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Naoto Shirogane

The fact that Naoto is in here is minor spoilers but you should know this already anyway. That her appearance is one of the underlying reasons Naoto features amongst my list of favourite RPG characters as a whole. I won't go into it in details here, but the handling of the character and the issues surrounding her both during and after those moments are excellently done. Despite being the one of the younger cast members, Naoto manages to not only be the most mature but is generally regarded as being amongst many players' favourite cast members in a generally fun group while being so. Her role in often playing the straight man to the rest of group works great, especially during the debacle at Club Escapade when her reaction to everything caps the scene perfectly.

Unsurprisingly as a genius investigator who manages to get hired by the police as a special consultant, Naoto's joining of the party is key to solving the case. There has always been a great appreciation for fictional detectives, and it's great to have one in to root for in JRPGs, with Naoto true emerging personality making her very likeable. And to wrap it all off in style, she has a really cool hat. — Alex Fuller



Purim

Back in my teen years, my sister and I would tag team Secret of Mana. I'd manage all the plot and shopping stuff, and my sis would get the pleasure of being the pony-tailed teenage girl who came with brass knuckles as her starting equipment.

As the heroine and secondary lead, Purim's game sprite is probably more recognizable than her name to most viewers. If the translators had bothered to leave in the name defaults instead of just leaving it as "Girl," we'd probably be calling her Prim, instead. That's one thing she certainly is not, however. In an age when most heroines were damsels in distress or romantic leads, Purim stood out. Not only was she not involved with the hero (Randi) whatsoever, she was on her own epic quest to rescue her boyfriend from the clutches of the Empire's main magician. Her first appearance was actually to save Randi from being the main ingredient in a goblin clan's mulligan stew, and she kept kicking butt and taking names as the game progressed. It's not hard at all to imagine her as the principal hero, in fact. — Michael Baker



Raine Sage

I tend to be drawn towards smart characters, so it comes as no surprised that out of Tales of Symphonia's wonderful cast, Raine Sage is my most favorite. Raine is a calm, cautious and pragmatic teacher, who, along with Regal Bryant and Kratos Aurion, is the most level-headed of the group. Her mature air belies her temper, as she is not against dishing physical punishment to those she feels deserves it, usually Lloyd or her younger brother Genis. She also becomes ecstatic around archeological sites and artifacts, her hilarious zeal often embarrassing Genis. Regardless, her great knowledge and reasoning abilities helps out greatly in the party's journey. She is cynical in the beginning of the game, but it seems Lloyd's idealism rubs off on her, as she opens up more to the party later on.

Raine is an amazingly strong-willed woman, which is incredible considering what she has been through. As a half-elf, she had experienced years of discrimination and thought for the longest time that her parents had abandoned her and her brother. The two even hid their true race, claiming they were full elves when they first came to live in the village of Iselia. It is heartening to see Lloyd, Colette, and the others accept her and Genis when the truth comes out, and she is visibly moved when many residents of Iselia do as well. Cool, level-headed, tough, deadpan, intelligent, caring, and enthusiastic there is a lot to love about Raine. Just whatever you do, don't eat her cooking. — Cassandra Ramos



Raquel Applegate

Among the four main cast members of Wild ARMs 4, Raquel stands out as the most fascinating. Atypical in almost every respect, she exudes grace and wisdom on and off the battlefield, acting as mentor and adviser to the entire group. Her enormous greatsword immediately stands apart, which she wields with ruthless efficiency. She is not only the most physically powerful member of her team, but also the slowest, a far cry from the typical lithe, acrobatic femme fatales seen in most RPGs. But more than anything, it's her personal story that helps her stand apart.

Suffering from a terminal illness, Raquel joins Jude's party in the midst of her own journey to find some remaining shred of beauty in the ravaged wastelands of Filgaia. Throughout their travels, she never takes a leading role, but instead gently encourages her younger allies to make their own decisions, particularly Jude. Meanwhile, a strong bond forms between her and Arnaud, which eventually, subtly, develops into a romance.

While the story of Wild ARMs 4 largely focuses on Jude, it's Raquel's journey that truly stands out, eventually culminating in a bittersweet finale: a tragically beautiful ending that remains one of the best moments in RPG history. — Adriaan den Ouden

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