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View Full Version : Rank the FF12 Characters!



Rodney
06-19-2012, 07:14 PM
This is the eighth of my series of threads and polls, asking all of you for your personal rankings of the characters from each FF game in the numbered games. You can base them on personality, usefulness in gameplay, relevance to the story, general enjoyment of each character, or even frivolous things such as their character themes. Whatever you want to base them on. Also included is a poll on which you can vote for your absolute favorite from each game.

This is my eighth one. It's for FF12! And after ranking from among a very good cast, we've arrived at one that's pretty much just . . . so-so. The rankings were easy for my bottom three, but it was surprisingly tough to determine my top three. Still, like FF5, FF6, and FF10's casts, I didn't really . . . hate anyone in this. (Though I know it's not a favorite game, so everyone else will likely have one or more characters they hate.) I either liked or loved them all. So since I'm again only basing this one completely on personality, this one was a matter of separating those who really interested me, and those who somewhat did.

So here are my rankings:

1. Balthier: Roguish sky pirate. Charming demeanor. Sexy manner of speech. Dashing good looks. Great positivity in spite his own daddy issues. (Tidus, take notes.) This guy's got it all. Balthier charmed me from practically the moment he and Fran basically tried to mug Vaan for his treasure, and then subsequently abducted him when he refused. He had several great lines in the game, many of them funny ones. And even despite his bad-boy side, he had a nicer, deeper side to him. And hey, who couldn't appreciate a hot guy who's partnered with a hot Viera and is still proper enough not to make an unwanted move on her? Makes him even more attractive. (I get they were probably already together, anyway, but still . . .) Also, I admired his cleverness under fire (easily getting himself free from his cuffs on the Leviathan -- or was it the Shiva? -- while Fran was distracting the guards by going Mist-crazy), and I enjoyed the reveal of his connection to Dr. Cid. You get to really look into his character and see exactly why he didn't want to work for the Empire, and why he wanted to be someone unlike the man who raised him. Still, through it all, he maintains a mostly positive attitude I liked. So good for you, Balthier! Top of my list!

2. Penelo: I actually almost put her one spot below this one, as for years, I really thought the next character was my second-favorite character. But as I sat back to think, I realized how much I really liked Penelo (amidst a sea of EoFF members who probably hate her almost irrationally). In a game with stronger personalities, I like that she was the lone island of low-key and laid-back. Actually, she put a spin on the "perky young girl" archetype by actually . . . not being so perky. Or at least cutting back on it. She didn't come as so excitable or energetic like her predecessors, Krile, Relm, Yuffie, Selphie, Eiko, and Rikku. (Though it might've been the lethargic voice that belonged to Cat Taber that gave me that feeling.) Her calmness made her a nice complement to Vaan's youthful energy. And she wins points for one simple line she threw at him: "Try to grow up, please." Also, for one exchange with Basch: "You don't have to worry about me. I'm tougher than I look."/"You are, at that." But quite simply, whenever she was in my party, I found myself playing her as my leader more often than others. Yes I know she had no place in the story. But do I care. Hell no. Not at all. So . . . yeah. Loved Penelo.

3. Fran: Yep. The lovely Viera gets the number-three spot. She almost got number two, and I thought she was my number-two character for years, but I finally realized I loved Penelo a lot more. Still, I loved Fran, too. I loved her accent, her piercing stare that made you unable to tell if she was mad at you or not, and I even liked that she was one of the few characters to use proper English in her. Plus, strong, silent female characters are a rarity, and Fran pulled it off well. Yet, she could also be very vulnerable when it came to the loss she felt toward her sisters and her home in the Woods. Perhaps one of my favorite Fran scenes was her asking Jote to speak to the Wood, telling her that she feared the Wood hated her, and . . . you can hear her trying not to cry. Of course, one of my others was when she didn't beat up Vaan after he asked for her age, which brought about that awkward silence (especially because most women would've done that). Yes, Fran was an exceptionally strong woman with her vulnerabilities. Number three.

4. Ashe: She was exactly the kind of kick-ass, take-charge female character I like seeing. She never made any excuses for what she did. I liked that Ashe knew exactly what she was aiming for and went for it. And it was refreshing to see a woman in charge of the party, for a change. (In FF10, you could make a case for Yuna and Lulu at different points, but I don't think either was ever official.) Also, I went to FF Wiki and read up on more of her backstory leading up to the start of the game. Made me like and appreciate her even more! So . . . Ashe. Number four.

