Vanille is an endearing young woman with a relentlessly sunny disposition. Her bright personality gives no hint of the dark resolve that lies within.
Oerba Dia Vanille [vʌ'niːɫ] is a playable character, the narrator, and the deuteragonist in Final Fantasy XIII. Her full name stands for "Vanille of the Dia clan, from the village of Oerba."
In Final Fantasy XIII, Vanille is separated from her childhood friend and appears alongside Hope Estheim and his mother Nora as a victim of the Purge. She is drawn into a conflict that will force her to confront the demons of her past and decide the fate of Cocoon.
In Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2, Vanille has bright red hair tied in curled pigtails, green eyes, and pierced ears with silver hoop earrings. She has the physical appearance of a nineteen year-old. Her outfit is inspired by the traditional clothes of the Namibian Himba women. She wears a pink halter top, an ombré orange and yellow skirt, beige boots, and a fur pelt around her waist, which she uses to carry her weapon. According to Dengeki PS3 magazine, it is made from a bear she defeated herself. She wears numerous bracelets, three beaded necklaces, and an assortment of beads attached to various parts of her clothing. Vanille's l'Cie brand is located on her upper left thigh, concealed by her skirt.
In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Vanille wears a headdress resembling a traditional Indian dupatta. The headdress is comprised of a red, gold, and transparent pink veil that covers her hair and shoulders, gold ornaments that cover her forehead, and two long silver horn-like ornaments that resemble Bhunivelze's crest, which serves as the Order of Salvation's symbol, attached to the back and curving around the sides of her head.
Being made a l'Cie, it's not easy. I mean, look, even I'm kind of worried. But even if we don't know what'll happen, we have to keep our dreams alive. Have something to look forward to, you know.
In Final Fantasy XIII, Vanille has an eccentric childlike innocence. She is considerate, understanding, and at times, headstrong. She is empathetic, easily driven to tears, and cares deeply for others. She particularly cares for Fang, whom Vanille sees as a sister. Despite facing many hardships, Vanille remains a caring and upbeat person and tries to remain positive in situations others deem hopeless. Vanille uses her happy-go-lucky persona as a façade to hide her fear and guilt. When her guard drops, she wallows in her misery, beating herself up for her faults, and blaming them for the problems they cause herself and those around her. During her journey, Vanille learns to face her problems and past mistakes instead of running from them, and fight for her friends and what she believes in.
In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, due to living under the Order's protection and being subject to its teachings, Vanille has become a follower of Bhunivelze and seeks to help the group carry out his will. She is close friends with Lumina, who describes them as being "thick as thieves." Vanille has become solemn and rarely shows a trace of her upbeat personality, as she continues to feel guilty for the suffering her past actions had caused and hopes to use her new power to atone. In Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories- Vanille has been described as taking everything seriously and being a pushover, and therefore easy to manipulate by telling her what she wants to hear.
Let's give up! Forget our Focus, we don't need it!
Vanille and Fang were residents of Gran Pulse in the village of Oerba. During the War of Transgression the two lost their families at the hands of Cocoon's l'Cie and fal'Cie, and befriended at Oerba's orphanage. Fang begrudged Oerba's patron fal'Cie, Anima, for failing to protect the people of Gran Pulse, and agreed to become a l'Cie as a way to get close enough to confront the fal'Cie. Fang had an outburst in Anima's chamber and was going to be put to death for blasphemy by the Oerba priests. Vanille, who was next in line to be branded a l'Cie, shielded Fang and begged for her life to be spared, offering her own to complete their Focus together so that they would never be apart.
Vanille and Fang were granted the power of Ragnarok and given the Focus to destroy Cocoon. Vanille feared the power bestowed upon them, so Fang became Ragnarok alone and scarred Cocoon's shell. Taking pity on the people of Cocoon, the goddess Etro intervened and crystallized Fang and Vanille before they could finish the job. The crystals were placed within the Pulse Vestige, which was taken into Cocoon in the war's aftermath.
