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Characters: Final Fantasy VIII

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Main Characters

    Squall Leonhart 
"Right and wrong are not what separate us and our enemies. It's our different standpoints, our perspectives that separate us."

A skilled soldier who acts as the main character. Though he is one of SeeD's most accomplished students, his cold and professional demeanor ostracizes him from everyone else. He has a rivalry with Seifer, and specialises in the notoriously awkward gunblade.

  • Above Good and Evil: See his quote. Much more of the Nietzschean variety than the watered-down and definitely villainous version that currently constitutes the actual trope (though to be fair, he says it while still a Jerk Ass Gun-For-Hire in training).
  • The Aloner: In the end sequence.
  • Always Accurate Attack: He has maximum accuracy with every model of the gunblade, to the point that he's functionally immune to Blind.
  • Always Save the Girl: "Rinoa... Even if you end up as the world's enemy, I'll... I'll be your knight."
  • Animal Motifs: Squall's is a lion, discussed in-game.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Serves as a bookend of sorts with Laguna's becoming president.
  • Badass: Pretty much every SeeD qualifies, but Squall stands out among SeeDs even as a trainee.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Cid uses this reasoning (vis-a-vis a Stable Time Loop) for appointing Squall commander of Garden, despite the fact that Squall was a cadet a very short time ago and there are far more experienced SeeDs in Garden.
  • Beneath the Mask: His "cold, unfriendly loner" persona is a mask he developed as a child in order to deal with the pain of losing his "sister" Ellone. If you look at his entire persona, it's very much like how a child would think a "tough adult" would act; beneath it, he is insecure and emotionally immature, and more caring than he likes to let on.
  • Big Good: The Stable Time Loop ensures that Squall will be the legendary SeeD.
  • Bishōnen: Just look at the picture.
  • Broken Ace: Much of the student body of Balamb looks up to and admires Squall due to his incredible fighting skills and calm professionalism despite his lone wolf attitude. This tends to confound the emotionally stunted Squall who created his cold-hearted and powerful persona to be strong enough to not have to deal with other people.
  • Brutal Honesty: He prefers to be blunt and straightforward.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: His feelings towards Rinoa. This is because for the majority of the game, he's simply not emotionally mature enough to understand his feelings towards her, or how to reciprocate.
  • Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Squall spends the first two discs of the game grimly resisting Rinoa's efforts to get him to open up to her, but gradually giving way. When she falls into a coma at the end of disc two, however, he realizes how much he doesn't want to lose her, and she becomes his main priority.
  • Catch Phrase: "Whatever."
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Intentionally modeled after actor River Phoenix.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Griever.
  • The Chains of Commanding: It's the reason Squall gets ticked over Cid forcing him to lead Balamb Garden.
  • Child Soldiers: He was enrolled at Garden upon its founding, at which time he was no more than five years old.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Black to contrast Seifer's white.
  • Commanding Coolness: Invoked. When Cid hands leadership of SeeD over to Squall, the position doesn't come with a pre-established rank. His friends discuss it among themselves and rather arbitrarily dub him "Commander," presumably because "Headmaster" no longer accurately reflects the role and "Commander" sounds cooler.
    • Laguna is referred to as "Commander" by Kiros at one point. Since Squall is always junctioned to Laguna in the flashbacks, it may be taken from this.
  • Consummate Professional: The fact that he's paired with a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits highlights this even more. The rest of his squad is highly idealistic, while Squall is (or tries to be) more emotionally detached. One particular scene has the group worrying over Seifer's fate after the latter has fallen into the hands of the sorceress; when Rinoa asks him, he bluntly informs her that it's likely he's already been executed, and that she shouldn't get her hopes up for his survival.
    • A related scene shortly afterwards illustrates how Squall subverts this trope when he blows a gasket over the thought of being referred to in the past tense because everyone is talking about what Seifer was like, showing that he's not as "professionally" detached as he wants to be.
  • Cool Sword: His gunblade, be it Revolver or the upgrades of it.
