There have been many fantasy-based games over the years that have depicted women as being helpless "damsels in distress," or the weaker sex both emotionally and physically. However, the Final Fantasy series has a lot of surprisingly powerful female protagonists and supporting characters.
It should come as no surprise that the developers like to depict their heroines as independent. For example, a strong character like Princess Ashelia is clearly inspired by Princess Leia from the Star Wars series, because the developers are smart enough to use strong female leads as they tend to be more memorable. They recognized that every young boy that grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy will forever have a crush on Princess Leia, so it would be natural for them to create their own memorable and attractive female leads in a similar manner.
The Final Fantasy series also likes to play around with seemingly innocent, pure, and even naive female characters, then "flipping these characters on heads" by having them overcome more hardships and difficulties than the male leads. The "pure-type" characters tend to have depth beyond their initial impressions, and it's the combination of character strength and pure goodness that these characters become attractive for all the right reasons. Here are 15 of the most memorable innocent and attractive female characters in Final Fantasy.
The character Vanille was featured in Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2. Her outfit has taken inspiration from the traditional clothes of the Namibian Himba women. There was a clearly a lot of effort put into Vanille’s physical appearance but what makes her an attractive character is she’s very layered.
In Final Fantasy XIII, Vanille is portrayed as having an almost childlike innocence, she’s a caring empathetic character but she also has a with a degree of stubbornness about her too. She tends to have a happy-go-lucky persona, and she’s always trying to raise the positivity of the group.
What makes Vanille an endearing character is beneath the mask of innocence is clearly very capable in a fight. According to the Dengeki PlayStation 3 magazine, the fur pelt that she proudly wears around her waist is that of a bear that she defeated single-handedly, showing there's more to her than meets the eye.
14 Aerith Gainsborough
Ever since Aerith Gainsborough first appeared twenty years go in Final Fantasy VII, she has become one of the most well known and well loved female characters in the Final Fantasy universe. It speaks volumes that fans fell in love with the flower girl even when the visuals of 1997 original character design didn’t really match her current looks from Final Fantasy Advent Children onwards.
Aerith’s appearance is very much representative of her character looking very feminine, demure, and graceful in her modest shin length pink dress, and boots. Upon first impressions, one would assume that she would be a very shy and reserved person, it was soon revealed that while she still maintained her innocence, she was incredibly powerful Ancient with the ability to communicate with the planet. She also exudes confidence, both in herself and her friends, and no matter how dark the situation became remained the epitome of all that is good.
13 Serah Farron
Serah Farron is the younger sister of Lightning, and is a supporting character in Final Fantasy XIII. She is also the lead protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII-2. Serah is portrayed as being a feminine, kind, and caring if slightly naive character, this is represented perfectly in her appearance with her soft and doe-eyed features, even in light of Final Fantasy XV's improved graphics Serah still looks stunning.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2 Serah’s character finally transcended her looks as she became wise beyond her years, and despite being hardened by the events of Final Fantasy XIII, she maintained her caring personality. In addition, she was a much stronger character too, and this was represented in her appearance which was inspired by the “plug suit” designs from Neon Genesis Evangelion, as opposed to her softer casual look in the original game.
Yuna is a playable central character in Final Fantasy X and the lead protagonist in Final Fantasy X-2 and is one of the most memorable and popular characters in the Final Fantasy series. Yuna share’s many of the same qualities as Aerith in terms of her demureness, modesty and kind heart. Although she was definitely less confident than Aerith, she was no less determined in her duties as a Summoner, by showing a great deal of courage and inner-strength in the face of adversity.
Her original look, was equally as modest, in a heavy kimono-like dress which likely represented the heavy burden her character had to endure. Yet despite the emotional and physical weight she carried Yuna’s consistently ranked of as one gamings strongest and most beautiful female leads.
11 Tifa Lockheart
Tifa, like Aerith, is another beloved female character from Final Fantasy VII whose popularity has stood the test of time — for many gamers Tifa is the ultimate Final Fantasy girl. Outwardly, she’s an extremely capable and strong willed character, in fact, while the rest of the group use guns and massive swords she’s content with putting her opponents down using nothing but her fists.
Tifa has an aura of independence about her, but in truth, she extremely family oriented as displayed by her affections for Marlene, so her innocence and vulnerability comes through her desperate need to protect others, and definitely hurt by Cloud’s initially distant behaviour. However, it was Tifa’s strength and belief in Cloud that pulled him from the brink of madness, when she forced him to come to terms with his own past.
10 Terra Branford
Terra is universally considered the most important protagonist in Final Fantasy VI’s ensemble cast of characters. Terra is depicted as having both green and blonde hair depending based on various concepts of her design – the alternate hair colors are represented in two modes in her Dissidia appearances. Her appearance resembles that of Greek Goddess, and the attention to detail is incredible. In fact, her concept designer Yoshitaka Amano stated that Terra is his favorite character design.
Upon Terra’s introduction we’re introduced to character that’s afraid, confused, and untrusting of anyone she suspected wanted to access her hidden powers as an Esper. So while she almost starts her journey as (albeit very powerful) “damsel in distress,” nothing could be further from the truth. As the focus of her journey to discover the truth about herself, her powers, and her humanity, she’s courageous enough to fight for everything that is good.
Even before Maria was rendered in a more realistic fashion for the remastered PlayStation Portable version of Final Fantasy II Maria’s conceptual art design was fantastic and fans fell in love with her layered personality and depth of character. Her appearance is quite different to many of the other Final Fantasy lady protagonists. Despite having distinctly Asian features, Maria has an almost western medieval design in her outfit and purple hair.
Maria’s personality is definitely one of kindness, as she struggles to cope with the loss of her loved ones and friends and truly suffers as a result. Despite this, she manages to overcome a breakdown on her own and decides to confront the evil emperor with the rest of the group.
Rikku was a playable character in Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel Final Fantasy X-2. She is a young Al Bhed girl with a lively and positive personality. Although she was as innocent as a Yuna in many respects, her freedom and brashness contradicted the Yuna’s, as well as the many of the other party members. Although she was upbeat and even sometimes reckless, Rikku was a very insecure character, especially in regards to her future. Additionally, she’s incredibly loyal and caring towards others. Years after the events of Final Fantasy X, Rikku’s personality remained unchanged, but her sense of duty and responsibility definitely matured. Rikku's appearance in X-2 sparked many hottest female characters awards after release.
7 Rydia Of Mist
Rydia is one of the most interesting characters in the Final Fantasy series, and she’s one of the lead protagonists in Final Fantasy IV and it’s sequel Final Fantasy: The After Years. Her appearance is one of the few character designs that received censorship when The After Years was first released. Nevertheless, she is still one of the most beautifully designed characters in the series. Rydia’s hair is green which matches her dress and draperies.
Rydia began her journey as a confused, and emotionally distraught character blaming Cecil and Kain for the death of her mother. However, as the story progresses she develops a bond with Cecil and matures into a strong young woman that grasped her emotions and learned to use her powers.
Penelo was featured as a playable character in Final Fantasy XII and its follow-up FFXII: Revenant Wings. Penelo and Vaan were designed to be the representation of lower classes or common folk of Rabanstre, as they are both swept up in a conflict that would determine the fate of Ivalice. Penelo acted as the calm to Vaan’s excitable personality, often scolding him and telling him to grow up.
She’s athletically designed to represent her training in martial arts and dancing, her outfit’s design actually reflects this quite well by looking functional rather than overly fashionable or stylized.
Vaan and Penelo’s role in FFXII served as a means to keep Princess Ashe grounded in reality, and focused on resisting the temptations of The Occuria. Penelo also formed an unlikely friendship with a member of the empire’s ruling family known as Larsa Solidor, which helped turn the tide of the battle in Ashe’s favor.
5 Rinoa Heartilly
Rinoa was a central character in Final Fantasy VIII. She was also a sorceress and the main love interest for the game’s protagonist Squall. Outwardly, Rinoa's persona is strong, graceful and brave, but in reality she is a character that feels isolated after losing her mother at a young age and having a strained relationship with her father. These issues led to Rinoa bonding with Squall over the course of the game’s story and helped develop his character to something a bit more likeable than a grumpy teenager.
Rinoa’s designer Tetsuya Nomura apparently struggled with her design because he wanted her appearance to be less beautiful and more along of the lines of having a cute appearance. She’s a still striking looking character even though the game was released in 1999.
4 Paddra Nsu Yeul
This is an unusual character because she’s more than just one person, Yeul is a seeress who has visions of the future and is reborn endlessly. Each incarnation of the seeresses have a limited lifespan and know the exact moment they are going to die. When one version of Yeul dies, another is born with the same appearance abilities.
The version that encounters her is one of the more cheerful and optimistic of the Yeul incarnations, and she definitely had a certain amount of innocence in both her visual design and personality. Yeul had green eyes and long dark blue hair, and has a youthful appearance that somehow displays wisdom, vulnerability, and sadness.
3 Selphie Tilmitt
Selphie Tilmitt is a playable character from Final Fantasy VIII. Her appearance is fairly basic. She wears a traditional cadet uniform and a yellow mini dress. Selfie was the second character designed after Squall, and wanted her to have an impractical hairstyle and a daringly short dress that reflected her extroverted personality.
Selphie’s personality is overly hyperactive with an almost childlike optimism, it has been stated that her personality is born out of fear, and acknowledging an unhappy childhood caused by being an orphan.
Selphie is a carefree character, and her positive energy shines through her smile and personality. She's also as tough as she is pretty because she wields the legendary Bruce Lee's weapon of choice — the nunchucks.
2 Rem Tokimiya
Rem Tokimiya is one of the most prominent characters in Final Fantasy Type-0 and also makes an appearance in Final Fantasy Agito. She’s a member of the elite magic wielding Class Zero – also known as the “Red Demons.”
Each of the Class Zero classmates represents a specific power, whereas her childhood friend and fellow classmate Machina bears the power of fear, Rem bears the power of love. Her specific power speaks volumes for the kind personality that Rem is because she represents honesty, morality, and kindness.
Although, on a visual level she is in the same uniform as everyone else Rem manages to stand out because of all her qualities by being a combination of kindness, strength, and beauty.
Lunafreya (who is also known as Luna) is the main heroine in Final Fantasy XV and its accompanying film Kingsglaive. She is also betrothed to the lead protagonist, Prince Noctis (who is the youngest Oracle in history). Luna being an Oracle literally means that she is pure of faith and possesses unparalleled compassion. She is also a powerful presence that supports Noctis, helping him fulfill his destiny.
You can definitely tell a lot of work went into Luna’s character design, as she’s one of the most visually striking and realistically beautiful characters in the FF series. Yusuke Naora, the art designer for FFXV, intended for Luna’s appearance to be both pure and heroic. Additionally, he wanted to be able to reflect her sadness, concern, and her determination. Luna has five different attires for FFXV, but the most notable one is her bridal dress, which was designed by real-life designer Vivienne Westwood.