Vaan as he appears in Final Fantasy XII. Designed by Akihiko Yoshida.
Series Final Fantasy
First game Itadaki Street Special
Designed by Akihiko Yoshida
Voiced by (English) Bobby Edner
Voiced by (Japanese) Kouhei Takeda
Fictional information
Quickening Pyroclasm
Home Rabanastre

Vaan (ヴァン Van?) is a fictional character in the Final Fantasy series, and the protagonist of Final Fantasy XII.

Concept and creation

Fellow Final Fantasy XII character Basch was initially meant to be the main character of the story, but the focus was eventually shifted to Vaan and Penelo when the two characters were created later in development.[1] The development team explained that their previous game, Vagrant Story, which featured a "strong man in his prime" as the protagonist had been unsuccessful and unpopular; the change regarding Final Fantasy XII from a "big and tough" protagonist to a more effeminate one was thus decided after targeting demographics were considered.[1] Although originally conceived as more "rugged", Vaan was changed during development of the game to be more effeminate after "taking into consideration the target demographic". He was designed by character designer Akihiko Yoshida to look Asian.[2] He began designing Vaan before any other character.[citation needed] Motomu Toriyama, the writer and director of Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, picked Vaan as his favourite character in the game.[3]

Vaan was voiced in Final Fantasy XII by Bobby Edner in English and by Kouhei Takeda in Japanese. With the casting of Takeda for the voice acting and motion capture, Vaan became a little less feminine and more "active, upbeat bright and positive" than planned.[1][4] When asked how he compares to other Final Fantasy protagonists, Hideo Minaba stated that due in part to being designed by a different character designer than before, he didn't feel he could be compared to any other Final Fantasy character.[5] Vaan also made appearances in other video games; despite having been created for Final Fantasy XII, Vaan was first introduced in the 2004 crossover board game Itadaki Street Special for the PlayStation 2.[6] He also appears in Itadaki Street Portable for the PlayStation Portable.[7]


The main protagonist of the game and a 17 year-old orphaned Hume street urchin who lost his parents in a plague when he was 12 years old.[8] His only brother, Reks, died two years prior to the start of the game, during the Archadian invasion of Dalmasca. He makes a living as Migelo's assistant, running various errands for him, while at the same time pickpocketing from Archadian soldiers while claiming to take back what is Dalmasca's.[9] He is a cheerful and energetic boy. Vaan dreams of someday becoming a sky pirate in command of his own airship.[10] He trains to meet this goal by killing dire rats in the sewers of Rabanastre on a daily basis, for which Dalan gave him the nickname "Vaan Ratsbane."[11] Despite nominally being the main protagonist, the majority of the game focuses on the events and conflicts of the world as a whole and of Ashe, rather than Vaan's individual problems, with his character instead used as a narrative device to allow the player to follow the events as an outside observer.[12] During the course of the game, Vaan comes to understand that he has spent his time running from his problems and blaming the Archadian empire for them, rather than moving on with his life after his brother and parents' deaths.[13] Vaan ends the game as a sky pirate, traveling the world along with Penelo.

During the events of Revenant Wings, Vaan becomes captain of the Airship Galbana and uses it to travel to Lemurés, meeting old friends while making new ones. He is given the title of the "leading man" formerly held by Balthier, and other characters suggest a teacher/student relationship between them, though Balthier denies this.[14] In the aftermath, Vaan and Penelo take their leave from Rabanastre to have their own adventure. Their adventures eventually take them to the Jylland region of Ivalice, where a now-adult Vaan and Penelo get caught up in events surrounding Clan Gully and a boy from another world named Luso Clemens, eventually joining up with the clan for a time.[15]


File:Vaan RW.png

The similarities between the design of Vaan and Tetsuya Nomura's have been criticized, which artist Akihiko Yoshida noted was likely due to the similar colours used.[16] In the book Final Fantasy and Philosophy: The Ultimate Walkthrough, he is described by Greg Littmann as a pick pocket and, unlike many of Final Fantasy's protagonists, lacking in a "sense of honesty and justice".[17] GameSpot editor Greg Kasavin described Vaan as the "token androgynous male lead", also describing him as an "Aladdin-type".[18] G4 TV editor Greg Orlando described him as "eminently likable" due to the game's focus on "political intrigue" and Vaan trying to understand it all.[19] Cyril Lachel of stated that while he was not a fan of Vaan, he was surprised by how his story turned out.[20] editor Andrew Pfister stated that while everyone was expecting to hate what he describes as an "angsty teen", this is "tempered by the presence of Balthier and Basch", two fellow characters.[21]

His lessened involvement with the plot compared to protagonists from preceding Final Fantasy titles was met with mixed reception. Destructoid editor Aaron Linde described him as "arguably the most uninspiring character in the game".[22] editor Andrew Macarthy described Vaan as an "undescribing figure".[23] Eurogamer editor Rob Fahey stated that while "players may initially be somewhat dismayed to find themselves largely following around the cheerful prettyboy Vaan", the game introduces new characters who "fill out the cast superbly".[24] PSX Extreme editor Cavin Smith commented that due to the game not focusing on just one character, Vaan "spends the entire game as an observer of the events unfolding in front of him", adding that it is a "far different take on the protagonist compared to Nomura's egocentric tendencies".[25] PALGN editor Phil Larsen called him a "rogue-ish bad boy with a heart of gold", adding that "while this may seem clichéd at first, Vaan is always presented as extremely young and never tries to control every situation", citing Tidus as an example of someone who does.[26] Worthplaying editor Agustin described the set-up as being "Dragon Quest-like", and that while he acts as a vehicle for players to view the plot through, he compared him to critically acclaimed characters Crono and Link from the Chrono Trigger and The Legend of Zelda series respectively.[12]

