- The game's ending has every good character—the entire main gang, and also Dahj, Noel, and Yeul, and most of the surviving members of the previous world—are all taken to a new world. The game ends with Lightning in a peaceful idylic land that resembles the modern day French countryside, smiling and saying that she's going to move forward.
- Yeul's inclusion is notable in that it was the intention of all of Yeul's incarnations to stay behind and take Etro's place. When Noel protests, Caius grabs him by the throat and asks him if he's willing to take their place instead. When Noel complies, Caius simply tosses him in the air after the others... only with Yeul's final incarnation, specifically the one Noel grew up with, in his arms, and they're allowed to leave for the new world together.
- Fang and Vanille saved the souls of the dead from the Chaos as well, and they're implied to be transported to the new world too. So Cid Raines? NORA? Alyssa Zaidelle and her friend? They're all there too.
- Even though it's Yeul's own attachment to him that prevents him from finally dying, Caius doesn't actually seem to blame her for it. Actually, he's committed to staying by the Chaos that is those countless Yeuls, because he knows that they would not be welcome in the new world (due to that, you know, history-breaking thing from the previous game).
- Lightning managing to pull Snow back from his Despair Event Horizon induced near-suicide, convincing him to have hope that he'll see Serah again, all after it seemed that there was no way to save him. This also serves as a huge moment of Character Development for her, considering that she has now gone from punching Snow in the face out of pure dislike to hugging him and begging him not to die for Serah's sake. And amazingly, she is incredibly emotional during this scene, even though God purged her emotions out of her, showing just how deeply she is being affected by this.
- Lightning openly refers to Snow as family. That shows just how much she cares about him, compared to what she felt in the first game.
- Lightning tells Fang that she can save Vanille from performing the Soulsong because she is the one who protects her from the darkness; she always has been.
- During the confrontation at the cathedral when the souls of humanity need to be guided to the Ark, Fang embraces Vanille from behind and holds her hands, telling her "Death won't keep us apart" before combining their energy to guide the souls.
- In the end, when Lightning is finally honest with herself and cries out that she doesn't want to be left alone in the world of Chaos, it is Hope who comes back and pulls her out of the Unseen Realm, turning his back on a chance to be reborn with his parents so he can save Lightning.Hope: I came because I heard you calling.
- And immediately after there's Serah's replica revealing that even though she was created without emotions, through imagining and dreaming about how the real Serah felt about Lightning she genuinely came to love Lightning herself.
- In a sidequest where Light helps a singer and her songwriter boyfriend, the singer rewards Light by singing her "favorite song"....Serah's 13-2 theme.
- That same character's theme from the first game is involved in another sidequest, where a small boy plays it on his trumpet after learning it from Lumina, of all people. When he learns the whole story behind that tune and its connection to Yusnaan's beloved Patron, he continues playing it on the streets in the hopes that Snow himself may hear it from his palace.
- Once you complete the 'Legendary Recipe' sidequest, what does the dish actually turn out to be? The NORA speciality, which has been passed down from generation to generation for the last thousand years.
- The conclusion of the sidequest to help Ronan return to his body after he has been turned into the cat Gem, courtesy of a potion from Lumina which she said would allow Gem to come back to life. After returning to human, Ronan suddenly hears Gem's voice telling him to move on and be happy like he was when she was still alive and that she will still live on in his memory. It's heavily implied that the only reason why he was able to hear Gem speak to him was because of Lumina's potion, and if you do this quest relatively early in the game, it's an early clue that while Lumina may be a Troll, she just may have a good heart underneath it all.
- Sazh was consumed by the Chaos before he could show up to help deal with the Soulsong, so he and Dajh tracked down Serah's soul instead.
- Lightning's entire demeanor when she finds the Angel of Valhalla badly injured by a Chocobo Eater. Her emotions may have been wiped, but her ability to care clearly hasn't. And there's something a bit funny and heartwarming to hear her call this giant bird "little one."
- Before the final day, the scene with Hope's soul that has come to say goodbye to Lightning before disappearing, now that Bhunivelze no longer requires him or his body as a host anymore. Especially when Hope mentions he wanted to say goodbye "as himself" and is "glad that he met Lightning".
- Mog's presence on the ark. It's heavily implied that just before Hope disappeared, he found a way to bring Mog to the Ark, so that Lighting would have someone to help her. Mog even tells her he has a message for her, to "keep her eyes front" and takes over Hope's "shop".
- Snow and Hope's relationship is also very heartwarming, given Hope started the first game wanting to kill Snow. We're only shown small pieces, but it's enough to infer that they've become very close. After Hope disappeared (read captured by Bhunivelze), Hope only ever sent out one message and he sent it to Snow, the very same message that prompted Snow to the test Lightning's identity in the Yuusnaan Palace. During the Yuusnaan Palace portion of Snow's quest, when Lightning threatens to abandon Snow to his fate, Hope becomes EXTREMELY distressed. Remember, Hope explicitly states towards the beginning of the game that saving souls is something of a numbers game and that she can't afford to waste too much time on one particular soul but he vehemently objects to the idea of leaving Snow behind. This is probably the most upset he sounds the entire game. After you finished Snow's portion of the main quest you can find him in the Augur's quarter and one of his dialogues is about Hope, namely he's missed Hope and that Hope needs to come back as soon as he can. Snow is the ONLY former party member to bring up Hope (while Lightning can question Vanille about Hope, she only really talks about the effect Hope's disappearance had on the world and nothing about him personally). And at the end of the game, when everyone has gathered in the void Hope really only interacts with two people, Lightning and Snow.
Heartwarming / Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII