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Leonhart's Final Fantasy Character Rankings was a ranking topic that Leonhart posted on Board 8 in early 2010.

The Rankings[]

1. Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "Rinoa... Even if you end up as the world's enemy, I'll...I'll be your knight..."

All right, here we go. I’m going to try to avoid doing anything too much like a character analysis (though I’m sure I’ll throw in some parenthetical stuff from time to time, can’t help it) and just try to explain why I love this guy so much. I’m sure there will be those of you who disagree, and I think I’ve been afraid of what people will say so much that I just haven’t wanted to do this, but here goes nothing! Squall is easily my favorite character of all-time, and it’d take something crazy good to change that. Tidus is easily my second favorite video game character, but he still doesn’t even come that close to him.

I guess we should start with some background information. Final Fantasy VII was my first time playing the series (and my second RPG ever, after Super Mario RPG), and I loved it to death. I had never played anything like it before, and I was totally hooked, so when I heard they were making Final Fantasy VIII, I was thrilled. At the time, I didn’t realize all the Final Fantasy games were different universes and all that, and I really wanted another story with Cloud and company, so when I saw that it was going to be an entirely different cast of characters, I was kinda disappointed, but hey, FFVII was so great, I’d still have to give this one a shot anyway (By the way, is PS1-era Square one of the greatest companies of all-time or what?).

When I saw that they were offering a playable demo of Final Fantasy VIII with Brave Fencer Musashi, I snatched it up immediately. Yes, I essentially bought a demo that came with a free game, but that one actually worked out well in my favor, as BFM is an excellent game as well! Anyway, once I played the demo, I was excited as all get out for this game, and I didn’t even care that it wasn’t Cloud and company anymore. The setting was interesting, the characters looked really good, I liked the battle system and the graphics for summoning Leviathan, and trying to escape from X-ATM092 at the end was ridiculously tense. Ironically enough, I played this demo so much that I actually dread doing the Dollet SeeD Exam every time I play through FFVIII now. Looking back on it, I think it’s kinda funny how Rinoa literally only has one line the entire demo, and it’s only used if Zell’s KO’d as you’re trying to escape from the X-ATM092 battle after you’ve temporarily disabled it.

Anyway, I’m usually not a big preorder guy, but Final Fantasy VIII got preordered as soon as possible. I still have that awesome cloth map of the FFVIII world that they gave as a preorder bonus, too, and it still comes in handy trying to remember where that blasted White SeeD Ship is. The FFVIII case they gave me at EB was actually cracked, too, though I didn’t realize it until I got home. It was kinda frustrating for me because I’m the kind of guy who likes to take good care of his stuff, but I didn’t take it back. The discs still work perfectly fine to this day, so no harm done.

Eventually, 9/9/99 came around (Forget Dreamcast Day, that’s Final Fantasy VIII Day!), and I was so excited to have the game. I remember watching the opening FMV and being in awe of how amazing it was (By the way, FFVIII has top-notch presentation and atmosphere, it’s one of the things I love about it. Just watching the pre-title screen credits roll with Overture playing in the background is awesome, so well done). So yeah, after Liberi Fatali and the opening FMV, I’m already loving Squall (and for the record, the reason Squall ends up in the infirmary after that fight and Seifer doesn’t is because Seifer pulled the trigger when he attacked and Squall didn’t. I always thought it was interesting that he didn’t pull the trigger. Even in a situation like that, he keeps his emotions under control. I think the reason he counterattacked wasn’t out of anger, but out of pride and competitive spirit. He wasn’t gonna let Seifer get the better of him in that situation, and I think it also shows how differently they each view their rivalry with the other person, but I’ll probably touch on that later).

Anyway, I think five really long paragraphs is enough introduction to this write-up [insert nervous laughter here]. Let me give you the big reason I love Squall so much: I feel like I know him, understand him, and can relate to him. This may seem kinda silly to you, but let me explain. One of the things I loved about Final Fantasy VIII is that it let you into Squall’s head in a way that no other game I’ve played before or since (As an aside, one of the things I love about Phoenix Wright are his little sidebar blue thoughts). I just loved the idea of having “insider information” about Squall that nobody else in the game had. The other characters have this perception of who he is because he intentionally presents himself in that way, but deep down, I get to learn who he really is. It really made me feel like I was Squall. The way the game presented it was just fantastic, and I believe it was absolutely necessary for it to be done this way. I think Squall as a character would not have been as effective without being able to peer into his every thought, and Final Fantasy VIII would not have been as effective as a game without that as well.

Now that’s not to say that Squall doesn’t have other qualities I enjoy, but I’m just saying that this one thing is what puts him over everybody else. He’s just so well-executed as a character in such a way that really appeals to me. Plus, when I was a teenager, I was obviously very impressionable and I could easily get obsessed with things. When I first got FFVIII, I marathoned this game. From the first Friday I had the game when I got out of school for the weekend until Sunday when I went to bed, nearly every waking minute was spent playing this game. I was completely hooked and engrossed by it, and Squall was the big reason why. I was just fascinated by everything he said and did. He was just so cool, and I thought his character was very interesting. I really wish I could put how I feel into words better than this, but I think you’re getting a general idea of how passionate I am about this guy and how much I love him.

Speaking of my obsessive nature, I probably shouldn’t say all this (In general, if you have to preface a story with this, you probably shouldn’t tell it, but here goes), but let me give you a general idea of how much I ended up loving Squall and the story of Final Fantasy VIII. After I beat the game, I didn’t want the story to end and I didn’t want to leave the world FFVIII had created so much that I actually started writing a fanfiction within a couple of weeks of beating it. Oh, and it ended up being 208 pages long, all hand-written, and I’ve written other FFVIII fanfics on top of that one (And no, you don’t want to read them). I actually wrote out a bunch of FFVIII information by hand as well, such as character profiles and stuff like that (Also did this for FFVII, Street Fighter, and Star Fox 64, by the way), just to get a better grasp of the information and because I just enjoyed writing. It was fun. I bought a Griever necklace, too, although only a few people who ever saw me wear it knew where it was from, none of them female, which was unfortunate. Oh wait, there was one girl who knew, but she was ugly and not very nice. Go figure.

Back on topic, I bring up the bad fanfic writing for one reason: One of the things I would do while I was writing the thing (Over the course of about a year and a half, I think) was to replay the game so I could study the characters. I would pay attention to their speech mannerisms (Irvine’s habit of saying “So like,” Selphie’s habit of making up weird words that don’t exist, Quistis speaking very formally most of the time) and body language so I could keep them in character. Yeah, that may seem weird, but when I do something, I want to do it right! So yeah, strange as it may sound, spending all that time writing bad fanfiction only further endeared me to the cast of Final Fantasy VIII, and Squall in particular.

Oh, and I guess I should cover some of the more “shallow” things I like about Squall while I’m at it. I really like his character design (as an aside, another teenage nerd moment, since I have the same hair color, I let my hair grow out a bit longer than usual so I could look more like him. I even copied some of his mannerisms, like I would sit the same way he does, which was really bad posture so I eventually had to give that up, but still! Again, this all goes back to the hero worship stuff, but yeah). His FFVIII character design is the best. I know a lot of people really like Squall’s KH design, but I’m not as big of a fan of it. His Dissidia design isn’t as good either. He looks…too thin or something. Either way, the FFVIII design is where it’s at.

Squall also has fantastic Limit Breaks. The dude can make a pillar of light shoot up out of the earth even when he’s in space, for one thing! Seriously though, I do like how certain characters have unique Renzokuken animations (Jumbo Cactuar in particular is ridiculously awesome), and then Lion Heart is the best, both the gunblade (Glowing blue blade the best) and the Limit Break. When I fight Ultimecia, I always try to make the last blow a Squall Limit Break in hopes that he uses Lion Heart as a finishing blow. I remember the first time it happened, it was a pretty epic moment.

Squall also has a lot of scenes designed and engineered to make him look really cool. The Liberi Fatali scene goes without saying, of course. There’s also the FMV at the end of the Dollet SeeD Exam where he jumps and escapes from the X-ATM092. The Sorceress Assassination Mission in Dollet is “Squall cool zone” pretty much the whole way through once the parade starts. In particular, I love the FMV where he leaps off of the platform with his gunblade and smashes the Galbadian soldier as he lands, and then jumps in the car and drives off like it’s nothing. Underratedly cool moment there. Speaking of which, I remember freaking out at the end of disc 1 when Squall got impaled by Edea’s Ice Strike and thinking he was dead. I was like, “No wayyyyyyy! And I thought killing of Aeris at the end of disc 1 in FFVII was unexpected! Now they’re killing off the main character of the game at the end of disc 1? Holy crap.” Thankfully, he survived and all was well (and no, that’s not a plot hole. The game explains what happened).

In disc 2, the moment when Squall swoops in with the gunblade and cuts down the warden to save Zell was really cool. Resisting all the torture was cool, too (although giving the phony answer about why SeeD exists is hilarious). The Battle Between the Gardens at the end of disc 2 is another one of those scenes that requires no explanation. Squall has lots of cool moments, especially when he steps up and finally seems to accept and become a real leader, breaking out of his shell a bit and giving that motivational speech while “The Oath” plays in the background (FFVIII’s soundtrack does a fantastic job of setting the atmosphere in this game, one of the reasons it’s one of my all-time favorites).

In disc 3, there was Squall throwing everything on the line and jumping out into space to save Rinoa. I think that was when Squall went from being more than the leader of a band of mercenaries and became a real hero, at least to me. People knock disc 3 Squall (and disc 3 of FFVIII in general), but I think he still kept developing as a character right up to the very end, though not without his struggles and regressions (which I think make him a more realistic character. There’s nothing wrong with a video game character regressing to his old ways because of something bad that happens to him, a la Advent Children Cloud, but I’ll stop there). I also think it’s funny how some people who played Kingdom Hearts say they hated Squall before, but they liked him in KH, considering that KH Squall is basically just Disc 3-4 Squall, in fully developed form. Eh, go figure. Disc 4, of course, has the ending, which had loads of good Squall moments packed into a short amount of time, but I think I’ll hit that one in a bit more detail later on.

Anyway, let’s delve into Squall’s character a bit, shall we? Final Fantasy VIII is a game where resolving Squall’s inner conflict is more important than resolving the plot’s external conflict. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the external conflict couldn’t be resolved without Squall resolving his inner conflict. They’re interrelated in a sense. Of course, there are several “issues” that he has to deal with, the most important being his inability to attach himself emotionally to another human being. After all, the main theme of FFVIII is “Love,” and so that is the main problem that will seek to be resolved. Another underlying theme of the game is the idea of “Fate” or “Destiny,” so another thing Squall has to deal with is learning to accept the things life throws at him which are outside of his control, something he openly resists on more than one occasion.

I think some of my favorite Squall moments are his internal monologues where he’s trying to reason these things out in his own mind. You can tell he’s struggling with these things and he doesn’t know what he should do, which is something that he’s not used to. Part of the reason he became a SeeD is because he thrives on discipline and duty. Simply having to follow the orders that were given to him was the ideal life for Squall. There was nothing for him to struggle with, only orders to obey. No emotional factors came into play or anything like that.

That’s one of the reasons being appointed as leader of SeeD throws him for a total loop. Now he’s the commander, not the one being commanded. It also goes back to the idea of him trying not to get emotionally attached to people. As a leader and commander, Squall has an obligation to care about and be accountable for his people. He has to interact with people. He has to make decisions based on the well-being of others. Squall had a goal of going through life without having to depend on or become emotionally attached to anyone, despite how unrealistic that may have been. That can no longer be the case because now he has people who rely on him and people he has to look out for. Squall understood full well the implications of being appointed as leader, which is one of the reasons he initially resisted it.

That moment also factors into the whole “Fate/Destiny” theme because being appointed as the SeeD Commander wasn’t something Squall chose for himself. It was something Headmaster Cid forced on him, and he wasn’t really given a say about it one way or the other, which really irritated him. In fact, it ended up bothering him so much that he had a rare emotional outburst at Cid, saying, “Don’t talk about it like it’s been decided since my birth!” Squall wanted to be in control of his own life, to determine how things ended up for him.

Squall’s other rare emotional outburst is probably the more well-known one, the “I won’t have anybody talk about me in the past tense!” moment. What was it that made him so upset? It was the fact that people were talking about Seifer however they liked, whether it was really true or not, and whether Seifer really approved of it or not. His “image,” if you will, was outside of his control, and Squall wondered if the same thing would happen to him when he died. Would they make him into a completely different person than he really was, just to be nice and because they felt pity for him? His life, his destiny, was his to make, not anyone else. At least that’s my take on this, maybe you disagree.

Watching Squall slowly change and develop over the course of the game was a real treat to me. Some people say a lot of it happened out of nowhere and for no real reason, but I have to disagree respectably on that point. I’m not trying to say my opinions on FFVIII are infallible simply because I played it so many times or whatever, but I feel like playing it so many times has given me the advantage of being able to notice more things. It’s difficult to pick up on everything there is to see in a single playthrough, even if you’re being thorough. I feel like subsequent playthroughs give you a broader sense of perspective because you’re able to tie things together since you already know what happens.

Anyway, as I was saying, it’s just interesting to watch Squall develop from an emotionally hardened, self-reliant cadet who resists his destiny to someone who eventually becomes a leader and a true hero, learning to accept his destiny, all thanks to the POWER OF LOOOOOOOVE! “Without love, it cannot be seen,” and all that. Seriously though, it is fun to watch Squall slowly open up to those around him. Of course, he never fully opens up, but I don’t really think he has to. He opened up enough for there to have been a very noticeable change in him. Plus, I don’t want to lose those internal monologues and that inside information I love so much!

On that note, one of my favorite Squall moments is when he first leaves Garden, carrying the comatose Rinoa to see Ellone, and he starts thinking about himself and how he’s changed. He even as a moment of self-disclosure to Rinoa, even if she can’t really hear or respond to him.

<i>(...It's pretty far... Didn't think it would be this far...What am I doing...? Go to Esthar... Find Ellone... Talk to Ellone... But there's no guarantee that everything will be resolved if I talk to Ellone. Even so, I'm... I........sure have changed.)

(I wonder what everyone's doing...? They're probably laughing at me. Or maybe they're angry...?) "What do you think? To tell you the truth... I worry too much about what others think of me. I hate that side of me... That's why I didn't want anyone to get to know me. I wanted to hide that side of myself. I hate it. Squall is an unfriendly, introverted guy. It made it easy for me when people perceived me that way. That's a secret between you and me. Got that?"</i>
I think this is one of the most important scenes when it comes to “understanding” who Squall is. He didn’t push everyone away because he hates the world or whatever. He pushed everyone away because he knew what kind of person he was, how emotionally attached he can get to people, and how painful it can be when someone you get close to betrays you, like what happened with Ellone. He was afraid of caring too much. Thinking Ellone had abandoned him was so devastating for him that he was willing to deprive himself of any possible joy of loving and caring about others just to avoid the potential of getting hurt again because, to him, the pain of loss was greater than the joy you get from developing a relationship. Plus, Squall seemed to think that the joy was only temporary and the pain was inevitable, so the natural solution was to try to avoid both because the joy eventually becomes pain. Sure, in a way, that’s pretty messed up and irrational (Rinoa calls him out on that point, and Squall himself comes to agree that thinking that way was the wrong way to go), but people tend to do some pretty messed up and irrational things when they get hurt. On that note, one of the great ironies of the game (at least to me) is that, despite the fact that Squall tries so hard to push people away from him, it seems like people are naturally drawn to him.

2. Tidus (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Listen to my story. This... may be our last chance."

Okay, I’m going to try to do a full writeup on Tidus for the first time ever. I’m not sure how well this is going to go, but let’s do this. Why do I love Tidus so much? I think the main reason is because I got so immersed in the world of Final Fantasy X that I really felt like I was seeing the world through his eyes. I managed to avoid spoilers for this game when it came out; I knew the basic information for the game, but that was about it. As a result, I ended up experiencing and learning about Spira as Tidus did. I got to experience the twists and turns of the game as he did: Finding out Sin was Jecht, finding out Yuna would die from the Final Summoning, finding out that he was going to disappear if they managed to defeat Yu Yevon, all of that stuff. Never saw that stuff coming, and it was great for me. I thought that was a really nice touch, and I wish everyone was able to experience FFX that way because I think that’s what Square was going for in this game.

I find myself unable to hate the things about Tidus that other people hate. I personally think James Arnold Taylor did a great job with the voice acting. I think it fits his character really well. I like how he uses a more serious tone during the narration parts as well. By the way, I love characters where I get a little insight into their thoughts, insight that the other characters don’t get. Again, it creates a feeling of seeing the world through his eyes and helps me relate to him better (which is a big reason why the character who’s #1 is #1, but more on that when we get to it!). Plus, I must admit I am a fan of cheesy stuff, so the things that people consider “cringe-worthy” in this game make me laugh. The Laughing Scene makes me laugh. Tidus’s various impressions of other characters in the game make me laugh. He can be a really cheesy character sometimes, and I love him for it.

People really overblow how much Tidus whines, by the way. I’m sure you’ve heard people on the board rant on this (probably me), so I won’t hit on this much. Tidus whines some at the beginning of the game, but I don’t really blame him. He’s just been thrown out of his comfort zone, taken out of the only world and lifestyle he’s ever known, and left to fend for himself. I think it makes him a more realistic character (Yeah, some people don’t necessarily want/like “realistic” characters in this sense, but I do, so yeah). Plus, his whininess tones down considerably as the game goes along and he matures. That’s one thing I like about Tidus. You can notice a visible maturing process as the game goes along. He starts off as this spoiled superstar who just wants to go back home as soon as possible, but he eventually throws himself wholeheartedly and enthusiastically into the pilgrimage, having been won over by Yuna’s resolve and kindness. Then he grows into someone who refuses to stand by and let her unjustly die, but he resolves to find some other way to save her. Finally, he becomes the greatest guardian who’s ever lived and the hero who’s willing to lay down his own life for the one he loves.

Speaking of that, I’ve heard people criticize Tidus for being willing to sacrifice himself when he thought it was wrong for Yuna to do the same thing, and for hiding the truth from everyone like he got angry for everyone else for doing to him. Honestly, I think it’s a valid criticism, particularly the second part. I think the first part is a little more excusable though. First of all, I don’t necessarily think he was opposed to sacrifice. I think he was opposed to basically “settling” for sacrifice without looking to see if there was any other way, and he was opposed to sacrifice without reason. If Sin was just going to come back, why do it? More importantly, if all of the teachings of Yevon are just a lie, why give the people false hope? Yuna and everyone else eventually did come around to his way of thinking on this one, too.

Going along that line, despite Tidus talking about how bad he is at thinking, he’s actually a rather thoughtful person. He has a tendency throughout the game to ask questions that get the other characters in the game to start thinking, particularly about Yevon. Yuna, Wakka, and Lulu have only known life under Yevon, and so they take the teachings for granted without thinking much about it. Tidus is an outsider, so whenever he’s confused about something, he’s not afraid to ask a question, which gets them questioning those beliefs they had never questioned before. I think that goes back to me seeing things through his eyes. I have these questions, too, and Tidus simply vocalizes them. I like those scenes in the game because they usually end up being some pretty neat conversations.

I’ve really already addressed Tidus’s relationships with the other characters in the game in their individual writeups, so I won’t spend too long here. I do think he has good chemistry with the other party members. Final Fantasy X has one of my favorite main casts in an RPG, and they work well together. Of course, I would be remiss to talk about Tidus and neglect to mention the ending. It’s one of my favorite endings in a video game because Tidus is one of my favorite characters, and at the same time, it cemented him as my second favorite character ever. Seeing him slowly fade away gives me chills every single time to this day, even nearly ten years after the fact. Just a wonderful ending.

Huh, that was easier than I thought. I was able to write a lot, and I didn’t even really address individual scenes or character relationships. Sweet. Only one more left!

3. Ramza Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics)
Quote: “I'm not fighting for thanks. I'm fighting for honor and pride as a Beoulve.”

If you want to read a ridiculously long Ramza Beoulve writeup, you can go here:

This was back in the day when HM and I used to do dueling writeups to see who could write the most. In reality, this writeup is more of a “What did this character do during the game?” synopsis than any sort of “Why I like this character” writeup other than a few paragraphs. So yeah, I wouldn’t really recommend reading that one. We’ll try to keep this one a little more to the point.

To put it simply, I love Ramza Beoulve because he is a straight up, pure, genuine hero in every sense of the word. We went over my hero complex in the Cloud writeup, so there’s no need to embellish that further here, but Ramza is sort of an ideal hero to me. Some people think he’s a boring goody-goody hero, and I can see where they’re coming from, but I love the guy. He’s the kind of hero I’d want to be: The guy who does the right thing because it’s the right thing, not for fame, fortune, or any other lesser reason.

Ramza is courageous, selfless, and honorable. He considers it his duty as a Beoulve to uphold justice, and not just for the self-serving nobility, but for all people, regardless of background. The man is unwaveringly loyal to that cause, even when nobody around him does, including his own family and his best friend Delita. He doesn’t live for himself. He fights for something that is bigger than himself. Even as the world continues to crumble around him and the tide grows rougher, Ramza continues to go against it. When nearly everyone else would have quit, he keeps going, not necessarily because he wants to, but because he knows he has to. If he doesn’t, then who will?

And what thanks does Ramza receive at the end of the day? Branded a heretic by the church and the record of his deeds expunged from history, he fades into obscurity. He was a shining light in the midst of a corrupt nation, and he brought it back to peace. He lost nearly everything and everyone who was dear to him. He was the true hero of the Lion War (not Delita, get outta here), but yet he’s left with nothing at the end of the day.

And that was what impressed me the most about Ramza. He KNEW that he was not going to be receiving any praise, any reward, or any credit for doing any of this, and he did it anyway. And I believe he did it with no regrets, but yet like any true hero, his deeds cannot be forgotten forever. The Durai Report eventually comes to light hundreds of years later, and the truth about Ramza is revealed. So join me in raising a glass (of milk, of course) to Ramza, the hero of all heroes!

4. Balthier Bunansa (Final Fantasy XII)
Quote: “I’m only here to see how the story unfolds. Any self-respecting leading man would do the same.”
"Princess! No need to worry. I hope you haven't forgotten my role in this little story. I'm the leading man. You know what they say about the leading man? He never dies."

Ah, the Han Solo of the Final Fantasy series. I absolutely love Balthier. He alone makes Final Fantasy XII worth playing, in my opinion. In every scene he’s in, he basically steals the show. He has an almost irresistible charm and charisma about him, in part due to his awesome voice. It fits the character perfectly, I think. He also has the best lines in the game, particularly the ones I listed here. I love the way he delivers that last line there in the ending. Just the way he goes, “He never…dies” as he finishes fixing the Bahamut and flies away to safety.

I think probably my favorite characteristic of Balthier is how he’s always cool, calm, and unflappable under any circumstances. Even when he gets imprisoned in the Nalbina Dungeon, he remains cool and collected, even dryly quipping about hoping there’s a change of wardrobe waiting for him since it’s so dirty. He’s also so smooth when it comes to dealing with enemies. He just doesn’t panic. While he’s trying to fix the glossair rings on the Bahamut and the Judge is threatening to ram the sky fortress to save Rabanastre, Balthier just calmly radios to Ashe to tell him to hold off on ramming them because he was finally starting to get somewhere fixing the rings.

Balthier is also very perceptive. He sees through “Lamont’s” façade, and he sees that Reddas isn’t all that he claims to be. I also love how he constantly busts Vaan’s chops (along with Ashe), in particular with his constant referring to himself as the leading man of the story. By the way, the whole “leading man” thing is one of the best gimmicks in the series. I can’t explain it, but it’s just so awesome. Back on the topic of just messing with Vaan, this is one of my favorite exchanges in the game:

Balthier: Ah! The prison repository of wrested relics and raiments.
Vaan: So our things are in here?
Balthier: That’s what I said.

Gotta love it. In fact, Balthier reminds me of another one of my favorite pirates, Captain Jack Sparrow. Always calm and collected in any situation, clever, quick-witted, etc. I think the one strong common denominator between them is how they’re both truly good men deep down inside, but they sort of downplay that part of their personalities. I think it’s interesting how Balthier only really refers to himself as a sky pirate facetiously and usually just in response to someone else talking about notorious trademarks of sky pirates, such as thievery and treasure hunting. He just seems content to let people think what they want and go on his way. He seems to embrace that reputation of being a sky pirate, even though he’s not as much of a sky pirate as everyone else thinks he is, but he proves that he’s a good man by the end of the game, particularly sending that letter to Ashe with the ring he took from her as collateral. That was a nice touch in the ending. Balthier does have a couple of nice serious moments that I really like. One of my favorite scenes in the game is when he tells his personal history to Ashe at the Phon Coast. I thought it was interesting how it was his father’s obsession with Nethicite (even to the point of making his own son a Judge) that caused him to run away from it all. I like the part where he says, “All that running…and I got nowhere,” and the irony of chasing after the Dusk Shard without realizing it was Nethicite. I already touched on this one in Dr. Cid’s writeup, but I love that bittersweet exchange between the two of them right before he dies. “Was there no other way?”

So yeah, basically Balthier is Han Solo and Captain Jack Sparrow in Final Fantasy form. How could he go wrong?

5. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)'
Quote: “......a sealed up secret...... wish...... Tender one can ever know.........”

Why do I love Cloud Strife? Because I feel like I can relate to him. I’ve heard people say that he’s not relatable and he has no character, but I don’t understand that. I know a large portion of Board 8 hates Cloud with a passion, but hopefully after this writeup, you can at least understand my reasoning for loving this guy to death. He’s been one of my favorite characters from the first time I played Final Fantasy VII, and that’ll never change.

So how do I relate to Cloud Strife? The shy kid who didn’t have a lot of friends growing up? Check. Felt like I was different than the other guys his age (with many other people telling me the same thing)? Check. Too shy to go after the girl I had a huge crush on (As an aside, finding out years later that she had a crush on me for a while and was just waiting for me to make a move was devastating)? Check. Sometimes so afraid that I’m going to fail or mess things up that I’d rather not even try at all? Check. Pretending to be a loner even though you really just want someone to show that they care? Check. Always dreamed of being the hero growing up but never made it (Heck, I still do)? Check.

By the way, that’s why most of my favorite characters are heroes, particularly RPG leads (hence why the top six characters on this list are all the leading men of the series). I’ve just always wanted to be a hero to someone, always daydreamt about it, etc. I love an underdog story, too, and Cloud fits the bill there as well. Some guy who couldn’t get into SOLDIER, someone who’s undersized (only 5’6”), has troubles with motion sickness, not to mention how powerless everyone looks compared to Sephiroth.

Plus, Cloud has some pretty stylish moments. I love the FMV of him riding the motorcycle through the Shinra Building after the boss fight with Rufus Shinra. One of my favorite gaming moments ever is the “Press O to win” Omnislash fest against Sephiroth at the very end. I love that moment right before the final strike where everything pauses and it cuts to closeup shots of their faces. So cool. Although my absolute favorite Cloud moments (and probably a top 5 video game moment overall) is when the truth about him is revealed in the Lifestream, particularly the part where Sephiroth stabs him through with the Masamune and Cloud somehow overpowers him and tosses him off the bridge and into the mako. It was made especially awesome because the music in that scene climaxes right when Cloud starts to shake free. That’s like the kind of hero moment I’d dream of myself. So awesome.

Also, an underratedly great Cloud moment is the scene right after they bury Aerith in the water after you beat Jenova-LIFE, and he gives a speech to the party about why he should just quit the journey after all the stuff that’s happened. Then he shakes his fist and says, “But I am going.” I’ve always loved that part. I just couldn’t help rooting for the guy to succeed after all the crap he’s been through and all the failures. Yeah, Cloud is basically a Sephiroth tool for about half the game, but it was awesome seeing him eventually break away from all of that and become his own person. Yeah, Cloud’s messed up in the head, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. By the way, as cheesy as the dialogue is, I do love the “My fingers are tingling, my mouth is dry, my eyes are burning!” line after Aerith dies. Also, it was awesome that he tells Sephiroth to shut up while he’s in the middle of a villainous monologue.

Yeah, this is not an in-depth analysis of Cloud Strife by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve been trying to avoid that with this list, just trying to hit the highlights of why I love the character. If you want that in-depth analysis, I’m sure Heroic Mario’s still got that ridiculously long writeup he wrote years ago about him. Also, I love Advent Children Cloud. Some people think it was out of character or a reversal of character after it seemed he managed to move past a lot of those issues by the end of FFVII, but I can understand how easy it is to regress whenever something bad happens (such as Cloud contracting Geostigma). I’m probably going to take some flack for saying this, but I think Cloud’s a pretty realistic character in a lot of ways, and that’s one of them.

6. Zidane Tribal (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "I just wanna protect the people I'm with. Doesn't matter if I can or not. It's what I believe in."

Zidane's a fun character, a nice change of pace as a lead character after two games of Cloud and Squall. Sometimes he goes on too much about girls (It almost gets to the point where it feels like he ties every single conversation to women somehow, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with them), and sometimes he's a bit too philosophical instead of being practical when he's giving advice (I think of the scene in Madain Sari when Vivi's really starting to worry about his own existence and doesn't feel like he can stop thinking about it, and Zidane responds, " the end, it boils down to two simple choices. Either you do or you don't. You'd think with all the problems in this world, there'd be more answers. It's not fair......but that's the way things are. The choice is yours," which doesn't seem like it's helpful at all, just too vague) but those are just minor things. Overall, Zidane is a solid lead. He may be ranked the lowest of all the lead characters on this list, but there's no shame in being 6th place! I still love the guy to death, although there are some little hangups that prevent him from being as good as the other leads, in my opinion.

It's really hard to be able to put all the things I want to say about Zidane into the right words. The higher we go up on this list, the harder it is to write. I suppose the main thing I like about Zidane is his dedication to everyone around him. He's willing to do whatever he has to in order to help them with whatever they're dealing with. "You don't need a reason to help people," as his famous tagline goes (although labeling that one "Virtue" is kind of humorous to me because Zidane isn't exactly "virtuous" all the time). He's even sympathetic toward those who would be considered his enemies for the most part (The ending scene with Kuja being the prime example). He shows an honest concern toward the problems of his fellow party members (in stark contrast to Cloud and Squall, of course). He's not afraid to show that he cares, which is cool. Like I said before, it's a nice change of pace from your typical JRPG lead (Not that I necessarily have a problem with it, but when someone steps outside of the mold, you tend to take notice).

Although despite that, one of my favorite Zidane scenes is the "You're Not Alone!" scene, where he does play the role of typical JRPG lead for a few minutes (although this wasn't the only time in the game this happened! He became a moper for a little while at the beginning of disc 3). I do have one question about the buildup to this scene though. Right before all the stuff happens, Garland says that he has to make Zidane into a normal Genome and whatnot. Originally he had planned for him to be an immortal Angel of Death, right? So is he not immortal or does he not have any of the special powers that Garland gave to him when he created him anymore? I've never really been sure on that one.

Anyway, I like the "You're Not Alone!" scene because it's basically a role reversal. All throughout the game, Zidane has been helping all of the other party members with their problems, watching over them, protecting them, rescuing them, etc. Now, even as he spurns them and tries to shove them away, their love and gratitude to him for all that he has done for them prevents them from just letting him walk away. It was just really...touching, I guess. Dagger summed it up best at the very end:

"You've always protected us. But you still don't understand that we looked out for you, too! We watched your back while you watched ours. And we believed in you the same way you believed in us! Just like you protected us... We want to protect you."

I could say more about it, I suppose, but I won't. My favorite Zidane scene (apart from the ending, which we'll get to later) though is probably at the beginning of disc 3 when Alexandria is under attack and Garland's about to wreck everything with the Invincible. I just love it as he swoops in and saves Dagger (and Eiko, too, as she scowls at the top of the line) right when it seems like all hope is lost. That was probably Zidane's most "heroic" moment in the game, I think, so I really love that scene.
Speaking of Dagger, I think she and Zidane make a nice couple, though I wish they hadn't tried to draw out the "Does she really like him?" card for as long as they did. It was pretty obvious that they were going to end up together, so I don't know why it had to wait until the very end before it became official (other than the big hug Dagger gives him in the aforementioned scene where he saves the day). There weren't really any major issues preventing them from getting together sooner, I guess other than Dagger being overwhelmingly stubborn sometimes. I liked it better in FFX when they didn't beat around the bush so much. Oh well, the ending scene where she finally throws everything aside and leaps into his arms is fantastic, so I suppose I can forgive all of that.

While we're on the subject of the ending, I think this is where Zidane really shined and catapulted himself into the league of my favorite characters. It's not very often that a main character does his best work in the ending, but that's what happened here. Just when it seems like everything's been resolved and the happy ending begins, Kuja speaks into Zidane's mind. I love how he kicks the ground after he hears it, almost as if he's thinking, "Stupid conscience, now I'm going to have to risk my life to try to save this idiot." I love how everyone says their goodbyes to him as they leave. That was a pretty touching scene, overall, just to see them express their gratitude to him one final time. It was nice to see Zidane as a character who made a meaningful different in who the party members were as individuals.

Anyway, the race inside the Iifa Tree was pretty cool, complete with the Matrix-esque moment as Zidane falls right past Kuja. It was cool how he was willing to risk his life for the woman he loved, but to do it for an avowed enemy? That was pretty impressive, I must say. Then he tried to protect him as the Iifa Tree's roots starting closing on them (although I don't know why considering Kuja was clearly dead at that point). I thought it was neat how the game fast-forwarded a year later and everyone's sort of accepted that Zidane is "dead" now (although was there anyone who really didn't know that it was Zidane under that black cloak? C'mon now. Admit it!).

But then he throws off the cloak and says, "Bring my beloved Dagger to me!" And then the running and the chasing and the hugging and the kissing as the screen does the fading, and it's all "Aw yeah, Zidane, you go, bro."

Yeah, this writeup sucks. I'm sorry.

7. Auron (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Legendary guardian? I was just a boy. A boy about your age, actually. I wanted to change the world, too. But I changed nothing. That is my story."

Yes, that is my favorite Auron quote (along with " your world now"), more than the one he says right before you fight Yunalesca. Yeah, that one's good, too, but a bit overrated, in my opinion. This quote was one of Auron's first and few open and honest moments about himself with the party, especially with another party member besides Tidus (Wakka, in this case). In fact, Auron is really awesome throughout all of Zanarkand because, for the most part, that's when he removes the veil and lets the secrets out into the open (though I don't disagree with the fact that he hid them up to this point, but more on that later). Of course, Zanarkand basically brought out the best in nearly everyone involved, but that's beside the point.

Anyway, I've heard people criticize Auron for being too cliche. Is he cliche? Yeah, probably. Do I care? No. Why? Because Square pulled it off exceedingly well. Cliches become cliches for a reason, and that's because they work. Yeah, after a while, they can lose their effectiveness because of overexposure, but not so much in this case because Auron is basically the best his archetype has to offer in the realm of video gaming that I've come across in my years. In my opinion, at this point, he's basically the standard and measuring rod for the "Silent, mysterious character with awesome quotes and awesome actions who guides the party on their journey" type character. I think the reason for that is, unlike most characters who fit into this archetype, there's more to him than you see on the surface. He's more than just the guy who's there to be the quote machine and do all the cool, over-the-top stuff in FMVs. He's got a great backstory and motivations to his character. Although Auron is cold on the outside, he's a man with a strong sense of loyalty and even compassion at times.

As I said, I really like Auron's backstory. It's pretty interesting when you watch the Jecht Spheres, and you can see how similar his attitude was to Tidus's. He was a man who was unwaveringly loyal to Braska because he was the only guy who was willing to give him a chance. Plus, as with Yuna, his determination naturally drew both Auron and Jecht to follow him to the death. Although he didn't get along with Jecht at first, they both changed over time and gradually came to respect one another. As a result, Auron became a man bound by promises both to Braska and to Jecht, and being a man with a strong sense of honor and loyalty, he did whatever he had to do to keep those promises, which is one of the things I love most about him.

I do love the story of how Auron worked to fulfill those promises after Braska had died and Jecht became Sin. It's strange how everything managed to come together. It couldn't have be done any other way. After getting struck down by Yunalesca, Auron literally drags himself all the way down to the base of Mount Gagazet (with a little aid from Rin along the way) and manages to communicate Braska's promise to take Yuna to Besaid to Kimahri before he died (I also love the irony of how Yuna assumes "the last request of a dying man" was from her father when it was really from Auron), which is pretty hardcore. Then, because Auron became an unsent, unable to leave because of his yet unfulfilled promise to Jecht, he was able to "ride" Sin to the Dream Zanarkand, where he was able to watch over Tidus. It was only because he went back in a rage and got himself killed by Yunalesca that he was able to do that, so it turned out to be a strange twist of fate that worked out for the best.

Speaking of Tidus, it's impossible to do a proper writeup about Auron without mentioning their relationship. It's the most important and most developed one in the game aside from Tidus and Yuna. I always thought it was interesting how Auron just sort of quietly watched over him from afar and occasionally prodded him along. He was never bossy or demanding, and he never told him until close to the end why he was even doing what he was doing. As a result, Tidus never really understood him or what he was about while he lived in Dream Zanarkand. I suppose Auron knew it wouldn't be a good idea to divulge the fact that he was only watching over him because of a promise he made to the father he despised, so that was probably a wise thing to do since he couldn't exactly explain everything and expect Tidus to believe him about Dream Zanarkand, Spira, Sin, and so on.

Overall, I think Auron is really wise. He knew what to say and do, and he knew when to say it and do it. I can't help but think of the scene in Luca when he finally meets up with Tidus again. I love how Tidus is just ranting and raving angrily at him for everything that had happened to him, and then Auron...simply laughs. I don't know if I really understand why he did that, but if it were me, I'd want to tell Tidus a thing or two and be like, "Look, you just don't understand. Here's what's really going on." I suppose I find it impressive that Auron was willing to be misunderstood, and he was able to take everything Tidus said to him in stride.

In addition to that, I was really impressed with the way he broke the news to Tidus about how Sin was Jecht. He decided that it was better for him to find out at that moment from someone he could trust at a time when nothing major was happening as opposed to finding out from a villain at a crucial moment. Auron wanted to prevent him from getting too emotional and letting things get out of hand. Then, as reality starts to set in and Tidus is starting to feel sad, he simply just places a hand on his shoulder and says, "It's all right." It was a rare moment of compassion from him, so it was really nice to see.

And this leads me into another thing I hear people say against Auron: "He shouldn't have kept everything secret from the party the whole time," or something similar to that. On the contrary, I agree with the fact that he didn't simply lay everything on the table up front and say, "Here's what you're up against, here's what's false about everything you've always believed to be true about Yevon," and so on. For one thing, I think he would have run a serious risk of breaking their will to continue on the pilgrimage. I think it was necessary for Auron to tell Tidus about Jecht being Sin up front for the reason he stated, but I don't think it was necessary for him to spill the beans about everything concerning Spira, Yevon, and the pilgrimage right off the bat. I think you're dealing with two different things.

I think one of the reasons Auron didn't do that is because he wanted to be more of a guide than a director. He helped them along where it was necessary, but for the most part, he wanted them to figure out everything for themselves as much as possible and make informed decisions on their own. He didn't want to influence or prejudice their thinking too strongly one way or the other. I think of what he said when Rikku was pressuring him into telling them something he knew, and he simply replied, "Look not to others for knowledge. This is your journey, too." He considered the learning experience to be a crucial part of the pilgrimage. I think the reason he can be more open when he gets to Zanarkand is because they've reached the destination, and he can see that they've reached certain decisions and what kind of people they have become. When Yuna discovers that Zaon's fayth statue is empty, one of them asks him if he knew this was going to happen. He replies, "If I had told you the truth, would it really have stopped you from coming?" Auron sort of behaves differently when it comes to Tidus in this regard in that he shares things with him that he might not share with everyone else at times, but I think that's just because Tidus isn't from Spira. There are certain things he needs to know at times, certain warnings he needs to hear, and so on. I don't know if I've really gotten my point across on this one very well or not, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. You may not agree with me, but hopefully you at least understand!

Anyway, it's about time to wrap this one up, so let's talk about Auron in battle really quickly. It's always immensely satisfying to kill big enemies and do lots of damage, and Auron excels in this department. He's fun to use, and he quotes The Princess Bride's most famous line! I love tearing things down with his Break abilities. His Overdrives are great, too. They all look really cool. I think one of the most satisfying things in Final Fantasy X is using Shooting Star on a really tough enemy and launching them out of the stratosphere with one shot. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention how awesome Auron's design is. In a game full of characters who are nothing short of fashion disasters (Looking at you, Miss Belt-Dress!), he has one of the best designs in the series.

Finally, I really like Auron's scene in the ending when Yuna sends him (although I wish there had been one final exchange of some sort between him and Tidus instead of the two of them just exchanging glances or whatever). That final line, " your world now," is fantastic. No longer is Spira the spiral of death ruled by the dead. Spira belongs to the living now. It was a great impact for a final line.

8. Laguna Loire (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "I speak with passion, from the heart! That's what matters most."

Laguna is just a lovable moron. That's the simplest way to describe him. The guy says and does the most ridiculous things at times, and yet you can't help but love the guy. He's just so...charming in his own way. I think what makes him still so likable despite the crazy stunts he pulls is the fact that, deep down, you know Laguna has a good heart. He's a kind man who cares deeply about everyone around him. He just doesn't do the best job of expressing it, though he does try. He also has a natural charisma and sense of leadership about him, which I think is why Kiros and Ward continue to follow him around and stick with him. They're just drawn to him. Well, that, and, as Kiros says, "Life's pretty boring without you as entertainment, my man."

One of my favorite Laguna quirks is his tendency to misquote common cliches, such as "The unfamiliar always happens,"and "Like killing two pigs with one stone!" Of course, Kiros' and Ward's attempts to correct him often lead to hilarious results as well. I also love his occasional delusions of grandeur and his overly optimistic way of looking at things, such as talking about their "grand escape from Centra," when they were chased out by Esthar soldiers and severely injured. Speaking of which, that scene is one of my personal favorite Laguna moments. I love how he tosses Kiros and Ward off of the cliff, and then he's just like, "You guys sure have guts. You know how high this cliff is?" as if they jumped off on their own without him shoving them off! Then he slowly tries to climb down the cliff, slips, and falls down to the water while screaming and trying not to shout obscenities. Great stuff.

But like I said before, Laguna doesn't exist simply as comic relief (though he fills the role exceptionally well). He's gone through a lot of heartbreak and sorrow (which is the whole reason you're even introduced to him in the first place because Ellone wants to change all of that in the past), but yet he's come through on the other side without losing his optimistic and hopeful demeanor or his sense of humor, though you can tell he has matured a lot as a result of all he's gone through. Laguna very rarely talks about his pain openly (except when explaining how the time Ellone was kidnapped was "the most painful episode of my life"). He always prefers to remain cheerful about things, even to the point of cheesiness at times (think Laguna's speech about how to survive time compression).

I always found it sadly ironic how Laguna went all the way to Esthar in order to rescue Ellone, and while he succeeded at that, he wasn't able to truly save her or ever see Raine again because he got elected as president since he was the "hero" of the revolution. I'm sure all he ever wanted was to go back to Winhill and be a family man. Although Laguna still had his dreams of being a journalist and a world traveler, that little town was always home to him. I was really glad in the ending when he finally got to go back and visit Raine's grave. By the way, the flashback scene where he proposes to her always gives me chills (probably because the music climaxes right at the part where she hugs him). I love it.

Honestly, Laguna's a pretty simple and straightforward character (and I think in this case it's a good thing), so there isn't a whole lot to say about him. I could fill up another post or so just giving more examples about some of the characteristics I mentioned earlier, but I won't do that.
Oh, and I would be remiss without mentioning how awesome "The Man with the Machine Gun" is.

Oh right, one last thing: I'll never forget the first time KP was playing through Final Fantasy VIII, and he had a playthrough topic about it on Board 8. After meeting Laguna and company and going to Lunatic Pandora, I told him to go back and speak to him on the Ragnarok because it was totally worth it. He took the time to backtrack and talk to them. I remember his post went something like this:

"Oh man.

...Oh man.

Oh man."

Awesome. I wish they had explored Squall and Laguna's relationship further. I do like how Squall gradually did come to respect him after initially thinking of him as nothing more than a "silly Galbadian soldier," in his own words.

9. Yuna (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: “No matter what happens, I’ll see this through to the end. I promise.”

I think Yuna in Final Fantasy X is absolutely wonderful. I really do. Hedy Burress is a different story altogether, and people need to learn to differentiate between the two of them! After my most recent replay of Final Fantasy X, Yuna really shot up my personal character rankings. She would not have ranked this highly before then. That's part of what makes what they did with Yuna in Final Fantasy X-2 all the worse. Now I'm not against her being more "independent," "free-spirited," "fun-loving," or whatever you want to say. I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is Yuna suddenly becoming immature at times ("Oh poopie," and "I was only saying it because you did!" being chief offenders here, and I'm not sure how in the world she got the idea that Rikku is the ideal girl to model herself after). What I do have a problem with is Yuna getting caught up in petty jealousy ("Who the heck is Lenne?!"). It annoys me to no end, but thankfully, stuff like that isn't too common. Oh, and I don't like how they turned her into Yuna Croft: Tomb Raider, but I think that goes without saying.

