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. Her Japanese voice actress is Maaya Sakamoto; in English, she is voiced by Ali Hillis.
Her real name is Claire Farron, known as 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.
[hide]*1 Concept and creation
[[[Lightning (Final Fantasy)|edit]]] Concept and creationEdit
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. His guideline to character designer Tetsuya Nomura was to make her "strong and beautiful", "someone like a female version of Cloud from FFVII". Multiple designs were considered for her, including some designed by other staff members. Some of her original characteristics were blonde hair and Asian-looking features. Nomura defines Lightning as "serious," "unforgiving," "relentless," and "a kind of individualistic person," in direct contrast with Snow Villiers' passionate nature. The final art was made less Asian-looking than originally conceived, while the silver hair color was given to Hope Estheim in favor of pink. She is 21 years old in the game. 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, 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. 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 Sakamoto's acting helped bring out Lightning's feminity.
While her real name, Claire, is only loosely related to the weather or skies (Claire means "clear," which can tie in with clear skies), which is a common tradition of naming Final Fantasy protagonists when Tetsuya Nomura is the character designer, her alias of "Lightning" is the more proper representation of this tradition. The name was not chosen by Nomura, who was surprised by it, as he was thinking about stopping this naming tradition. Eclair, the romanization of her Japanese name, is French for "lightning." According to Toriyama, there is "a strong element of mystery about her character".
[[[Lightning (Final Fantasy)|edit]]] Battle skillsEdit
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. It has sometimes been called a gunblade by the gaming press in reference to the weapon which appeared in Final Fantasy VIII which was first Used by Squall Leonhart and Seifer Almasy, 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.
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; 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. Her strongest unique special attack is called Army of One, or Scene Drive in Japanese version.
[[[Lightning (Final Fantasy)|edit]]] AppearancesEdit
Final Fantasy XIII: Episode Zero: Promise is a series of web novellas written by Jun Eishima, depicting the thirteen days leading up to Final Fantasy XIII. The first part of the series, titled "Encounter", sees Lightning opposing the engagement of her younger sister Serah to Snow Villiers, the leader of the rebel group NORA. Lightning realized too late that Serah has become a l'Cie on her 21st birthday. After resigning her position as a member of the Guardian Corps with the rank of sergeant, she boarded a train holding Purge exiles, along with Sazh Katzroy, to save her sister.
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, skeptical of Snow's faith to save her sister, and the others leaves Snow behind in a fruitless attempt to break Serah out of her crystal stasis. The party later separates following a brief airstrike. After she inadvertently summons Odin, her Eidolon, she trains Hope to fight against the Sanctum. From there, she learns of Hope's mother, Nora, and helps support Hope's assassination attempt on Snow and the Sanctum. However, after meeting Oerba Yun Fang, Lightning realizes that she is misdirecting her anger 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, 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.
In Final Fantasy XIII: Episode I, an epilogue chapter set after Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning leaves to find a way to save Fang and Vanille from their fate. Eventually, she finds herself in a dark void of sorts but decides to keep moving forward.
A direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII entiltled Final Fantasy XIII-2, taking place after Final Fantasy XIII: Episode I with Lightning returning as the main character in strange new world, was announced in January 2011.
In the fighting game prequel Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy, Lightning is one of the Warriors of Cosmos during the 12th cycle of conflict. Besides her two alternate attire, Lightning will also have an additional costume based of the character Aya Brea from The 3rd Birthday as downloadable content by using a given password when purchasing The 3rd Birthday.
[[[Lightning (Final Fantasy)|edit]]] PromotionEdit
Play Arts has released a Lightning action figure including her Blaze Fire Saber. Square Enix has also released jewelry related to Lightning, including a key ring and the necklace she wears in-game.
[[[Lightning (Final Fantasy)|edit]]] ReceptionEdit
Similar to the game, Lightning's character has received both positive and negative responses 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. 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. GameSpot called Lightning a "likeable, strong-willed beauty" while commenting on her interactions with the other main characters of the game. 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". Videogamer.com simply referred to Lightning as the female version of the Final Fantasy VII lead character Cloud Strife. 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. 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. 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. During February 2010, Lightning was ranked as the thirty-fourth most popular video game character from Japan in a Famitsu poll. Lightning also ranked #2 in Afterellen's "25 Hottest Video Game Characters".