This solitary young woman speaks little of herself—even her true name is a mystery. She is known to others simply as 'Lightning'.
Lightning, her original name being Claire Farron (Eclair Farron (エクレール・ファロン, Ekurēru Faron?) in the Japanese version), is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII. She is the narrator and a temporary playable character in Final Fantasy XIII-2, and returns as the protagonist and sole permanently playable character in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning seeks to save her younger sister Serah, but becomes entangled in a plot that endangers her home of Cocoon. In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning serves as a knight protecting the goddess Etro from her fated rival, Caius Ballad. In the concluding tale Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning is chosen to be a savior by the god Bhunivelze, tasked to save the people's souls before the end of the world.
Lightning is a young woman with wavy rose-colored hair, and pale aqua eyes. Lightning's eye color has been officially noted to be blue, though in the FMVs and promotional art they often appear green due to green aspects around the pupil. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before, Serah says Lightning resembles their mother.
In Final Fantasy XIII, she wears a variation of the standard Guardian Corps uniform. The green metallic pauldron over her left shoulder bearing yellow stripes denotes her previous rank as a sergeant. She carries her gunblade in a black case which hangs off her belt, and wears a necklace with a lightning bolt pendant. Her l'Cie brand is located slightly above her left breast. She has a navel piercing, although it can be difficult to spot.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning wears a silver and gold Valkyrie-like suit of armor with a shield on her left arm (though in her CG render it appears on the right arm). She has a new gunblade more closely resembling a traditional doubled-edged sword, which has Etro script on it. She no longer has the navel piercing she did in Final Fantasy XIII. This attire has come to be known as the Knight of Etro.
During Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning has a number of different costumes. Her default outfit, Equilibrium, is similar to what she wore in Final Fantasy XIII-2. The Night Lotus shield on her left arm and the Crimson Blitz sword in her right hand are in homage to her Eidolon Odin. The symbol from the game's logo appears on her outfit a number of times: on her chest, her sword and her shield.
I don't have time to babysit some little kid, you'll just slow me down.
Lightning is determined, concentrated and independent. Initially, she is cold and standoffish, distancing herself from her companions. She only looks out for herself and doesn't care if others are left behind. Much of her motivation is fueled from what she perceives as failing to protect Serah leading her to lash out at those she believes are responsible for her fate: namely, the Sanctum, its fal'Cie and, to a point, Snow Villiers, due to his relationship with Serah and his failure to protect her as he promised. As she journeys with Hope Estheim and takes him under her wing, Lightning begins to show compassion and trust others, and sees the errors in her approach. Ultimately, she becomes the leader and, to a degree, protector of the other Gran Pulse l'Cie as they journey to challenge their fate.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning has almost become a new woman due to the experiences and emotions she has endured. She has learned to trust others and ask them for help, and expresses her emotions rather than keeping them bottled up. Her recognition of her past "sins" has made her more somber.
In Lightning Returns, Lightning is initially cold and distant, most of her emotions sapped from her, although her memories remain intact. Her wish to save Serah remains, and she still shows concern for her former allies. Lightning and Hope demonstrate trust and care for one another, Hope promising to be by her side, helping Lightning better maintain her humanity despite her situation. She resents Bhunivelze for robbing her of her emotions and his use of her situation to his advantage.
As her quest advances, Lightning begins to show compassion toward others because of her assigned task to save their souls. Straying from her cold-hearted personality, she begins to encourage those struggling, implying Lightning unconsciously had given up her emotions, rather than Bhunivelze taking them with force, which is further suggested by Lumina. By the end of her quest, Lightning has come around from her self-imposed tough and emotionless warrior persona, as Serah and Lumina, along with all her experiences, help her realize that locking her heart away is how she threw away her happiness.
Claire's father died when she was young, and her mother died from an unknown illness when she was fifteen. With no other family to turn to, Claire raised her younger sister, Serah. To overcome the pain of her parents' deaths and to become an adult as quickly as possible, she changed her name from Claire Farron to "Lightning". Despite the delusion of not needing her past, Lightning was a normal orphaned child who wanted to be loved.
After graduating from high school, Lightning joined the Guardian Corps Bodhum Security Regiment under Lieutenant Amodar, where she attained the rank of sergeant and was scheduled for officer training. However, she began to lose sight of her goals, and worked many hours while spending little time with Serah.
You became a l'Cie, so now you're gonna marry this idiot? And you think I'm gonna buy that? Full points for originality. But, don't forget. If you really are a l'Cie, it's my job to deal with you.
Nine days before Lightning's twenty-first birthday, the Bodhum monster-fighting group NORA rescues her from an aquatic ambush. Lightning meets Snow Villiers, their leader and Serah's boyfriend. Lightning remains unimpressed as she has never approved of NORA's vigilantism and unsuccessfully demands for him to stop dating Serah.
The next day, Lightning begins to regret her lack of attention to Serah, feeling she got involved with Snow to quell her loneliness. After seeing Nora Estheim and her son Hope in the mall, Lightning is inspired to plan a vacation away from Bodhum for her birthday to spend time with Serah and divert her attention from Snow. Four days later, the Cavalry is hunting down a girl named Vanille and Lightning meets with Rygdea, suspecting it may have something to do with the incident at Euride Gorge two days ago. While attending Bodhum's fireworks festival four days later, Lightning learns of a Pulse-related incident at the nearby Vestige being kept under wraps by the Sanctum, but Amodar warns her not to investigate.
The next day, Lightning's birthday, Serah reveals she has been branded a Pulse l'Cie, and that she and Snow are engaged. Thinking Serah is lying to give herself an excuse to wed Snow, Lightning drives her away, leaving her alone to open her birthday present from Serah: a survival knife. When the Sanctum announces the quarantine of Bodhum after a Pulse fal'Cie was discovered within the Vestige, Lightning realizes Serah had been telling the truth.