Centuries later, Vanille and Fang awaken from crystal stasis. Fang has lost the memory of their previous Focus and Ragnarok, and not wanting more people to get hurt Vanille pretends she has as well, later taking on the burden of Ragnarok to spare Fang the guilt. Although Fang's l'Cie brand is scorched and unchanging, Vanille's brand is still active, and Fang vows to complete their Focus. After two days of fruitlessly looking for answers, they return to the Vestige in Bodhum and discover a local girl, Serah Farron, has wandered into the Vestige and been branded a Pulse l'Cie. Vanille blames herself for Serah's misfortune, assuming Anima transformed Serah to complete their Focus.
After stealing a pair of ID cards two days later, Fang and Vanille travel to Euride Gorge to find the fal'Cie Kujata, which Fang plans to destroy to restore their memories. Dajh Katzroy wanders into the room and the fal'Cie brands him a Sanctum l'Cie in response to Fang and Vanille's threat. The two are pursued by PSICOM troops and separated when Fang forces Vanille to escape without her. Vanille returns to the Vestige where she leaves her weapon and then roams around Bodhum, beginning to see Cocoon as a peaceful paradise.
Four days later, Vanille meets Serah after scraping her leg on the beach. When Vanille tells Serah about her dilemma, Serah advises her to find a way to overcome it. She tells Vanille about her nightmare of destroying the world and how she tried to run from it, but now knows she will get through with her friends' help. Vanille apologizes for her role in Serah becoming a l'Cie, but Serah is oblivious to Vanille's involvement and does not understand. Two days later, Vanille attends Bodhum's fireworks festival. Inspired by her meeting with Serah, she wishes for Cocoon's safety.
The next morning, the Sanctum announces its discovery of Anima within the Vestige and quarantines Bodhum in preparation for the Purge. Unable to return to the Vestige, Vanille goes to the station hoping to return to Euride and look for Fang, but finds the walkway blocked off. Evading soldiers, she returns to the shopping mall before making her way back to a field by the beach to spend the night. The following day, Vanille returns to the station and queues for the Purge train, noticing Lightning and Sazh Katzroy line up as well. She bumps into Hope and Nora and decides to board the train with them in the hopes of returning home and escaping her Focus.
No one ever said the future would be easy. But I think we all saw the glimmer of a dream, somewhere in the sky that night. The tiniest spark of hope that we could change our fate. Who could say? That moment has come and gone.
When entering the Hanging Edge, the Purge train is derailed by Lightning and Sazh. Along with the rest of the Purgees, Vanille, Nora, and Hope are found by Snow Villiers and his resistance group, NORA. Nora joins their effort to fight PSICOM but is killed in battle, and Vanille has Nora's son Hope stick with her. Since Hope blames Snow for his mother's death, Vanille encourages him to approach Snow, but he leaves before Hope has the chance. Vanille and Hope steal Gadot's airbike and follow Snow to the Vestige.
They crash-land inside and Vanille recovers her weapon. They are saved from a Cie'th ambush by Snow and accompany him. They meet with Lightning and Sazh and find Serah outside Anima's Throne. Serah asks Lightning to save Cocoon and transforms into a crystal, meaning she had fulfilled her Focus, mystifying Vanille. Lightning, Snow, and Sazh attack Anima, and Vanille's new acquaintances are branded l'Cie. PSICOM destroys the Vestige and they fall to Lake Bresha with Anima's power crystallizing it on impact. Vanille pretends that she, too, had just been branded by Anima. The group interprets their Focus having something to do with Ragnarok and destroying Cocoon, although Snow remains positive their Focus is to follow Serah's wish to save it.
Soon after leaving Snow behind with Serah's crystal, the party happens upon a Sanctum airship, which Sazh pilots out to the skies of Cocoon. The airship comes under fire from a wave of enemy ships and crash-lands in the Vile Peaks. Lightning announces she is heading for Eden to destroy its patron fal'Cie and take down the Sanctum, Cocoon's government. Lightning leaves with Hope chasing after her, and Sazh and Vanille choose to run from their fate in the opposite direction. On their way to Nautilus, the two arrive in the Sunleth Waterscape and Vanille asks Sazh about his family. He reveals he is Dajh's father and was branded in his attempt to complete the boy's Focus. Overcome with guilt, Vanille cannot bring herself to tell Sazh about her involvement.
In Nautilus, news footage of the chaos in Palumpolum is broadcast throughout the park. Sazh notes the appearances of Lightning, Hope, and Snow in the footage, but Vanille is shocked to see another familiar face: Fang. They attend the Pompa Sancta parade and visit the Chocobo Corral, where Sazh reveals he intends to turn himself in to the Sanctum to see Dajh one last time, even if it means his execution. Vanille tries to dissuade him by telling him who was responsible for the Euride Gorge incident, but before she has a chance to admit her involvement they are attacked by the Sanctum. The two flee to the Clock Tower where Dajh appears and crystallizes in Sazh's arms. Jihl Nabaat, a PSICOM officer, arrives with her troops and the boy's Focus is revealed: to capture servants of the lowerworld fal'Cie. Nabaat reveals it was Vanille and Fang's threat that made Kujata brand Dajh.
Vanille flees the scene crying and Nabaat lets the enraged Sazh pursue her, curious as to how much data they could collect by watching the two l'Cie duel. Within the courtyard of the Fiendlord's Keep, Vanille imagines Sazh calling her a coward and cold-blooded killer, telling her to die if she can no longer live with her guilt. When Sazh arrives and aims his gun at her, Vanille reveals she is a l'Cie from Gran Pulse and demands he shoot her. He is unable to do so and his Eidolon Brynhildr manifests. The two defeat it together, but afterward Sazh again points his gun at Vanille. Vanille accepts her punishment but Sazh is too heartbroken to kill her.
They are captured by Nabaat's regiment and imprisoned on the Palamecia to be brought to Eden for a public execution. During their captivity Sazh realizes that since Vanille awoke from crystal stasis, Dajh will awaken too, and he forgives Vanille when he realizes what happened to his son was an accident.
With help from the Cavalry, Lightning, Snow, Hope, and Fang infiltrate the airship to rescue Vanille and Sazh. the pair escapes their cell, retrieves their weapons, and meets the others and Vanille is reunited with Fang. The party reaches the bridge and confronts the Primarch, Galenth Dysley, who reveals his true identity as the fal'Cie Barthandelus. Dysley claims the party's Focus is to destroy Orphan, the fal'Cie who sustains Cocoon, and that Serah's Focus was to gather them together to be made l'Cie and accomplish that goal. The party escapes the descending Palamecia with Barthandelus's familiar Menrva in its airship form, and is taken to the Fifth Ark beneath Eden.
In the Fifth Ark, the group's l'Cie powers are fully awakened and they run into the Cavalry leader Cid Raines, who reveals himself as a Sanctum l'Cie whose Focus is to help them destroy Cocoon and summon the Maker. Cid defies his Focus and attempts to kill them, but is defeated and to everyone's surprise he turns to crystal. The party decides to also defy their Focus and after Vanille and Lightning help Fang tame her Eidolon, Bahamut, a new path to the Ark's lowest level is revealed. Vanille finds a Pulsian airship and everyone agrees to travel to Gran Pulse to find a way to change their fate.
After days of searching they find Gran Pulse void of human life and decide to journey to Oerba. When the party finds the ruins of Paddra in the Yaschas Massif, Vanille says she became Ragnarok and scarred Cocoon's shell centuries before. Fang is puzzled as to why she turned into crystal despite doing nothing in the war, but Vanille continues to lie. The party crosses the Archylte Steppe into the Mah'habara Subterra and in the Flower-filled Fissure Fang says she was the one who became Ragnarok and scarred Cocoon, not Vanille. The shock of having her deepest lie exposed causes Vanille's Eidolon Hecatoncheir to manifest, and she learns Fang bluffed about regaining her memories to coax a confession from her. Once they tame Hecatoncheir, Fang reassures Vanille she is no longer alone, since their friends from Cocoon are their new family.