  • Crash-Into Hello: How he met Selphie.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played very, very straight. See Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His inner monologue is really sarcastic.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Much of the game is spent with the other cast members holding a blowtorch to his frosty attitude.
  • Determinator: Pretty much the entire third disc involves Squall turning into one of these to heal Rinoa. And then there's that time he jumps down several stories in order to save Zell.
  • Dueling Scar: He receives a scar over his face from dueling with his nemesis (who receives a matching but flipped scar, making their scars a literal case of "Dueling Scars").
  • Dynamic Entry: Squall makes a couple of impressive gunblade-first leaping entrances, the most notable of which is the Determinator moment mentioned above.
  • Ensign Newbie: Fresh off his graduation, he's put in charge of a field team and sent off on a mission.
  • Everyone Can See It: Interestingly, even Squall can see that everyone can see it, but he doesn't realize how much he loves Rinoa until she becomes a Sorceress and goes comatose.
  • Facepalm: Often.
  • Freudian Excuse: Multiple.
  • Genre Savvy: A few times. For instance, he is fully aware how farfetched Rinoa and her comrades' plans were in Timber. Also near the end of disc 2, he is fully aware that the other characters are full on Shipper on Deck for him and Rinoa and lampshaded it.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He's pretty harsh on Rinoa and the Timber Owls, but his points are valid. There's also the fact that he's a mercenary to start with.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He acquires his Hero Scar during the opening FMV.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: In his own words, there are no true Good or Evil, just people with opposing viewpoints.
  • Handshake Refusal: A running gag early on in the game is that Squall refuses to shake anybody's hand, no matter what the circumstance is. This is significant because the first telltale sign that he subconsciously see Rinoa differently from other people is that he accepts her handshake during formal introductions.
  • The Hero: A rather anti heroic one.
  • Heroic BSOD: Several, thanks to his severe emotional damage.
    • After Seifer's apparent death, he freaks out when the rest of the team starts talking about him in the past tense, realizing that someday people might be talking about himself that way.
    • He has a lot of trouble maintaining a leaderish mindset during Rinoa's coma. Specifically, he walks out of Garden with her on his back without telling anyone, deciding to find Ellone by himself.
    • An epic one in the end FMV. His head basically breaks and he winds up in a barren desert created by his mental reaction to Time Compression, from which Rinoa rescues him.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: He proves to be massively insecure, one of the main reasons for his Jerkass Façade.
  • Hidden Depths: It's pretty easy at first glance to write Squall off as an annoying emo whiner, but as some of the other tropes listed here will demonstrate, it isn't quite that simple.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: He only seems to get effusive about his friends after they've survived (or he rescues them from) a life-or-death situation.
  • I Can't Dance: In the ballroom scene. Turns out to be a lie, at least once Rinoa gets him to loosen up a little; he later confirms that SeeD trainees are taught formal ballroom dancing as a potential cover skill.
  • I Hate Past Me: Witnessing a Pensieve Flashback of himself as a child crying over Ellone's disappearance, he describes it as a "disgraceful sight."
  • I Work Alone: Squall continues to try and pull this, but to his own consternation, constantly gets put into more and more leadership roles.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: At the end of disc one. He got better.
  • Ineffectual Loner: A protagonist version. He didn't want to be the hero anyway. He grows out of it.
  • Inner Monologue: Squall does more of this than he does actual talking. A source of humor with pretty much anyone who gets to know him.
  • Ironic Echo: Near the beginning of the game, he tells Quistis that he's not interested in listening to her and tells her to go talk to a wall. Half a game later, after Rinoa falls into a coma, Squall realises he loves her and begs her to talk to him. Frustrated by her silence, he notes it's like talking to a wall.
  • Jerkass Façade: Squall is perfectly aware he comes off as cold, unfriendly, and professional. He acts this way on purpose to keep from getting close to people because he doesn't want to have to experience the pain of losing them as he did with Ellone. In his (initial) opinion, being alone makes life easier for him as opposed to relying on others.
  • Kick the Dog: Sometimes, he goes a bit too far with his Jerkass Façade; such as the infamous scene where Rinoa storms out of an argument calling him a "meanie".