After learning the Sanctum plans to Purge everyone in town to Pulse, Lightning tries to find Serah but Snow says she is being held captive inside the Vestige. The following day, PSICOM rounds up the people in Bodhum and lines them up to board Purge trains. Although military personnel are exempt, Lightning volunteers to be Purged with the civilians and resigns from the Guardian Corps to get into the Hanging Edge, where the Vestige is being moved, to rescue Serah before she is taken out of reach. Lightning is approached by a man named Sazh Katzroy, who joins her in her quest to reach the Pulse fal'Cie.
This l'Cie curse, it took everything from me. My future. My dreams. I didn't want to think. So I fought instead. As long as I was fighting, nothing else was real. I was running away.
As the Purge train enters the Hanging Edge, Lightning attacks the PSICOM soldiers aboard and frees her fellow captives. PSICOM forces fire on the train and a Manasvin Warmech brings it to a halt. Lightning and Sazh fight through the PSICOM forces and arrive at the Vestige where they discover Serah outside the Pulse fal'Cie Anima's throne. Snow, Hope and Vanille arrive, and Serah asks Lightning to save Cocoon before entering crystal stasis, having fulfilled her Focus. Lightning and the group confront and destroy Anima, but are branded l'Cie before it perishes and the Vestige plummets to Lake Bresha, crystallizing it on impact.
Lightning and her new companions awaken in Lake Bresha realizing they are now l'Cie. and that upon being branded they shared a vision of the legendary beast Ragnarok. They discover Serah's crystal form fused to the crystallized lake. Deeming Serah is dead, Lightning reluctantly opts to continue onward to evade the army's closing net and so they leave behind Snow, who has chosen to dig Serah out. They find an airship in abandoned ruins at the lake's edge and use it to escape, but are attacked by pursuing PSICOM ships and crash in the Vile Peaks.
Lightning plans to go to the capital city of Eden to destroy its namesake fal'Cie that controls the Sanctum, blaming it for the Purge and her current situation. After a disagreement on their Focus, which they believe to be destroying Cocoon, the group splits up: Lightning heads for Eden to take down the Sanctum, and Sazh and Vanille head for the opposite direction to run from their fate. Followed by Hope and unable to send him back, Lightning lets him accompany her. Her patience wears thin as Hope becomes a liability and Lightning threatens to leave him. Her frustration summons the Eidolon Odin to attack Hope. Lightning saves him and they defeat the Eidolon together, convincing her to let Hope travel with her and help him "toughen up".
At the Gapra Whitewood Hope takes the lead and Lightning gives him her survival knife to boost his confidence. Hope intents to take revenge on Snow for his part in his mother's death during the Purge, and when Lightning tells him the Sanctum is to blame Hope resolves in making both Snow and the Sanctum pay for it. Lightning tries to dissuade Hope by suggesting they visit his father.
In Palumpolum, Hope leads Lightning into the underground Nutriculture Complex to avoid PSICOM. Upon hearing Hope speak of the fal'Cie treating humans like their pets, Lightning realizes that having lived under fal'Cie care since birth she had always been their pawn, and that her anger is over her protectors turning against her. Realizing she has dragged Hope into the same delusion of fighting blindly to make up for doubt and confusion, Lightning tells Hope their goals of vengeance are over and promises she will not abandon him. PSICOM soldiers led by Yaag Rosch ambush Lightning and Hope as they emerge in the Agora, but Snow and Oerba Yun Fang, who have teamed up with the Cavalry to overthrow Sanctum, intervene to save them. Lightning escapes with Fang while Snow takes Hope. With wireless communicators the pairs agree to meet up at Hope's house. Hope wants to go through with his revenge against her wishes, and when Lightning tries to reason with him her plea never reaches him.
Lightning learns Fang is not only a Pulse l'Cie like herself, but an actual Gran Pulse citizen from the land below the floating world of Cocoon. Fang and Vanille were crystallized centuries earlier after completing their Focus, but awoke in Cocoon without knowing how or why, and were indirectly responsible for Serah being made a l'Cie. Lightning and Fang realize Pulse and Cocoon are more similar than they initially thought in how both worlds fear and hate each other. Fang tells Lightning how a l'Cie's brand indicates the amount of time until one becomes a Cie'th—a crystalline monster a l'Cie who fails their Focus becomes—and reassures Serah will wake from crystal stasis one day.
Lightning and Fang locate Snow and Hope in time to help the latter battle an Ushumgal Subjugator. Hope has abandoned his plan for revenge and returns Lightning's knife, and they promise to protect each other before the group proceeds to Hope's home. Lightning tends to the injuries Snow sustained from protecting Hope and apologizes for her earlier behavior towards him, having gained appreciation for how Snow always stayed by Serah's side. PSICOM attacks the apartment but disguised Cavalry soldiers intervene. During the chaos Lightning has Hope tie up his dad to make him appear like an unwilling accomplice.
The party boards the Cavalry's airship, the Lindblum, and learns Sazh and Vanille are being held captive on the Palamecia. Primarch Galenth Dysley, the head of Sanctum government, is overseeing the transport. The four l'Cie infiltrate the Palamecia to rescue Sazh and Vanille, and once reunited, they confront Dysley on the bridge. He reveals himself as the fal'Cie Barthandelus, leader of the Cocoon fal'Cie, and explains the group's Focus is to destroy Cocoon by turning into Ragnarok and killing Orphan, the fal'Cie that sustains Cocoon. The party flees on a small airship, which autopilots them through Eden into the Fifth Ark hidden beneath the city.
The group's l'Cie powers are fully awoken and they encounter the leader of the Cavalry, Cid Raines. He reveals he is a Sanctum l'Cie branded by Barthandelus with the Focus of aiding them; Barthandelus desires for Cocoon's destruction so the deaths of its inhabitants would summon the Maker, the creator of fal'Cie and humans alike. Raines rebels against his Focus by attempting to kill them, and though defeated, transforms into crystal despite having defied his Focus. The group decides to follow his example and save Cocoon. Fang turns against them until Lightning and Vanille help her tame her Eidolon, Bahamut. The party finds an airship with a gate leading to Gran Pulse, and descends to the world below hoping to find aid in their quest.
