This is one half of a collaboration piece – check out Pix’s companion piece here…
Do you remember reading the articles penned by Pix (of Shoot the Rookie) and myself, detailing our top 5 characters from the world of JRPGs? Perhaps you even submitted your top five for the follow up? Maybe you still need to read the original articles (here and here) before you read on?
So, assuming that you have indeed read them, and perhaps sent us your own top 5, let us move on… to the results post! Yes, time to find out which JRPG heroes you, the adoring public, raised to the very heavens as your top choices! Shall we commence?
Now, there’s only three steps on a podium, you know, so we have decided to Top Three it instead. I was expecting this list to look a lot more Final Fantasy VII heavy, especially with the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake recently, I figured grumpy mercenary Cloud and his love triangle compatriots Tifa and Aeris would mop up the awards on the night, thanking Midgar and Jenova in their speeches time after time… but things were very different to my expectations.
For a start, it wasn’t a Final Fantasy lockout at all, as I’d suspected, other JRPG series got in there too, their players sat ‘pon the podium. Indeed, only one Final Fantasy character even made the podium, and it wasn’t from the 1997 PlayStation entry either (or its remake, I mean who in their right mind would add Roche as a good character?).
I am happy to report that I agree with all three entries (one of them wasn’t on my list, but I do like them). There were also quite a lot of entries which I didn’t know, as a result my JRPG “must-play” list has become a lot, lot longer!
Anyway… no time to waste, let’s go! (as Auron from Final Fantasy X might say…)
In Third Place…
Frog – Chrono Trigger
He’s a knight! He’s an amphibian!
Yes, Frog has done a rather excellent job to not only make it onto the podium, but also do his bit to acquire the legendary Masamune, take the fight to the sorceror Magus and then, after all the plot twists, travel through time with Chrono and his pals to take on time-devouring apocalypse monster Lavos!
But there’s more to this absolute legend than swords, hopping and, I dunno, fly eating! For Frog was once a human, known as Glenn, squire to the mighty Guardian knight Cyrus.
Following a battle with Guardia’s arch nemesis, the mage Magus (my number 5 choice!) Poor Glenn is transformed into a frog-like being and sent over the cliff, seemingly to his doom.
But Frog survives, helping the time traveler Chrono to rescue Marle, descendent to Guardia’s throne, from Magus’s goons. Next time they meet, Frog joins the gang, finally getting his chance to seek vengeance against Magus.
Brave, chivalrous and a master of the blade, this green hero is a fantastic choice for 3rd!
In 2nd Place…
Auron – Final Fantasy X
Spira’s legendary warrior monk makes 2nd place on our podium and is, indeed, the only Final Fantasy cast member to make the list, beating out such legends as Cloud, Tifa, Vivi, Garnet, Yuna and even Terra and Sabin from the series!
I admit I’m pleasantly surprised, Auron, whilst undeniably badass, isn’t exactly Mr Fun, so I was amazed that so many people loved him as much as I do. For one thing, he’s massively OP, in my last playthrough of X, Auron was dealing over twice the damage of the rest of the party consistently and was nigh unkillable… which is just as well, really.
For Auron is, actually, dead. Refusing to pass on to the Farplane until the demon Sin had fallen, he continued to roam the world of Spira, acting as guardian and guide to the summoner Yuna and protecting his old friend Jecht’s son, Tidus whilst he was at it. Once Sin had fallen, Auron got the ultimate retirement, finally letting his soul be set free and leave the world of the living forever.
So why do I love Auron? It’s his tragic backstory, sheer determination and no-nonsense attitude. As the story of Final Fantasy X advances, we start to pick up little hints, here and there, that Auron is lying about more than just his mortal state, his apparent piety and blind trust of the Yevonite Church slipping every now and again to reveal his true intentions.
Also, Matt McKenzie lends a brilliant voice to the character, gruff and resolute, as a dead-but-still-knocking-about ronin warrior should be!
Well done Auron, you earned it!
And the winner is…
Ryuji – Persona 5
What a surprise this is! A pleasant one, but a shock nonetheless!
Yes, you, the community, voted Persona 5‘s Ryuji as your favourite JRPG character!
So, what do we know about Shujin academy’s angry rebel? Well, he’s the first friend protagonist Joker makes after being forced to move to Tokyo, he’s a brash loudmouth and he has a heart of gold and always the best intentions.
Kicked off the running team after a run-in with a particularly villainous teacher, Ryuji is something of a pariah, his ex-team mates now against him as they blame him for the team being dissolved. With a shortage of friends, it’s only natural that he gravitates toward the new kid.
Things get even stranger when, after the discovery of a strange app on Joker’s phone, the pair find themselves transported to the Metaverse, a twisted alternate dimension shaped by the fears and negative traits of people in their world. After finding a medieval castle full of monsters that belong to a version of the same teacher that ruined his life, Ryuji decides to devote his life to making corrupt and evil adults confess to their crimes, using powers gained in the Metaverse and the guidance of cat-like creature (and my personal winner) Morgana.
Ryuji (or Skull, as he is known in the Metaverse) is truly one of the purest, most straightforward characters in all of the JRPG-verse, wearing his heart on his sleeve, staying loyal to the end and doing his best to make the world a better place.
Some other characters that didn’t quite make the podium are…
Futaba – Persona 5
Magus – Chrono Trigger
Aerith/Aeris – Final Fantasy VII/Remake
Interestingly, the game series which mostly lent us their characters were Final Fantasy and Persona, with the Tales and Xenoblade games also getting good results. I also learned about some new games too, such as the Disgaea games and some fantastic sounding one-offs such as Bravely Default and Eternal Sonata.
Thank you all so much for taking part, this has been an absolute adventure for myself and working with the almighty Pix has been a genuine honour.
It has also been amazing to get so many nominations from you, my lovely readers too! Keep on being amazing and I’ll be seeing you on the next mission!