5. Basch: I liked Basch, and he's one of the few strong, silent types in FF games who did it for me, but he's down here at number five because his story kinda . . . ran out very early on. I felt like other than him being the falsely-accused murdered of the king, I really didn't get to learn anything else about him. Oh, except for him having a twin brother who framed him right before becoming a Judge for the Empire. With a bit more drawing out of his character, I can guarantee you that he'd have ranked higher.

6. Vaan: But not to say that I dislike him. As I said, I liked everybody in FF12 to varying degrees. I did like that he was the first designated main character to take a more narrative-type role -- that of a backseat observer. I appreciated the way he and Ashe confided with in other over seeing "Rasler." And I liked the sort of mentor/student relationship he had with Balthier. But I really feel like that other than his sky pirate dreams, nothing else about him really interested me all that much. It also doesn't help that there were times I felt he probably tried a bit too hard to be a hero. I still liked him, but not more than the other five characters. 012 Dissidia did a much better job giving him some actual personality. But FF12 . . . not really. So . . . Vaan's last.

But these are just my rankings. How about everyone else's?

Hollycat
06-19-2012, 07:53 PM
This is really hard for me, I like all of them except vaan. I will edit this post later

Rodney
06-19-2012, 08:13 PM
I hope so. Holding you to that.

Fynn
06-20-2012, 06:58 PM
Fran. It's the voice.

Laddy
06-20-2012, 11:33 PM
I've only gone about halfway through this game, but...

1. Balthier-Gideon Emery has the second sexiest voice of all time. Balthier is an excellent character. He's charming, witty, and plays a big role in the story. He was one of the best written characters in any game and he would've been a much, much better protagonist. Also, he relationship with his father was unique and cool.

2. Ashe-To me, she is the true protagonist, although Balthier and Basch would've made fine leads as well. Frankly, I would been fine if the game had only the first three of four characters in this list. Ashe has a cool personality, a fiercely independent woman with a strong personality. She is really the ideal female RPG protagonist.

3. Basch-Basch is awesome. He has an excellent storyline but manages to not follow a Final Fantasy archetype like the top four characters on the list. He is a loyal and good-hearted man, someone heroic and genuinely valiant, a type of character that ceases to exist in the genre without being self-righteous or whiny. Also, he's a good-looking dude. ;)

4. Fran-I like Fran. I thought she was cool. She had a neat personality and her banter with Balthier was amusing and added a new dimension to their characters. She also had a cool subplot with the other Viera, most telling Mjrn.

5. Penelo-Penelo is a pleasant enough character, but I find her to be expendable in many ways. She contributes fairly little in terms to the story compared to Ashe, Balthier, and Basch,and her personality is merely a scaled-down "perky young girl" archetype.

6. Vaan-Who? To me, Vaan symbolizes all that is wrong with modern JRPG's. We have a strong set of characters at the top of this post, all of which are interesting, well-written, and original while still being believable. Vaan exists simply to play a cliche protagonist. He is forgettable and serves no purpose, yet we still have him there so we have your typical RPG lead. He's harmless, but pointless. We have a deep, involving, and interesting narrative in a unique and engaging world that is padded with such a filler of a character. Final Fantasy started RPG trends, but it should also be free from them. We shouldn't have to check off lists in our RPG parties. And Vaan is just another pretty teenager to fill role developers mistakenly think we want.

Wolf Kanno
06-21-2012, 06:39 AM
This one was a bit difficult, but here is my list.

1. Basch - Basch is a badass, your first introduction of him is watching him kick the crap out of soldiers left and right and he even pulls off a Quickening to take out an early practivce boss. What I really love about him is his dedication and determination. The man is hell bent on restoring Dalmasca and Lady Ashe to the throne, despite the fact she hates him and treats him like tit for half the game. I mean that is dedication. I felt the evil twin plot line was handled very well, though I did wish the game could have elaborated on their falling out better. Still, Basch is a man who really gets screwed big time in the game and he never lets that get him down, he doesn't whine about it, he just takes and goes on with his quiet stoicism, which just makes him feel stronger than other FF characters.

2. Lady Ashe - Lady Ashe is the first asskicking leading lady in the entire franchise, yeah some people tried (Faris) but none of them got the spot light like Ashe does. Ashe is not meek, she doesn't wait around for the leading man to make decisions for her and she's the one who is really pushing the party along, and who can blame her? She's the second most screwed over character in the cast? Her story is sympathetic and her anger is somewhat justified. What I truly loved about her, is that she's the first main character I've ever seen in any RPG who is willing to use the super powerful McGuffin that everyone is after to get what she wants. Cecil, Terra, Cloud, hell even Squall and Lightning would most likely take the heroic "we must protect this from evil" speil rather than actually not pretend to be high minded individuals and take out the bad guys. Its this struggle for revenge and thinking what is best for her people that makes Ashe the driving force of the plot and such an endearing character.