After falling under attack by a wild wyvern, Lightning helps Fang summon Bahamut to save the party. They land and create a base camp in the Vallis Media, but after days of searching find Pulse devoid of human life. Hope wishes to be left behind and his Eidolon Alexander appears. Lightning and Fang help Hope tame the Eidolon, and with their resolve renewed, the party decides to head to Oerba, Vanille and Fang's hometown.
The party crosses the Archylte Steppe into the Mah'habara Subterra and the Sulyya Springs where Lightning and Snow promise to see Serah together after saving Cocoon. They ascend Taejin's Tower and ride a capsule down to the outskirts of Oerba, but find it abandoned. The group is confronted by Serah, who refers to Lightning by her birthname and asks the group to destroy Orphan to summon the Maker and save the world from despair. Serah is Dysley in disguise, who announces he has resigned as Primarch and appointed a revived Raines in his place to incite a civil war, as the Cavalry would see him as a traitor. He has his familiar, Menrva, transform into an airship for the group to return to Cocoon, and they do so to try and stop Dysley's plans.
They crash the Eden Grand Prix and make their way to Orphan's Cradle among the ensuing chaos. In the depths of the Narthex they find Dysley, who summons the crystallized Dajh Katzroy and Serah before the party and shatters them. Denouncing it as an illusion, the party fights Barthandelus and destroys him. His defeat awakens the sleeping Orphan, who wishes to be destroyed after centuries of not having a life, and attacks them.
Fang submits to Orphan's demands and agrees to become Ragnarok. After they try to stop her, Lightning and the others aside from Vanille are turned into Cie'th and attack Fang. Orphan tortures her to force her to transform but Fang's incomplete transformation is not strong enough to kill Orphan. The Cie'th party members relive the memories of their quest and are restored, believing their transformation was another fal'Cie illusion, and that they have seen something that resembled a new Focus. Lightning announces their new Focus is to save Cocoon and all of the party's l'Cie brands burn out.
Orphan's true form is vanquished and Cocoon begins to fall. Lightning and the others float away as Vanille and Fang transform into a complete Ragnarok, and stop Cocoon's descent by forming a crystal pillar to support it above Gran Pulse. Lightning and the others enter crystal stasis, but are restored and find they are no longer l'Cie. Lightning is reunited with Serah and begins apologizing to her, but is cut short when Snow reminds they "have a wedding to plan". Snow reassures Lightning he will make Serah happy, and Lightning congratulates them.
But you know we can't just leave you, right?
Lightning vows to find a way to save Vanille and Fang from the crystal pillar. She believes the answer lies somewhere on Gran Pulse, and perhaps she could discover other Pulsian survivors as well. Lightning believes it will be a long and difficult journey, and after seeing Serah is in good hands with Snow, she decides to take up the task on her own as Serah and the others will be tied down with new responsibilities and would be unable to accompany her. A paradox removes Lightning from history and she finds herself in another world.
I took their lives just because I didn't want to die. I felt that it was a sin, but I deluded myself, saying I had no choice. I had selfishly decided the weight of life and selfishly convinced myself of it. I didn't even stop to think that their lives were sacrificed for mine. It was all me... so sinful and arrogant.
On the first day of the AF era that started on the Day of Ragnarok, Lightning's reunion with Serah is cut short when she is dragged into an abyss by a manifestation of chaos caused by a paradox. Only her survival knife remains, and everyone except Serah believes her to be either dead or crystallized along with Vanille and Fang within the crystal pillar. In actuality, Lightning fell through the Historia Crux and ended up in Valhalla, the middle world between life and death dislodged from time. Lightning comes upon a moogle named Mog who challenges her to a duel and promptly loses. Touched by Mog's innocence, Lightning has him follow her.
Mog tells Lightning about Valhalla, the Void Beyond, and the goddess Etro. Lightning and Mog encounter Odin, who challenges Lightning to a battle, during which she learns to cast magic despite no longer being a l'Cie. She defeats Odin and rides him to Etro's temple where Lightning is challenged by Bahamut. During the fight Lightning loses her weapon, but Mog transforms into a bow for her to use to overcome the Eidolon. Standing before the goddess's throne, a brief oneness with Etro enables Lightning to understand the goddess's isolation and her love towards mankind.
Lightning comes to realize Etro saw her and her friends as sinners for killing people during their time as l'Cie, yet freed them from their brands after giving Vanille and Fang the strength to become Ragnarok. Through the Eyes of Etro, Lightning sees various moments in time that include an era facing destruction, seeress Yeul's various deaths, Serah trapped in an endless dream, and her own losing battle with Yeul's Guardian Caius. Her Guardian Corps uniform disappears and a suit of armor materializes in its place. Lightning chooses to stay as Etro's champion to contain the memories of the deceased and fight Caius as a way to atone for her sins. Caius briefly appears behind her and tells her to go home, as the world will not end for some time, but she resolves to remain.
This man, Caius Ballad. He seeks to destroy all hope, and bring an end to the future. Though the battle might be endless, I will never give up. Etro has chosen us—her champions. And we cannot fail.
As Etro's protector, Lightning guards the goddess from Caius, Yeul's immortal Guardian who wants to kill Etro to destroy the timeline and save Yeul from her cycle of reincarnation. During her battle against Caius, Lightning sees Etro's gate appear over Etro's temple and a person falling out. She recognizes it as the young man she had seen in a past vision, Noel Kreiss. Lightning saves Noel from his fall and shows him a Time Gate asking him to find Serah and bring her to Valhalla. Lightning gives him Mog to be a good-luck-charm for Serah once he finds her. When Caius summons a meteor over the temple, Lightning summons Odin to throw her into the meteor's path, but it crushes the shrine.
