Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters – #1

Finally, we have reached the entry for my #1 Final Fantasy character of all time. This list has been an absolute blast to write, and I am truly sad that this is the last time I will be writing about Final Fantasy characters for awhile.

I know that my opinions are very unpopular, but as I have stated before, I’m not trying to be objective. These characters are the ones who mean the most to me; nothing more, nothing less. I know that no one is going to agree with me, and that’s completely fine. I’m not going to bash anyone for liking any character in particular, and I would hope that anyone reading this (lol no one is reading this) would be mature enough to give me the same amount of respect.

Making this list was not an easy task. I was constantly questioning my placements of each character. There are even some points where I intended for a character to be in one spot, but then had to change it after writing my entries for each of them. For example, I originally intended for Auron to be #2, but after writing my entry for Zack, I couldn’t help but switch them around.

When I was writing these entries, I would first begin by refreshing my memory about each character by reading their Final Fantasy Wiki articles (hence all of the images I use from there). Also, I tried to watch notable scenes of theirs on Youtube, as well as listen to their personal theme songs (if they had them). This also contributed to a lot of shifts on the list, such as the aforementioned Zack-Auron switch, as well as shifts between Jecht, Noel and Balthier.

Despite these difficulties, my #1 spot was never in doubt. In fact, I don’t even need to do the things mentioned above to refresh my memory on why this character is so great (but I did anyway to steal some pictures ;D). This character’s actions and personality are so heavily engraved in my mind that I will never be able to forget them.

In my opinion, a character’s ability to appear both realistic and unrealistic simultaneously is what makes them great. By definition, a hero (or a villain) should have something that normal people don’t; something that makes them greater than human. How effectively we, as gamers, are able to identify with a character, despite the unrealistic circumstances they are often placed in, is what makes them memorable. I can’t identify with characters like Lightning and Sephiroth, because their behavior is so damn irrational and unbefitting of an actual person. While I think this irrational behavior can be amusing in some cases (most notably Kefka’s), it more than often leads to an unlikeable and unrealistic character.

Almost every Final Fantasy protagonist develops in the exact same way: they start off with a major character flaw that needs to be fixed by the supporting cast until they can realize their full potential. These flaws are split up into three different categories with three characters falling into each one:

  • Cecil, Terra, and Cloud all have trouble showing their emotions due to their tragic pasts
  • Squall, Zidane, and Lightning refuse to rely on anyone but themselves
  • Bartz, Tidus, and Vaan are all immature and weak-willed

As each character develops, they begin to discover that their previous ways of living were unsatisfactory, and they transform into new people with brand new mindsets. After this transformation occurs, they gain the motivation needed to defeat their corresponding nemeses and save the world. While this “flawed protagonist” tradition does allow for some good development to occur, it get’s old after awhile. I do have a character from each category (Cloud, Squall, and Tidus) on my list, so I do like the way some of these characters develop. That being said, it’s the ones who deviate from this formula that stand out to me.

That leaves three remaining Final Fantasy protagonists who do not fall into any of the three categories. One of them is Yuna from Final Fantasy X-2. While I do find Yuna to be an entertaining character, I did not put her on this list because her personality in FFX-2 completely contradicts her personality from FFX. She turns into a completely different character with little to no explanation why, which completely soils her credibility as a character. The second unique protagonist is Zack Fair, who I have already included on my list at the #2 spot. His personality deviates from the formula, which makes him one of the most endearing and intriguing characters in the Final Fantasy series. However, there is one more Final Fantasy protagonist who also goes against the grain; a character who’s actions, personality, and level of realism exceed that of all others. That character is none other than…

#1 – Serah Farron

I honestly don’t know where to begin. There are so many things I can say about why Serah is an outstanding character that I’m a bit overwhelmed. Serah is unlike any protagonist I have ever encountered before. After playing hundreds of story and character driven games from different franchises such as Final Fantasy, Tales, Metal Gear Solid, Ace Attorney, and even more, I can safely say that Searh Farron is one of the most realistic, endering and relatable protagonists I’ve ever seen.

Backstory

Like many characters in the Final Fantasy series, Serah is burdened by a very sad and tragic past. Her father died when she was still a baby, and her mother died when she was only twelve years old, leaving only her sister Lightning for her to rely upon. In Final Fantasy XIII, Serah is tricked into becoming a l’cie against her will, effectively ending any chance she has at finding happiness. While Lightning, Snow, and a little divine intervention are able to free her from this fate, it doesn’t take long for Serah’s life to take another turn for the worse. Lightning disappears, and her dopey fiancee Snow goes off on a year-long journey to find her. Serah has essentially lost every single person she ever knew and loved, which makes her story, in my opinion, the saddest and most heartbreaking of any Final Fantasy character.

But what makes Serah’s story so endearing is that despite all of these horrible things that have happened to her, she doesn’t let them ruin her life. She’s the one Final Fantasy protagonist who actually has a good reason to be depressed, but isn’t.  The kind of things that turned the mighty Cloud Strife into a blubbering mental patient turns Serah into the wisest and most mature character in the Final Fantasy series. While she does show momentary signs of weakness, like any normal person would if they were in her situation, she is still able to give meaning to her own life. Although all of these horrible things have happened to her, Serah never loses her strong and caring personality, or her optimistic nature.

With Lightning and Snow missing, Serah makes the most out of her life as a grade school teacher in New Bodhum. Then, Noel Kreiss shows up on Lightning’s behalf, and drags Serah into a very dangerous journey to prevent the world’s destruction. Without hesitation, Serah is willing to put her life on the line to protect the world; the same world that has done nothing but horrible things to her and those she loves.

Personality

The way Serah functions as a protagonist in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is absolutely fascinating. Most JRPG protagonists develop their ideals and personalities as their journey goes on. They learn from their experiences, and then change their actions to accommodate what they have learned. However, Serah’s ideals are firmly in place at the beginning of the game, and there is no need for them to change as her story goes on. Instead, she uses her morals and her ideals in order to help other characters in the game develop. Her steady and consistent personality improves the quality of the characters surrounding her, because her admirable traits make other characters want to be like her. She serves as a motivator for Hope, and gives him the confidence he needs to do something important and valuable. She makes Noel a better character, because her optimistic nature pushes him forward and prevents him from giving up. And finally, the reversal of roles between Serah and Lightning make Lightning appear, to me at least, a hell of a lot more likeable and human than she was in Final Fantasy XIII. Serah’s established mindset, maturity, and willpower serve as the catalyst for everything that happens in Final Fantasy XIII-2, which is how a protagonist should function.

With Serah’s help, Hope transforms from the whiny, useless mess he was in FFXIII into a very likeable character in FFXIII-2

Another thing I love about Serah is the fact that her personality allows for some very funny things to happen. Final Fantasy games are rather serious in nature, so the momentary glimpse of humor can really help ease the tension. The Live Trigger system in FFXIII-2 puts us in control of what Serah says, which can lead to some hilarious results. There’s one point in particular where Noel asks Serah who Snow is. One of the options results in Serah going on a minute-long rant in a highly pitched and sped up chipmunk voice explaining why Snow is “oh-so-cool-and-handsome-and-perfect-and-heroic-and-strong-ohmigosh-idkmybffjill!” Another scene shows Serah putting on the “Meanie Miss Farron” persona she has acquired as a grade school teacher as she scolds a group of young flan monsters. The monsters stare at her in fear, while Noel looks on in disbelief that Serah’s scolding actually worked. In my opinion, it’s the lack of these kind of moments that made Final Fantasy XIII so unappealing. Everyone in FFXIII was so high strung and serious that it made them appear as nothing more than unlikeable assholes. It’s these kind of charming little moments that bring out a character’s humanity; something that Serah has in spades.

“Meanie Miss Farron” layin’ down the LAW!

Development

While her ideals and morals don’t really change as the story goes on, Serah still undergoes quite a bit of development. When we first see Serah, she’s pretty much the same mousy little girl that she was in Final Fantasy XIII.  She can’t hold her own in a fight, and must be rescued by Noel the first time a monster gets anywhere near her. But as the story goes on, we see Serah transform from a puny little girl into a very strong and capable fighter.