But that's not my biggest problem with Yuna in Final Fantasy X-2. My biggest problem is her speech at the end right before you fight Vegnagun, her response to Nooj's "plan," which actually was really stupid and I don't have a problem with her calling him out on it, but that's not the point. I'll just post the quotes in particular I dislike to make things simpler:

"It was the only thing we could do. It was the only choice we had. I gave in, I accepted, I believed. I allowed it to be true. I thought I’d be able to go through with it without ever doubting myself. But I... It hurts so much."

"“We had no choice.” Always “we had no choice.” Those are our magic words. We repeat them to ourselves again and again. But you know... The magic never worked! The only thing we’re left with is regret."
I just don't like Yuna talking about having all these regrets about the pilgrimage. She knew everything it entailed, and she did it of her own free will. I can understand her being saddened about Tidus being gone, especially considering he threw it on her at the last second, but she was always able to see the big picture. I mean, she had to be able to in order to be willing to die to bring Spira the Calm, even if only for a little while. When Kelk Ronso asked her why she continued even after Yevon and the people had turned against her, she simply replied, "I fight for Spira." She brought the Eternal Calm, and I would think that, for her, that would be enough to make the whole thing worth it. I don't want to say it was selfish of her to think that way, but it's not the purely selfless Yuna from FFX either. Her speech at the end of FFX...You could tell that she was dying on the inside, especially with that "Never forget them" at the end, but she was still able to make an optimistic speech at the end about Spira belonging to the people again, and she could even smile, even after the disappointment of whistling for Tidus and him not showing up right beforehand (which nearly inexplicably brought me to tears the last time I played FFX, despite the fact that I've seen the ending literally dozens of times, which testifies to how much I really came to like Yuna). I don't know. Maybe I'm overreacting to all of this, but Yuna just doesn't seem like the kind of character who would live with regret over all this, especially after this quote:

"It would be so let my fate just carry me away...following this same path my whole life through. But I know...I can't. What I do, I do...with no regrets."

Anyway, now that I've spent an entire post complaining about FFX-2 Yuna, let's talk about the good stuff! As I said before, I think FFX Yuna is just wonderful. For starters, I really love her character design. She's very pretty, and her outfit is very pretty as well. I think I spent enough time ranting about what I don't like about FFX-2 Yuna to give you a good idea of what I do like about FFX Yuna! I love her selfless, self-sacrificing nature. I love how she's always willing to put others first, no matter the strain on herself. I think her innocence and naivete can be rather endearing. I also love how she stays on the path of a summoner, even as the world as she knows it shatters around her and Yevon betrays her. She may not look it on the outside, but Yuna is a strong woman.

Yuna has her fair share of great scenes and great speeches (although admittedly some of them are kinda tarnished due to Hedy Burress's lackluster voice work). There are several "moment of truth" scenes that she has throughout the game. The first is when she stands before Yevon and the whole truth unfolds before her. This is one of the weaker ones because Hedy Burress's bad attempt at near-crying lessens the impact. I do like the "I am a summoner, my lord, like my father before me" Star Wars reference though.

I referenced it earlier, but the second big "moment of truth" speech happens at the foot of Gagazet when Yuna manages to convince the Ronso to let her pass. I think it might be easier just to let the quotes speak for themselves on this one:

Kelk: "You have been branded a traitor, but still you would fight Sin? Lost to the temple, hated the people, yet you continue your pilgrimage? Everything lost! What do you fight for?"

Yuna: "I fight for Spira. The people long for the Calm. I can give it to them. It's all I can give. Defeating Sin, ending pain...this I can do."

Yuna's resolve and determination here are on full display. I just love this quote. This thing right here is one of the things I love about Ramza: Her determination to do what's right, no matter what it costs and even if she has to stand alone. It's really admirable, I think.

Finally, of course, there's the speech right before you fight Yunalesca, where she refuses to make anyone her Final Aeon and refuses to give the people false hope. She also says the "What I do, I do...with no regrets" line to Tidus right before this scene, too. I know I keep quoting Yuna a lot, but they explain what I like about her better than I can. I can't describe it as well as she can say it. Yuna's just amazing. She refuses just to do things the way they've always been done simply because that's the way they've always been done. She does start off as a naive follower of Yevon, but she gradually learns to stand her own ground and do what she thinks is best. And again, let me just let her say it:

Yunalesca: "Yevon's teachings and the Final Summoning give the people of Spira hope. Without hope, they would drown in their sorrow. Now, choose. Who will be your fayth? Who will be the one to renew Spira's hope?"
Yuna: "No one. I would have gladly died. I live for the people of Spira, and would have gladly died for them. But no more! The Final a false tradition that should be thrown away."
Yunalesca: "No. It's our only hope. Your father sacrificed himself to give that hope to the people. So they would forget sorrow."
Yuna: "Wrong. My father... My father make Spira's sorrow go away. Not just cover it up with lies!"
Yunalesca: "Sorrow cannot be abolished. It is meaningless to try."
Yuna: "My father... I loved him. So I... I will live with my sorrow, I will live my own life! I will defeat sorrow, in his place. I will stand my ground and be strong. I don't know when it will be but someday, I will conquer it. And I will do it without...false hope."

Man, my emotions get stirred up just reading these quotes. I don't know how in the world people hate Yuna in Final Fantasy X. She's just fantastic. Just doing this writeup is making me want to move her even higher than she already is. She's my favorite Final Fantasy female, and I don't know if there will be another one for a long while who can match this. It's Yuna has some pretty...ballsy moments in the game, too. First of all, confronting Seymour about Jyscal's murder all on her own took some guts, even though she went about it the wrong way. Then there was the "Believe" scene, which I absolutely love.

Finally, let's deal with her relationship with Tidus really quickly because we're already making this one the longest writeup yet! I think her interactions with Tidus can be downright adorable at times. She's very sweet, and she can be pretty funny with him at times, too. I like the scenes early on when they're just getting to know each other, and Yuna talks to him about Zanarkand and Jecht. They're pretty interesting conversations.

Of course, there's the famous lake scene. I love how she seems to be on the verge of quitting, and then...she realizes she just can't do it. She can't get away from it. She can't escape what she feels to be her obligation to the people of Spira. "I'll continue. I must. If I give up now... I could do anything I wanted to, and yet... Even if I was with you, I could never forget." And then there's this exchange, which has made it into my sig rotation:

Yuna: "Stay with me until the end. Please."
Tidus: "Not until the end... Always."

Awwww, isn't that sweet? The scene with Tidus and Yuna during the ending is wonderful, too. The moment when she chases after him and passes through him gives me chills just about every time. And it doesn't matter that she only said "Thank you" in the Japanese version! It's not that big of a deal!

And to think, all of this and I haven't even addressed Yuna's uber-awesomeness in battle. Just suffice it to say that Aeons are awesome, and they've saved my tail on more than one occasion. Not much else needs to be said. Oh, and by the way, Hedy Burress isn't all bad. She can do pretty well in scenes where the camera isn't on Yuna's face so she's not worried about lip syncing. The line I posted at the very beginning is one of my favorites in the game. I just love the way she delivers it. Good stuff.

Whew! Only eight more to go!

10. Zack Fair (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "You'll living legacy...My honor, my dreams, they're yours now." (Original scene from FFVII)

First of all, if you haven't watched the ending to Crisis Core, you need to do so before you read this writeup! I've kindly provided the links for you! Even if you haven't played it, I'm assuming you all know what happens anyway (Spoilers Zack dies). I was a big fan of Zack before Crisis Core, but I don't know that I would've ranked him top ten before that. I also included the original scene from Final Fantasy VII. The Shinra Mansion bonus scene is one of my favorite optional/bonus scenes ever. I absolutely love the very end of the scene where Cloud slowly crawls up to Zack, takes hold of the Buster Sword, and slowly stretches his arms upward as if screaming as the camera pans back to show Midgar. It was an absolutely wonderful scene, at least to me. A very emotional moment, and one that put the final cap on Cloud's past because I know I was wondering what the heck happened to Zack and how Cloud ended up with his Buster Sword. I don't know what it is, but this scene was just so...alluring to me. It was pretty tragic what happened to Zack. He had dreams, he had ambitions, he had all the talent in the world, and he was just so coldly gunned down by the company that he had worked so hard for.

But, you say, that's an awful lot to get out of a five minute optional scene with a minor FFVII character, isn't it? Apparently not, since Square decided that scene was so awesome that it deserved its own game! Make no mistake: Crisis Core was made just so Square could remake that one famous scene and do it even better, which I didn't think was possible, especially considering we all already knew what was going to happen. I mean, how could they possibly somehow still manage to recreate the pathos of that scene?

But they did. One of the really nice touches is how they show Zack walking away from Cloud's point-of-view while he slowly stretches out his hand toward him. Zack's speech at the end right before he dies...I love it. It's almost ironic how Cloud essentially ended up taking it literally. I was kinda surprised that Square made it such a violent scene, too. I didn't think they'd go that route. By the way, Zack is a pretty hardcore dude. He's on the verge of death, and he casually hands Cloud the Buster Sword with one hand, while Cloud can't even lift it off of the ground.

By the way, I love Zack's "I want to be a hero" mentality, because I sort of have the same dream. I always imagined myself being some great hero and all that, too. And yes, I would say Zack became a hero! It was cool to see another main character who wasn't an introvert, too. I like Zack's upbeat attitude. Even when everything seems to go wrong for him, he remains optimistic. He manages to take everything in stride, and he doesn't let it break him. I don't particularly mind the introverted type, but it is nice to have a change of peace, too. Plus, I really like his kinda cocky and cool demeanor. It makes him very likable.

Another thing I always liked and respected about Zack was how he befriended Cloud. Zack was SOLDIER First Class, and Cloud was just a regular guard and a SOLDIER reject. Yet Zack never acted like he was better than Cloud or that he was too good to be associated with him. He essentially treated Cloud as an equal and as a friend. I love that scene in Advent Children Complete when Sephiroth has Cloud on the verge of defeat, and Zack shows up in his mind, reminding him to protect his honor as SOLDIER above all else. Then he was like, "Well, you never were in SOLDIER, but it's what's in here [tapping his chest with his fist, obviously] that counts." That was one of those nice bonus additions they put in the Complete version of the movie.

Overall, Zack is primarily awesome because of his great death scene, but his personality is almost impossible to dislike, in my opinion. I can't really do this writeup the justice it deserves because I haven't played Crisis Core, but Zack is the only thing I remember from watching those cutscenes (other than Genesis constantly reciting bad poetry, that is). The dude's just the star of the show. I liked the neat touches they threw in there and how they gave Zack some retroactive influence over the FFVII world (like him being the one to name Seventh Heaven, giving Aerith the idea to sell flowers, etc., although they went a bit overboard with him doing the exact same falling through the roof of Aerith's church thing as Cloud).

11. Tifa Lockhart (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "Give me a little longer... Just a little bit longer... This day will never come again... So let me have this moment..."

To be honest, I've been hesitant to do this writeup because of the inevitable backlash I'm going to get from the majority of people for ranking Tifa this high, but the sooner I get this out of the way, the better, I guess! Yes, I really like Tifa. No, it's not just because of how she looks, though I do think she's attractive (Her Advent Children form is better-looking, for the record, although that one pic they put out for her for the 10th anniversary of FFVII is pretty awesome. Speaking of which, where's my 10th anniversary stuff for FFVIII and FFIX, Square?! Huh?!). Yes, Tifa was wrong for hiding the truth from Cloud all that time, and it caused a lot more trouble than it should have, but no, I don't crucify her character for it. I understand why she did it, although I don't think lying to protect someone or to protect yourself is ever a good motive, and it's not like Tifa's the only character in the series who's ever done it (In fact, there's one character in FFXIII who immediately comes to mind, and I've yet to hear a single person criticize that character for doing so!). I don't understand why she takes so much flack for it, personally. It's not like she could have ever foreseen all the damage it would do, and she was every bit as confused about it as Cloud was. Tifa didn't understand how he knew so much about something he should know nothing about. Plus, her naturally shy disposition made it difficult for her to speak up about it, despite how important it was (and I can't be the only person who's ever had this problem!). Not to mention, she eventually did help to set things right again and help Cloud find the real truth and his real self again.

Anyway, now that I've gotten that out of the way, I won't speak of it again. I've always really liked Tifa. I almost always keep her in my party whenever she's available (Cloud/Tifa/Barret for life!). I think she has a sweet, caring personality. She expresses concern for her fellow party members at various points throughout the game. I think her relationship with Cloud is endearing. I think they fit well together (and I was a proponent of Cloud/Tifa before it essentially became canon, by the way!). I always really enjoy their interactions with one another (I almost always try to get the Date Scene with Tifa). I liked the promise that Tifa had Cloud make at the well in the flashback, if only because I've always had the dream of rescuing some beautiful damsel in distress myself! It's kind of interesting to me to watch each of them try to express their feelings for one another at various points in the game. I guess it's because I can kind of understand how hard and how awkward it can be to try to tell someone you like how you feel if you've never told them before and you're not sure they'll reciprocate! So I guess, in a sense, I relate to Tifa's shyness, and I find it charming somehow.

I really like Tifa because she's involved in some of my favorite moments in the game. Above all else, she's involved in helping Cloud find himself in the Lifestream, which is one of my favorite moments in the entire series. I was kind of surprised when I heard people actually hate that part of FFVII! I love it watching Tifa slowly but surely help Cloud with his struggles, her struggling along with him all the while. I like it when she finally comes clean and she builds up enough resolve to tell the truth about Zack coming to Nibelheim instead of Cloud. I love the scene where Cloud reveals the very important memory of the day when Tifa's mom died ("On the Other Side of the Mountain" is a very underrated track in FFVII, by the way!). Then, of course, there's the moment of truth when it all comes together and they both finally learn the truth of what really happened on that day five years before. There are a lot of good emotional scenes in this part of the game, I think.

Tifa is also involved in the scene at Junon when Weapon invades at the beginning of disc two, which is also one of my favorite moments of FFVII. I liked the scene where she's dreaming right before she wakes up about when she met Cloud in Nibelheim at the Sector 7 Train Station, and she starts to explain some of her motives for why she did what she did. It was an interesting insight into her character, I thought. Also, the slap fight with Scarlet is immensely satisfying, much more satisfying than it reasonably should be, but I really hate Scarlet!

Of course, Tifa is highly involved in a lot of the things that happen at Midgar early in the game. I love the race up the pillar in Sector 7 to try to prevent Shinra from destroying the place. It's really intense. Yes, I do like the "alone time" Cloud and Tifa get at the end of disc 2 as well. In particular, I like the quote she says that I posted as the quote for this writeup, which was one of the few times in the game when she was open with her feelings about Cloud, which was nice. I've seen people criticize Tifa for being "needy" or "clingy" when it comes to Cloud, but I don't really see it (and I wouldn't really mind it anyway). She's pretty unsure of herself overall, so being able to fight alongside Cloud gives her some much needed confidence and reassurance.

By the way, I love Tifa's Limit Break. One of the most thrilling moments I had in an FFVII battle was getting all seven "Yeah!" slots on her Limit Break one time. Maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal to you, but it was pretty exciting for me! Just sitting back and watching Tifa land Final Heaven at the end was great.

I really like Tifa in Advent Children as well. She's the second best character in the movie, next to Cloud, in my opinion. Her sweet and caring personality really shines, I think. The fight she has with Loz is one of the better moments in the movie, too. I was glad they didn't go too over-the-top with it, but the moment where Loz throws her against the wall and she catches herself before launching herself into him was incredible (and hence why I posted a picture of it for this writeup!).

I also really like the scene where Tifa rips Cloud's face for shutting himself off from everyone and for not being willing to go try and rescue the kids at the Forgotten City because he's afraid to fail. It was one of those "Aw yeah" moments for me. By the way, one of the really nice touches that they added to Advent Children Complete (at least to me) is the moment when Cloud is rushing in on his motorcycle in Midgar to save Tifa from getting crushed under the debris caused by Bahamut SIN's blast, and you can see a reflection of the moment where Sephiroth is descending with the Masamune to kill Aerith in his eye, almost as a "Oh no, not again!" moment. I thought that was really cool.
Whew, I think this was the longest one yet, but there's still ten more to go!

12. Jecht (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "You were always such a stiff, but that's what I liked about you."

Jecht is the man, perhaps the manliest character in the entire Final Fantasy series. I love his character design, and I love the gruff voice, which is totally fitting for him. One of the things I always thought was neat about Jecht was how that, for the first half of the game, almost all you ever saw or heard of him was from Tidus's perspective. While some of the things he remembers about his father are true to an extent (Jecht admits that he did tell his son to give up blitzball once, which caused Tidus not to speak to him for a week), not all of the details are entirely accurate because his hatred for him tends to skew his perspective on those events. Jecht was hard on Tidus in an attempt to try to toughen him up and make him want to work harder to beat his old man, but Tidus doesn't remember it that way or realize that was what he was trying to do, so his interpretation of what really happened gets thrown off a bit.

And while Tidus's hatred for his father ends up getting overblown, I don't think Jecht was exactly a good father. First of all, he eventually became a pretty heavy drinker, and, speaking from personal experience as someone who grew up with an alcoholic father, it's rough having to deal with that. It's hard to be a good father if you're drunk all the time, though the game never really explores this aspect more than incidentally mentioning it in one flashback. Secondly, Jecht's inability to show genuine affection for Tidus is essentially what destroyed their relationship. The only thing he knew how to do was try to be tough on him in hopes of motivating him to become better, which obviously backfired because Tidus never really knew his father cared about him because he never told him. In Dissidia, that's one of the things Tidus mentions that he always wanted from Jecht: Positive affirmation. He needed to be told that he was doing something right, but that never happened. Then Jecht disappeared from his life, Tidus's mom basically gave up the will to live as a result, and that amplified the hatred even more. But the good thing about Jecht was that he changed. He eventually gave up drinking after he attacked a shoopuf while he was drunk and Braska had to pay all the money he had as compensation (and talking to Auron about that is one of my favorite optional dialogues in the series, so awesome). He still had difficulty expressing how he felt about Tidus, as is evident in the sphere you find in Macalania Woods, but he does manage to get better (although he did have to say it off camera where he couldn't be seen because of how hard it was for him), and it's cool how you can see how he really did care for him from his dialogues with Auron. It was pretty interesting watching how he changed gradually through watching those Jecht Spheres (all of which were pretty neat, too). His gradual development sort of mirrors Tidus's own as well, as both of them eventually become so motivated by the resolves of the summoners they followed that they eventually gave up going home and joined the pilgrimage wholeheartedly.

But it's all the stuff that happens in the scenes you see at Zanarkand and when you finally meet him in person inside Sin that makes me love Jecht. I love the scene where he decides to become Braska's Final Aeon. He seems to feel a sense of regret for knowing he failed with Tidus, and he thinks of this as a way to make his life count for something. Then he promises Auron that he'll find a way to break the cycle once and for all, and he did. He showed a lot of faith in his son to send Auron to watch over him until the day he brought him to Spira so that he could kill him and end the cycle for good. Not to mention, how hardcore does Jecht have to be to be able to control Sin long enough to bring Tidus through to Spira? Aw yeah

The scene right before you fight Braska's Final Aeon is one of my favorites in the series. I just think it's great.

Jecht: "Hey."

Tidus: "Hi."

Jecht: "Hah! You got tall, but you're all bones! You eating right, boy? You've really grown."

Tidus: "Yeah, but you're still bigger."

Jecht: "Well, I am Sin, you know."

Tidus: "That's not funny."

Jecht: "Well, then... I know. Let's end this."

Tidus: "Dad?"

Jecht: "Yeah?"

Tidus: "I hate you."

Jecht: "I know, I know. You know what you have to do."

Tidus: "Yeah."

Jecht: "I can't hear the Hymn so well anymore. Pretty soon, I'm gonna be Sin. Completely. I'm glad you're here now. One thing, though... When it starts, I won't be myself anymore. I won't be able to hold myself back. I'm sorry."

Tidus: "That's enough. Let's finish this, okay?"

Jecht: "You're right. Well, then... Let's go!"

Tidus: "I promise this'll be quick! Hit me with all you got, Dad!"

I just think this scene is well done. Tidus and Jecht are both at a loss for words and don't really know what to say (For all the talk that Tidus is a crybaby, he has a hard time expressing how he really feels as well, hence why he still tells Jecht he hates him at the very end even though he doesn't really mean it. I'm glad he does finally mention that he was glad to have him as his father before he faded away though).

13. Vivi Orunitia (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Where do we come from...? Do we go back there when we die...? If that's what it means to live...I wonder where I came from...? Where will I end up when I die...?"

Yes, "Orunitia," not "Ornitier!" Anyway, Vivi is great. First of all, the dude's a classic black mage. How can you go wrong with that? He's also one of the more easily sympathized with characters in the series. He's just a lovable little guy. I can't help but feeling bad for Vivi and all the things he has to deal with over the course of the game. His struggles to figure out who and what he is, and what life and death are really all about are some of the best in the series. The places in the game where he addresses these things often bring chills to me, even to this day after how many times I've played FFIX. Vivi is just a really well done character, and he seems to be the one that even people who don't seem to like the game like.

When we first meet Vivi, everything in the world is new to him, for the most part, since the only thing he'd ever really known up to that point was living with Quan in that cave. As a result, Zidane and company teach him a lot about the ways of the world and certain things he's never seen before, such as chocobos. His simple, childlike fascination with the world around him is really charming to me, and I think it really stands out when you're at the Village of Dali ("Gee whiz, a windmill!" "Chocobo?!").

Another characteristic of Vivi early on in the game is his lack of self-confidence. He gets scared very easily early on, even to the point that he completely freezes up and finds himself unable to do anything. In spite of his powerful black magic, Vivi doesn't really think he can be of much help to Zidane, but he eventually convinces him to come along. As they travel, he eventually gains more confidence, and I think where he really starts to come around is the fight with Black Waltz No. 3 on the cargo ship, which is one of my favorite parts in the entire series. First of all, the scene where the Black Waltz destroys the black mages who tried to protect Vivi is really sad, particularly as he watches them fall from the ship (Those eyes, man, are like puppy dog eyes, and the music that plays with that scene fits it very well). Then the scene after the boss fight where the Black Waltz chases you down in the ship and Vivi blasts him with that fire spell is like "HOLY CRAP, YESSSSS!" levels of awesome, and then the dramatic getaway and the last-second escape and Zidane's barely holding on to Vivi as he nearly falls off of the ship is really cool, too. So awesome.

Vivi's interactions with the other black mages in this game, particularly in the Black Mage Village with Mr. 288, are top notch. The Black Mage Village is one of my favorite locations in the series because so many really good things happen there. This is when Vivi comes face to face with his own mortality and limited lifespan for the first time, and it's a great moment in the game. Admittedly, when Vivi tries to talk to Zidane about the whole thing is one of the most annoying scenes in the game for me ("Hey Vivi, forget about all that stuff! Let's take a leak together instead! LOL!"), but whatever. Vivi's personal monologues and his interactions with the other black mages about it are awesome enough to make up for it.

I particularly like the scene after the black mages leave with Kuja, and Vivi goes back to the village and asks Mr. 288 why he stayed. I just think their perspective on life is interesting because they look at it differently. I also like it when you finally reunite with the black mages in Mt. Gulug after Kuja told them that their lifespans couldn't be extended, and he just said "All I can do is sit with them."

You know, for a long time, the ideas that Vivi stopped before the ending and that he was the one who narrated the entire ending never really occurred to me, for whatever the reason. I always thought that the characters took turns narrating in between the ending scenes after they each had their individual scene. I was always curious as to how Vivi was able to have "sons" though. Did they manage to create some more with the leftover Mist or what? Plus, I dunno what I thought happened to Vivi since he didn't show up at the very end (or maybe I thought he was one of the Black Mages in the ending FMV clapping or something). Now it makes the ending seem really sad now.

14. Delita Hyral (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Ramza.... What did you get? I........."

I love that last line. Interesting way to end the game, with an unfinished sentence like that. What was Delita trying to say, I wonder? It almost sounds like regret to me. Now that he's lost the one person he cared about more than anyone due to his manipulative ways, was it worth it? Maybe that's what he's wondering. Was Ramza's way better? Delita was a commoner who became a king and the official hero of the Lion War. Sure, he got all the accolades while Ramza got nothing for all his effort, but now that he looks back on it, did he do the right thing? Did he do it the right way? Did he do it for the right reasons? While Delita seemingly got everything, he almost has to feel like an empty king. He strives to get it all and seems to get it, but in the end, it's like he's got nothing at all. He used everyone, but now he has no one. That's just the nature of Delita's character, I think. All that manipulating and scheming caught up with him in the end.

I really end up feeling sorry for Delita. I can't blame him for what he wanted to do. As a commoner, he was treated like trash by basically every noble except for Ramza, who was the only person to accept him for who he was rather than what he was. Not even Dycedarg and Zalbag cared about him. After all, they heartlessly ordered the execution of his sister. At that point, Delita decided it was either use or be used, and so he was going to be the one doing the using from then on. He pretty much had the same goals as Wiegraf originally did, and he succeeded. He's very Machiavellian in his methods. He just does whatever he has to do to reach his goal. In the end, he doesn't become much better than the people he hated who drove him to become the way he did. He just does to them what they did to him.

Delita is the Revolver Ocelot of Final Fantasy Tactics. He's playing every side simultaneously with the intention to double-cross them all at a later time. In reality, he's only working for himself. He even uses his best friend and his supposed true love to achieve his own ends as he sees fit. It's no wonder Ovelia decides after all of this that she really can't trust him and even stabs him in anger for all of that. I always wondered what she meant when she told him, "Now you'll kill me just like Ramza!" Does she mean that she feels Delita is responsible for his death because he basically used him to do all his dirty work with the Zodiac Demons and whatnot?

I love the scene with Delita at Zirekile Falls where he's surrounded by the Hokuten as he's trying to escape with Ovelia, and Ramza shows up to help him. That battle has a great atmosphere, and I like the dialogue between the two of them. I especially like how he talks about how Teta was the one who saved him back then as he leaves. They also have a good conversation at Warjilis Trade City, where he talks about how he's going against the flow that everyone else seems to be swept up in. Ramza seemed to take those words to heart himself and decides to try to do the same thing. Then they have that conversation at the church in Zeltennia, where Delita expresses his love for Ovelia. He even says that he's willing to kill Ramza if he has to, but they both want the same thing, although it may be for different reasons. I like the relationship between Delita and Ramza in the game. They serve as great foils for each other. Like Delita says, they want the same thing, but they seek to accomplish it in completely different ways and for completely different reasons. I just think it's really interesting to watch how everything Delita plots to do unfolds throughout the game.

Bah, still struggling to articulate this the way that I want to!

15. Wiegraf Folles (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "A small stone may only make a small ripple at first, but someday it will be a wave."

Yes, my favorite Final Fantasy villain is, in fact, not a main villain, but a secondary one! I love the confrontations with Wiegraf. He has three very memorable and difficult (at least to me) battles throughout the game, although the second battle is probably the weakest of the three in that regard. Not to mention, the battles are very dialogue-heavy, which is a big plus for me. I always love the exchanges Ramza and Wiegraf have during these battles, and it's interesting to see how his worldview and ideals seem to change each time you face him. Their word battles can sometimes be as interesting as the battles themselves.

The first time we encounter Wiegraf, he's the leader of the Death Corps (or the Corpse Brigade if you like that new silly translation), an anti-aristocratic group that he formed after he and a group of commoner volunteers he led during the Fifty Years' War were dismissed without compensation or even so much as a word of gratitude. He fights for a change in the system, and his optimism at this point is unwavering. He believes it can be done. Wiegraf doesn't even really seem like a bad guy at first. He was totally against kidnapping Elmdor and Teta, for instance. The main reason he fights against you at first is because Ramza and company killed Miluda. He's the first one to plant the seeds of doubt into Ramza's mind about the nobility, and in particular his brother Dycedarg, as he reveals some of the things they plotted to accomplish, although Ramza naturally doesn't believe him. Good, tough fight there, too.

Then Wiegraf sort of fades out of the story for a while until we meet him again in Orbonne Monastery searching for the Virgo Stone. Now he's one of the Temple Knights, working for the church to fulfill his ideal. It's kinda strange how it seems like, from a political point of view, Ramza and Wiegraf have switched places. The first time they met, Ramza was part of the nobility and fighting for the establishment, and now he's a disgraced former noble and a heretic. Wiegraf was simply a commoner leading a rebellion against the establishment, and now he's working for the church and seemingly for the establishment outwardly (though they're secretly out to overthrow the current system, which is what Wiegraf desired). This time, the great conflict between the two is Ramza's seeming disappointment in the fact that Wiegraf sold out and had abandoned the ideal he once had (which Ramza ironically seems to sympathize with, now that he realized Wiegraf was right all along). Wiegraf's line of thinking now is that he needs someone else's power to accomplish his goal, and he's relying on someone else to get it done.

After Ramza nearly kills him, Velius (or Belias, if you like) calls to Wiegraf from the Aries Stone, and he submits to its power (Fun fact: The only time Ramza draws his sword first on anyone is when Wiegraf transforms in this scene). At this point, he ceases to be himself and falls under the control of Lucavi. The third and final confrontation at Riovanes Castle is the classic duel between the two. It starts off as a one-on-one battle, which is great, and we get some really good exchanges between the two of them. Now the conflict is how everything they believed in was a lie. Wiegraf blames the people for just depending on the government to do everything for them, and so nothing ever changes. The government controls everything, and the people swallow the lies it feeds them. In particular, I love this exchange between the two of them during this battle:

Ramza: And what about you? Relying on miracles instead of beating your insecurities!

Wiegraf: It's because humans are insecure that they rely on 'miracles'. Can you honestly say you're not, with any confidence?

Ramza: I'm trying!

Wiegraf: Then your efforts have come to an end!

Wiegraf will always be one of my favorite villains in the series (and it seems like he'll have a hard time being overthrown as my favorite since it seems Square has given up on trying to create good villains, from the looks of FFXIII). He's got a lot of the things you need in a good villain. He's memorable. He has good, tough battles. He has a good connection to the main character, a good, discernible conflict between the two of them, good dialogue. He also develops and changes as a villain throughout the game.

Man, it's been way too long since I've played FFT. I'm having a hard time articulating this the way that I want to, but hopefully, you guys kinda understand what I'm trying to get across here.

16. Kuja (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Why should the world exist without me? That wouldn't be fair. If I die, we all die! Zidane, you will be my first sacrifice."

This might be a controversial choice, but Kuja is my favorite main villain in the Final Fantasy series (although this doesn't really say a whole lot, honestly). His lack of fashion sense aside, I thought he was a good villain overall, though he didn't really bring anything new to the table. In particular, he embraced that villainous cliche of long monologues revealing his entire plan to nobody in particular. Kuja sure likes to talk a lot, probably moreso than any other villain in the series. He enjoys using cryptic speeches and poetic metaphors. He often talks like everything is part of some big play. "All the world's a stage" and all that, I guess.

The good thing about Kuja is that, although he didn't show up much, something awesome happens nearly every time he does decide to show up (except for Desert Palace. That place was terrible). He has a high good scene per appearance ratio. Burmecia is one of my favorite areas in the game, and I like the cutscene at the end of the first disc where everyone's just sprawled out on the ground while Kuja just kinda observes them and casually flies off on his silver dragon. Then he shows up at the end of disc two and basically owns everybody. Of course, then there's the famous scene where he transforms into Trance Kuja and destroys all of Terra by himself. That was an awesome scene. All of the first three discs end with Kuja coming away victoriously and with the advantage.

I think that's one of the reasons I like Kuja so much. He's a villain that you never, ever seem to get the upper hand against. Even when it seems like you've got him beaten at Pandemonium, he just transforms into Trance Kuja and blasts you with Ultima. The only character in the game who's really able to own Kuja is Garland from beyond the grave when he reveals that he's just a mere defect with a limited lifespan. Believe it or not, this goes along with one of the reasons why X-Death is another one of my favorite villains in the series. Like Kuja, he doesn't really bring anything new to the table, but he's always one step ahead of your party and owns them at seemingly every single point in the story. There's really only one time you get the best of X-Death before the very end of the game, and it ends up killing a party member in the process. That's just how hardcore he is. Kuja and X-Death both just have this aura of "How in the world am I supposed to beat this guy?" about them, which I absolutely love in villains. It just adds a sense of urgency to the plot and a sense of achievement when you finally beat them.

I really did like the scene where Garland reveals Kuja's mortality though. Up to that point, Kuja was just a narcissist who lived without a care in the world, just did whatever he felt like doing because he thought he had all the time he needed to do it and could do it without any repercussions. When he realizes he's living on limited time, Kuja basically snaps and decides the only solution is to destroy everything before it gets a chance to destroy him (Hey, there's another comparison to X-Death, I guess! Man, who'd have figured these guys were so alike!). He just can't handle the reality of his mortality.

I'm not sure I'm a big fan of Kuja's face turn in the ending though. I'm not really a big fan of "deathbed repentance" scenes for villains, particularly for villains who don't really have a reason to turn good. I think it's okay at times when the villain used to be a good guy and then he becomes a good guy again at the very end (Like Darth Vader), but for Kuja, that wasn't really the case.

17. Princess Ashelia B’nargin Dalmasca (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "I am simply myself. No more and no less. And I want only to be free."

First of all...B'nargin? Really? What kind of name is that? I think the name "Ashelia" is really pretty (and I'd honestly consider giving it to my daughter, if I should ever have one...), but then they just throw the name "B'nargin" right after. It's like they tried to come up with the prettiest and ugliest names they could ever think of back to back. Also, what's up with this picture where she poses with her finger on her nose? Oh well, at least she looks pretty in that picture, though for some reason she doesn't look quite as pretty in-game, for whatever the reason.

Inane ramblings aside, I really do like Ashe. I think it's pretty interesting to see how she develops and changes over the course of the game. Most of the cast is static for the most part. They don't change much from when they're first introduced to the end (Not that it's necessarily a bad thing because Balthier is still awesome in spite of this, but it's nice to see one dynamic character in the cast!), but Ashe goes through her own journey of discovery through the course of Final Fantasy XII. I can see some parallels with her and Yuna in this regard, though their personalities are certainly different. Essentially, I'd consider Ashe to be the real main character of the game because the game basically goes at her pace once she joins the party. You follow her to help her save Dalmasca. For the most part, she decides where the party is going next, and most of the events of the game happen to her or involve her in some way. I think she fits the role of the leading lady well.

Whenever Ashe first joins the party, she doesn't really trust any of them. She distrusts Balthier and Fran because they're air pirates, of course, and Vaan and Penelo are pretty much guilty by association in her eyes. She definitely disdained Basch because she viewed him as a traitor and a king slayer. However, over time, she begins to trust them as companions and as friends. In particular, you can see this in the ending when she's visibly upset at the prospect that Balthier and Fran may be killed as he tries to repair the Bahamut. Penelo also indicates that Ashe misses having Basch around now that he's serving Larsa instead.

Of course, Ashe is on a journey to save Dalmasca from the Empire, but along the way, she tries to figure out the best way to do it. At first, she seems to think the answer is to fight fire with fire, using the power of the Nethicite to exact revenge and make them pay for all they had done to her homeland. This is what the Occuria want her to do, and they try to prompt her down this path by showing her apparitions of her deceased husband Rasler. Over time, she comes to think that this might not be the way, especially once the Occuria appear to her openly and explain their "destiny" for her to fulfill. Ashe starts to question if what she's doing is right, but she doesn't make her decision until you reach the top of the Pharos Lighthouse (which is where like everything awesome in the game happens, it seems). That's when she decides that revenge is not the answer, and she refuses to be used by anyone, not even the Occuria. She decides to stand in her own strength and defend Dalmasca, even if that's not good enough, and that's what she wants for Dalmasca as well. She doesn't want to be some tyrant, dictator, or conqueror. She just wants her people to be free and to be able to stand on their own. I thought watching Ashe gradually arrive at this decision was pretty interesting.

As an aside, I always love it when she tells Vaan not to interrupt her. It's like Vaan decides he wants to be all main-character-like, and she's just like, "Dude, shut up. I'll do all the thinking here. You may think you're the main character, but I'm callin' the shots." Sometimes she's way too serious for her own good, but it results in awesome moments like that.

18. President Rufus Shinra (Final Fantasy 'VII')

Quote: "A good son would have known."

I love Rufus. He's one of those bad guys I just can't hate. He's just too awesome. You know, for the longest time, I thought that all the stuff your party said right before you meet Rufus for the first time ("I've heard that no one's ever seen him bleed or cry." "I heard that he's been assigned somewhere else for a long time.") was referring to Sephiroth, but it was recently brought to my mention that it's actually referring to Rufus. That's some pretty hardcore stuff. He has a great introduction, too. I love how nonchalant he is about he is about everything that's going on. "What a crew." "I guess this means we won't become friends." "I believe that's all for today." And then he grabs on to a helicopter and flies away! The fight against Rufus had a great atmosphere, even though it was pretty easy once you kill the dog (I'm a sucker for one-on-one duels in RPGs, if you'll recall), and the escape from the Shinra Building is one of my favorite parts of the game. I do wish there had been another big showdown with him some time later in the game though. His speech that he makes always confuses me though. Rufus says that he wants to control the people with fear because it takes too much effort to control them with money and stuff, but the next time you see him, he's having a big welcoming parade and whatnot ("Rufus's Welcoming Ceremony" is an awesome song though). It just feels kinda contradictory to me, but no big deal.

Thinking back on it, I'm kinda surprised at how little screen time Rufus has overall. It really felt like he had more than he did, but I suppose he just had great presence. It felt like he stole the show every time he appeared on-screen. I love his constant ownage of Heidegger, making fun of his horse laugh and ripping his face off for failing to get anything accomplished ("Is that all you can do? Give one-word answers and apologize for everything?" Aw yeah). Rufus just has great lines overall. He's involved in two of my favorite parts of the game, the fight against Sapphire Weapon in Junon and the fight against Diamond Weapon outside of Midgar. I just love the casual hair stroke after he fires the Sister Ray and takes out Diamond, and then he somehow survives a direct hit from its attack. He's just that hardcore.

Rufus was great in Advent Children as well, one of the better characters in the movie. I love how he seems to be a changed man after all that's happened and feels that he owes a debt to the Planet after all that Shinra has caused, but deep down, there's still that same old, manipulative, sneaky side to him. The scene where he reveals that he's been hiding Jenova's head under the sheet with him all along to Kadaj is simply brilliant. Once again, he's got that same nonchalant demeanor to the whole thing, with that "A good son would have known" line. And then he casually tosses Jenova's head off the side and jumps down himself, eventually nailing a direct shot on the container before the Turks rescue him. I believe Nomura said it better than I could, so I'll quote him here: "Only someone like Rufus, a big shot president, would be able to jump off a building without hesitation and expect his Turks to take care of everything." I think that sort of speaks to the level of implicit trust that Rufus has in his agents, though he never expresses it vocally.

In short, don't mess with Rufus Shinra, son!

19. Zell Dincht (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "Why don't you try to show a little more passion...? You know, like me!"

I love Zell. He's great. He serves as yet another Squall foil. Squall is almost everything Zell would like to be (A hero and a leader, calm, controlled, imperturbable, etc.) but isn't. The ironic thing is that Zell wants to be a hero but isn't, and Squall doesn't want to be a hero but is. In reality, he's loud, almost uncontrollably energetic and emotional at times, easily bothered (because he cares so much about what other people think about him, and although Squall in reality is the same way, he found a way to shut himself off from it, which Zell can't do), and shoots off at the mouth without thinking more often than not, which almost gets them into serious trouble in Timber when he reveals to President Deling that they're all from Balamb Garden. His easily worked up nature makes him an easy target for Seifer (and even other party members at times, with hilarious results!). He's more of a Saturday-morning-cartoon type of hero than your typical JRPG hero, sort of in the mold of Tidus, I guess. I think he was actually specifically designed to be like a Japanese comic book hero archetype that's popular with teenage boys, so yeah.

Overall, Zell serves as a comic relief character of sorts throughout the game. There's the running gag where he always gets to the line in the cafeteria right when the hot dogs run out (and when he finally gets some in the ending, he almost chokes because he's eating them too fast). There's an optional dialogue during the Dollet SeeD Exam where Squall and Selphie will call Zell a Chicken-Wuss, and there are other scenes where the characters crack a joke at his expense. He has several hilarious scenes in Balamb when he finally allows you to enter his room. He has some pretty funny scenes with the Library Girl with Pigtails, though they're easily missable if you don't know how to activate them. There are other times when Squall or somebody else shuts him down (such as at the beginning of the mission in Deling City, when Squall is supposed to pick a leader for the gateway team, Zell starts shadow boxing, expecting to be picked, but he picks Quistis instead, though he does feel bad for denying him). Overall, I think Zell's a funny guy. His reactions almost always make it worth it because they're so extreme (such as causing the entire train to shake by punching the floor out of anger at Irvine flirting with all the girls in the party as soon as he joins).

Zell is also informed (...sorta) about all kinds of things, and he's willing to tell you what he knows if he gets the chance. Squall sarcastically dubs him "Mr. Know-It-All Zell" in Timber because of that, though Zell doesn't even realize he's being sarcastic. Oh, and if you ever want to get through the Deep Sea Research Center, never listen to Zell. Just a word to the wise. Overall, he's a good guy at heart who just wants to be useful, but at the same time, he wants his contributions to stand out so he gets noticed. Although his tendency to act before he thinks gets him in trouble sometimes, he doesn't try to be a troublemaker. He feels bad when he gets caught doing something he wasn't supposed to do, such as using his T-Board in Balamb Garden. Zell is opposed to Seifer's idea to go running off and ignoring orders during the SeeD Exam, though he does eventually give in and go with them. He wants to be liked and he jumps at the opportunity to prove himself, and so he does try to be a people-pleaser and sort of a goody-goody, if you will. I kinda like that about him. I think he's essentially a perfect "sidekick" supporting role type character.

When it comes to Zell in battle, there's no one better if you've learned how to spam Armageddon Fist, which can potentially outdo even Lionheart in total damage output if you're quick with your reaction time and his strength is high enough. You can take down about half of Omega Weapon's HP with just one use if you get the maximum allotted time with Duel. Zell is part of my ideal party, along with Squall and Rinoa. My Final Heaven is awesome simply for how over-the-top it is. *runs right past you, all the way around the world, and then comes back around and punches you right in the face* It just doesn't get any better than that.

I don't know if Zell has any scenes in particular that I like him the most in. He doesn't really have any scenes where he's the star or the standout guy other than the brief time when he leads the party in Esthar and D-District Prison. He was pretty stinkin' awesome in D-District Prison though when he punched the Mean Guy warden in the gut and stood up to him to protect the moomba. Oh, and I love that scene where Squall swoops in to save him, and Zell is so grateful that he just clings to him until he literally has to hit him on the head with the butt of his gunblade to get him to let go. Aw yeah

20. Reno (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "We may be retreating, but... we're still victorious."

Ahh, Reno, the ultimate slacker. He never works harder than he has to, but that doesn't mean he never works hard. He's second-in-command with the Turks for a reason. He just lives by the motto, "A pro isn't someone who sacrifices himself for his job. That's just a fool." He does care about his fellow Turks, though he doesn't appear to be very caring on the outside. After all, he was willing to work on his vacation time in order to save Elena from Corneo. He doesn't seem to worry about keeping up appearances either, based on how he dresses. Every day is a casual Friday for Reno.

Reno was a cool guy in Final Fantasy VII. The first fight with him caps off one of my favorite parts of Final Fantasy VII: The defense of the Sector 7 Pillar. He was a neat boss fight with the Pyramid move. He wasn't too tough overall aside from that, but you definitely had to avoid letting him trap you with that, so it takes first priority. I thought it was pretty smooth when he runs by Tifa (causing her to spin around) and jumps off right into the helicopter Tseng was in. The subsequent fights with him are good, too. I like his electromagnetic nightstick, and I always like how he casually retreats like it's no big deal. He's certainly not a super competitive person who has to win everything.

I know there are some people who don't like the portrayal of Reno we find in Advent Children because it makes him too much of a goofball (and sort of a weakling at times, too), but I enjoyed it. He doesn't really show that goofy side in Final Fantasy VII, but he always seemed like that kind of guy to me, so it didn't bother me. Reno and Rude have a lot of great moments in that movie, too. I liked the fight with Loz and Yazoo in Midgar, and the chase scene with them afterward. I loved the part where they set off the bomb on the bridge, and that little smirk Reno has on his face right before it goes off as Loz and Yazoo approach. "Looks like today we're clockin' out early." Aw yeah. When I first saw the movie, I thought they went kamikaze there, which would have been a hardcore way to go out, but it was still cool.

21. Doctor Cidolfus Demen Bunansa (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "Such high hopes I once had…but you ran, and they with you! Alas, your return is too late. Come, Ffamran! Revel in the glory of my triumph!"

