I’m starting my project by playing one of the most celebrated RPGs of all time, in one of the most well-known and celebrated series’ of all time: Final Fantasy VII.
I’ve been playing the Final Fantasy series for as long as I can remember; in fact, my first ‘big kid’ gaming experience was with Final Fantasy 3 (or Final Fantasy VI, for you hardcore fans) for the SNES. My best friend at the time lent it to me, along with a tattered walk-through book that had absolutely beautiful art. (I’ll talk about my obsessive love for walk-through books in another post, don’t you worry.)
I’ve played and loved all of the Final Fantasy titles, but only every finished one: Final Fantasy X. So when they were released for PC I picked them up without a second thought.
Now I’m actually hitting Play on those suckers and putting in the hours of grindy goodness.
There have been 1001 reviews for every single Final Fantasy game, so I won’t bore you with another. However, I’ve thought about several interesting side-notes while playing, the first of which is the enormous amount of strong female characters in this series.
Here are my top 5.
5. Aranea Highwind
Ok, so she’s not really a main character, but there aren’t any female mains in Final Fantasy XV. However this lady is an absolute unit.
She is a dragoon’s dragoon – no-nonsense, a powerful fighter, and a strong and loyal ally. I really wish I saw her more, but since I never finished XV either, maybe I’ll see her more when I play it all the way through.
4. Celes Chere
Celes is a magic sword-wielding super soldier, making her badass right from the get-go of FFVI. But instead of staying hard as nails throughout the whole story, she does something that is terrifying to many people IRL: she allows herself to become vulnerable and forms strong attachments to her party-mates, knowing full well that she might lose them at any moment. Talk about a superhero.
Most of the romances throughout FF are kind of cringy in my opinion, but the love that slowly grows between Celes and Locke (my favorite FF character of all time) really works for me.
Celes was one of the few characters in my whole FF career that stayed in my party almost 100% of the time, probably making her one of my strongest characters ever built.
FFXIII’s Lightning is the first real female lead in the series, and she defines strong. She never gives in under the pressure of her surroundings, but faces her challenges head-on with courage and fortitude.
She also doesn’t require any sort of romance; her story stands on it’s own and her development doesn’t revolve around falling in love, which is pretty darn rare in the JRPG setting.
Lulu has a hard job, being the voice of harsh reason among a cast of bright and spirited, overly-hopeful mains in FFVIII. She has put aside most of her own personal dreams to be the bodyguard for someone she deems more important than herself.
I really identified with Lulu on several levels. I became a caretaker for family members of failing health at a very early age, forming my life choices around the needs of others. You miss out on a lot doing this, and you have to make some hard choices while everyone around you is doing what they want to do. Lulu also holds onto a sense of whimsy, using Mog dolls to channel her devastating black magic attacks. (She also dresses like a sexy witch. Points for me!)
1. Tifa Lockhart
I’m sure my number one comes as no surprise, since Tifa is often a fan favorite when it comes to FF female characters. She is a very strong fighter, is loyal to her friends and to her cause, and often serves as the backbone for her FFVII group.
She’s also very pretty, without needing outrageous fan service to make her overly sexual. (But, of course you’ll find tons of fan service on the web for her – she’s a fox.) Women can be both strong and beautiful, and I love Tifa for defining that role.
So, what do you think of my choices? Let me know in the comments below!