Noel finds Serah and together they embark on a quest through time to find their way to Valhalla. Lightning eventually appears from a portal before them in New Bodhum at 700 AF, and tells them they are in a future she had failed to save. She explains that Orphan's demise and Fang and Vanille's sacrifice to save Cocoon opened the portal to Valhalla, and while Etro closed the door to prevent Valhalla's chaos from pouring out into the world, Lightning was brought to Valhalla as a result.
Lightning says Caius plans to destroy Etro and open the door again, unleashing chaos—a mysterious energy usually kept at bay by Etro—into the mortal world. The door would open wide enough if enough people died at once, such as if the crystallized Cocoon fell, and the world would be infected with chaos; time, life, and death would become meaningless, making the world like Valhalla. Lightning entrusts Noel and Serah to stop Caius in the mortal realm while she deals with him in Valhalla. She has Mog reveal the Time Gate to 500 AF so they can stop Caius from destroying Hope's new Cocoon, a manmade world built to protect mankind for when the original Cocoon would eventually fall.
In the Vile Peaks, Lightning blames herself for the paradox that caused the disappearance of an Academy anti-paradox team, the Blitz Squadron, while they were scouting the area in 10 AF to deal with a distortion. She recalls how she once fought alongside the men in Blitz Squadron and finds comfort in how they still remember her. When Mog reveals a phased-out image of Lightning in the Vile Peaks, she tells Serah and Noel about how as a l'Cie, she first thought fighting for what she believed in alone was the only way, but later saw the error in her ways. Being all by herself in Valhalla, she holds on to the memories of Serah and her friends to stay strong in her battle against Caius. Lightning tells Serah she misses her and prays for the day when they can be together again, and disappears.
After Serah and Noel find their way to Valhalla and battle Caius they are consumed by a wave of darkness and sent falling into an abyss of light. Lightning appears and saves them, urging them to keep hope alive before vanishing.
Back in Valhalla, Lightning continues her fight with Caius. As mentioned in the Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega scenario interview, the battle between Lightning and Caius is an endless loop that would continue for eternity. The loop appears broken when Caius abruptly disappears and Lightning sees a vision of Serah's death by her Eyes of Etro. Caught off guard, Lightning is struck down by Caius before being taken away by chaos.
She comes to in the remains of Etro's temple where she finds Serah's soul restrained and surrounded by chaos, manipulated by the spirits of Yeul. The chaos forms into a manifestation of Caius that Lightning proceeds to battle. Caius transforms into Chaos Bahamut and flies towards the beach where Lightning continues to fight him.
After dispatching her opponent, Lightning mounts Odin and demands Yeul to let Serah go, only for her and her Eidolon to be swallowed by chaos. Lightning is made to realize her actions caused her sister's death, and as she floats through the Historia Crux Lightning contemplates her belief that carrying out Etro's will would atone for her past sins. She concludes there is nothing left for her, not even hope. Mourning over Serah's body, Lightning sees Serah's spirit on Etro's throne who reveals she knew she would die yet continued so they can be reunited. As Serah's spirit fades away, she tells Lightning not give up hope and always remember her, promising they will meet again.
To ensure Serah's memory lives on, holding on to their wish to be together again someday, and preserve the world's existence in Etro's place as her true atonement, Lightning sits on the goddess's throne and enters crystal stasis, waiting for the day she will awaken at the end of eternity. As Caius's scheme succeeds and Etro dies, Gran Pulse is engulfed in chaos and merges with Valhalla to become Nova Chrysalia.
I'd call it a mixing blessing. I'm more powerful than I ever was, but it came with a price. I'm not even sure if I'm human anymore.
After sleeping for five centuries in crystal stasis, the god Bhunivelze sought Lightning out to be the savior, tasking her with guiding the souls of humanity to the new world that will replace Nova Chrysalia. Bhunivelze is the creator god of Pulse, Lindzei and Etro, each having been revered by the different populations of Gran Pulse and Cocoon.
Bhunivelze separated Serah's soul from Lightning and created an illusion of her sister to keep Lightning acquiescent. Serah's soul was saved from fading into the Chaos when the part of Lightning she had suppressed when she first took on her codename was made manifest by the Chaos, creating a girl called Lumina, who acts as a body protecting Serah's soul.
Though she resents the deity for using Serah as a bargaining chip, Lightning's regret over her death convinced her to aid Bhunivelze so she can save her sister's soul. Bhunivelze removed much of Lightning's emotion so she can perform her task more efficiently. While Hope helps her from within his Ark, Lightning rescues souls and gathers Eradia to restore the tree Yggdrasil to delay the Apocalypse.
Amid a celebration in Yusnaan, Lightning confronts Snow in the ballroom of Patron's Palace. During their battle Lumina breaks Lightning's sword and drops a chandelier, but Snow halts its descent by freezing it. Snow flees and Lightning chases him through the palace into a Chaos infusion where Lightning re-encounters Lumina, who claims Lightning is different from Bhunivelze's usual servants. After defeating the Zaltys that Lumina summoned, Lightning comes upon a door blocked by a field of Chaos, and worries Snow is not entirely sane if he went inside. She hears Snow's guards approaching and retreats.
Traveling to Luxerion, Lightning learns three women who resemble her have been murdered in the last three days, the work of a cult called Children of Etro. Lightning encounters Noel Kreiss who has become obsessed by a prophecy declaring she will destroy the world if unstopped. Lightning puts a stop to the cult's activities before facing Noel, freeing him of his burden of guilt.
Gaining access to the Luxerion Cathedral at night time, she meets up with Lumina and Vanille, who has been released from crystal stasis and cursed with the ability to hear the voices of the dead. Vanille has thus become the saint of the Order of Salvation, a cult dedicated to the worship of Bhunivelze. Vanille shows Lightning a concentration of Chaos around the altar in God's Sanctum. Lumina says the Order seeks the save the dead from their anguish by offering them oblivion and needs Vanille to call them to her.
