Maybe I was wrong about grinding, maybe I was right. Maybe I'm just bad at that game.
No, you can not be right (no offsense), you probably confused with another game. Maybe if you fight the absolute
minimum # of battles that are on your path, maybe you end up in trouble. But if you fought like 2/3 of the fights in every dungeon I'm 99% sure you could finish the game with no issues whatsoever. You could also skip most of the overworld optional battles, but still fights some once in a while. Without any backtracking and running arround for the sole purpose of fighting battles, there is no "grinding" for our definition, but maybe it counts as grinding for you.
I just remember a "Pazuzu" boss that was particularly "hard" (by "hard" I mean, it sometimes did lots of damage and rerquired luck to go by, not that there was any actual "challenge").
And I doubt you could ever be "bad at that game". It's attack, attack, heal when your HP is low, attack, attack. Some magic, too if you like it. You cannot ever get "bad at that game", unless you would be so dumb that you don't understand you should heal when your HP is low, but I doubt this is your case.
Earlier you mentioned running out of items. As far as I can remember I had 99 items of each pretty much all the time, without using any cheats. That is because chests refills every time you leave the room, and many chests are in towns so no battles have to be fought to get them. And it's not like I came back to the room a lot of time only to grab more items, it's just I bumped into the chest again when visiting the town.
It's an RPG for crying out loud. If the battles aren't fun then the game isn't fun because the battles are 95% of the game!
You have a point here. I'd be interested to know the exact percentage of time spent in battles in various RPGs, that'd be an interesting thing to know. I already mentioned such a thing before by throwing arbitrarily numbers, but I did not measure anything.
And, as masochistic as it might sound, it can be overall fun to spend 95% of your time pressing the 'A' button and listening to a great music tune while getting bored, if the remaining 5% of exploration are interesting. Of course you will only play the game for less than, say, 45 minutes before quitting.
Except for in battle, you can SAVE ANYWHERE!!! That's awesome.
In most RPGs, you'd be at risk of saving in an unbeatable situation if you'd be allowed to save anywhere. Romancing SaGa1 immediately comes to mind. In ordinary Final Fantasy games, if you do the error to save after running our of tents there is also a problem, and a risk that you'd have to redo the entire game again. In FFMQ this is not possible as you can backtrack to the entrance of a dungeon without fighting any battles, as you already fought them.