Like Father, Like Son

“Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light” is an inspiring story about how a video game brought a father and son together one last time

Sansu the Cat
Portraits in Pixel
Published in
8 min readDec 16, 2022


Image of Maidy and his dad from the “Dad of Light” TV show. Used as an aide to criticism under “Fair Use.”

SPOILER ALERT: Plot details for FFXIV: Dad of Light follow.

NOTE: In this essay, I will sometimes quote or refer to a 2015 interview in the online magazine Inside Games. The interview was originally in Japanese and I translated it myself. My Japanese is far from perfect, so I cannot guarantee the most accurate translation, but I did the best that I could. My sincere apologies for any mistakes made.

There are those who blame video games for making people more antisocial, for driving us further into our rooms and further away from our friends. You know the stereotype, but what about the good that games have done to bring people together? For many of us as kids, this meant fighting games or racing games with siblings and friends, but with the growth of the internet, this pool has expanded. Now we can interact with people all across the globe. These interactions have not always been positive, mind you, but real relationships have been forged. What makes Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light so interesting, is not that it brings together two people from different sides of the globe, but a father and a son in the same household.

From Blogging to Netflix

The most remarkable thing about this show is that it was based on a true story. A Japanese gamer, Maidy, penned a series of blog posts on his website, “1-Click Kill SS Diary”, which chronicled his “Father of Light” plan to grow closer with his 60 year old father. He would start off by anonymously making friends with his father in Final Fantasy XIV, but not revealing his identity until after they defeat the mega boss Twintania with their team.

A photo from Maidy’s original blog. Source: 1-Click Kill SS Diary.

The Netflix show essentially follows this route, though many details understandably had to be condensed within the eight episode limit. The amount of time spent in the real world and the video game world are roughly equal, with problems in one inevitably spilling into the other. From here on out, when I refer to Maidy and his father, it will be the Netflix versions, unless otherwise noted.

The producers deserve some credit for making Maidy into a relatable protagonist. Even though he has a steady job as a salaryman, Maidy is still a bachelor who lives with his parents. They also don’t make him into a gamer stereotype. A little shy, sure, but he’s kind, thoughtful, and handsome. His father is a little complicated. When Maidy was a child, he could be strict and demanding, but now, in his old age, he looks like a helpless toddler, both amazed and terrified by FFXIV. Maidy’s father is also quite reserved, to the point that Maidy feels as if he hardly knows him at all.

On his blog, the real Maidy noted that while he didn’t hate his father, his busy job kept them apart when they were kids. As an adult, Maidy has found that roles are reversed, and now it is his job which keeps them apart. He hopes that they can rekindle their relationship by interacting with one another in the game.

On the Netflix show, Maidy’s relationship with video games begins when his father buys Final Fantasy III for him for the Famicom. The game not only gets the son hooked, but also, the father secretly gains an interest as well. While his father eventually moved on from video games, Maidy became a lifelong fan. When his father inexplicably quits from his job, Maidy buys him a PS4 and FFXIV as a retirement present. The real Father of Light, however, was already something of a gamer. He received the PS4 from his wife for his 60th birthday, and managed to beat Thief and Metal Gear Solid V by the time his son introduced him to FFXIV.

The copy of FFXIV which Maidy bought for his father. Source: “1-Click Kill SS Diary”.

What is accurate, however, is that his father did have trouble with online gaming. As the real-life Maidy wrote on his blog, “Dad loved games, but he hardly knew a thing about the online ones.” After some help, his father manages to start things up under the username “Indy Jones.” In the show, “Indy” is completely hopeless, from fighting enemies above his level to failing to communicate with other players. In a 2015 interview with Inside Games, the real “Father of Light” admitted that he searches strategy guides, rather than consult his own son, because he still had trouble expressing himself within FFXIV.

The in-game animation for the show is great. Set within the fantastic world of Eorzea, this was a great opportunity for Square to show off the rich graphics of FFXIV. Dare I say, characters are more expressive in the game than they are in real-life. Intentional or not, it speaks to the liberating nature of these online games, where people are free to act without fearing societal constraints. Maidy, who in the game is a sexy catgirl, has a wide variety of emotive facial expressions. Indy, however, can reflect the father’s awkwardness with his blank stares and humorous motions.