In the Sulyya Springs, Vanille tells Snow she had met Serah in Bodhum and how she was made a l'Cie because of her. She tells him Serah had the vision of Ragnarok like the rest of them and theorizes Serah beat her Focus by passing Cocoon's fate over to them, and that was the act that made her turn to crystal. The party ascends Taejin's Tower and at the top Vanille and Fang reminisce about their hometown, describing it as a village filled with flowers, but are shocked to see their home devoid of life and color. The party rides a capsule down to the outskirts of Oerba and traverses the dilapidated village, encountering Barthandelus at the end of a broken railway bridge.
Knowing Barthandelus has resurrected Raines and caused more chaos in Cocoon, the party heads to Eden with the airship Barthandelus left them to stop the fal'Cie's plan. They make their way through the chaos in Eden to Orphan's Cradle and as Fang falls under pressure, Vanille proposes they promise to protect Cocoon as their new home.
Inside the Narthex the party defeats Barthandelus but Menrva flies into a pool of liquid and awakens Orphan. The fal'Cie demands Fang to become Ragnarok and tortures Vanille to try and force her hand. Fangs submits to Orphan's demands and Vanille is released. Vanille and Fang see their friends transform into Cie'th—who attack Fang—triggering her transformation into an incomplete version of Ragnarok.
After Fang fails to destroy Orphan, she reverts. Orphan tries to force Fang to finish the job by subjecting her to a cycle of torture as Vanille helplessly watches. Vanille prepares to stand up to the fal'Cie, but Orphan explodes and sinks into its pool, releasing Fang. With the help of the memories of everything they had gone through, the rest of the party had reverted from their Cie'th forms, believing their transformation was another fal'Cie trick, and that their new Focus is to save Cocoon. The party's brands turn white and as Orphan's true form rises from the pool the party sets out to destroy it.
After Orphan is destroyed, Orphan's Cradle vanishes and the party is left floating above Eden as Cocoon begins to fall. As Lightning, Sazh, Hope and Snow float away, Vanille and Fang join hands and become Ragnarok to stop Cocoon from crashing into Pulse by surrounding the planetoid with lava, summoning the crystal dust from Oerba, and crystallizing it and themselves forming a crystal pillar to support Cocoon over Pulse.
Lightning, Sazh, Hope, and Snow awaken from crystal stasis on the surface of Gran Pulse beneath the newly crystallized Cocoon with their brands gone. As Serah and Dajh appear over the horizon, they realize Vanille and Fang have fulfilled their Focus for all of them. Vanille and Fang remain within the core of Cocoon's pillar, holding hands, in crystal sleep.
Of course they do, silly! Kids are kids - it doesn't matter where they're from!
Vanille feels at peace now that the harm she unintentionally caused has been undone. She says they will meet again someday, and tells everyone to live their lives as she and Fang will watch over them. Vanille knows that Serah will be strong enough to handle the realization of her and Fang's crimes and tells Snow to stand by Serah. After reassuring Fang that Serah will forgive her for getting her involved, they feel goddess Etro smiling at them. Hearing Fang telling Snow and Lightning not to try and rescue them, Vanille laughs and says, "What are you gonna do? You know what they're like..."
Well, that's a good question. Hm, put it this way. It's the real me, but inside a dream. I'm still sleeping inside the crystal pillar, you see. And you're dreaming away, too. So it's like, we're meeting inside each other's heads.
Dreaming within the pillar, Vanille reflects on how she and Fang felt Etro's presence the first time they turned to crystal, and again when they held up Cocoon as Ragnarok. Remembering how the priests of Oerba referred to Etro as a dark and scary goddess, Vanille wonders if they were wrong. She recalls Hope's visits to her and Fang, and urges Hope to save the future. She tries to call out to Serah to tell her she and Fang had a dream about being in a new place with a young man and woman they had never met before. Seeing how happy they were, Vanille tells Serah not to give up and make a future where everyone is happy again.
