Welcome to the weekly Fantasy Girls article, where I go back into the hundreds upon hundreds of games, anime and any other kind of fictional media and pull out some of my favourite female characters, who are beautiful in both body and mind.
This week we’re starting off with my original fictional crush, Rikku from Final Fantasy X/X-2.
There’s so many ways I could start this article off, but in the spirit of things, I figured I’d speak a little Al Bhed for this cutie.
Rikku ec uha uv so sucd vyjuineda vasyma lrynyldanc uv ymm desa. Cra’c uha uv dra lidacd kenmc E lyh drehg uv, ran bancuhymedo ec ypcumidamo luhdykeuic, oui lyhhud ramb pid csema ynuiht ran yht frah ran juela yldun ec dra makahtyno Tara Strong, oui geht uv ymcu kad y meddma ped uv yh ihvyen ytjyhdyka ykyehcd ajanouha amca. – Rikku is one of my most favourite female characters of all time. She’s one of the cutest girls I can think of, her personality is absolutely contagious, you cannot help but smile around her and when her voice actor is the legendary Tara Strong, you kind of also get a little bit of an unfair advantage against everyone else.
It was almost perfect timing when it came to Rikku and her character. FFX was released in North America in December 2001, though because I was little behind the times (was still playing N64, though who’d complain with Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Super Smash Bros, etc.), so I didn’t end up getting a PlayStation 2 and playing Final Fantasy X for another few years. I was 15 when I first played the game, which is ridiculously coincidental when my first video game crush just happens to be 15 as well.
She already had my attention right from the start. The first time Tidus came across her after she and the Al Bhed came storming into those ruins, I was glued to her. Admittedly that’s because since the graphics weren’t the great (while phenomenal for the time), it really did look like the tan-coloured parts of her suit were actually skin. So yes, it looked like the only thing covering her genitalia was a single strap (which even knowing now it wasn’t skin, it looks kinda painful) and that the game was giving me constant bare ass shots. But after the initial boss battle with her in my party, the first real conversations with her were very meaningful. I mean think about it, you’ve fallen into this random world you don’t recognize (for the time being) and after nearly dying, the first group of human beings you come across are very aggressive and seem scary as fuck. But at its bleakest, the goggles come off and those pretty eyes of hers make their first appearance. Her voice is so soothing as well, you really calm down afterwards and then like I said earlier, you can’t help but smile around her.
Which makes it really saddening when you lose her for an extended period of time after falling into a whirlpool or whatever plot device separates the two of you and brings you to Besaid Island.
Full truth, I spent the entirety of the downtime between Besaid and the Moonflow wondering when I’d see Rikku again. I was 99.9% sure I’d see her again, but there’s always that doubt when sometimes there are just throw away characters at the start of a story. I did not like Lulu at all, I’m not crazy into large breasts, also being 15 at the time didn’t help when Lulu’s 22 at the time. Though even now being 27, I’m still not a fan of her. The same went for Yuna, she was pretty don’t get me wrong, but I hated her personality, she seemed boring to me. Which is why I far prefer her FFX-2 version above the original. But the entire journey leading up to the shoopuf, no other female character could divert my attention, not Lulu’s massive amount of cleavage, not Yuna’s sideboob, not Dona’s thong-covered ass, not Lucil, not Elma, not any female character of any real significance. Of course the brief moment you thought you might come across her in Luca only added onto it.
Mercilessly after going to hell and back, losing a ton of people in the battle against Sin at Mushroom Rock Road (including either Luzzu or Gatta), you finally reach the Moonflow and you see a Shoopuf for the first time (I still can’t say it without the driver’s accent “Riiiiide ze shoopuf?”). Then begins a crazy underwater boss battle with a giant mech. After defeating it, you reach the end of the crossing and start walking again. Then you see a familiar figure lying on the ground. And thus began the FMV that will probably never leave the depths of my memories.
It easy to call this memorable for a ton of reasons, but the most obvious one is it’s the earliest bit of fan service material that I can recall where the graphics were good enough as well. Looking back now, holy shit was this tame compared to what we get now, hell even in the rest of the game itself. Lulu’s breasts nearly pop out every victory pose she does, Dona forgot to finish the back part of her pants to hide the thong she’s wearing, there’s so much more sexual material in the game yet Rikku’s undressing FMV is the most obvious piece of fan service in the game, regardless of the levels.
Now with Rikku back in your party, she was a mainstay, regardless of the fact there were just better choices. Lulu’s black magic, Yuna’s summons, Wakka’s status effects, there were better options. But my beginning 3 was always Tidus, Auron, Rikku. If I needed anything else, I’d switch out Rikku then, but only then. The pure enjoyment of moving her to Auron’s sphere grid in the second half of the game and turning her into an alchemic juggernaut was so great. Not as hilarious as a moogle doll doing 9999 damage, but still!
