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Who is Squall?[]

Squall Leonhart, main character of Final Fantasy 8 and quintissential badass through and through, is one of the better Final Fantasy leads, and in the eyes of many, he is the best of them all. On the outside, Squall comes off as little more than the typical sulken, moody Final Fantasy protagonist. But thanks to the art of Final Fantasy 8 itself, we can see more of Squall than his outward gestures and speech. We can see what he's thinking, what he's feeling, and why he does what he does. One one hand, Squall is a character who follows orders given to him diligently.

"We fight because we have to", Squall says to Bahamut at one point. Squall is a character devoted to his duties within SeeD, the elite mercenary force that Squall belongs to for the entirety of Final Fantasy 8, and like the true soldier that Squall is, he puts his orders ahead of everything else, including his own life. But as Final Fantasy 8 progresses, we learn that there is an entirely different level to why Squall is the way he is. On top of that, Final Fantasy 8 allows us to see what Squall thinks. It gives his character a purpose and personification rarely seen in Final Fantasy titles of the past. Squall eventually falls completely in love with Rinoa, and the passion that he once gave to his orders are soon used to ensure that Rinoa lives. But with Squall's self discovery comes a struggle within himself. On one hand, Squall knows that he wants to spend the rest of his life with Rinoa and will do whatever it takes to keep her safe from harm. On the other hand, Squall following orders so feverishly also leads to Rinoa being put in harm regardless. It is this inner struggle that defines Squall as a character, and Final Fantasy 8 is all about watching Squall's character development progress past this issue. Final Fantasy 8 isn't without its fair share of issues in many other areas, but when it comes to the core of Squall's lion-type character, the game remains very consistent. Squall's character isn't for everyone, but those willing to give both him and his game a fair chance are treated to a character whose story can be amazing.

For those who disagree with Squall's character developing at all, he also makes an appearance as one of the single best aloof badasses in Kingdom Hearts. No matter how you feel about his role in Final Fantasy 8, it's hard to continue the grudge after playing Kingdom Hearts. Squall (or Leon, as they refer to him in the game) challenges Sora to a very difficult battle early in the game when he learns that he is not the chosen wielder of the Keyblade. It's an amazing battle, but it's also far too short to entertain the tastes of the gaming community. Thankfully, you can fight Squall's improved form in the Colosseum as many times as your little heart desires. Not only does Squall give one of the best fights in the game, but his look is far improved from his Final Fantasy 8 form. His hair is longer, his battle strategy is far more strategic than it was in Final Fantasy 8, and if Squall wasn't in with the ladies before Kingdom Hearts, there was no doubt afterwards.

Overall, Squall is a "love him or hate him" type of character. Some people love him to the absolute death, while others detest him. This split is extraordinary, but when discussing a character of Squall's stature, could it possibly be any other way?

"I won't have anyone speak of me in the past tense!" - Squall Leonhart

Squall's Contest History[]

Win-Loss Record: 19-10

Summer 2002 Contest - East Division - 15 Seed

  • Eastern Round 1 --- Lost to (2) Solid Snake, 24779 [34.57%] - 46897 [65.43%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 20th Place [24.36%]


Summer 2003 Contest - North Division - 6 Seed

  • Northern Round 1 --- Defeated (11) Jill Valentine, 57392 [59.99%] - 38274 [40.01%]
  • Northern Quarterfinal --- Defeated (3) Luigi, 69958 [60.21%] - 46232 [39.79%]
  • Northern Semifinal --- Lost to (2) Samus, 47103 [41.8%] - 65582 [58.2%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 16th Place [30.7%]


Summer 2004 Contest - Midgar Division - 4 Seed

  • Midgar Round 1 --- Defeated (13) Bomberman, 52540 [64.75%] - 28597 [35.25%]
  • Midgar Quarterfinal --- Defeated (5) Kirby, 51462 [55.01%] - 42084 [44.99%]
  • Midgar Semifinal --- Lost to (1) Cloud, 21240 [23.79%] - 68050 [76.21%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 17th Place [29.58%]

Squall's split personality also affects those who vote in his matches. Many people love him, but many people also detest the very mention of him. For this reason alone, Squall's matches always seem to generate a lot of publicity. Not as much as the likes of Cloud and Sephiroth, but it's there. In 2002, Squall was horribly underseeded and forced to take on Solid Snake in the very first round. Squall suffered one of the worst losses ever felt by a Square character in a non-SFF match, and because of this, Squall was horribly underestimated in 2003. This underestimation may very well have been the direct cause of what may go down as one of the all-time great matches in Summer Contest history.