In Yusnaan, Lightning returns to Snow's palace and is forced to fight him. Though he tries to make her take his life as a penance for failing to protect Serah, and nearly becomes a Cie'th in the process, Lightning brings him round and frees him of his burden.
In the Dead Dunes, Lightning encounters Fang, who for the past thirteen years has been searching for the holy clavis, a divine relic that can draw in and "purify" souls, needed for the Soulsong, a ritual Vanille will perform before the world ends. When they find it, Fang tries to destroy it as the ritual would erase the dead and kill Vanille, but the clavis ends in the Order's hands. Lightning and Fang agree to meet on the final day to convince Vanille not to go through with the Soulsong.
In the Wildlands, Lightning rescues a white chocobo called Angel of Valhalla from a Chocobo Eater and heals its injuries before setting out across the land. She encounters a depressed Sazh and discovers his son Dajh has been comatose since Nova Chrysalia's formation. She finds Dajh's soul to rouse him and brings Sazh out of his depression.
In another part of the Wildlands, Lightning explores the remains of Etro's temple where she finds a resurrected Caius and many Yeuls. She defeats Caius only to learn she cannot save him as he has become bound to the Chaos by Yeul and plans to disappear with the world into the unseen realm. As she leaves, Lightning learns from Yeul that the white chocobo is Odin, her Eidolon.
She comes across the Moogle Village and meets Mog who has been burdened by guilt for his perceived failure to protect Serah, but is delighted to see Lightning again with promises of bringing Serah back. Lightning learns from the souls of the dead, in the form of Cid Raines, that Vanille unknowingly has the power to help them be reborn in the new world.
As Lightning leaves the Ark at the start of the eighth day, she encounters Lumina again, who helps Lightning realize Serah's soul has been stolen from her by Bhunivelze, and suggests the Serah Lightning had met a little while ago, Hope, and Lightning herself are but fakes. Lightning implies she will turn against Bhunivelze if he does not fulfill his part of their deal, and Lumina reminds her that in that case Lightning will have to betray Hope, her one friend in Nova Chrysalia.
On the final day, Lightning returns to the Ark to find Hope fading away. She learns Bhunivelze chose him as his host as the god cannot see souls or Chaos in his true form. Hope comforts Lightning, saying her example enabled him to go on and accept his fate. Back in Luxerion, Lumina reveals the truth about the Soulsong: the Order seeks to carry out Bhunivelze's wishes and ensure their own salvation in the new world by destroying the dead and erasing them from the living's memories, so they can be reborn with a clean slate, unburdened by their pasts. The Order has kept Vanille in the dark and tricked her into believing the Soulsong will save the dead from their suffering.
Infiltrating the cathedral with Noel's help, Lightning teams up with Fang and finds Vanille within God's Sanctum in the process of performing the Soulsong. She convinces Vanille the reason the souls kept calling out to her was because they held onto hope, as souls in despair would have been silent. With help from Fang and Snow, Lightning stops the ritual and allows Vanille and Fang to free both their own souls, and the ones threatened by the clavis, to be reborn in the new world.
Yeul and Lumina arrive and reveal the truth about the fate of Serah's soul to Lightning. Using Hope's body as a medium, Bhunivelze shows up, captures her allies and offers a chance for Lightning to witness the birth of the new world. Upon reaching the heart of the cathedral's dungeons, Lightning is transported to Cosmogenesis, an otherworldly realm where Bhunivelze's true form awaits her.
Lightning learns that Bhunivelze had planned to purge the souls of humanity of their memories and emotions, believing such things are impurities. Bhunivelze wishes to condition Lightning into an emotionless replacement for Etro to oversee the balance of life in the new world, but now that the Soulsong has been thwarted, he seeks to destroy his new world and the dead along with it. Refusing to follow his plans, Lightning attacks Bhunivelze and frees Hope from his hold.
She intends to sacrifice herself to ensure Hope's escape and trap the deity in the unseen realm, but the illusion of Serah that Bhunivelze had created reveals Lumina's origins to Lightning. Accepting Lumina as a part of herself, Lightning calls for help. Lumina becomes one with Lightning and her heart is restored to normal. Her call is answered as Hope helps her leave the world of her subconscious. They launch a final assault on Bhunivelze, and with the aid of her friends and the Eidolons, Lightning severs Bhunivelze's hold on the souls of humanity. The combined souls concentrate their energy to strike the god down.
Lightning and her reunited allies bear witness to the death of Nova Chrysalia and the birth of a new world free of gods with Caius and Yeul offering to become the shepherds of the dead in Etro's place. As the Eidolons fade away, Lightning bids farewell to Odin and sheds tears while recalling moments of her journey, then leads her friends to their new home.
In the new world, Lightning begins her life anew. On a sunny day, Lightning emerges from a train arriving in a modern town as she embarks on a peaceful journey to reunite with her friends.
Lightning is being searched for by the reporter Aoede who is looking for answers for the mysteries behind some people possessing memories of having lived in another world. After meeting with all the principle survivors from Lightning's adventures, but being unable to meet her in person, Aoede ends up encountering Lightning by chance on a train and tries to get an interview. Lightning declines, saying she is getting off at the next station, and Aoede decides not to follow her, deeming her new mission as a mediator in a civil war more important. Aoede thanks Lightning for having fought to give humanity the new world, and Lightning replies she leaves it in Aoede and others' hands. As Lightning departs Aoede notes she looks carefree, and has her own life back at last, as having sent the God of Light to his grave Lightning freed herself from fighting. Positive their encounter is not to be the their last, Aoede hopes Lightning will chance upon hope.
Lightning is a quick and agile fighter who wields gunblades in battle, although her new models in her follow-up appearances in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII only operate in the blade form. In Final Fantasy XIII her primary roles are Commando, Ravager and Medic. She has balanced stats, and thus the player can gear her toward a physical or magical fighter via equipment as they see fit. She is versatile as she is fairly proficient in all Crystarium roles, but as as a downside has low HP.
She is a DLC boss in Final Fantasy XIII-2, as well as the main playable character in the "Lightning's Story: Requiem of the Goddess" downloadable scenario, appearing both as a Commando and a Ravager as a Paradigm Pack ally. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Lightning can customize her appearance and battle style via garbs and switch between set-ups on-the-fly via the Schema system.
Lightning's signature attack is Army of One, of which she sometimes uses a variation called "Legion of One".
Creation and developmentEdit
Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
Early in development, Lightning was meant to be a flirtatious character with more sex appeal. To make Lightning a more serious heroine in the veins of previous heroes, Cloud Strife and Squall Leonhart, Fang's character—originally a man—was rewritten as a woman, and some of Lightning's traits were transferred to her. The final version of her character was made less Asian-looking than originally conceived, and her original silver hair color was given to Hope Estheim in favor of pink.
During development, Lightning's real name was to be "Averia", referring to a species of flowering plants. At this stage, "Éclair" was used during auditions in place of Averia to keep the name secret. Lightning's real name in the English version of Final Fantasy XIII was changed to Claire due to the word "Éclair" being used to refer to a type of pastry in English-speaking countries, a problem not present with the Japanese name due to different romanization.
Lightning's initial concept was a 'strong woman': it was personality-based instead of plot-driven, unlike the initial concepts for some other Final Fantasy heroines of the past. After her character's mindset and role were locked down, Square Enix turned to Tetsuya Nomura for the character design. Director Motomu Toriyama has said that, "With Lightning, one look at the design made me say 'This is it!' She looked so cool and strong that there was no need for any retakes." Despite Toriyama's claim, Lightning's appearance has developed from its initial concept. Square Enix released an initial CG render of Lightning before any of the other characters were seen; when the rest of the cast were revealed, Square released another render of Lightning with differences from the initial release: In the early materials she had slightly less feminine traits, her hair was a faded crimson rather than pink, and her eye color was a lighter shade of blue. Though her outfit remains the same, its overall color scheme was lightened.
The idea for Lightning to have a sword that can transform into a gun relates to the game's Eidolons; one of the gameplay themes chosen for Final Fantasy XIII was transformation, and the Eidolons can turn into vehicles; if summons could transform, they thought weapons should be able to as well. Odin was originally more harsh looking and dark colored, but the developers wanted Lightning to be a knight with a white horse and the color scheme was lightened. Since Lightning had lost her parents at a young age, and tried to take their place and raise Serah, Odin was imagined as someone she would project a fatherly image onto.
Lightning's house was originally meant to be a visitable location in Final Fantasy XIII, but ended up being cut from the final product. Concept art from Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega shows Lightning lives in a peanut-shaped house standing over water with a portion of the roof opening up.
Final Fantasy XIII-2Edit
Lightning's new outfit was designed by Isamu Kamikokuryo in cooperation with Tetsuya Nomura, who drew a rough outline of her armor. Kamikokuryo then did the main work on the design, adding a number of details. Kamikokuryo originally designed Lightning's new outfit as a qipao, and later as a sci-fi-style outfit, but he was told the design did not fit in the game's atmosphere. The final design was inspired by the valkyries, warrior maidens in Norse mythology, with the feather motif in her outfit representing a light and delicate side to her.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
Lightning's default "savior" outfit was designed by Tetsuya Nomura and the design is said to be play on her light, speed, and elegance. Director Motomu Toriyama wanted something that emphasized Lightning going into her final battle, the red and white components of Lightning's original outfit from Final Fantasy XIII, and represented Lightning using the word 'strength' as the main focus. Using the red color to represent strength and line the inside of Lightning's outfit, Nomura designed her new armor to have more of an impact, with the final result being about half white and half red. He was instructed to design Lightning's armor based on "a leather body suit" and the arms off a spinal column. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII the player can dodge and block enemies' attacks; when Lightning's outfit was created the shield came into the design, and the developers thought to utilize it in battles by allowing her to block attacks, enabling the creation of various fighting styles.
Whereas Lightning had been depicted as a hardened and cold soldier-type in Final Fantasy XIII, and near god-like in power in Final Fantasy XIII-2 making her distant, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is intended to portray a more human side to her. The game explores how Lightning became the strong woman she is, and what she is struggling with. By displaying her sadness and sorrow, the writers hope to show more of Lightning's human side.
Lightning's in-game model is not repurposed from the prior two installments, but was created from scratch. Her overall proportions were reevaluated to accommodate for the schemata. Compared to previous games, her model has an increased bust size, which varies between different outfits.
Motomu Toriyama has said Lightning's story ends in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, as this game is meant as a finale to the Final Fantasy XIII series. But as Lightning is a popular character, even when compared to other Final Fantasy characters, Toriyama did not rule out a possibility of her appearing in future Final Fantasy titles, not as a protagonist, but as a guest character.
Lightning's Japanese voice actress is Maaya Sakamoto, while her English voice actress is Ali Hillis. The two have voiced Lightning in all her appearances thus far. Maaya Sakamoto also voices Aerith Gainsborough from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Diva from Final Fantasy Type-0, and Aya Brea from The Third Birthday. Additionally, Aya and Lightning in their respective PlayStation Portable games wearing the other's outfit is a reference to their shared voice actresses.
Of all the main characters in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, Lightning has the largest amount of themes associated with her, to signify her status as the consistent protagonist in all three games.
Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
"Lightning's Theme" is an acoustic orchestral variant of the main battle theme, "Blinded By Light". Her theme displays the fragile interior she tries to suppress. The melody is interwoven with many different tracks and appears in several forms in the game.
A "prototype" version of her theme titled, "M33 Lightning NW Version", can be found on the album Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack PLUS.