Since pretty much every other Final Fantasy protagonist (sans Tidus and Vaan) have some sort of battle experience that makes them incredibly strong, it’s refreshing to finally see someone who doesn’t. This makes Serah that much more relatable: when we start playing a video game, we have little to no knowledge of it’s mechanics. As we continue to play, we begin to learn and master all of the game’s intricacies, which results in us becoming better at the game. Serah undergoes this process along with us: she starts off as a beginner, and develops into a much stronger fighter as her journey unfolds. This is the same reason I enjoy characters like Luke fon Fabre, Ezio Auditore, and Phoenix Wright. It’s this type of player-character connection that no other Final Fantasy protagonist but Serah can offer, which is one of the many reasons why she is my favorite Final Fantasy character of all time.

As the story goes on, we see Serah transform from Lightning’s little sissy into a fighter on par with the others

Serah’s motivations as a protagonist also start off a little bit shaky, but begin to clear up as she learns more about what is going on. She starts her journey with hopes of reuniting with Lightning and Snow, while Noel appears to have the bigger picture in mind. While her motivations may appear to be somewhat petty on the surface, they are exactly the same motivations we have at the beginning of the game. Like Serah, we are in the dark about what is truly going on, but we still have some sort of attachment to Snow and Lightning having played the previous game. However, as we, and Serah find out about what’s actually happening, our motivations change. Serah learns about the threat that Caius poses, and thus changes her motivations to accommodate the new information she takes in as the journey unfolds. The journey becomes less about saving Lightning, and more about saving the world from Caius.

One moment in particular shows just how strong of a character Serah becomes. Near the end of Final Fantasy XIII-2, Caius “tests” Serah and Noel by offering them the chance to live in their own “ideal worlds.” In Serah’s ideal world, she is living peacefully with Snow, Lightning, and the other members of Nora on the beaches of New Bodhum. Everything she wants is there, and all she has to do is give in to the fake Lightning in order to live peacefully in her ideal world forever. However, Serah passes the test, and understands that living in this world would be selfish, and would result in the loss of countless lives. She rejects her paradise for the greater good, which is something she likely wouldn’t have been able to do at the beginning of the game.

Noel, on the other hand, gives in to Caius’ illusion, and fails the test. It is then up to Serah to go pull him out of his dream. Noel, who appears to be stronger than Serah in pretty much every way imaginable, is unable to do what she did. While I don’t necessarily dislike Noel for not being able to resist Caius’ temptation, looking at his failure as compared to Serah’s success goes to show how strong of a character she has become.

Having failed Caius’ test, presumably strong Noel must be saved by presumably weak Serah

The Ending of Final Fantasy XIII-2

Like the seeress Yeul, Serah has the ability to see the timeline. During her journey, Serah discovers that the visions she has been having are slowly sapping away her life force. She finds out that unless she stops trying to save the world through fixing the timeline, she will inevitably die. Caius constantly reminds Serah of this fact in hopes of trying to scare her away from completing her mission. But how does Serah respond to Caius’ reminder that what she is doing will kill her?

Knowing full well that she isn’t going to be around to see the future that she fought so hard to protect, Serah is still willing to do anything to save it. Now this kind of attitude is the mark of a true hero. Serah knows that if she carries on, she will never see Lightning, Snow, and Noel ever again. But not once does she even begin to consider ending her journey. It is at this moment that we see Serah’s development as a character come full circle. She begins with somewhat petty motivations, but ends her journey willing to do anything she can to save the world.

But surely there must be some sort of loophole that will allow Serah to live. There’s no way in hell that they would kill off the game’s lead character, right? Right?

You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me…

After their final confrontation with Caius, Serah and Noel return to the year 500 AF. Serah is forced to witness one more vision: a vision that destroys the last bit of life that she has left.

