Forming an Anime Tactical Squad
After a fairly long hiatus, it’s about that time to jump back into the blogosphere. In last year’s episode, I dove into Diablo III, never to return again. Or something along those lines. I was determined to make a quick buck off of the spendthrifts on the RMAH, so I dedicated a fair amount of time into farming items and picked up a pretty substantial sum of dough before cashing out in August or so.
Now while I have no real love for Diablo III as a game, there are two things I really like: Final Fantasy Tactics and anime. I also have a keen interest in anime lore, battle rankings and power assessments. So I figured, if I could populate a Final Fantasy Tactics job roster with anime characters … who would make the cut? With just one choice per class, there’s bound to be some controversy, as well as the fact that I’m only drawing from my own (limited) pool of anime viewing, but … I’ll give it a whirl! One character per series, let’s go! Spoilers abound —
Archer (Higurashi Kagome – Inuyasha)
So I’m almost willing to bet that everybody has their own take on the standard ‘miko – archeress’, but I’m giving this one to Kagome from the InuYasha series. Mostly because she doesn’t really fit the archetypal miko until very late into the series and gets by on raw, untapped talent. She has no training in archery and any mastery of her miko powers is done on the fly in her adventures with the InuYasha gang in real time.
As a reincarnation of Kikyo, you could argue that her powers are mostly a la legacy, but the inexperienced scrappy-ness is something I appreciate in a fight. I could see her using Throw Stone without any questions asked.
Bard (Yuzuriha Inori – Guilty Crown)
Keeping this list within general manga/anime and not diving into other game worlds bars me from including notoriously powerful songweavers like the Revytails from the Ar Tonelico series, but Yuzuriha Inori is a pretty nifty candidate. Her voice is inspiring to the cast in Guilty Crown, and is even able to jolt Ouma Mana from starting a global catastrophe. Not to mention the fact that the songs she sings are amazing. Must have, for magic-neutralizing purposes and for morale boost!
Calculator (Nagato Yuki – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
I mean, was there really any other person capable of handling this position? As a Humanoid Interface for the Integrated Data Sentient Entity, she’s more like an organic machine, without any hardware limitations. All of her powers within the Haruhi series are based off of calculations and requesting data access from the higher-ups, so she has access to pretty much any skillset you can comprehend, just like our favorite Calculator class in FFT.
Other potential uses would be something like a mobile shopkeeper, since she can just … manifest stuff out of mid-air. Well, given the proper authorization.
Chemist (Edward Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist)
Admittedly, I’m really only including this guy here because he is the alchemist of manga and anime. You won’t see him lobbing potions or elixirs at people, but I mean … come on. Who else was I gonna put here, really?
Okay, okay. The dude’s a genius with alchemy. I mean, he was the youngest licensed alchemist ever and he can use alchemy without transmutation circles. As far as being an alchemist in the FFT game …? I … I don’t know. Yeah, I’m just gonna stick with “who else was I gonna put here, really?”
Dancer (Kraehe – Princess Tutu)
Much like Ouma Mana in Guilty Crown, Princess Kraehe is overshadowed by her protagonist foil (Tutu), but there’s just something inherently badass about an ‘evil dancer’ that makes me want to use this character.
Commonly known fact: the sprite used in FFT for the Dancer class is the same sprite used for the Assassin class. Really, I’d put Tutu up on here, but Kraehe seems more ‘assassin-ish,’ ne?
Geomancer (Accelerator – A Certain Magical Index)
I had quite a time trying to figure out an appropriate character for this class. The whole point of a Geomancer is utilizing nature and the environment and channeling it into some kind of magical force, and when you think about it, alchemy in the Full Metal Alchemist series seems to best describe this. But to put Edward Elric here would deprive me of the obligatory Chemist above. I figured that Accelerator would make an acceptable alternative; his control of vectors places some limits on what he can do. That is, he actually has to use his surroundings and tweak their vectors, much like a Geomancer using the forces of nature surrounding him. Plus, he’s Accelerator.