3. Balthier - He's fun, gets the best lines, has a cool backstory, and is a very sly reference to FFV. What is there not to love? He even kind of breaks the fourth wall alot (something we haven't really seen since FFVI) with his whole "Leading Man" nonsense. It's no wonder the staff began rewriting the script to give him a bigger role. I also like how his story with Cid ends at the Pharos, it felt a bit more real than the usual sobbing and "let me tell you how I really feel real fast because we have time to do tit like that even though the world is going to end". It just felt like the way those two would have chosen to part and feel it speaks volumes of their characters.

4. Fran - Baltheir's dry humor sidekick. Fran has a pretty touching backstory that I only wish had been expanded on a little, I don't even want a full explanantion, just a wordless flashback that gives hint as to why she would leave in exile for her freedom over being part of her Viera heritiage. Fran allows the player to see another cultures point of view of the games modern society and it was pretty nicely done. She's also a real badass and smartass in cutscenes which makes her fun to watch and I love her voice.

5. Vaan - Despite being towards the bottom, I don't have any problems with Vaan, I understand he exists as the player avatar and I appreciate that over the botched writing of Tidus in FFX who fulfilled a similar role. While him getting so much screentime is a bit annoying since it detracts from the better characters, I can appreciate the writiers knowing fans might not like him and filled the game with several "STFU Vaan!" moments. Seriously, the cast treats him like the naive boy that he is and I can respect that. He also had a nice more subtle character growth over other main characters who usually do a 180 in their thought process by the end of the game. Vaan, is definetly a better person by the end, but he still retains a lot of his early self, including his bad traits and I felt that made him feel more real than other characters.

6. Penelo - I feel bad for Penelo because she gets more grief than she deserves, she's actually a fun "big sister" character that hasn't been seen in the series since FFIV for crying out loud. Like Porom, she's the more reserved part of the Vaan/Penelo duo but also, it's apparent she's just as interested in escaping her home and having adventures, she's just the practical one of their team. Her role in the plot is to serve as an allegory about long seated hatred between two social groups can usually be overcome through children who are not tainted by the venomous bias of their parents. Vaan represents that bias whereas Penelo doesn't hold any real animosity for the Archadians and her time spent with Prince Larsa shows her that these people are not the unforgivable evil that Her and Vaan have seen and heard the grownups speak of. She's really central to one of the more subtle but more important themes of FFXII and I feel that makes her a pretty damn good character, she just sadly suffers from the same issues as Rosa and Lenna, she's pretty bland compared to the nutjobs in her party. She still has the most memorable character theme though.

Rodney
06-22-2012, 05:44 PM
It's funny that two people have already said they'll fill it in later, but ultimately haven't followed up.:tongue:

Hollycat
06-22-2012, 07:35 PM
1. Penelo & Fran & balthier & basch
I love them all
2. Ashe
3. Reks
5. Vaan

Rodney
07-22-2012, 10:08 AM
Anyone else have anything to offer? Seriously?

Wolf Kanno
07-22-2012, 10:21 AM
Well I would post in your FFX and XIII threads, but I swore never to step into either of those godforsaken forums. You probably wouldn't like my answers anyway, as FFXIII would be just Sahz and then the rest of the cast could die in a fire.

Rodney
07-24-2012, 05:58 AM
It's not even a matter of liking your answers or someone else's. I just wanna see more answers.

Huckleberry Quin
07-24-2012, 02:45 PM
My reasons are almost identical to WKs. I'd put Balthier and Fran in first and second place, because I'm an enormous fangirl, but it would otherwise remain untouched.

ReloadPsi
07-25-2012, 01:45 PM
1: Balthier

2-6: Everyone else, tied, because I don't dislike a single one of them.

Hollycat
07-25-2012, 06:30 PM
1: Balthier

2-6: Everyone else, tied, because I don't dislike a single one of them.


Whatabout Reks?

Jinx
07-26-2012, 08:17 PM
Rogue Tomato was my favourite character.

Hollycat
07-26-2012, 08:49 PM
Rogue Tomato was my favourite character.

You didn't like the cactoid nation?

Sylvie
07-27-2012, 12:41 AM
My favorite character was Fran. I once bought a keychain of her and I scraped off her clothing so that she would be naked. This was very recent.

ryanraze
09-20-2012, 05:50 PM
Love the rankings, so I'm happy to contribute.
FF12 is my 4th favorite of all Final Fantasy's and also the one with the smallest cast. As such, it is INCREDIBLY difficult to rank my characters. I will do this as best I can, but it is quite a task.