The final scene of Final Fantasy XIII-2 is one of the strangest moments I have ever experienced in a video game. Even though Serah’s death was heavily foreshadowed, I was still confident that they would be able to find some sort of silly loophole that would allow for her to live. But they didn’t. When Serah died, I was absolutely floored. Serah is not the kind of character who usually dies in a JRPG.

Despite the horribly unfitting music playing in the background, Serah’s death is one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have ever seen. And yeah, I’m not afraid to admit that I cried, just as I did during Zack’s death scene. The scene itself isn’t particularly well done, but the development of Serah as a character is what makes it so emotional. After all of the horrible things that have happened to her throughout the course of the two games, no other character deserves happiness as much as Serah does. The fact that such an optimistic, caring, and sweet character such as Serah meets this kind of fate is down right tragic.

And then, things just go to shit. It turns out that Caius wanted Serah and Noel to kill him all along. Chaos is unleashed upon the world, Serah is dead, Lightning is crystallized for some reason, and Caius achieves everything he wanted.

I have never felt such a strange mix of emotions from a game’s ending. I went from being sad to angry in the matter of seconds. When the words “To be continued” appeared on my screen, I was stunned. Why the hell did I even play this game? What did we accomplish? Was Serah’s death in vain? Why the hell is Lightning a big crystal? Are Noel and Hope okay? What the flying fuck is going on?

Now, I understand that Serah’s story is not yet over. There is an optional portion of the game where you can discover a message left by Serah from the future. This message states that she is in some sort of dark place, and that she has no regrets doing what she did. She also says that someone needs to carry on what she and Noel started. Like I stated earlier, Serah is not the type of character to stay dead.

Conclusion

As I stated in my write-up on Noel, people are always going to be hesitant to put character from the Final Fantasy XIII series on their lists. While the story in which she functions in is laughable, Serah is still a great character. In a way, it makes me like her more. Even though all of these stupid and nonsensical things are happening to her, she still develops in a way that a normal person would. She’s a realistic character in a very unrealistic situation, which is the kind of character that I find entertaining.

Serah is at the top of my list because she is THE anti-cliche. She develops and functions differently than any other Final Fantasy protagonist, and actually manages to do it with a smile on her face. She is the one character who actually has the right to be sad and depressed, and yet she is the only one who isn’t. She’s the only Final Fantasy protagonist who doesn’t begin her journey with a character flaw that needs to be remedied by her supporting cast. She’s the only Final Fantasy protagonist who doesn’t possess some crazy amount of physical strength that makes her stronger than the other characters around her. She’s just a normal 21 year old woman who got dragged into a very bad situation. She’s relatable, realistic, entertaining, charismatic, captivating, and endearing all at the same time. All of this is what makes Serah Farron my favorite character in the history of the Final Fantasy series.

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Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters – #2

#2 – Zack Fair

When I try to think of an example of the perfect hero, Zack Fair immediately comes to mind. Zack is one of the most powerful characters in the Final Fantasy series, and also has an equally strong personality. Unlike Cloud, Zack is energetic and caring; two things that every hero should be. His likeable personality and his great strength easily makes him my favorite character in the FFVII series.

Zack is basically a combination of Cloud from FFVII and Tidus from FFX, but without each character’s bad qualities. He isn’t the strongest person at the beginning of Crisis Core, but he can still hold his own in a fight. We connect with Zack because he is already someone we look up to at the beginning of the game, but we also experience his growth along with him. He transforms from an above average soldier into one of the greatest, and we are there along side him for the ride. He is also easygoing, despite the terrible and dangerous situations he is often placed in. He remains cheery by constantly cracking small jokes to the other characters around him. All of this makes Zack one of the most inspirational characters I have ever seen.

What makes Zack’s story in Crisis Core so poignant is the fact that we already know what is going to happen to him. If you’ve already played Final Fantasy VII, you already know that Zack is killed by an army of Shinra troops. We form a strong connection with Zack, knowing full well that it is going to come to a heartbreaking end. Zack’s death scene at the end of Crisis Core is one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever experienced in all of my years of playing video games. Even though I knew it was going to happen, it still managed to take me by surprise. The music, the presentation, the voice acting, everything is executed to perfection. This is probably the most moving moment in the entire Final Fantasy series, and that is saying a lot.

My honor.. My dreams.. They’re yours now. You’ll be.. My living legacy.

Manly tears? Hell no, I am bawling like a friggin’ baby ;_;

Every time I watch Zack’s death scene, I can’t help but think that he deserves the number one spot. To be honest, I can’t give a solid reason why he doesn’t. He represents everything I like in a video game protagonist, and has no notable flaws that I can think of. His personality is devoid of typical Final Fantasy cliches, and he still manages to hold a level of “bad ass-ness” that exceeds Cloud and Squall’s. Zack Fair is the person we should all strive to be: strong in both body and mind. Zack is a hero in every sense of the word, and is fully deserving of the #2 spot on this list.

And with that, all that remains is #1…

Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters – #3

#3 – Auron

Three straight Final Fantasy X characters? What is this madness? Its almost like FFX is my favorite Final Fantasy game or something…

Yes yes, I know. Putting Auron this high on my list is contradicting a lot of the things that I have been saying in these entries so far. Auron certainly isn’t a very deep or well developed character, and he does have his fair share of Final Fantasy cliches attached to him. That being said, for this one character only… I don’t care.

It’s true that Auron isn’t much more than the strong, silent warrior who’s physical strength outclasses everyone around him. He’s a self-loathing man who blames himself for pretty much everything that happens to those around him, even though it is never really his fault. However, Auron’s level of badassery is so high that I don’t even care that he’s a bundle of cliches.

The extremes that Auron’s character is taken to is what makes his rather typical personality entertaining. Just look at the guy: he rocks the shades better than anyone else, has a scar over one of his eyes, and manages to wield a 800 pound sword with one hand! He get’s stronger by drinking out of his jug of manliness, and then uses it to spit at anyone who dares face him. Not to mention, this dude is still kicking everyone’s ass, despite the fact that he is dead!  This dude makes Cloud and Squall look like friggin’ muppets. I don’t care what anyone says, Auron is the most bad ass character in the history of Final Fantasy.

Bow down, Zanarkand! Bow down to your master of manliness!

Auron also functions as the wise old man of the party, often giving the rest of the cast the advice they need to grow as characters. Without Auron, the FFX party would be running around like headless chickens. He is given the best dialog in the entire game; dialog that perfectly embodies his strong, yet wise nature.

“Now! This is it! Now is the time to choose! Die and be free of pain or live and fight your sorrow! Now is the time to shape your stories! Your fate is in your hands!”

Once again, I have to apologize for constantly preaching about how much I don’t like the typical bad ass characters. I know that Auron’s spot on this list is rather contradictory, but I can’t help it. Even though he’s from a fairly recent Final Fantasy game, I have a strange nostalgic attachment towards him. Maybe it’s becuase FFX was my first PS2 game, and the PS2 managed to become my favorite console ever (and yes, I promise that Auron is the last FFX character on the list). Auron takes the most overused Final Fantasy trope, and blows it so out of proportion that I can’t help but love him for it.

Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters – #4

WARNING!!! WARNING!!! CONTROVERSIAL OPINION ALERT! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! WARNING!!! WARNING!!!

#4 – Tidus

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

YES!!! I am going there! And you can’t stop me!

My fourth favorite Final Fantasy character is, in fact, one of the most hated characters in the history of video games. Hell, maybe even the history of entertainment. Surely, I must be trolling. How can Tidus be higher than Kefka? Squall? CLOUD?!

I’ll admit, Tidus is everything that his haters say he is. He’s a whiny, obnoxious little brat with daddy issues. So, how can he be this high on the list? The answer is simple, my irate friends. Tidus is this high on my list because of these things! Tidus is burdened by all of these things, and eventually pushes through them to become one of the most well developed Final Fantasy characters of all time.

At the beginning of Final Fantasy X, Tidus was completely unlikeable. He let his own personal problems effect him and the people around him way too much. Unfortunately for him, he holds on to these traits for a good 85% of the game, and still never gets over them completely. But when he finally does make progress as a character, it makes for some of the most emotional and powerful moments in the entire Final Fantasy series.