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He's a pretty cynical guy, but for all that commits himself to the idealistic Rinoa.
  • Lady and Knight: Vows to become Rinoa's knight in Disc 3. Whether he's the Bright or Dark variety is irrelevant to him. All that matters is Rinoa's safety.
  • The Leader: Assigned as such to a SeeD mission to help Rinoa's resistance group. He is later promoted to the leader of Balamb Garden. Type II.
  • Loners Are Freaks: He catches this kind of attitude from many other characters in the game.
  • Love Epiphany: Disc 3.
  • Meaningful Name: "Squall," as in a violent storm, and of course "lionheart."
  • My Own Grandpa: He is the one who instilled the idea of SeeD and Garden to Edea.
  • Named Weapons
  • Never Be Hurt Again: The reason for his cold, detached demeanor is because his fellow orphan and sister, Ellone, left him alone as a child and he developed abandonment issues. He feels that, eventually, all friends and family die or go away, and the only way to avoid the pain from that is to never let anyone in again.
  • New Child Left Behind: His mother died at birth, and his father didn't learn about him until much later.
  • No Social Skills: See "Child Soldiers" and "Jerkass Façade." Enrolling at Garden at approximately the age of five did a hell of a number on Squall's social aptitude.
  • Official Couple: Him and Rinoa. Heck, they're the logo.
  • Opposites Attract: Him and Rinoa again.
  • Pretty in Mink: Well, handsome in mink, maybe. His bomber jacket has a fur collar, just to show off in the FMVs.
  • The Proud Elite: He is a tall, dark, handsome, proud, stoic, quietly dismissive Jerkass (although he has a compelling Freudian Excuse). When it comes to Rinoa, however, he gets all squishy and emotional. And when he finds out his True Companions are Not Quite Dead, he's visibly pleased.
  • The Quiet One: Even after most of his Character Development takes place, he's still not the stereotypical loud teenage JRPG hero, avoiding any sort of Unnecessary Makeover.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Seifer's Red Oni.
  • The Reliable One: Squall may not be interested in making friends, but he follows orders and he always gets the job done. Despite his prickly and anti-social behavior, his considerable skills and his reliability on the job earn him a lot of respect from his peers at Garden.
  • Resigned to the Call: Until Disk 3, anyway.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: He actively presents himself as surly and unsympathetic to keep others from getting close, while inwardly he's deeply insecure, longing for support from others but desperately afraid of the pain that would come from losing them.
  • Spam Attack: His Renzokuken Limit Break. His ultimate Limit Break, Lion Heart, takes this further.
  • Stepford Snarker: He explains his neuroses to Rinoa and finishes by saying "Don't tell anyone I said that." While she is in a coma.
  • The Stoic: It's interesting to note that the exact qualities that make him a good soldier (quiet, emotionless, obedient) make him a poor human being because he forced himself to become an adult as a child to cope with the loss of Ellone. Contrast this with Laguna, who is both a competent soldier and a complete dork because he matured at a natural pace.
    • Stoic Woobie: A great deal of the tension between Squall and his teammates throughout the game is he refuses to open up to them about and problems he may be suffering. It does lead to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when he finally does open up to Rinoa; of course, she was unconscious at time.
    • Not So Stoic: His stoicism increasingly breaks down as his coping mechanisms are tested and proved wanting. Disc 3 provides the best example, but instances occur as early as disc 1, starting with the mini-meltdown he has over the way people talk about Seifer after Seifer's supposed death.
  • Stone Wall: Has the highest HP and vitality among the six main characters.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Ice mostly, until Character Development sets in. Even then, he could still easily be seen as a bit distant since he's The Quiet One.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Squall behaves this way through the first disc or so. How much of it is justified is subject to debate.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Well, average height at 172cm (roughly 5'8").
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky
  • Team Dad: Much to his own annoyance. He tends to become a Papa Wolf with his friends, not that he cares to admit it.
  • Too Many Belts: Six to be specific. note 
  • Troubled, but Cute
  • Tykebomb: All SeeD are this to an extent, but Squall is a standout case being the focus of the stable time loop.
  • Visible Silence: ".........................."
  • When He Smiles: In the game's Stinger, we finally see Squall smile for Rinoa, and it is gorgeous.
  • You Are in Command Now: But he doesn't want it, and doesn't enjoy it. Even though he does well in it.