Yes, if there's one thing (and maybe not much else) Final Fantasy XII does better than any other game in the series, it's in giving us the best Cid. First of all, I love the decision Square made to make Cid a bad guy (although I had this spoiled for me before I played, but it's not exactly a huge plot revelation that he's evil, so it's not so bad). It was a nice deviation from what we normally see from the Cid of the game. Secondly, I thought it was a great move to make him Balthier's father, creating a great father/son relationship. The only thing he (and virtually every other character in the game) could have really used was more screen time. He makes an appearance very early and very briefly in the game, and you don't see him again until much, much later at Draklor Laboratories. Another interesting thing to me is how Final Fantasy XII managed to make two secondary villains so compelling and interesting while making the main villain blow serious chunks. Oh well, it happens every now and then, I guess!

Anyway, the main facet of Cid's character is, of course, his relationship with Venat. For most of the game, you're led to believe that he's just a madman who talks endlessly to someone who isn't really there, having been driven insane due to all his obsessive Nethicite research. I do have to wonder what transpired at Giruvegan to cause Cid and Venat to come together to work to wrest control of man's history from the hands of the Occuria. I wish they had explored that a little bit more and gave us some more information about that. Again, this is another area where FFXII just suffers from a lack of plot development and could have been so much better if they had explored something like this. Maybe some people like the mystery of stuff like this, but I'm the kind of person who wants everything solved and everything figured out (or at least wrapped up satisfactorily) by the end of the game. Finding out that Cid wasn't really insane and that there actually was a Venat was a pretty cool moment when it showed up and owned Reddas (and then when it owned Gabranth at Pharos as well).

Both of the fights with Cid are pretty cool. He's got some pretty ridiculous moves ("No pity from me!"), and they can be decently challenging fights because he does things to shield himself from damage. Plus, the second fight is the climax of the Pharos, which is basically the climax of the game. I loved the buildup to this fight and the exchanges between Cid and Balthier.

Speaking of Cid and Balthier, like I said before, I really enjoyed the relationship that they had. The game focuses primarily on how disappointing Balthier was about what his father had become, but I think Cid was definitely disappointed in what his son had become as well. He talks about the high hopes that he had for him and how he ran from them and took those hopes along with him. He made him a Judge, though Balthier felt he was just being used for Cid's Nethicite research and resented it. Despite all that happened to sever their relationship, I think they still did care about each other. I think you can see this after you beat Cid the second time, and Balthier asks, with a sense of regret, "Was there no other way?" I thought it was pretty sad how Cid kind of rejected him there and basically told him just to keep on running and calls him a fool of a pirate. It was a bittersweet end to all of that, but I thought it was well done in that regard. Not everything can or has to be a happy ending.

22. Captain Adelbert Steiner (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Chivalry requires a knight to look after his comrades-in-arms. I will not abandon you! And I shall follow you to kingdom come if I must. You remember that!"

Worry not, Princess! The Captain of the mighty Knights of Pluto makes his appearance on the list, after having spent the entirety of the list up to this point trying to round up the other nine members! Silence, you bumpkin thieves who protest his ranking on this list! Master Vivi surely would approve, though I do not know how he feels about Steiner's tendency to wear mascara. Fear for your lives as you hear the sound of his clanking, rusty armor rushing into the heart of battle from a mile away! PRINCESS?!

Seriously though, I love Steiner. Personality-wise, he's close-minded, intolerant, and someone who blindly and stubbornly follows Queen Brahne without much question despite all evidence to the contrary until she basically tells him that she intends to kill Dagger. But the thing is...I really can't take Steiner seriously. He just feels like a big parody or a caricature, so I actually find the way he acts to be highly amusing. He fills the role of comic relief character in Final Fantasy IX so well. Nearly every scene Steiner is in has at least one humorous moment that has me smirking at his boisterous, exaggerated nature. Whether it's his failed Buzz Lightyear impression, his desire to kill the guy at South Gate who kept them from getting through earlier, his thought that he had been poisoned when Dagger put everyone to sleep with the sleeping weed, the love letter chain mix-up with Beatrix, and many more, Steiner's just a riot. I imagine that a lot of people just find the guy annoying, and I can certainly see why, but he just makes me laugh.

Steiner does have a couple of serious moments that I like though. I liked it during disc 2 when Beatrix and Steiner realize Brahne's true intentions, and Beatrix and Freya stay behind to fight while he goes with Zidane and company. Yet he just can't let himself leave them behind to the fight, and he actually entrusts Zidane and Vivi with taking care of Dagger while he goes back to help them, which I think is actually a big step forward in his characterization because it shows how far along his opinion of Zidane has developed from the beginning. He never would have done that before, and perhaps Brahne's betrayal helped Steiner realize that what he was saying was right all along, and he wasn't such a bad guy.

Another Steiner moment I love is when he goes to the Wind Shrine with Vivi (Little side note: I actually wish you had gotten to explore the shrines with all four parties and that it had actually been worthwhile area instead of what they ended up doing with the Earth Shrine). They're having trouble with Tiamat because he's too fast for Vivi to hit him with magic. Steiner develops a plan to try to grapple and hold Tiamat down to give Vivi a clear shot at him. He worries that he might miss and hit him instead, and Steiner simply replies, "I trust you, Vivi." That was the first time in the game he called him just "Vivi," and not "Master Vivi," which I thought was cool. Speaking of Steiner and Vivi, I loved the Magic Sword gimmick. It's pretty much the only way to use Doomsday without owning your own party most of the time other than stocking up on Shadow absorb/nullifying armor, which isn't always what you want to do just to use the spell. Steiner is just awesome in battle. He has some very good abilities, and when he goes into Trance, stuff gets killed. Despite the fact that his Trance doesn't do anything more than triple his attack power, it still manages to be one of the most useful ones in the game!

Another thing I want to add is how I wish Steiner didn't become so seemingly insignificant to the plot after Alexandria gets destroyed. Once you fight the Mistodons with Beatrix, he sort of just...fades out of the picture despite being with your party the whole time. His role seems unnecessary at that point because he's mostly accepted Zidane for who he is, so there aren't constant disagreements and arguments between them and whatnot. He still occasionally has a good moment here or there, but like most of FFIX's cast, he just kinda...drops out of the limelight once we hit disc 3, which was pretty disappointing to me.

Oh, and Steiner is the Winston Payne of the Final Fantasy universe: The guy who married way over his head to the point that it becomes truly, truly shocking!

23. Seifer Almasy (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "This is the scene where you swear your undying hatred for me! The tale of the evil mercenary vs. the sorceress' knight... The fun's just started, Squall. Don't disappoint me now!"

Another potentially controversial decision? Well, I like Seifer. Once again, he's a great Squall foil, and those are cool with me! They're polar opposites in nearly every way. Even their scars face opposite directions. I thought it was kinda neat that their Triple Triad cards have mirrored stats, so it's impossible to a Squall Card to defeat a Seifer Card (or vice-versa) without Same or Plus (or one of those elemental tiles that lowers your stats if it's the wrong element) coming into play. Really, the only similarity they have is that they both use gunblades, but even then, they have different styles.

Squall thrives on an environment of discipline, order, and duty. Seifer absolutely hates all three, despite being the head of the "Disciplinary Committee," irony of all ironies there. I think he's only the head of that because he gets some sort of power trip satisfaction from being in a position of "authority," and he likes laying the smack down on people moreso than he really cares about the rules being upheld. He loves having the title of "leader," even though he doesn't really seem to grasp what the concept means ("Being a leader means staying out of my way! It's a Squad B rule! Don't forget it!"), as evidenced by his failures in the SeeD Field Exam as a squad leader. Seifer is a rebel in every sense of the word. He's loud, stubborn, arrogant, and gets along with virtually no one except for Fujin and Raijin (And while people call Squall anti-social, if you want to use the strict definition of the term, it's much more befitting of Seifer).

Now that sounds like some pretty harsh criticism of Seifer there, so why do I like him? I don't think he's really meant to have a likable personality, per se, but I think he's an intriguing character. I think he makes a great "rival" type character for Squall. In a way, I almost feel sorry for the guy because of how deluded he ends up being (he truly believes he's living a hero's dream), to the point that even Fujin and Raijin abandon him. His dream turns into a nightmare, and in the end, he gets left with nothing, though I'm glad the ending showed that he seemed to turn back to his old self. I liked the fact that he smirked as Balamb Garden flew overhead, as evidence that he was no longer under the sorceress's control, and he was almost grateful for what they did for him. Perhaps it was a smile of nostalgic reminiscence as well, who knows.

Personally, I love Squall and Seifer's confrontations throughout the game. I think they're well orchestrated and set up. The opening FMV of the game speaks for itself (and for the record, the reason Squall ends up in the Infirmary and Seifer doesn't is because Seifer pulled the trigger as he slashed him across the face and Squall didn't when he did it). Despite their apparent rivalry with each other, they both seem to have a deep abiding mutual respect for one another. Squall seems to be just about the only person Seifer has any respect for, other than Rinoa. They even seem to have a "moment" during the Field Exam in Dollet when Squall says he feels like he can take on anyone, even if they fight dirty like Seifer does, and Seifer replies that he'll thank him when the time comes. I certainly don't think they hate each other.

I loved the first confrontation with Seifer at the end of disc 1, when he talks about how this has always been his dream to be the sorceress's knight. The fight itself is pitifully easy, but the buildup to the fight was very good, including the conversation Squall and Rinoa have about the possibility of fighting him. The second fight is probably the weakest of the four in that regard, though I do like how he sort of makes an "appeal" to Squall and the two in your party right before you fight him, as if he's trying to play mind games with you. I absolutely love the third fight, where he's desperately clinging onto his dream and his honor as the sorceress's knight, and he can barely stand. Then he falls and simply says, "...I'm disgraced." I think that scene says a lot about his determination and just how seriously he takes that dream. The fourth fight is pretty interesting. He even says he's not a knight anymore, just a revolutionary. This is the fight where he completely owns Odin and then gets owned by Gilgamesh in return. I just love those moments, and I wish more games included moments like this. Another neat thing I like about these fights is that you can see how Seifer's coat gets more ragged every time you see him. That was a nice touch there, I thought.

Perhaps my favorite Seifer moment in the game isn't a battle, but rather when he's interrogating/torturing Squall in the D-District Prison. I think this is where you get the most insight into his character. I think he truly believes he's in the right as the sorceress's knight, that he's the hero and Squall is his enemy. He looks at the whole thing as some sort of big storybook tale where he defends the sorceress from the evil warriors who would try to defeat her. He even calls the whole thing "fun," like it's just a fantasy and not reality. I really like his dialogue in this part, too. It's well written and flows well.

Anyway, this is getting way too long, so it's time to wind it down with one final thought. Do you ever wonder where Seifer got this whole romantic dream about being the Sorceress's Knight from? Do you remember that Laguna Dream Sequence where he decided to do a cheap movie to make some extra money to get to Esthar? You remember what that movie was about? And you remember what weapon he used and the stance he took when he used it?

So yeah, Seifer's a Laguna fanboy, so he can't be too bad in my book!

24. Wakka (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Hah! I'd never forgive myself -- no way! Not if I ran away now. Even in death, ya!"

I think some people may consider this to be too high for Wakka, but I really liked him. I think a lot of people dislike him because of how much of a bigot and blind Yevonite he is, but I thought it was good because he eventually did change his ways. I thought it was good that somebody in the party had to really struggle with the whole thing. Yeah, Yuna and Lulu had to handle their own struggles, but they handled things differently, and I don't think they were as ardent or as blind of followers as he was. They didn't hate the Al Bhed like he did, and he was the one who was the most outraged with Operation Mi'ihen because of the machina. I always remember his reactions to the big Yevon exposure moments in the game. "That's not something a maester should say!" during Operation Mi'ihen. "This can't be happening" in such a despondent tone after seeing Jyscal's Sphere. "They treated us like dirt" in Bevelle Temple when you see all the machina.

I also liked Wakka's interactions with Tidus. I thought they were good. I always love that scene when you stay at Rin's Travel Agency in the Thunder Plains, and Tidus is trying to sneak into Yuna's room to see Jyscal's Sphere. Then Wakka slowly sneaks up behind him and puts him in a headlock. That was awesome. Wakka also has cool expressions! "So just hold your chocobos 'til then!" "Those sand-blasted grease monkeys!" "Rotten son of a shoopuf!" I did like Wakka's accent, ya? I think it probably annoys some people, but I liked it. I thought he was just a likable guy overall. John Dimaggio did a good job with his voice work.

Wakka is obviously awesome in battle, and that's one of the reasons I like him. The beastly power of Attack Reels needs no introduction. However, once Wakka obtained a blitzball that had Evade & Counter on it in Via Purifico, he became such a beast. Nobody messes with him with that. Sidestep, crush with blitzball, repeat. It's difficult to get a weapon like that before you get into endgame stuff, so I just loved it.

25. Beatrix (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "...There's no difference between them and me. We're all just blindly following orders. My heart and my will mean nothing...Maybe Steiner was right..."

We go from the most overpowered character in Final Fantasy Tactics to potentially the most overpowered character in Final Fantasy IX. Her mystique as an unparalleled warrior in Gaia is well-known, to the point that even Fratley acknowledges her prowess as a warrior as superior to his own and the best in the land. Of course, they reinforce this by making her impossible to defeat in any of the three battles you have with her. No matter how hard you fight, eventually she'll nail the entire party with an attack that will reduce everyone's HP to 1 and end the battle. There's a part of me that wishes that there was a way that you could actually win that battle, and they give you a reward for doing it. Just make it a very difficult battle to win (like optional boss level) and perhaps put a time limit on it before she owns your party, and that would be cool. It wouldn't change the story in any way or anything like that, but it'd be neat.

I do enjoy those battles with Beatrix though. They're fun, they can be relatively challenging because of her strength, and the atmosphere of the battles is great, particularly the first battle in Burmecia. "The Sword of Doubt" is a cool song for those battles, too. She's always got great quotes when you fight her. She knows just how good she is, too. She's very confident in her ability. I wish she had been as broken as Orlandu during the short time you get to use her though! That would've been fun!

But despite all of her strength as a warrior, Beatrix does have a gentle side. When she gives Brahne the jewel from Cleyra, she's visibly disturbed by her reaction to the whole situation, and she wonders what it's all for. She doesn't want to follow orders blindly without wondering why like Steiner does, but she wonders if what she cares about or wants really matters as a soldier. She is extremely devoted to Princess Garnet, even to the point that she stands up to Queen Brahne when she finds out the truth about extracting the Eidolons and executing her. She's willing to admit her mistakes, and she's willing to change if needed. It's kind of interesting to see such a stark contrast in the two aspects of Beatrix's character, which helps make her more likable, I think. Beatrix also has a great theme, "Loss of Me" (or "Rose of May" depending on who you ask), which stands in contrast to "The Sword of Doubt," which emphasizes the point. Her taste in men is somewhat questionable, considering she falls for Steiner, but hey, nobody's perfect!

Not to mention, Beatrix is a pretty girl, especially that hair! Girls with naturally straight hair with bouncy curls at the end? Yesssssss

26. Cidolfas Orlandu (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Pledging life-long loyalty. That's the Orlandu way..."

A guy who has all of the abilities of Agrias, Meliadoul, and Gafgarion? And as if that's not enough, he comes equipped with a powerful sword that has the Auto-Haste ability? Yes, please. Orlandu is such a beast. He makes the game way too easy, but man, it's fun to just rampage with this guy. He's one of the few guys on this list who ranks highly because of battle prowess moreso than characterization, although that doesn't mean his characterization is bad. His battle prowess is just the thing that stands out the most about the guy. They don't call him T.G. Cid for nothing! They should totally have a 50 Years War FFT prequel where you get to wreck everyone with Orlandu and Balbanes! Seriously, with these two guys around, how in the world did Ivalice not win the war?

Anyway, I do like Orlandu's character because he's not out to win the war for himself, and he doesn't take any satisfaction in going to war. He stays loyal to Goltana because, as he says, that's his way, though he may disagree with his policies. And even though he disagrees with those policies, he doesn't speak a negative word against him, and he chastises Olan when he criticizes Goltana. He just stays loyal to the end. He wants a peaceful resolution to the Lion War as quickly as possible, but virtually nobody else in power seemed to want it that way. He's a lot like Ramza, which is why he eventually joins his party to stop the war and end the church's plot with the Zodiac Stones.

Also, gotta love Orlandu's story when you rescue him from Bethla Garrison about Ramza trying to hold his sword when he was just a little toddler! Aw yeah

27. Basch fon Ronsenburg (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "After Vayne’s ruse I had abandoned hope for honor… Yet never did I forget my knightly vows. If I could protect but one person from war’s horror…then I would bear any shame. I would bear it proudly. I could not defend my home. What is shame to me?"

Like Gabranth, Basch is a character I don't know if I completely understand. When Gabranth asks Basch why he still lives, he replies, "To silence Ondore. How many times must I say it?" I'm not sure why that's such a big motivation for him. Maybe it was what Ondore had said that was keeping Dalmasca under the oppression of Archades, but I don't entirely understand the politics of Final Fantasy XII, admittedly. I do think Basch makes a pretty good hero, and I think he would have made a good main character if Square had stuck with that decision. He'd be a better one than Vaan, for sure!

One of the things I really like about Basch is his sense of dedication to doing what he believes is right and what is his duty. He's not interested in making a name for himself. He's not interested in being a famous war hero. When Gabranth asks him why he does what he does, he simply replies, "I do what I must, brother. Or is that not answer enough?" And unlike his brother, he didn't let his failures turn him into a bitter man angry at the world and at himself. Instead, he just kept going on and doing what he had to do in spite of all that. Basch didn't let even the most severe failures derail him from doing what he thought was his duty. As long as he felt there was still someone or something else to protect, he would do it.

Basch was a man who believed firmly in and fought for hope. The hope of a better future, the hope of regaining something that was lost, and things like that. I don't think he believed that anyone was too far gone. When Gabranth said that he no longer had the right to be called by his real name, Basch simply told him, "Then live and reclaim it," which I thought was cool. I think he believes the best in people, and he tries his best to be understanding of people. Even after Vossler turns on them and fights them, Basch tells him that he would never question his loyalty to Dalmasca. When Vaan kept lashing out at him early on, he never lashed back. He did his best to explain the truth, and he apologized to him for everything that he had to endure because of what happened to Reks. He never made excuses. I think that's something that really impressed me about Basch. He's a man with power, but he never uses it recklessly. It's always power under control, only to be used when needed.

I thought it was cool that Basch took Gabranth's place as Larsa's protector after his brother's death. Once again, it proved that he wasn't out to make a name for himself. He simply took Gabranth's identity as his own. He honored his brother's last request because he felt it was something important both to him and to Larsa.

28. Judge Gabranth (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "Hear me, Basch! Do not think killing the kingslayer will win you back your honor! When you abandoned home and kin, your name was forever stained with blood!"

I like Gabranth as a villain, though I don't entirely understand why he does what he does. He's angry and bitter toward Basch for leaving Landis for Dalmasca and continue fighting the empire, but Gabranth defected to the enemy who destroyed Landis? I don't get that, although I guess it's possible that defection was related to that hatred of Basch and a way for him to get his revenge against him someday. In a way, I suppose he did by framing Basch for killing Dalmasca's king and transforming their hero into the most vilified man in that land. Gabranth views the world and his life much differently than his brother does, and they're an interesting foil to each other. For Gabranth, he seems to think that once honor is lost, it can't be reclaimed, so it frustrates him to no end that his supposedly honorless brother still fights as if he has any.

Gabranth is a Judge Magister, and as such, he's a big proponent of "justice," but his idea of justice seems to be closely connected to revenge and some sort of personal vendetta. I think he believes that getting revenge on Basch would be exacting justice for what he perceived as abandoning Landis and his family. You can see this in a major way in the Pharos Lighthouse. I love Gabranth here, just the way he almost seemingly taunts Ashe and company into attacking him in the name of justice. I thought it was a pretty awesome moment in the game, and it was a good fight overall with a great atmosphere. Of course, then Cid and Venat own his face, which was cool in its own right.

I also enjoyed the battle with Gabranth on the Sky Fortress Bahamut. He's definitely a broken man at that point, struggling to handle what had just happened to him at the Pharos Lighthouse. Then I loved the moment when Vayne tells Gabranth to protect Larsa, and he draws his sword against Vayne, claiming that this is how he will protect him. Then you get to fight with Gabranth in your party, which was definitely an awesome moment. It seemed like Basch had finally gotten through to him, finding a way in reclaiming his honor in going back to protecting those under your charge, even though you may have failed in the past because failure isn't the end. It was a good scene in the ending between Gabranth and Basch, where they finally seem to reconcile and Gabranth passes on his charge to Basch in his last moments.

29. Rikku (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Memories are nice, but that's all they are."

Out of all the peppy girl type characters in the series (Yuffie, Selphie, Eiko, Penelo, etc.), Rikku is easily the best one of them all. For the record, for the FFX main party, FFX-2 doesn't factor much in their rankings on this list. They are generally worse across the board in FFX-2 (except for Tidus and Auron, but they're barely in the game, so they get spared). Rikku isn't too much different in FFX-2 compared to FFX in terms of personality, so she wouldn't suffer too much anyway. The main difference is that Rikku has virtually no serious moments in FFX-2, and while she doesn't have many of them in FFX, it's those serious moments there that really make me like her. She does have some good humorous moments. I actually enjoyed her astraphobic moments in the Thunder Plains. Plus, Tara Strong overall does a top notch job with her voice work in both games.

I love the scene in the Summoners' Sanctum where Rikku does the big reveal that using the Final Aeon may defeat Sin, but it will also kill Yuna. It's a very emotional scene overall, and I think just the way that she delivers those lines and the way they're worded contributes to it. I think it was very well done. While we're on the subject of that, I don't necessarily agree with the Al Bhed's decision to try to force summoners to quit their pilgrimage so they won't die. I agree with what Isaaru said, how it's their choice and it's their dream to have a world without sin. It's not like they're being forced to do it against their will. It's one of those issues where I think either side can make a pretty good case for or against it, but I say leave the choice up to the summoners themselves to make.

Then I like the scene where Rikku tries to dissuade Yuna from continuing when you're at the entrance to Zanarkand right after you beat the Sanctuary Keeper. Again, she does a good job of conveying the emotion of the moment, still believing there's got to be a way to save her and refusing to tell Cid thanks for Yuna, saying that she can tell him herself. On the same note, Rikku refuses to say goodbye to Tidus in the ending of FFX, saying that they're going to see him again, though she seems uncertain about the reality of that prospect. One time when I played FFX, I tried to work hard to get Rikku in the optional scenes in Guadosalam and the scene on the snowmobile (I almost always get Lulu for those scenes, and I don't even try!), and they're actually pretty good. Flirting with Rikku isn't quite as fun as flirting with Lulu though (Rikku just hits Tidus a few times jokingly and says "Maybe someday" in Al Bhed as she runs off). You do get an insight into her character that you don't really get otherwise with that scene though. You find out about how her mom died and how she wants a big family when she gets married to make up for the fact that she never got to have one. It's the kind of thing you'd never really expect from Rikku, so I thought it was kind of neat. By the way, I don't agree with these people who say Tidus and Rikku make a better couple than Tidus and Yuna do! Tidus and Rikku seem to have more of a brother/sister type affinity for each other more than anything, and they have similar mindsets since neither one of them is a Yevonite, but I don't think they'd make a good couple. It's still a better pairing than this nasty Aurikku business! Who in the world thought this was a good idea? Just because Tidus/Yuna and Wakka/Lulu are obvious pairings doesn't mean you have to put Auron and Rikku together, too! It makes no sense!

I really like the optional scene on the snowmobile with Rikku as well. She actually brings up the fact that summoners sacrifice themselves, but because Tidus doesn't have a clue what she really means, she lies to him and doesn't tell him. Then he says that because this is what Yuna really wants to do and is very dedicated to it, she shouldn't think of this as her sacrificing herself. Then Rikku hugs him and says, "I hope you're right." Once again, Tara Strong just does a good job of conveying the right emotions with her voice work, which makes Rikku's serious scenes so effective, I think.

Rikku's awesome in battle, too! Steal is obviously a very handy ability, and it's not one that anyone else in your party is going to have access to for a while unless you send Kimahri down Rikku's path (which is generally a mistake because then he ends up being really weak and even more useless than he already is in battle). Mix is a really fun and useful support Overdrive. I just love mixing items together and seeing what you get out of them. It makes her a very useful support character in battle if you know what items make what.

30. Rinoa Heartilly (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "I don't want the future. I want the present to stand still. I want to stay here with you..."

Yes, I like Rinoa. Deal with it.

On a serious note, I really do like Rinoa a lot, though I can understand why people don't. Her strong and sometimes forceful personality can be polarizing, but I love her. I think she's downright adorable at times. Yes, I said it. She really doesn't annoy me that much. I will say that she did do one of the stupidest things in the entire series at the end of disc 1, and she very nearly screwed everything up and got herself killed in the process. While I think it was partially because of her stubbornness that she went to see Edea when everyone else told her not to get involved, I do think she was sincerely trying to help and thought it would work. She was just naive more than anything else, but I think the whole experience gave her a reality check pretty quickly. You don't really find her trying to do anything like that for the rest of the game. She basically lets Squall take the lead from there on out, and she just stays close to him, like he told her to do after he rescued her from the Iguions.

Squall foils are great (Virtually every main character in the game is a Squall foil in some way, and some in more ways than others), and Rinoa is a great foil for him. I've debated with some people over Rinoa's forceful style in dealing with Squall in trying to get him to open up, and they say it was a stupid move because it could have totally backfired and made that shell stronger than ever. I agree that it could have, but it didn't. You have to be willing to take risks with this sort of thing. It took some time. It took a lot of Squall and Rinoa arguing and butting heads as a result, but she gradually worked her way into his life and into his heart. I actually thought it was nice that it wasn't one of those things where Squall and Rinoa just fall in love right away and there's no development (but that doesn't mean they fell in love out of nowhere and for no reason! I'll deal with that later!). It just wouldn't work with Squall's character. There had to be a lot of conflict, and it had to be a slow and gradual process. It was only natural for him to resist what she was trying to do at first. Rinoa challenged him in a way that nobody ever had before. Yes, Quistis tried to get him to open up to her, but she was far too passive about it. Squall needed someone to challenge him, to stay on his case, and Rinoa was that person. Again, some people dislike the fact that she was that way, and I can understand that, honestly. It doesn't bother me in the least though. In fact, I like it.

Rinoa was completely unlike anyone Squall had ever known in his life up to that point. He had basically been raised in a military environment, and while Rinoa's father is a Galbadian general, she resisted that way of life. She doesn't have the same mindset that Squall does, and in that way, she challenges his thinking about a lot of things. She poses questions about things she doesn't understand that he takes for granted or he's never thought about himself (such as asking if he's really prepared to face Seifer when they find out about his betrayal). I think that was part of the reason why she was able to succeed where Quistis failed. They both were raised the same way and thought the same way about a lot of things. She never really challenged him. Over time, Rinoa even gets Squall to open up to her about the things that are on his mind, but it does take time. I'm trying to be general here, because I don't want to get into too much detail and make this a longer writeup than it's already going to be! Squall's inner conflict is the main focus of the game. The outward conflict is secondary to this.

Rinoa basically turns Squall's life upside down. He lived a life that thrived on discipline, order, duty, and simple obedience. That was the way he liked it. His emotions were inconsequential. His actions were all that mattered. Everything was laid out before him; he knew what to do, and he was good at what he did. There was no deviating from that. Everything he did was logical. That's one of the big reasons Squall hesitates to go rescue Rinoa during the Battle of the Gardens. It's not because he doesn't care about her, but it's because he felt he had a duty to lead the attack. That duty was the most important thing to him. She slowly changes that about him, and until at the beginning of disc 3, when she falls comatose, Squall just can't stop thinking about her. He breaks free of that disciple, that order, that duty, that simple obedience, and he follows his heart. She is all that matters to him, and he just can't stand doing nothing about helping her. He's even willing to go so far as to go into outer space to meet Ellone on the slightest chance she might be able to help him, and then he jumps out into outer space to save her even at the risk of his own life. He does occasionally relapse (such as letting Rinoa get taken by Esthar to the Sorceress Memorial), but it doesn't last long.

Yes, I do love the Eyes on Me scene. Yes, I do love the scene where he breaks her out of the Sorceress Memorial and they hug. Yes, I do love the "I'll be your knight" scene. Yes, I do love the ending where she finds him, and then suddenly they come out of Time Compression into the flower field, the place where they promised they'd meet. I'm a sap for that kind of stuff. People complain that Squall and Rinoa's romance was poorly done, but I disagree. I enjoyed it. In fact, just doing this writeup is making me want to play Final Fantasy VIII like crazy. Wish I had the time! Oh, and I love using Rinoa in battle. Angelo's Limit Breaks can be pretty useful. Invincible Moon and Wishing Star can be lifesavers in hard battles. I'll just give you one example and I'll be finished. One time, I was fighting Bahamut, and he totally blasted my party with Mega Flare. Zell's dead, Squall and Rinoa are near death, and I activate Rinoa's Limit Break, begging for Invincible Moon. Instead, she uses Wishing Star (and this was the first time I'd ever seen the move), she totally clobbers Bahamut, and I win the battle. I was totally amazed and relieved. It was awesome.

And now for something fun I've wanted to do for a while! You've got these people who say, "There were never any signs Squall liked Rinoa! It just happened out of nowhere!" Well, I present to you...evidence to the contrary!
1. Rinoa makes Squall laugh on more than one occasion, including when they first meet (although I don't know why "Look into my eyes! You're-going-to-like-me" is all that funny, but that's just me)

2. Squall actually talks to Rinoa at the SeeD party. He completely ignores Zell and Selphie.

3. Squall dances with Rinoa. You know he was messing up on purpose at the beginning just so he could get out of dancing and go back to being a wallflower, but she refuses to let him go (Again with the challenging him). And after a while, he actually starts to enjoy it.

4. You can't tell me this isn't the face of someone who's completely fascinated with and charmed by Rinoa. He didn't want the dance to end!
5. Whenever they meet again on the train, Squall lets Rinoa shake his hand. Big deal? Well, he refused to shake Zell's hand, and he refused to shake Zone's hand when he first met him, who was also his client.
6. Squall actually apologizes to Rinoa for things he says or does on more than one occasion, indicating that he cares what she thinks and he regrets hurting her. As far as I can remember, he never apologizes to anyone else.
7. When Rinoa goes to the Garden for the first time, she asks Squall to give her a tour of the place (one of the funniest parts of the game, by the way). If you go to the infirmary, Dr. Kadowaki will express her shock at him being with a girl. She'll ask him if Rinoa is his girlfriend, and you have the option of saying "Yes." If you say yes, Rinoa will ask if you're serious, to which you can reply, "I'm serious." Squall will say, "I'm serious," followed by a pause, then, "...I'm seriously joking." Aw yeah, but there's a little truth to every joke! Heck, even if you say "No," Rinoa will wonder why you didn't just say "Yes," for fun, and then he'll say, "Okay then, yes." Aw yeah
8. When you reunite with the party members you sent to the Missile Base at Fisherman's Horizon (if one of them isn't Rinoa), she'll tell you how surprised she was that you seemed so happy to see them. If you respond that you were legitimately happy to see them, Rinoa will ask Squall how he would have felt if it had been her that he reunited with. He starts stammering, and then he blushes!
9. Then there's the concert at Fisherman's Horizon. There are two scenes available, depending on which musical arrangement you choose. If you choose "Eyes on Me," Squall and Rinoa will have a misunderstanding, they'll argue, and she'll stomp off angry. If you choose the Irish Jig, they'll actually have a pleasant, semi-romantic (as romantic as Squall can get) conversation. It's a great scene.
10. Squall will frequently offer what's on his mind to Rinoa if she asks him, something he almost never does with anyone else.

I'm sure there's more, but 10 should suffice!

31. Lulu (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "No matter how dark the night, morning always comes, and our journey begins anew."

Man, and I thought Squall wearing two belts was bad enough, but Nomura goes and creates a character with a belt-dress! Overall, Lulu's not really a deep character, and she doesn't develop too much, but I like her a lot. She's got an enjoyable personality (In the sense that her icy demeanor often leads to some humorous exchanges between her and other characters), and she's the least shakeable character in the party. Yes, even less shakeable than Kimahri. When you're leaving Kilika Temple and Tidus decides to scream, everyone jumps or turns around to take notice...except Lulu. She just stands there going about her business. She takes everything during the ending in such stride that she has exactly two lines: "What are you talking about?" off camera when Tidus says he's going to disappear after they beat Yu Yevon, and "It's time" when Yuna's whistling at the dock in Luca. When Tidus starts to leave and jump off the ship, she just casually waves goodbye (Yes, I may have watched FFX's ending a few times or so in order to remember all these details). The girl keeps her emotions in check. I always loved that line in the Farplane when she's talking about Chappu: "You always said I looked grumpy, but those were the happiest days of my life." Indeed.

Lulu's primary purpose in the storyline is basically acting as Tidus's tour guide throughout Spira. Whenever you get to a new location, she basically explains to him all the stuff he doesn't understand. They usually end up being some pretty humorous dialogues because of how ignorant Tidus is of everything, but she manages to be patient with him for the most part. Over time, she does start believing what he says about being from Zanarkand and knowing nothing about Spira. Despite being a Yevonite, she's certainly more open-minded about things she doesn't understand or things she disagrees with, as opposed to Wakka for the majority of the game.

For whatever the reason, whenever it comes to the scenes in Guadosalam and riding the snowmobile in Macalania, I almost always get Lulu, but I can't complain because they end up being good scenes. The first time you talk to her in Guadosalam, her comments about wanting Yuna to marry for love but saying she would forbid her from marrying the one she loves seem confusing and cryptic, but obviously, you come to understand what she means in time. She also has one of the greatest lines in the game if, when she tells you not to fall in love with Yuna, you reply with, "You're more my type, Lulu." "Interesting. I suppose I could add you to my list. I wish you good luck, little boy. You're going to need it." Yesssssssss

Unfortunately, in battle, Lulu starts off useful but gradually becomes less and less useful as time goes on, especially once you start crossing over into other people's Sphere Grids. Yuna in particular does everything better than Lulu, so she almost renders her obsolete once she starts getting Black Magic. Getting through the first half of the storyline though, Lulu is useful because there are times when elemental weaknesses can be easily exploited, and her second and third level spells are powerful immediately after you acquire them, though they become less so as you go. She also has one of the least useful Overdrives in the game (and it's not exactly easy to use, especially with high level spells). The Black Mage dolls are awesome though.

Admittedly, I wasn't a big fan of Lulu in FFX-2. Well, that's not entirely the case, I suppose. I just wasn't too pleased with the fact that Square put her and Wakka together. The way she talks throughout FFX, she seems so totally against the prospect of ever being with him that it seems like there's no way it'd ever happen. Take this exchange, for example:

Tidus: "How about...Wakka?" Lulu: "What, me? With Wakka?" Tidus: "Yeah, you two get along great!" Lulu: "Getting along isn't enough. Not even close." Tidus: "Oh, sorry. My mistake." Lulu: "You'd do well to remember that. Knowing a bit about women might come in handy some day."

I dunno. I understand people change, and people change their minds, but...I just wasn't too thrilled with Lulu and Wakka ending up together. Just felt like the stuff fanfiction is made of there! It's just a minor gripe though, not a big deal.

32. Rude (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "...Because it's our job."

You don't mess with Rude. He's a man of few words who prefers to let his fists (and Reno) do the talking. It's strange how he and Reno are apparently best friends despite being polar opposites in personality. Unlike Reno, he takes his job and his appearance seriously. Rude basically seems to follow Reno's lead in all matters with the Turks. When Reno ignores orders to look for Corneo because he's on vacation, Rude follows suit. Whenever Reno runs away from battle, Rude follows suit (In fact, the only time you fight him alone, he doesn't run and you knock him out instead). He claims to have a crush on Tifa (Maybe because she's a good fighter who uses her fists as well), though he does seem to show a lot of concern for Elena in Wutai when Corneo kidnaps her. Either way, nothing comes of it.

Rude is one of those guys whose appeal is based on his simple, yet awesome design, and I think the fact that he doesn't speak much just makes him more likable. Whenever Reno and Rude are around, awesome things tend to happen. My favorite Rude moment in Final Fantasy VII is when it looks like Corneo's about to get the last laugh and drop Yuffie and/or Elena to their deaths, and then Rude comes out of nowhere and hits him with something (...? Whatever it is, it's hard to tell exactly what it is he threw because of the graphical limitations) and knocks him off the edge of the statue. Smooth to the end.

Rude is also one of the highlights of Advent Children. Although that fight scene with Loz wasn't very long, I thought it was pretty cool. Despite obviously being overmatched, he puts up a pretty good fight for a little bit. I thought it was awesome when he tried to suplex Loz, but he landed on his feet instead. The look on Rude's face is priceless, and then he gets launched like a mile through the air, knocking out a billboard sign's support to stop his momentum. Then the sign lands on his head, and then Reno lands on him. Then Reno unknowingly steps on his sunglasses trying to stand up. I love the look on Rude's face when that happens, too. But he doesn't say a word; he just casually pulls out another pair of shades. I wonder how many he carries with him, but it's always good to be prepared. I also love the scene when he and Reno are standing on the interstate when the bomb waiting for Loz and Yazoo, and they casually talk about the explosive. "...If nothing else, it's...flashy." Aw yeah

By the way, Crispin Freeman was the perfect guy to be Rude's voice actor. The voice fits him really well.

33. Quistis Trepe (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "Rinoa forces herself into your world, no matter how many walls you put around yourself, Squall. I knew I couldn't compete with her. The only issue is whether you would make a place for her... And you did, pretty quickly."

I think Quistis is pretty interesting, though out of all of FFVIII's main characters, I have the hardest time getting a solid read on her. She tends to get lost in the flow of everything that's going on at times. She's probably the least involved and the one who stands out the least among the main party, even during storyline moments. Quistis as popular as can be in Balamb Garden, with her own fan club called the "Trepies," but yet she can't capture the adoration of the one she wants to notice her the most. She's quite accomplished, becoming a SeeD at age 15 and becoming an instructor at age 18, but yet she feels inadequate and is unsatisfied with where she is. She tends to take herself too seriously, and she can be too hard on herself and others (though she does seem to have a more playful side which she doesn't show very often). She had already accomplished quite a lot, but she still felt like a failure. She's the girl who's got it all and could have anything she wants...except for what she wants the most. After a while, Quistis comes to grips with the fact that she'll never end up with Squall, especially once Rinoa comes into the picture, and she realizes that she never really loved him in the first place. She just wanted to take Ellone's place. She also steps out of the way of Squall and Rinoa getting together gracefully, and she even helps to move it along. I thought it was good that she never held that against her.

In a sense, Quistis enjoys being the bossy big sister, but she got frustrated because she could never establish anything more than a teacher/student relationship with Squall. I think that's the main thing that kept her from getting through to him. In his mind, Quistis was always going to be his instructor and an authority figure (which was important to him, and he couldn't break that chain of authority), so it would be difficult for him to see her as anything else. Plus, she always copied Squall and would say the same thing he did at the same time. I think she was trying to come across with the idea that she understands him, and she was teasing him a bit, but I think it annoyed him more than anything else, so it sorta backfired. Then she tried to open herself up to him in hopes that he would reciprocate, but that backfired as well.

Quistis has some pretty cool moments in the game. Of course, she guns down X-ATM092 at the end of the SeeD Exam. She's one of the leaders during the Sorceress Assassination Mission, and she gets herself caught in the middle of Rinoa's quarrel with her father while trying to apologize because she was too hard on her (Women, I tell ya). While fighting the random enemies in the sewers was annoying, actually traversing the sewers themselves was pretty neat. Quistis turned out to be the Card Club's King, which was an interesting twist and a good end to a good sidequest. Like I said before, she's not extremely involved in the main plot, and she doesn't have a lot of standout moments, but I think she's an intriguing and likable character. She's got a certain charm to her that I like. I also think that Quistis might be the most beautiful-looking girl in the series (though I can't vouch for her fashion sense! Yikes!). Shallow reasoning? Maybe, but cute girls score free bonus points. Yes, I'm a loser.

In battle, Quistis's Blue Magic can be very valuable. When trying to power level and max stats, Degenerator is a lifesaver. You just can't beat that move in terms of sheer usefulness and cheesiness when fighting powerful enemies, especially since it's easily accessible, unlike Selphie's game-breaking Limit Breaks, Rapture and The End. Quistis isn't a part of my ideal party, but she's definitely a part of my party whenever I decide to do some stat building, and I know some difficult enemies are ahead.

Bah, having a difficult time explaining why I like Quistis! It gets more difficult to write about these guys the higher up the list I go

34. Vincent Valentine (Final Fantasy VII )

Quote: "Our battlefield is now beneath the earth... The gate to tomorrow is not the light of heaven, but the darkness of the depths of the earth..."

Vincent's one of those polarizing characters. I think a lot of people dislike him because he just seems like the generic silent brooder who occasionally says some cool, enigmatic things and has an appealing design. He's not that great in battle. In fact, speaking strictly in terms of stats, he's one of the worst. His Ultimate Weapon is a pain to level up to the point that it's useful (from my experience anyway), and his Limit Breaks aside from Chaos are somewhat lame, not to mention you lose control of the guy once you use them. He's certainly not particularly deep (not in Final Fantasy VII anyway, can't vouch much for Dirge of Cerberus because I've only watched the cutscenes and I vaguely remember them). He's the only character in the game you never have to put in your party for any reason (Yuffie automatically join your party in Junon early on in disc 2 if you have her, even though she's optional). You do have to put him in your party if you want to get Death Penalty and Chaos from Lucrecia, but that's not a mandatory event.

All that said, I like Vincent. I don't particularly care that he's not that deep. He's a likable guy, I think, and I do enjoy his enigmatic quotes when you talk to him. All those complaints about his character or lack thereof don't really bother me. Vincent is one of those guys with a cold exterior, but deep down, he does care about his comrades. He just isn't good at coming across with his words without sounding hard and cold. He's a man of few words, but he uses the words he says wisely, I think. In Advent Children, he helps Cloud out in the Forgotten City. He saves him from Kadaj and company. He also helps him understand what Geostigma is, and he helps Cloud realize the importance of taking care of his business himself rather than trying to put it off on someone else because he's afraid of failure. He does show up to help the party fight Bahamut Sin, and I think the rest of the party does consider him a friend, despite his aloofness. Vincent also helps Red XIII deal with his worries about his longevity and losing all his friends by promising to meet with him once a year in Midgar to talk about their adventures.

Vincent is a man who is weighed down by his past. His failure to protect Lucrecia from Hojo led him to put himself to sleep in the Shinra Mansion basement for years upon years. His motive for joining Cloud on his journey was to exact his revenge on Hojo, though he doesn't seem to think that will atone for his crimes. When Cloud asks him if sins can be forgiven, Vincent simply replies that he's never tried. I suppose he feels like having to live with his guilty is his punishment, and he's apparently accepted that (I do like how Cloud tells Vincent he'll phone in the verdict, and when he arrives in Midgar, he asks Tifa where he can buy a phone. Apparently he's interested in finding out the answer!). I do wish they had actually given the guy some actual dialogue with Hojo if you take him with you to fight him at the Sister Ray. I think they make up for this in Dirge of Cerberus. One of the only things I remember about those cutscenes is Vincent confronting a digitized version of Hojo and finally putting the guy away for good.

Plus, Vincent's a former Turk! I bet he was a pretty awesome one, too!

35. Zalbag Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Don't you have any 'justice', Brother!? The Beoulve name is only for the brave! You aren't worthy of it, Brother!"

Zalbag is a pretty awesome dude. He's got a great design. While he's more noble than Dycedarg, he's not entirely without blame either. After all, he ordered Algus to kill Teta without a single shred of remorse. He seems to believe in the idea of "acceptable sacrifices." He harshly criticizes Ramza and refuses to give him the time of day once he even suggests the idea that the war was being manipulated by the church and that Dycedarg plotted to kidnap Ovelia and get Larg on the throne. He does seem completely oblivious to that aspect of it though, so like I said, he's not completely corrupt. He's completely aghast at Dycedarg killing Larg, though he keeps quiet about it. He still believes in the honor of the Beoulve name and their duty to uphold justice, though perhaps he believes that their duty is to the nobility and the royal family rather than to commoners. I don't know.

I did enjoy the inner conflict Zalbag went through once Larg accused Dycedarg of killing Balbanes. He eavesdropped on Rofel's conversation with Dycedarg, who mentioned mosfungus poison. I liked the scene where he went to his father's grave to see if what he said was true. Then, of course, the epic confrontation with Dycedarg at Igros Castle. I've already talked about that battle at length with Dycedarg's writeup, so I won't repeat all that stuff, but it was awesome. I liked that he was willing to take up the defense of the Beoulve name, even against his own brother.

I really enjoyed the fight against Zalbag as well. It was a battle that neither one of them wanted to fight, but they had no choice. Ramza had to kill his brother because he was under Vormav's control. It was a pretty good fight, and it was pretty emotional because of the conflict between the two. It was a pretty bittersweet ending to Zalbag's story.

36. Irvine Kinneas (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "You've all heard this before. How life has infinite possibilities. I don't believe that one bit. There weren't many paths for me to choose. Sometimes, there would only be one. From the limited possibilities I faced, the choices I made have brought me this far. That's why I value the path I chose... I want to hold true to the path that HAD to be taken."

I like Irvine a lot. I think he's hilarious. He's got a lot of funny scenes, starting right from when you first meet him. I love the scene where he tries to pick your party and he puts Rinoa and Selphie in his party while sticking Quistis and Zell with Squall. You have the option of letting him stick with that party or switching it up to your own choosing, and letting him stick with that party leads to hilarious results. I also love it when he comes to your rescue in D-District Prison and he starts strutting down the stairs like he's some big shot, and then Rinoa kicks him down the stairs. That was great. Another awesome scene occurs if you take Irvine up to Zell's rooms and he accidentally fires one of his grandfather's rifles, aw yeah. His various attempts at flirtation throughout the game usually end with humorous results.

Probably my favorite Irvine moment is not a well-known one. When you're choosing band members for the Garden Festival in Fisherman's Horizon, you can actually leave the stage area (Preferably with Selphie tap dancing for 30 minutes until you get back) and explore FH and Garden as Irvine, which is actually pretty awesome. He can have a conversation with that "Familiar Face #3" guy at the bottom of the elevator who always rips your face for being warmongers, and Irvine will actually shut the guy up with his counterargument. Also, you can go to the hotel in Fisherman's Horizon and inspect the TV, where they will mention something about a guy in a long coat, a hat, and a rifle walking around town, and Irvine will say something along the lines of, "Whoa! Sounds like one crazy guy! Hope I don't run into him," not realizing it's talking about him. Awesome stuff.

Irvine doesn't do a whole lot plot-wise, other than being a huge part in the Sorceress Assassination Mission at the end of disc 1 (which in and of itself scores him lots of points because it's a great part of the game). Well, he also pulls a Tifa Lockhart with the whole "Withholding crucial information from my teammates" shtick ("Oh hey guys, we all grew up in the same orphanage. Yeah, I knew it all along," and "Yeah, the sorceress is our Matron. Yeah, I knew it all along"). Anyway, I'm sure some people will disagree with me on this point, but I think Irvine has a pretty well-defined personality (and I think the majority of the FFVIII cast does. They may not do a whole lot with the plot for the most part, but I think they did a good job of making them interesting characters with defined personalities, in my opinion).

For the most part, Irvine's a pretty laid-back guy. He doesn't get riled up by a whole lot. He tries to be a calmer voice of reason and tries to make peace whenever he senses there's tension amongst party members. Although he's a soldier, he'd rather avoid fighting if at all possible. He cares a lot about his teammates, particularly the female ones, of course, but he does care about Squall and even Zell sometimes. I think one of Irvine's strongest moments in the game is when Rinoa's in danger during the Battle between the Gardens, and he refuses to let Squall delegate her rescue to anyone else. He tells him to go after her and at least attempt to rescue her himself, even if he didn't end up being able to do anything. It almost seems like Irvine was giving Squall the same advice that he had given him about taking the sniper shot even if he ended up missing, either as a reminder or even a thank you of sorts. He played his part in trying to set Squall and Rinoa up in more ways than one, but I think he did realize that they did like each other.

Irvine one of those guys who talks himself up and acts self-confident in public, though it's mostly a cover up for the fact that he inwardly has a lot of doubts about himself. This shows itself primarily during the Sorceress Assassination Mission when he freezes up when it's time to take the big shot (although the fact that he knew that the sorceress was the Matron did play a part in it, but there was more to it than that). I think Squall convincing Irvine to take the shot and the fact that he was able to take the shot, even though he missed (along with the fact that he missed and Squall had his back) helped improve his confidence, especially because he came to realize that making the shot wasn't everything. It took some of the pressure off of himself. In disc 2, we find the guy in the middle of a firefight with Galbadian soldiers in D-District Prison (and looking pretty cool doing it).

37. Blank (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "What are you talkin' about!? My helmet totally reeks! My armor's way too big... And my back's real itchy... The boots are wet... My gloves are all slimy... There's cookie crumbs in my pockets..."

Blank is the king of minor NPCs. I love this guy. His design is kinda weird though. What's up with all those patches and stuff? Makes him look like a puppet. Anyway, Blank is cool. That sword fight you get to have with him during the play was pretty neat. I like to play that one several times whenever I play FFIX (though I've never been able to impress all 100 nobles, I've only gotten as high as like 96-97, oh well). Hiding all of those Oglops in his suit of armor was pretty awesome, especially when Steiner shattered it and sent them flying everywhere. He has some good moments in the opening part of the game.

Blank's high point is definitely Evil Forest though. He shows up just in time for the big boss fight, and it's pretty helpful having a 4th party member for that thing. Of course, there's also the grand escape and Blank's sacrifice where he pushes Zidane out of the way and lets himself get caught instead as Evil Forest gets petrified, throwing him the map at the last second right before he gets petrified. That was definitely an awesome moment (though if he doesn't push Zidane out of the way, does Blank become the main character of Final Fantasy IX? It's an interesting possibility!). I was glad when I found out they were trying to rescue him with the Supersoft. Then he shows up and blasts Zorn and Thorn along with Marcus to help Zidane and company escape from Alexandria.

Out of all the Tantalus guys, Blank seems to be the most competent, the most liked, and the most trusted. Marcus calls him "Bro" because of their close relationship. Baku entrusts Blank with helping Zidane out in Evil Forest and giving him the map. He seems like the right hand man. He obviously cares a lot about Zidane (although he seems to get annoyed with his one-track mind about girls) and the other members of Tantalus (although he doesn't seem to have such a great relationship with Ruby, but the part where he tries to get Vivi to go in with them so he can avoid incurring her wrath was pretty funny). Blank has some good scenes and some pretty funny lines. He's involved in that Love Letter Chain (believing that the writer of the love letter was after him, of course), and he tells Marcus to stick his thumb up his nose to keep it from bleeding while spying on Beatrix and Steiner. Aw yeah.

38. Larsa Ferrinas Solidor (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "The men of my family, we are taught to place the needs of others before those of our own. I will see that you are kept from harm. It is my duty to House Solidor."

I really like Larsa a lot. Being the one good and pure heart in an empire full of corrupt and manipulative nobles and rulers (Hereafter referred to as "Pulling a Ramza") scores a lot of points with me. The kid's also got a lot of guts all things considered. The scene where he draws his sword on Vayne on board the Bahamut in an attempt to stop his rampage was awesome. Even though he had to know he didn't stand a chance, he refused to let that be an excuse to sit idly by and let his brother's deeds go unchecked. Larsa certainly doesn't draw his sword because he hates Vayne. He still seems to look up to him as an older brother, but I think he felt a certain responsibility as a member of House Solidor to uphold the name and protect the people.

I also liked Larsa's optimism (or maybe idealism would be a better word) in the face of all that was happening. He believed that, in spite of everything that was going on, he could make a difference and set things right. In fact, he believed that it was his duty to do so. He tried to do everything he could to stop the war and make peace between Archades and Rozarria. He helped to try to get Ashe declared rightful queen of Dalmasca and free it from the Empire's control. It was nice to see that he wasn't self-serving but truly wanted what was best for the world.

Not to mention, Larsa is the best temporary guest member! Infinite supply of Hi-Potions for the win! I remember when he joined my party, I fought and leveled up for a long time, taking advantage of that unlimited supply. Couldn't have done it without you, Larsa!

39. Shuyin (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "What would you do if you were me?"

"What would you do if you were me?" That question lingers with me when I think of Shuyin. Honestly, I don't think he was a bad guy. He was misguided into thinking that Vegnagun was the answer, yes, but not a bad guy. He was more of a tragic hero than a villain, really. He was so devoted to protecting Lenne that his failure to do so created such resentment and regret, which then left behind a shadow of his former self. That's how strong that love and devotion was. I felt bad for Shuyin, really. I never hated him. I felt bad for what happened to him and that he blamed himself so strongly for what he perceived as failure but Lenne didn't. He felt as though he had failed her, but just the fact that he loved her so much and tried so hard to save her was good enough for Lenne.

That question lingers with me because of how much Shuyin reminds me of Tidus (Not just the physical resemblance, obviously, or the fact that he uses Tidus's moves in the last boss fight, which was a really nice touch, by the way). If Tidus had known about Vegnagun's existence in Final Fantasy X before they had come up with a plan to defeat Sin, what would he have done? There's a part of me that thinks he would have been greatly tempted to use it because his devotion and desire to save Yuna was on a scale similar to Shuyin's for Lenne, I think. I think that stirs up a greater sympathy for Shuyin out of me overall, just thinking about that. And yeah, Shuyin's storyline did stir up some sympathy in me. Say what you want about it being a sappy love story and all that, Shuyin's part of the story was pretty dark and pretty sad, darker than you usually see in a Final Fantasy game, really. I love the part of Yuna's "1000 Words" concert when her dressphere malfunctions (not like Janet Jackson's) and causes Lenne's memories to be projected and shows her last moments with Shuyin. I thought that was really well done.

40. Baralai (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "Why did you shoot? Why did you shoot Gippal and me? We were friends, and you shot us in the back!"

Yep, another FFX-2 guy, and not one that's usually very liked! I like Baralai a lot, actually. Whenever I played Final Fantasy X-2, I definitely preferred New Yevon to the Youth League because Baralai was cool and Nooj was a loser. I thought he was an interesting character. Being the leader of New Yevon, you almost expected someone menacing and evil, but I'm glad Square didn't go the obvious route with this one. He's actually a good guy with good intentions, just trying to help all the people who were devastated by the exposure of Yevon's lies to adjust to life in the new Spira. Yeah, Baralai kept Vegnagun a secret and other things like that, but there are things that you of necessity have to keep secret. You obviously couldn't let something like Vegnagun become public knowledge. The best thing to do was hide that thing away underneath Bevelle and not let anyone ever know about it, and it was good that he realized that.

There were a couple of scenes that really made me like Baralai, both of them underneath Bevelle. The first time you're there, you get to fight him, which I thought was really cool (Boss fights against important storyline characters are generally a lot better than boss fights against random monsters, in my opinion, mostly because it provides a better atmosphere and there's more invested in it). He's the only one of the big three you actually get to fight (apart from the pyrefly apparitions in the Den of Woe, which technically don't count since they're just ghosts and not the real deal), and I thought it was a good fight. It wasn't too hard, but it wasn't a cakewalk either. You can also learn an ability for the Gun Mage Dressphere from him, which is awful nice of him!

Then the second scene was the one I mentioned earlier with Gippal: The confrontation between the big three underneath Bevelle. Like I said, Gippal was the one who came out of that one the best. He was able to move on with his life and not be hampered by it, but that wasn't the case with Baralai. He just couldn't figure out why Nooj had done what he did, and he couldn't move on. Over time, it turned into bitterness and hatred so strong that Shuyin actually left Nooj in order to possess Baralai instead. But I liked Baralai's voice acting in this scene. Normally, he's very soft spoken and unemotional, but once he pulls out his gun on Nooj, he starts getting very emotional. I was very impressed with his voice acting here, probably the one scene that stuck in my mind more than any other in the game, and I think that's a big reason why I like him.

41. Gippal (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "Never been this close to a celebrity before."

Oh boy, FFX-2 characters in the top 50. I can only imagine how this one is going to go over. Regardless, I did like Gippal quite a bit. He was a good mixture of lightheartedness (but never getting excessively so like YRP at times) and seriousness (though never getting emo like someone like Nooj), though more lighthearted than serious. I loved how he was constantly taking jabs at Rikku, joking around that they used to be a couple and generally making her nervous and uncomfortable. Gippal also had some good voice acting. Rick Gomez later on became the VA for Zack Fair and did a good job with that role as well.

Honestly, I did like the Crimson Blades background story. Trying to get all the Crimson Spheres to piece together the entire story and finishing the Den of Woe were high points in Final Fantasy X-2 for me. I thought it was all pretty interesting. Gippal seems to have taken the whole incident the best. He didn't shut himself off from the rest of the world like Paine did, and he didn't become a "DEATHSEEKER" like Nooj. He basically remained himself. I really did like the confrontation between Gippal, Nooj, and Baralai underneath Bevelle after Vegnagun disappeared when they all ended up with their guns pointed at each other. I was kinda surprised that Gippal pulled a gun on Baralai to prevent him from doing anything like that to Nooj after what Nooj had done to them both. It seemed like he wanted a peaceful resolution and to get everything back to the way it once was. Gippal remained neutral in the whole clash between New Yevon and the Youth League, with his Machine Faction providing machina for both sides and just tryin' to help everybody out.

I liked the Gippal Sphere you can acquire that shows a conversation between him and Auron during the events of Final Fantasy X. It's pretty hard to acquire because I think you have to implicate Rin for the whole machina mayhem thing on the Mi'ihen Highroad in order to get it, and even using a strategy guide to get you through it step by step, it's pretty tough to do it right. Auron basically motivates Gippal to fight against Yevon instead of running and hiding out from them, and it was a cool exchange of dialogue. I thought it was interesting that he basically hijacked the Djose Temple after the fall of Yevon and used it as his base of operations. That was a bold statement. It served as an act of defiance and a way of saying that it's time to move forward and leave the ancient relics of the past behind.

42. Mustadio Bunansa (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Help! 'Phoenix 'Down! Where's the 'Phoenix' Down?" – Ramza Beoulve

Mustadio is awesome. When he first got into my party on a permanently playable basis, I was shootin' everything, man! I loved having the gun (It took me a while before I realized Chemists could equip guns. Why in the world would you think of this on your own?), high accuracy, long distance, and no wait? I'm sold! Arm Aim and Leg Aim were awesome, and Seal Evil made beating annoying undead enemies a cinch! Then when you added elemental weapons (including the ice gun that shoots fire and the fire gun that shoots ice!), Mustadio became even cooler. The guy's just a blast to play as. He might not be particularly strong, but he sure was plenty useful to me!

Mustadio's story is pretty simple. His father found the Taurus Zodiac Stone; Cardinal Draclau caught wind of it, and sent the Bart Company after him. Besrodio gives the stone to Mustadio and tells him to run and not let them have the stone. Ramza and company come across him as the enemy finally catches up to him, and they save the day (For the record, that was a pretty tough battle, and in general battles where you have to prevent one character from dying can be, especially since the guy is usually too dumb to run away but rather charges right into battle alone, and the entire enemy party targets him. Although if I'm not mistaken, you actually have a choice on this one that determines if the objective is to save Mustadio or simply defeat all enemies, which is nice). Mustadio goes to bargain for his father's release and gives them a fake Zodiac Stone in exchange, which ends up getting Bart owned by Draclau. At that point, Mustadio basically ceases to be relevant to the plot.

EXCEPT for a couple of optional goodies where Besrodio finds some weird equipment, and you have to find a particular Zodiac Stone to activate it. One of these things is Worker 8, who recognizes Ramza as its master once activated because he put the stone in it. It demands that Ramza give it some orders, and he tells it to dance (which it promptly does). Mustadio tells him not to be stupid and give him some real orders, so Ramza tells Worker 8 to attack Mustadio (which it promptly does), leading Ramza to cry out for a Phoenix Down. That scene was awesome, one of the few instances of (intentional, non-translation error related) humor in Final Fantasy Tactics. Poor Mustadio. There was also the time machine thing that brought Cloud into their time, but that one wasn't as cool.

43. Reddas (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "The Illusions of the past. You think to have cast them off, only to find them years later, unwearying, unrelenting. The past can bind a man as surely as irons."

Reddas is pretty awesome (although he wasn't one of my favorite temporary NPC party members in Pharos, but I don't quite remember why. All I remember is getting annoyed with him quite a bit there). Dude's got a great voice (Phil LaMarr never disappoints), a good design (though I don't remember him wearing that much pink until I saw the picture there), and an interesting backstory. He's involved in the story's climax (The top of Pharos) and plays a good part in it himself. He's good in every scene he's in, really. I did like the plot twist when it's revealed that he really used to be Judge Zecht until he unintentionally destroyed Nabudis with the Midlight Shard. Interesting to see what Balthier wasn't the only Judge who ran away from it all and became a Sky Pirate because of Cid's obsession with Nethicite.

Reddas gets introduced to the party at Draklor Laboratories searching for information from Dr. Cid, and he had a great introduction scene. The confrontation with Cid was pretty cool, and even though he got blown away by Venat, he still managed to land on his feet! He refuses to follow the party to Giruvegan, sensing that Cid gave them a false lead, and it turned out he was right. I like his level-headed demeanor. He always seems to be thinking ahead and thinking about the consequences actions will have, probably due to what happened at Nabudis. He has a hard time letting go of his past, comparing that burden to chains that have bound him like a prisoner. Reddas, of course, strongly advises Ashe to have nothing to do with the Nethicite, though he ultimately leaves the choice up to her.

Reddas also had a pretty hardcore death scene. Nobody else could even approach the Sun-Cryst due to all the energy emanating from it, but he seems to run up to it effortlessly and yells, "I, JUDGE MAGISTER, CONDEMN YOU TO OBLIVION!" and strikes it with the sword. You even see a small smile on his face right before everything explodes, as if to say that he had finally atoned for what had happened at Nabudis by preventing another disaster of an even greater scale from occurring. What a way to go.

44. Aerith Gainsborough (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "I never blamed you. Not once. You came for me...that's all that matters."

Yes, I call her Aerith because I'd rather be right than stubbornly hold on to something silly as the way I used to say/spell her name (I did the same with Teedus, by the way)! Anyway, with that aside, Aerith is one of those characters I see who gets a surprising amount of hate on this board. Not near to the level of Cloud, Sephiroth, or even Tifa, really, but I see a lot of people who say they dislike her, and I don't really understand it. She's sweet, she's got a cute personality, she's pretty, she's brave and self-sacrificing (Not just talking about her infamous death scene, but she's also willing to let Shinra take her to prevent Marlene from getting hurt or becoming a hostage, for example). What's not to like? (I'm sure I'll get plenty of responses telling me what's not to like!) Some may say she comes on a little too hard to Cloud and she's too flirtatious or whatever, but I didn't mind that, personally.

I think Square did a good job of not making Aerith your typical damsel in distress. Yeah, you have to rescue her from the Shinra Building, but like I said before, she let herself get taken in exchange for Marlene, so that's not bad. She's more than willing to throw herself into danger if need be. She's been on the run from Shinra for most of her life, so she's used to it. It doesn't even really bother her, and I like that about her. She insists on going to the Temple of the Ancients despite the danger there. Aerith has no qualms about going to the Forgotten City alone so she can pray for Holy (although some would probably say that was a mistake because of what ended up happening). I remember debating a lot on whether or not Aerith had to die in order to summon Holy. I used to be a proponent of the idea that she did, and that's why she went alone, although now I'm not so sure. I'm sure Sephiroth had some idea of how Holy worked, and so I don't think he would have killed Aerith if he knew it would end up making summoning Holy successful (although maybe he didn't care because he knew he could withhold it from being released, almost like an arrogant act, like "Go ahead and do it. I'll stop it anyway" type of thing). It's hard to say, but I've always thought it was an interesting subject of debate.

I do like that Aerith never blamed Cloud for her death, and that she was a lot more willing to forgive him than he was to forgive himself. She was definitely an optimistic person and someone who didn't let personal hurts and things like that hold her down. She even gets emotional about Tseng getting wounded in the Temple of the Ancients in spite of all he had done to her. Even though you didn't see much of her in Advent Children, Aerith still managed to be awesome, and her influence was felt throughout the whole thing. She's responsible for the rain that heals the Geostigma, obviously, and she works a lot in the Lifestream to counteract the damage Sephiroth had been trying to do (which you learn a lot about in "The Case of Lifestream - White" in the "On the Way to a Smile" series of novellas). She was also the one who helped bring the Lifestream up through the Planet at the end of the game and helped Holy destroy Meteor (which was an awesome moment, by the way. FFVII's ending was lacking in a lot of places, but I just loved that very last part when the Lifestream comes out and slowly converges on Meteor. Great stuff).

And of course, no discussion of Aerith is complete without talking about the famous spoilers scene. Personally, it's one of my favorite scenes in the series, period. I know a lot of people say it's overrated, and maybe it is, but I can still watch that scene today and enjoy it. Thankfully, I played Final Fantasy VII shortly after it was released and before my house had the internet, so I never got spoiled on that scene, which probably helps my overall enjoyment of it. I know I was in shock when Aerith actually died. It was a sad scene for me, especially when the Holy Materia hits the ground and Aerith's Theme (one of my favorite songs on the soundtrack) starts playing. As corny as Cloud's speech is (About his mouth, his fingers, and his eyes), I enjoyed it. I thought it was a great exchange of dialogue between him and Sephiroth. Aerith's Theme playing all throughout the fight with Jenova-LIFE was a great touch as well. One of the things I really liked about this scene is that each character in the party had their own unique reaction to Aerith's death after the battle, and not a word is said. I remember playing through this part several times in a row just to see what each party member did.

One of the things that confuses me though is why Square felt the need to retcon Aerith's and Tifa's measurements so that now Aerith has a bigger bust than Tifa does!

45. Fujin (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "RAGE!"

It's hard to separate Raijin and Fujin in my mind, so they end up back to back on this list. I like Fujin just a bit better than Raijin, but I do like them both about equally. She's got the awesome gimmick of basically yelling one word in all caps (I always wonder what exactly that's supposed to sound like, but I imagine it sounds awesome, not lame like it was in KHII). Of course, she's constantly abusing Raijin, particularly with some well-placed kicks to the shin. Out of the two, Fujin is definitely the brains while Raijin is the brawn, though that doesn't mean she's a pushover. She can be pretty tough in the two boss fights against her, tougher than Raijin because she's not all brute strength. She's got that one move that brings your HP down to 1, which can be pretty tough to deal with.

Of course, Fujin's high point is in Lunatic Pandora when she finally stops speaking in one-word all-caps sentences. I don't know what causes her to do this. It doesn't seem like she does the one-word all-caps thing on purpose. It seems more like a speech impediment, so I wonder what caused her to be able to speak normally. Perhaps just the emotion of the moment or something? Anyway, the speech itself is pretty awesome and worth posting, so here it is:

"POSSE... We are. We always will be. Because we're a posse, we want to help you. Whatever it takes to fulfill your dream, we're willing to do. But... You're being manipulated, Seifer. You've lost yourself and your dream. You're just eating out of someone's hand. We want the old you back! Since we can't get through to you, all we have now to rely on is Squall! It's sad... Sad that we only have Squall to rely on... Seifer! Are you still gonna keep goin'?"

After blindly following Seifer around and just doing whatever he wants like they've always done, Fujin realized that the best thing for him wasn't just their blind loyalty. They thought they were being his friend by not crossing him and just letting him continue down the wrong path, but she realized her mistake. She was disappointed in what he had become, and she just couldn't stand for it anymore. This speech seems to indicate that it is Seifer's dream that basically allures Fujin and Raijin to follow him, and now that he's lost it, now that he's lost himself, she realizes that something has to be done to bring him back. You can tell that she really cares about Seifer if she's willing to turn to Squall, his biggest rival, to help him get back to normal. They eventually do get him back, so it all seems to end well.

46. Raijin (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "Hey, jus' like Fujin said, ya know!? We're with Seifer. Always have, always will."

Raijin's cool, ya know? I like the Disciplinary Committee as a whole, although Raijin himself doesn't really seem to fit in. In fact, he seems to be on the receiving end of discipline from Fujin than on the giving end of it. I think he's one of the better comic relief characters in the game, especially with the constant hurtings Fujin applies to him. I don't particularly understand why Raijin remains loyal to Seifer and Fujin despite how they treat him, but there's obviously some sort of long-standing friendship and understanding between the three of them that makes him willing to put up with it. Maybe they're all he has. I've always had this idea that Raijin and Fujin were in the orphanage, too, and they've always been friends with Seifer since they were children. Due to the GFs, they can't remember ever being apart, and so they stay together. Plus, there's evidently something alluring about Seifer that draws Raijin and Fujin after him, no matter where it may lead. Perhaps it's his strong will or his ROMANTIC dream. It's hard to say, but it's something. I think the ending when you can see Seifer back to his normal self seems to be a rare glimpse into what that friendship is really like. Raijin doesn't seem to have much of a will of his own. He basically tends to do whatever Seifer or Fujin tell him to do.

Anyway, enough of my random speculations, let's talk about actual game stuff. Raijin is awesome in disc 2 when you go back to Balamb and it's under Galbadian occupation. He stinks up Zell's house cooking rotten fish, and then the dog chases him out to his hideout napping position after he smells the stink of the fish on your party. Then Fujin blasts the dude so hard that he flips out of the door of the hotel. I loved it when Zell accidentally started talking like him. "We're here to liberate Balamb, ya know?!" Then you have a boss fight with him that's not very difficult, but he's evidently tough as nails because within 5 minutes, he's back on his feet and fighting against you along Fujin. Somehow, that rotten fish worked to rejuvenate him instead of practically knock him out like it did everyone else he fed it to. The fight with Fujin and Raijin is pretty good, too, and Raijin's one of the only bosses whose Limit Break you can see without casting Aura on them yourself.

Fighting Raijin and Fujin in Lunatic Pandora was good, too. Of course, there's the famous scene where they finally stand up to Seifer and refuse to follow him if he continues down his crooked path. That scene is more famous for Fujin than it is for Raijin, so I'll deal with that more when we get to her. I am glad that they eventually did reconcile and get their friendship back. It was pretty awesome in the ending when Raijin catches that fish, leaving Seifer to pout about not being able to catch anything, and Fujin cheering him up by kicking Raijin into the water so he'll stop celebrating. I wish they had shown more of the Posse, the Disciplinary Committee in game, because they're pretty great whenever they show up.

47. Princess Garnet Til Alexandros XVII (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Mother... Zidane... No... I can't depend on them anymore! As the queen of Alexandria, I must protect my kingdom."

Dagger is a pretty good character. She's got some good moments in the game. Her scenes at the beginning of disc 3 in Alexandria are fantastic, one of my favorite parts of the game, particularly the Alexander vs. Bahamut fight. The part where Eiko divebombs in from the airship and she and Dagger join together to summon Alexander was awesome. Then Zidane's rescue of her once everything starts collapsing was also great, especially when she gave him a hug for saving her, finally showing him some affection and some indication that she likes him. Seriously, the Zidane/Dagger pairing is pretty frustrating at times because she rarely seems to show any outward interest toward him for the majority of the game until the very, very end. She's like that high school girl who has a crush on a guy, but she's too embarrassed to admit it so she does all she can to make it seem like she doesn't like him. It's almost a one-sided relationship most of the game.

It's strange because there are times when I like Dagger's personality, and there are times when she annoys me, but for the most part I like her. One of the things I don't like about her personality is her self-will, her stubborn determination to prove she can fix all the problems with Alexandria without anyone's help, which often leads to her getting in lots of trouble (such as when she knocks everyone out with Sleeping Weed in Lindblum so she can sneak back to Alexandria and try to talk to her mother because everyone was smart enough to realize that was a stupid idea and tried to stop her). She tries too hard to stand on her own, but she's really not strong enough to do it most of the game. There are times when I think her personality is really cute though. I like it in Dali when she's trying to learn how to talk like a "common" person, and she tries to listen in on everyone and get them to teach her how to do it. I also like the scene when she comes up with the plan for Steiner to hide her in a burlap sack of pickles in order to sneak past the guards. That was awesome.

I do like Dagger's backstory, about how she came from Madain Sari through a storm (which in reality was Garland on the Invincible trying to destroy the summoners' village and their Eidolons), how she somehow looked like the real Princess Garnet (I can only imagine what her father must have looked like for her to look as cute as she is, considering how ugly Brahne is) and being raised in her place, a la Ovelia. I love Madain Sari and Dagger slowly figuring out her past (By the way, did you guys ever do that weird sidequest in Madain Sari where you can learn that her real name is actually Sarah, a throwback to FFI's Princess Sarah?). It was a fun part of the game.

I like using Dagger in battle. She's part of my primary party. She's a solid magic user and summoner. I always like to have a healer in the party, and I usually end up using her over Eiko mostly because I don't like Eiko. She has better summons overall, too. It took me forever to figure out what her Trance does until I got it to activate during the battle with Necron once and I summoned Bahamut while she was in Trance. Then a little bit later, Bahamut attacks him again out of nowhere, and I was like, "Huh? Ohhhhhhhhhhh!" Of course, Dagger does go through that phase in the game during disc 3 where she can't talk and she frequently fails at performing anything you try to get her to do. "Dagger can't concentrate!"

Finally, I do love the ending when Zidane reveals himself to Dagger, and she desperately races to get down to where he is. Steiner and Beatrix pretend to stand in her way, and they slowly let her pass. Then she's shoving her way through the crowd, and someone knocks her pendant off of her neck. She hesitates for a second, and then she basically goes "Forget it," throws down her crown, and jumps into Zidane's arms to ROARS OF APPLAUSE! THE CROWD GOES WILD! Heck, even Amarant claps! Pretty impressive! I liked how Dagger basically threw aside her emblems of royalty, which is symbolic of what she essentially did by falling in love with Zidane. At the beginning of disc 3, she seemed to think that she had to choose between being queen and being with Zidane, and she chose being queen because she felt like she had to do it. However, she finally comes around and decides she would rather be with him than anything else, even if she has to give up the throne. Great scene.

48. Red XIII (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "It's me. Red XIII. I'm a little woozy, but I shouldn't get caught. Humans only look at appearances anyway. Any way you look at it, I'd say I make a fine human being."

Red XIII (or Nanaki, if you like) is a pretty cool dude. Like Freya, there was a lot more they could have done with this guy (especially in the Compilation of FFVII stuff, where he barely does anything, although that part where he nails Bahamut Sin with Sled/Blood Fang was pretty awesome), but at least they sufficiently resolved his major plotlines. Red XIII has a lot of wisdom and knows a lot of things about the Planet. He's usually pretty well informed, so he's interesting to talk to about things. He's supposedly just a teenager in doggy years (or whatever Red XIII is. Sometimes he seems like a cat and sometimes he seems like a dog), but he's very thoughtful and mature, all things considered. He does have some times when he gets all excited about stuff and his youth shows, but that doesn't happen often.

Cosmo Canyon is one of my favorite places in the game, and Red XIII's plotline with his father is one of the big reasons why (Now the Cave of the Gi might be the worst area in the game, but I'd have to think about it for a little bit). For nearly all of his life, Red XIII had thought of his father as a scoundrel who abandoned his tribe in the hour of their greatest need. However, Bugenhagen takes him on a journey through the Cave of the Gi and reveals the truth about Seto. He went into their cave alone and prevented the Gi from taking even a single step into Cosmo Canyon, but at the cost of being turned into stone. The part during that scene when "The Great Warrior" begins to play and Seto begins to cry as Red XIII finally claims his heritage as his own gives me chills every time. Just a great scene.

Overall, Red XIII isn't too deeply involved in the storyline beyond that, but I like him as a character. He always seems to have something interesting to say when you talk to him. I do wonder why the Reunion seemingly had no effect on Red XIII since he had Jenova cells inside of him due to Hojo's experiments. The game touches on that briefly when you're forced to stay at the hotel at the Gold Saucer when he worries that he's going to go insane like all the other clones, but it doesn't explore it beyond that.

By the way, in those "On the Way to a Smile" short stories that Square released along with Advent Children, Red XIII has his own little short story which is pretty awesome. In that story, he begins to wonder about what's going to happen as everyone he knows and loves dies due to his longevity (something I wish they'd touched on more in FFVII), and it deals with his struggles about being something that's not fully animal but not fully human, too. The struggle creates a sort of emptiness in his heart, which he calls "Gilligan" (awesome name, by the way). Vincent actually helps him come to grips with his fears by encouraging him about the possibility of one day having children of his own. Plus, due to Vincent's own immortal condition, the two agree to meet with each other annually for the rest of Red XIII's life to share stories of their travels and stuff. It's pretty neat, and Red XIII eventually does get his happy ending, finding a mate and having children of his own. The post-credits scene where he travels to Midgar with his cubs and roars as the camera pans back to show the city all grown over with vegetation (which always indicated to me that Holy succeeded in its task in removing/disabling all of the hurtful elements such as Mako Reactors and stuff) was a great way to end the game. Some people felt that's where it should have ended (with the element of mystery about whether or not humanity survived), but I've enjoyed the sequels.

49. Freya Crescent (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "What irony. To find the man about whom I have dreamt endlessly... only to discover that he cannot even remember who I am!"

There are two words that sum up Freya in a nutshell: Wasted potential. She had the potential to become so much more than she ended up becoming, but Square completely forgot about her about halfway through disc 2 and for some reason decided to make her pal around with Amarant for the rest of the game. That was a great idea there, guys. Not to mention, her big plotline (Reuniting with Fratley) was left unresolved and unpursued after Cleyra until the ending of the game, where it almost felt like Square all of a sudden remembered that Freya was supposed to be in love with this guy so they threw him back into the game. Not to mention, Fratley's still got amnesia and never ends up remembering her, though for some reason they're together. It's almost like he's thinking, "Well, she said that we used to be in love with each other, so I guess we were," and almost does it out of pity and confusion. Overall, I was left rather disappointed about Freya's characterization (or lack thereof).

But hey, for the first disc and a half, Freya's pretty cool. I liked that you could fight the Zaghnol with her in the Festival of the Hunt (and essentially win it for yourself or for Freya by killing the thing). While I hated Gizamaluke's Grotto (One of the worst areas of the game), Burmecia was incredible. I loved that place (Extremely underrated theme music, by the way). This is where the game starts dealing with Freya's search for Fratley, and it's a pretty intriguing plotline, I think. And while climbing up the trunk is no good, Cleyra itself is a pretty interesting place. Here's basically where her storyline climaxes (at the beginning of disc 2...) as she finally finds Fratley, only to discover that he cannot even remember who she is. While I'm not a big fan of amnesia plotlines, I thought this was an instance where it was pulled off pretty well because of how ironic it was. Freya builds up their relationship to such an extent that it ends up being a "Wow" moment when you finally meet Fratley and he doesn't even remember her at all. But of course, Square just leaves it right there and does nothing with it for the rest of the game.

While this has been a mostly negative writeup, it's mostly negative toward Square's laziness in dealing with Freya's character more than Freya herself. What little they show us of her is pretty interesting. I like her design, and dragoons are always awesome. She's got one of the better skillsets (especially Dragon's Crest if you manage to kill lots of dragons) and Trances in the game, I think. She's not part of my primary party in Final Fantasy IX, but I do enjoy using her whenever she's in my party.

50. Barret Wallace (Final Fantasy VII )

Quote: "But you gotta understand that there ain't no gettin' offa this train we're on, till we get to the end of the line."

I've had a very difficult time deciding where to place Barret on this list. I've moved him around several times already, and I almost decided to move him up again before I started this writeup, but we'll leave him here so I can just stop worrying about it! I really like Barret a lot. For starters, he's one of my favorites to use in battle. He's part of my ideal Final Fantasy VII battle party. The gun-arm is awesome, and the different gun-arm attachments are great. I always looked forward to seeing what Barret would stick on his arm next! It's strange to say this about him, but he's pretty versatile in battle. The dude's a tank, you can just load him up with Cover Materia and he'll probably survive just about anything. At the same time, the fact that most of his weapons are long-range means you can hit any enemy you face, and you can stick him in the back row and still do optimal damage. Missing Score is probably the best ultimate weapon in the game because its strength doesn't depend on stupid things that vary throughout the fight (Like HP, MP, or your Limit Gauge level). If you can load up Missing Score with lots of mastered Materia, Barret becomes even more of a killing machine than he already is. He's just fun to use in battle, and he's got some cool Limit Breaks.

But enough about that, let's talk about Barret as a character. I think he's one of the more realistic and sympathetic characters in the series in terms of overall characterization (Having the gun-arm is obviously unrealistic, but that's not what I'm talking about!). There aren't any wacky plot twists concerning Barret (such as pretending to be another person without even realizing it, or growing up in the same orphanage as everyone else in the party without realizing it, or your brother turning out to be the main villain). The biggest plot twist concerning Barret is, what, that it turns out the little white girl isn't actually his daughter? But he didn't need any sort of plot twists. He doesn't seem like the kind of character who should be relateable and likable, but he is. Beneath the rough and tough Mr. T exterior (Fun Fact: Square intentionally changed Barret's design in Advent Children because they didn't like that so many people thought he looked like Mr. T), Barret is a man with a good heart who is dealing with lots of personal struggles.

Ultimately, Barret struggles against Shinra (and eventually Sephiroth) to save the Planet from a seemingly inevitable destruction, but I think his greatest struggle involves his adopted daughter Marlene. He obviously loves the little girl to death and wants to be by her side always, but at the same time, he realizes that if he wants her to have any sort of future, he has to leave her and fight. That's what he struggles with in the game, and I think it makes him a sympathetic character, at least to me. Barret fights to save the Planet, yes, but he fights to save the Planet so his little girl can have a future in it. Overall, I think that's a noble goal. I don't know if I really conveyed what I wanted to say very well here or not, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to get at here.

I think Barret's backstory goes a long way to making him a likable character as well. He convinced Dyne and the people of Corel to give up their old way of life and build a Mako Reactor, and everything goes wrong. The town gets burnt to the ground and completely buried underneath the earth, and he's the one who takes the blame. He can't even show his face there anymore as a result. I don't think the hatred he received from the people was justified, but Barret accepts it because he does feel like he failed them greatly. He does have failures and shortcomings, and he gradually comes to accept them and admit them. He eventually comes to realize that eco-terrorism and blowing up Mako Reactors wasn't the right way to do things. He even comes to understand his own role in the party. He always thought he should be the leader, but he eventually comes to accept that Cloud is the true leader, and even when he's gone, he delegates the role to Cid. I think it took a lot for him to swallow his pride there and let Cid be leader.

Probably my favorite Barret scenes are while they're defending the Sector 7 pillar and the aftermath of it. Barret's reaction to the whole thing was great, I thought. Just an outpouring of rage and anger, firing his gun-arm into the wreckage, screaming at the top of his lungs for Marlene, Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie, and finally just essentially collapsing to the ground with grim acceptance of what has happened. I also love Barret's scenes during your time in Junon at the beginning of disc 2 (which is one of my favorite scenes in the game, period). He's pretty awesome there.

And finally, Barret has some great cheesy and funny moments. How can you forget "the golden shiny wire of hope!" line before you raid the Shinra Building. One of my favorite lines in all the game is when you're getting off of the boat at Costa Del Sol, and Aerith asks you what you think of Barret's sailor suit. You're given the option to say it looks great, and Cloud's response is, "You look like a bear wearing a marshmallow." Yesssss. Then you can go see Barret struttin' his stuff in front of the mirror in the hotel room wearing his sailor suit for more great entertainment.

I don't really feel like I've done Barret justice with this writeup. This one was a hard one to write.

51. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "So cold. I am always by your side."

The Man with the Black Cape (seriously, where is this cape?), the Man with the Tattoo of the Number 1 on his Hand, the One-Winged Angel, whatever you want to call him, there's no denying Sephiroth's impact and legacy in the Final Fantasy series. For better or worse, Square (or video gaming in general, really) will never create another quite like him, though that doesn't stop them from trying. This isn't to say I worship the ground he walks on (I've got him ranked 51st, after all), but I certainly understand and respect his place in villainy. I understand why he's consistently the #3 guy in these contests and why he's the only villain (aside from Kefka, but that's more LOL FFVI than anything) who can stand up to the hero of his own game without getting blown away.

Before I replayed Final Fantasy VII about a year ago, I would have ranked Sephiroth much lower on a list like this. I definitely still think he's overrated. He's not worthy of the overwhelming praise he garners from a lot of people, but as I said before, I understand why he gets it. For whatever the reason, when I played FFVII the last time, I found myself paying extra close attention to Sephiroth any time he was in a scene, I guess trying to figure out once and for all what the big deal is about this guy. As I did, I came to understand why it was Sephiroth was so well loved and respected. I came to respect him more and more as a villain and as a character. Again, not to say he's anything special or anything that's never been done before (He's not even my favorite villain in the series), but Square just seemed to do everything well with him. I don't know if I can put this into words well, but I'll try.

Sephiroth's presence is continually felt throughout the whole game, one of the most impressive things about him. There are very few villains in any game anywhere that you can say this about. No matter where you go, someone is talking about him. In the second half of the game, Meteor looming in the sky always reminds you of him. He affects nearly every major scene in the game, and that's despite not being visibly seen in his actual body in the present time until the very end of the game (except for that one brief moment when Cloud gives him the Black Materia), which makes it all the more impressive. The power of Sephiroth's will is incredible. He's able to manipulate practically every single thing in the game despite being encased in a Mako cocoon all the way at the Northern Cave (and once again, Sephiroth was controlling Jenova, not the other way around. Square has confirmed this, so it's not really up for debate). He was able to survive being thrown into the Lifestream and came out stronger than anything's ever been by absorbing the wisdom and knowledge of the Cetra in it (and he was already ridiculously strong in the first place). You talk about villains that just won't die, and Sephiroth is one of them. His will is so strong that he can maintain his consciousness in the Lifestream even after death and can somehow will himself back to life through the power of the Jenova Cells. Canonically, there probably isn't a character in the Final Fantasy universe more powerful than Sephiroth. Only Kefka comes close. The game constantly presents Sephiroth as this ridiculously powerful and nigh unstoppable force, and it's hardly an exaggeration.

One of the keys to Sephiroth as a villain is his relationship to the main character, Cloud Strife. The way that Sephiroth continually and successfully messes with Cloud's mind throughout the game is something else (And they really overemphasized this aspect of his character in Dissidia. Every other line from Sephiroth was something about how Cloud's just a puppet. We get it). He's able to make Cloud think whatever he wants him to think and do whatever he wants him to do. He almost got him to kill Aerith for him, and he got him to give him the Black Materia (twice!). Cloud/Sephiroth is just one of the best rivalries in the series. It's executed so well. They made beating Sephiroth such a personal matter, which I thought was great. It wasn't just about saving the Planet. It was about Cloud settling his past and severing himself from Sephiroth's control once and for all (And what a way to do it with that Omnislash, yesssss). Like I said, the game really built up his reputation all throughout, and by the time you get to face him at the end, it's an epic feeling and it feels like it's going to be an uphill struggle.

And finally, while this may be the shallowest reason, it's probably the biggest factor: Sephiroth just exudes "cool." He really does. He's got a charm and a charisma about him. Square just did a good job with him. Like I said before, he doesn't do everything the best; he just seems to do everything well (I often say this when trying to describe how I can call Skies of Arcadia one of my favorite RPGs despite not really excelling in any one particular area). In every cutscene he's in, Sephiroth's in control, and there's no doubt about it. He leaves the trail of blood in the Shinra Building, coming to a head by killing the president himself. In the Kalm flashback, Sephiroth completely obliterates everything in any random battle you have with him. He has the famous "fire walk." There's the scene where you come up on a Midgar Zolom that Sephiroth impaled. Quite frankly, Sephiroth is just plain awesome at the Temple of the Ancients. His best scenes are there, in my opinion. That's where he really starts to exert himself as this great villain and his control over Cloud starts manifesting itself. Of course, there's the scene where he kills Aerith. There's the scene at the Northern Cave where he reenacts the Nibelheim Incident just to mess with Cloud's mind. There's also the "One-Winged Angel" theme, as overused as it is (The Advent Children version is awesome though!).

Speaking of Advent Children, I liked Sephiroth in that. I didn't oppose Square bringing him back for one final epic showdown with Cloud. In fact, I'd have been severely disappointed if they didn't do that. Sephiroth completely owns Cloud throughout that entire fight (and they did a better job of showing it in Advent Children Complete where Sephiroth actually fights back against Cloud's Limit Break instead of just floating there while Cloud owns him. Not to mention, Sephiroth just owns him even more thoroughly in the additional content). Sephiroth's downfall against Cloud was his pride. He wasn't satisfied with just beating Cloud, and he easily could have. He wanted to completely ruin his life, take away everything he held dear, and then when he's got absolutely nothing left, then kill him. Plus, I think he did underestimate Cloud's own will in a way with too much confidence in his own.

Oh, and beating Sephiroth in the Kingdom Hearts games is one of the better "Holy crap, I can't believe I just beat him!" achievements in an RPG. I imagine they'll have him back in Kingdom Hearts III for this reason, and they'd be stupid not to.

52. Sorceress Edea Kramer (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "This is reality. No one can help you. Sit back and enjoy the show."

While I know that Edea in the first two chapters was controlled by Ultimecia and wasn't herself, I'm still going to include that aspect of her character in that writeup because it's just very difficult to make that distinction when I play Final Fantasy VIII, even knowing the story. Really, before that plot twist where it turns out it's not really Edea at all but some sorceress from the future, she had the potential to be an awesome villain. She was a great villain for the first half of the game. I think she's a very intriguing character. Her introduction is a little weird, what with the whole "seduction" (if it can be called such) of Seifer into her service. It was certainly a memorable introduction, at least.

Edea's high point is definitely Deling City at the end of disc 1. She just completely owns everybody and everything left and right. Her speech before the parade was a little...over the top (as is a lot of her character and her design. Ultimecia just loves fanciness and extravagance, I guess), but it was pretty cool, especially when she just casually kills President Deling in front of everyone. Edea owns Rinoa without even lifting a finger and then casually brings a couple of statues to life to kill her for ceremony's sake. The parade itself was awesome, just beautifully done overall and with great music. Then after Squall begs Irvine for what seems like an hour to finally shoot the sorceress, Edea just casually lifts her hand and says "LOL NO." Then you finally get to fight her (and it's not that hard of a fight if you summon Carbuncle because she'll spend three turns dispelling Reflect or she'll just use Astral Punch which does pitiful damage), but it's a great atmosphere. Then Edea apparently gets bored with the whole thing and throws some icicles at everyone, impaling Squall through the shoulder. That was seriously the best ending to a disc in the series (Forget Aerith's death, man! This tops that!). I remember calling one of my friends after the end of disc 1 and being like, "DUDE THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER! THE MAIN VILLAIN JUST TOTALLY KILLED THE MAIN CHARACTER! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!" Of course, Squall didn't end up dying, but I didn't know that at the time. I just thought, "Man, and I thought Aerith dying was a plot twist! They just made that look tame!"