Vanille and Fang appear to Serah in her dream in the Void Beyond, explaining they could connect since they are all dreaming. They had come to save Serah from being trapped in the endless dream Caius Ballad placed her in, and that Serah's friend Noel needs her help before he becomes trapped in a dream of his own. Needing to resume their role in maintaining the pillar, Vanille and Fang disappear, leaving a portal to lead Serah to Noel. By the year 500 AF, Hope and the Academy, along with Sazh, save the crystal holding Vanille and Fang before the crystallized Cocoon finally falls.
Vanille appears in the paradox ending, "Vanille's Truth," where Serah, Mog, and Noel find her in Oerba XXX AF, an alternate timeline where a crystallized Vanille remained in Oerba after the War of Transgression, continuing to lament about her inability to fight for the people she cared about, and how she wasn't there for Fang as she had promised. Serah hears Vanille's voice and promises to find Fang for her.
They've been swallowed by the Chaos, and now they're trapped inside. I can feel it. All their sadness... All their grief... They're swirling around me. Every single cry feels like a dagger...right in my heart.
Four hundred and eighty-seven years later, Vanille and Fang awoke from crystal stasis in the city of Luxerion in Nova Chrysalia, the world that formed after Chaos entered the mortal realm. Vanille realized she could hear the voices of the dead. She and Fang were found by Lumina, a mysterious girl who resembles a young Serah, and taken in by the Order of Salvation to live in the Luxerion Cathedral. Once they learned about Vanille's new power, the Order dubbed her a "saint" and confined her to the cathedral for her safety. After a few years of living under the Order's care, Fang grew to distrust those in the upper ranks and learned of the Soulsong, a ritual to purify the dead at the cost of Vanille's life.
Fang attempted to take Vanille away, but burdened by guilt, she refused and intended to carry out the Soulsong despite knowing it would kill her. As Fang left for the Dead Dunes to find the holy clavis, a divine relic the Order seeks for the ritual, Vanille remained in the cathedral under the Order's protection. For the next four or five years, she worked with the Order to prepare for the Soulsong, spent her days listening to the dead, and giving hope to the populace. Becoming a curiosity to the public, the cathedral would be frequented by citizens hoping to meet Vanille. She was often visited by Lumina and the two became friends.
Thirteen days before the end of the world, Lightning awakens from her crystal sleep, becomes the savior and visits Luxerion. After hearing about Lightning's exploits Vanille requests to see her. After saving Noel's soul, Lightning heads for Cathedral Plaza where Vanille's servant, Aremiah, tells Lightning a precious crystal shard belonging to Vanille has been lost. When Vanille awoke from crystal stasis, she found herself grasping a piece of crystal and it has been her precious possession ever since as it lets her glimpse the estranged Fang. Lightning finds the crystal with a delivery company employee who claims someone high up in the Order gave it to them with no receiver's address, and Lightning theorizes someone from the Order wanted to steal it from Vanille. Lightning returns the crystal to Aremiah and is granted passage into the cathedral at night time.
She reunites with Vanille in the Hall of Devotion and finds her with Lumina. Vanille leads Lightning underground to God's Sanctum and shows her a concentration of Chaos around the altar, which Lumina refers to as the "wind of sorrow," lost souls in suffering. Vanille explains the souls of those who died after Valhalla's Chaos burst through Etro's gate were drawn to the cathedral and that she can hear every cry of their pain. Lumina says the Order seeks the save the dead from their anguish by offering them oblivion and needs Vanille to call them to her. Lightning asks if Vanille will be able to handle millions of souls at once, but she answers she doesn't have a choice. Lumina says the souls have been building up for years, and if Vanille does not call them to her and they ever escaped, they would destroy the world and the future as well.