    Rinoa Heartilly 
"Look into my eyes...You're-going-to-like-me...You're-going-to-like-me...Did it work?"

A member of the Timber resistance group "Forest Owls". Her outgoing and happy-go-lucky attitude contrasts sharply with Squall, as does her lack of actual battlefield experience. She strikes up a relationship with Squall and becomes determined to crack his shell. She wields a boomerang-esque weapon called a Blaster Edge.

  • Action Girl: Although she's less experienced story-wise, she does have a pretty good strength stat.
  • Badass Adorable
  • Battle Boomerang: Fired from a wrist mounted launcher. Often they overlap with Rings of Death or Deadly Disc.
  • The Beastmaster: Quite funny when you consider she also tames a certain lion throughout the game.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Her dog Angelo.
  • Black Magician Girl: If her high magic stats don't count her as one initially, she definitely becomes one upon becoming a Sorceress.
  • Canine Companion: Her Big Friendly Dog Angelo.
  • Combination Attack: Her Limit Breaks with Angelo which aptly fall under the name Combine.
  • Convenient Coma: At the end of disc two until the first half of disc three.
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: She does this a lot when talking to Squall, starting in the ballroom sequence.
  • The Cutie: Designed by Tetsuya Nomura to be cute rather than gorgeous.
    • Cute Bookworm: She's delighted when she first sees Garden's library, and can always be found reading there when not in the active party.
  • Damsel in Distress: Justified as, unlike the other playable characters, she lived a comfortable upper-class life with no background of combat training. Rinoa requires rescuing four times over the course of the gamenote  and is unplayable for a good amount of the third disc thanks to being variously comatose, possessed by Ultimecia, or imprisoned by Esthar. This makes her a Damsel Scrappy to many players, at least until she becomes a sorceress.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Rinoa is not a princess, but the resistance calls her that as a nickname, most likely because she's the daughter of the occupying state's military commander.
  • Feather Motif: Beginning with her turning a flower petal into a feather in the opening sequence. Her limit break Angel Wing and her Infinity Plus One Blaster Edge also share an angel wing/feather theme.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Not Rinoa herself, but Angelo is actually a female dog.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: And so do heroines!
  • Human Shield: To Adel.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The "blaster edge," a chakram-like weapon she fires from a wrist-mounted launcher, which returns like a Precision-Guided Boomerang. She launches her dog from it in one of her Limit Breaks.
  • The Lancer: To Squall.
  • La Résistance: And she's the leader.
  • Last Girl Wins: Rinoa is the last female to (permanently) join the team.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: Off the side of Balamb Garden during the Battle of the Gardens.
  • Magic Knight: Very strong with both magic and physical strength.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Subverted. She acts like it around Squall in Disc 1 — and gets told off for it. She shapes up in Disc 2 after nearly getting killed by Edea. Played more straight in the emotional aspects when her persistence in getting to know Squall and for him to open up and rely on her initiates his Character Development.
  • The McCoy: She's highly critical of Squall's coldness towards his teammates.
  • Military Brat: She has the distant father, although not the uprooted lifestyle since he's a general rather than a grunt.
  • Missing Mom: Her mother died in a car accident.
  • Motif: She is often associated with angels and shooting stars. She has a pair of stylized angelic wings printed on her clothes.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: At level 100, the playable character with the highest unmodified strength stat in the game isn't Squall, Seifer, or Ward. It's Rinoa. This is most likely a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation; due to being unavailable for an extended period, Rinoa misses out on stat-boosting opportunities that the rest of the party is able to take advantage of, and thus has better-than-average natural stat growth in order to prevent a case of Can't Catch Up.
  • Mythology Gag: To the Ranger class and a Shout-Out to Forest Ranger: She's a crossbow(-of sorts)-using fighter who fights with a dog and lives in a city built in the middle of a giant forest.
  • Nom de Mom: Her father's family name is Caraway. Rinoa goes by her mother Julia's surname, either as a form of protest against her father or just because being obviously related to a Galbadian general would hurt her credibility with the various factions of the Timber resistance.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Her dog Angelo, who helps her in her Limit Breaks.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Rinoa claims she doesn't want to ask Squall to see his ring (so Zell can make a replica of it) because people would get the wrong idea.
  • Official Couple: Her and Squall who are so official they are the trope picture.
  • Opposites Attract: Her and Squall again.
  • Plucky Girl: Although she openly admits her fear of fighting alone, she still manages to stand toe-to-toe with the trained mercenaries.
  • Power Gives You Wings: The Angel Wing Limit Break.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: The heroine with the palest skin and darkest hair of the three women.
  • Rebel Leader: She leads the Forest Owls, the only active resistance group in Timber.
  • Rebellious Princess: At least stylistically. She's not an actual princess, but the Forest Owls call her that.
  • Security Cling: Rinoa does this three times to Squall. First, after being rescued from the Iguions, she grabs onto him and doesn't want to let go. Later, while on the Ragnarok, after the intense sequence of events that's just occurred, she takes advantage of the gravity being turned off to float down into Squall's lap and puts her arms around him, telling him that it makes her feel safe. The third time is when she hugs him after he rescues her from the sorceress memorial.
  • Sixth Ranger: Played with. She's the only member of the gang who didn't hail from any Garden and by extension, the only person in the group who didn't grow up in Edea's orphanage.
  • Spam Attack: Her Wishing Star Limit Break.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Zone and Watts, albeit mostly in backstory.
  • True Blue Femininity: Her coat.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: This is essentially her dynamic with Squall and Seifer.
  • Witch Species: After Edea gives Rinoa her powers at the end of Disc 2.
  • Woman in White: When she wears her white (ivory) dress during the SeeD ceremony and during the FH event.

    Zell Dincht 
"Why don't you try to show a little more passion...? You know, like me!"

A fellow SeeD who works alongside Squall and Selphie. Though he appears to be a comic-relief hot-blooded goof at first, he is actually a highly competent soldier with a deep knowledge of world history and a lot of integrity, quickly proving that he will do anything for his friends. In many ways, he is in fact the most secure and confident of the whole group. He uses no weapon in battle, preferring instead to use martial arts.