But apparently just killing Squall is too easy, so Edea heals his wound (a detail a lot of people apparently miss because I've seen a lot of people saying how it's a plot inconsistency that Squall is alive and well at the beginning of disc 2) just so she can torture him and gather some information about SeeD from him. She wants to get complete satisfaction from making his life miserable and getting the information she needs to destroy SeeD before she kills him. I wonder if Ultimecia knew who the SeeD destined to kill her was, like if she knew his name was Squall and all that. I wonder how she knew in the first place. I'm sure there was some public data (like a history book or some public records that SeeD itself kept) that told how SeeD defeated the sorceress from the future, Ultimecia, and it probably gave the name of the one who did it or something. Anyway, the point is that Edea's just completely ruthless and sadistic. She proves it further by launching missiles at Balamb and Trabia Gardens in an attempt to wipe SeeD from the face of the earth.

I absolutely love the fight with Edea at the end of disc 2. I think the atmosphere and the setting of the fight is near perfect ("Premonition" is one of the best battle themes in the series, by the way). I love the sense of desperation Seifer exudes, hunched over and clinging to his honor as the Sorceress' Knight, trying to do anything he can to protect her, even though he can barely stand. I don't really care if the fight's not hard. Not every boss fight has to be hard to be good, and this is one of them that's good in spite of the lack of difficulty. The fight with Edea herself can be pretty difficult because Maelstrom is a beast of an attack, and she has level 3 magic spells, but nothing you can't overcome. One of my favorite boss fights in the series.

But of course, with disc 3, the "real" Edea is made known. She's a good character in this way, too. She manages to be a very kind woman with a big heart for children in spite of being a social outcast and reject due to being a sorceress. She doesn't let that turn into hatred and bitterness like Adel and Ultimecia do. She invests her life into helping these orphans make something of their lives (she even willingly takes Ultimecia's powers to prevent another child from suffering the same fate she has, which makes me wonder how powerful Rinoa is by the end of the game because she essentially has Edea's, Adel's, and Ultimecia's sorceress powers), and they obviously love her to death. All of the SeeDs seem to think very highly and fondly of her, even Squall and Seifer. Not to mention (and I feel kinda weird sayin' this since she's at least in her 30s), she's pretty hot! FFVIII sure did a good job with designin' some purty girls for this game!

53. Maechen (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "And that, as they say, is that."


Maechen is a very scholarly man in Spira, you see. He meets the party in various places throughout the world and he helps fill in the history and information gaps, if you will. Listening to him can really be quite the pleasurably pastime. He has a very charming and soothing voice that makes me just want to sit there and listen, even if it takes 30 minutes. Maechen has one of my favorite voices in video gaming, you know. It fits him rather well, I think. I don't know why anyone would dare refuse to listen to one of his lectures or history lessons, as they're quite informative and entertaining. After all, who can forget such classic moments as when Maechen told you the history of the Crusaders and the Mi'ihen Highroad, or when he speculated as to the nature of shoopufs and pyreflies? You can even go back to Mount Gagazet after you get the airship, and you can hear several lectures on Zanarkand, Yevon, Sin, and their history. They're all very interesting, no doubt.

I don't necessarily like what they did with Maechen in Final Fantasy X-2. They overemphasized and exaggerated his storytelling to the point of making him seem like someone who rambles without much of a point or even remembering what he said right after he said it, which doesn't seem consistent with who he was in Final Fantasy X, if you ask me. He never seemed to go on for too long and was never dry and boring in the first game. I also wonder if they chose to make Maechen an Unsent in Final Fantasy X-2, or if they had already made that decision about him in Final Fantasy X. After all, there has to be a reason why he knows so many things others don’t.

Or maybe not. Who knows?

And that, as they say, is that.

54. Dycedarg Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Defeat Dycedarg's Elder Brother!"

The Beoulve Family is awesome, and Dycedarg is no exception. He's one of the more intriguing characters in the game, mostly because he's so different from his siblings and his father (though he and Zalbag aren't all that different in some respects). He doesn't really care about the honor and justice associated with the Beoulve name. In fact, he practically resents it and essentially spits on it by poisoning Balbanes. The only thing he seems to be concerned about is making the Beoulve name the most powerful and influential one in Ivalice, all the way up to being on the throne, and he doesn't care what he has to do to get it. He is definitely an adherent to the idea of "The end justifies the means." I do wonder what it was that ended up making Dycedarg so different from the rest. Why was he the only one who didn't seem to catch what Balbanes was trying to pass on to them?

I absolutely love the fight against Dycedarg in Igros Castle where Zalbag confronts him about murdering Balbanes and Larg, and Ramza walks in just in time to fight. This was basically a "When the crap hits the fan" moment. I dunno, the first time I played this, I couldn't believe I was actually fighting Dycedarg, Ramza's brother. I just never thought it'd happen. Not to mention, you've got Zalbag fighting alongside you to make this an even more epic atmosphere. I love the argument Dycedarg and Zalbag have here, with Dycedarg proclaiming that this was the best way for the Beoulves to use their power and Zalbag proclaiming that his brother isn't worthy of the name. Then Dycedarg gets self-righteous and says that the only reason they even are what they are today was because of him, and even goes so far as to say that Zalbag should be thanking him for what he's done. That's pretty brazen. The fight itself isn't too tough, especially since you've got Orlandu by now, but once again, just top notch atmosphere for this one, though I thought it was a bit anticlimactic for Dycedarg to transform into Adramelk and simply vaporize Zalbag out of existence. I like Ramza's quote once you defeat Adramelk, which shows that he understood what Dycedarg didn't seem to learn from Balbanes, and it sums up his error.

"This is the end of the Beoulve's... Names don't matter... What's important is how you live your life."

55. Izlude Tingel (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Certain sacrifices must be made for the revolution! Decadent royalty and nobles must pay! For the people! Now, cooperate with us. As Delita did!"

Now I'm just going to be honest about this: I have some pretty childish reasons for liking Izlude as much as I do (I played FFT when I was 12, so you'll have to bear with this!). First of all, the dude's a Lancer (Well, sorta, but close enough), and the ability to divebomb people with spears will always rank highly on my list (Plus, the fight with him at Orbonne Monastery was cool). Second of all, he's got an awesome sprite and an awesome name (I would totally name my son Izlude). Third of all ( here it comes), Izlude has the Pisces Stone, which just so happens to be my Zodiac Sign. Not only that, but the stone is dark blue, my favorite color. When you're 12 years old, that's reason enough to like a character a lot! When you're nearly twice that old now...Nostalgia factor, baby!

But I do like how Izlude showed that not everyone involved with the Temple Knights was evil, and they weren't all party to the plot. I felt bad for him. He genuinely thought that collecting the Zodiac Stones for the Glabados Church was going to fix all of Ivalice's problems because that's what he had been told. He was being deceived and manipulated by his father, and he eventually ended up getting killed by him for no other reason than that he happened to be in the same room. I do like that, even when Alma finds him on the brink of death, Izlude's asking her to give him his sword so he can fight. He never stood a chance, but at least he fought, even though it was his father. I like how he did come to realize that Ramza was right and told Alma to warn him about what was going on, though I wish he didn't essentially have to be killed to come to that point.

56. Gaff Gafgarion (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Dirty!? There is no 'dirty' when it comes to money. I'm a mercenary. I have to finish the jobs I take. That's called being a pro!"

Gafgarion is pretty awesome. I remember the first time I saw Night Sword. Man, that was awesome. Gafgarion is your typical mercenary-for-hire with no moral code or allegiance to anyone, which results in him getting frustrated with Ramza's own strong sense of justice and debating with him on multiple occasions. He's well known for his ruthlessness in battle, but there is very little he will do for free. He was always fun to have in battle, though I wish you had been able to control him. He's got one of the cooler sprites in the game, too. Love the armor.

Gafgarion is involved in some awesome battles in the game. I love Zirekile Falls, mostly for the atmosphere and the dialogue between Ramza, Agrias, Delita, Gafgarion, and Ovelia (That was one of the things I liked about major battles in FFT: Dialogue between the major characters involved. I always tried to prolong battles as much as I could to make sure everything that could be said was said. I just thought it was a neat touch). I was kinda surprised when Gafgarion betrayed me, though I probably shouldn't have been (However, now I pay him back for that by removing all of his equipment before the battle begins and just laughing at him because now he can't do anything, aw yeah). The battle at the Golgorand Execution Site is one of the best and toughest in the game (at least for me. I probably died more times trying to win this battle than any other outside of Riovanes). It's just a great atmosphere as well, with some great dialogue between Ramza and Gafgarion. Finally, you get to face Gafgarion in what is essentially a one-on-one duel (Yeah, you can open the gates and stuff, but it's much more fun just to fight him one-on-one). That was a great way to end that rivalry. Honestly, I think of Gafgarion as the main villain of the second chapter, and so to get that fight to the finish was a great touch. Of course, that battle ends up taking me a while because my Ramza is a Pisces and Gafgarion is a Virgo, so we end up doing the least possible damage to one another (Same thing for Wiegraf), but once again, great atmosphere and setup. Good, solid secondary villain.

57. Raine Loire (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "A guy like that? He was carried in here crying like a baby, and I was the one who had to take care of him... His crude way of speaking... I don't know if his aspirations as a journalist are going to come true... Every time I try to have a serious conversation, he avoids it... I can't stand his snoring and he talks in his sleep...He always leaves the toilet seat up and his hair clogs the shower drain...He never opens the door for me and he always makes me pay on a date...He drives like a grandma and always has to listen to oldies music when he's in the car...I think I even caught him trying on one of my dresses one time..."

...What? That's exactly how that scene went! Anyway, probably another instance of "Too high random NPC," but I like Raine a lot. She's only in two scenes in the game, but I like them quite a bit. She's got a strong personality, which is evident even in the short time she's in the game. You can definitely tell where Squall gets some of his serious, no-nonsense personality. Raine's a very independent, hard-working woman, though she's obviously very caring, as evidenced by the fact that she adopted Ellone as her own daughter after her parents were killed. She's also not afraid to tell it like it is, as evidenced by that epic burn of Laguna when he's eavesdropping on her and Ellone. The difference is that Squall tends to keep those things on the inside, while Raine doesn't have a problem voicing her thoughts like that.

I like Raine's story mostly because it's a very sad one. Laguna evidently had to try very hard to win Raine over, but he eventually does. However, after all that time and finally winning her, he has to leave her to go rescue Ellone, and he's never able to come back. Even after he rescues Ellone, he gets caught up in the political revolution in Esthar, and gets elected as the president, so he got stuck there. Then, of course, Raine has her baby and apparently dies shortly afterward from childbirth complications. Laguna was completely unaware of this for eighteen years until he finally saw Ellone again in space.

Then there's the scene with Raine and Laguna in the ending, which might be my favorite part. At the very least, it's the most emotionally touching part. The part where he puts the ring on her finger and they hug always gives me goosebumps even to this day. Then you see him in the present day finally visiting her grave. I really liked that scene. I always thought it was kinda interesting that, if you go back to Winhill as Squall, he can see ghosts of Raine in different places in the town. I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to mean, but it feels like it's related to the fact that she's his mother, even though he's not aware of it at the time. Not to mention, Raine is one of the more underratedly (No, that's not a word. No, I don't care) pretty girls in the series, so that's always a plus!

58. Seymour Guado (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Pitiful mortal. Your hope ends here. And your meaningless existence with it!"

As a villain, I think Seymour is way too over-the-top sometimes (particularly with his "Save Spira by destroying it" Messiah Complex), but I think he's effective for what he is. I've heard people complain that it was too obvious that Seymour was going to end up being a villain when you first see him even though he's portrayed by the people of Spira as a good guy, but I honestly think that was intentional. Tidus in his inner monologues mentions that he never really liked or trusted him, and he tells Seymour that he knew he was bad news the first time they met. For all intents and purpose, Tidus is meant to represent the player's point of view, so I think it was supposed to be obvious to us that Seymour was a villain. However, that's because we, like Tidus, didn't grow up being indoctrinated by the dogmas of Yevon, so he wasn't deceived as easily and neither were we. The people of Spira grew up thinking Yevon could do no wrong, and so they could never think of a Maester being evil, even though it's pretty obvious to us and Tidus that he is. I thought that was a pretty interesting aspect of him as a villain.

Seymour's relentlessness is probably his defining characteristic as a villain, at least to me. The guy keeps coming back, no matter how many times you kill him, and he comes back stronger each time (Well, except for the last time, LOL Seymour Omnis). He's absolutely determined to become the next Sin, no matter what it takes, and I think that goes a long way to making him a pretty good villain, in my opinion. I like villains that you just can't seem to get rid of, "The Liquid Snake Factor," if you will. I think it makes you all the more determined to beat them once and for all. When you finally get to send Seymour inside Sin, there's a great sense of satisfaction and relief in that, I think.

The main thing that probably gets Seymour ranked this highly is the fact that he probably has the best series of boss fights for a main villain. Each of them can be challenging, especially the first time, and to me, Seymour Flux is pretty hard every time. He's more consistently difficult for me than Yunalesca. The first fight was cool because of Anima and trying to beat that thing before it can Overdrive you. The second fight was pretty awesome with a great atmosphere ("Unpleasant..." after tanking Kimahri's spear) and requires a good deal of patience, I think. The third fight needs no explanation as to why it's a great boss fight. The fourth one...Well, it has awesome music! It's not so great, but that's okay. Overall, he has high quality boss fights, and his Natus, Flux, and Omnis forms are pretty awesome-looking, to boot!

59. Cid Highwind (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "Anyone stupid enough to go up against Shinra nowadays, has GOTTA be a numbskull! I like it!"

Uh oh, maybe too low for some people (and maybe too high for HM)! Well, at this point on the list, every character who appears is going to be someone I like a good bit. I don't think of them as great characters, but they're good. First of all, let me say some good things I like about Cid. The dude has an outstanding design. It's amazing how good you can make a character look when you don't go over-the-top with the design! I like the color scheme and the goggles are cool. Another thing I like about Cid is using him in battle. First of all, he's a dragoon with a spear, so that's bonus points right off the bat. Plus, he has some of the best Limit Breaks in the game. I also love Cid's running animation. Yes, that's right. His running animation is the best animation in the game by far. I love it. Cid also has some great musical themes (Cid's Theme, Highwind Takes to the Skies, and Sending a Dream Into the Universe are all among my favorites in the game).

Character-wise, I like Cid pretty well. He can be funny a lot of times (Have you guys ever gotten him to talk to you about the time he went to see the play Loveless at the beginning of disc 3 on the Highwind? That story had me rolling. It's so epic. I'll see if I can find it and post it here in a little bit). Despite his gruff exterior, Cid's also a good man at heart. He berates Shera to no end, but when it comes down to it, he cares about her because he was willing to abort his dream of going into space to save her life. Eventually, Cid comes around and starts treating her more nicely once he realizes that she was right about the oxygen tank and she saves his life. Apparently, they even get married and he names his new airship after her! A happy ending all around for everyone!

Although I don't think he realizes it about himself, Cid can also be a good leader who's capable of rallying the troops around him. All of the people on the Highwind seem to love and respect Cid, and they were all too willing to help him hijack the airship from Shinra at Junon. The people in Rocket Town also seem to love and respect him. They still call him "Captain" even after all this time. During Cloud's brief hiatus, he even gets chosen to be the leader of the party once Tifa decides to stay at Mideel and take care of him. It takes a lot to get Cid motivated (The dude falls asleep during group meetings on more than one occasion, the old fart), but once he gets passionate about something (Usually related to airships and rockets), his enthusiasm seems to become contagious and everyone follows behind him.

Now the main thing I don't like about Cid (and this is a problem I imagine most people don't really care about, but it bothers me) is that he's way too vulgar. He just curses way too much. I don't like watching movies where it seems like every sentence has at least two curse words in it. It's just too much for me. I think vulgarity to that degree is unnecessary, and it makes it hard for me to enjoy them. Cid has those tangents where he starts swearing like crazy at times in the game, and I just don't like them. Now this isn't the only thing I don't like about him, but it's the main problem I have with him. I imagine it's probably a non-issue with most of you, but this is just my personal preference speaking here.

Cid's LOVELESS speech:

Cid: You ever see the play 'LOVELESS'?

Cloud: 'LOVELESS'?

Cid: Yeah, you know. They've been doing that play every summer since i was a kid. An' I remember seeing it just once...That was when I was in Midgar training to be a pilot. I had some free time and thought I'd catch the play. Now, I'm no big fan of the theater or anything. But this thing put me to sleep, just like I thought it would. Finally during the last scene, the guy next to me woke me up telling me my snoring was too loud. So about all i really remember of that play is the end. When the sister of the lead asks her lover.

"Do you really have to leave?"

And the guy says.

"I made a promise. The people I love are waiting."

"I don't understand. Not at all but take care of yourself."

"Of course, I'll come back to you. Even if you don't promise to wait. I'll return knowing you'll be here."

Cid: I remember thinking when i heard those lines. What's he talking about? But you know now I'm not so sure. I think I understand...

60. Professor Hojo (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "……mumble…mumble…head west……" - Professor Hojo
"He's mumbling slowly... That must means he's hiding something!" - Aerith Gainsborough

I posted that quote only because it's so ridiculous. What in the world? Anyway, I like Hojo simply because he's so ridiculously insane. He's your stereotypical mad scientist, but he's done so well. You just end up hating the guy's guts simply because of his complete disregard for any sort of life. Everything's just a research specimen or a scientific experiment to him. He has no qualms about shooting Vincent and then experimenting on his corpse. He doesn't seem to care that using the Mako Cannon too frequently could blow Midgar sky high simply because he wants to give Sephiroth the power he needs. Of course, we all know about the experiments that gave birth to Sephiroth. However, I'm still not sure how he thought it was possible for Aerith and Red XIII to crossbreed, but that's a story for another time. Well, he has been known to be wrong about things. After all, Cloud was the only Sephiroth "clone" that succeeded, and Hojo labeled him as a failure. He was right about the Reunion, though he didn't account for Sephiroth's strong will drawing Jenova and all the clones to himself rather than all the clones being drawn to Jenova in Midgar (which is pretty strong proof for Sephiroth being the one pulling all the strings and not Jenova, by the way, but that's off topic here).

I just love Hojo's indifferent and casual response to everything. Nothing in the world seems to bother him at all. You threaten to kill him? No big deal. Potentially blowing up Midgar (self included)? All in the name of science and for Sephiroth! Injecting himself with Jenova Cells? Glad to do it! I don't think the dude sweats at all. I mean, he was sitting at the beach in Costa Del Sol, lab coat and all, trying to get a tan! Did I already mention how ridiculous that scene is overall? Good.

I really liked the boss fight with Hojo at the end of disc 2 as well. It was a good boss fight with a good atmosphere ("J-E-N-O-V-A" playing for this boss fight was a nice touch that contributed to that, no doubt), and as I said before, I enjoy multi-phase boss fights, each one with a different twist than the one before it. Hojo's first two forms aren't all that tough, and the third form is only really that tough if you don't have a Ribbon (which I didn't the first time I played, which caused me to have a few Game Overs the first time I fought him).

Regarding that fight, I was really disappointed that there wasn't any sort of dialogue between Vincent and Hojo there. The whole reason Vincent joins you is so he can potentially meet Hojo, and you get to that fight, and he doesn't have anything special to contribute to the scene. Dirge of Cerberus did a pretty good job of fleshing out that rivalry between Vincent and Hojo though, from what I remember from the cutscenes, and Paul Eiding did a spot-on job with Hojo's voice. I remember being pretty surprised when Hojo revealed that he was Sephiroth's father, though I'm not really sure why. It's pretty obvious that it wasn't Vincent, so that leaves only one candidate, but I was only 11 back then (1997, for the record!), so it's not like I really thought things through thoroughly back then!

61. Alma Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Is Delita party to the plot?"

Probably too high for some people, but whatever. Alma is a lot like Ellone, and I like them for some of the same reasons. She's just an innocent girl who had to go through a lot of junk but still made it through on the other side with a pure heart. She spent most of her life in Orbonne Monastery and became friends with Ovelia. She's not much more than your typical damsel in distress (like Ovelia), but I like her all the same. I like the scene with Ramza right before Zalmo appears to fight you and then the scene following. I like how Alma just kind of messes with him and stubbornly negotiates her way into getting him to take her to Orbonne Monastery. Her scenes in Riovanes Castle were pretty good, too, especially when she talks to Izlude right before he dies.

The main reason I like Alma is because of the end of the game. I like how somehow, after Ajora takes over her body, she somehow manages to separate from him and remain her own person. I think she and Ramza are very much alike in that they possess a strong will that enables them to keep going even during hard times. I do wonder what made her the only one capable of being Ajora's vessel, but that's just a plot device that never gets explained. Oh well. Having Alma around during the last boss fight to cast MBarrier is pretty sweet, too, because MBarrier is awesome. Then, of course, there's her vague appearance at the end of the game, having only been seen by Olan. Was it really her or was it just an illusion? It is interesting to note that Olan, as far as we know, had never seen Alma in his life, so how would he know what she looks like? The world may never know...

62. Ellone (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "People say you can't change the past. But even still, if there's a possibility, it's worth a try, right?"

Ellone is one of those characters I wish Final Fantasy VIII had spent some time developing. Her powers are never explained. We don't know exactly how they work or why she has them. We don't know why she can only send people into others she's met before and not total strangers. Apparently, it's something related to her mind because Odine was able to make that Junction Machine Ellone from her brainwave pattern. She's certainly one of the more innocent and kindhearted characters in the series. She doesn't want to use her powers for world domination or anything like that like others do. The whole reason she uses her powers to bring Squall and company into the past was to prevent Laguna from leaving Raine and to keep her family together. You can't really get a simpler and purer motivation than that.

Of course, Ellone wasn't successful in her overall goal, but she did learn from the experience. She couldn't change her past, but it did change who she was in the present. She saw how much others loved her, and she was happy even though she didn't achieve her goal. She came to accept the reality that the past couldn't be changed. And as much as everybody rips how you end up going to space in Final Fantasy VIII, I did like the scene where Ellone tries to send Squall back into Rinoa's past in an attempt to figure out how to save her.

I like how she was able to maintain her optimistic and innocent outlook on life in spite of all that she's gone through. Ellone had a rough life. She was hunted by Adel as a little girl and kidnapped. Even though she was rescued, Raine passed away so she had to be sent to an orphanage. However, even that eventually became too dangerous so she spent over ten years on the White SeeD Ship, practically in seclusion from the rest of the world. She had to leave Squall behind, and he eventually ended up thinking she had abandoned him, which led to him being afraid to make attachments to any other person. It's amazing that she was able to come through all of that without becoming a jaded or a bitter person.

I did like the relationship between Squall and Ellone. It obviously affected Squall's life in a big way. It made him into who he was. I'm glad they finally got to reunite, and Squall finally got to understand the truth of what happened with Ellone, that she didn't really abandon him.

I liked the flashbacks that show Ellone as a kid. She's a pretty funny kid. "The J Disaster" is a classic. If you don't know what I mean, here's the transcript:

*Man: "This girl, Ellone...Is she your special someone?"

Laguna: "Huh? Yeah, something like that."

Kiros: "Laguna...Pu-lease...She's like a daughter to you."

Laguna: "She may be small, but Elle's still a 'lady'. Imagine how angry she'd be if she heard me talking about her like a baby. So I say 'special someone' out of respect...and fear."

Kiros: "I see...Maybe you have a point. It's not wise to upset her."

Laguna: "Right.Do you remember the 'J Disaster'?"

Kiros: "Yes...She got upset and put fruit jam in your shoes. You were almost in tears!"

Laguna: "Ugh! Just thinking about it gives me goose bumps."

Fruit jam forever

Oh, and trying to get the Laguna card from Ellone on the Lunar Base is one of the most frustrating things in the entire game, bar none.

63. Fran (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "Hadn't you best be off? That's what a sky pirate does. You fly, don't you?"

If Ba'Gamnan is Boba Fett, then Fran is Chewbacca (except for some...obvious differences). Overall though, Fran wasn't very interesting to me. I did like her backstory about how she left the Eruyt Village (which I want to spell the Ertyu Village, for some reason). I like how she was willing to be ostracized and left everything behind because she didn't want to be bound to the Viera's life of solitude. She wanted freedom, and she wanted to see the outside world. She didn't want to live life in a forgotten pocket of the world. She and Balthier have similar pasts and similar dreams, which I think is why they were kind of drawn to each other.

But during the course of the game itself, Fran doesn't develop much or do much. She does have some pretty awesome moments. It was hardcore the first time she went crazy because of the Mist and started beasting on everyone in a frenzied rage. That should've happened more often! After that, she just sort of starts to collapse in the presence of mist, especially when the Sun-Cryst starts to burst.

I like the quote I posted at the beginning of the write-up for her in that scene, and then Balthier tells her that she had better hold on then. A good exchange of lines right there. I also liked it in the ending when Balthier talks about how the leading man never dies, and Fran says "I'd say you're in more of a supporting role." I got a good laugh out of that one. She's got some good one-liners throughout the game. Another one was, when Ashe asks you to "kidnap" her, Fran says that they had better get moving before anyone notices "like proper kidnappers." She had a very sharp wit, which was nice. That's what I like most about her. The part in the game where Vaan asks Fran how old she is was great, too. Overall, Fran's not a very deep character, but she's likable enough to get an average ranking here.

64. Ba’Gamnan (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "The whole affair has the smell of money. I may have to whet my beak a little."

Ba'Gamnan is Final Fantasy XII's version of Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who's after the price on Han, err, I mean Balthier's head, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Heck, he even secretly cooperates with the Empire in cases of mutual interest and to do some of their dirty work that they don't want to be associated with publicly. A deep character he ain't, but I think he's cool and a worthwhile secondary villain. He's got a pretty good design, and the dude's legitimately intimidating at times. That weapon of his is ridiculous.

I personally thought it was somewhat thrilling trying to run away from Ba'Gamnan and company in the Lhusu Mines. It was probably the most exciting part of the game up to that point aside from the Nalbina Dungeon, which was pretty good (and hey, Ba'Gamnan was there, too. Go figure). I've heard that you can fight him and win, but it's tough. I never bothered because it was a long time since I had saved, and the Lhusu Mines were so annoying that I didn't want to go through that place again if I lost and got a Game Over (stupid bats). Did anyone ever actually fight Ba'Gamnan there? Was it a good fight?

I never finished all the Hunts in Final Fantasy XII, but I did get to the Hunt where you had to figure out who the guy was who was taking out all the people going out for Marks, which turned out to be Ba'Gamnan and company hoping that one of them was Balthier. It turned out to be a pretty awesome fight, finally getting to confront this guy and beat him. It was a great setting, and he went out Boba Fett style, sinking into the desert sand (although apparently neither one really died, but whatever). It's kinda sad how some of the Hunts can have more intriguing plotlines than the main story, but that's a tale for another time.

65. Meliadoul Tingel (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Legends do tend to over exaggerate. Maybe Lucavi was just another monster, after all."

I like Meliadoul because she appeals to the sadist in me. Breaking equipment is just so delightfully sinister and almost cruel, but I love it, especially against stupid knights who have broken my equipment who knows how many times! There's nothing like just breaking an enemy's equipment one piece at a time until there's nothing left, laughing all along the way as you torment him. I can't be the only one who's done stuff like this. Of course, it's worthless against monsters, but against human enemies (and most bosses are human enemies with the exception of Zodiac Demons), Meliadoul can wreck house. Of course, you don't have her long before Orlandu comes along with the same abilities, but then you have two wrecking balls for twice the fun! But I give Meliadoul the credit because she's the original.

As a character, Meliadoul's nothing special. When you're first introduced to her, she's on a misguided plot for vengeance against Ramza for supposedly killing her brother Izlude. Eventually, she comes to see the truth when she sees Marquis Elmdor turn into Zalera in the basement of Limberry Castle, and she joins Ramza's cause. That's really all there is to her as a character. I did think it was cool that Meliadoul was willing to confront her father and fight against him, which took some guts, to be sure.

66. Yunalesca (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "It is better to die in hope than to live in despair. Let me be your liberator."

Yunalesca is a pretty interesting character, I think, and a bit of an enigma. Why does she do what she does? Obviously, she knows the truth about Yu Yevon and Sin, considering she's his daughter. Why does she seemingly cooperate with Bevelle and the Temples of Yevon, even though Bevelle was Zanarkand's enemy and led to her downfall? Why would she defeat Sin in the first place, knowing it was her father? How would she even know how to do it? Did she know Sin would come back even then? What was her motivation for doing so if she did? Perhaps Yunalesca did it all for her father's honor and to restore some of the honor that Zanarkand lost when it lost the war. Maechen speculates something along those lines if you talk to him about it. Maybe it was her idea of revenge, to get Bevelle and Spira trapped in an endless cycle. That doesn't really seem to be her intention when you speak to her though. Her big buzzword, of course, is "hope." Defeating Sin gives the people hope, even if it is a temporary, fleeting, false hope. That kind of hope is better than no hope at all, she says. I think Seymour got a lot of his twisted thinking (The idea that death brings liberation from the world's ills) from meeting Yunalesca in all likelihood, although he obviously takes it to the extreme.

I like Yunalesca a lot because she's the climax of the climax of the game: Zanarkand. Final Fantasy X climaxes with finally arriving in Zanarkand, and the climax of the visit to Zanarkand is meeting and eventually defeating Yunalesca. Meeting Yunalesca seems to bring out the best in all of the characters in the game. You get some great dialogue in this part of the game from nearly every character in the party and from Yunalesca herself. I like how she basically (and casually at that, she's very soft spoken) crushes everyone's hopes with virtually everything she says (almost ironic). She crushes Yuna's hopes of the Final Aeon defeating Sin permanently and basically crushes her dreams of being the summoner who saves Spira once and for all. Wakka asks her if Sin won't disappear if they atone for their sins, and she simply asks: "Will humanity ever attain such purity?" Hopes crushed. Lulu says that the scriptures of Yevon had been their only hope all these years, and she goes on about how hope is comforting and allows people to accept fate, no matter how tragic it may be. Hopes crushed. Of course, we know about Auron's confrontation with Yunalesca after Braska died and how she casually owned him without even lifting a finger.

I do like how Yuna stood up to her and absolutely refused to make anyone her fayth (though I wish the voice acting had driven home how momentous of a decision this was). It took a lot of guts to go all the way to Zanarkand and refuse the Final Aeon. It would've been so easy to take the Final Aeon, defeat Sin, die, and be done with it. She would've been remembered as a hero forever, and no one would've been any the wiser. Yet she refused to die, and--more importantly in her thinking--she refused to let someone she loved die for a meaningless tradition. The buildup to this boss fight is incredible.

And the boss fight itself is pretty incredible, too. It may be the best storyline boss fight in the series. It's top 5, at the very least. I remember just the pure joy and relief after I finally beat Yunalesca. It was awesome. The fight requires a lot of strategy, especially with the anomalies that she throws at you and eventually the threat of Mega Death. Yuna was always my hero in this fight. I always kept her in Zombie status and let her resurrect anyone who got killed by Mega Death. It's a hard fight, but a rewarding one. You feel like you earned it.

67. Headmaster Cid Kramer (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "SeeD is not just a special force for combat. I want you to see the world... To broaden your horizons. I have high expectations for you, Squall."

I was going to put "I do a wonderful Robin Williams impression, don't I?" for Cid's quote, but I figured I'd better not try to imitate Lopen's style now! I thought Headmaster Cid was a pretty interesting character overall. He's difficult to figure out sometimes, really. He rarely gives Squall a straight answer to any of his questions, especially when they involve the overall purpose of SeeD. He won't give you a straight answer as to why he agreed to accept the Timber Owls' request when they would almost never do it for anyone else, which is something I've always wondered about. I wonder if Seifer had anything to do with it...? Headmaster Cid almost seems sympathetic to Seifer at times, for whatever the reason (and Cid has the Seifer Card, not that it means anything. I just thought it was an interesting person to have to get it from. Usually you end up getting character cards from someone who has a relation to that character, but not always). Cid feels like he's awfully indecisive at times. He's all too willing to turn over leadership to Squall, but that may be due to some foreknowledge as to his destiny that Edea probably told him.

Overall though, Cid's a good man at heart. He started the orphanage with Edea, and he provided the White SeeD Ship in order to protect Ellone from Esthar. He really seems to care about the SeeDs, unlike NORG who just wants to use them to make money. While he's physically weak and seems weak willed at times, there are times when he'll take a stand for something he feels strongly about, such as when he does his legendary rant about NORG in the Balamb Garden basement. He also serves as Edea's "Knight," too, somehow, and she feels secure having him as her knight.

I thought Cid's personal dilemma was one of the great things about his character. SeeD was designed by Edea and Cid to raise up warriors to defeat the threat of the sorceress, but when his wife becomes a threat as a sorceress, he has to decide what to do. Does he abandon SeeD's purpose in order to save his wife and basically let her wreak havoc on the world, or does he honor that original purpose and work to take out the sorceress, whoever it may be. It definitely took a lot of guts on his part to order SeeD to fight against his own wife, knowing that someone he loves will probably die. Of course, things worked out well in the end, but he certainly didn't know that at the time. I respect his ability to follow through with it all.

68. O’aka XIII (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "O'aka XIII, merchant extraordinaire at your service!"

Every game needs to have its merchant who follows you around from place to place, supposedly befriending you and suggesting that he's offering you goods at a fair price while he's secretly snickering as he rips you off, and in Final Fantasy X, that merchant is O'aka. First of all, I absolutely love the dude's voice. I can never hear him speak enough. He makes a great first impression, ripping Tidus's outfit. "Filthy, filthy! These won't sell or me name's not O'aka! Don't look like you got much money either..." Aw yeah

O'aka's got some great lines, and I always enjoyed it when he showed up, even if I very rarely bought anything from him. There are only a handful of places where it's okay to actually buy from him without getting overcharged to high heaven. I kinda wish that they hadn't made finding out why he actually helps Yuna and company such an easily missable thing. I don't even remember when I figured it out the first time. Apparently, O'aka and Wantz had a sister who was a summoner, but she died on her pilgrimage, and Yuna supposedly looks very much like her, so he helps her out almost out of respect to his sister.

He was kind of a throwaway in FFX-2, and he had a different voice actor to boot, so I was kinda disappointed with his appearance there though. Oh well.

69. AVALANCHE – Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "WOW! You used to be in SOLDIER all right! ...Not everyday ya find one in a group like AVALANCHE." - Biggs "……Cloud…… You remembered……my name." - Wedge Oh, Cloud!! Your face is pitch-black……" - Jessie

AVALANCHE is my favorite minor group of NPCs in a Final Fantasy game, but that's probably because they were my first. I really liked these guys. To be honest with you, I was very sad when they all died. Up to that point, I wasn't used to playing games where the good guys died and stayed dead (The closest thing I'd seen to this is Zero, but again, he didn't stay dead). I was convinced all throughout disc 1 that somehow they were going to come back despite all logic to the contrary (of course, when Aerith died, that hope died with it!). Plus, the part of the game where you try to protect the Sector 7 pillar from being destroyed is honestly one of my favorite parts of the game, and these guys are probably part of the reason why. I thought it was both an intense and sad part of the game at the same time, and it basically got me thinking, "Dude, this game is AWESOME!" I was hooked on FFVII after that scene.

Let's just hit on these three briefly. Biggs was probably my least favorite of the group. Not that I didn't like him, but he wasn't really anything special. The one thing that stands out to me about him is getting uppercutted to the CEILING by Barret, which was incredibly awesome. Oh, and he smack talks Barret in his sleep, which is also cool. I liked Wedge because he was a pretty self-conscious dude who didn't seem to think a lot of himself and wanted to reach out to Cloud as a friend more than anything else. Jessie is my favorite of the three though (even though for some reason I thought she was a guy for a long time). She's obviously got the hots for Cloud (and who wouldn't? That sword, that hair, those eyes...). Cloud probably interacts with her more than the other two. She's got some great corny parts of the game, such as getting her leg stuck in the first reactor (and I almost ran out of time the first time I played FFVII because I didn't realize you had to talk to her and get her unstuck), and the whole "Oh Cloud your face is pitch black" line (despite the fact that there's nothing on his face). Great stuff.

But yeah, overall, I like these guys more for that one scene and their deaths more than anything else about them. Long live AVALANCHE!

70. Shinra (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "I'm just a kid."

Another NPC alert! Yes, he's just a kid, but I like Shinra. I like how he's constantly crackin' on Brother. He has a lot of nice one-liners, especially in regard to other Gullwings. He's just a smart aleck, and I can respect that because so am I! While he's a genius, he's still a child and sometimes it shows. He likes to sing the Gullwings theme song from time to time if you talk to him. He gets emotional before Yuna goes to the Farplane at the end of the game and gives her a hug like a little kid would. I think he builds gadgets and stuff because he just has fun playing with his "toys" as he calls them at times. I like how he constantly uses the "I'm just a kid" excuse every time he doesn't know the answer, although he constantly proclaims he knows everything. Obviously, he's not a very deep character, but I think he's fun.

Of course, it's not all fun with Shinra. Having to beat Shinra to win the Sphere Break Tournament and get the Lady Luck Dressphere was certainly not fun. He's responsible for Chapter 4 and all that nonsense with the Commspheres. I'm not as hard on that as some people because SOME parts of that are kinda enjoyable, but a chapter basically devoted to voyeurism and a concert with minimal gameplay? That's Final Fantasy X-2 for you.

71. Regent Cid Fabool (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Finally... Ribbit! I'm human again! Gwok! Now I can concentrate on building Hilda Garde 3! ......"

The good thing about Cids in Final Fantasy games is that they're almost always likable characters, and FFIX's version of Cid is no exception. He can be pretty funny at times, especially when he's an oglop or a frog. That huge mustache is ridiculous on those two designs as well, which just adds to the silliness. Despite his brilliance in engineering, he's an absent-minded guy at times, but he's a good man at heart. Cid does whatever he can to help Dagger when she comes to him for help, and he's always willing to help any ally of his who needs it.

I liked Cid's backstory of how he ended up as an oglop, how his wife ran away while he was doing his best Tiger Woods impression and stole his ship, etc. It gives him a flaw, a character fault. I'm kinda surprised that FFIX even has that kind of subplot in it because most games in the series don't delve into sexual matters (FFVII's really the only exception to this rule with Don Corneo stuff. Oh wow, I don't have Don Corneo on this list. How did I forget that guy? Oh well). I also like how Hilda decided to turn Cid into an oglop before running off with the airship he named after her (a nice touch of irony). You don't mess with a woman like that! Plus, I think it was good that they showed Cid suffering for the mistakes he made. It was good that they were eventually able to reconcile (but not before threatening to turn him into a hedgehog pie if he ever cheated on her again). Happy endings for all! I thought it was cool how Cid and Hilda adopted Eiko into their family after the game was over, too.

One thing I didn't like about Cid was when you had to flip the hourglass in the Desert Palace in order to save everyone. There are times when I can do it without a problem, but there are other times when I keep getting caught by that stupid hedgehog pie, although I don't think I've ever run out of time. Either way, it's an annoying mini-game, having to repeatedly press a button to even get him to move a fraction of an inch. Desert Palace in general is the worst area of the game, and it definitely doesn't get off to a good start with that.

72. Reeve Tuesti (Final Fantasy VII)'

Quote: "You're busted, Reeve! Too late tryin' to hide it now..." - Barret Wallace

Okay, so Reeve doesn't really have many quotes to choose from in Final Fantasy VII that aren't him speaking through Cait Sith. I wonder how Barret knew who he was though, considering he was one of the more minor members of Shinra. I guess he was just familiar with them in general and knew what he sounded like from speeches on TV or something. Anyway, I think Reeve's last name is weird, too. I always kinda assumed Reeve was just his last name and not his first name, but whatever. Plus, I dunno why Square completely redesigned the guy after Final Fantasy VII. He just wears a suit and tie in FFVII, but in Dirge of Cerberus, he wears more...oriental wear, I guess you'd say. Just an interesting decision, I thought.

Ramblings aside, Reeve is a cool dude. I thought it was interesting how he was basically the only member of Shinra who really seemed to care about the people of Midgar. He wasn't some power-hungry guy looking to get his way to the top. When Reeve tells Heidegger to call the mainframe and see what's wrong with Sister Ray, Heidegger throws a hissy fit over the fact that Reeve gave him an order. Reeve replies by saying that he doesn't care about the details and just calls it himself. That's a small thing, but I thought it was a cool aspect of his character. He wasn't in it to be rich, famous, or powerful. He just thought he could be a help to the people of Midgar and ultimately to the Planet.

That's not to say that Reeve was totally a good guy. After all, he did kidnap Marlene and Elmyra to ensure Cloud's cooperation. Plus, he knew about President Shinra's plans to destroy Sector 7 to kill AVALANCHE. Although he protested the idea, he quickly gave it up once the president asked him if he wanted out of the company. He knew about a lot of Shinra's wrongdoings, but he just turned a blind eye to them for the most part. I'm not sure why he was willing to do that. Maybe he just didn't want to lose his influence or his ability to help the people of Midgar and thought he could change Shinra from the inside out or something.

I already covered in Cait Sith's writeup how I really liked how Reeve went through a moral and ethical dilemma after seeing Cloud and company's resolve in what they were doing, so I won't repeat all that here. I'll just say that it is a major reason why I like Reeve. Also, the dude's got an awesome voice in Advent Children. It was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. Too bad he didn't have more lines!

Interesting tidbit: Did you know that you can find Reeve's parents at the Honeybee Manor? They're in one of the rooms you can peek into before you choose your room (The other one being something really weird...). They basically talk about how good it was for Reeve to provide for them with the money he made from Shinra and stuff. It's not really that big of a deal. I was just wondering if anyone else had ever discovered this. Plus, you can find a Cait Sith in the room if you look hard enough!

73. Beowulf Kadmus (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Yes, she's more important to me than life itself. I truly thank you."

Behold the man who turns people into chickens! Seriously, the reason Beowulf is this high is that I love Magic Sword. It's so much fun. It's all the Oracle stuff but with a sword and no wait time! Swords make any job class cooler; this is an indisputable fact. Not to mention, the dude helped make the Deep Dungeon bearable for me by having plenty of abilities that incapacitate enemies without killing them so that I could find the exit for that level (Once again, I'm not good at the game, so keep that in mind!). But seriously, turning people into chickens. Just think about that. Shock and Drain are pretty cool, too, but nothing beats the Chicken!

Beowulf's story is pretty simple and not very in-depth considering he's an optional party member you pick up toward the end of the game. I thought it was pretty interesting to see how similar his character and circumstances are to Ramza in a way. They were both declared to be heretics, and the one they cared about most was taken from them. I thought it was pretty cool how he was able to use the Zodiac Stone to transform Reis back into her human form, too. But really, all of that doesn't matter too much. Essentially, Beowulf is one of the only characters on this list that I will rank highly based on gameplay merits alone. Well, his sprite is awesome, too.

But long live the Chicken.

74. Vormav Tingel (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "I won't let you interfere. Bloody Angel!! I own life...for your resurrection...!!

First of all, his name is not FOLMARV. Seriously, who in the world came up with that one? That's worse than ARGATH! Overall though, I thought Vormav was a pretty solid main villain. He's a scoundrel in every sense of the word, and he has no qualms about being one. He drops the bombshell to Ovelia that she's not really the princess. Vormav ends up killing his own son in Riovanes without hesitation. He betrays High Priest Funeral once it becomes obvious that he can't do anything to help them collect Zodiac Stones or get the Germonik Scriptures anymore. Worst of all, he resurrects Zalbag as a zombie and forces him to fight Ramza. That, in particular, was just all kinds of dastardly and brilliant at the same time. You just really end up wanting to take Vormav out by the end of the game, which is basically the main thing that I want from my primary villains in a game (For example, Colonel Volgin in MGS3 is far from a well-developed or deep villain, but the game does such a great job of making me want to take the guy out that I like him quite a bit as a villain, and the same holds true for Vormav). I don't really care all that much if my main villains are super deep or if their motivations extend beyond simple world domination. My main concern is: Is there a sense of urgency in that I absolutely need to take this guy out as soon as possible, and has he stirred up such emotions in me that I want to take him out as soon as possible? I think Vormav succeeds in both regards.

Vormav's boss fights weren't particularly difficult, but by the time I fought him, I've already got Orlandu, so that basically nullifies any sense of challenge. I did like how, when you beat him as Hashmallum, he killed himself to provide the last blood needed to resurrect Ajora. I thought that was hardcore awesome. Another thing about Vormav is that he essentially succeeds at his goal, for the most part. He throws Ivalice into chaos and essentially gets the Temple Knights into positions of power, and he does end up resurrecting Ajora, although the latter was very short-lived. He was definitely a competent villain who knew what he was doing, manipulating people as he deemed necessary and then throwing them away when they outlived their usefulness.