In that 2003 contest, Squall was expected to do about as badly as in 2002. What reason did anyone have to think otherwise? But as the contest got underway, Squall proved that he was the victim of underseeding, not weakness, in 2002. Jill Valentine was expected to give Squall a good fight in 2003, but instead was held to 40% after never being in the match in the first place.

But the first round was nothing compared to what was coming next. Squall's next opponent was Luigi, a character expected to not blow through the first two rounds, but a character that was also expected to be a decent threat against Samus. Some even said that Luigi could pose a threat to Link himself. There was little hype about the match between Luigi and Squall, simply because it was so widely believed that Luigi would win with ease. At the onset of the match, Luigi jumped out to the early lead after the first update. All was well and good, but once the second update came, Squall showed that he was not going to simply roll over and die. Not only was Squall putting up a decent fight, but he was actually coming back. With the next update, Squall actually took a small lead over Luigi.

All hell was getting ready to break loose at that point, and after Squall increased his lead to an insurmountable margin with the next update, it flat-out exploded. Squall went on to take down the heavily-favored Luigi with absolute ease. Even if you didn't like the result, the aftermath from the match made it one of the single best matches of all time. As for those who were rooting for Squall from the beginning, it was the greatest match of all time. Squall lost to Samus with ease after that, but honestly, does anyone remember (or care about) this?

2004 was a year in which Squall was brought down to earth a little bit. Every contest has a character dubbed as the one to take down Bomberman and Kirby before losing to a character of championship caliber, and in 2004, that character was Squall. He took down the aforementioned Bomberman/Kirby duo with relative ease before getting blown away by Cloud in the third round, but despite this, nothing can take away from what Squall did in 2003. Squall was the character that was able to prove how weak Luigi truly was, and even if Squall is never able to repeat this magic again, he was still a character who gave us one of the single best matches we have ever seen.

Squall's role in this contest, at least for the time being, is a character capable of a 4-6 seed. This is decent enough, but so long as Squall is stuck facing worthy 1-2 seeds in the third round every year, he will likely never break the glass ceiling that is the third round for him. With that said, Squall is one of those upper-middle tier characters that could easily do some real damage in this contest given the right bracket, and for Squall's fans, they will continue to hope for such a bracket every year. If Scorpion can do it, then why not Squall?


Summer 2005 Contest - Devil Division - 2 Seed

  • Devil Round 1 --- Defeated (7) Geno, 74412 [74.84%] - 25022 [25.16%]
  • Devil Semifinal --- Defeated (6) Knuckles, 53310 [53.80%] - 45780 [46.20%]
  • Devil Final --- Lost to (5) Vincent, 48297 [49.41%] - 49446 [50.59%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 12th Place [32.22%]

Another contest, another third round loss for the hero of Final Fantasy 8.

However, this one was easily the most painful of them all for him. Once Magus was upended by Knuckles, the door was wide open for Squall to take the entire division and finally get over the hump that has held him back all this time. He did his part in winning his first two matches with ease (including taking down the character who had beaten Magus for him), but his duel with Vincent was arguably the best match of the entire contest. Squall did absolutely everything he could to take Vincent down and was deadlocked with him for literally hours, but he just couldn't get past.... whatever that thing is that holds certain characters back, and Vincent used this to his advantage to win the match fairly comfortably after an hours-long struggle to put Squall away.

Squall's loss to Vincent was about as good of an example of a moral victory as one could find, but had Squall been able to pull this off it would have gone a long way in finally getting rid of some of the FF7 > FF8 mystique that has been plaguing GameFAQs from the beginning. This more than anything else is perhaps the worst part of Squall's loss, because FF8 fans have been waiting for years to see some vindication. But Squall continues to inch ever closer, and there's always Kingdom Hearts 2 to consider.


Summer 2006 Contest - Patriot Division - 4 Seed

  • Patriot Round 1 --- Defeated (5) Tidus, 82091 [72.02%] - 31893 [27.98%]
  • Patriot Semifinal --- Lost to (1) Solid Snake, 57666 [42.41%] - 78314 [57.59%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 10th Place [39.77%]

Though Squall's loss to Snake was pretty bad given what the LOL X-Stats predicted, it's still better than the 65-35 beating Snake laid on him in 2002. It's almost a pity Squall was stuck in a game like FF8, because he's a damn good character.