This was the early take on "Lightning's Theme". In this version, piano was central in the refrain. It was a small enough undertaking that I ended up having it rearranged with a live recording for the final version, but the synthesized version was also rather popular, and we considered using it alongside the recorded one. I remixed this version for inclusion on the CD.
A piano arrangement of her theme, called "Lightning's Theme ~ Blinded By Light", is found on the album Piano Collections: Final Fantasy XIII. The track also received a chiptune arrangement from SQ Chips 2's bonus CD.
Final Fantasy XIII-2Edit
|"Lightning's Theme ~Unprotected Future~"|
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"Lightning's Theme ~Unprotected Future~" is a slower, more melancholy and harmonious rearrangement of her original theme. The theme plays during Serah and Noel's encounter with Lightning in New Bodhum 700 AF, and as the background theme for the area following the encounter. In "Requiem of the Goddess", it plays as Lightning floats through the Historia Crux after her fight against Chaos Bahamut.
Lightning's battle theme is "Etro's Champion" that plays in the game's tutorial battle when Lightning battles Chaos Bahamut in Valhalla. Other rearrangements of her theme are "Divine Conflict", "An Arrow Through Time", "A World Without Cocoon", "A Fading Miracle", "Etro's Gate", and "Tears of the Goddess". All of these tracks are composed by Masashi Hamauzu.
A track called "yuza_050", is another rearrangement of "Blinded By Light" on Final Fantasy XIII-2: Original Soundtrack PLUS, which plays when Noel, Serah, and Mog arrive in Valhalla.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
She has two distinct themes: "Lightning's Theme -A Distant Glimmer-" and "Lightning's Theme -Radiance-". They are softer and more fragile compared to the themes from previous games to display her emotions and loneliness. "Claire Farron" is also one of her themes.
Lightning's theme is used in the battle themes "Lightning Returns", "Crimson Blitz", "Savior of Souls" and "High Voltage". It is also used in "Lumina's Theme", "The Song of the Savior -The Chosen One-", "The Song of the Savior -Grand Finale-", "Last Resort", and the ending themes "Humanity's Tale", "Credits -Light Eternal-", and "Epilogue".
The 16-bit versions of "Lightning's Theme" and "Blinded by Light" appear in the trailer.
Lightning has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy XIV as a guest character.
- Final Fantasy Tactics S as a playable character.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy (2015) as a playable character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a Legend and a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy All the Bravest as an optional character.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Explorers as a Trance.
- Final Fantasy World Wide Words as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Mobius Final Fantasy as a guest character, ability cards, stamps and the main character Wol can also wear her Knight of Etro armor.
- World of Final Fantasy as a guest character.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearancesEdit
Lightning has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:
- Itadaki Street as a playable character.
- Square Enix Legend World as a card.
- Puzzle & Dragons as a playable character.
Lightning was voted Japan's number one favorite Final Fantasy female character. According to Motomu Toriyama at a presentation for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning is considered a role model in Japan due to her courage, speed, and elegance. She has appeared on the 500th cover of Dengeki PlayStation magazine with Noel, Serah, Noctis, Machina Kunagiri, and Rem Tokimiya.
Lightning, Sazh, Hope, Snow and Noel appeared as models for the Showcase Prada 2012 Men's Spring/Summer Collection.
Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, the art director of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, another game franchise owned by Square Enix, drew an artwork of Lightning for the New York Comic Con 2011 "East Meets West" panel of her l'Cie brand, which is never actually shown in the game. Isamu Kamikokuryo, the art director of Final Fantasy XIII, also drew an artwork of Deus Ex, which was revealed in the same event.
In a live-action PlayStation advertisement, titled "Michael" - PS3 Long Live Play, Lightning is seen listening to a story told by Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series and her gunblade is placed on the weapon rack as the soldiers are entering the tavern. A live-action Lightning has also appeared in Japanese commercials for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
In March 2014, Nomura judged a Lightning fanart contest for deviantART and chose three favorites among the submissions.
In 2016 Square Enix and Louis Vuitton collaborated to have Lightning model the fashion name's spring/summer collection clothes and handbags. As the model for the Series 4, Lightning is to appear on various magazine advertisements and star in promotional videos for the campaign. In addition, she became the new face of Louis Vuitton all over social media.
In Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, parts of Lightning's outfit and design appear as avatar parts. The available parts are her hair, her uniform with cape and skirt, and her boots. The player can use these with their avatar as individual components or combine them to approximate Lightning's full appearance in tandem with other, generic avatar parts. All of the parts can be equipped as an "ensemble".
In The 3rd Birthday, the main character Aya Brea has several different outfits she can wear. One of these is Lightning's outfit. Just like any other outfit for her in the game, this outfit can be torn up as she takes damage. Lightning's l'Cie marking is revealed as more damage is done to this outfit. She can use Lightning's Blazefire Saber in gun mode.
Lightning's costume was released on November 6, 2014 Gunslinger Stratos 2.
Lightning will appear in Puzzle & Dragons in a Final Fantasy collaboration event starting on March 21, 2016.
A special edition PlayStation 3 featuring an image of Lightning was released on December 17th 2009 in Japan. On the day of the US release of Final Fantasy XIII, a special edition Xbox 360 featuring Lightning on a faceplate was released. The faceplate was only available through preorder on certain websites and stores.
Released a month after the game's release, the 50ml bottle of ~Lightning~ eau de toilette was contained in an imprinted glass bottle with a strap with Lightning's pendant. The scent is described as a "sweet peach smell followed by rose and then a feminine musk".
The lightning bolt pendant Lightning wears in Final Fantasy XIII has been released as official merchandise. The pendant is made of .925 silver, is accented with a gold and black rhodium coating and within the pendant there are three cubic zirconia which can roll up and down if the pendant is shaken.
A Final Fantasy XIII-2 bundle was released in Japan on December 15th, 2011, with a black 320GB PlayStation 3 Slim with an image of Lightning. Lightning's Final Fantasy XIII-2 merchandise include a Play Arts action figure and a coffee tumbler.