  • Anime Hair: Less extreme than Cloud's, though; it looks like a more plausible application of gel.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: He's no monk, but he fits the part where he fights with nothing but hands and feet. He'd also fit the Monk class in the franchise.
  • Battle Aura: His Burning Rave and My Final Heaven Limit Breaks.
  • Big Eater: The ending FMV implies this, and you can usually find him loitering in the canteen.
  • Big Entrance: Right after Quistis introduces him, he is seen shadow boxing, back flips, and then does an upclose-to-the-screen "YEAH!" Shot.
  • The Big Guy: Physical powerhouse edition, in spite of being the smallest male party member.
  • Boisterous Bruiser
  • Butt Monkey: Almost any time something comically embarrassing happens to one of the playable characters, it's happening to Zell, from being repeatedly snubbed for handshakes to getting "volunteered" to dodge bullets by himself during the D-District Prison sequence.
  • Chewing the Scenery: If the game had voice acting, Zell would have been a Large Ham.
  • Child Soldiers: Like the rest of the SeeD cadets. He finishes his training and graduates to active SeeD at the age of seventeen.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Although he doesn't wear dominantly black attire as Squall does.
  • Drama King: Everybody will know if Zell has an issue with something.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: His Different Beat and My Final Heaven final Limit Breaks causes the enemy (and Zell himself while attacking, in case of the former) to spin.
  • Facial Markings: Has a tattoo on the left side of his face.
  • Fingerless Gloves: His second weapon, the Maverick.
  • Genius Bruiser: As his status as Mr. Exposition and Mr. Fixit can attest to. He's definitely not Book Dumb, despite early impressions.
  • Genki Guy: If the above quote doesn't clue you in, his character introduction is him backflipping and cartwheeling into the entrance hall.
  • Happily Adopted: By Ma Dincht. Zell adores her.
  • Heroes Fight Barehanded: Although technically he wears gauntlets.
  • Hidden Depths: While he acts like a typical Boisterous Bruiser and Dumb Muscle, he's actually quite smart, adept with machinery, and is one of the most well-informed members of the party. Landing on the Deep Sea Research Center has him explain what they were doing here, causing Squall to admit that he has to rethink his opinion of Zell.
  • Hometown Hero: The majority of the Balamb residents are thrilled when Zell returned during the Galbadian invasion in disc 2.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's quick to judge and quick to act in most given situations and often loud about it.
  • Idiot Hero: He's said to be designed to resemble a typical shonen manga hero.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Learns his limit breaks from fighting magazines, which can easily be mistaken for a fan list of attacks from shonen manga and anime.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: His Meteor Barret Limit Break.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With "Big Bad Rascal" in Balamb.
  • It's All My Fault: He has a moment of this after he inadvertently said that Seifer belongs to the Garden right in front of the Galbadian President. It turns out not to matter, mostly because Edea was planning to go to war against Garden all along anyway.
  • Maybe Ever After: The ending cutscene has him eating his favorite food with the Pigtailed Librarian who has a crush on him.
  • Mr. Exposition: "Thank you very much, Mr. Know-It-All Zell."
  • Mr. Fixit: Subtly implied in the game that he has a love of machinery, and bringing him to the Bonus Dungeon makes it easier to complete it.
    • Depends on your interpretation of easy. If you completed the puzzle as it was supposed to be done, the player can move through the next section with Enc-None. If you use Zell for it, you can bypass the guessing game, but you have to fight some tough battles on your way down there. Battles which Enc-None doesn't work in.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Two Dolphins join him in attacking during his Dolphin Blow Limit Break.
  • Noodle Incident: Quistis related that there was an incident where Zell crashed his Cool Board into the girls' restroom. Zell quickly cuts Quistis off before she can tell the rest of the story.
  • Number Two: Squall briefly appointed him as a stand-in leader in his absence during disc 3.
  • Oblivious to Love: Pigtailed Librarian, right until the ending...maybe.
  • Percussive Maintenance: How he ends up fixing the machine in the Bonus Dungeon.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Official sources state that Zell is only 5'6". He is also physically one of the strongest party members.
  • Power Fist
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Some of his slang comes across as this, especially contrasted with the others.
  • Ramming Always Works: His strongest limit break has him dash with a punch towards, and then beyond the enemy to run one lap around the world before finally punching. The enemies will be damaged by the sonic boom, or something...
  • Real Men Wear Pink: There's an optional quest where you can make Zell admit that he likes this color.
  • Red Is Heroic: His outfit has red all over it (vest, shoes and his Infinity+1 Sword).
  • Roundhouse Kick: The Mach Kick, one of his limit break moves.
  • Running Gag: Will wipe his hand on his pants and present it dramatically for a handshake, but never gets one.
  • Shipper on Deck: Like most of the cast, he's a solid Squall and Rinoa shipper.
  • Shoryuken: Dolphin Blow.
  • Shout-Out: Possibly to Marty McFly. He's dressed in a red jacket, is very Hot-Blooded compared to the rest of the cast, and for no particular reason two easy-to-ignore/miss cutscenes involve him riding a hoverboard. Then there's the whole thing involving his relations with Dr. Odine and the timed mission in Esthar...
    • Say what you will about Zell, but he's certainly no Chicken-Wuss.
    • His facial tattoo is apparently based off of something the developers saw on MTV.
    • His Meteor Barret Limit Break.
  • Simple Yet Awesome: The "Armageddon Fist" technique involves ignoring all the flashier moves in Zell's Limit Break to focus on alternating the two most basic instead. A lot less fancy to look at, but backed with a decent strength junction it will destroy things.
  • Spear Counterpart: Aside from job class, he and Selphie practically have the same personality.
  • Spirited Competitor
  • Took a Level in Badass: In his backstory, he was revealed to be a crybaby.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: A kind of bread in the original Japanese; hot dogs in the English translation. Unfortunately for him it seems that they're everybody's Trademark Favorite Food and the cafeteria is always sold out whenever he tries to get one. (This makes for a minor Dub-Induced Plot Hole in the ending FMV, where Zell is seen stuffing his face with, and choking on, said flavored bread. However, they can still be seen as bread with hotdogs stuffed in them.)
  • Tykebomb: Ironically, he's emotionally healthier than the rest of the cast since he grew up with a loving adopted family and wasn't forced into becoming a SeeD.
  • Unknown Rival: Zell considers Seifer his Arch-Enemy. Seifer, while doesn't ignore him, only considers Squall as his legitimate rival.
  • Wall of Weapons: In his room in Balamb.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Two of his Limit Break moves, Heel Drop and Meteor Strike.