Now that I think about it, Vormav is another one of those guys I should probably have higher on this list than I do. I think the one thing I hold against him is that all of this wasn't entirely Vormav's doing. He was basically just being used and manipulated by Lucavi and Hashmallum. You never really get that sense from him in the game though. You never really think that about him when you're playing. I guess because you never saw a change in his personality like you did with Wiegraf or Elmdor. He was already under Lucavi's control by the time you're introduced to him. Anyway, that's just a minor gripe. No big deal. Vormav's cool.

75. Kiros Seagill (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "Yeah, but you cut a pretty pitiful figure up there. I'd say you're about a -3 on the manliness scale."

In retrospect, I probably should have ranked Kiros higher, but for some reason, I felt compelled to group him together with Ward. I do like Kiros quite a bit. He's very witty and clever. He basically serves as the voice of reason for the party (especially once Ward loses his voice, though he never really dispensed advice, mostly just insults!). He's got a great character design, I think, and Blood Pain is another great Limit Break. Seriously, Laguna and company have good character designs and awesome Limit Breaks without exception.

Like Ward, Kiros basically suffers from lack of screen time. Laguna manages to get a decent bit of character development in spite of this, but Kiros and Ward get kind of left behind. It's not really that big of a deal though because he's still a really likable guy, I think. I just wish I got to learn more about who he is, his background, etc. He does help fill in some blanks in the storyline in Winhill when he meets up with Laguna again after a year. Like Ward, you get the idea that, although he gives Laguna a hard time for his silliness, Kiros greatly respects him and enjoys traveling with him. After all, once he recovered from his injuries in Centra, he spent several months trying to find where he was. In fact, he even tells him that life's pretty boring without Laguna around for entertainment.

Getting to meet these guys at Esthar was pretty awesome, too. I kept hoping you would eventually get to meet them after all those times you get to play as them, so I was pretty excited when they finally met. I wish they would have done more than just talk about the plan to defeat Ultimecia though, but I guess it couldn't be helped. It's not like you have time to go on a vacation with them and get to know them or anything!

Oh, and I suppose Kiros gets bonus points for being the guy who essentially drops the bombshell that Laguna is Squall's father (He never outright states it, but it's heavily implied to the point that it'd be silly to deny it. After all, he says "You look very much like your mother," and he says that Ward says "Good thing you don't look like your father." How would Kiros know who Squall's parents were unless they were Laguna and Raine?). I remember telling KP to go back and talk to Laguna and company on the Ragnarok when he played through FFVIII, and his reaction to that revelation was pretty awesome.

P.S. I know we talk about Square needing to make an FFX-0 with Braska, Auron, and Jecht, but we could really use an FFVIII-0 starring Laguna, Kiros, and Ward!

76. Ward Zabac (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "Yeah, just drink some juice like a weenie. And then gawk at the piano lady."

Ward is awesome. He's like the biggest human main party member in a Final Fantasy game, he throws around a huge harpoon for a weapon, and Massive Anchor is an awesome Limit Break. Dude's got a great running animation, too (second only to Cid Highwind). I do like his character design, really. It's simple, but it works. He also constantly busts Laguna's chops and makes fun of him for being a wimp. That was one of the things that I enjoyed about playing as Laguna, Kiros, and Ward. You just had the feeling that these guys were good friends who always enjoyed some good-natured ribbing. They just casually goof around with each other. Deep down, Ward is intensely loyal to Laguna and essentially follows him to the ends of the earth. You have to be good friends to stick with Laguna after some of the stuff they go through and some of the misadventures they have!

I liked the scene when Ward lost his voice. That really showed that he does care about Laguna and Kiros, and that he really did like traveling with them. I thought it was an interesting decision by Square to essentially turn Ward into a silent protagonist for the remainder of the game. I'm not sure why they did that. I thought it was cool how Kiros and Ward were so close that Kiros could basically tell what Ward wanted to say just by his expressions and gestures. While Laguna was the leader, they both seemed closer to each other than they did Laguna. While they did regard Laguna as a friend, no doubt, they respected his leadership (misguided though it may be at times!) and they were swayed by his passion, I think.

By the way, there's one scene where it's possible not to have Ward show up (The scene where Laguna's filming that movie and you end up fighting a Ruby Dragon). It happened to me one time, and I flipped out. "Where in the world is Ward?!" I wondered angrily aloud! One of the things I discovered is that finding Timber Maniacs magazines can actually alter the Laguna dreams somewhat, depending on when you find them. There's a certain Timber Maniacs that causes Ward not to show up in that scene if you find it before you hit that dream sequence. There are also alterations to the script, too, which I have discovered over the course of FFVIII replays (such as when Laguna's in the room with Julia. If you haven't found the Timber Maniacs that has his first article in it, he'll pass out on the bed, but if you have, he'll talk about his desire to be a journalist. Neat touch, I thought. But anyway, that's a rabbit trail for another time!).

I wish Square would have explored more backstory with Laguna, Kiros, and Ward. In some ways, their adventures could be more compelling than the main story's at times. I wish we could have figured out what brought these guys together in the first place and why they travel together. Their adventures were basically like a throwback to old school RPGs, it felt like, just lots of exploring of some weird places, pretty straightforward story. I wish you had gotten to fight a boss as these guys, too (Well, you can technically use the Magic Lamp and fight Diablos as them if you want, but still). They just needed more screen time in general.

77. Luzzu and Gatta (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "See? Keep your head down, say "sir" a lot, and you'll do fine." - Luzzu

"Young Crusaders, gather round! We'll beat Sin into the ground!" – Gatta

I think Luzzu and Gatta are some pretty solid minor NPCs. They're mostly this high on this list for one particular scene (I think we all know which one I'm talking about, but we'll get to that shortly), but they're pretty neat characters. I like Luzzu a lot more than Gatta, honestly, but for the sake of this list, I'm grouping them together. Gatta was okay. He has some funny moments (like his "Young Crusaders!" song I posted for his quote, aw yeah cheesiness), and his "Whooaaaaaa" reaction to you beating THE MIGHTY OCHU OF THE WOOD! Overall, Gatta is basically the inexperienced rookie who just wants a chance to prove himself, even if he has to get out of line to do it (though you get to determine if he gets the chance or not, which I thought was kinda neat). He's kinda disconnected to every character who isn't Luzzu though, and he's tied at the hip to him. He can't really stand well on his own as a character.

Luzzu is actually a pretty solid character that they give some decent development to and establish some good relationships with Wakka and Lulu. By the way, I like Luzzu's voice. He kinda sounds like Jeff Goldblum would if he ever took a serious role and spoke in a normal voice, I think. He provides a good contrast to Gatta. Luzzu is the experienced veteran who keeps his cool and obeys his orders. He always has a keen sense of perspective due to his experience (as seen by his arguing with Gatta about the importance of guarding the command center instead of being on the front lines). He's not in it for the glory of being a Crusader, which I respect about him. He joins the Crusaders because he believes in the cause, and he wants Sin gone.

I love the scene before Operation Mi'ihen when Luzzu reveals that he was the one who persuaded Wakka's brother Chappu to enlist with the Crusaders. Then Wakka punches him right in the face and tells him how Chappu used to say he'd propose to Lulu once the Aurochs won the Crystal Cup. Luzzu coolly replies that Chappu said that "Being with your girl is good, but keeping Sin far from her is better." I also liked it when Wakka asked Lulu if she knew, and she mentioned that he told her before they left Besaid. Then he adds, "She hit me, too," with a chuckle. He doesn't hold any hard feelings against Wakka and Lulu for their reactions. He's an understanding guy.

Now for Operation Mi'ihen itself, I prefer to tell Gatta to go to the front line and fight because I think it ends up being a better story. If Luzzu dies, Gatta's reaction is pretty good. He becomes the guy who didn't realize how awful war is but had to learn the hard way when his best friend was killed. Gatta's death scene and Luzzu's reaction is better. I wish they had played a sort of "Guilt" angle with Tidus for persuading him to sneak into battle, where he ended up getting killed. Luzzu's reaction to Gatta's death at Djose Temple is great though. There's some great emotion and some good voice acting. I really liked it a lot.

78. Bugenhagen (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "Ho ho hooo!"

As I was looking up stuff on Bugenhagen on the Final Fantasy Wiki (because I usually read them for kicks before I do a write-up to see if there's anything I forgot about them that I think is worth mentioning), I learned something devastating: I was always under the impression that Bugenhagen had no legs and that someone designed him some special legless (Huh? This is a word?) green pants, and he also had the mysteriously unexplained ability to float. Well, apparently in Before Crisis, it's revealed that the green is actually a ball that Bugenhagen sits on, and that's what causes him to float. Final Fantasy VII side projects: Ruining my childhood one step at a time.

Seriously, look at this: BugenhagenAndFuhitoBC.jpg

Now, unless Bugenhagen was experiencing some inexplicable swelling in his butt or he was just fat and started working out after this, this is just lame. I am literally seething with rage as I type this. Okay, not really, but I hate it when things I imagined in childhood turned out to be false. Speaking of childhood notions turning out to be false relating to Bugenhagen, when I first played FFVII, I didn't think he actually died after he gave Red XIII Limited Moon at the beginning of disc 3. Red XIII told Cloud that Bugenhagen just decided to start traveling the world again...and I believed him! I didn't think Nanaki would lie to me! Well, that, and I tend to take things too literally, which has also resulted in other plot confusions for me when playing games (which I won't elaborate on further).

Anyway...What was I saying? Oh right, Bugenhagen, the mysterious legless old dude who mysteriously and inexplicably floats. I liked him. He was kooky and quirky, which is what I want from my old men in video games. The cutscene in the observatory where he explains the Lifestream was pretty neat. He always has some interesting things to say whenever you talk to him. I liked it when he came with you to the Forgotten City to help figure out the truth about Aerith and Holy. And while the Cave of the Gi itself can rot in its own level of death along with materia stealing segments, the plot revelations about Red's father Seto were awesome.

Something pretty interesting about this guy is that Cait Sith tells you that Bugenhagen used to be a Shinra employee (though he never bought weapons or Mako). He's not just some beatnik hippie who's all about nature and technology must be destroyed (and really, no one in Cosmo Canyon is. I thought it was neat how they managed to find a nice blend of nature and technology in one place). Also, he sports some cool shades.

...what in the world did I just write?

79. Agrias Oaks (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "I'm protecting Agrias! Geronimo!" - Ramza Beoulve

Can't beat vintage FFT quotes like that one! Anyway, Agrias was Beatrix before there was Beatrix (except with less cleavage and she doesn't start the game as your enemy, I guess): Ultra loyal knight to the princess, strong-willed and willing to do whatever it takes to protect her, and chock full of fun techniques to use. She's also the kind of lady that's super sweet if she's your friend, but you better not get on her bad side or it could be very painful for you. For that reason, I like her. There isn't much to her other than that, although she does have some great dialogues with Gafgarion. He's definitely a character foil for Agrias, and so their character traits are really emphasized whenever they talk to each other, especially after he reveals his true intentions.

I liked using Agrias in battle, too (although Orlandu makes her completely obsolete, but then again, he does that to everyone). Lightning Stab and Holy Explosion are awesome awesome awesome. Those moves basically saved my skin at the Golgorand Execution Site. Now before you FFT buffs come in here and tell me the right way to do this fight, keep in mind that I suck at this game. I'm usually underleveled and underdeveloped with my job classes. As a result, a fight like Golgorand results in lots of game overs for me. Agrias and Mustadio basically saved the day for me there. Also, yes, I am one of those people who uses the special NPCs who join your party for the whole game even though I'm sure that's probably not the best way to go about it (So I end up with like Ramza, Mustadio, Agrias, Orlandu, and Meliadoul in my final party against Altima, but I don't care!).

However, one of the things I don't like about Agrias (and FFT NPCs in particular) is the fact that they almost entirely disappear from the storyline once they permanently join your party and become playable. This obviously isn't a fault with Agrias as a character, but it's just a pet peeve of mine. After Golgorand, you'll basically never see or hear from Agrias in a plot-related scene ever again. That kinda disappoints me. I wish that there could have been more interaction between the party members throughout the game, but I guess the fact that you can release Agrias and others from your party once they become permanent members prevents that. Oh well. Agrias is still awesome.

80. Garland (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: ""Even if I were created to serve one purpose alone, I do not regret being born to this world."

Garland's just cool. He may not be a very deep character; he mostly speaks obscure statements that aren't entirely clear what he means, but he's For a villain, I thought he did a pretty good job. He uses Kuja's own ambition and self-will to his own advantage as much as possible and for as long as he could to help with the process of assimilation. That was pretty smart of him. He could have just thrown Kuja away, but he decided he could be useful somehow. He was also smart enough to put a limit on Kuja's life because of how powerful that self-will was (By the way, has there been a more epic retaliatory ownage in Final Fantasy history than Garland revealing that Kuja isn't immortal and that he was only meant to live until Zidane grew strong enough? The fact that Garland did it right after Kuja killed him made it all the more epic!).

I wish that Final Fantasy IX had done a better job at developing Terra's backstory and Garland's character. From what I learned, it seemed really interesting, but the game didn't go far enough with it. The game mentions that Garland tried a more forceful method thousands of years before and failed, and he had to wait until Gaia could use Eidolons. The game never expounds on what happened. Garland basically exists to deliver some blockbuster plot revelations (Zidane and Kuja's true natures, especially), which is fine overall, I suppose, but he could have done more.

I did like how Garland served as Zidane's guide through Memoria at the end. It almost created a sense of sympathy for the guy because he opens up to you honestly and tells the truth, almost like a heart-to-heart talk. When he spoke at Pandemonium, it was basically like a big, fancy monologue, but at Memoria, it's more personal, so I think it makes Garland more likable. It almost makes him feel like he wasn't really a bad guy at all (though he was, going through extreme methods such as destroying villages to prevent the use of Eidolons and using Kuja to incite war to speed up the assimilation). He does help to explain a little bit more of the history between Gaia and Terra, which is nice.

Oh, and the boss fight against Garland was pretty lame. He's basically just a magic user who doesn't have anything special or particularly devastating other than Flare, I guess. That was kind of a letdown. He wasn't very hard. Oh well, he made up for it later by his posthumous ownage of Kuja. Well done, Garland. Well done.

81. Cid (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: ""Boy, don't forget those words, 'cause if you do...I'm gonna make you regret it."

Yeehaw, Final Fantasy sure likes to make Cid into a hick! I don't understand why this guy has such a hick accent while Rin has sort of a Middle Eastern accent. They're both Al Bhed. It doesn't make sense! Well, I guess they were probably from different parts of the world because Cid was the one who finally rebuilt home and brought the Al Bhed back together (which was cool). Still, I don't recall anyone else in the game having an accent like that, his kids don't have accents like that, so where is he from exactly? Eh, who cares? Michael McShane is awesome. He can do whatever he wants!

Anyway, with that needless rant out of the way, I'll say that I like Cid in Final Fantasy X a lot. They turned him into a mopey loser who doesn't get along with his children anymore for some reason and who tried to turn Zanarkand into a tourist trap in Final Fantasy X-2, so he loses some points for that. That's really all there is to him in FFX-2, so the rest of this game will focus on his role in FFX.

We first meet Cid in one of the best parts of the game: The Al Bhed Home. I think it's pretty funny how he continually freaks Wakka out at first by bringing them onto a forbidden machina (and dismissing it so nonchalantly) and then laughing off how he doesn't know a darn thing about how it works. I get the idea that Cid is a pretty hardcore dude because he makes Brother blow up Home (and then laughs it off as his son cries about it, saying that the good thing about it is that it can be rebuilt, so I like his optimistic stance on it), and Rikku anticipates him saying that they should sink the airship to destroy the Guado when you find out they snuck on board.

There are two scenes with Cid I really like. The first is when he confronts Tidus about Yuna's destiny as a summoner. That was just an awesome scene overall, because of both Tidus and Cid. I love how he flips Tidus over his shoulder and slams him on the ground, too. Of course, I don't necessarily agree on his close-minded stance toward Yuna's pilgrimage, thinking it's better to force her to quit than to let her choose to go on. I think he changed his mind as he saw her resolve to follow through with it though.

The other scene with Cid I really like is when he comes to Zanarkand in the airship to pick the party up. Yuna walks up to him (Probably the first time they'd ever seen each other in their lives) and simply bows to him without saying a word, as if expressing her thanks. Then when she raises up, she sees Cid with his back to her. I'm guessing she assumes he's upset with her, so she just walks away. Then the camera slowly pans up and you see Cid's face wracked with pain fighting to hold back tears, obviously too prideful to let his niece see him crying. I thought that was one of the times in the game where having visible facial expressions really helped make a scene a lot better.

82. Princess Ovelia Atkascha (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "A Princess must live her life quietly in a monastery away from the capital. I'd often wondered why only I had to live like that. But if my suffering would to keep Ivalice in peace, then I thought I could endure it. What was all the grief and isolation I suffered for?"

I really like Ovelia, mostly because I feel bad for her for all she went through. She's a tragic figure in a way. The only reason she exists is to be a tool for someone to gain power. Both Goltana and Delita use her for that purpose. Then there are others who want to kill her because the fact that she simply exists blocks their way to power. Both Larg and Dycedarg seek to kill her for that reason. It's got nothing to do with who she is, but what she is, and that's the saddest part of all. Actually, the saddest part of all may be that Ovelia's not even a real princess. She was just used as a fake princess for the purposes of power-hungry men. Ovelia has no control over any part of her life. She's basically a slave who was locked away in the Orbonne Monastery until they needed her.

The battle at Zirekile Falls when you have to protect Ovelia from Gafgarion is one of my favorite battles in the game for atmosphere and plot reasons. I thought it was pretty awesome. Ovelia's dialogues with Delita are usually pretty good parts of the game, too. I enjoy them.

I thought the ending with Ovelia was really sad, too. She finally got fed up with being used by Delita, and she pulls out a dagger and stabs him. Then he pulls the dagger out and stabs her with it, killing her. It was just a horrible way for all that to end for her, I think (although I didn't even realize that she had stabbed him for a long time. I thought for a long time she had just punched him in the stomach and then he stabbed her. Not sure why I thought that, probably because I never saw the dagger in her hand).

83t. Al-Cid Margrace (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "I would lay down my life at a single word to be sure…but I harbor no maundering delusions of valiant grandeur."

Oh look, it's another random minor NPC! Why do I even like Al-Cid in the first place? To be honest, I'm not even really sure. The dude's just so...suave. I dig the Spanish accent and the totally anachronistic sunglasses. He's involved in some pretty cool moments in the game, such as Mt. Bur-Omisace and right before the final fight begins. He's got some cool lines, too. I usually liked it when this guy was on-screen.

Plus, I liked the fact that Al-Cid actually gave us some perspective from Rozarria. He's literally the only thing you ever see or hear from about those guys. It was good to know that there was someone up near the top on their side who wanted peace and didn't want to get involved in any meaningless wars, even if he was unsuccessful in his attempts to dissuade Rozarria from going. We needed a trip to Rozarria in Final Fantasy XII somewhere. If Al-Cid's family is all like him, just imagine what their family reunions are like.

83t. Vossler Azelas (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "Sky Pirates! The future of Dalmasca will not be stolen!"

It's funny. I remember liking Vossler pretty well when I played Final Fantasy XII, but I don't remember much about him. I had to read his segments in the game script to get a good idea of the guy again. Anyway, Vossler served Dalmasca alongside Basch, and he was fooled into believing he was a traitor as well. He's the guy who took care of Ashe in the aftermath and helped cover up her fake suicide. Vossler and Ashe joined the resistance against the empire, and he's protected her ever since.

One of the things I like is the banter between Basch and Vossler. They're coming from two different perspectives, though they want the same thing (The restoration of Dalmasca and to protect Ashe). For that reason, they're still able to respect one another as men in spite of their differences. Even after you beat Vossler, Basch says that he would never think twice of questioning his loyalty to Dalmasca. They have a great respect for one another and they each have a high sense of honor.

It was definitely nice to have Vossler join the party during the trip through the Sandsea. Useful guests score high points with me in Final Fantasy XII, and while Vossler's nowhere near the best guest in the game, he still carries his weight and helps. Speaking of the Sandsea, that area kinda defines for me part of the reason I don't like Final Fantasy XII as much as other installments. That place is too big for its own good (and my own good, for that matter). Over an hour where nothing but random encounters happen? No thanks.

The thing that confused me most about Vossler is I never figured out why I had to fight him in the first place. He spent those two years protecting Ashe and helping the Resistance, and now he decides it's in Dalmasca's best interest to cooperate with the Empire? Not to mention handing over the Dawn Shard to Vayne and Cid doesn't seem like the best course of action in the first place. It just felt like he gave up on everything and decided that compromise was the only way to survive, but it feels...inconsistent with who Vossler seemed to be to me. Even when I played this game the first time, I was still confused about why I had even fought him. He wasn't even a bad guy (although admittedly I kinda like boss fights where there's no hatred between you and the boss, those are kinda cool sometimes). I just don't understand his thinking, I guess. Two years of being a hardcore Resistance member, and seemingly out of nowhere he changes his mind? Maybe he'd been in that camp all along, but the game doesn't make it clear to me.

84. Kimahri Ronso (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Pick spot. Shut up. Wait."

That's right! Kimahri over Yuffie! Take that, you silly Yuffie fanboys! Seriously though, I do like Kimahri a lot. Sure, he's not a deep of a character by any means, but I think he gets an unnecessarily bad rap because of it. He's basically got one character trait: Extreme devotion to Yuna, and I think this one trait is executed very well in Kimahri. Yes, he's one-dimensional, but his one dimension is enjoyable to me.

I really do admire Kimahri's dedication to Yuna. He planned to leave Mount Gagazet because of the shame of his broken horn, and somehow before he left, he found Auron near death asking him to protect Braska's daughter and take her to Bevelle. I don't know what made him decide to honor that request, other than perhaps the fact that it was a dying man's wish. Maybe it was the fact that he had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. Maybe he just needed something or someone to protect to give his life a sense of value because that's what the Ronso are all about. Their lives are devoted to protecting Gagazet, and now that he isn't worthy to protect that anymore, he needs to find something else to protect. I do think it's awesome how Kimahri tells Yuna that taking her to Besaid was a dying man's wish, and she assumes it was Braska rather than Auron.

Ultimately, Yuna becomes Kimahri's mountain (Yes, this sounds cheesy, but this is straight from the FFX Ultimania here, so blame them!). He dedicates his entire life to protecting her, no matter what, even before she decides to become a summoner. I just think his sense of honor and devotion is something that's very admirable. He's willing to go wherever she goes and do whatever he must in order to protect her. Kimahri is even willing to return to Mount Gagazet for her sake, even though he swore he'd never go back. No price is too high for Kimahri to pay to protect Yuna.

My two favorite Kimahri moments in Final Fantasy X: First, at Bevelle, when Seymour is going on a long rant on how he planned to save Spira by destroying it, becoming Sin, blah blah blah, Kimahri interrupts his speech by stabbing him in the chest with his spear! That is ridiculously awesome, and more RPGs should implement things like this. Another subtle awesome Kimahri moment is, during the ending, when Auron is starting to fade away. As he starts to be sent and he walks forward, he stops at Kimahri and taps him on the chest with his fist, almost as if to say, "Thank you" for honoring that request so many years ago. I really liked that. Kimahri is the only person Auron seems to acknowledge in that entire sequence other than Yuna. He doesn't even say anything to Tidus.

However, on the downside, Kimahri almost feels like he has no reason to exist in Final Fantasy X-2 because he's not with Yuna anymore. His character was inseparably linked with Yuna in FFX, and when they decided to have him go on his own in FFX-2, it just...didn't work. Just felt like something was missing with him. He's kinda boring in that game.

In battle, Kimahri's probably the worst member of the party. Ronso Rages are pretty lame and not very effective for the most part, particularly against bosses, which is when you want Overdrives to be effective. He also has a hard time developing into anything great because he's stuck in the middle of the Sphere Grid and you have to choose where to send him. He basically becomes a jack of all trades, but master of none sort of character. He doesn't do anything the best because he's basically following in another character's path who does it better than he does. I still use him every battle though because I like to level up all my characters evenly in FFX.

Oh, and Kimahri should never smile again.

85. Yuffie Kisaragi (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "Listen, Yuffie. I don't care about the history of Wutai or your feelings. You've got our materia and I want it back... now. If you give it back now, we'll drop the whole thing." - Cloud Strife (Truer words have never been spoken)

Controversial pick alert? First of all, let's get one thing straight: Yuffie's lucky to be THIS high. I used to hate her guts. I've changed my mind over the years a little as I've replayed FFVII more, and I liked her in Kingdom Hearts pretty well, too. I guess we should get the good stuff out of the way first so I can rant at the end. Yuffie's not too bad, really. She has some pretty funny lines, particularly when she's motion sick on the airship. I liked it when she tried to get Cloud to sign that contract to hand over all their materia after the battle with Sephiroth (especially how she suggested that they pick on Red XIII afterward to blow off some steam after he refused to sign). Probably the best Yuffie moment in the game right there. Yuffie is involved in one of my favorite parts of Final Fantasy VII (When Sapphire Weapon attacks Junon early in disc 2), even if it's just in a small way, so I'll give her some credit for that.

I'm not a big fan of Yuffie in battle though. I don't use her much. I like her shurikens and the fact that they're always long-range weapons. She also has the lamest Level 4 Limit Break of the bunch. There's no reason to use it over Doom of the Living because you can't break the damage limit, and I'm not sure it'd matter if you could. Doom of the Living can be a good Limit Break if you actually level her up, which I usually don't.

Yuffie's character designs in general are kinda...yucky. I do like her Advent Children redesign though. I think that one looks pretty nifty. Her FFVII design feels like they just closed their eyes and randomly picked things for her to wear. Her Kingdom Hearts I design was a little better, but not much. I just don't like the color schemes for most of her stuff. Her Dirge of Cerberus outfit is an abomination, too. What the heck is that thing?

Okay, now it's rant time. You probably know where I'm about to go with this, but I absolutely hated Yuffie the first time I played Final Fantasy VII because of Wutai. I remember her suggesting that we head west to Wutai when the Tiny Bronco got shot down, so I figured that was what I was supposed to do, and off I went. Of course, I get off on the land there, and about ten steps later, I get into a random battle, and ALL MY MATERIA IS GONE! What in the world is this?! That stupid girl stole it! Keep in mind that FFVII was only the second RPG I'd ever played (the first was Mario RPG), so I wasn't very good at it. My party was at a low level because I ran from almost every random battle (Seriously, didn't realize the need to level up with random battles for most of the game!), so trying to get to Wutai without materia was tough. Not to mention, I got confused even trying to get to Wutai in the first place because there are several branch paths on the way there that lead to dead ends.

Finally, I get to Wutai, and now I'm trying to find Yuffie. One of the things I realize right away is...I CAN'T SHOP! What is this?! I also find a treasure chest with a materia in it, and then she drops in out of nowhere and steals it! Arghhhhhh! This is so horribly frustrating! After a tedious sequence of events trying to hunt her down, it seems like I've finally got her, and then she traps my party with that stupid steel cage (and then proceeds to make a horrible pun about it to make things even worse!). Then she has to go and get kidnapped by Don Corneo, and so I actually have to take the time to rescue her! If she didn't have my materia, I'd have just left her there!

Not to mention, I hated that fight with Rapps at the top of the Dachao Statue. Somehow, I finally beat him by using Barret's Mindblow to keep him from destroying me with Aero3. What a relief. Then I finally get my materia back, but Yuffie puts it all in the wrong place! What the heck? Even when she's giving me back my stuff, she finds a way to frustrate me! So now I've got to spend several minutes rearranging my materia so it's in the right place! What in the world is wrong with this girl? I will say that I like two things about Yuffie in Wutai though. I enjoyed it when she ripped into her father for being a pansy and letting Shinra walk all over Wutai, and I enjoyed going through the Pagoda. Both of those were pretty awesome.

And here's another thing that I dislike about Yuffie that I don't see anyone else mention: I hate recruiting Yuffie into my party. Who in the world thought that recruiting a party member by trying to find her in a random battle was a good idea? I remember one time I was playing, I actually managed to find her within like the first five battles, but then I picked one of the wrong choices in the scene afterwards, so I had to do it again! And I literally spent an hour or more trying to find her again! I was about ready to give up before I finally found her. I think Cloud had Meteorain by the time I was finished (I recruit her in the forests on the way to Junon, as soon as I can). Good grief, that was terrible.

And yes, Yuffie was totally worthy of a two-post rant on how much she frustrates me. I don't understand how you Yuffie fanboys like her so much. Like I said, I like her more than I used to, but I couldn't conceive of considering her one of my favorite characters from the game!

86. High Summoner Braska (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Auron, I am honored that you care for me so. But I have come to kill grief itself. I will defeat Sin, and lift the veil of sorrow covering Spira."

Well, let's go ahead and get another summoner out of the way! I think Braska's a pretty neat character, though we obviously don't see much of him. His backstory is pretty neat. He married Cid's sister, and he was basically banished from Yevon for marrying an Al Bhed and having a half-breed daughter. His wife was killed by Sin, and as a result, he decided to become a summoner. Then he took on Auron and Jecht as his guardians, two other people who were Yevon rejects, Auron for refusing the daughter of the priest and Jecht for being some wacko who claimed to be from Zanarkand. It's a nice irony that Yuna herself repeated ten years later, and I thought it was interesting how Yevon basically went revisionist history on Braska after he defeated Sin. Basically, I think he did get a good bit of characterization from his backstory.

I like Braska's calm demeanor. The guy never loses his cool, even right down to the very end when it's time to make Jecht his Final Aeon and fight Sin. He never regrets what he does, and he firmly believes that he could finally be the one to break the cycle for good. He's got that same unwavering resolve that Yuna does. While he was an adherent of Yevon, he wasn't a completely blind follower, as evidenced by the fact that he married an Al Bhed and even paid visits to their Home. Plus, he went on the pilgrimage even though he had been rejected by them. He wanted a world where everyone could live together in peace and nothing would divide them more than anything else. That was his main reason for going.

And Square needs to get on making FFX-0 right away!

87. Isaaru, Maroda, and Pacce (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Since I was a child, I've always looked up to Lord Braska. I wished I would someday become a high summoner like he was." - Isaaru

"Hey, I'm not looking forward to my brother dying when this is all over. If only there was some way of doing it without anyone dying." - Maroda

"Hey, uhm... what's "sacrificed"? The Al Bhed said summoners were being "sacrificed"... that summoners shouldn't have to do a pilgrimage..." - Pacce

I like these guys. They were pretty cool in Final Fantasy X. I thought it was interesting to see a different group of summoners and how they reacted to the pilgrimage (other than Dona and Barthello, who were awful and boring, respectively). They seemed like a nice, tight-knit group of brothers. Quinton Flynn did a good job with Isaaru's voice. I enjoyed the Aeon showdown with him in Via Purifico. He wasn't a bad guy at all, just deceived by Yevon more or less. They completely butchered the guy in FFX-2 with the whole "Hey look, I'm a cheesy tour guide of Zanarkand!" thing. They completely butchered Zanarkand in general in that game. They just turned it into a joke, which was a shame because of how great that area was in FFX, but that's a story for another time.

Maroda was probably the most boring guy out of the group, but I liked this guy's voice, too. Probably because he reminds me of Darien's voice from Sailor Moon (Not that I watched that or anything...Uhhh...). Anyway, moving on, there wasn't much to this guy in either game. I mostly like the guy because, once again, Maroda offers a different perspective on the pilgrimage, this time from a guardian. I like talking to the guy on the airship after finding out the truth about the summoner's pilgrimage.

Heh, and what can I say? I like Pacce, even in Final Fantasy X-2. I think the Kinderguardians are great. They just come out of nowhere and do something crazy, and then they run off. Yeah, it's just outright ridiculous for the most part, but hey, that's FFX-2 for ya! You just have to take it for what it is. He also gives you the Cat's Bell, which is ridiculously awesome and got me through Via Infinito.

On their own, these guys aren't much, but I like them as a group of brothers. I thought it was interesting how they kind of drifted apart in Final Fantasy X-2 after being so close during Final Fantasy X. It just goes along with one of FFX-2's themes about how things like politics and war end up dividing even the closest of relationships at times. I thought it was pretty sad in a way. I do like how they end up coming back together to protect Bevelle after YUNA SAVES THE WORLD WITH A CHARITY CONCERT (The second greatest "How I saved the world" tale next to Rocky IV: How Rocky Won the Cold War).

Anyway, to make a lame write-up short: KINDERGUARDIANS, MOVE OUT!

88. Rin (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Thank you. Your patronage is very much appreciated."

First of all, Rin has a great voice. I like listening to this guy talk. Hard to believe it's the same guy who does the voice of Spongebob Squarepants! Anyway, I like Rin because he's not your typical Al Bhed. He's not all anti-Yevon like most of them are, though he does love Home and the Al Bhed culture. He has the goggles like most of them do, but he doesn't wear them over his eyes. He's not ashamed to be an Al Bhed, but he's not a Yevon hater either. He seems to want a world where Yevon and the Al Bhed can coexist, and he does a good job of that in his own right with his successful shops along the Pilgrimage paths.

Rin is usually very calm and collected. Even when the airship is being attacked by monsters and Guado, he remains so calm that even Wakka makes a comment about it. "I am calm about most things." I also love it when you're about to fight Evrae and Rin comes to offer you some last minute supplies. Afterward, Wakka's like, "We gotta pay?!" And Rin says, "I have faith in your victory." That was awesome. He's always a businessman at heart, this guy. He also helped care for Auron after he was attacked by Yunalesca and had climbed all the way down Gagazet. I'm guessing that Auron actually died under Rin's care. It wasn't much, but I thought it was a pretty neat backstory and it gave some foreshadowing as to Auron's true nature.

I thought it was interesting how they kind of gave Rin a darker side in Final Fantasy X-2. If you take the time to solve the mystery of the machina going haywire on the Mi'ihen Highroad, you can actually pinpoint Rin as the culprit of the whole thing. He basically says that he doesn't care about the consequences, but he plans to cover up what happened so that machina can continue to gain acceptance in Spira. I think he recruited Shinra at the end to help him with harnessing Farplane energy and stuff, too. The whole thing seems out of character for Rin based on FFX, but at the same time, it seemed kinda neat to put that sort of twist on his character.

89. NORG (Final Fantasy VIII)


NORG-WILL-NOT-GO-DOWN-SO-EASILY! Seriously, could you imagine what NORG would sound like if they remade Final Fantasy VIII with voice acting? How could that dude be anything other than a deep voice like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, only about ten times louder? I imagine you need earplugs if you ever have a meeting with him. Overall, I do think that NORG is kinda interesting, even if it does seem like they just threw him in there for about 15 minutes, you beat him, and he disappears, despite the fact that he's supposed to be pretty important overall. He could have used some backstory, like what made him turn out so differently from all the other Shumi. Could've been interesting.

I do like the scene where you confront NORG in the basement though. Headmaster Cid starts going crazy with his old man tantrum, and then NORG unloads a whole bunch of plot revelations on you. He explains that the party got tricked by Martine into carrying out his orders to assassinate the sorceress, and so now NORG plans to offer your heads on a silver platter to Edea so that she won't destroy Balamb Garden and cause him to lose all his money. Then they argue over who the Garden really belongs to. The background music ("Heresy") is pretty fitting for this part of the game, too. It helps build the intensity of the scene.

But in the midst of all of this, NORG throws a complete curveball plot twist that came entirely out of nowhere. When Squall says that the Garden doesn't just belong to NORG, he asks if it belongs to Cid and Edea, that pathetic married couple. No buildup, no foreshadowing, no hinting, no nothing. He just throws it out there as if it's no big deal! Lamest introduction of a plot twist ever, especially one as important as that one was. NORG apparently likes blurting important things as if they're no big deal, such as revealing how his pod works before the boss fight against him begins. A non-tutorial boss telling you exactly how to defeat him? What's up with that, NORG!

Overall, I do like NORG for what he is, but he could've been a lot more if they'd taken the time to do some more with him. Instead, he shows up for about 15 minutes, and then he's gone. Well, you can draw Bio from his cocoon after he dies, but that's about it.

90. Marquis Mesdoram Elmdor (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Are you abandoning her? I thought you came here to save her, knowing there'd be danger."

This guy is, I guess. He's a pretty minor character overall, but I like him. He's got one of the best sprites in the game, and he's got an awesome nickname: Silver Ogre. How cool is that? Plus, he's a Samurai (Ark Knight technically, but it's essentially the same thing as a Samurai). He's got some pretty good boss fights (Even if the fight on the Roof of Riovanes Castle is one of the most annoying things I've ever done in a game), particularly at Limberry Castle. If you're patient enough to get it all, he's also the only source of Genji equipment in Final Fantasy Tactics, if I'm not mistaken.

Elmdor appearing on the roof of Riovanes Castle and revealing himself to be one of the Templar Knights was one of the bigger out-of-nowhere "What the?" moments in the game. Here I was thinking he was just some noble I had to rescue at the beginning of the game and I'd never see him again. I had no idea the guy would become a villain (Plus, I think one of the updates in the game said he was supposedly killed in battle, which made it even weirder when he showed up). Anyway, Elmdor is a pretty cool villain.

91. Cait Sith (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "...Something bothers me. I think it's your way of life. You don't get paid. You don't get praised. Yet, you still risk your lives and continue on your journey."

And it's our first main party member from Final Fantasy VII! Now I don't hate Cait Sith like a lot of people do. There's a certain aspect to him I like, but he's definitely my least favorite of the FFVII crew. I'm not really sure how I feel about the guy's design. Sure, it's ludicrous, but at the same time, there's something almost charming about a cat with a megaphone riding on top of a stuffed moogle. Go figure. I don't particularly care to use the guy in battle either, although I do like his Limit Breaks. He does give you the Manipulate materia though, which is invaluable for getting some of the best Enemy Skills, so that's nice.

As a character...Well, Cait Sith has one of the most farfetched and ridiculous reasons to join your party out of just about any game (I know it was basically just a setup by Reeve so he could sneak his way into your party, but still, you don't realize that when you first meet the thing). "That's a weird fortune! Well, time to go find out what it means! *walks inside Cloud's body*" Well then. He has some pretty weird moments like that, such as when he's about to get the Black Materia from the Temple of the Ancients. "There may be many stuffed bodies laying around, but there's just one me!" Five minutes later..."Hey, I'm Cait Sith #2! How y'all doin'?" Well then.

I personally like the scene when you find out that Cait Sith is a traitor and a spy. I like how he says that he's not entirely their enemy and how being with them has really got him thinking about his life. I dunno, I like it when characters go through moral dilemmas and start wondering if the way they've been living their life has been the right way. Of course, he's not entirely remorseful (After all, he still lets Shinra beat you to the Temple of the Ancients), but he does slowly change. I like how he basically does a complete turnaround: He starts off spying on you for Shinra, but by the time you get to disc 2, he's spying on Shinra for you. The part when he nails Scarlet with sleeping gas in Junon is pretty awesome, too. Plus, I love that whole sequence in Junon when Sapphire Weapon attacks.

I also like how Cait Sith eventually calls Barret out for what he did with the No. 1 Reactor. Barret probably hated him more than anyone and never really accepted him because he was a Shinra spy, but at that point, he realized that what he had done wasn't much better than what Shinra does. It seems like he finally accepts him as a member of the party even though he's part of Shinra. Heck, Marlene is even holding the Cait Sith doll at the end of Advent Children.

I think Reeve must be fond of having strange accents on Cait Sith. It seems like the first one talks normally enough, but the second one talks with what I presume is some sort of Southern drawl, for whatever the reason. Then the one in Advent Children speaks with a Scottish accent. Reeve needs to make up his mind! I think the dude's pretty funny in Advent Children, too. The voice is just great. I wonder what happened to the big stuffed moogle though. Maybe it was just too difficult for computer animation? Plus, what in the world would the thing even do? It seems ridiculous enough to have a stuffed moogle beat the crap out of stuff in Final Fantasy VII. How could you make that work in Advent Children without having to suspend your disbelief at how this moogle can hurt Bahamut Sin or something? Well, whatever.

92. Baku (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "You got a big heart, unlike that knucklehead, Steiner. No wonder the women are runnin' the show here. Gwahahaha!"

Hey look, it's another Tantalus dude, and this time, it's the leader! I originally had Baku a good bit higher than this, but then I felt weird about having him so high over a lot of characters, so I bumped him down. Regardless, I still think he's a pretty cool character, one of the funnier guys in Final Fantasy IX. Baku is usually doing one of two things: Sneezing or laughing for no reason. He's the guy who basically sets in motion one of the more entertaining parts of the game: The love letter chain misunderstanding, first by Eiko somehow bouncing off of his stomach and over the railing, getting snagged by her angel wings, and second, by accidentally losing the letter instead of delivering it to Zidane. I also love how he constantly gets Doctor Tot's name wrong while he's talking to Marcus about him. Aw yeah, Doctor Toot.

Overall, Baku seems like a pretty tough guy. He attacks your party at the very beginning wearing a mask (and they seem worn out after the battle while he seems perfectly fine). He tells Zidane that he has to fight him in order to leave Tantalus to save Dagger. Zidane tells Dagger that Baku beat the crap out of him when he came back from searching for the homeland he dreamed about with the blue light. He punishes Cinna for falling out of line and disobeying orders on one occasion. He refuses to let Zidane rejoin Tantalus at the beginning of disc 3 when he's moping over Dagger.

However, it seems like Baku really cares about Tantalus, and the reason he's so hard on them is because he needs to be in order to get things done, not just because he wants to be. Despite having an outward appearance of incompetence, Baku finds a way to rally Tantalus together to get things done. He kept everything organized during the play so they could kidnap Garnet. He gets things organized after the airship crashes in Evil Forest and gets everyone out safely (except for Blank). He organizes Tantalus to find Dagger when she goes missing at one point in the game.

So while Baku appears to be a tough guy, he really does seem to care about his people. Zidane realized that Baku held back during their fight (even though he sucker-punched him good after the fight). After Zidane leaves, Baku sends a letter to him about using abilities. Even after he beats the crap out of him for leaving and coming back, Baku laughs it off, and it makes Zidane feel like Tantalus is his family. He even thinks of Baku as a father figure of sorts.



93. Marcus (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "I never asked you to come along. Quit complaining."

Despite being a mixture of pirate, thief, and goblin, I like Marcus pretty well. Tantalus as a whole is a pretty cool group, I think. There's really one main segment involving Marcus, and that's the beginning of disc 2 when he joins Steiner and Dagger for a little while. He joins you in a situation of mutual interest. You're both headed to Treno, Dagger to see Dr. Tot and Marcus to get the Supersoft to save Blank. He's got some good one-liners, and he plays off of Steiner's extreme reactions pretty well. He doesn't seem to be bothered by him, such as when Steiner gets outraged when Marcus tells him that they're going to steal the Supersoft. He simply says, "Well, how else did you think we were going to get it?"

Overall, Marcus seems like a loyal guy. He doesn't turn his back on a friend. He never gives up on finding a way to save Blank from the petrification in Evil Forest, and he eventually is able to save him. He even goes back to Alexandria with Blank to help out Zidane and Dagger. He could have just as easily run back to Tantalus and forgotten about it, but even though Zidane wasn't a member of their troupe anymore, he still honored the friendship they had and came to help him. He even stays behind to help Steiner, Beatrix, and Freya, and he and Blank help to care for them after they were exhausted from all the fighting they did. He just seems like a good guy overall, and I like him.

Marcus isn't too bad of an actor either! He must be pretty good to get the lead role in "I Want to Be Your Canary!"

94. Marlene Wallace (Final Fantasy VII)


Best line in the movie right there and totally made the purchase of Advent Children Complete worth it! Honestly, I know this is a ranking of characters in the games and stuff, but Marlene is this high because of the movie. I think she's a really good character in it, one of the better ones, really, but we'll get to that in a minute. Let's cover Marlene in Final Fantasy VII itself first.

When we first meet Marlene, it's at Tifa's Seventh Heaven in Midgar. She's revealed to be Barret's daughter, and she won't even talk to Cloud when you first meet her, even if you give her the flower you bought from Aerith. Marlene's got some funny lines and some funny moments. If you talk to Marlene right after Barret knocks Biggs nearly through the roof, she'll say, "Papa, you're so great!" I can't blame her for thinking that either! That was one of the greatest uppercuts I've ever seen! Another strange thing is, when you leave for Reactor 5 in the morning, if you go back to the bar, Marlene will be behind the counter playing with the drinks! What the...Where's the supervision for this kid?!

One of my favorite Marlene moments is when you find her at Aerith's house. She goes up to Cloud and tells him that Aerith was asking all kinds of questions about him. She'll say that she bets Aerith likes him, and you have the option of saying you hope so or you're not sure about it. If you say you hope so, she promises not to tell Tifa (Perceptive little kid, she is!), or if you say you're not sure, she calls you stupid! Aw yeah.

Although, really, in FFVII, Marlene serves as little more than a plot device. Aerith lets Tseng take her back to Shinra Headquarters in exchange for her safety. Cait Sith holds her hostage in exchange for Cloud and company's cooperation. Heck, after you talk to her at Aerith's house, you don't see her again until the ending when she looks out of the window and sees Meteor. I thought it was interesting that Marlene somehow seemed to perceive Aerith's presence when Lifestream started to move (and she notices it again in the movie when she causes the rain that heals Geostigma. Why don't they explore this aspect a little more?)The only other time she has a line is when Cait Sith reveals he's holding her hostage, and he lets her speak (somehow) to prove that he has her.

I really like the relationship between Barret and Marlene. I think she brings out the best in Barret's character, so I was kinda sad that it was never explored further in Advent Children. He only mentions her twice the entire movie (of course, he's barely in it), and she only mentions him in that awesome line. You only see them together at the very, very end. He's still out traveling all over the place instead of being with her. I was kinda hoping that had changed a bit, but oh well. Not enough FF games explore that sort of parent/child relationship (although it looks like FFXIII will do that, and whaddya know, it's with another black guy!), so I enjoyed that.

In Advent Children, Marlene is awesome. She's a very caring girl, and she seems like she's had to grow up quickly with all of the kids who've gotten Geostigma, especially Denzel, whom she helps care for. All she wants is for Cloud to come back and be with them again. She doesn't put up with his crap either. She won't let him make excuses, and she gets onto him when he does. She seems to have a mixture of Tifa's and Aerith's personalities (and she wears her hair like Aerith now). Also, the part where she throws Materia at Loz's head was awesome.

Hey look, it's a child character done well. That's a rarity.

95. Dyne (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "These hands are a little too stained to carry Marlene anymore…”

For a guy who only appears in two scenes (one of which is a flashback at Corel), I like Dyne a lot. I think his story's pretty sad. He was the only guy who didn't want the Mako Reactor in Corel, and he let Barret talk him out of it. I can only imagine what was running through his mind when he came back that day to see the village in flames. I'm sure he was wishing he hadn't given in to everyone else and had held his ground. There may have been a sense of regret and guilt. Then he lost his left arm, and the thought of losing his family over time turned his sorrow, his guilt, and his regret into bitterness and anger. Like Barret, he replaced his arm with a gun, and he began to hate life.

I enjoyed Barret's confrontation with Dyne in the Corel Prison. The dialogue was good. He talks about how he could hear his wife begging him not to hate Barret's rotten guts, and that was the only thing that kept him from hunting him down (and this is something I'll touch on more when I get to Barret, but why does Barret get ALL the blame for what happened to Corel anyway? He wasn't the only person for the reactor). Dyne tells Barret he's got nothing left (I thought it was a nice touch in this scene, in the background of the picture I posted you can see two crosses, which act as grave markers for his wife and Marlene, whom he assumed was dead).

Then Barret tells Dyne that Marlene's alive and he's been taking care of her. That prompts him to want to start a fight with Barret, saying that he's going to kill Marlene so that she can go be with her mother. That's just crazy stuff and tells a lot about how far he's fallen. I enjoyed the boss fight, too. As I mentioned in an earlier write-up, I'm a big fan of one-on-one confrontation boss fights, and this is no exception. It can actually be a decently challenging fight because he's got some pretty hard-hitting moves like Molotov Cocktail, so you constantly have to heal, but basically as long as you keep healed up, you can let Dyne built your Limit meter and take him out with Limit Breaks.

After the fight, Barret invites Dyne to come with him to see Marlene, but he refuses, saying that his hands are too stained to carry his daughter anymore. Plus, she wouldn't even remember him now. He gives Barret his silver pendant, and then he willingly falls off of the cliff to his death. I thought that was pretty sad and emotionally touching. I really like that scene. Barret's reaction, saying that his hands aren't any cleaner than Dyne's, was very good as well.

96. Maester Yo Mika (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "No matter how many summoners give their lives, Sin cannot be truly defeated. The rebirth cannot be stopped. Yet the courage of those who fight gives the people hope. There is nothing futile in the life and death of a summoner."

This guy is sorta in the same vein as President Shinra, being the one in charge of the most powerful organization in the world. However, Mika gets a different treatment as he's not openly evil from the get-go. Even though I could tell that Seymour was going to be the bad guy from the start and that Kinoc was corrupt as well, I still thought that maybe Mika was still a good guy, kinda like how Kelk Ronso was. He was a good guy, just unaware of what Yevon and Seymour were really up to, I thought. Of course, since the guy was the big cheese, I should've known better, but still. It must have been the kind, grandpa-like voice! I do like his voice acting. He had a cool voice.

But then, when you're standing on trial for treason, the crap hits the fan. Mika reveals that he's unsent, and he reveals that there is no true way to defeat Sin. He says that there is no way to stop the rebirth. He talks about how the summoner's pilgrimage gives the people hope. Sounds an awful lot like Yunalesca. I wonder if he ever met her...? I don't know why he would have, but still, I wonder. Mika basically shatters what remains of Yuna and company's faith in Yevon with his revelations.

It's hard to even consider Mika a bad guy, really, but I guess he is. He's definitely not like Seymour in wanting to destroy Spira or anything like that. His goals aren't like that. He seems more like he just wants to keep things as they are and appease Yu Yevon. He says something to that effect when he says, "Yevon is embodied by eternal, unchanging continuity." Mika even changes his stance on Yuna being a heretic once he realizes she's obtained the final summoning because he wants her to defeat Sin and give Spira hope. Mika actually does seem to care about Spira. That's why he willingly sends himself once he learns the party defeated Yunalesca. Overall, I think he's a pretty neat character. He's not your typical pure evil villain, which is nice.

97. President Shinra (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "These days, all it takes for your dreams to come true is money and power."

President Shinra is a pretty awesome dude. He makes a good villain for the first part of the game when you're in Midgar. He's got some great lines and he's a hateable guy. You really want to take the guy out because he's such a jerk. All he wants is more money and more power, and he doesn't care who he has to destroy to get it. He seems fully aware of the effects that Mako Reactors have on the Planet, and he just doesn't care as long as he gets what he wants. President Shinra barely seems to acknowledge your existence and he doesn't view AVALANCHE as much of a threat, he seems. It feels like he thinks of himself (and Shinra in general) as invincible, so he just does whatever he feels like doing. Plus, the dude just sits in his office listening to Handel as he watches the plate fall on Sector 7. That's hardcore.

But then President Shinra gets killed by Sephiroth, and he basically just gets forgotten. He gets shown up by Sephiroth, of course, and then by his own son, Rufus. He's a quality villain for the first part of the game when you're just in Midgar the whole time, but it doesn't seem like he could've cut it for the whole game. There just isn't a whole lot to him, really. He could've gotten a lot higher on this list if he'd just been around a little longer, and if he didn't get completely overshadowed by other villains. I like what we see of the guy. He just needed more.

98. Selphie Tilmitt (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "It doesn't matter! We have to stop the missiles! That's all there is to it, right!? If there's a door, we go in! If there's anything we can break, we break! And in the end, we blow this place to smithereens!"

The first FFVIII main character to make the list. Where do I even start with Selphie? Hopefully, this won't take up too much space, but here goes! She's easily my least favorite of the group, but in all honesty, she's not that bad. The main problem with Selphie (other than that stupid train song she's sings!) is that she's probably the least developed character in FFVIII (which, in a game where not many characters get a lot of development, is pretty bad), and you don't really see many aspects of her personality. She's almost always the unwavering, happy-go-lucky optimist with basically only one exception (When you visit Trabia Garden and see all the devastation from the missile launch, which could almost be seen as adding a subtle nuance to her character, how she always tries her best to be cheerful on the outside to encourage everyone around her even when she's hurting on the inside). Selphie is essentially a one-dimensional character, though I do find that one dimension of her character enjoyable most of the time. I don't really think of her as annoying (except, once again, when she sings that stupid train song!), though maybe I'm in the minority on that.

My favorite Selphie moment is when she takes charge and infiltrates the Galbadian Missile Base in order to stop the launch on Balamb Garden. She's so gung-ho and over-the-top the whole time, and I love it! The other two party members even comment on it. The quote I posted of hers basically sums that mentality up. She wasn't just looking to stop the launch. No, sir, that's not good enough. They're trying to blow up Trabia Garden, so now they're gonna get blown up, too! Aw yeah. That was an awesome part of the game. She's generally gung-ho and over-the-top most of the time (Jumping off of a cliff to chase Seifer, going crazy with the Ragnarok breaking into Lunatic Pandora), but she went crazy here! I also enjoyed the concert at Fisherman's Horizon. That was a cool part of the game.

Another thing I enjoy is how, when Selphie says completely ridiculous things, the party just tends to ignore her and act like she didn't say anything. She says that President Deling is going to broadcast a message of love and peace? Silence. During the orphanage scene, Selphie proclaims that she lied about never junctioning a GF before. Silence. Later, she says that everyone should keep a diary so they don't forget any more stuff. Silence. I guess that goes back to the idea that she really doesn't contribute much or have much to contribute to the overall plot. She's just there most of the time, but I don't mind. Final Fantasy VIII's characters shine when they're together and interact as friends. Character interaction is top notch here, I think. They actually seem like they like each other and they're real friends. They don't develop a lot individually, but you see them grow as friends, which is something I liked a lot about FFVIII. Selphie's a good friend, too, so she fits in.

Selphie also has a...strange sense of humor, and she's often not afraid to speak her mind. I love it when she tells Rinoa that the model train car for the president was one of the ugliest things she's ever seen in her life, so the Forest Owls must really hate him. You also have the option of making fun of Zell in the Dollet exam, and Selphie plays along with the Chicken-Wuss joke. In the D-District Prison, she suggests skinning the Moomba alive and wearing his skin as a disguise. She also tells people "Up yours!" on more than one occasion.

Another great thing about Selphie: She's a Laguna fangirl. You can't go wrong there. Whenever you find Timber Maniacs magazines, she'll post them on her blog (As far as I know, she's the first and only blogger in Final Fantasy history) in the Garden Square. She even goes so far as to call him "Sir Laguna." I think she's got a bit of a crush on the guy! But he is super cool, so I can't blame her!

Speaking of fangirls and crushes, I'm thinking someone on the FFVIII team was a Selphie fanboy. The game gives Squall more opportunities to be nice to Selphie than any other character. That seems strange to me, but it's true. When Selphie runs into you in the hallway at the beginning of the game, you're given the option to ask if she's okay. When she asks for a tour, you're giving the option to be nice or to blow her off. You're given TWO opportunities to join the Garden Festival Committee, including once at the SeeD party (where you don't get an opportunity to be nice to Zell, I might add!). You get an opportunity to joke with Selphie about Zell being a Chicken-Wuss. You're given the option to cheer up Selphie in FH when it seems like there won't be a Garden Festival, and you're given the option to cheer up Selphie at Trabia Garden. There's even an Amano art of Squall and Selphie together.

And here's the kicker: If you go into Zell's room with Selphie in your party, she'll start bouncing on his bed, and he'll start to get mad at her and say she shouldn't act like that in someone else's room. Selphie plays it off like it's fine and says he shouldn't be so upset about it. At this point, you're given the choice either to agree with Zell or agree with Selphie. If you want to agree with Zell, that's fine, but Selphie lowers your SeeD rank as a result! What?! Since when did she get so much authority with SeeD? Seriously, who's responsible for all this stuff? I bet whoever it was is a fan of Squall/Selphie, and when he couldn't have it, he gave Squall secret choices to satisfy his inner fanboy or something. I bet he reads bad Squall/Selphie fanfiction, too.

99. Zone and Watts (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "Our resistance, 'The 'Forest 'Owls', will be forever known in the pages of Timber's independence! Exciting, huh?"

These guys are basically a friendly version of Biggs and Wedge in Final Fantasy VIII. They're a couple of good comic relief characters who aren't really that important or relevant overall, but I end up liking them anyway. They play off of each other well and have some pretty good lines. You first meet these guys in Timber as part of your first SeeD mission. You're supposed to help the Forest Owls achieve liberation for Timber from Galbadian control. Watts is the guy who meets you at the train station to test you to make sure you're the right people, but it's much funnier to give him the wrong password. Eventually, Galbadia destroys the Forest Owls' hideout, and they're forced to flee Timber. Somehow, they end up getting taken in by the White SeeD Ship, where you eventually meet them again. There isn't much to see with them here.

In general, Zone is the so-called leader of the Forest Owls (though Rinoa usually ends up taking command and forming the strategies). He likes naughty magazines (as Rinoa is very quick to let you know, for some reason, but hey, the info comes in handy because you can get the Shiva Card from him by giving him one) and dislikes troublesome situations. In fact, his stomach often causes him great pain at the thought of trouble, accompanied by a very awkward sound effect. Zone is also fond of leaving Watts behind on the train, leaving him to chase after it to catch up. Aw yeah. He also makes Squall promise that nothing will happen to Rinoa, and he starts yelling at him on the White SeeD Ship once he finds out she's fallen into a coma.

Watts is the information-gatherer who calls everyone "Sir," and for that reason, I tend to think of him as being voiced by Anthony Daniels (the voice of C-3PO). Information gathering in his specialty, in fact, as he's quick to let you know. The dude needs a haircut something fierce. Basically, in this slapstick duo, he's the Costello to Zone's Abbott. He's the butt of all the jokes, always getting left behind, and so on. He's very passive in general. He's also fond of long swims across the ocean to escape from Galbadian attacks.

100. Biggs and Wedge (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "S-So we meet again! Now we'll teach you the lesson we should have taught you earlier! I know it might seem cowardly to fight unarmed prisoners... ...But I hope you appreciate our position. Hey, it's a dog eat do..." - Biggs

"Uh, they're fully armed, sir..." - Wedge

I imagine I'm gonna get a bunch of "I totally forgot about these guys until you mentioned them!" responses to this, but here we go! I think Biggs and Wedge are pretty good for what they are: Throwaway joke villains who barely pose any threat, but have some good lines. You first meet this duo during the SeeD Exam in Dollet on top of the Communication Tower. They're barely any tougher than your average Galbadian soldier grunts, so the fights aren't that great other than the quotes, such as Biggs trying to sic Wedge on you, and then trying to sneak away when he realizes Wedge isn't coming. It was also great when Wedge eventually does show up and Biggs tells him he isn't getting paid this month, and he says he should've stayed home! I think Galbadian soldiers are just as bad off as Detective Gumshoe when it comes to pay rate!

You don't see Biggs and Wedge again until disc 2 when you're in D-District Prison. A great moment was when the two of them come in, see Zell and Selphie, and then all four of them scream upon recognizing each other. This fight isn't any different than the first one, other than the fact that you can cast Confuse on them with amusing results. They're run off a line or two upon getting attacked by their comrade, and Biggs will even attack Wedge in retaliation! I suppose the annoying thing about these guys is that, after you beat them the first time, Biggs sends X-ATM092 (who I totally forgot to put on this list, whoops!) after you, and after you beat them the second time, he activates the security alarm. They cause more trouble for you that way than just fighting them.

You meet Biggs and Wedge one last time at the end of disc 3 in Lunatic Pandora. It looks like there's going to be one more boss fight, but Biggs's frustration has reached the breaking point. Wedge jokingly suggests they quit, and Biggs takes him up on it. The two of them just walk right past you without so much as a word, and that's the end of that. They're the first Biggs and Wedge to actually survive the events of the game, too! They're also the first Biggs and Wedge to be enemies (Well, I guess technically Biggs and Wedge in FFVI would be bad guys since they're in the Empire, but you fight with them, not against them). That's something to be proud of, boys.

101. Olan Durai (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Destiny lies in my hands! Stop movement! Galaxy Stop!"

Olan's one of those guys I like, but I don't like a whole lot. There isn't a whole lot to like about him because he's not a frequently seen character. In fact, you don't see him at all until chapter 3. He's obviously very important to the overall plot because he wrote the Durai Report which told the true account of the Lion War. I thought it was cool that he was willing to write it, likely fully aware of the repercussions he would suffer from the Church of Glabados as a result. That took some courage. And, I guess, without this guy (in a not-really-but-bear-with-me-here kind of way), we don't have the Final Fantasy Tactics story. It would be lost to history.

Olan's one of the few guys in the Final Fantasy Tactics world who isn't out to manipulate people and events to his own ends, which is a refreshing change of pace in a game where it seems like everyone is triple-crossing everyone else. He tells Ramza that he considers him an ally and a friend, even though he'd been branded a heretic (though Olan seemed to realize that was a bogus claim) and was a Beoulve. I liked how he didn't let things like that get in the way of making a friendship, like that loser Algus. He obviously learned a lot from his stepfather Orlandu. That's another thing that's cool about Olan: He's related to Orlandu. He gets some cool points by proxy.

I really like the scene where Olan confronts Delita about his ways (the one where Ovelia pretends to go to her room but secretly eavesdrops). I like how he's one of the few people who won't put up with Delita's crap and won't let himself be used by him, even if it meant death. I also wonder at the end if he really saw Ramza and Alma or not. It seems unlikely that he did. They should be dead just like the rest, but who knows? Maybe, somehow, they survived. If Olan didn't see them, what did he see and/or why did he see it?

Oh, and Galaxy Stop is such an awesome move. Too bad you only get to see it in one battle and no one else in your party can learn it (excepting hacks and stuff, which I don't use).

102. Amarant Coral (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Picking fights with strangers in a place like this... I used to know someone like that. He was a loser... He refused to find beneficial ways to use his power. Instead, he'd seek out people to fight..."

Some of Amano's best work right there. Anyway, Final Fantasy IX was pretty hit or miss when it came to main party members. This is already the third one from the game, and we still haven't mentioned a single one from a couple of the other games. There isn't very much to Amarant as a character, and you don't acquire him in your party until late in the 2nd disc. Once FFIX hits disc 3, the less important party members get forgotten, and that includes Amarant. He doesn't really get a chance to develop as a character because he doesn't really get any attention. Well, he does get Ipsen's Castle, I guess, which kind of seems to change him, but he doesn't really show it outwardly (though he does actually start doing a victory pose after battle after you rescue him in Ipsen's Castle). Amarant's journeys with Zidane and company do seem to change him. After all, he goes to the "Hey, we saved the world!" class reunion one year later during the ending, and he even applauds when Zidane and Dagger get back together on stage. I just wish he would bother to show it. I know he's supposed to be the brooding, introspective, mysterious guy, but even those characters in other Final Fantasy games show us a little.

Amarant's backstory and reason for wanting to get "even" with Zidane are lame though. He doesn't really seem like the type to be a security guard for anyone, although I guess he just did it so he could pick fights with thugs. But basically he wants revenge because Zidane punked him and played him like a fiddle? I dunno, normally getting framed for a crime you didn't commit can be a decent motive, but Amarant doesn't even really seem to care about that aspect of it. It's just like he got embarrassed and wanted to get Zidane back. He's basically like that kid in school who got punked on an awesome prank, and now he's trying to get back at the ones who set him up for it. His motive just seems...immature, I guess. Well, part of his reason for joining the party is that Zidane intrigues him, and he wants to understand him better. He basically ends up treating Zidane like he's an idiot at every opportunity though, even at the end, so who knows if it worked.

I did like the boss fight against Amarant in FFIX. I tend to like one-on-one showdowns in RPGs, so this one was pretty good to me. The whole jumping around from place to place was just kinda...weird though. I didn't really get the point. Just wait for him to say "Here I come" and stop, and then attack him. It's not like you have to figure out some trick. He just makes it obvious. I do like that Amarant has some sort of a sense of honor as well, such as not tolerating Lani holding Eiko hostage.

I never really use Amarant in battle though, other than when you first get him and Oeilvert. He seems like a good character. Flair's a pretty good ability, and Elan is one of the better Trances, but I tend to use the characters I like most as my main party. Amarant doesn't fit the bill, so he doesn't get used much. He just joins the party too late, I guess.

I thought it was interesting how Amarant seemed to develop some sort of mutual respect with Freya. She's the one he opens up to about his past, and he seems to open up to her at the Fire Shrine (where my quote of his comes from). The game doesn't really explore it beyond those two scenes, but I thought it had potential (just like so many other things in FFIX). Oh, and words cannot express how disappointed I am that they didn't keep his name as "Salamander" in the English translation.

103. Zorn and Thorn (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "They fell for it again!" - Zorn

"Really stupid, they are!" - Thorn

At times, these guys are annoying. At times, I find them somewhat amusing. I think I find them more annoying than amusing though. I think the whole "Repeating what the other one says in different order" is an...interesting gimmick, but it sure can be annoying sometimes. I think it's pretty funny when they keep arguing with each other at the Desert Palace and Kuja tells them to shut up. It was also pretty awesome when Zidane owned them on the airship on the way to Oeilvert. Eiko owning them by summoning Madeen at Gulug Volcano is probably her high point as a character. They're decent comic relief villains overall, I guess, but not that great. They're not really intimidating enough to be a serious threat, but they show up and cause enough trouble to be a nuisance. The series has better villains that fit the role though.

The first boss fight against them is pretty easy. You just have to keep hitting the one who has the magic, and they don't do anything to you. I think you're still fighting the time limit to rescue Dagger at that time, but unless you're really bad at the game, it shouldn't be an issue. Nice reference to Palom and Porom's Twin magic there though. The second boss fight (where they merge into Meltigemini) is annoying, thanks to their stupid Virus status they put on you that prevents you from gaining EXP or AP. They're not really any more of a threat, just an annoyance as usual.

But in spite of all of those things, "Jesters of the Moon" is an awesome theme. It's awesome enough to get them ranked 103rd despite not having much else I like about them. FFIX's got a great soundtrack.

104. Paine (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "I’ll say this once, okay? I consider you friends, and I trust you. I even respect you. All right? I would think that’d be enough."

Hmmm...I'm not really sure what to think about Paine. She wasn't really that great of an addition to the FFX world, but at the same time, you add a third character into the game who's like Rikku, then who knows if Yuna ever does anything but have pajama parties and music concerts? She helps keep the tone of the game from getting too silly at times, which is nice in a way and definitely needed. As a character, she's not all that interesting. She's not much more than your typical "mysterious character with a hidden past." Paine just kind of serves as a reality check and a "Hey, let's get back to business." She does have a bit of a silly side that comes out on very rare occasions, but nowhere near the extent of Yuna or Rikku. Her voice actor kinda bothers me, too, because it seems like she's just monotone the whole time. Maybe that's what they were going for, but it's still not good. Also, I'm not sure why Square thought a girl with short gray hair was attractive. Maybe they were trying to appeal subtly to the MILF demographic or something.

Paine's background story with the Crimson Squad was decent. Not great, but decent. She doesn't really do much other than record everything and then get shot by Nooj. It takes a long time before she ever bothers to talk about it, and trying to solve what happened in the Den of Woe is basically her reason for joining the Gullwings. She seems to open up little by little as you figure out the truth of what happened, but she still doesn't open up too much.

Personally, I tend to think Paine represents the player's feelings toward playing Final Fantasy X-2: Often annoyed at the game's silly antics, and yet at the same time, secretly enjoying it somewhat and being afraid to admit it. She does have some great battle quotes, too.

Yuna: "Give me a Y!"

Rikku: "Give me an R!"

Paine: "...Give me a break."

Aw yeah, Paine.

105. Elena (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "No, I can handle him! There's no way he can avoid my punch."

I used to think Elena was more annoying than anything else, and in some ways, she's still annoying, but I like her more than I used to. She provides some great unintentional humor, such as coming up and talking to Cloud casually about how Reno and Rude are so stupid for always talking about who they like, and then realizing who she's talking to. Whoops! She has a tendency just to run off at the mouth before she realizes what she's saying. She's more like Tseng than she's like Reno and Rude, which makes sense since she likes Tseng, I guess. She takes being a Turk very seriously. The difference between Elena and her other two Turk buddies is most clearly seen in Wutai, where she runs off in frustration at Reno and Rude's reluctance to work on their vacation. Like I said before, she's pretty careless sometimes, so she ends up getting kidnapped by Corneo. One thing that kinda struck me about that: Rude seems to be genuinely concerned for Elena (more than Reno does), almost to the point where it almost seems like he has feelings for her (though he claims to like Tifa).

Another neat thing I like about Elena is that she fights with her hands. She doesn't use a weapon, she just beats the crap out of you with her fists. That's pretty hardcore. She and Tifa are like the only characters in the series who don't use weapons. She's a pretty tough girl, as evidenced by the fact that she's able to KO Cloud with a single punch to the gut (like what happened to me the first time I played because I didn't know how to dodge). Despite her faults, Reno and Rude actually seem to respect Elena as a Turk over time. Reno even says she was a great Turk if you refuse to fight them in Midgar.

But the main reason that Elena ends up this high is that amazing scene at Icicle Inn. Sidestepping her punch and watching her momentum somehow send her rolling through the snow and make a right turn down the snowboarding course is incredible. Like I said, I didn't get to see that the first time I played, but when I saw that scene the second time through, I enjoyed it greatly. Plus, she's pretty cute in a way, which always helps.

106. The Chocobo Knights – Lucil, Elma, and Clasko (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Where there's a will, there's a way." - Captain Lucil

These guys don't stand out enough on their own to deserve individual write-ups, but as a unit, they're pretty cool. Let's deal with them in the order I like them, from least to most. I don't really like Elma that much. She's got an annoying voice, and she's always mean to Clasko. She's probably the least important of the three, as she really doesn't do much of anything, even compared to the other two. Elma basically just follows Lucil around wherever she goes, so I can commend her loyalty to the captain. She's always highly respectful of Yuna in both games as well. She's just kinda annoying though.

Clasko's just that pathetic and yet somehow lovable loser that you can't help feeling sorry for and you find yourself liking for no apparent reason whatsoever. Honestly, I think his VA does a good job of conveying and reinforcing that image. He just sounds nerdy. He's the comic relief of the trio, always getting left behind, bossed around, given no time to rest, and so on. Eventually, Clasko decides to become a Chocobo Breeder after the party encourages him to do so (twice, apparently, since he becomes one in FFX and then rejoins the Chocobo Knights, and then you convince him to become a Chocobo Breeder again. The guy seems pretty indecisive). You can actually help him breed chocobos in FFX-2, as he takes the cave where the Monster Arena was in FFX (which ought to tell you everything you need to know about the differences between the two games. In one, you fight optional super monsters, and in the other, you...breed chocobos. Great). I don't remember much about the chocobo breeding, whether it was easy, hard, frustrating, or whatever. Anyway, long story short, Clasko's a loser, but I like him anyway.

Now Lucil is awesome, very underrated character that you never hear anything about. She's a natural leader, always rising up near the top wherever she goes. She rose to the top of the Chocobo Knights in the Crusaders, and then she rose up to second-in-command of the Youth League. She's a fearless warrior, charging straight in after Sin during Operation Mi'ihen (and somehow survived without so much as a scratch, which is incredible in and of itself). She's an unwavering optimist, even after the Chocobo Knights were devastated by Sin. Lucil's a good person at heart, who fights so that others don't have to. She's got some pretty awesome quotes, too. She even seems to make such a solid impression on Tidus that he takes the time to wonder how she's doing at one point in his narration.

107. Tseng (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "That's right. You'll have the hard time disarming that one. It'll blow the second some stupid jerk touches it."

Although Tseng is the leader of the Turks, and as a general rule, the Turks are awesome, Tseng is pretty boring to me, for the most part. He isn't seen a lot in the game, not nearly as much as the other Turks, mostly because he's incapacitated at the end of disc 1 in the Temple of the Ancients, leading to the famous translation gaffe that led many people to think Tseng actually died and resulting in cries of outrage at Square retconning his death in Advent Children. This is probably the thing that Tseng is most well known for, actually. He doesn't do TOO much of note in Final Fantasy VII, which is strange considering he's the leader of the Turks. Unfortunately, you never get to have a boss fight with Tseng, which probably would have helped his ranking here.

Tseng had been in charge of the investigation to find Aerith after she and Ifalna escaped from the Shinra laboratories, and while he had opportunities when he could have taken her by force, he didn't. When Elmyra is talking to the party about how she found Aerith, she tells you about the time Tseng came and tried to persuade the two of them to cooperate with Shinra to help them find the Promised Land. He could have very easily just kidnapped her and taken her back to Shinra, but he didn't. Tseng seemed to want Aerith to want to help Shinra willingly rather than forcing her to cooperate. This may stem from the feelings that he has for her, which Reno alludes to if you eavesdrop on their gossiping in Gongaga (although that seems kinda creepy. He was already a member of the Turks when Aerith was like 10 years old, so he's like 10-15 years older than her. Well, he never pursues it, so I guess it's okay, at least not as bad as Brother anyway). Tseng eventually does persuade Aerith to go to Shinra in exchange for Marlene's safety, so he's not an entirely noble guy all the same. Plus, he does slap her in the face in the helicopter when you talk to her on the Sector 7 plate (though I can imagine Tseng going all fanboy and thinking, "I'll never wash this hand again!" afterwards).

I've never played Crisis Core, but I have watched the cutscenes on YouTube. Tseng has a decent sized role in that game, interacting in several scenes with Zack. I thought it was a pretty good instance of dramatic irony how Zack asks Tseng to look after Aerith before he goes to Nibelheim, unaware of the fact that he had been secretly monitoring her for years. He does seem to have several moments where he seems like a nice guy, such as trying to rescue Zack and Cloud before the Shinra soldiers find them so he can deliver Aerith's 88 letters from the last 5 years to him. Maybe I'd like Tseng more than I do if I'd actually played Crisis Core (since he has a decent role in it), but just from what I know of him from FFVII, he's nothing special, which is pretty disappointing for a Turk.

108. Quina Quen (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Aiya! What big stone! Why you all watch stone? Is stone edible? Or is for barbeque? No answer...Maybe I lick it?"

Oh Amano, you never cease to amaze. Anyway, a very interesting character, to say the least. First of all, let's settle the gender issue. I've always personally thought of Quina as female for whatever the reason (and sounding like Miss Piggy, but that's probably just me). The game is purposefully ambiguous about it, so if you tend to think of Quina as male, no big deal, but I'm gonna use female personal pronounces to refer to Quina from this point on because I don't want to do the stupid "s/he" thing they do in the game.

Anyway, I tend to think of Quina as more funny than annoying. She has some pretty awesome lines, the one I posted at the top being my favorite. She doesn't really get on my nerves most of the time. At the same time, I don't ever really use her in battle though because I'm not really that big of a fan of her either. Some of her Blue Magic is good, but having to use Eat to acquire it is kinda irritating (After how annoying Morph was in FFVII, who thought bringing this concept back was a good idea?), so I don't end up acquiring a lot of those spells. I never ended up catching 99 frogs to get her best fork either, which is probably the only sidequest in Final Fantasy IX I never completed). Plus, her Trance is basically a complete and total waste, by far the worst in the game and probably the worst for any game in the series with a "Limit Break" type move.

Quina doesn't really have much of a role in the game. Although you can recruit her on the way to Burmecia (and I always do because the extra party member is helpful), you're not required to get her into your party until you're headed for Fossil Roo. Most of the time, Quina's role in the game ends up being her getting in trouble with vendors because she doesn't understand the necessity of Gil for purchasing foodstuffs. Her two storyline highlights are her getting stuck with Zidane going to the Earth Shrine (Fun Fact: One time when I was fighting the Earth Guardian, Quina got her Trance, so I decided to use Cook just for the heck of it. Much to my amazement, it actually worked and she learned a Blue Magic! Are there any other bosses you can eat?) and being there in the "You're Not Alone!" scene, where she is crucial in helping Zidane get back to normal by offering to cook him a succulent frog.

Oh, and there was the time when Quina and Vivi got married in Conde Petie, which I'm still not sure if I should consider that amusing or disturbing. It's definitely the most delightfully awkward scene in the game. Quina seems happy with the end result though, so that's all that matters.

109. Sorceress Ultimecia (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "Time... It will not wait...No hard you hold on. It escapes you...And..."

Ahh, Final Fantasy VIII's main villain, the sorceress from the future, Ultimecia. Really, I don't think she's as bad as everyone say. It is kinda lame that you don't find out that she's really the mastermind behind everything until the beginning of disc 3, but she has been the one you've been fighting against all along, even though you don't realize it. However, even when I play FFVIII now, it's hard to make the connection that she's possessing Edea during disc 1 and 2 because you're always told it's Edea and not Ultimecia (kinda like the whole Liquid Ocelot thing in MGS4 in a way).

We don't really know much about Ultimecia. We don't know how far in the future she lives, but I think we can assume it's beyond the lifetime of the main party, at least. She is unbelievably cruel (as we can see in how she just casually murders President Deling during the parade and then the speech she makes afterwards) and manipulative (as we see with Seifer). One thing we can say for sure is that Ultimecia has a really, really extravagant sense of style. We can see this in the way she dresses when she's possessing Edea and how she dresses when you fight her at the end, in the parade in Deling City, and in her castle. She definitely believes in living in style. One of the things FFVIII did very well was just how well designed and how beautiful some of the things related to the sorceresses in this game are. I can also relate to her because she also apparently dislikes wearing shoes and socks (check out the picture I posted of her. She's barefooted. I don't know why her feet are black though. Ewwww). She would also fit in very well in the Mortal Kombat universe due to her apparent hatred of the letter "C."

We also don't know much of anything about the Time Compression Ultimecia wants to enact, other than it takes an extremely powerful sorceress to use it and apparently only she can survive in such a state. Now why does she want to achieve Time Compression? Again, the game never says (and Odine totally glosses over it, but I already covered that in his write-up), but there's one theory that I can think of that makes sense to me. In the game, Ultimecia seems to have some understanding of her ultimate fate (She says "So you're the legendary SeeD destined to face me?" to Squall right before you fight Edea at the end of disc 2), so my guess would be that she thinks of Time Compression as her way out to avoid getting killed. It makes sense to me because one of the big themes of the game is destiny/fate. The game also seems to demonstrate that destiny is inevitable and unalterable (Ellone couldn't change Laguna's past, no matter how hard she tried, and even though most of the main party had forgotten each other because of GFs, they still ended up together), so in the end, Ultimecia fails at her attempt for Time Compression.

Anyway, enough about that. Let's get to the real reason Ultimecia is this high: She's probably the best final boss fight in the series. It's in five different phases, each accompanied by a different epic battle theme (culminating in the best of them all, "The Extreme"). The first phase isn't any different from your fights with Edea, but then you get to fight Griever, which was pretty awesome. Then she junctions herself to Griever. I remember dying at this part several times when I first fought her, and I was so relieved when I finally beat it...only to discover there was another part. Looking back on it though, what an epic final battle, worthy of a great game. I also like her final speech as you end the fight, especially how she never finishes it.

110. Buddy (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "The Gullwings are on the job. We’ll even give you our special bargain price."

Buddy has the distinction of being the only black Al Bhed in the world (Well, Shinra could be, I guess, since we never see his skin color). In addition to that, he's the de facto leader of the Gullwings. Although Brother may be considered the leader, Buddy's really the guy in charge. He's calm and level-headed, thinking things through and many times making the right decision. He claims he was on the airship in Final Fantasy X when Yuna and co. were fighting Sin (though she says she didn't remember seeing him back then), but I remember looking for him the last time I played FFX and never saw him. Maybe he was just dressed differently and Square really did reuse the character model.

Anyway, we don't know much about Buddy himself, other than that he and Brother were the original founders of the Gullwings. The story of how the two of them found the airship and why they named the group Gullwings is awesome, and if you've never seen the scene in the game, you should! In fact, here's the dialogue from the script:

Buddy: Better keep your distance. Wouldn’t wanna lose a finger or something. (looking at the engines) Mm! That’s my baby.

Yuna: It’s like you’re talking to a person!

Buddy: Of course! After all, this ship is one of the Gullwings too, y’know.

Yuna: She’s been around longer than me, huh?

Buddy: Me and her met for the first time right after you brought us this Calm of yours. I’d caught word that an old airship was at the bottom of the sea way up in the north. Me and Brother made our way through a sea of ice. A fog moved in, so thick we couldn’t tell west from east. On top of that we were freezing our blitzballs off. Yep, I thought we were done for. Then it appeared above us: a single gull, flying along out of nowhere. As if it had come to save us, right? We didn’t have a lot of options, so me and Brother chased after that gull with everything we had left. And by some stroke of luck, we found this ship nestled within the ice.

Buddy: Along with our winged rescuer.

Yuna: Oh! So that’s why we’re the Gullwings!

Buddy: And that’s not all.

Yuna: Yeah?

Buddy: Actually, never mind.

Yuna: Buddy! Please?

Buddy: We were lucky to find the airship, but we were still on thin ice, so to speak. See, we had nothing to eat. We were nearly dead from hunger. Yep, I really thought we were done for. Then, it appeared above us, out of nowhere: a single gull. As if it had come to save us, right? With the very last of our strength, we bagged that bird, and then we, uh…

Yuna: Buddy?

Buddy: What?

Yuna: Thanks, I think I’ve heard enough.

Buddy: That bad? That bad, hmm?

Aw yeah, Buddy. Not to mention, Buddy knocks the crap out of Brother on more than one occasion, and that's never a bad thing.

111. Prince Estrada Larg (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Your brother's actions turned the tide for us..."

I dunno why, but I kinda like Larg. While he's no less of a manipulator and schemer than Goltana, he's not an unlikable jerk. He seems to have a likable personality (not to mention a decent fashion sense, aw yeah medieval mullet!). I suppose that's because he comes in and scolds Dycedarg for being too hard on Ramza. He seems to be a level-headed and understanding guy. He realized that, even though Ramza did disobey orders, he still helped them out, and he didn't disobey because he's just being rebellious and spiteful. He just wanted to be of use to the Hokuten and his brother.

Larg seems to be smarter, more calculating, and more patient than Goltana is. He also made the smart choice of siding with Orinas as king because he'll get to rule longer as regent with an infant king! I felt bad for Larg, too, when he got backstabbed by Dycedarg in the end, but he made sure to get in his parting shot before dying, letting Zalbag know that his older brother killed their father, setting some more awesome stuff in motion. At least he didn't go down quietly.

112. Balbanes Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Become a fine knight...Ramza..."

Ah, it's another FFT NPC who barely appears in the game making an appearance on this list! It's a shame Balbanes doesn't appear more often because it's obvious that he's a pretty awesome dude. He might be the greatest warrior Ivalice has ever known and helped bring the Fifty Years' War to an end. We can also see where Ramza gets his sense of honor and integrity, as well as his notions of what the nobility should be and should do. You never hear Balbanes' deathbed speeches to Dycedarg, Zalbag, and Alma (if he gave them one), but you can tell he is proud of Ramza and believes in him. He seems to see something in him that he doesn't see in his other sons. It's a shame that Balbanes went out the way that he did. I wonder if he ever realized what Dycedarg did to him.

Most importantly, you can't tell me that a Final Fantasy Tactics prequel set during the Fifty Years' War starring Balbanes, where he starts as a lowly squire and eventually grows into a Heavenly Knight and a fighter even more broken than Orlandu, wouldn't be completely awesome! Get on it, Square!

113. Vaan (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will."

Hey, it's the guy everyone's been waiting to see! I'm surprised I didn't hear any complaints about how Vaan survived the first topic! Anyway, where to begin with this guy? First of all, I'm convinced that Vaan's design was a public apology to Tidus fans. It's almost like they were saying, "We're sorry that we made Tidus look eerily similar to Meg Ryan, so we're going to make this next guy much more effeminate to take attention away from his design and he won't be the most made-fun of main character in the series!" Apology accepted, Square. Seriously, there's no other explanation for this guy having painted-on abs.

Now that we got the most obvious flaw out of the way, let's look at Vaan's character, or perhaps the lack thereof. This guy is supposed to be the main character, but his main conflict is resolved within the first five hours of the game (like I said, I started replaying FFXII, and after finishing Nalbina Dungeon and getting back to Rabanastre, I had put almost exactly 5 hours into the game). In spite of that, Vaan persists in being the main character and sticking with the party. I guess his motivation is that he admires Balthier and wants to be a sky pirate like him so he keeps following around, but there's not much more to it than that.

There are only two notable plot points Vaan is involved in from this point on: Being the only person other than Ashe who can see the illusion of Rasler and confronting Gabranth in Pharos, where he finally drops his desire for revenge for Reks. The first doesn't really add anything to his character and was probably just something the Occuria did to insure Ashe that she was actually seeing Rasler and wasn't going insane. The latter provides a little bit of character development, as he realizes that personal vengeance doesn't really solve anything. There isn't much more than that, other than proving he's a sexist pig because he inconsiderately asks Fran how old she is!

Going back to Reks for a second, it's amazing to me how quickly Vaan believes Basch's story and lets it go. Honestly, doesn't the whole "It wasn't me, it was my twin brother who looks just like me!" excuse feel a little contrived and a little too convenient? I mean, I know that IS what really happened, but I wouldn't be as quick to believe it as he is. There isn't any instance in the short time Vaan knows Basch before he trusts him where he proves what he says is true. He just kinda...believes him at face value. It's a little naive, I think. If it were simply Vaan forgiving Basch and letting go of his bitterness, that'd be one thing and it'd be admirable, but that's not the case. Obviously, as we see in Pharos, he didn't get over it until that point.

Finally, I was overall pretty disappointed in Vaan's VA's performance. Final Fantasy XII's voice work and localization is leaps and bounds better than Final Fantasy X's, but Vaan isn't one of the reasons why. His performance just feels boring and lifeless at times. It's almost like even the actor himself doesn't find Vaan interesting enough to try hard to do him justice. Vaan's voice acting is decent at times whenever the character is being emotional, such as when he starts yelling at Basch in his prison cell (which, by the way, is completely idiotic and almost got them caught), but when he's just delivering ordinary lines (such as "I better at least show this to Penelo, so she knows I got something" just to take an example from what I remember last night), he gives an uninspired performance.

As for why he's this high? HEY BUCKET HEAD!' and DON''T BELIEVE ONDORE'S LIES! are awesome lines and are easily the peak of his character.

Everyone happy now?

114. Biran Ronso and Yenke Ronso (Final Fantasy X)

Quotes: "Leave Kimahri, Yenke. Kimahri is small Ronso. Kimahri so small can't see Yenke and Biran's faces." - Biran Ronso "Hornless! Hornless!" - Yenke Ronso

I put these two together because they're always together in the game (I can't think of an instance in the game where you meet one of them without the other), and they're not interesting enough to deserve solo write-ups (Well, at least Yenke isn't). Anyway, these guys basically exist in the game to antagonize and make fun of Kimahri for having a broken horn and being short (for a Ronso, at least). I think they normally do a good job of being comic relief "villains," if they can be called such, though they're nowhere near the best at that role in the series. You know, thinking about it, I just realized that these guys ARE the comic relief/joke villains in FFX. Nobody else qualifies. I don't know how I didn't catch that until now.

Anyway, as I was saying, Biran and Yenke are pretty humorous, I think. Not great, but not bad either. I think the ridiculous Ronso dialect helps in that regard. They also have some decent digs on Kimahri, such as the one I posted from Biran. Yeah, they're lame and cheesy, but...Well, I don't know how to finish that sentence. It was also awesome when Kimahri nailed a sweet uppercut on Yenke in the sports cafe at Luca. Aw yeah.

On a more serious note, what we know about Biran is that he's considered to be the most powerful warrior in the Ronso tribe, which is obviously quite an accomplishment. When they were younger, he and Kimahri would fight each other frequently. Although Kimahri never won, he would never admit defeat to Biran either. Eventually, Biran got so angry with his stubbornness that he broke Kimahri's horn, which is considered the ultimate shame for a Ronso, which was why he ended up leaving Gagazet. It would make sense to me for Kimahri and Biran to be brothers, but since the game never says it, they probably aren't. I think it would work though. We don't know much of anything about Yenke. He basically just tags along with Biran and uses one word insults. He doesn't seem too bright. He's like that stupid kid in school that nobody would really like on his own but he hangs around with the popular kid so he can try to be popular, too.

I enjoyed the two-on-one fight Kimahri had with Biran and Yenke on Mt. Gagazet. It wasn't hard by any means, but "Defenders of the Mountain" plays during the fight, and you can get a ton of Ronso Rages you missed from these guys by repeatedly using Lancet on them. I like how their attitude toward him changes once he beats them. They finally acknowledge his strength, and they accept him back as one of their own. It's almost like they were playing the role of the sports coach who swears at and insults his players in an attempt to motivate them to prove him wrong. I doubt that was their actual intention, but it worked out that way.

115. Teta Hyral (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Teta saved me...Teta saved me back then..."' - Delita Hyral

Why is an unimportant character with only a handful of lines who's offed within the first quarter of the game above 35 other Final Fantasy characters? For starters, Teta is at the heart of one of my favorite parts of Final Fantasy Tactics: Fort Zeakden. Algus killing Teta under orders of Zalbag, fighting Algus, Golagros lighting the gunpowder and blowing up the fort (and seemingly Delita as well), and Ramza running away from everything--the Hokuten, his nobility, and his name--and becoming a mercenary. This is a great part of the game, and Teta's death is what really sparks all of it. It's a sad moment as well because she was just the victim of a misunderstanding, the Death Corps mistaking her for a Beoulve when she was just a commoner. Plus, her kidnapping also sets off a nice string of events, including the first meeting with Wiegraf and Delita punching Algus in the face.