Summer 2007 Contest - Division 8 - First Group

  • Division 8 Round 1 --- 1st place, 46278 [35.33%] - Aeris, 33367 [25.48%] - Akuma, 30185 [23.05%] - Geno, 21141 [16.14%]
  • Division 8 Round 2 --- 1st place, 39993 [33.56%] - Sora, 35650 [29.92%] - Aeris, 22820 [19.15%] - Lara Croft, 20704 [17.37%]
  • Division 8 Final --- 2nd place, 43950 [30.81%] - Sonic, 46083 [32.31%] - Sora, 28537 [20.01%] - Sub-Zero, 24063 [16.87%]
  • Contest Quarterfinal --- 4th place, 31584 [20.49%] - L-Block, 44753 [29.03%] - Solid Snake, 44489 [28.86%] - Sonic, 33339 [21.63%]

This may have been Squall's best contest appearance to date. He LFF'd Aeris so badly that he made her look nearly as weak as Akuma and Lara Croft. Then he finally got past the third round hurdle for the first time, and he went toe-to-toe with Sonic the Hedgehog twice. If you're a Squall fan, you couldn't have expected much better than this from him.


Summer 2008 Contest - Division 6 - Second Group

  • Division 6 Round 1 --- 1st place, 57296 [45.06%] - Yoshi, 41736 [32.82%] - CATS, 19397 [15.25%] - Nathan Drake, 8730 [6.87%]
  • Division 6 Round 2 --- 1st place, 38857 [30.47%] - Sora, 36108 [28.31%] - Yoshi, 28625 [22.44%] - Fox McCloud, 23944 [18.77%]
  • Division 6 Final --- 3rd place, 23037 [16.39%] - Cloud Strife, 62857 [44.72%] - Mewtwo, 32551 [23.16%] - Sora, 22123 [15.74%]

Squall looked great early on. Even with Sora in the poll, Yoshi nor Fox McCloud could slip in. It was however Squall's downfall when both Sora and Cloud were in the same poll as he and Mewtwo grabbed the second place slot.


Winter 2010 Contest - Gear Division - 2 Seed

  • Gear Round 1 --- Defeated (15) Akuma, 47575 [68.01%]
  • Gear Round 2 --- Defeated (10) Terra Branford, 45568 [64.52%] - 25063 [35.48%]
  • Gear Semifinal --- Defeated (3) Auron, 34800 [51.81%] - 32370 [48.19%]
  • Gear Final --- Lost to (1) Solid Snake, 22628 [40.83%] - 3281- [59.17%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 11th Place [36.35%]

Squall's two matches were as easy as expected. The big match was Auron vs. Squall. It could have gone either way but Squall muscled through without too much problem. He did get a rematch against Snake but ended up doing worse than he did a few years back.


Summer 2013 Contest - Division 8 - 2 Seed

  • Division 8 Round 1 --- 1st place, 15031 [65.85%] - (17) Rayman, 5982 [26.21%] - (26) Commander Video, 1814 [7.95%]
  • Division 8 Round 2 --- 1st place, 11670 [39.38%] - (8) Missingno, 10611 [35.81%] - (5) Amaterasu, 7351 [24.81%]
  • Division 8 Final --- 3rd place, 13065 [27.05%] - (4) Pokemon Trainer Red, 18882 [39.10%] - (6) Vivi, 16344 [33.84%]

Again Squall proved his strength even in a contest where Square Enix mostly underperformed. After trampling fodder in his first match, Squall managed to have a comeback against a really powerful joke character (possibly helped by the fallout of the previous match, where Vivi beat Mario) even if Missingno lead for the first 4 hours. Unfortunadely the Vivi rallying made the Black Mage more powerful than ever and able to surpass Squall in round 3 - but enough so that the LFF would stop the victory of Red, already boosted by Pokémon hype. Squall doesn't get any more appearances other than the Kingdom Hearts and Dissidia games of life, but he still manages to soldier on, without the massive anti-voting of Cloud (who also got downed by Pokémon, but without Squall's extra grievances).

Fall 2018 Contest - Division 5 - 1 Seed

  • Division 5 Round 1 --- Defeated (16) Hat Kid, 21773 [75.88%] - 6920 [24.12%]
  • Division 5 Round 2 --- Defeated (8) Garrus Vakarian, 19202 [64.02%] - 10792[35.98%]
  • Division 5 Semifinal --- Lost to (4) Zelda, 11385 [36.68%] - 19656 - [63.32%]

The 1-seed and pushing all but one of the Noble Nine to later stages made it clear that Squall could finally get another good contest. And sure enough, he easily outmuscled his first two adversaries. But then Final Fantasy falling and Nintendo rising came to its head as Zelda gave a beating to Squall one would only expect from her lover Link.

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