The Final Fantasy series has been capturing the hearts of fans since December 18, 1987. Since the initial title’s release, over 15 subsequent games and crossovers have made their way to consoles, handhelds, and PCs all over the world. The series is known for its blend of science with magic, religion, and the supernatural. These tropes are second only to the characters that inhabit the world of each game. They’re strong, determined, and stand in constant defiance of fate and its machinations. While the protagonists are usually males in need of a serious trip to the local therapist, there are always women present to step in, level those emotions, and deal some serious badassery themselves on the side. Read on to find out 10 of the women who would definitely beat us in a fight.
Lulu has a lot of belts and even more attitude, but beneath that tough exterior is a kind and wise woman. She is essentially the embodiment of The Mother goddess as she embarks on a heartbreaking mission to save the world at the sacrifice of a young woman who has essentially come to be a daughter or a sister to her. Lulu’s knowledge of magic and religion helps her partners out of several tight spots, but she isn’t just strong in magic. Lulu also has a strong heart and unbreakable conviction. She stands with both feet on the ground and chooses to ultimately defy her oppressive faith to push forward and save her friends.
Oh Oerba Yun’ Fang, the tom-boy of Final Fantasy XIII, how do we love thee? A lot. If you woke up one day and God was like, “Hey, Kid, go destroy the Earth or I’m turning you into a zombie,” would you do it? ‘Cuz Fang didn’t. Fang is a bit of a tragic hero who learns to cast aside her selfishness and doubts to sacrifice herself for the greater good. Fang is also that character who has a perfect balance of soft understanding, tough love, brute strength, and brains. She knows when to use which one and can switch between them at the drop of a hat (quite literally in this game’s battle mechanics). To top it all off, she helped saved the world twice. Yup. Twice.
Fran is a lot like Lulu in her slowness to warm up to newbies but with the added aspect of being from a race of peaceful, yet powerful, women called the Viera. Her heightened senses and closeness to nature allow her to literally feel when things are amiss. Fran has knowledge of ancient magic and has seen much in her long life as a Viera, including the cruelness of mankind.
Despite this, she teams up with Sky Pirate Balthier (a total babe and we ship it) to learn more about the world and the creatures that live outside her magically cloaked village. In the process, she helps topple a tyrannical empire and put a rightful queen back on the throne to save Ivalice from cruel and unjust rulers.
If Beatrix was alive in 2019, she would absolutely listen to Lizzo. She’s a twenty-seven-year-old general that is absolutely devoted to raising up the queen and status of the country and people she loves. She looks past the flaws of the clunky and smelly Steiner to fall in love with the heart of the kind and dedicated man underneath. Her dedication to heart and honor are so great that she actively defies the sitting queen to save the princess of Alexandria who later goes on to take the throne after her crazed mother is betrayed by Kuja. There’s a rumor that Beatrix has killed a hundred knights single-handedly, but there also haven’t been any wars in Alexandria since she was born so “who can never be sure.” Even if she hasn’t felled a hundred knights, she absolutely obliterates your party with a single blow so she clearly is not to be trifled with.
Tifa makes the UFC look like amateurs, and she does it with flowing hair and a heart of gold. She stands by her friends and quite literally keeps the broken, ill Cloud grounded and sane. She’s the calm voice before the storm of fists that rains down on enemy skulls. She’s assertive without being overbearing, she’s compassionate and loving of nature and humanity, she’s also respectful and devoted to her martial arts training. So much so that the only person who could go toe-to-toe with her is probably the silky haired Sephiroth. Oh, and she’s not dead. So…ya know…there’s that.
We can hear it now, the boos and hisses of naysayers, “why is Rikku so high on the list? What did she do?” Well, we’ll tell ya fren. Rikku was 15 years old in Final Fantasy X. That’s right, 15. Were you a mechanical genius that overcame racism, destroyed the literal incarnation of evil and the cycle of death? Then, two years later, helped your cousin become a pop-star Lara Croft after her boyfriend died only to turn right around and save the world again from a crazy ghost bent on obliterating the planet? No? Then have a seat haters, because Rikku did and is therefore badass.
Where would this list be without naming the one considered to be the very first female lead protagonists of the series? Born of an Esper father and human mother, Terra is one of a select few able to use magic without a magic crystal. Being half Esper also makes her extraordinarily powerful.
Instead of allowing herself to be used selfishly or even using her own great power for personal gain, she becomes determined to use her gift for friendship, love, and the well-being of all who fight for what’s right. To put things in perspective, Espers in other Final Fantasy titles are beings of extraordinary might called upon by warriors to strike powerful blows to their opponents in battle. Their power is said to rival that of gods.
Rinoa is thought by many to simply be the love interest of Final Fantasy VIII’s Squall, but she is far from a simple damsel in distress. Rinoa is one in a line of powerful sorceresses. Essentially, her power comes from a long line of powerful witches, one of which was so powerful (and evil) she was banished to and imprisoned on the moon. At only 17, Rinoa forms the Forest Owls, a political resistance group determined to free the small nation of Timber from tyrannical military rule. Rinoa sees through all the masks that others wear to the core of their being and understands how to help them through tough times without stealing their sense of autonomy. Once she comes into her sorceress powers, she earns semi-corporeal angel wings and the ability to transmute objects and seemingly transfer her consciousness into them. She uses this power to travel through time-space distortions to find Squall and bring him back from non-existence outside time. Most importantly, she has a dog that does tricks and fights. Clearly, she’s got some skill.
High Summoner Yuna: Vanquisher of Sin, Sphere Hunter, and Pop Idol? Yup. The girl literally healed a long-standing, bloody feud with a song, and that was just an average Thursday. Unlike most who channeled the aeons solely as weapons, she befriends their spirits and helps to free them from their eternal, exhausting slumber which also destroys Sin and the love of her life Tidus. A bittersweet end to a dark, one-thousand-year-old nightmare. Fast forward about two years and the ghost of a murdered man seeks vengeance for murder. Using her uncanny ability to not only sense but understand the pain and loss of others, Yuna navigates her way to the source. With the help of her friends and her fierce determination, they dismantle the death machine Vegnagun and welcome in yet another period of peace. Saving the world from absolute destruction twice is something few others in the series can claim they’ve done.
Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t exactly well-received in the US like it was in Japan, but this trilogy is awesome. Lightning is another of the few female leads in the Final Fantasy, and boy does she shine. When Fang was there defying the gods? Lightning was there taking point with quippy one-liners, an eye-roll I haven’t seen since Ru Paul, and an annoying brother-in-law. Lightning may seem cold and unreachable, but she’s truly compassionate, kind, loving, and a real teach a man to fish kind of woman. Lighting kills gods only to become a goddess of death herself. She then creates a whole new world of peace and prosperity for humanity and all the souls she saves and transports to this New World. Honestly, it looks a whole lot like ours. Lightning, if you’re up there, we love you girl.