In addition to all that, Teta is also at the center of one of the most intriguing mysteries of the game (at least to me): How did Delita survive that explosion? He claims that Teta saved him that day. How is that possible? Was she really dead when Delita was holding her standing on that bridge? How did she save him? In my mind when I was a teenager, I always imagined that, somehow, Teta managed to shove him out of the way just far enough out of the blast, but I don't know if that's a realistic scenario. Did she shield him somehow? Did she use some sort of magic spell? Delita never says anything more than that Teta saved him. It's a situation that's all questions and no answers.

Teta may not be anything special in terms of character, but as a plot device, she works well and creates (at least for me) some pretty interesting situations.

116. Brother (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Who is the leader? I am! I give the orders around here!!"

Oh, Brother. Where do you even start with this guy? Well, let's start with the game where he's passable and likable. In Final Fantasy X, Brother plays a bit role. He's Rikku's older brother (Hence the name "Brother," which probably isn't his real name, but he's never called anything else), which means he's Cid's son and Yuna's cousin (...which we'll get into later). If I'm not mistaken, his only dialogue in English in FFX is when he says to Tidus, "!" Everything else is in Al Bhed (and it was much better that way. Everything went downhill once he started learning English). He pilots the airship, and he seems to be rather proficient with machina, though not much else (except blitzball, I guess). Brother either likes to act like he's in charge, or Cid actually has given the guy a position of authority. I'm not sure which, although seeing that he basically acts the same way in FFX-2 at times, I'm guessing it's the first option. Other than blitzball, Brother has two high points in the first game, one of which is never seen in the game, only heard about. The first is his hilarious attempt at sign language at the beginning of the game trying to communicate with Tidus (complete with strange grunts) and the other is accidentally blasting Rikku with a lightning spell when they were younger.

But in Final Fantasy X, blitzball is where it's at with Brother. In the early levels, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better player than Brother. He has great stats in several categories, and he's ridiculously fast. He can break the opponent, steal the ball, and score in rapid fire succession several times in any given game. If you want to start picking up blitzball from scratch in FFX, recruit Brother, put him as a midfielder, and laugh your way to blowout victories against every team except probably the Al Bhed Psyches. Of course, the fact that Brother is so good at blitzball early on means he's an EXP hog, so he can prevent other guys on your team from leveling up, but that comes with the territory.

Now let's deal with Brother in Final Fantasy X-2. No other returning character suffers such a drastic drop in quality and likability in this game than him, which is quite an accomplishment since he didn't have much character in the first game anyway. Honestly, he's one of the few characters from FFX whose ranking suffers horribly as a result of his role in FFX-2, if not the only one. He's that bad. Of course, the most egregious offense is his constant attempts to hit on Yuna, who is his cousin. I'm not sure which is creepier: The fact that Brother is hitting on his cousin, or that Yuna doesn't really seem to mind. For some reason, she thinks it's cute that Brother is trying to learn English so she can talk to him more. Of course, it's possible that Yuna's just dense. Regardless, this is one of the most annoying aspects of the game, made even more irritating by the fact that it's a recurring theme, and quite frankly, it's just weird and gross.

In FFX-2, Brother's just stupid. Once again, he tries to boss people around like he's in charge (though the other Gullwings tend to ignore him or just hit him, the latter of which is far more preferable), and he can just be incredibly and nonsensically anal about stupid things, such as correcting Rikku for saying "Disasteriffic" while Yuna's HANGING OFF OF A CLIFF ON MOUNT GAGAZET! But then again, this is coming from a guy who occasionally corrects grammar on an internet message board, so maybe I shouldn't be talking.

117. Marquis Halim Ondore IV (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "You may yet be a Princess, but without proof of your identity, you are powerless."

Apparently, you shouldn't believe this guy's lies or something. That's the main thing I remember about him. Honestly though, I have a hard time figuring this guy out. I guess that's to be expected since the guy's a double agent and all, but it's still confusing to me. I need to play Final Fantasy XII again and iron out some of these details, I guess. Anyway, Ondore claims to be secretly working for the Resistance and all, but Basch doesn't like him at all (He says that the only reason he continues to live is to silence Ondore, after all) and Ashe doesn't seem like she has much respect for him at times. Obviously, publicly announcing Basch's execution and Ashe's suicide play a part in that, but still, it wasn't a very smart thing for him to do. I guess the Empire basically forced him to or something, and he had to do it since he was supposedly a loyal follower. The only problem with playing both sides is that usually both sides end up disliking you, and that's what happens here with the Marquis. I can't figure out if he's supposed to be friend or foe, but he feels like more foe than friend despite the fact that the game somewhat tries to present him as friend.

Plus, Vayne seems to be playing Ondore like a fiddle all throughout Final Fantasy XII, but the Marquis doesn't realize it. I already mentioned getting him to announce Basch's execution and Ashe's suicide. That was part of it (As a serious aside: Why does Basch seem to want the Marquis dead anyway? Surely he has some idea that the public announcement was just a ruse on the part of the Empire. See, this is where Ondore confuses me). Vayne also seems to lure the Resistance into instigate war with Archadia, which just seemed like a horribly stupid move on Ondore's part. I mean, he didn't honestly think he could stand up to Sky Fortress Bahamut and the Nethicite, right?

So basically Ondore tries to play both sides unsuccessfully (He needs to take some lessons from Revolver Ocelot, seriously) and seems completely unaware that Vayne is manipulating him into doing what he wants him to do. He just doesn't seem like a man.

118. Penelo (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "And, Vaan—try to stay out of trouble, for me? I don’t know what I’d do if you weren’t here, if something happened to you."

Oh no, it's another FFXII character that's not Vaan! That's right, the worst playable character in Final Fantasy XII is not Vaan; it's Penelo! I don't know why people in this topic seem to spew so much venom toward Vaan but not at Penelo. Vaan feels disconnected and irrelevant to the plot? Not anywhere near as much Penelo does. The only connection she has to this game's plot at all is that she and Vaan were friends before the events of the game started. Seriously, unless I missed something, that's it. Her character doesn't really develop at all. I don't remember her ever doing anything meaningful to advance the plot either (Well, she did get kidnapped by Ba'Gamnan and forced Balthier to come for her, but you could've thrown any random girl into that situation and got the exact same result. It's got nothing to do with Penelo's character and really isn't all that relevant to the overall major plot line anyway. Speaking of which, I just realized that I totally forgot to include Ba'Gamnan on my list. Crud). Note that I say this without knowing anything about Revenant Wings at all, which I know Penelo is one of the main characters in. Perhaps she obtains some relevance or develops some character in that game I'm not aware of (And here's another game where I ask: If I can get this game cheap, is it worth a purchase?). I mean, when the most important thing Penelo does in the entire game is narrating the ending, you know she doesn't have much going for her.

Plus, Penelo's a nag, and nobody likes a nag. That's really the main thing she does. She worries about Vaan and she nags him when she feels like he's getting out of line. Does she have ANY worthwhile interaction with any other character in the game? The only other time in the game I can remember is when Balthier hands her the handkerchief as he, Fran, and Vaan are getting hauled off to prison (for the first of what seemed like 50 times). Like I said, maybe I'm being too hard on Penelo and I missed something, but I seriously don't remember a single important thing she did or if her character developed at all. The main thing she's got going for her is that she's somewhat cute, but she's not even the cutest girl in your own party (The cutest girl is Ashe, not Fran, by the way; I ain't no furry), so that doesn't mean much.

So yeah.

119. Lucrecia Crescent (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "I wanted to disappear... I couldn't be with anyone... I wanted to die... But the Jenova inside me wouldn't let me die..."

Admittedly, my knowledge of Lucrecia's character isn't as complete as it should be because I haven't played Dirge of Cerberus. I have watched the cutscenes and stuff online, but I don't remember the stuff as well as I would have if I had actually played it (By the way, should I bother to get it if I can get it cheap? Is it worth a playthrough?). She isn't seen much in Final Fantasy VII. All we really know about Lucrecia from the events of that game is that she gave birth to Sephiroth and injected Jenova cells into her womb while she was pregnant, and that she fell for Hojo instead of Vincent. Those two things alone would be enough to qualify her as a stupid woman. I don't know what in the world she's doing performing prenatal experiments on her baby, and I definitely don't know what in the world she's doing falling for Hojo. She had to know the guy was certifiably insane. I dunno, she seemed to care about advancing science too much, even at the risk of damage to herself. Of course, both of those things backfired on her completely. I'm sure her intentions were good (though I don't know how she could've thought Hojo had good intentions), but good intentions aren't good enough.

From what I understand of Dirge of Cerberus (I may be wrong in some areas, so if I am, correct me), Lucrecia actually knew Vincent's father, and they worked together until he was killed. The reason she never got together with Vincent is because she felt guilty about what happened to his father. Also, she was apparently the one who implanted Chaos into Vincent in an attempt to save him after Hojo killed him and experimented on him. I'm not entirely sure if this is a good thing or not, but it seems to have been the only way to save him.

In spite of all that happened, Vincent doesn't seem to bear any ill will against Lucrecia. In fact, he still seems to have some feelings of affection for her. He doesn't blame her for the stuff that happened with Sephiroth and Jenova. He blames Hojo instead. I guess he thinks she was manipulated and used, which she probably was, but there's no way she was entirely ignorant. She had to be aware at least somewhat of the risks involved, and she did it all anyway. It also feels like Lucrecia toyed with Vincent's emotions somewhat, but I dunno if she really did.

Another thing, her name isn't pronounced at all like I thought it was, and I think it sounds weird. I always thought it was pronounced "Loo-CREE-shuh," but in Dirge of Cerberus, it's pronounced "Loo-CRET-chee-uh" or something like that. Just seems weird.

120. Lenne (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "This moment’s enough. I don’t need anything else. Just knowing how you feel is enough."

Say what you want about FFX-2's storyline (and people who say no one bought this for the story are wrong! I did! The trailers made it look like it had a good story, which it kinda does. It just has WAY too much fluff), but I really enjoyed the Lenne/Shuyin plotline. You don't see Lenne much as a character, but there are a few times she makes her presence known. Usually, whenever you see Yuna wearing the Songstress Dressphere outside of battle, you can expect Lenne's influence to be felt somewhere. The fact that Yuna wore the Songstress Dressphere to sleep caused her to have that dream where she and Tidus were shot to death by Bevelle soldiers, which was basically a reenactment of what really happened to Shuyin and Lenne. And of course, whenever Shuyin's around, he somehow senses Lenne in the Dressphere and mistakes Yuna for her. It results in Yuna's concert in the Thunder Plains where she sings "1000 Words," which I like a lot.

But what happened between Shuyin and Lenne was tragic, I thought. The war against Bevelle was basically a hopeless cause, and Lenne was going to become a casualty since she would be on the front line as a summoner. Shuyin overreacted and went renegade in his attempt to save her, which she didn't want. He didn't seem to understand how she really felt or what she really wanted, which led to even more heartache. For her, just knowing that he truly did love her was good enough. It didn't matter to her if she lived or died as long as she knew that.

I just wish Lenne didn't have the same voice actress as Belgemine. Not a big fan of raspy voices in women, and it just seems like Lenne should have a beautiful voice. Cree Summer's just doesn't cut it. Ah well.

121. Doctor Odine (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "You vant to go outside!? You vant to fisticuffs!?"

And now for a character certain not to elicit much reaction, it's Doctor Odine! First of all, man, what's up with that collar (if that's what it is)? Anyway, I kinda like Odine. He's pretty humorous, though I think the ridiculous accent helps somewhat (I always imagine him having Wily's German accent from the Mega Man cartoons). Challenging Laguna to fisticuffs and somehow turning the word into a verb is pretty incredible stuff. Odine's basically your typical eccentric genius. There's no denying the guy's brilliance. He was the one who invented a way for humans to use Guardian Forces and para-magic. He invented the Odine Bangle as a way to suppress the powers of the sorceress, and he invented the machine that froze Adel. He did a lot of research on Lunatic Pandora. He invented the Junction Machine Ellone that Ultimecia uses in the future to control Edea and Rinoa. He seems to have a good understanding of Time Compression. He probably invented the camouflaged walls of Esthar and probably had a hand in their space program, though that's never stated in the game.

Overall, Odine seems to be morally indifferent. He doesn't seem to care who he works for as long as he still gets to work in science. He didn't seem to have much of a problem working for Adel or messing with Ellone as per her request. He doesn't seem to mind that Ultimecia is basically using his invention to achieve Time Compression. Actually, he seems rather proud of that fact. He doesn't seem to care who uses his stuff or why they use it, just that they use it at all.

The thing that ticks me off about Odine though is that he completely glosses over one of the biggest plot points in the game. When you're discussing the plan to defeat Ultimecia, and he discusses her desire for Time Compression. He rhetorically asks why Ultimecia would want to compress time, and he basically says, "There may be many reasons, but it doesn't matter." What do you MEAN it doesn't matter, Doc?! Time Compression is one of the biggest plot points and probably the most confusing and misunderstood aspect of the game, and we don't even get an explanation?! We skip over a chance to give Ultimecia a motivation at all?! I mean, I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter why she wants to achieve it as long as we stop her, but come on, Square. That's just lazy writing!

122. Vayne Carudas Solidor (Final Fantasy XII)

Quote: "It is a war of necessity. Your Lady Ashe herself is bent on it. She desires it above all else. She will not rest until her revenge is full-wrought."

Yes, that's right! The worst character in Final Fantasy XII is not the avatar main character, but rather the generic and uninteresting main villain! I've had discussions about this guy in other FFXII topics (particularly with RevolverSaro), and maybe I'm being unfair toward him or my memory of him is faulty, but I just think he's probably the worst main villain of the PS generation Final Fantasy games. He just...doesn't interest me at all. Even when I'm fighting this guy at the end of the game, I really have no feelings of enmity toward him. The battles against Cid and Gabranth in Pharos had more of a last boss feel than fighting Vayne did because I actually cared about them (Plus, it might have been because Pharos felt like a final dungeon and Sky Fortress Bahamut was just two screens and boss fights). I just don't care about Vayne, and for a main villain, that's a no-no. He inspires little more than apathy from me, and again, for a main villain, that's an awful quality. If he weren't the main villain of Final Fantasy XII, I might not hold it against him so much, but he is, so he's held to a higher standard than the other villains in the game.

When we're first introduced to Vayne, he's been appointed the consul of Rabanastre, and we discover that he's the king's son. From his opening speech to his conversations with Miguelo trying to get him to call him "Vayne" instead of by a royal title, he just felt...fake. I mean, I know he was faking it, but I was just annoyed with the guy more than anything else. But after that, he mostly disappears from the scene for a long time. You hear a lot about him, but you rarely see him. I think that's another lacking quality in Vayne: A main villain is supposed to have a presence that is felt, a sense of ominous imminence, the feeling that somehow...he's close by. Final Fantasy VII perfected this with Sephiroth in disc 1. Heck, Gabranth and Cid do a better job of this in FFXII than Vayne does. He never really feels like the main threat for most of the game, he never feels like the guy you're after and the guy you absolutely have to beat.

Another thing that bothers me about Vayne is that he really feels like little more than a warmonger. He just fights because he likes to kill people and wreak havoc. If he were some insane madman like Kefka, that'd be one thing, but it's obvious he's not. He's Machiavellian, I suppose. He feels it's necessary, and so he has no problem with it. It just feels like this should work, but it doesn't. It just ends up feeling cliche. You find out Vayne killed his older brothers, and then he kills his father in order to become Emperor, and it's like...So what? I just don't find myself caring. I think it's because you don't have any idea what Vayne's trying to accomplish, what his motives are. You don't know what his actions mean. Does he just want to be king or what?

But then at the end of the game, when they "reveal" that Vayne was just working along with Cid to try to free history from the grips of the Occuria, it just felt so...forced, like it came in out of left field and was thrown in at the last minute. I can't find any foreshadowing of this in the game anywhere until it's revealed, which is very close to the end of the game. I guess it goes back to what I was saying at the beginning of the write-up. It just feels so fake. I don't find myself caring because it doesn't seem to fit all together. Maybe if I were to play the game again, I'd appreciate him more and see more than I do now, but as it stands, bleh.

123. Mikoto (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Kuja... What you did was wrong... But you gave us all one thing... Hope... We were all created for the wrong reason, but you alone defied our fate. We do not want to forget this. We want your memory to live on remind us that we were not created for the wrong reason--that our life has meaning."

I think Mikoto is a pretty interesting character. She's the sources of some pretty important revelations. She's the one who tells Zidane about the Genomes, about Garland, about Terra's purpose to assimilate Gaia, and Zidane's role as the Angel of Death. She is much more like the Genomes than she is like Zidane and Kuja despite the fact that she has been created with the same role as them. She doesn't have much of a personality, showing practically no emotion and doesn't do much more than state facts while you're in Terra. When you're in the Black Mage Village, she doesn't do much more than ask questions because of the differences between Gaia and Terra. The only exception to this is Mikoto's speech at the end of the game, in which it doesn't seem like she is speaking with much emotion, but she seems different, like she's gradually changing and becoming more human. Up to this point, she's just been a cynical realist, but now it seems like she's changing. And as I was looking through the script trying to find a good Mikoto quote, and I found a conversation in Black Mage Village that I had never seen in the game that probably inspired her quote at the end of the game.

Mikoto: "This is where you bury the dead...? What's the point of this? It isn't like the dead would appreciate it."

Black Mage No. 288: "...You're right, but I don't think we build cemeteries for the dead. Sure, it may seem pointless to you, but... How can I describe it? It's so that we can think like this: 'We'll never forget you. We'll remember you every time we stand at your grave. And we won't let the fear of death, which each of us knows, stop us from living our lives...Because my friends will remember me when I'm here.'"

And as I read that, I saw Mikoto's quote in a different light. So now this topic has served to enlighten me about something I didn't know from a game I've been playing for 9 years now. Awesome. She seems like an interesting character (but now even more so than before), but she doesn't get much screen time, so it's hard to rank her high. Too bad you never get to use her in battle or anything because she's probably pretty powerful, considering she was designed for the same role as Zidane.

124. Palmer (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "Hey-hey! Tea! Can I have some too? With lotsa sugar and honey and... oh yeah, don't forget the lard!"

Maybe I'll take some flack for this low ranking, but...I'm not a big fan of Palmer. I mean, he's got two funny lines (The lard quote and "Rate hike! Rate hike! Tra la la!") and getting hit by the truck. That's really all he's got. Palmer is about as irrelevant as the space program that he's the head of in Final Fantasy VII. Actually, he's less relevant than that because eventually the rocket DOES get into space. Palmer really only makes three appearances: Rocket Town, the Shinra business meeting, and right after President Shinra is killed and he tells you Sephiroth was there. He's not really anything more than just a joke character, and as such, he doesn't get a high ranking from me. It's only worth so much in the grand scheme of things. I guess it's worth saying that he's one of the few Shinra people who survived the events of FFVII, but meh.

And I can never really decide if I like the boss fight with Palmer or not. The ending is obviously epic, but the fight itself...It's just eccentric. I know it's really a joke fight because you shouldn't lose to him for any reason whatsoever, but I hate fighting bosses with a good evasion stat because missed attacks annoy me. I know you can just own him with magic and all, but still. The Mako Gun is pretty neat, I guess. It reminds me of the guns in FFT that shoot spells (or I guess I should say the guns in FFT remind me of the Mako Gun because I played FFVII first), which is cool. All that strange posturing Palmer does though...I dunno. Hmmm...

125. Cinna (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "No! No one touches my hammer but me!"

Oh Cinna, you crazy guy you. In the overall scheme of the game, he's pretty useless, but I think he's a funny character. He has a lot of funny moments, particularly when it comes to his hammer and South Gate Bundt Cake. The dude is also ugly, which Zidane makes a joke about early in the game, prompting the awesome "I wash up every morning, you know!" quote. He also has a strange fetish for dolls, particularly ones that look like Princess Garnet. For whatever the reason, Vivi calls Cinna his uncle one time, which also riles him up with great results. He's particularly possessive of his hammer, for whatever the reason. He refuses to let anyone borrow it for any reason, but if you collect all the Stellazzio coins, you get Cinna's hammer somehow, which for whatever the reason gives you a bonus scene in the ending! You can also give it to Hades in Memoria to open a Synthesis shop, which totally isn't worth it! Now we can see why he holds onto that hammer!

But the main reason Cinna is up this high is because he's involved in a particularly awesome ATE which is probably missed out by a good number of people because it requires some odd conditions to see. Unfortunately, I can't find any videos of it, and it's not in the FFIX script on this site. Basically, what happens is that he gets stuck at South Gate eating Bundt Cake and continually missing his train when Baku shows up and finds him. Suffice it to say, Baku delivers the pain and much hilarity ensues. It's a great moment. So Cinna ranks this high for his comedic value. Oh, and his strength in battle is jokeworthy as well.

126. Cardinal Alphons Draclau (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "it's that dude who was old and bald, and he turned into some other boss that wasn't very difficult" - Lopen

Whoo, four FFT characters in a row! I find it hard to improve upon Lopen's write-up of the guy, but I'll give it a shot! I suppose the cool thing with Draclau is that he's the character who basically starts to reveal that everything in Ivalice is not exactly what it seems. There's corruption in the nobility, and there's corruption in the Church of Glabados as well. Draclau is basically the guy who reveals the latter to you. At first, he seems like a nice guy with whom Ovelia can take refuge from Goltana and Larg.

Whoops, my mistake. In reality, Draclau is in cahoots with Bart Rudvich, and he uses him to try to get the Taurus stone from Mustadio. Then after he fails, he allies himself with Gafgarion, which is strange to me because Gafgarion is working for Dycedarg, who's working for Larg (kinda), but yet Draclau's also working with the Temple Knights, including Delita, who then takes Ovelia from the castle to Goltana. Whatever. Too much double- and triple-crossing to keep up with for me.

Of course, Ramza realizes the truth, and you have to go fight the guy. Draclau reveals the true nature of the Zodiac Stones, and he transforms into Queklain. I don't remember much about this fight other than the fact that he uses a bunch of status effects on you. As stated before, one of my basic guidelines of RPG boss battles is: Bosses that use primarily status effects to defeat you suck. Queklain is no exception.

And I guess Draclau also sets a new aspect and phase of the story into motion by his death, that of Ramza being labeled a heretic and an enemy of the church. He really sets the main plotline of the game into motion, which is worth something, I guess.

127. Miluda Folles (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "It's not your fault. But I'll keep blaming you until there's a change! As long as you're a Beoulve, you're my enemy!"

Miluda kinda annoys me for the same reasons Algus does, but only from the opposite end of the spectrum, obviously. She's completely unreasonable concerning nobility and can't believe that any of them could possibly be good, even as Ramza tries to talk her out of fighting and spare her life. I mean, I understand where her distrust comes from, but she even admits that the only reason Ramza is her enemy is because of his name. She actually does see that there's something different about him, but she still refuses to make peace with him.

Miluda doesn't seem to think that there can ever be peace between them or the lines can ever be broken, so the only solution is to rebel against the nobility and extinguish it. I personally think that's rather foolish, and she took it too far. Really, she didn't have to die, but she basically insisted on it. Ramza didn't want to do kill her, but she basically gave him no choice. On the bright side, her death basically sparked the storyline between Ramza and Wiegraf, so that's a good thing.

128. Malak Galthana (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Somebody called me...I don't know. I've never heard that voice...The voice said, 'Return to the ones with the right mind..."

  • still listening to "Requiem," aw yeah*

Rafa and Malak pretty much go hand in hand. It's hard to separate the two of them since their stories are so intertwined with one another. A lot of what I've said about Rafa in the previous write-up applies here, especially in terms of battle usefulness, so I'll spare you the repeat info. Overall, Malak is more unlikable than his sister because he stubbornly refuses to believe Rafa and chooses to believe Barinten instead. I don't know why he'd take the word of the Duke over his sister. Maybe out of gratitude for saving them? Rafa seems to think that Malak knows the real truth, and if he's aware but in denial, then that's pretty low of him.

But while Rafa's low point is the roof of Riovanes Castle, it's Malak's high point. He redeems himself here. He overhears Barinten basically bragging about all he did to Rafa, and he confronts him. Then, as the Duke's getting ready to shoot Rafa, Malak gets in the way and gets shot instead. That was a pretty noble sacrifice and proves that he really did love his sister, in spite of their fighting. I've already explained why I love his resurrection scene, but I do love the quote he gives afterward that I posted at the beginning of the write-up. Pretty neat, I think.

So I guess while Malak acts like a jerk on the surface, deep down, he's still a good guy who loves his sister. And thanks for inspiring "Requiem," dude!

129. Rafa Galthana (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "You know what he did! What he did to me! I KNOW you know!"

Rafa, of all of the storyline NPCs who eventually join your party, is one of the least important and least interesting overall. She has an interesting backstory somewhat, although mostly for its ambiguity. Did Barinten rape her or not? To me, it seems pretty obvious he did, and I heard the new translation in the PSP port makes it pretty clear. But really, there's not much more to it than that. She has a rivalry of sorts with her brother Malak as she tries to convince him of the Duke's evil ways to no avail.

However, Rafa is involved in one of my favorite scenes in the game: Malak's resurrection. One of the biggest reasons I love this scene is because "Requiem" plays here, and it's my favorite track in the game (in fact, I'm gonna listen to it while I write this). Another reason for it is because we learn the dual nature of the Zodiac Stones from Rafa. Up to this point, it seems like the Zodiac Stones are just purely evil and used by Lucavi to get his evil influence into the world. But with Rafa, we learn that the stones have the power to do good as well. The power of the stone really depends more on the one who's using it. It's just a cool scene.

Once you recruit Rafa into your party, there's really no reason to use her more than anyone else. The Heaven skill is pretty unreliable unless you somehow get a bunch of enemies grouped together into one area, which doesn't happen often. I admit that I'm not a great FFT player, so maybe there's some better way to use her skill, but I've never seen much use in it.

But the reason I put Rafa this low on the list is this: The battle on the roof of Riovanes Castle. I absolutely hate this battle, and she's the reason why. You have no idea how many times I've lost that battle because of this stupid girl. I don't know if any single part in any game has caused me more game overs than this one. She doesn't make it easy for me to protect her when she goes right into the middle of the assassins and Elmdor and hits them for piddly damage. Then, of course, because Celia and Lede are usually faster than most of my guys, they take out Rafa without much trouble before I can beat them. I hate this fight. I am thankful that someone taught me the trick of removing all equipment on one guy so the assassins target him instead of Rafa. It's made my life so much easier, but I still fought this battle with much frustration a hundred times before that.

So curse you, Rafa. Curse youuuuuuuuuuu!

130. Necron (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "You stand before the final dimension, and I am the darkness of eternity..."

First of all, seriously, what the heck is that, Amano? Second of all, what a ripoff of a last boss fight. The guy's a cheap ripoff of Zeromus's random endgame appearance combined with X-Death (Yes, that's right, X-Death) and his desire to return everything to nothingness (and also using a move called Grand Cross). I'm sure you've all heard the complaints about Necron several times before, but having a completely random last boss at the end of the game is just lame. At least you heard about Ultimecia a full disc before you fought her! His motivations, where he came from, and stuff like that are left almost entirely unexplained. There's not even any foreshadowing in the game about Necron, as far as I can tell. From what we can surmise, Kuja's actions (possibly the destruction of the Crystal) summoned him to this world to turn it into a zero state. I dunno. Some people, such as Semi, hail Necron as the true hero of Final Fantasy IX because he wants to destroy all traces of the game's existence, but he was foiled by the evil villains that are the game's cast. I'm not a proponent of that theory myself, but hey, it takes all kinds!

One thing that could've made Necron cooler is if they had stuck with the name he had in the Japanese version: Darkness of Eternity. That just sounds cool. In the quote I posted, he introduces himself as such. As it is, his name is derived from the Greek word for "dead," which isn't as cool. Apparently, Necron is a fan either of Star Wars or just Yoda because he totally rips off his famous quote from Episode I. Shameless plagiarism there. Also, apparently you can never truly defeat the guy. Necron claims he will always exist as long as there is life and death. That's kinda creepy.

On top of it all, Necron is probably my least favorite final boss battle in the Final Fantasy series. Bosses that primarily try to defeat you with status anomalies suck (although after playing Shadow Hearts 1's final boss, Necron doesn't seem so bad. My word). Really, he isn't that hard, and I can honestly say that I've only ever lost this battle one time. I still hate fighting it because it always takes longer than it should. Not to mention, the epic feel of a last boss in a Final Fantasy game just isn't here, and it may partially be due to the mediocre music. Necron just feels like an addendum thrown in at the end of the game. Trance Kuja felt more like the last boss than this guy.

Overall, yeah, Necron's pretty lame because he comes out of nowhere to destroy all existence for no reason. He's completely detached from the game's plot, and he disappears right after he appears. This might all be forgivable if he weren't the last boss of the game, but he is.

131. Eiko Carol (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Zidane! Oh, it was horrible! He called me a liar and a loudmouth and a brat!!!"

Yes, that's right, Eiko Carol is the worst permanent party member in the Playstation Final Fantasy games. Why? Well, the quote I posted sums a lot of it up. She is basically just a spoiled brat. She has the same problem that Leblanc has: An unrequited obsession, in Eiko's case, Zidane. Thankfully, by the end of the game, she tones that down considerably, but this is the first impression she makes. The entire time you're in Madain Sari, she's trying to figure out how to drive Zidane apart from Dagger so she can have him. I mean, I know it's not unusual for little girls to have crushes on grown men, but it shouldn't be a primary trait for a video game character! However, there is one thing on the bright side of this: Eiko's love letter, which sparks a giant chain reaction of awesome dramatic irony. I love that part of the game, but really, not much of the reason has to do with her. She just starts the chain by making Dr. Tot write a love letter for Zidane, which she promptly loses.

The game tries to make Eiko's bluntness into a cute or charming characteristic (Dr. Tot just laughs it off when she tells him why she thinks he's a nerd, for example), but it's just annoying because she's just being mean more than anything. She's really mean to Vivi sometimes, I think, and that's just not cool. I dunno, sometimes it just feels like she thinks she can do or say whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Like I said before, she's just a spoiled brat.

I'm not a big fan of Eiko in battle. She's basically just another Dagger (though I realize that there are some differences between the two). Anything she does, I already have Dagger there to do. Yeah, I know she has some spells and Eidolons that Dagger doesn't have access to, but still, it's not a difference maker, I think. Double White is kind of a lame Trance, too, though I guess it can come in handy every now and then. Plus, I'm not a big fan of physically weak magic users anyway, so that doesn't help.

Meh, these write-ups aren't turning out as well as I would like. I'm having a hard time coming up with the right words and crystallizing my thoughts.

132. Sorceress Adel (Final Fantasy VIII)

Quote: "You thought I would fall for that trick?"

To this day, I'm still not totally convinced Adel is actually a woman. I mean, seriously, look I dunno. To me, Adel is another one of those characters, like Yu Yevon in FFX, whose backstory strikes absolute fear into your heart at the possibility of fighting her, but when you actually get to fight her, it's somewhat lacking. I know the game gives the excuse that Adel hasn't fully awakened and hasn't fully regained her powers due to her long imprisonment, but still, kinda disappointing. It's not nearly as disappointing as Yu Yevon because Adel actually offers a challenge, although it's not quite as epic as it could be. That fight gave me a good bit of trouble the first time I played FFVIII. I remember accidentally killing Rinoa because I didn't realize you could hit her with a GF. Whoops.

Anyway, like I said, Adel has a pretty interesting backstory. She used to be the ruler of Esthar, and she's basically portrayed as pure evil in every way. She may even be more evil than Ultimecia herself, but just not as powerful. Or maybe she was, we don't know. Anyway, Adel kidnaps Ellone to become her successor, and Laguna goes in to rescue her. He successfully rescues her, and then uses her to lure Adel into a trap. Of course, the sorceress' downfall was her vast underestimation of Laguna's sheer cunning. I mean, who wouldn't fall for a plan as brilliant as this:

Laguna: "Hey, look over there!"

Adel: "Huh? Where?"

  • Laguna shoves her into the beam and she's frozen*

Pure brilliance. Not to mention, how strong does Laguna have to be to be able to shove Adel like that? Just think about it. The woman's like 20 feet tall and built like a bodybuilder! Anyway, they send her into space, and you eventually find out she's the reason for the worldwide signal interference (Fun Fact: When you go to Timber and you're standing in front of the giant TV screen, you can actually read messages of Adel's thoughts on the TV screen that she's transporting through the signal interference. She says three things: "IAMALIVE," "IWILLNEVERLETYOUFORGETABOUTME," and "BRINGMEBACKTHERE"). Then you find out Ultimecia's trying to free her so she can possess her and enact Time Compression. Then that's when the crap hits the fan.

Eventually, you have to chase her to Lunatic Pandora, but Seifer kidnaps Rinoa and basically feeds her to Adel. That FMV where she breaks free and snatches Rinoa is pretty stinkin' awesome and kinda scary. In all honesty, she could have made a better final boss than Ultimecia. She's a lot more intimidating than she is, that's for sure, and it would've avoided all those timeloops and stuff. But then again, the FFVIII ending wouldn't have happened the way it did, and that wouldn't have been cool.

I've actually said a lot of good things about Adel, so why is she ranked so low? Basically for the same reasons I ranked Yu Yevon so low: Awesome backstory that fails to deliver when you actually fight her. She delivers moreso than Yu Yevon does, so she gets ranked higher. Plus, she's rarely seen and she rarely speaks. She has a lot of wasted potential here.

133. Prince Druksmald Goltana (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: "Nobody wants you to be king!" - Delita Hyral

This guy is a royal jerk, quite literally. Delita's quote sums this guy up. Who in the world would want this guy to be king? He's completely unreasonable and pigheaded. He essentially stabs Orlandu in the back, the guy who had been his greatest warrior and really, his most loyal and caring follower (not to mention your greatest warrior, basically. Imprisoning and almost executing this guy in the middle of the war is a pretty stupid move. He seemed to be a pretty dumb tactician overall anyway. Trying to advance your troops through a flood?). Orlandu was willing to say what was unpopular because he cared about Ivalice and he wanted Goltana to do right, and this is how you repay him? Accusing him of treason and being completely unwilling to listen to his defense? Hadn't he at least earned the right to defend himself after all his loyal service? Just the way Goltana treated Orlandu left a bad taste in my mouth and is enough to warrant him such a low place on this list.

The way Delita took out Goltana was pure ownage. One of Delita's finest moments in the game, honestly. "That's not a good idea." *draws sword and stabs in one swift motion* Aw yeah, sweet action. I know Delita was basically playing the guy like a fiddle and had no loyalties to the guy, but I dunno why guys like Orlandu and Olan stayed with this guy. I mean, Larg isn't much better, I guess, but still. Maybe they just believed in Ovelia or something.

134. Nooj (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "Death will be my apology."

Oh wow, as I was looking up info on Nooj, I just realized that his VA later became Sephiroth's VA. I don't know why I didn't realize this sooner. In any case, as a character, Nooj is pretty boring. They call him the "Deathseeker" because he was just looking for a place to die on the battlefield. Sounds like Fortune from MGS2 to me, although without as much melodrama. Regardless, it's still pretty cliche. I don't know why in the world this guy's the leader of the Youth League considering he's an old fart. Maybe he's having a mid-life crisis or something.

I dunno. Maybe I'm being too hard on the guy because of his association with Leblanc (although that is a horrible thing). He's not really a bad character, per se, but he might be the most boring character in the series. I dunno if he wasn't supposed to speak with emotion or something, but he doesn't. He's just bleh. The strange thing is that the game tries to make it seem like Nooj is a funny guy, but I don't get it. There's nothing special about his character. The whole betraying everyone and all seemed like an interesting angle until you found out it was just Shuyin possessing him. It was pretty awesome when Yuna owned him with the "I don't like your plan. It sucks" line though.

135. Ruby (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "This cowgirl's wilder than a buckin' bronco!"

Why in the world did I rank Ruby this high again? For those of you who are in the dark about who Ruby is (because you sure can't figure it out from Amano art!), she's part of the Tantalus Troupe, and she plays the lead role of Cornelia in "I Want to Be Your Canary" in the beginning (or at least she was supposed to) and the ending of the game. She doesn't play much of a role though, so why rank her above other more important characters? I dunno, maybe I was charmed by her Southern accent or something. I do enjoy her awesome lines that Square gave her as a result, such as the one I posted. She can be pretty funny because of that. Plus, she's kinda cute.

Well, I guess Ruby's cool because she allows you to complete the Mognet Central sidequest by giving you the Superslick! She also seems to have some sort of crush on Zidane, but she never really voices it. She's also a good actress!

Ah, who am I kidding? Switch her place with Eiko, and let's move on!

136. Leblanc (Final Fantasy X-2)

Quote: "What can I say? One look at Noojie-Woojie’s dashing visage on that sphere and I was—oh!—charmed. How can I say no to such a kyootzie-wootzie face?"

Ugh. Just ugh. Leblanc is just so sickening. That quote of hers I posted pretty much sums it up. She's a super-obsessed stalker fanatic, and for Nooj of all people. Whenever she shows up, I know I'm going to be cringing soon because of some cheesy, syrupy line about Nooj or something. He's all she talks about. Have you ever known a girl in real life who just talks and talks and talks and talks about this one guy incessantly and never shuts up about him as if they were a couple, even though it's obvious he doesn't feel the same way about her? Well, that's Leblanc. It's just annoying, and I wish she would shut up.

I wish Square hadn't made Leblanc a semi-important character in FFX-2. It's been a while since I've played the game, but I think she probably shows up at least once in every chapter. Of course, the worst thing about her in the game is the massage mini-game. I hope whoever came up with that idea got fired or shot, either one, if not both. It might be one thing if Leblanc was either hot or had a sexy voice, but neither applies to her. As such, it's a dreadful experience. There are times when I don't mind the blatant fanservice in FFX-2, but that one certainly isn't one of those times.

137. Yu Yevon (Final Fantasy X)

Quote: "Fool. There is no other way. Even if there was... Even if you did destroy Sin... Yu Yevon the immortal would only create Sin anew." - Yunalesca

Somebody remind me why I'm fighting a giant tick at the end of the game. That was just so horribly anti-climactic. There's all this buildup about Yu Yevon. He's supposed to be by far the greatest summoner there ever was. He's so powerful that he's able to use thousands of faith at once in order to maintain the Dream Zanarkand. He's so powerful that he can break the bond between the summoner and the Final Aeon, killing the summoner and taking the Aeon for himself. He's so powerful that he commands Sin, the practically invincible creature that has terrorized Spira for a thousand years.

And then you find out Yu Yevon is a giant tick. I understand the symbolism and all that, but seriously, what the heck? I thought fighting Yu Yevon could be awesome with all the buildup, but he can't even kill you. Even without Auto-Life, he couldn't kill you. It's strange how Final Fantasy X goes full circle with its bosses. The first boss you fight only uses gravity spells and can't kill you, and the last "boss" you fight only uses gravity spells and can't kill you. I'm just not sure what Square was thinking with this one. Just a major letdown, but it's forgivable because nearly everything else about the end of the game in Final Fantasy X is absolutely incredible. Fighting Yu Yevon is basically an afterthought. A highly disappointing and anticlimactic one, but an afterthought nonetheless.

This is a tangent, but I don't like it when people call Yu Yevon the last boss of Final Fantasy X (Yes, I'm aware I did it myself in this write-up, but I used the term loosely and facetiously). The final boss of FFX is Braska's Final Aeon. Calling Yu Yevon the last boss of FFX is like calling Cloud's "Press O to win" Omnislash at the end of FFVII the final boss.

138. Heidegger (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "Reeve, you should flush those personal problems in the morning!"

Following "Kya ha ha" is "Gya ha ha." Heidegger is better than Scarlet, but not by much. Unlike his Shinra counterpart, he actually has some golden moments. First of all, I love the quote of his that I posted at the beginning. I dunno why, but I do. I also love his tendency to beat up people after Rufus rips his face, such as throwing people into the ocean at Costa Del Sol. That's great stuff. It's awesome that he tends to be the butt of everyone's jokes in Shinra, especially when Rufus makes fun of his "stupid horse laugh."

But I'm not sure how someone like Heidegger is actually one of the bosses of the Turks. The dude's pretty much incompetent, but for some reason, he doesn't seem to realize it. In fact, he thinks he's quite capable and he's actually worth something. He seems to think he's too good to take orders from Reeve, and then it goes to his head that somehow he's in charge now. He doesn't seem to like Rufus too much, but Heidegger sure seems to suck up to President Shinra. I also think it's quite strange that Heidegger makes fun of the mayor by saying he "just sits in this building all day feeding his face." I mean, it doesn't seem like you've been layin' off the Choco Puffs yourself there, Heidegger (Seriously, that's got to be the name of a cereal in the Final Fantasy world!).

I dunno, I don't hate Heidegger or anything, not quite like I do the three that are below him. He's good for a laugh or two, but he's pretty much worthless.

139. Scarlet (Final Fantasy VII)

Quote: "Something stinks..."

Another one of those broads I can't stand, Scarlet is just stuck up beyond belief (Kinda strange that she accuses Tifa of being "stuck up to the end" in Junon). Her attitude is just awful. She just thinks she's all that, some sorta Prima Donna. She doesn't really have any great moments other than the quote I posted and Tifa getting to slap the crap out of her. Admittedly, that's a highly satisfying moment in FFVII, but that's because Scarlet is so horrible. Actually, one of Cait Sith's great moments in FFVII is blasting her with sleeping gas. Scarlet getting repeatedly owned in Junon at the beginning of disc 2 is great stuff.

Scarlet is also a shameless plagiarist! She claims to rename the Mako cannon "Sister Ray," even though you can actually see that it already had that name in Junon! Okay, that's kind of a lame point, but whatever. Another lame point: Why in the world does she just shoot Dyne and Barret through the hand? I mean, they're both just there helpless. Why not just shoot Barret in the head or something? She acts like she's such a great shot, too, but the only reason she's even able to hit them is because the two of them can't move! Gimme a break, man!

Scarlet also thinks that the Proud Clod is something special, but THAT thing was supposed to beat Weapon? Psh, not a chance. I bet she gave it that stupid name, too. Her laugh is stupid, too, even worse than Heidegger's. I'm not sure why he takes all the flack from Rufus for that! Well, she got what was coming to her in the end.

Hmmm...Not a great write-up, but whatever. Scarlet doesn't deserve one!

140. Queen Brahne (Final Fantasy IX)

Quote: "Bwahahaha! Kuja! So you finally decided to show your girly face here! You're all that stands between me and total domination!"

I refuse to post a picture of Brahne on principle to avoid offending your senses and mine. If she's not in the top ten ugliest video game women of all-time, I don't want ever want to see the ones that beat her. Yuck, she's just utterly disgusting. I can barely stand the sight of her. Plus, her personality is nearly as disgusting as her appearance. There's really nothing likable about her. She makes a horrible first impression by nearly forgetting Steiner's name! Seriously, how do you forget about the Captain of THE KNIGHTS OF PLUTO?!

Overall, Brahne just your typical power-hungry tyrant. She doesn't care about anyone or anything but world domination. She's even willing to throw her daughter aside just to get the Eidolons. She's really perceived as the main threat until the very end of the second disc when Kuja shows her what's up. Speaking of which, seeing Bahamut totally own her was awesome. She got what was coming to her. I just wish Square hadn't tried to do a lame deathbed repentance thing with her to try to make you pity her, trying to make it seem like she was just being controlled by Kuja and her greed. That didn't really do anything for me. Brahne isn't a sympathy figure by any stretch of the imagination. She's just disgusting in every sense of the word.

141. Algus Sadalfas (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Quote: Heh! Commoners are all alike. You'll never be nobles! Delita, you don't belong here! Understand, rascal!?

Man, I hate this guy. Is he the worst character in Final Fantasy history from an objective standpoint? No, in fact, it's because Square does such a good job with this guy that makes me hate his guts. They made him the most hate-able character in the series. Algus stands in such extreme contrast to Ramza that it's hard not to hate the guy if you like Ramza (which I do). The two of them couldn't be more different. The only thing they have in common is that they're both nobles. However, while Ramza thinks of nobility as more of a privilege and a responsibility, Algus thinks of it as his birthright and disdains anyone who's a commoner, possibly a result of his own bitterness toward his fallen family name and status. He doesn't think the line can ever be crossed, nor should it be.

At first, Algus really isn't that bad, but as the first chapter progresses, his true feelings and intentions slowly reveal themselves. Admittedly, his dialogue with Miluda at the thieves' fort is pretty awesome, but it basically sums up who he is. He was a total jerk to Delita after Teta had been kidnapped and just mocked him. I just couldn't stand his attitude there (although him calling Delita a rascal gives me a good chuckle, for whatever the reason). Honestly, I think the breaking point for me hating Algus as much as I do is Fort Zeakden. He shot and killed Teta without a second thought (though Zalbag ordered it without a second thought, but that's neither here nor there). The battle that ensues is great, and on my first playthrough, I don't know how many times I lost. The dialoguing between Algus, Ramza, and Delita is good stuff here as well. Killing him and putting him down was extremely satisfying, I must say.

So really, it's almost an honor for Algus to be considered my most hated character in Final Fantasy fandom because he's hate-able for all the right reasons. He's not particularly deep or anything. He just has one unlikeable attribute carried to the extreme (his intolerance), and it produces the desired effect. Algus was meant to be hated, and I'm not going to disappoint in that department!

P.S. No, I won't be using the PSP remake's name changes because I've never played it and because the name ARGATH is rather silly.