1. Penello - While I found it difficult to not rank Balthier as #1 (so you can tell who is #2), I have to go with my heart. Penelo was my favorite character to use and my favorite character in the game. Despite the fact that she is probably the least important of all characters, and had the weakest back-story, there was something about her that did it for me. She certainly seemed wise beyond her years, and I liked the small romance she was developing with Vaan. Penelo was the kind of character I really felt should have had a greater role in the grand scheme of things, but FF12 was very deceptive in terms of who the story was really about. At the start of the game, I thought Vaan and Penelo would be focal points; but in the end they seem to mean the least. Penelo was a strong magic user and I always seemed to give her the Katana or Pole. There is a sentimental attachment I have with her that I can't quite explain, and that alone is why she's #1 for me.

2. Balthier - Balthier is the coolest of all characters in FF12. He's incredibly strong, incredibly savy, and super cool. He's what David Beckham would be if David Beckham were in a FF game. Balthier may have had some similarities to Han Solo, but for the most part was his own stand alone character. His back-story was awesome, his guidance of Vaan was awesome, and his love for Fran was deep. I never had a complaint with Balthier, and always enjoyed his dialogue. He was almost always in my group and a beast with the Zodiac Spear (I know, who wasn't...). Balthier was only narrowly edged out by Penelo.

3. Ashe - During my first play through of FF12, I was frustrated that the main character (Vaan) seemed to take a backseat to Ashe. Initially, I wrote Ashe off, but quickly realized she was an incredibly strong character. She was another whom I'd put the Katana on and giggle as she sliced the bejesus out of my foes. Her magic ability is off the charts and her Quickenings were badass to watch. During my second play through, I really bought into her story and her character. Ashe was another of my permanent part members who I always hated to pull out. There wasn't much I would have changed with Ashe, if anything as she just seemed to work out in every instance. She also had a cool look, cool name, and a bitchen outfit. She personified the female protagonist and felt like an evolution of Celes.

4. Fran - There are no losers on this list, as I really cared about all the characters. Fran was another character whom I didn't like on my first play through, and then fell in love with on my most recent. She was complex, powerful and had a great back-story. She sort of fell from the "big picture" towards the end, but I never stopped enjoying my runs with her. She fits into my gripe with FF12, in that I could never get as much play out of my favorites as possible. If it would have been 4 person teams, I would be thrilled; but alas it was only 3. I would have enjoyed a little more detail into Fran/Balthier relationship; but I would take what I could. Fran with a sword/axe was my favorite combination. She is sexy as hell also. Seriously, who didn't love the Vera?

5. Vaan - Some people hate Vaan, I am most certainly not one of them. I always struggled with determining his true age, but the character was fun for me. The fact that characters could develop as you saw fit was a huge selling point for this game. Vaan gave me 100% flexibility and I relished that. The "bait and switch" of him being the main character through Act 1 and then taking a back-seat to Ashe was a little troubling at first. But once I accepted Ashe as awesome, I was cool with it. Like Penelo, I felt Vaan really stopped mattering in the story arc and wish their relationship could have been expanded on. I wouldn't have minded a little bit more of SOMETHING, but I'm not sure what. I thought Vaan's entire beginning was a little weak; and I just never cared for the Slums of Rabanaste very much. He did develop quite well and ended up being strong enough to keep me interested.

6. Basche - As I said with Fran, no losers on this list as I truly loved all the characters. Basche was my favorite during play through #1, but my most recent playthrough had me using Basche less and less. Now, that isn't to say I dislike this guy at all; it's just he did the least for me emotionally or personally. He was a very strong character with a very strong story; and he mattered through the entirety of the game. He was an absolute monster and felt like the main character through portions of Act 2. There isn't anything I can pinpoint that I would do differently with Basche. He was fully developed and fully realized; but did not resonate with me as much. I think he suffers only because I didn't use him as much as I did some other characters, and for that reason alone; he ranks a little low.

I would like to note that I do love all characters from Final Fantasy 12. If not for some nostalgia of FF4, it would sit comfortably at the #3 spot. It also represents my most painful game, as I recently put 80 hours in coming close to all ultimate weapons; and my PS2 deleted my save. So, f this game :)

Raistlin
09-21-2012, 12:26 AM
1. Balthier. I mean, really, he's just badass. As a bonus, he's funny and has a very interesting backstory.