Knight (Allen Schezar – The Vision of Escaflowne)
Several lofty candidates for this one, like Sig from Lyrical Nanoha or, of course, Saber. I’m putting Allen here mostly because he is both charming and chivalrous, the former attribute being something that the aforementioned examples seem to lack. He’s handy with a sword (one of the twelve knights), haughty to his rivals, arrogant to his enemies, but ultimately a pretty nice guy. He might’ve gotten friendzoned in Escaflowne, but he’s #1 for the purposes of this list. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
Lancer (Maka Albarn – Soul Eater)
This pick is similar to the Accelerator pick for Geomancer. There’s one character that would work out great as a Lancer (Dragoon in the original Japanese) and it’s Erio from the Nanoha series. He uses a spear and actually rides a dragon at one point during the series. But he doesn’t feel as reliable without his partner, Caro. Maka, on the other hand, has her partner as her weapon … so for the sake of argument they’re inseparable from one another. That gives Maka the distinct advantage in a battlefield setting.
She might not use a lance or spear, but a scythe is unwieldy enough for me to give it the nod. Maka is one of the more powerful meisters of the Soul Eater series, and Soul himself is no slouch. But the real kicker is that Maka herself also carries weapon blood and can potentially become one herself, which doubles her usefulness in combat. Just think if Maka hit the floor on the FFT field and her spirit crystal materialized into a weapon that added her equivalent character stats? GDLIEK, mang.
Mediator (Roger Smith – The Big O)
So you have a lot of suave, smooth talkers that could (and do) get away with murder, like LeLouch or Light. But Roger Smith is the Negotiator. He exerts his pressure without the use of mind-bending powers or inside knowledge of the situation. He’s just as charming as the other candidates, but he’s been able to talk enemies into becoming allies without any real form of deception. Did I mention that he has an enormous battle mecha called Big O? It’s a pretty convincing tool.
Mime (Baby – Dragonball GT)
So Dragonball has a habit of having villains that ultimately mimic their opponents’ techniques. Cell, Buu, Baby — all of them have the power, in some way or another, to snag the heroes’ abilities. It’s a pretty lame routine for a villain, but I don’t really begrudge Toriyama for it, since he fully intended to end the series with Frieza, the last major villain with his own ‘original’ powers. Death Ball is still really cool.
Anyway, so why Baby? Mostly because he ends up actually controlling the physical bodies of the heroes, making him more a mime than the others. That’s it, really. I’d love to just randomly take control of opponents on the battlefield. He doesn’t even have to do it personally, either! Grab as many as you like!
Monk (Kenshiro – Hokuto no Ken)
This is kind of cheating. Kenshiro isn’t a monk per-se, but considering how often he uses his fists to make all sorts of weird stuff happen around him like healing (a la FFT Monk’s Chakra) and Rapid Fists with Exploding Palms, it’s kinda hard to not give him this spot. While not necessarily living a life of serenity that a lot of monks (probably) aspire to, he’s a peace-loving guy that always happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Though I guess in a place like Century’s End that would end up being “anytime” and “anyplace,” respectively.
Nevertheless, he’s a walking battletank, and probably one of the guys you’d want to send toe-to-toe against that pesky, self-righteous enemy general gloating atop his horse at the rear of the battle. Little does he know that he’s already dead.
Ninja (Namikaze Minato – Naruto)
As far as the Narutoverse is concerned … It’s supposed to be full of ninjas. But it isn’t. It’s full of Dragonball-style eye powers and superhumans that just so happen to hold kunais instead of swords. To me, there are only two characters in the series that I’d really consider ‘ninjas’ in the archetypal manner that my western upbringing is used to. Those two are Hatake Kakashi and Namikaze Minato. Brushing Kakashi aside since a lot of his effectiveness comes from his inherited Sharingan, you have Minato, whose style seems to revolve around a single technique (Teleportation Seal) whose combat agenda consists entirely of ending fights in a single backstab before the opponent realizes what’s happening. That is a ninja.
Oracle (Yagami Hayate – Mahou Shoujou Lyrical Nanoha)
When you think about the Oracle in the Tactics universe, you think of a magical support character … and one of the most common support spells in an Oracle’s arsenal is Blind. Considering that Yagami Hayate is the only character in the Nanoha anime series to reach the coveted SS ranking (albeit, only as support), I couldn’t really think of anyone better to fit on my all-star anime team. The irony is not lost on me how Blind can be twisted to correlate to Hayate’s Book of Darkness. Though, in some cases, Hayate could also fit the bill as a Summoner if you count the Wolkenritter (Signum, Vita, Shamal and Zafira).
Priest (Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun – The Slayers)
It’s strange how bad White Magic is as a healing source in FFT. It’s mostly because when you heal, you want instant results without risking spell resistance or even outright failure by missing. As such, the Priest is mostly used to erect barriers and cast really powerful Holy spells on their opponents, and Amelia fits this specific purpose to a T. When she’s not mouthing off to foes about justice, she’s teaming up with Zelgadis to fire double Ra Tilts, which in Kanzaka lore is reputed to be as powerful as the Dragon Slave. Yeah, I’ll take more firepower over some lame healer any day.
Samurai (Hiko Seijuro – Rurouni Kenshin)
I really shouldn’t be including this guy. He’s in a whole other level of badassery. He’s basically the T.G. Cid of the Kenshin universe. Plus … have you seen the guy? He looks nothing like I’d imagine a Samurai would look like. Seriously though, with his raw power (the muscles?!), speed and absolute mastery of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, there’s no way I could put anyone else in this slot but him.
Scoff if you want. Argue all day about Kenshin vs. Shishio, but at the end of the day, Hiko Seijuro is the one rocking the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu with no drawbacks. Broken.
Squire (Hiraga Saito – The Familiar of Zero)
I personally think that Saito totally embodies the Squire class. I’d actually equate him to Ramza in a few ways — he’s a very basic, down-to-earth guy with mastery of a wide range of weapons. Of course, he’s often seen with a sword, but the fact that he’s a Gandalfr means that he can use anything that could be considered a weapon and use it to its fullest potential. Remember that awesome weapon that one RPG gave you in the final dungeon, but was for a character you never wanted to use? Just dump it on Saito, and it won’t go to waste!
Summoner (Kinomoto Sakura – Card Captor Sakura)
Saito might be a familiar, but when it comes to my choice of Summoner, there is no candidate other than Kinomoto Sakura, the Mistress of the Clow. Well, technically, they’re the Sakura Cards now, but titling her that way seems redundant. She has 52 of the Clow Cards that she converted, as well as an antithesis card, The Nothing, which became The Hope in the second movie. With these cards, she can do practically anything. While there are definite summons like Windy, Fiery, Earthy, Watery, and so forth, she can also control time and use the Create to will anything into existence. So, if she can summon anything, why wouldn’t she be on this list?
Thief (Arsene Lupin III)
I made this pick in good faith. I really don’t know much about Lupin as a series, unfortunately, having only seen scattered episodes and segments of movie(s) that I’ve dove into at random screenings while trying to catch my breath at conventions. But I mean … the dude’s pretty suave and swag, and the fact that he mentally eclipses any other thief I can think of without me knowing the slightest bit about him is a pretty compelling argument to have him on the team. He’s stolen my heart, that’s for sure!
Time Mage (Homura Akemi – Mahou Shoujou Madoka Magica)
Time travel’s a pretty common plot device in fiction, so finding a character interesting enough to utilize it (and general manipulation) is like trying to choose a favorite type of Skittles (you can’t). I choose Akemi, though, from Madoka Magica. She can freeze time for an indefinite amount of time and even travel back. In tactical RPG like Tactics, I’d wager that this amounts to reversing entire turns, and we all know how much turn-based RPGs can be trivialized on emulator with savestates. Did I mention that she carries handguns, bazookas and other explosives in her bottomless shield-bag-item-thing?
Wizard (Yagami Kazuma – Kaze no Stigma)
So a ‘wizard’ is a pretty generic term, and there are a heck of a lot of characters that are eligible. Lina Inverse comes to my mind first and foremost, and pretty much any Mahou Shoujo could be eligible. You could even argue that Wizard from Angelic Layer is the penultimate Wizard given that his namesake doubly references his ability on the layer and the suave demeanor of the Deus controlling him.
Ultimately, I settled on Kazuma. He’s a no-nonsense, stoic badass that went through the trouble of foresaking his family’s element and completely mastering another one after being branded as a complete failure and sent away as a child. He’s got a contract with the Wind Spirit Lord, which elevates him to practically godhood within the Kaze no Stigma series. During his brief time as an antagonist, the only thing that brought him down was his own anger. Although wind isn’t a typical element in the Final Fantasy series (Aero isn’t usually part of the more common Fire-Lightning-Ice trinity), he still gets the position.