Even the real-life drama is interesting. So much so that you momentarily forget that this show is about FFXIV. There’s plenty of good comedy between the co-workers. Of course, there are lessons which bind the two worlds together. Women, for instance, tend to quit at the office very often, and Maidy is tasked to figure out why. He recalls that his father briefly quit FFXIV because he doesn’t know how to change his costume. This may seem trivial, but this helps him to realize that sometimes people give up on things for trivial reasons. Thanks to this new understanding, one co-worker feels comfortable enough to tell him that many women quit because they don’t like the uniforms.

Life and Death

It is revealed towards the end of the show that Maidy’s father is suffering from a serious illness. He kept this illness to himself, only revealing it to Maidy in the game. It turns out that this illness is what caused his father to retire. At the time, his job was the only thing that had given him meaning. He no longer saw any reason to live, which is why he hesitated to try the surgery his doctor recommended.

This changed when he started to play FFXIV. Meeting new friends in the game and going on adventures with them had given him a new reason to live. When Maidy first learned about his father’s illness from one of his old friends, he began to worry that he had wasted his last moments with his father playing video games. Now he has learned that, far from wasting his father’s life, this game might well have saved it.

The real “Maidy” and “Father of Light” being interviewed within FFXIV by Inside Games in 2015. Source: Inside Games.

Renewed by his life in the game, Maidy’s dad resolves to take the surgery, from which he might not survive. This gives them only three days to defeat Twintania. Their eventual battle with Twintania is exhilarating for anyone who has challenged a difficult boss and come out victorious. The real victory, though, comes from the willingness of Maidy’s father to face his illness. This, in his words, makes him a real “Warrior of Light.” Of course, the real “Father of Light” did not suffer a life-threatening illness. This plotline was thrown in for dramatic effect, but it does bear a somber relation to the true story.

In 2018, just one year after the release of the show, Ren Osugi, the actor for the “Father of Light”, passed away from a heart attack at age 66. He had starred in many great Japanese films such as Hana-bi, Audition, and Shin Gojira. It’s a little strange, but Dad of Light could be seen as a final send-off to his long career.

Then, in 2020, the real-life Maidy passed away after a difficult battle with colorectal cancer. It turns out that he was suffering through the same trial that the Father of Light did in the show. It’s mind-blowing to think that FFXIV gave him a final chance to reconnect with his father, and that if he hadn’t been a gamer, he might never have had that chance. As Maidy himself reflected in the Inside Games interview:

“Our relationship has father and son had always been on the rocks, but through FFXIV, we were able to revisit that relationship and accept one another. We were able to forge a new understanding as father and son. I think that if it weren’t for this plan, my father and I would have been at odds with each other until our dying days, but thanks to this plan, we were able to give one another the most important thing of all.”

A tribute video to Maidy from AP Games which highlights his best gaming moments.

Naoki Yoshida, the director and producer of FFXIV, knew Maidy on a personal level, and penned a tribute to him entitled “To My Dear Friend and Comrade” on the FFXIV Developer’s Blog. Yoshida first met Maidy during the production of the Netflix show, where they both connected over their love of Gundam. When Maidy was hospitalized again with cancer, Yoshida gave him a Nu Gundam model to complete. Maidy never lived to finish the model, but Yoshida believed that “he took it with him to the other side.”

Dad of Light makes the case that video games deserve a place alongside baseball, fishing, and hiking, as a traditional pastime that can bring fathers and sons together. Though we need not limit this to fathers and sons. It can be mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends at school, lovers across the country, and even strangers from around the world. Games are more than just entertainment, they are a bridge between people.

A photo from the Netflix show. Source: IGN.



Sansu the Cat
Portraits in Pixel

I write about art, life, and humanity. M.A. Japanese Literature. B.A. Spanish & Japanese. email: