The characters in Final Fantasy VI are absolutely incredible, and each and every character in this game is completely unique from one another! This group of characters was easily one of my favorite character casts in the Final Fantasy series, so this ranking was quite challenging! One last thing to note: this isn't only based on the character's personalities, but also their story and how that affects their personality. Now without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... Final Fantasy VI: All Characters RANKED! (by Personality)
20. Ten Moogles - F Tier
They are literally just dispensable characters that are part of a single tower-defense minigame. I mean, that mini-game is super fun, but this isn't a ranking based on if a minigame is fun or not, it is based off personality and plot relevance. The only thing that this adds to the story is that one of the ten, Molulu, is Mog's girlfriend and an accessory is named after her. But that minute fact is not nearly enough to move these losers any higher than the F Tier. Don't get me wrong, they are still adorable, don't come at me with the fire and brimstone of Tartarus!
19. Ghost - D Tier
I will admit, these guys are really cool temporary playable characters to have in the party. I am eternally grateful of their existence, as they add so much more depth and pizzazz to what is already one of the greatest dungeons in the Final Fantasy series—the Phantom Train. Does that mean they have absolutely any plot relevance? Actually, kind of, as they are lost spirits taking the train to be laid to rest. But, I mean, they are only marginally more plot relevant than the Ten Moogles, so I can't place them any higher than D Tier still.
18. Biggs & Wedge - D Tier
I'm sorry, but as iconic as these two may be and how much they add to the game's prologue, they literally add nothing to the story. They are just an excuse for the Esper to seem super overpowered and to make the beginning cutscenes and gameplay much cooler. Overall, I am glad these guys exist so I am not putting them in F Tier, but seriously, how could I rank these two any higher?
17. Umaro - C Tier
There's definitely some novelty to having a berserk Yeti on your team that is besties with a moogle. He's just... nothing in terms of personality or story. As much as he is quite a cool character, what is the point of a cool character that has no personality? He's an optional character, so I definitely can forgive him for this, but there are so many optional RPG characters with a fantastic story and/or personality—Ms. Mowz from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Magus from Chrono Trigger, Vincent from Final Fantasy VII, et cetera. But Umaro? He's got nothing. He's cool, but can't compare to these other characters.
16. Gogo - C Tier
Gogo has slightly more characterization than Umaro. He is a returning character from Final Fantasy V and has an aura of intrigue about him. While he doesn't really have a story or distinct personality, finding such a quirky character in such an awkward situation is absolutely a vibe. But still, Gogo is barely a character. He's kind of an icon—but not a great character.
15. Strago Magus - C Tier
I have a love-hate relationship with old men in video games. Galuf? By far my favorite character in Final Fantasy V, as well as one of my favorites in the series. Sed? He's my second or third favorite character in Lost Odyssey! On the other hand? Rab from Dragon Quest XI, who's way too pervy and it ruins his character. And, well, Strago, a really boring old man. The only reason Strago is in C Tier and not lower is because of his optional scenes that relate him to Shadow, as well his Ebot's Rock storyline. But his personality and the rest of his story? I don't know, but he's just boring, uninteresting, and annoying. Every good thing about his personality is just amplified by Relm or done better by a different character. Overall, if his story wasn't solid, he'd be my least favorite character in the game, but that just isn't the case.
14. Banon - B Tier
For most of the World of Balance, Banon is a very important character, being the mastermind behind every mission the party goes on. He tells you what to do, he joins your party, and he leads the Returners very effectively. I thought he was a really cool character, and was great in terms of both story and personality. However, after the party goes to Vector on an Imperial expedition? Banon just never shows up in the story again, and I don't even know if he is ever mentioned again in passing. This fantastic character was done so dirty, and there's almost no reason he couldn't have 1) been given at least an ending to his story like a heroic sacrifice or something or 2) became a permanently playable party member, as he is pretty important to the story. I mean, it is rather obvious that Banon was either captured and killed by the Empire for treason or killed in the cataclysm that caused the World of Ruin to exist. Overall, Banon could've been at least an A Tier character for me (likely right behind or above Relm) because he was a rather cool addition to the story, but the developers just did Banon so incredibly dirty. In an otherwise rather perfect game and one of my favorite games of all-time, doing Banon dirty might just be the worst sin this game commits.
13. Mog - B Tier
Mog is kind of the game's unofficial mascot and is both optional and mandatory at different points in the game. He conducts the game's three scenarios earlier in the game, he conducts a tower defense game early in the game, and more! Mog is a very fun character and a very cute character, but his complete and utter lack of character development is still holding him back from A Tier. His biggest standout moment is choosing between helping him or stopping a thief, but that isn't all that tense because it'd be stupid to not save Mog. Overall, I still really like Mog, but it just doesn't make sense to put him any higher.
12. Gau - B Tier
Gau has more personality and story than Mog, I'll give him that! I almost put him in C Tier, but I just couldn't. He has a whole lot of fun traits for a rabid kid and it is a vibe (even if Pogo from Live A Live does it better). Having a rabid character in the party isn't exactly a new concept, and while Gau was interesting, his story was very minimal. I liked how kind he was and such, but overall, he is just too mundane to be higher on this list.
11. Maduin - A Tier
While Maduin plays a rather small role in the plot of Final Fantasy VI, his character is oozing with intrigue—without him, we would've never seen the intriguing plotline that has to do with the Esper World and its surrounding plot implications. Maduin is patient, wise, protective, and accepting; this isn't always a good thing, though. He meets Madeline, a human girl, who he quickly falls in love with and they try to prove that espers and humans can co-exist. While this isn't exactly a groundbreaking storyline, I always love when two different races try to come together and unite in stories. The two of them procreate with some interesting sparkles and glitter, as questionable as that may be (it's better than the alternative would be, nobody needs a pixelated sex scene in an RPG) and then the main protagonist, Terra, is born. This was super cool, and it was able to show that there truly could be a union between the two races! However, conflict inevitably comes, and Emperor Gestahl kills Madeline and turns Maduin into magicite. These plot points all make Maduin a very interesting character, and makes him by far the coolest Esper story-wise. Overall, due to Maduin, Final Fantasy VI is able to give Terra a very awesome backstory (making her one of the best characters in the game by association) and have an interesting subplot about human-Esper coexistence, and for that, he is an A Tier character in my eyes.
10. Relm Arrowny - A Tier
I really, really like Relm! Her biggest problem? I didn't get to see enough of her before the World of Ruin! She's sassy, fun, charming, and kind, and should be overbearing but it isn't. To be honest, Relm has my third favorite personality in the game behind Edgar and Locke. I like her hidden story with Shadow and loved the theming that came with Relm and Interceptor's relationship. I loved Relm's personality and liked her story, but unfortunately, she just had too little screen time to be any higher on this list.
9. Sabin René Figaro - A Tier
While Edgar is the more interesting brother by far, I still love Sabin. His story is great, especially since his scenario introduces two of the best characters in the game—Shadow and Cyan. Sabin also has a great story with him and his mentor and Vargas, as well as an awesome interlocked story between Edgar and the double-sided coin. Edgar goes against his possible destiny and allows Sabin to do what he wants to do with his life, and that's very touching! However, while I like Sabin, if it weren't for Edgar, his master, Shadow, and Cyan? He wouldn't be all that compelling.
8. Locke Cole - A Tier
Billing himself a "treasure hunter" instead of a thief is rather hilarious. Being the driving force behind recruiting Terra to the cause was cool, and his personality was my second favorite in the game! Locke's story was pretty solid, and I loved his relationship with Celes. However, one thing kind of ruined Locke for me—Rachel. While I felt like I should like the story with Rachel, I absolutely didn't, and it was annoying enough to me that I had to put Locke a few slots lower on this list. It just felt so weird that Locke had a deep and interesting relationship with Celes the whole game... and then Rachel just kind of exists as a underdeveloped past love? Why?! If Sabin had something like this? That would be epic (even if Setzer and Cyan already had amazing moments of grief!). Don't get me wrong, I'm all for deep platonic relationships, but Locke and Celes were something more than that (and Locke already had a deep platonic relationship with Terra... he didn't need three possible people shipped with him, for heaven's sakes!). Overall, I really liked Locke's personality and friendships, but his story was pretty bad and nonsensical at times. He just can't reach top tier status for me.
7. Edgar Roni Figaro - S Tier
Slightly better than both Locke and Sabin, Edgar comes with a pretty good story like Sabin, and has my favorite personality of any character in the game! He is so hilarious, flirty, confident, and powerful! The attack on Figaro is awesome and he really shows how great of a leader he is! It is also so incredibly profound that he would pull out the double-sided coin, contrary to his own wants, so he could give his younger brother the life he so desperately wanted. I always am a sucker for these amazing brotherly or sisterly moments in RPGs, so I absolutely loved that. Edgar is so fun, flirty, thoughtful, and kind, and has one of my favorite personalities in the Final Fantasy series, but since the next five characters just have so much more story depth to them, I can't put him any higher on this list.
6. Terra Branford - S Tier
Being the main protagonist of the World of Balance, Terra is a very important character. And that's great, because she is quite compelling! She was brainwashed by the Ghestalian Empire and she knows magic, a mystic arte lost from the majority of the world. It is later revealed she is an Esper, a detail that really makes her an interesting character. Though the focus is taken off of her a lot by the World of Ruin, her story in the World of Ruin is equally as compelling! She adopts and raises many kids as her own, giving up on fighting so she can nurture them. After the party comes to retrieve her, she realizes that picking her sword back up is the only way to truly keep her kids safe from the world's terror. These were two incredible arcs, and for that, I loved Terra's story. But not more than the next characters on this list.
5. Setzer Gabbiani - S Tier
While full of personality and insanity in the World of Balance, it's the World of Ruin that really cements Setzer this high on the list. The first time the players hear of Setzer is in the rich town of Jidoor where he is rumored to want to kidnap a famous actress and singer at the Opera House. Celes is able to pretend to be this famous actress and con him into devoting his efforts to the Returners by using Edgar's double-faced coin. Setzer devotes his ship to the cause, but it is demolished during the events leading up to the World of Ruin. He eventually can be found lamenting the loss of the Blackjack in Kohlingen's pub, and once the team of Celes, Sabin, and Edgar convince him to reignite his abilities, he decides he finally needed to come to terms with his past—and this is where he becomes a fantastic character. His past with Dayrl is one of the most compelling moment sin the entire game, and it was an awesome loving character story that almost brought me to tears. This game could've easily pulled off rebuilding a new airship like was done in Final Fantasy III or Final Fantasy V, but instead, we got this fantastic sequence that skyrockets Setzer near the top of this list. Overall, I adored his story and development in the World of Ruin, but as his story was a bit undercooked in the World of Balance, I couldn't put him any higher on this list. Still love Setzer though, obviously.
4. General Leo Cristophe - S Tier
General Leo is a very interesting character who finds himself caught in the middle of the battle between the Returners and the Gestahlian Empire. He is respected and liked by both sides, something that makes him incredibly intriguing as a character. This allows him to get into some very interesting scenarios that elevate him to be one of the best characters in Final Fantasy VI. Imperial soldiers respect Leo, looking up to him as the ideal soldier in the Gestahlian Empire. The party looks up to him, as he offers his condolences for his inaction in stopping Kefka from poisoning the Doma River, as well as saving Terra from being used as a biological weapon. The thing about Leo is that, while he is the bad guy, he is just trying to solve the world's conflicts through diplomacy. His biggest flaw? He is too dedicated to his career that he is blinded into following orders against his own moral compass. Yet he can't do anything about it because, if he leaves, he cannot make the difference he wants to make. My favorite moment of General Leo's is when he tells a nameless soldier to think of himself as a human before a soldier, and that was a really compelling statement that I didn't expect to be so deep. Heck, that's a lesson the player can really learn from—don't think about yourself in terms of the successes of your occupation, but instead, as the special human and person that you are. Another amazing moment of his was his conversation with Terra, reassuring her that she would one day find the love and meaning that she deserves. That was also a very powerful moment. And while he is a devout follower of the Emperor's orders, he spends his last breath attempting to stop the evil actions of an Empire he thought was saving the world from its conflicts. What a guy. Overall, General Leo is honestly such an intriguing and inspiring character, and he steals the screen from anyone and everyone else present. If General Leo had a more prominent role in the story, he very well could've topped this list, but as-is, he is still a phenomenal addition to the cast of Final Fantasy VI.
3. Cyan Garamonde - S+ Tier
Cyan was so much better of a character than he had any right to be. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, he wasn't all that important to the plot, but including him gave the story so much more drama, tension, and stakes. The Doma Castle sequence is absolutely disheartening, as Kefka poisons the water after Cyan fails to push back the Empire's assault, killing everyone in the town except for Cyan himself. His king, his wife, his daughter... these deaths add important personal stakes to the story and make the player so much more determined to kill Kefka and stop the Empire. Cyan doesn't let these deaths get the better of him though, as he alone takes the Empire head-on, even if he knows he will likely die doing so. Luckily, Sabin comes in at the right time and saves him through his plan to get equipped with some Magitek Armor. He continues to be scared by the death of his family (of course), and when he visits the Phantom Train, he simply doesn't want to leave. He becomes completely broken, but has one form of solace that is both comedic and heartfelt—he develops a very meaningful relationship with Gau in lieu of his daughter later in the game, as he is still a father at heart. This relationship between Gau and Cyan is so well done, and it really is a great way to build on Cyan's characters and see his heart heal after his loss. His story during the World of Ruin is also awesome, as he first sequesters himself on Mount Zozo trying to provide happiness for a dead Imperial Soldier's girlfriend—a very compelling place to take his character. The other plotline Cyan has in the World of Ruin is found through the Dreamscape. After this sidequest, he can finally break free of his pain and guilt... and he gets a reinvigorated will to live, which is such a deep moment! Overall, while mostly disconnected from the main story, Cyan has an amazing storyline, great and characterization, and he even becomes insanely funny through Gau and "thou".
2. Celes Chere - S+ Tier
Former Imperial general and Magitek Knight, Celes was forced into wielding the lost art of magic. Celes is introduced to the player after she is rescued from prison by Locke (she was in prison because she was tried to be executed for protesting the Doma poisoning). It is later revealed that she is a double-agent, working for both Kefka and the Returners, but she gives it up after the visceral events of the Floating Continent. Over time, she goes from being a double agent to being an anti-hero who sings opera to literally becoming the main character—it is pretty insane, and is something that you would never expect on your first playthrough. Making her the main protagonist of the second half of the game was ingenious, as not only did it make her a much more developed character, it also gave the player so much incentive to save Terra and Locke, the game's original main protagonists. Celes coming to terms with the new World of Ruin was so profound, no matter how the player makes the Cid plotline turn out—she either finds newfound hope through saving Cid (which is amazing), or even better, if Cid dies, she decides to give her life up but finds Locke's bandana. This moment was a phenomenal example of "show, don't tell" and it was just masterfully crafted! Overall, being a double-agent, a pseudo-opera singer, the main character of the second half of the game, and a bada** in love (her relationship with Locke is so cute!), Celes is absolutely my second favorite character in Final Fantasy VI. Somehow, there is still one more.
1. Shadow - S+ Tier
There are so many reasons why Shadow is my favorite character in Final Fantasy VI. Shadow starts incredibly intriguing and mysterious. Starting as nothing more than a hirable mercenary, he starts to warm up to the party and becomes emotionally attached to the story through Relm. While he is obviously shady, he begins to become a very admirable and loving (albeit secretive) character—showing love for his dog, estranged daughter, and the rest of the crew when he decides to stay until the last moment on the Floating Continent. As a mercenary, he decided to take a job for the Empire, but he was betrayed and the Empire tries to kill him. He survives, and the party convinces him to join up with them. He does, but eventually feels much too guilty and he leaves the team. Shadow sacrifices himself to save the team, assuring them he wouldn't die. He sacrifices for the people he learns to love and admire. He sacrifices for them, knowing very well that he may die in doing so. He sacrifices himself, finally choosing a side in the battle between good versus evil, becoming a true remember of the team. The moment in which the party gets to decide whether or not they stay to save Shadow is perhaps my favorite moment in the entire game—I loved the tension, drama, and emotions of it all! This moment truly gives the player the choice—is Shadow worth saving? This was impactful for me. The moment I was playing the game for the first time, thinking that once I ran out of time, I would just get a Game Over and my favorite character would die... and then he comes at the least moment, and I was actually able to save him? Not only did I not expect this, but I also did not expect to cry a little while witnessing it. Seeing this broken, anti-hero mercenary get a chance at another life? That was powerful. Shadow was a character I personally adored. There's nothing like being able to save a character you really care about, and while his facial expression doesn't show it (obviously, as he is wearing a mask), I know for a surety that Shadow was deeply changed as a person once he realized that his friends would not give up on him, no matter how long he took to try and escape. Outside of the Floating Island sequence and just being an awesome character in general, his dream sequences are so well-written and intriguing, and his story with his best friend Baram is just so heartbreaking. The fact that he decides to stay behind and let Kefka's Tower kill him so that he can see his best friend Baram again in the afterlife? That was so sad, but the fact that he felt the solace of his life feeling complete was at least kind of nice to see? I guess once Shadow could finally take down the Empire that killed his best friend he finally felt like he was worthy enough to stop running. This was very depressing, but also a very compelling and somehow pretty satisfying ending to Shadow's story—I mean, it was either this or being Relm's dad again that could be the most satisfying conclusion to his story, but the latter doesn't seem like something Shadow would ever do. I doubt after being part of the crew and actually hanging out with Relm that he would want to throw a curveball in her life like that. Overall, Shadow is full of intrigue, insane character moments, and so much more depth than you would think from a character like this. He is a top three or five Final Fantasy character for me, being equally mysterious, charming, and (surprisingly) relatable. Welp, I started crying writing this section for some reason, so that's awkward. Time to nope out of here and get some tissues, I guess.
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