In the Hall of Devotion, Vanille says that she and Fang were probably awakened to atone for the deaths caused by their past actions. Fang left years ago to find the holy clavis, but Vanille is assured by her crystal shard showing Fang being happy. Vanille can hear the dead and feel their pain and wants to use her power to help them find peace. She thus chooses to stay in the cathedral, though she would like to see the others again. She knows it's impossible since Sazh left for the Wildlands, Snow is unable to leave Yusnaan since he is the Patron, and Hope disappeared. Vanille had wanted to gather everyone to greet Lightning upon her return, but they had gone their separate ways.
As Lightning searches for the clavis with Fang in the Dead Dunes, she learns Vanille continues to dwell on her past sins, believing her new power is God's way of punishing her, and intends to atone by performing the Soulsong. When they reach the Clavis Chamber and find the relic, Fang tries to destroy it but the Order's Secutors appear and steal the clavis. Fang tells Lightning that the Order sought the clavis for its ability to summon souls and she left the Order to find the clavis and keep it away from Vanille. Lumina appears and reveals she led the Secutors to their location, and says the Secutors are taking the clavis to Luxerion, where on the world's final day, Vanille will perform the Soulsong and erase the dead, including Serah.
When Lightning returns to Luxerion, Vanille tells her the holy clavis acts like a coffin to contain the dead when she calls them to her during the ritual. She says that even if the Soulsong will wipe out the dead, it is something she needs to do, otherwise the souls will suffer inside the Chaos forever. Vanille says that after the Soulsong kills her she will join the dead and be erased from all memory with them. At the end of the eleventh day, Lightning learns from the souls of the dead in the form of Cid Raines that, unknown to Vanille, she has the power to help them be reborn in the new world.
On the eve of the Apocalypse, Lumina reveals to Lightning the Soulsong's true nature: The Order seeks to destroy the dead and erase their existence from the living's memories, "purifying" them of their burdened pasts so they can be reborn in the new world with a clean slate and live in bliss as per the god Bhunivelze's vision. The Order has kept the truth from Vanille and tricked her into believing the Soulsong will save the dead from their suffering. With help from Noel, Lightning enters the Temple of Light and finds Fang. In God's Sanctum, with several disciples, sentries, and the Order's high priestess present, Vanille faces the clavis and begins the Soulsong. Lightning and Fang interfere and divulge the Order's true motives, but Vanille can't ignore the cries of the dead and feels the need to pay for her sins.
At Lightning's urging, Vanille listens to the dead and the high priestess attempts to force her to continue the ritual by claiming her pain stems from the dead's corruption by the Chaos. Vanille learns none of the dead wish to be destroyed and she kept hearing them because, despite their suffering, they wish to be reborn. At Lightning's suggestion and Fang's willingness to assist her, Vanille halts the Soulsong and decides to guide the souls to the Ark so they can be reborn in the new world.
To complete the ritual, the high priestess strikes Vanille down for her defiance against God and has the holy clavis begin to drain her life, producing a light powerful enough to destroy the souls. With Snow's timely arrival, the clavis is destroyed and the high priestess is obliterated. After guiding the dead to the Ark with Fang's help, Vanille's soul is saved. After the final bell on the world tolls, Vanille's soul is taken by Bhunivelze along with Snow, Fang, and Noel, but she returns to Lightning's side during the final battle before witnessing Nova Chrysalia's destruction. Vanille accompanies her friends to the new world, no longer a tool of the gods.
...That’s always been one of my faults. You know how it is, you keep thinking you have to fix your weaknesses, but in the end you can’t ever change. My feelings were caught in a dead end, so before I knew what I was doing, I’d bought into the Order’s – no, God’s plans.
Fang and Vanille stay together in the new world and move to an arid region near a remote village in an area full of cattle ranches and rocky wilderness. The pair makes their abode amid abandoned ruins as they "remind them of home." A reporter named Aoede interviews the pair on her quest to uncover the truth behind people's latent memories of another world. Fang and Vanille tell the story of how they saved Cocoon by turning into crystal and remained in crystal sleep for centuries, how Hope had their crystal salvaged from the crystal pillar before it shattered, and how the organization he had formed, the Conseil de Renaissance, safeguarded them.
