (about 11.81 in) in diameter. Unfortunately, there is no reference for its weight, so here we must speculate. 

I would say that the blitzball can’t be too heavy since it is also used for kicking and punching. It is seen deform after a kick and go upwards, so it should be very light. According to its size, I would put it to 0.45kg (1 lb.) and not more. I know that it should be even lighter than that, but hey, let’s give Wakka a chance. 

Knowing his weight, or mass, will be critical to determine how strong Wakka’s attacks can be. Before that, though, let’s talk about Wakka’s strength. 

From Wakka to Weak-ka: Evaluating Wakka’s Strength

In order to calculate the force of Wakka’s attack, we have to estimate the speed of his throws. 

To find the speed, we have to use the formula: 

Speed = distance / time. 

For the distance, I used a distance of 8 meters (26 ft.) from his position to the enemy. For the time, I timed one of Wakka’s normal attacks in the game while not buffed and turns out to be around 0.30s. 

Speed = 8 / 0.3 
= 26.66 m/s (85 ft/s) 

This doesn’t seem like a lot. According to eurohandball.com, the fastest handball throw ever recorded is 38.89 m/s (127ft/s). Considering his “seasoned warrior” status, let’s round that poor man’s performance to 30m/s. 

We do not, however, need the speed per se, but the acceleration. 

The acceleration is the time that the ball needs to go from 0m/s to 30m/s. After applying the acceleration formula and deciding to put at 0.15s the time for the ball to reach said speed, the acceleration would be 200m/s^2. 

Now that we have found both the mass of a blitzball and its acceleration, we can calculate the force of impact. 

How hard does Wakka really hit? 

We have gathered enough to understand how hard Wakka can hit something with a blitzball. Let’s use the formula for Force, which is: 

Force = Mass * Acceleration. 
Force = 0.45 * 200 
= 90 N (newtons) 

The force is equal to 90N… but knowing that does not help that much since we are not familiar with newtons (at least, I am not). Let’s see how this force can apply to some common injuries. 

An article from the University of Michigan states that a head concussion occurs when the head is struck with a force equal to 90-100 g-force. 
After converting 90N in g-force, we barely reach 20 g-force. 

So, can Wakka cause a head concussion? Nope. 

Discovery.com states that it takes more than 4000N to break a typical human femur. With his throws, Wakka can only dream of getting even close to a fraction of it. 

Can Wakka break a bone? Nope. 

Considering what we have now, Wakka would perform much better fighting naked with a spoon. 

Reality Check #1: Accuracy Issues

Now that we understand that Wakka is as dangerous as my nephew, who’s 5, let’s understand another major flaw in his fighting style: accuracy. 

Before even applying the force that we have discussed, he has to get something with his attacks. Enemies are likely not going to stay in place waiting for a ball to hit them in their weakest spot, instead they will try to actively dodge. Wakka claims that his specialty is flying enemies, which in my opinion makes no sense at all, since it will be even more difficult. 

Hit the enemy or not, he will face another problem: go get his ball.

Reality Check #2: Catching the Uncooperative Ball

It’s Final Fantasy, so critical hits may happen. Let’s say that Wakka manages to score a critical hit… which would equal to kill an enemy which had already several health issues and a very, very soft skull. 

The man has only ONE ball. I am no statistician, but the odds that the ball that he throws comes back like Thor’s Mjolnir are minimal. He would have to chase his ball after EACH throw, which already is dangerous because that would make him vulnerable to enemy attacks… but that’s not it. 

Do you remember some of the locations where Wakka and co. fought? I am talking airships, on top of a flying Sin, on a boat, in the peaks of Mt. Gagazet… what are the chances that he can even catch the ball before it is lost forever? 

Reality Check #3: Fighting Underwater? Seriously?

I already came to terms with the fact that Blitzball as a sport would be impossible. The whole thing is justified by the fact that the water in the Blitzball Sphere is infused with pyreflies, which changes gravity and makes people able to last longer without breathing. Yes, it is as fishy (pun kinda intended) as it can get.

The rest of Spira does not have the same justification, and his ball is filled with air. He would not be able to even dive holding his blitzball, let alone fight. 


I think I have roasted Wakka enough, so let’s conclude with something positive about him. He does use some forms of magic, and some of that is used while infused in his throws to cause status alterations, which is the main reason to keep him in the party.  

Magic or not, the 3 “other problems” written above would apply anyway, so it is now up to you, reader, to judge. 

Before concluding it is better if I state that I am no mathematician, so the math used can be inaccurate. It was extremely funny nonetheless, and I took it off my chest after years and years of thinking about this. 

If you are interested in Final Fantasy, here are two more articles talking about the history of Vincent Valentine and the Gunblade in Real-World History

I will see you in the next one! 

2 thoughts on “Wakka: Would a Blitzball Really Hurt Someone? – Final Fantasy X”

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