Rinoa Heartilly is a lead character in Final Fantasy VIII, currently the most popular RPG series today and she is definitely the most popular female RPG character for 1999 and 2000.
She met Squall Leonhart, the male lead during his graduation ball and immediately flirts with him to get him on the dance floor for her own purposes.
To spite her father who is a Galbadian Army General, she is the leader of a group of haphazard rebels called The Forest Owls who employ SeeD (and by chance Squall and his gang the next day) to assist them in liberating a city called Timber from the Galbadian army.
She is optimistic, carefree, openly speaks her feelings and becomes close to Squall later in the game.
Pros - Although she is the "damsel in distress" for most of the game, she has an independent flair in what she does, not thinking of consequences most of the time. She is a GREAT character in battles and notice that her stats are second best to Squall's who is the strongest character for battles. She is not a fighter by nature but she is willing to go the distance for good causes.
Cons - She is very unreal. She is too open with her feelings, forgiving, and quickly changed her feelings of what may be love from one male lead to the next. Alot of players found her as a trouble maker and too dependent on others often when compared to Quistis. Most of this is probably to make her more appealing to the generally traditional Japanese male audience (ie. the helpless girl who loves the cold emotionless samurai).
Overall (8/10) - She was not used as a sex symbol in advertisements like Tifa was (I've seen FF7 PC development ads that will make your eyes pop out), and she's seemingly very sweet and innocent. Like a selfless princess who is still a down to earth girl, very likable by both male and female players.
It's as though she's a mix of Tifa and Aerith from FF7, both in appearance, name and character. But she still comes off as very original from any other Final Fantasy character.
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