2. Ashe. She has to get major props for being the first badass female main character of the series. She was not a stereotype, and instead drug the party along by sheer force of will. She also has a great backstory and was developed very well.

3. Basch. The character whom fate decided to take a dump on, Basch probably had the most engaging story. He was badass and resolute, despite everything being hurled against him.

4. Fran. She is a good foil for Balthier, and an amusing character. We delved into her backstory a little, but not as much as those above, and it didn't resonate with me as much either.

5. Vaan and Penelo: I don't really see much to distinguish these two, and I think both get a bad rap, despite being at the bottom of my list. I can see what SE was trying to do with Vaan, and I thought they did it reasonably well, considering the pacing for the entire story was pretty shoddy to begin with. But both characters are definitely less interesting than the rest.

ryanraze
12-18-2013, 03:29 AM
A shame there are not more, well written responses.

Loony BoB
12-20-2013, 11:47 AM
1. Ashe gets top spot for me, although it's a tight one. I found Ashe to be the most interesting personality-wise. She may not have had the witty one liners or the shock twists, but as a person I felt she was given the best storyline and I like the way she would think hard about things and make decisions, it made her feel a lot less... 'simple' than the others. She also wasn't anywhere near as predictable as almost every other character.

2. Basch should have got a lot more storyline given to him, being the almost-main character. Pity he didn't, but oh well. These things happen when politics meddles in video games and the board directors insist on having a young person be slapped into our faces repeatedly.

3. Fran's crazy moments should have been closer to what we saw from River Tam in Serenity, but otherwise I felt her story and her personality to be the better half of the sky pirate duo, despite Balthier taking the majority of the plaudits from, well, pretty much everyone. Fran proved time and time again that while Balthier may have her beat for quantity of wit and one-liners, Fran has him under a firmly placed heel when it comes to quality of wit and one-liners. And, let's face it, everything else.

4. Balthier may be under a heel, but he's still as free as a bird. He brings more humour to the game than any of the other characters by a long shot.

5. Vaan was Vaan. Annoying at times, but not as bad as Tidus, so I guess there's that. Overall he was an 'okay' character, but so very far from a good one.

6. Penelo was a drag for me. Just boring. Dull. I didn't really see the point in having her there aside from the fact that someone needed to talk to Vaan early on in the game. Nothing but a foil for Vaan, really.

ryanraze
05-04-2015, 01:31 AM
1. Ashe gets top spot for me, although it's a tight one. I found Ashe to be the most interesting personality-wise. She may not have had the witty one liners or the shock twists, but as a person I felt she was given the best storyline and I like the way she would think hard about things and make decisions, it made her feel a lot less... 'simple' than the others. She also wasn't anywhere near as predictable as almost every other character.

2. Basch should have got a lot more storyline given to him, being the almost-main character. Pity he didn't, but oh well. These things happen when politics meddles in video games and the board directors insist on having a young person be slapped into our faces repeatedly.

3. Fran's crazy moments should have been closer to what we saw from River Tam in Serenity, but otherwise I felt her story and her personality to be the better half of the sky pirate duo, despite Balthier taking the majority of the plaudits from, well, pretty much everyone. Fran proved time and time again that while Balthier may have her beat for quantity of wit and one-liners, Fran has him under a firmly placed heel when it comes to quality of wit and one-liners. And, let's face it, everything else.

4. Balthier may be under a heel, but he's still as free as a bird. He brings more humour to the game than any of the other characters by a long shot.

5. Vaan was Vaan. Annoying at times, but not as bad as Tidus, so I guess there's that. Overall he was an 'okay' character, but so very far from a good one.

6. Penelo was a drag for me. Just boring. Dull. I didn't really see the point in having her there aside from the fact that someone needed to talk to Vaan early on in the game. Nothing but a foil for Vaan, really.

This should be pinned :)

metagloria
05-04-2015, 06:48 PM
Basch, Fran, Vaan, Penelo, Ashe, Balthier.

Pumpkin
05-04-2015, 07:24 PM
1)Penelo
I think she's just really sweet but she also knows when to be serious, which I appreciate. Very friendly and grounded.
2)Fran
I enjoy her interactions and learning more about her. I also love her voice.
3)Balthier
I like his attitude for the most part and his confidence.
4)Ashe
She's a bit too severe for me, but I still like her.
5)Vaan
He's alright. I appreciate that he tries hard.
6)Basch
I don't dislike him but I don't really like him either.

Ayen
05-04-2015, 09:03 PM
Ashe, Balthier, uhh...

Sorry, the rest are interchangeable to me.