A fan poll, conducted using answers from Japanese students, reveals the Top 5 heroines in the history of Final Fantasy, with the top spot hotly contested.

Final Fantasy has been around long enough to accumulate two things in high volume – a gigantic roster of popular characters and a rabid fanbase willing to discuss the rankings of Final Fantasy games and characters for hours on end. While Final Fantasy 15 arrived just a few months ago to the kind of megaton success most games can only dream of, there were a few points of contention for fans. Chief among those complains was that, though Noctis is a great protagonist, he and his band of brothers are all male – there are very few female leads within the game, and standouts like Aranea Highwind are given very little camera time.

Luckily, the role of women in Final Fantasy 15 is an abnormality for the series, and past entries into the Final Fantasy franchise have given fans plenty of strong, inspiring heroines to pick favorites from. To prove that, two hundred male and female students in Japan were asked this month to list their favorite heroine in the history of Final Fantasy. Fans were only able to choose one option, which made the Top 5 percentages seem a little smaller than expected, but the race was tight and there were some surprising exclusions.

Ultimately, however, the winner of the poll was none other than Lightning of Final Fantasy 13 fame. She took home nearly 10 percent of the vote, which is astounding given the fact fans were only given one vote and had the entirety of the Final Fantasy series to choose from. Perhaps it is an unsurprising result given that Lightning is a Louis Vuitton model now – she clearly ranks among the most popular Final Fantasy characters male or female.

The gap between the rest of the Top 5 and first place might have been large, but second place was only 2 percent away. Final Fantasy 10‘s Yuna managed to take second place in the fan poll, suggesting that the continued prominence of the Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster years after its release has helped Yuna remain popular. After Yuna, Tifa from Final Fantasy 7 took third (4.5 percent), with Serah (4 percent) and Vanille (3 percent) from Final Fantasy 13 taking fourth and fifth respectively.

final fantasy lightning returns

Interestingly, it seems that Final Fantasy 13 is by far the most popular game among fans when it comes to memorable female characters, with three members of the cast taking up spots in the Top 5. Since the poll, reported by My Game News Flash, was a relatively small one and only involved students, it would be interesting to see how results might change if the question was posed to a larger, more varied audience. Until that happens, though, Lightning remains on the throne as most popular Final Fantasy heroine of all-time.