On December 14th, 2010, all Japanese Square Enix Members with an "Ultimate" status on their name received a special Christmas present from Tetsuya Nomura: an art plate with an original illustration of Lightning with the text, "She must not be forgotten". On September 22nd, 2011, North American Square Enix Members with an "Ultimate" status also received the Lightning illustration.
Glico, the snack company has been working with Square Enix to promote Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII in Japan. Pocky and Almond Peak will have Lightning on their boxes.
Claire is a French name, the feminine form of the common name Clair. As the feminine name, Claire directly translates as the English adjective "clear" or the English noun "light" (radiance/brilliance) (e.g. "claire de lune" meaning "moonlight"), while Clair can mean light-colored, bright and pale, among other meanings.
bakery pastry. This is why she is renamed "Claire" in the Western releases.Éclair is a French word that means "lightning", but is also the name of a type of
Lightning is a sudden electrostatic discharge during an electrical storm between electrically charged regions of a cloud (called intra-cloud lightning or IC), between that cloud and another cloud (CC lightning), or between a cloud and the ground (CG lightning).
Farron comes from the Gaelic language, meaning "thunder".
The combination refers to thunder coming after the lightning.
- As shown in the first Final Fantasy XIII trailer, Lightning had a Gravity Bomb device at her disposal, which would generate an electrical shield or manipulate time and gravity.
- Lightning's eidolith is the shape of a pink rose bloom, and red petals can be seen when she summons Odin and changes it into Sleipnir in Gestalt Mode.
- In Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-, it is mentioned Lightning is better at housework than Serah, but Serah is the better cook. Lightning describes their father as easy-going, passionate but not always reliable, and compares Snow to him, possibly explaining her initial hatred towards him.
- In her official CG render, Lightning is not wearing her lightning bolt necklace, though it is present in her render on the Final Fantasy XIII summary website.
- Art director Isamu Kamikokuryo consistently draws Lightning and Serah with blonde hair in concept art, despite their more "official" appearances. Additionally, Kamikokuryo's Lightning concept art for Final Fantasy XIII-2 has a black armor with gold or white outlines. This may have contributed to Lightning's design in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII where she has black armor.
- Lightning's render for Final Fantasy XIII-2 has her sword and shield in opposite hands. She also holds her sword in her left hand on the cover box art for Final Fantasy XIII.
- Lightning on Etro's throne at the end of Final Fantasy XIII-2 resembles the Final Fantasy XIII promotional artwork of her sitting in the Narthex, and the Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega has a piece of artwork depicting Lightning on Etro's throne in the same pose.
- Similar to her sister Serah, Lightning's official render isn't used in the menu screen in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and instead an alternate render from Final Fantasy XIII is used.
- All models in Final Fantasy XIII-2 are of lower resolution than those in its predecessor. The game data includes a high-res model of Lightning's Final Fantasy XIII appearance that is never used anywhere, which was likely used as a place-holder throughout production.
- The Lightning Mask is an adornment for monsters found in Void Beyond, if the player has a Final Fantasy XIII save file on the HDD before starting Final Fantasy XIII-2. A Lightning Mask for Lightning can be obtained in Lightning Returns.
- Lightning resembles a Red Mage, using primarily Black Magic and White Magic in conjunction and being balanced with physical combat.
- Two different CG renders of Lightning are used in Final Fantasy XIII: her main render is used for menus, while the field messages which display during the gameplay use her render from the game's cover.
- Lightning has the largest set of outfits of all the characters in the series: she has over ninety different outfits including crossover and downloadable costumes.
- Lightning is Toriyama's favorite character out of those he helped create, alongside Yuna and Princess Yoyo from Bahamut Lagoon.
- All of Lightning's default weapons across the Lightning Saga have eponymous musical themes.
- The Steam version of Final Fantasy XIII comes with 6 Trading Cards, all of them featured Lightning.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania, p.010
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/?p=3893
- ↑ IGN - Final Fantasy XIII Update
- ↑ IGN - TGS 09: FINAL FANTASY XIII UPDATE
- ↑ (2010-02-01) Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania (in Japanese), 10–13, Tokyo: Studio Bentstuff.Invalid citation format.
- ↑ http://www.rpgamer.com/features/insidegaming/tslatteryint.html
- ↑ http://www.vg247.com/2011/03/30/toriyama-final-fantasy-leading-ladies-looks-come-second/
- ↑ Q&A: FFXIII's Yoshinori Kitase and Isamu Kamikokuryo
- ↑ (2010-10-04) Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega (in Japanese), 340-341, Tokyo: Studio Bentstuff.Invalid citation format.
- ↑ http://wayback.archive.org/web/20120814175701/http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2011/02/01/nomura_other_games/
- ↑ http://www.xbox.com/ja-JP/Marketplace/Product/ff13-2/interview2
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/?p=4060
- ↑ Interview with Motomu Toriyama and Yuji Abe for German gaming site Spieletester
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/2013/01/tetsuya-nomura-was-ordered-to-design-lightnings-new-outfit-like-a-leather-body-suit/
- ↑ http://www.famitsu.com/news/201212/29026849.html
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/2013/06/lightning-returns-square-enix-members-exlcusive-interview/
- ↑ Siliconera.com – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Alters Lightning's Silly Sorceress Pose
- ↑ http://www.dualshockers.com/2013/06/15/its-official-lightning-got-a-boob-job-for-lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/
- ↑ Lightning’s Story Is Truly Over, But She May Be A Guest In A Future Final Fantasy — Siliconera
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/?p=4139
- ↑ Best Lightning Fan Art As Chosen By Tetsuya Nomura
- ↑ http://www.siliconera.com/2016/02/19/puzzle-dragons-x-final-fantasys-second-collaboration-adds-lightining-cloud/
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/news/motomu-toriyama-talks-making-heroines