Even though Tidus is annoying, and is comprised of traits not befitting of a hero, he is one of the most human characters I have ever seen. I never felt a very strong connection to characters like Cloud, Squall, and Lightning, because they were nothing more than  idealized “bad asses” who’s sole purposes were to look cool. I could never identify with these people, because they were completely unlikeable and unrealistic. While they do develop in their own way, they don’t receive anywhere near the amount that Tidus does. It’s Tidus’ whiny persona that allows him to transform into a very realistic and memorable character.

Aside from his crybaby nature, Tidus is very kind and compassionate. He does everything in his power to protect those around them, despite the fact that he isn’t very strong. He knows that he’s weak and useless, but he doesn’t let it bother him (for the most part). He functions as a different type of hero; a hero who’s own humanity and feelings give him strength. What he lacks in physical strength, he makes up with compassion.

The ending of Final Fantasy X shows just how far Tidus has come as a character. He knows that defeating Sin will end his existence, and prevent him from living a happy life with Yuna and his new friends. However, he doesn’t waver one bit, and is completely willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. The final scene is absolutely heart breaking: Tidus is shown hugging Yuna after she has told him she loves him for the first time. Even though this is the last time he will ever see the woman he loves, he, for the first time in the game, does not cry.

Tidus may not be crying, but I sure as hell am ;_;

The transformation that Tidus undergoes in Final Fantasy X is beautiful. He changes from a completely unlikeable and selfish crybaby into one of the most well rounded characters I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

The fact that Tidus is almost universally hated by the Final Fantasy fan base really bothers me. The only reasons they cite for him being a bad character is “lol laughing scene,” and “lol he cries a lot.” So what? Almost every Final Fantasy protagonist is highly flawed. The fact that Tidus is even more flawed than the rest is what makes him unique and memorable. Just because he doesn’t have the 24 foot sword and the angsty personality doesn’t make him a bad character. Because he was able to change from such an unlikeable wuss into such a well rounded character is why he deserves this spot on the list.

Now, we are finally down to the three best Final Fantasy characters of all time. With all three main protagonists from the three most popular games already listed, who can possibly be left? Sephiroth? Lightning? Frocobo? The shoopuff guy? I guess we’ll see ;-)

Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters – #5

#5 – Jecht

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Look at that guy. Look at him. That dude OOZES manliness.

Writing about why Jecht is a good character is a bit difficult due to the fact that most of his development happens off screen. He isn’t a playable character, and he’s only third on the list of FFX’s villains at best. That being said, the stories we hear about Jecht, paired with the small amount of screen time he is given tells us the story of a very realistic, albeit somewhat despicable, character.

What makes Jecht so memorable to me is that he is highly flawed, just like any real person would be. However, his flaws are different than those of most other Final Fantasy characters. Instead of being an endlessly depressed man with a dark past, Jecht’s flaws are more comparable to those that a real person might have. His status as a star athlete gives him a larger-than-life ego, which then results in him becoming a careless alcoholic who neglects his own son. In a series full of characters with somewhat silly motivations, the realism behind Jecht’s character is what makes him memorable.

When Jecht is transported to Spira one day while training at sea, he loses his fame and is forced to become just a normal guy. However, his ego and love for alcohol is still there, which results in him getting thrown into prison. Humbled by his experiences in Spira, Jecht teams up with Braska and Auron in a journey to defeat Sin and restore peace to the world for a short period of time. As his journey goes on, Jecht begins to see just how bad of a person he was back when he was in Zanarkand. He finally realizes that his son Tidus is justified in hating him, and hopes to find a way to redeem himself. He takes one last shot at redemption by sacrificing himself in order to become the fayth for the Final Aeon needed to defeat Sin, which results in Jecht becoming the very essence that allows Sin to live.