    Selphie Tilmitt 
"Destroy everything!"

A transfer student to Balamb Garden who ends up working alongside Squall and Zell. She is surprisingly perky and upbeat for a soldier, but behind her smiling face lies a psychotic, destructive streak that surfaces during times of stress. She is one of the more observant and practical members of the party. Also, she likes trains.

    Quistis Trepe 
"You know, the boys often choke on this test when I come with them."

Squall's instructor at Balamb Garden. Beautiful and intelligent, she is adored by the student base to the point where she has a fan club. However, behind her perfect appearance lies an insecure human who struggles to control her own emotions, and who has unrequited feelings for Squall.

    Irvine Kinneas 
"Thanks for the support, but I never miss my target."

An expert SeeD sniper who joins the Balamb Garden party on an assignment. He likes to style himself as a cool, unflappable gunman and complete ladies' man. However, this is just a façade so he can cope with the suffocating pressures of his job. His true personality is much more shy and dorky.

Secondary Characters

    Laguna Loire 
"I speak with passion, from the heart! That's what matters most."

A Galbadian soldier who dreams of becoming a world-renowned journalist. His dorky and excitable demeanour obscures his extensive combat experience and natural courage. He uses a machine gun in battle and is the main character in the flashback sequences that Squall's party experiences throughout the game.

    Kiros Seagill 
"You cut a pretty pitiful figure up there. I'd say you're about a -3 on the manliness scale."

One of Laguna's best friends and fellow Galbadian soldier. He has a sharp wit and often pokes fun at Laguna, but also trusts him with his life.

    Ward Zabac 
"......"

A Galbadian soldier and the third member of Laguna's unit. His intimidating appearance on the battlefield contrasts sharply with his caring demeanour outside of it. He is rendered mute after suffering a serious injury to his throat during battle.

    Cid Kramer 
"I don't want you all to become machines. I want you all to be able to think and act for yourselves."

The headmaster of Balamb Garden, and one of the original founders of SeeD.

    Ellone 
"You cannot change the past, but seeing it once more is enough."

A mysterious girl who shares a connection with Squall, Laguna and SeeD. She is hunted by various factions during the game, most notably by Sorceress Edea. She possesses a supernatural ability that allows her to send a person's consciousness into the past, and is the source of the mysterious flashbacks that Squall's party has been experiencing.

Minor Characters

    General Caraway 

The General of the Galbadian Army and Rinoa's estranged father.

    Julia Heartilly 

A Bar singer who Laguna has a crush on. She's also Rinoa's mother.

    Raine Loire 

A resident of Winhill, and Ellone's Parental Substitute. She eventually becomes Laguna's wife and Squall's mother.

    Xu 

A member of SeeD and Quistis' closest friend at the start of the story.

    Nida 

A member of SeeD who graduated with Squall, Zell and Selphie.

  • Ace Pilot: Becomes the Garden's pilot once it becomes mobile.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Though to be fair, we don't know if it's his actual given name or he's into Last Name Basis.
  • Mauve Shirt: He is a named member of SeeD but is not that significant to the plot, and even have less screentime and dialogues compared to Xu.
  • Satellite Character: Lampshaded by headmaster Cid himself during the graduation ceremony.
    Cid: Do your best. Even if you don't stand out.
  • Those Two Guys: He and Xu ultimately becomes this.

    Dr. Kadowaki 

Balamb Garden's resident doctor.

  • Last Name Basis: Her first name isn't revealed.
  • The Medic: Again, she's Balamb Garden's resident doctor.
  • Retired Badass: Well, retired badass card player since she was the former leader of the CC group.
  • School Nurse: Well, doctor.
  • Team Mom: To the entire Balamb Garden. Squall even mentions that students go to the infirmary just to seek her advice.

    Martine 
"Failure is not an option."

The ruler of Galbadia Garden.

    Zone & Watts 
"Gathering info is my specialty sir!"
"Ouch my stomach!"

Rinoa's closest allies in the Forest Owls.

    Dr. Odine 

Esthar's resident scientist.

    Mayor Dobe & Flo 

Dobe is the mayor of Fisherman's Horizon and a former Esthar scientist. Flo is his wife and presumably a former esthar scientist as well.

Villains

    Seifer Almasy 
"I've always gotta be doing somethin' big! I don't wanna stop. I'm gonna keep running! I've come this far...I'm gonna make it to the end, to the goal!"

One of Balamb Garden's top students, and Squall's rival. Though he is just as competent as Squall and respects him, he lacks the detachment necessary for a soldier and frequently disobeys orders when his temperament flares up. In fact, he has many of the same personality traits and insecurities as Squall and they shared the same childhood; the difference between them being that Squall's defence against the world is reserve, indifference and cynicism while Seifer's defence is arrogance, outspokenness and romanticism. Though he is outgoing and honest, his single-minded pursuit of his dreams leads to him failing the SeeD examination, and further disasters.

  • Ascended Fanboy: The Ultimania guide reveals that he was influenced by seeing the movie in which Laguna played a knight, and that he based his gunblade stance on the one Laguna used during the film.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He's the only other gunblade user in Garden and has a pretty big ego in Dollet.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Becomes the head of Galbadia from Disc 3 onwards.
  • Badass Longcoat
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Not really evil, but he's a Jerk Ass most of the time.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: There is extensive fan debate as to how willingly Seifer served Edea as her Knight but certainly in the final battle with him he falls into this trope and is being used by Ultimecia. He even admits that he doesn't care, just wanting to impress Squall and prove he was right.
  • The Bully
  • Chewing the Scenery: He can be quite theatrical.
  • Child Soldiers: Like Squall, he's been at Garden since it was founded, which would have been when he was about six years old.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: White to Squall's black.
  • Cool Sword: His gunblade, Hyperion.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: His motif which is used in his most powerful Limit Break as a portal to what looks like Hell.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Unless you send your characters into battle with him without junctions, Seifer as a boss is unlikely to give you a lot of trouble. But during an automated sequence just before the final battle with him, he goes Odin on Odin by reversing his Zantetsuken to vertically bisect him...with no effort at all (In fairness, when Odin appears as a boss in the series, he generally lacks Contractual Boss Immunity to make up for his time limit). Even Squall is shocked. Of course, this sets up the stage for the appearance of Gilgamesh a few turns later, who proceeds to utterly defeat him in your place.
  • Delinquents: Ironically, he's the head of the disciplinary committee.
  • Determinator: Seifer simply does not back down. Even after you KO him.
  • The Dragon: To Ultimecia.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Squall. Their designs also make this very obvious—Squall is brunet, Seifer is blond; Squall wears black, Seifer wears white; Squall has more feminine features, Seifer has a very strong jaw; and they have opposite scars.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Until the ending.
    "One of these days, I'm gonna tell ya 'bout my ROMANTIC dream!"
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: A subtle variation; the scar that Seifer acquires in the opening FMV would be a hero scar on its own, but it's a mirror-image inverse of Squall's, making it more of a villain scar in context.
  • Guest Star Party Member: He's briefly playable during the Dollet mission.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's really enthusiastic about the fighting in Dollet.
  • Jerkass: Though initially one that does think he's doing the right thing.
  • Jerk Jock: He has his moments.
  • Jumped at the Call: Unfortunately for him, it was the wrong call.
  • Karma Houdini: He never pulls any sort of act of redemption, and yet he never has to face any real consequences for his actions. In the ending cinematic, he is seen fishing with Raijin and Fujin, while Balamb Garden flies by. To be fair, he was very clearly used and manipulated by the sorceress, possibly even to the point of mind control.
  • Ki Attacks: The manual says that the fire magic used in Seifer's Limit Break is produced by chi and not Para-Magic.
  • Kick the Dog: Literally and figuratively.
  • Lady and Knight: Dark Knight to Edea's and later Ultimecia's Dark Lady.
  • Light Is Not Good: Wears a long white trench coat. Also serves as one of the antagonists.
  • Lightning Bruiser
  • More Than Mind Control: Seifer is somewhere between Brainwashed and Crazy and this trope.
  • Moveset Clone: He has the same progression of Limit Breaks as Squall does, and the same "trigger" attack, but it requires different timing.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: When the party thinks he is dead, they remember him in a fonder light—much to the frustration of Squall who isn't willing to sugarcoat that Seifer was a bully and a Jerk Ass.
  • Out of Focus: After disc 2, his importance to the plot diminishes severely.
  • Pet the Dog: He has a few Pet the Dog moments when it comes to Rinoa...but his many Kick the Dog moments tend to overshadow it...and we never see those moments since they occur before the game.
    • There's also one non-Rinoa moment: When Squall, Zell and Selphie graduated as SeeDs while he's clearly annoyed that he didn't graduate (and got scolded on top of that), Seifer took the time to gather all that doesn't graduate, and then give Squall and Zell a genuine, warm applause. Considering his attitude, it comes off as this. But then he proceeds to kick a lot of dogs later.
  • Playing with Fire: Loves fire magic almost as much as his gunblade, and even uses it as part of his Limit Break.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: A type C case, In contrast to Squall, who is more emotionally withdrawn, Seifer is more emotionally stunted; incredibly impulsive, violent and a bully that jumps at the chance to serve by Edea to fulfill his childhood dream and ending up getting Brainwashed and Crazy as a result.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni to Squall's Blue Oni.
  • The Rival: To Squall, until he turned evil.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Squall.
  • Smug Super: A major reason why he hasn't become a SeeD despite his exceptional skills.
  • Spin Attack: His Demon Slice Limit Break.
  • Sword Beam: His No Mercy Limit Break.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Raijin and Fujin.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: He, Squall and Rinoa fit the dynamic.
  • Tykebomb
  • The Unfettered: Slips into this after his descent into villainy.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: He grew up a fan of films about sorceresses and heroic knights who defended them. The sorceress takes advantage of his desire to live up to that dream to manipulate him, and in the earlier stages of his service to her he takes great relish in declaring himself the heroic knight to Squall's "evil mercenary".
  • You Are in Command Now: spends the third disc as the leader of Galbadia after Ulti!Edea is out of the picture.

    Edea Kramer 
"You must fight to the end! Even though it may bring tragedy to others!"

A vain and power-hungry Sorceress who uses her brainwashing magic to seize control of Galbadia. SeeD is assigned the task of assassinating her. She is the wife of Cid Kramer, and has become possessed by the malevolent Sorceress Ultimecia.

    Vinzer Deling 
"I am Vinzer Deling, lifelong president of Galbadia!"

The self-proclaimed lifelong president of the Galbadia.

    Biggs & Wedge 
"I was demoted because of you! I'm only a lieutenant now! I'll get my revenge!"

Two Galbadian soldiers who encounter Squall again and again, each time leaving with both their pride and career prospects severely damaged.

    Raijin & Fujin 
"Hey, jus' like Fujin said, ya know!? We're with Seifer. Always have, always will."

Seifer's partners and only firends. Raijin often slurs his speech and ends his sentences with "y'know", while Fujin speaks in monotone. Along with Seifer, they make up the self-proclaimed Balamb Garden Disciplinary Committee.

    NORG 
"THIS IS MY GARDEN!"

The true ruler of Balamb Garden.

    Adel 

An evil Sorceress who once used her powers to rule Esthar with an iron fist. She was overthrown by a resistance movement led by Laguna, and sealed into a technological tomb which was then launched into space.

    Ultimecia 
"This is reality. No-one can help you."

Ultimecia is an evil, all-powerful Sorceress from the future. She seeks to cast the almighty Time Compression magic, which would combine the worlds of the past, present and future into a single point and enable her to rule over all of time itself. While the party doesn't confront her in person until the end of the game, she acts as the antagonist by sending her consciousness into the past to possess other Sorceresses to act through.

Other

    Guardian Forces 

Guardian Forces

Ifrit

The first Guardian Force you have to fight. Squall and Quistis must fight him in the Fire Cavern as part of a SeeD exercise.

Diablos

A devil Guardian Force that controls gravity. You can fight him at any time after Cid gives you the Magical Lamp.

The Brothers (Sacred and Minotaur)

A pair of minotaurs fought in the Tomb of the Forgotten King.

Cerberus

A cerberus Guardian Force you can fight in Galbadia Garden when you invade it at the end of Disc 2.

Bahamut

A powerful Guardian Force encountered in the Deep Sea Research Center.

Odin

An optional, unjunctionable Guardian Force encountered in the Centra Ruins. After you obtain him, he can sometimes show up right at the beginning of a fight to One-Hit Kill your enemies before anybody has a chance to do anything. If you obtained him before completing Disc 3, he will show up at the start of the fight with Seifer, and get cut clean in half. Fortunately, Gilgamesh replaces him.

Gilgamesh

An optional Guardian Force you automatically obtain if Seifer kills Odin. He's obviously a reference to the Final Fantasy V character, if not the same guy.


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