Ten Unsung Heroes of Final Fantasy
We all know the typical rundown of Final Fantasy heroes: Cloud, Squall, Tidus, Yuna — the list goes on. They’re enormously popular with fans and RPG enthusiasts everywhere, and we’re intimately familiar with their tales of brevity and courage. But what about those who aren’t so widely recognized? When do they receive the praise and admiration they deserve? Right here, right now! We’ve got a rundown of the unsung heroes of Final Fantasy, all of whom need your attention. Get ready to say hello to the heroes who deserve some praise and adoration!
The Green Summoner herself was single-handedly responsible for the shift in popularity surrounding summoning in the core Final Fantasy games. After Rydia’s appearance, the summoning class took on a personality of its own, rather than being relegated to an optional job or a gimmick. And let’s not forget Rydia’s worth as a heroine on her own merit. Acting as a rock for Cecil and a compassionate shoulder to cry on to the rest of the Final Fantasy IV cast, Rydia is a memorable and flawed character with savvy personality traits as well as some intriguing moments.
Little Eiko had so much on her plate for a young girl and still managed to act as a formidable and powerful summoner. Having grown up alone in Madain Sari with only moogles for friends, she doesn’t want to grow up and face her painful past, but must do so in order to truly unlock her power as an eidolon summoner. When she finally becomes part of Cid and Hilda’s family as a princess, it’s every bit of an emotional moment for players as she has become a part of the “family,” as much as the royal family of Lindblum.
The land of Ivalice and its cast of characters was polarizing to players overall, and Vaan simply didn’t resonate as the “main” protagonist. As the driving force behind Final Fantasy XII, Balthier is cooler than the other side of the pillow, not to mention the center of every relationship web in the game. He’s also great in combat and absolutely essential to the central narrative. Plus, let’s not forget about how handsome he is. That devilish rogue.
True, cosplayers love to bare their shoulders and don a belt skirt to mimic the black mage of Final Fantasy X, but she doesn’t receive near enough credit. She uses a stuffed moogle in combat, for crying out loud. And let’s not leave out her elegant, yet no-nonsense persona. She’s tough without being a grouch, and she surprisingly enough ends up with Wakka. How crazy is that?
This Western charmer is memorable with his long brown ponytail and duster, and when it comes to Final Fantasy VIII male characters, he’s got a rich back story and personally that shines through every time he’s got a few minutes in the spotlight. When he gets it, anyway. He’s also a crack shot. And in our book, that’s grounds for a little recognition — especially since he’s curiously devoid of angst, which is fantastic.
Lightning, Snow, Vanille, and the gang get their fair dues, that’s for sure. But what about the lovable and capable Sazh? All he wants to do is keep his ailing son from harm. and his reasons for pressing on in the face of a dire situation are nothing short of admirable. By far the most down-to-earth and relatable character of Final Fantasy XIII, Sazh was the most powerful link between Final Fantasy XIII and its audience and is an overall nuanced character with plenty to offer.
Kimahri plays the stoic match to a colorful and varied cast in Final Fantasy X, but he’s actually an outcast from his own tribe because of his broken horn and height, which makes him undesirable back home. He proves himself time and time again as a loyal and capable soldier who’s there for those in need, and while he may be viewed in a negative light where he’s from, he certainly made quite the impression on those who completed Final Fantasy X.
Rarely will you find another character as bizarre as Quina Quen, a genderless Qu and purveyor of blue magic. Quina loves to eat and speak in all caps, and despite having some of the stronger dialogue and a dearth of “real” character development, Quina has some of the most poignant and touching moments of Final Fantasy IX buried here and there.
Final Fantasy X-2 wasn’t well-received by all fans, but we can all agree that the punk rock member of the Gullwings is one bad mama. She’s cynical, quiet, and tough, but yet she’s smart enough and caring enough to keep her friends from stumbling into a trap. Throughout her journey with Yuna and Rikku she finally learned to open up, while coming to terms with her mysterious past and those associated with it.
This Burmecian Dragon Knight is poignant, thoughtful, and simultaneously lovelorn, as she set out in search of her lost love, Sir Fratley. She’s friendly, calm, and personable, but also a formidable knight who can handle her business with the best of them. She’s a much better knight than Steiner, in our estimation.