Although each installment of the Final Fantasy series is generally set in a different fictional world with separate storylines, there are some commonalities when it comes to character design. Certain design themes repeat themselves, as well as specific character names and classes. Within the main series, Yoshitaka Amano was the character designer for the first six games, Tetsuya Nomura was the character designer for Final Fantasy VII, VIII, X, XI and XIII, Toshiyuki Itahana was the character designer for Final Fantasy IX, and Akihiko Yoshida was the character designer for Final Fantasy XII.
The series has often featured androgynous male main characters. This trend has generally increased as the series evolved. These androgynous characters are usually teenagers destined to save the world. According to some critics, these characters are designed so in order to make the players identify with them. At the same time, female characters have been increasingly designed to wear very revealing outfits. Square Enix has stated that a more rugged looking hero had been considered for Final Fantasy XII but had ultimately been scrapped in favor of Vaan, another effeminate protagonist. The developers cited scenaristic reasons and target demographic considerations to explain their choice. This aspect of Final Fantasy has also been carried into Kingdom Hearts, a crossover series featuring Final Fantasy and Disney characters, with the protagonist Sora.
In some Final Fantasy titles, some characters appear with real or symbolic wings. Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI gained real wings after he ascended to godhood in his final form. Final Fantasy VII's villain Sephiroth ascended to the form of Sefer Sephiroth, in which he had one wing on his right shoulder, as well as 3 pairs of wings where his abdomen should be. The one-sided wing is the source of his nickname as the "One-Winged Angel". Sephiroth has appeared in Final Fantasy VII Advent Children and Kingdom Hearts with one wing on his right side. Cloud Strife, his antithesis, also appears in Kingdom Hearts with one wing, although it is non-feathered, resembling a bat's, and comes from his left side. Final Fantasy VIII used the depiction of two white wings on the back of Rinoa Heartilly's vest. Rinoa also grows literal wings temporarily during her "Angel Wing" Limit Break during battle. She also transforms a petal that she catches in the wind into a single white feather in the opening sequence of the game. Selphie's limit break "Rapture" removes all opponents from the field by forcing them to grow wings and fly away, causing an instant victory in most non-boss battles. In contrast, the game's antagonist, Ultimecia, sports a pair of feathered black wings, and Seifer Almasy, her "knight", is shown blasting into black feathers at the stroke of Squall Leonhart's final gunblade strike in the opening FMV. Final Fantasy IX brought back physical wings in the form of ornaments that Eiko Carol wears on her back. Her wings were a gift, and they enlarge in her trance form. Yuna from Final Fantasy X wears a wedding dress that has white wings incorporated into its design. In Final Fantasy XI, Selh'teus gains multicolored wings upon merging with the soul of Phoenix near the conclusion of the Chains of Promathia storyline. In Final Fantasy XII, Penelo has leather wing-like projections incorporated into her armor.
The names are given to two related characters in several Final Fantasy games. They are speculated to be a homage to the Star Wars characters Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles by an online editor. Their first appearance is in Final Fantasy VI —with "Biggs" mistranslated to "Vicks"— as a pair of Vector soldiers accompanying Terra Branford in an attack on Narshe to claim an Esper. They are playable for a short period, but are soon killed by the Esper.
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