I found this history of Final Fantasy on reddit and it mentions about Final Fantasy 1:
it was one of the first games to adopt the right vs. left fighting style. Other games in that genre had been utilizing a first person turn-taking combat mode.
I'm wondering why they decided to put your characters on the right and the enemies on the left. I think a much more natural way to do it would be to put your characters on the left. Is this somehow a cultural decision, was it because UI design was new and amateurish back then, or is it for some beneficial reason that I haven't thought of?
This decision has persisted in multiple games after the fact.
Final Fantasy 2
Final Fantasy 3
Final Fantasy 4
Final Fantasy 5
Final Fantasy 6
Final Fantasy 7
And so on... I'm having trouble figuring out if FF8 used this UI from screenshots. But I figure they must have stuck with this UI for this long for a good reason.