In an attempt to atone for his sins as a horrible father, Jecht uses his power as Sin to bring Tidus to Spira to embark on the same journey that he did a few years ago. When father and son are finally reunited, Jecht acts like the asshole he used to be on purpose in order to motivate Tidus to kill him along with Sin. Knowing how his son truly feels about him, Jecht walks away, leaving the most memorable image in the entire game:

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But Tidus never sees the sadness on Jecht’s face. Jecht then turns around to face his son, and reverts to his asshole persona to once again motivate his son to kill him.

Jecht went from a complete asshole to perhaps the most likeable character in the game. He sacrifices himself twice in order to save the world, and jeopardizes his relationship with his own son in order to do so. Jecht deserves the #6 spot on my list because of his realistic flaws, solid development, and honorable sacrifices. Also… manliness. Lots of it.

Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters – #6

#6 – Noel Kreiss

When compared to other male characters in the Final Fantasy series, Noel stands out as being unique and surprisingly realistic. Even though he comes from a horrible future in which he is the last human in existence, he still acts in a very respectable and honorable manner. Instead of being the typical “angsty” Final Fantasy character, Noel actually has a very admirable and unique personality.

Noel has the perfect combination of “level-headed” and “bad ass” qualities. Instead of using his tragic past (future?) as a reason to mope, he remains cheerful for the most part. He actually uses his knowledge of the future as a tool that allows him to effectively deliberate over his own actions. He remains cheerful, despite the threat looming over his head. Yet, he is also a skilled hunter capable of taking out anything thrown at him. He only fights if he has to, but he has the strength necessary to win in any situation.

Noel also has his flaws, which contribute to the realism surrounding his character. Even though he is smart and level-headed, there are some times when he can be somewhat cocky and overconfident. He has his share of “eye roll” moments when he talks trash to some of the monsters you are fighting. Even though it’s cheesy, it can be charming at the same time. His cheesy taunting is completely justified because he can actually “walk the walk,” which  makes him funny and entertaining at the same time.

Noel is also a very compassionate character. His desire to protect Yeul, and later, Serah, is what motivates him. Even though he does not know Serah very well, he is willing to do anything to protect her. Due to the nature of the future he grows up in, Noel knows the value of human life. He refuses to kill Caius, even after all of the horrible things he does to Noel and Serah. His high regard for human life makes Noel one of the most human characters in the Final Fantasy series.

Noel’s compassionate personality holds him back from killing Caius

Most people are unwilling to put anyone from the Final Fantasy XIII series on their lists because of the nonsensical story they are acting in. Even though silly and poorly explained things are happening to them, I still find their personalities endearing enough to care about. Noel is pretty much just a regular guy thrown into a very, VERY bad situation. He acts as a normal person would, which is why he deserves a spot on this list.

Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters – #7

#7 – Balthier Bunansa

First of all, I should say that I really did not like Final Fantasy XII. It is by far my least favorite Final Fantasy game, and is probably the most disappointing and underwhelming game I have ever played in my entire life. That being said, the general lack of anything interesting happening in the game’s story allowed for one character to shine through the darkness: Balthier Bunansa.

Similar to the rest of FFXII’s cast, Balthier is by no means a deep or complex character. He receives little to no actual character development, which is disappointing considering his likeable personality. He’s a cocky jerk with a huge ego, and he is given the best dialog in a game where plot and character interaction is almost nonexistent. Despite his cocky attitude, he’s still a good man, and is the true hero of Final Fantasy XII.

Balthier is on this list because I like characters who get things done. Pretty much every character in Final Fantasy XII just sits there with their thumbs up their ass the entire time. That is, until Balthier says or does something that motivates them to take action. He serves as a mentor-like figure to Vaan, a loyal and close friend to Fran, and a motivator for Ashe. Even though Vaan and Ashe are the two main protagonists, Balthier is constantly referring to himself as “the leading man.” He’s the only character in the game who has the capacity to think and act for himself.

“I just risked my life to save all of your asses, and I have to carry this bitch out of here by myself. Shouldn’t, I dunno, the main protagonist be doing this stuff?

Unfortunately, there really isn’t much else to say about Balthier. Even though he lacks much needed development, his likeable personality and willingness to actually do things that other characters aren’t is enough for me. Thank you Balthier, for being the only bright spot in a rather bad game.