Okay, I see how you were going about Leah's character now, and it makes more sense too that she'd just call Sands an "it."
As for that anime-mimicry... Yeah, avoid it when you can. It just comes across as bad to most reviewers.
And, you're not the only person here who hasn't played FF; so don't feel like you're missing out too much. Even I've only played like seven of the games (I through VI and XII: Revenent Wings for the DS), and while they're all good, some are a little generic.