When they awoke Vanille had wanted to thank Hope, but he had already been kidnapped by Bhunivelze and thus the pair fell under the Order's watchful eye. As she saw the Order's teachings act as a lifeline for the suffering populace after Hope's disappearance, Vanille wanted to help the organization as their saint, unaware they were manipulating her and using her as a means to an end. The Order told her what she wanted to hear and made her believe that she could help everyone by doing whatever they wanted. Vanille took their lies at face value and before she knew it, she had bought into Bhunivelze's scheme.
The pair doesn't know how or why they awoke from crystal stasis, but speculate it to be the work of either Bhunivelze or Lumina. Fang describes Lumina as a brat who was "Chaos personified" and says she was attached to Vanille for some reason. Vanille says Lumina might have been the one who woke them up so she would have someone to indulge her, because even though she came across as a spiteful prankster, in reality, Lumina was a lonely girl who wanted attention.
Fang says that a number of the Order's followers were decent people who treated her and Vanille well, but those in the upper echelons were rotten garbage who exploited Vanille's desire to help the suffering populace and atone for the past to control her. Fang explains the Order would have erased everyone's memories of the past if Lightning hadn't saved everyone. When Aoede enthuses about learning more of Lightning and wants to thank her in person, Vanille and Fang assure her Lightning's wish for the world has come true if everyone is content with living in the new world.
Vanille is playable in Final Fantasy XIII with main roles as Ravager, Saboteur and Medic, making her more support-oriented party member. She wields binding rods in battle and her Eidolon—whom she acquires last of all party members—is the Earth-elemental Hecatoncheir. Her Full ATB skill is Death. She has slow casting animations, but high Magic Power and more HP than the party's other dedicated mage character: Hope.
Creation and development Edit
According to the Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega, the development team at one point considered making Vanille the official main character, but dismissed the idea as they had already released a trailer and art featuring Lightning in that role.
Of all the main characters introduced since Final Fantasy XIII, Vanille might be the one who had changed the least. In the original game, many lives were lost as the result of her lies. The torture she suffered from the resultant guilt led Vanille to believe that sacrificing herself to save the souls of the dead would rectify everything she had done, but her "purity" is why she could be easily misled about the true consequences of her well-intentioned sacrifice. 
Vanille and Fang speak with an accent different from the rest of the party. They speak in an Okinawan dialect of Japanese in the original version, and with an Australian accent in the English localization. The idea to cast two characters with Australian accents came from the localization team, who requested the voice directing team to look for either Australian- or New Zealand-sounding voices; the rationale was that the team wanted Fang and Vanille to sound like they were from another world, but more in a sense of having a different melody to their voices, rather than a thick accent.
Her English voice actress is Georgia van Cuylenburg. Georgia van Cuylenburg spent six months recording Vanille's dialogue; she had two recording sessions per week which lasted four hours. As with the rest of the English cast of Final Fantasy XIII, Georgia van Cuylenburg was able to listen to the original Japanese dialogue, which had been recorded first, for tone reference.
While the other characters in Final Fantasy XIII were intended to be "Americanized", Georgia van Cuylenburg was asked to adhere to the original Japanese performance and use a "high, squeaky, and upbeat" voice, as Vanille initially wants to misdirect others with her happiness. Georgia van Cuylenburg has stated that the most difficult aspect of voicing Vanille was making a type of high-pitched moan required for the character, which was not easy to make sound natural.
During the February 2014 interview with Final Fantasy Union, Georgia van Cuylenburg commented how she and Vanille are alike with their past as Georgia also had several issues and hid it under a cover of a carefree girl, and compared Vanille's breakdown in the scene with Sazh to the similar situation from years before recording Vanille to when she lost her hair as a result of alopecia, which helped her in relating to her voiced character and enhance her performance.
Musical themes Edit
Final Fantasy XIII Edit
I created 'Vanille's Theme' to match a sad scene, but when the character and her scenes were revealed, I found that the sad piece didn't complement her any more, and an earnest and bright piece to fit the character's mindset popped into my mind.
