Final Fantasy is one of gaming’s most treasured and tenured franchises. For me, it was my introduction to a more mature sort of game, one where it was story driven and my favorite genre, the JRPG. With that said, My name’s Jesse, but I go by J2 on the interwebs, and here’s my top 10 Final Fantasy characters.
10 – Tonberry
The most misleading enemy of my childhood kicks off my list of Final Fantasy characters. Tonberries are a small, green-skinned, yellow round-eyed kind of lizard looking enemy in a cloak that holds a lantern in one hand and a small knife in the other. They’re a common enemy in the series. It’s tiny stature and cute look gives you the false confidence that this is an easy kill. Until it attacks you and it’s usually an insta kill hit dealing max damage. Tonberry is memorable for not only being cute, but for the savagery in its deceitful depiction. Little bastard.
9 – Laguna Loire
Laguna is a Galbadian soldier and is a playable character in Final Fantasy VIII. When you first take control of Laguna and his squad, it’s a strange, but pleasant change of pace. It threw me off as you’re just randomly thrown into this dream sequence with no back story. You’re just this random long-haired guy with a machine gun. The easiest thing to make the whole scenario enjoyable being the new and cool sounding battle theme song. As the game progresses the player experiences an amazing and vague conclusion to his story. One of the coolest tie-ins and spins I’ve personally ever experienced in gaming. It’s complete with action and love. He’s one of the more relatable as far as Final Fantasy characters go. I mean, What person can’t relate with a character who gets nervous when speaking to someone they find attractive. So nervous in fact, that your leg starts cramping up. Same, Laguna. Same.
8 – Moogle
So. Damn. Cute. I mean. Cmon, really? Little white cat looking beings with a nice little puff ball looming over their heads. They can fly. They serve as save points in Final Fantasy IX, immediately tying them to that game for me. They are not exclusive to that game, though. They debuted in Final Fantasy III. But that feel of relief you got when finally seeing one in IX makes them that much important. They make random appearances throughout the series and it definitely suits their overall just random nature.
7 – Zack Fair
Next up is Clou-errrr. I mean Zack, from Final Fantasy VII. This is one of the more confusing Final Fantasy characters to explain. Throughout Final Fantasy VII the main character Cloud constantly has flashbacks. Long story short the game just wants to mess with you. The flashbacks turn out to be Zack’s story. So, when you think about it. The bad ass you grew fond of through back stories was not Cloud, but Zack. That in itself speaks for the character’s appeal. BUT. Then he got his own spinoff and it was a damn good game as well. All that did was make him a much more likable character as it filled in some blanks. Here’s to the original wielder of the buster sword.
6 – Balthier
Let’s be real here. Balthier is the star of Final Fantasy XII. He’s cocky but he’s not a jerk. In fact, he’s rather cocky with good reason. What can’t he do? He holds the team down and is one of the most charismatic characters in gaming. Balthier is a Sky Pirate that has his own airship. Come on. Not to mention his bad ass weapon. What more can you say about a guy who’s not the main playable protagonist, yet steals the show.
5 – Sephiroth
The man who needs no introduction. Sephiroth is my favorite villain in the series, and sure sure I know who you’re gonna say is better. But too bad. It’s my list. He runs around destroying whatever and whoever he wants in Final Fantasy VII. If you ask my brother to name one character in the series. That’s this guy. The scene where he stares at you and walks off into a fiery background is one of the most memorable in gaming today. Ask anyone who has played Final Fantasy VII and it’s a good bet that’s the scene they’ll say stands out. How can such an evil bastard be so likable. Not to mention…. you know… it’s still too soon… oh Aeris….
4 – Yuna
So, I’m gonna start off by saying that Tidus holds his own as one of the best main series protagonists. But as far as my favorite character in Final Fantasy X, I would have to tip my cap to Yuna. She is a summoner that literally has a squad of characters protecting her. But the thing about it is, you end up realizing how she ends up protecting them. She is the only character in the game that can even call upon Aeons, the powerful beings also known as GFs or summons in other games. The girl can hold her own. She’s a strong independent woman who don’t need no man. Clearly, someone with strong influence at Square knows what I’m talking about. As the game received a spin-off, Final Fantasy X-2, where she was in the spotlight. But. We’ll leave it there.
3 – Cecil Harvey
A dark knight? This protagonist to Final Fantasy IV is easily one of the most in depth in the series. The game starts off with Cecil being stripped of his position in the military for questioning the king’s orders. It’s an intense story with the intro alone just showing battles of morality. Throughout the game itself you get to enjoy some serious character development. Eventually becoming a paladin and as a result his entire sprite and icon change. Giving you that sense of evolution. Your character is growing and you’re in the driver’s seat. It’s a shame this game took so long to hit the US as he could’ve easily been my favorite.
2 – Squall Leonhart
The main protagonist to Final Fantasy VIII, and the part of a game that felt much more mature. Funny thing about that is the fact he is one of the younger Final Fantasy characters in the series. It’s the art direction and the player models that give off the vibe. That much is evident when taken into account that he’s only a year older than the much more ‘cute’ looking Zidane, who is the protagonist to Final Fantasy IX. The game opens up with Squall in a battle which ends in bloodshed. He takes a sword swipe to his face and with much anger and determination charges back. Opening scene out. Oh. Did I mention that his sword has a gun trigger. That’s right. Gun blades. He sports that scar he suffered in the intro throughout the whole game. He would’ve been first if not for, well,…
1 – Cloud Strife
As you scrolled down and didn’t see him, you knew it was inevitable. No top list of Final Fantasy characters would be complete without him. The number 1 Final Fantasy character, and one I hold dearest, is the one and only Cloud Strife. Debuting in Final Fantasy VII, he is undeniably the most recognizable character in the series. He has everything you could want from a JRPG’s main protagonist. Crazy spiky hair, oversized sword, and the mysterious and silent personality. It definitely helps his standing that Final Fantasy VII was my introduction to the series. Cloud has easily one of the most memorable supporting casts in gaming. From a guy with a gun for an arm, to a talking red cat, and well, a small falling cat. He does, however, hold his own and stand out just fine. With Final Fantasy VII receiving various spinoff games and movies, and the remake on the way, he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Not to mention, he’s the type of dude that is willing to fight until the end and will even dress like a woman to save a pal. There’s not much to dislike here.
Well, that wraps up my top 10 Final Fantasy characters. Go ahead. Fight me about it. But before you do, let me know. Who are your favorites?