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Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII)

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Lightning
File:Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII).jpg
CG render of Lightning
Series Fabula Nova Crystallis
Final Fantasy XIII
First game Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
Created by Motomu Toriyama
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura
Voiced by (English) Ali Hillis
Voiced by (Japanese) Maaya Sakamoto
Fictional information
Weapon Blazefire Saber
Special attack Army of One, Zantetsuken

Lightning (ライトニング Raitoningu?) is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the video game Final Fantasy XIII developed and published by Square Enix. She was created by Motomu Toriyama, the game's director and scenario writer, and designed by Tetsuya Nomura.

Born as Claire Farron, or Éclair Farron (エクレール・ファロン Ekurēru Faron?) in the original Japanese language version, she began using her code name of "Lightning" after losing her parents to escape the vulnerabilities and insecurities of her former self and in order to become a different person—strong enough to care for her younger sister Serah. However, this choice only causes rising tensions between them as she grew up to have a rather cold personality that has a tendency to look down upon others including comrades at most times during the start of the adventure.

Concept and creation

Director Motomu Toriyama wanted Lightning to be a new type of female character, with an athlete's body and a less feminine nature than some of the previous female characters of Final Fantasy.[1][2] His guideline to character designer Tetsuya Nomura was to make her "strong and beautiful", "someone like a female version of Cloud from FFVII".[1][3] Multiple designs were considered for her, including some designed by other staff members.[3] Some of her original characteristics were blonde hair and Asian-looking features.[3][4] Nomura defines Lightning as "serious", "unforgiving", "relentless" and "a kind of individualistic person", in direct contrast with Snow Villiers' passionate nature.[5] The final art was made less Asian-looking than originally conceived, while the silver hair color was given to Hope Estheim in favor of a pinker color.[3][4] She was born on May 13 and is 21 years old in the game.[6] Her pink hair color was made to reflect this more feminine side of her. Although Nomura explained that she is essentially a "cool character" and that "you can't have a cool character without anything inappropriate,[3] it was also stated that Lightning's cool aspect was transferred to Oerba Yun Fang when the latter character's design changed from being a male character to a female.[4] The game's producer Yoshinori Kitase also commented on the difficulty of balancing Lightning's depiction, as she is both a woman and a professionally trained warrior, and also noted that Maaya Sakamoto's acting helped bring out Lightning's feminity.[7]

While her real name, Claire, is not related to the weather or skies, which is a common tradition of naming Final Fantasy protagonists when Tetsuya Nomura is the character designer, her alias of "Lightning" does continue this tradition. The name was not chosen by Nomura, who was surprised by it, as he was thinking about stopping this naming tradition.[3] Eclair, the romanization of her Japanese name, is French for "lightning." According to Toriyama, there is "a strong element of mystery about her character".[8] Lightning was voiced by Ali Hillis in English and by Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese.

Battle skills

Lightning's weapon is a Blazefire Saber, known as Blaze Edge (ブレイズエッジ Bureizu Ejji?) in the Japanese version, a fictional cross between a gun and a sword used by experimented soldiers.[9] It has sometimes been called a gunblade by the gaming press in reference to the weapon which appeared in Final Fantasy VIII, although the Blaze Edge is able to shoot bullets from a distance, unlike the other weapon. Early in development, Lightning also had a Gravity Bomb device at her disposal, which could be used to generate an electrical shield in battle or manipulate time and gravity.[8][10]

Early in the game, and like the other playable characters, Lightning becomes a l'Cie, a being magically marked by the god-like "fal'Cie" creatures to do their bidding. Lightning's mark appears in the middle of her chest so it is always covered within the game;[11] it grants her superhuman strength as well as a rose-shaped crystal which she can use to summon the Eidolon Odin. In battle, Lightning can command Odin to turn into a horse-like creature that she mounts, taking up his double-bladed sword for a short amount of time.[12] Her strongest unique special attack is called Army of One, or Scene Drive in Japanese version.

Appearances

Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero: Promise

Episode Zero: Promise is a series of web novellas written by Jun Eishima, depicting the thirteen days leading up to the events of the main game.[13][14] The first part of the series, titled "Encounter", sees Lightning opposing the engagement of her younger sister Serah Farron to Snow Villiers, the leader of the rebel group NORA.[13] One day prior to the start of the game, Lightning learned that Serah became a l'Cie on her 21st birthday; however, she refused to listen to Serah until it was too late. Resigning as Guardian Corps Seargent, she boarded a train holding the Purge exiles, along with Sazh Kathroy, to save her sister.

Final Fantasy XIII

When the train carrying the Purge exiles crosses through the Hanging Edge area of Cocoon at the start of the game, Lightning fights her way through the cars with Sazh rallying the exiles to derail it as PSICOM sends its forces after the train. As the surviving exiles escape and are found by NORA, Lightning advances to Anima to save her sister. Joined by Snow, along with Hope Estheim and Oerba Dia Vanille, two of the surviving exiles, Lightning finds Serah and the party witnesses Serah being turned into crystal. Lightning and the party defeats Anima, and they are marked as l'Cie when PSICOM destroys the Vestige. They awake in Lake Bresha; frozen solid as a result of Anima's death. After the party finds Serah, Lightning, believing that there is nothing to restore her to normal, and the party leaves Snow behind in a fruitless attempt to break Serah out of her crystal stasis. Soon after, the party separates following a brief ambush. Lightning inadvertently summons Odin, her Eidolon, and trains Hope to fight against the Sanctum. From there, she learns of Hope's mother, Nora, and helps support Hope's assassinatation attempt on Snow and the Sanctum. However, after meeting Oerba Yun Fang, Lightning realizes that she is misdirecting her rage towards the Sanctum and tries to persuade Hope to prevent his attempt on Snow.

During the course of the game, Lightning struggles to deal with her nature as a l'Cie while eventually realizing that she had hated herself for distrusting her sister[15], acknowledging Snow's relationship with Serah and his faith that they will restore her to normal as a result. After killing Orphan to save Cocoon, Lightning is allowed to continue her life as a human and ends the game reconciling with Serah, who has also been restored to normal.

Other Appearances

Lightning has been confirmed to be playable in the fighting game Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy, which uses characters from the Final Fantasy series.[16] Besides her Final Fantasy XIII outfit, Lightning will also have an additional one that cosplays the character Aya Brea from The 3rd Birthday.[17]

Promotion and reception

Play Arts has released a Lightning action figure including her Blaze Edge sword. Square Enix has also released jewelry related to Lightning, including a key ring and the necklace she wears in-game.[citation needed]

Lightning's character has received positive and negative response from video game publications. When Final Fantasy XIII was still in development Anime News Network's writer Todd Ciolek expected Lightning's activities in the game to be similar to the ones from previous games, and found the baby chocobo to be more likable than her.[18] In a game review, Ciolek commented that Lightning is initially "far too distant and cold, as though the writers were so intent on creating a tough, competent heroine that they forgot to make her at all compelling". However, he mentioned that after hours of playing the title, Lightning becomes a more appealing lead character.[19] GameSpot called Lightning a "likeable, strong-willed beauty" while commenting on her interactions with the other main characters of the game.[20] Jeremy Parrish 1UP.com commented that if it were not for Lightning's scenes in which she shows a thoughtful side, she "could simply be your typical, sullen Square protagonist".[21] Videogamer.com simply referred to Lightning as the female version of the Final Fantasy VII lead character Cloud Strife.[22] In a later article showing the best ten Final Fantasy characters, she was sixth with the writer finding her interesting in the course of the game despite still finding her similar to Cloud.[23] UK IGN stated that Lightning "instantly endears herself" due to the scenes in which she punches Snow whenever he gets full of himself. On the other hand, they commented that due to the fact her backstory "soon gets bogged down in generic swash", the character of Sazh became more appealing than her.[24] Additionally, her backstory was deemed as regular by GamesRadar who called Lightning as one of the most notable "as one-dimensional and boring" characters from the title.[25] During February 2010, Lightning was ranked as the thirty-fourth most popular video game character from Japan in a Famitsu poll.[26]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Luke Smith (June 7, 2006). FFXIII Interview: Nomura, Kitase, Hashimoto and Toriyama. 1UP.com. Retrieved on October 24, 2009.
  2. Shane Bettenhausen (July 16, 2009). E3 2008: One More Final Fantasy XIII Interview. 1UP.com. Retrieved on October 25, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "1000号記念スペシャル表紙プロジェクト" (in Japanese). Famitsu (Enterbrain) (1001): 42–45. February 8, 2008.  Translation.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 John Tanaka (September 23, 2009). TGS 09: Final Fantasy XIII Update. IGN. Retrieved on October 24, 2009.
  5. Jonathan Gordon; Samuel Roberts (August 20, 2009). GC09: Final Fantasy XIII Interview. NowGamer. Retrieved on October 25, 2009.
  6. Jun Eishima (September 28, 2009). Part I: Encounter, Chapter 7 (Japanese) (Flash). Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-. Square Enix. Retrieved on October 25, 2009. Translation.
  7. "PlayStation 3 Keyperson Interview" (in Japanese). Dengeki PlayStation (ASCII Media Works) (445): 56–57. April 2009. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jonti Davis (April 2007). "Don't Dream It's Over". Official PlayStation Magazine (Australia: Derwent Howard Media) (2): 74–75. 
  9. Jun Eishima (September 28, 2009). Part I: Encounter, Chapter 1 (Japanese) (Flash). Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- 6–7. Square Enix. Retrieved on October 24, 2009. Translation.
  10. Shane Bettenhausen (August 2007). "Final Fantasy Turns 20". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (218): 21. 
  11. Kevin Gifford (June 10, 2009). Final Fantasy XIII Post-E3 Wrapup. 1UP.com. Retrieved on October 24, 2009.
  12. Ryan Clements (August 20, 2009). GC 2009: Final Fantasy XIII Update. IGN. Retrieved on October 24, 2009.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Kevin Gifford (September 23, 2009). Final Fantasy XIII Features Girls, Summons. 1UP.com. Retrieved on October 25, 2009.
  14. Anoop Gantayat (September 18, 2009). Square Enix Announces Final Fantasy XIII Novelization. IGN. Retrieved on October 24, 2009.
  15. Lightning: It was too much. / Snow: Hm? / Lightning: What happened to Serah. All I could think about was, 'What could I have done?' I hated myself for not trusting her. It hurt too much. I couldn't face it. Square Enix. Final Fantasy XIII. (Square Enix). PlayStation 3, Xbox 360. (2010-03-09)
  16. Final Fantasy Fighting Game Gets A Sequel Struck By Lightning. Kotaku (2010-09-07). Retrieved on 2010-09-07.
  17. Gantayat, Anoop (September 16, 2010). Square Enix Makes Big PSP Push. Andriasang. Retrieved on September 16, 2010.
  18. Ciolek, Todd (April 22, 2009). The X Button - Blood on Blood. Anime News Network. Retrieved on December 29, 2009.
  19. Ciolek, Todd (March 31, 2010). Final Fantasy XIII review. Anime News Network. Retrieved on March 31, 2010.
  20. VanOrd, Kevin (2010-03-05). Final Fantasy XIII Review for PlayStation 3. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2010-03-05.
  21. Parrish, Jeremy (March 5, 2010). Final Fantasy XIII review for the PS3 and Xbox 360. 1UP.com. Retrieved on March 6, 2010.
  22. Yin-Poole, Wesley (March 3, 2010). Final Fantasy XIII review. Videogamer.com. Retrieved on March 6, 2010.
  23. Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters. Videogamer.com (March 11, 2010). Retrieved on August 26, 2010.
  24. Robinson, Martin. Final Fantasy XIII review. IGN. Retrieved on March 6, 2010.
  25. Gudmundson, Carolyin (March 5, 2010). Final Fantasy XIII review. GamesRadar. Retrieved on March 6, 2010.
  26. Glifford, Kevin (2010-02-10). Snake Beats Mario, Is Coolest Video Game Character Ever. 1UP.com. Retrieved on 2010-03-10.

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