"Vanille's Theme" is composed of solo piano and represents her cheerful nature and inner guilt. "Prelude to Final Fantasy XIII" recurs as a motif within "Vanille's Theme," which is intended to reflect her role as the game's narrator and originator of the story.
Variants of her theme include three orchestral arrangements called "Lost Hope," "Eidolons on Parade," and "Memories of Happier Days." The third variant "Memories of Happier Days," begins with solo piano like her original theme but turns into a melancholy but uplifting orchestral piece. A short reprise of her theme is heard in "Face It Later," "Sulyya Springs," and at the beginning of "The Road Home." An orchestral motif of her theme is heard in "Nascent Requiem," the final battle theme, and "Determination."
"The Captive Saint" begins with a revised version of "Memories of Happier Days," and transitions into a calm then eerie piece. It's heard when Lightning reunites with Vanille and they converse in God's Sanctum. "Memories of Happier Days" plays when Lightning reunites with Mog in the Wildlands, and when Lightning completes Bhakti's quest, "The Life of a Machine" in the Dead Dunes. It is mixed into the end credits theme, "Credits ~Light Eternal~." Vanille's leitmotif is also reprised in "A New World," which plays as Vanille and Fang guide the dead to the Ark.
Arrangement album appearances Edit
"Vanille's Theme" is part of the medley "Vanille's Theme ~ Memories of Happier Days ~ The Road Home" as the sixth track on the album.
Other appearances Edit
Vanille has appeared in the following media throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable chaarcter.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as an ally and a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Mobius Final Fantasy as an ability card.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances Edit
Vanille has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy media:
- Kingdom Hearts series as an avatar.
Action figures of Vanille have been released as part of the Play Arts series.
Etymology and symbolism Edit
Vanille means "vanilla" in French. Dia means "day" in Portuguese and Spanish.
In ancient Greek religion and folklore, Dia means "heavenly," "divine," or "she who belongs to Zeus." The name is attributed to several figures, and thus is treated like an honorific or title. This may allude to her bright personality.
The Japanese pronunciation of Dia, with a long "i" sound, is also a common Japanese abbreviation for "diamond", possibly alluding to Hecatoncheir being an Earth-elemental summon. Vanille shares her clan name with the spell Dia from Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy XI. However, the Japanese pronunciation of her clan name is different.
The characters of Fang and Vanille are based on the Ragnarok myth of Líf ("life") and Lífþrasir ("eager for life") — the only humans who will survive Ragnarok. They sleep through earth's destruction and upon awakening will find the earth verdant again. Líf and Lífþrasir will become the progenitors of a new race of humans, and their descendants will inhabit the world. This is congruent with the idea that Fang was originally envisioned as a male character.
- Vanille's eidolith is used for the "Instrument of Faith" trophy/achievement.
- A photo of Vanille and Fang can be found in Oerba, proof of their past existence.
- While her fellow comrades are branded on the upper half of their bodies, Vanille's brand is located on the lower half of her body.
- When Vanille's brand is first shown, it appears to be in its third or fourth stage.
- Final Fantasy XIII includes a nude character model for Vanille, for the scene where she comes out of crystal stasis.
- In Episode Zero -Promise-, Fang mentions that Vanille loves cooking and making up her own meals, though they are not always good. It's also said that Vanille loves caring for animals.
- Vanille is seen in a cutscene from the intro to the title screen of Final Fantasy XIII, but the scene where she overlooks Gran Pulse is never shown in the actual game.
- Vanille's Binding Rod is one of the special weapons reward in event Lightning Strikes in Final Fantasy XIV.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania, p.018
- ↑ Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Collector's Edition Guide p.341
- ↑ http://www.ff-xiii.net/index.php?page=content&name_id=podcast
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Georgia van Cuylenburg Interview with Myouterspace
- ↑ Final Fantasy Union's February 2014 interview with Georgia van Cuylenburg, @8m50s
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9121059
- ↑ http://kotaku.com/5451645/why-theres-a-naked-final-fantasy-xiii-character-model