The times I wanted to give this lovely young lady a giant hug fell after you left Guadosalam for the temple in Macalania. You reach the Thunder Plains, still one of the coolest areas in any game I’ve ever seen. And it’s when you arrive there that you realized that Rikku absolutely hates thunder and lightning, she essentially has astraphobia. She cowers immediately, to the point Auron pretty much starts treating her like a child the rest of the way through the plains. She reveals that as a child her brother tried to save her when she was being attacked by a fiend…”But he missed and hit me instead! It was a Thunder spell – ‘Bzzzzzzt!’ I’ve been scared of lightning ever since.” as Rikku would tell the story. If I remember correctly, the next time she gets hit by a Thunder spell she freaks out, but I may be mixing it up with something else. You felt so bad for her as she slowly dragged herself forward after being nearly left behind. The way she walked and cowered was so cartoonish, it was perfectly done.
The second time was an alternate scene that you actually had to do a little bit of work for. You had to talk to Rikku whenever you could and use potions on her and such during battles to increase her affection. Which you’d have to go out of your way to do unless you simply never acknowledged Lulu’s existence the entire game. Everyone already started with a ton of affection points and the gap between getting Rikku back in your party and the point in the game where this scene comes into play is VERY short. So I ended up grinding a lot more at the Moonflow beforehand to try and turn the tides. It’s definitely worth it, the time you spend with her is very meaningful. Before even reaching the Macalania scene, you can talk to Rikku about Yuna’s potential marriage to Maester Seymour and instead talk to her about marrying her instead of even thinking about Yuna. To which at that point Rikku utters the Al Bhed phrase that Tidus x Rikku fans use as their banner, “Syopa Cusatyo”, which translates to “Maybe Someday”. But the scene in Macalania, while not as adorable is just as nice. While it was mostly Rikku being depressed after dealing with Wakka’s discovery of her being Al Bhed and talking about saving Yuna, the hug at the very end is very cute.
Once the game gets past the Tidus/Yuna kiss, Rikku sort of starts to fall into the background with the rest of the characters. There are moments and quotable lines here and there, but by this point in the game she’s just another party member. But since Yuna and Lulu are for the most part semi-forgettable to me, Rikku always remained a constant for me, at least in my party.
I was waiting for what felt like an eternity for Final Fantasy X-2. I even bought Unlimited SaGa just to see the debut trailer for it (the game was all right). I wasn’t sure how I felt about Rikku’s new look right off the bat, I knew Yuna looked a hell of a lot better (not even counting the hot pants, but Paine was a giant ‘meh’ for me. When the game arrived, was happy to see at least in terms of her personality, Rikku hadn’t changed a bit. The real difference was in her outfit.
Even to this day I’m not a huge fan of the bikini set with a miniskirt. I’ve gotten past the hairstyle, but the clothes just don’t do it for me. Does she look hot as hell, you bet she does! But I didn’t like that to be her primary figure, I adored the cute Rikku from the first game, I felt like in FFX-2 they had slut-ed her up a little bit.
The secret hot springs scene really did it for me not liking her FFX-2 character. After scaring off Leblanc’s guards, the three of them decide to stop for a while to take “a little dip” in the hot springs themselves. Because y’know they just happened to pack their swimsuits with them for some reason, they do make it seem like a sporadic moment, no one on the ship knew what they were doing until they mentioned it. And another thing, Rikku’s already wearing a bikini! What was the point of completely changing into what looks like a really weird looking one-piece (all of their swimwear is a little odd to me, apparently Spira has some really unique swimwear makers) when all she has to do is slide off her mini-skirt and the many accessories she’s wearing? And then to make matters worse, she spends the entire scene comparing breasts sizes to the other two because “Haha! She’s got the smallest ones! She’s sooo jealous!”. While it was just fan service, it’s one of those cases that at least to me I felt it hurt her character just a little bit.
I don’t recall a whole lot story-wise from FFX-2, most of it was forgettable, I really don’t treat it like a full-fledged Final Fantasy game, it was more like an homage to the first game for the fans. And it was a fun game, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not like I can recall scene after scene involving Rikku and key dialogue that isn’t that hot springs scene.
Rikku is without a shadow of a doubt in my top 10 of not just video game girls, but fictional girls of all-time. She has everything I look for in a girl. She’s pretty, not too too hot. She’s absolutely adorable, but not to the point of it being overwhelming. She’s one of the nicest girls around, even when things are at its worst. And come on, Tara Strong voices her, that’s automatically putting you high on the list! I can only hope that if holographic technology really evolves, I’ll somehow be able to talk to her.