Bobby Edner's portrayal of Vaan has been met with mostly positive reception. Cavin Smith praised his acting, stating that he sounds like an actual teenager without sounding whiny.[25] Agustin praised the developers for giving Vaan a voice actor, commenting that it prevents any awkward silences from a silent protagonist. He added however that Vaan is "decidedly quiet", owing to many of the conversations not requiring his input, which Agustin called a "brilliant interactive storytelling device".[12] Gaming Trend editor Keith Schleicher praised the voice acting of Final Fantasy XII, commenting that "while Vaan’s voice was an issue for me when playing the game at first, it eventually grew on me".[27] His design change from Final Fantasy XII to Revenant Wings was criticized by RPGFan editor Patrick Gann, for going from a teenage design to what appears to be the design of a 10 year old Vaan.[28]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sortie française de Final Fantasy XII : le Compte rendu (French). Final Fantasy Ring (2007-02-28). Retrieved on 2007-04-17
  2. Q&A: Final Fantasy XII developers. GameSpot (2003-11-20). Retrieved on 2007-04-12
  3. Square Enix Final Fantasy DS Interview. Kikizo (2008-03-17). Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  4. Final Fantasy XII Q&A. IGN (2003-11-20). Retrieved on 2006-09-02
  5. Final Fantasy XII Interview. FF Shrine. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  6. ドラゴンクエスト&ファイナルファンタジー in いただきストリート Special (Japanese). Square Enix. Retrieved on 2009-09-24
  7. Calonne, Stéphane (2006-03-24). Itadaki Street surf sur la vague FFXII (French). Gamekyo. Retrieved on 2009-09-24
  8. Vaan: A lot of kids lost their parents in the war. Mine- mine had already died before that. The Plague took them both. / Basch: I'm sorry. I didn't know. / Vaan: It's okay. It's been five years now. After that, I lived with my friend Penelo and her family. Square Enix. Final Fantasy XII. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-10-31)
  9. Penelo: I thought that this money was the people of Dalmasca’s property. The Imperials stole it from us, so it’s only fair that we take it back. It’s our duty as Dalmascans. Well, wasn’t that what you said? Square Enix. Final Fantasy XII. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-10-31)
  10. Vaan: One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will. Square Enix. Final Fantasy XII. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-10-31)
  11. Old Dalan: Now the right takes Vaan Ratsbane to his territorial hunting grounds in the sewerbottom. Square Enix. Final Fantasy XII. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-10-31)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Agustin (2006-11-21). PS2 Review - 'Final Fantasy XII'. Worthplaying. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  13. Vaan: Hating the Empire, getting revenge. It’s all I ever thought about. But I never did anything about it. I mean, I realized there was nothing I could do. It made me feel hollow, alone. And then I’d miss my brother. I’d say stuff like "I’m gonna be a Sky Pirate" …or some other stupid thing. Just anything to keep my mind off it. I was just—I was running away. I needed to get away from his death. That’s why I followed you. Know what? I’m through with it. I’m through running. I’m ready to find my purpose. To find some real answers—some reasons. If I stick with you, I think I will. Square Enix. Final Fantasy XII. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-10-31)
  14. Reddas:Ha, ha. Fly first, ask questions later. Your apprentice is more pirate than you. / Balthier: I don't have an apprentice. Square Enix. Final Fantasy XII. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-10-31)
  15. Calonne, Stéphane (2007-08-19). Final Fantasy Tactics A2 : Vaan et Penelo. Gamekyo. Retrieved on 2008-10-01
  16. Winkler, Chris. Final Fantasy XII Preview. RPGFan. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  18. Kasavin, Greg (2006-10-31). Final Fantasy XII Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  19. Orlando, Greg (2006-11-01). Final Fantasy XII Review. G4. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  20. Lachel, Cyril (2006-10-31). Final Fantasy XII - Review. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  21. Pfister, Andrew (2006-10-27). Final Fantasy XII Review. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  22. Linde, Aaron (2007-11-23). Destructoid review: Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. Destructoid. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  23. Macarthy, Andrew (2007-03-21). Final Fantasy XII - Review. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  24. Fahey, Rob (2006-10-31). Final Fantasy XII Review. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  25. 25.0 25.1 Smith, Cavin (2006-11-27). Final Fantasy XII Review. PSX Extreme. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  26. Larsen, Phil (2007-02-22). Final Fantasy XII Review. PALGN. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  27. Schleicher, Keith. Final Fantasy XII: Return to Ivalice Review. Gaming Trend. Retrieved on 2009-10-20
  28. Gann, Patrick (2008-01-29). Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. RPGFan. Retrieved on 2009-10-20


Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.