Look into my eyes... You're-going-to-like-me... You're-going-to-like-me... Did it work?
Rinoa Heartilly is a playable character in Final Fantasy VIII. She wields a unique weapon called the blaster edge in battle, a bladed projectile she launches from a firing mechanism on her left arm. After hitting the target, the projectile returns to Rinoa like a boomerang. Rinoa's faithful dog Angelo accompanies her in battle by attacking the enemy or aiding the party.
Rinoa is known for her trademark angel wings printed on the back of her duster sweater and, as such, her "character symbol" is a white feather that signifies the wings. She is Squall Leonhart's love interest, and is featured in the game's logo with him. Apart from the angel wings symbol and her ring, shooting stars have a significance to Rinoa. She points at a shooting star during her introductory scene, her strongest weapon is Shooting Star, and one of her most powerful Limit Breaks is called Wishing Star.
Rinoa's shoulder-length black hair has three caramel highlights on both sides of her face. Her eyes are dark brown. When first met at the SeeD ball Rinoa wears an off-white halter dress, her signature necklace, a bracelet on her right wrist, and white shoes. She wears the ballroom outfit again at the Garden Festival event in Fishermans Horizon.
Her signature outfit is a long, sleeveless, blue rib-knit duster sweater with a pair of white wing designs on the back. She wears matching rib-knit arm warmers, a black tank top, a denim button-up skirt, a black ribbon on her left arm, and black cycling shorts with zippers going down the front and a pair of silver buckled black boots. Her necklace features a ring. Just before the Battle of the Gardens she receives Squall's Griever ring from Zell, who borrowed it to make Rinoa a replica. Rinoa adds the Griever ring to her necklace and wears it along with her own. In the Adel boss battle, Rinoa is not wearing her duster sweater, even though she has it in the scenes right before and after.
In the original North American release, Rinoa's height was listed as 161 cm (5' 3.5"), but the Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania, the latest edition released seven years after the game, has her height as 163cm (5' 4"). This is because the character heights were converted incorrectly from the metric to imperial for the North American version of Final Fantasy VIII.
A member of the Timber resistance group Forest Owls. Uses her dog to make special attacks.
Rinoa is compassionate, warm, and friendly, although she can act stubborn and naive. She was born to a well-to-do family, her father heading the Galbadian military, but she is concerned by the state of the world. Rinoa joins a resistance movement fighting Galbadia to achieve Timber's independence in a mixture of genuine desire to fight for Timber and rebellion against her father. The Forest Owls are amateurish and she has little experience with the realities of combat, and is anxious at the prospect of fighting solo. She can be impulsive and act without thinking, which gets her into trouble. She is loyal to her friends and committed to doing what she thinks is right.
Rinoa clashes with Squall and Quistis for what she perceives as a cold and mechanical attitude and their impatience with her inexperience. Rinoa serves as a foil to Squall as a person who can freely express emotion. Although she initially dislikes him for his coldness, she grows fond of him and encourages him to open up and talk about his feelings, as well as teasing him playfully to try and break through his shell.
Although Rinoa puts up a brave front, her isolation is hinted at, having lost her mother at a young age and having a strained relationship with her father. Rinoa has many followers but not many close friends save for her dog, Angelo, leading her to bond with Squall over what they're both missing from their lives.
After Rinoa becomes a sorceress, she gains superhuman powers. She gains corporeal wings that lift her off the ground during her Limit Break, and can transform a flower petal into a feather to act as an extension of herself to find Squall trapped in lost time. Rinoa is twice seen reviving a person from an unconscious state: Seifer after the SeeD's battle against Edea, and Squall after he lost consciousness in a timeless void.
I like it like this. I liked having my mom hold me. My dad, too, back when we got along. But now... Squall, you're the one who gives me the most comfort. Comfort and happiness... and annoyance and disappointment, too!
Rinoa is the daughter of Galbadia's military commander Fury Caraway and idol singer Julia Heartilly. When Rinoa was almost five, Julia died in a car accident and afterwards, Rinoa and her father grew steadily apart. At 16, Rinoa dated a SeeD cadet named Seifer Almasy from whom she learned more of the mercenary-for-hire service SeeD provides. By the time she is seventeen, Rinoa has moved away from home and presumably changed her surname to her mother's maiden name. To compound their problems, Rinoa joined the Forest Owls, a group of freedom fighters rebelling against the Galbadian government.
Rinoa meets Squall during the SeeD inauguration party at Balamb Garden where she gets him to dance. Rinoa is on an errand on behalf of the Owls to convince Headmaster Cid Kramer to employ SeeD mercenaries to aid their cause. With Seifer's help she is introduced to Cid and, hearing her plight, he allows her the use of a group of three SeeDs despite the meager payment she offers in return and the complaints of the Garden Faculty.
The three SeeDs chosen are Zell Dincht, Selphie Tilmitt, and Squall Leonhart. While disappointed Seifer is not part of the squad, Rinoa is nonetheless elated SeeD has come to the Owls' aid. The SeeDs at first willingly assist in Rinoa's plans to kidnap Vinzer Deling, the president of Galbadia, by hijacking his train. When the president they kidnap turns out to be a fake the SeeDs' confidence in the Timber group begins to wane.
They learn the real president will make an announcement at the Timber TV Station and the Forest Owls hatch a new plan with their SeeD mercenaries watching skeptically from a distance. Squall requests to see the contract that bounds his group to the Owls, only to discover they are under Rinoa's command as long as Timber remains under Galbadian oppression. Rinoa wants them to take over the newly-activated TV Station to broadcast a message of sedition, but while on their way to infiltrate the station new intelligence indicates that, due to the military presence, the plan needs to be abandoned. Squall expresses the SeeD group's misgivings of being part of such a casual organization and questions Rinoa's commitment. The argument ends with her leaving.
During the president's TV broadcast a renegade Seifer takes him hostage over the air. Squall, Selphie and Zell rush to the studio to aid Squall's former teacher Quistis who had been pursuing Seifer. Seifer is spirited away by Sorceress Edea, the president's new ally he was supposed to announce as the nation's new ambassador. Having seen the incident on the Timber TV Station screen, and discovering the Forest Owls' base destroyed, Rinoa returns looking for Seifer and the rest.
Arriving too late to find him, she orders the SeeDs to help her lie low while the Galbadian forces search the town. Contemplating Seifer's fate leads Squall and Rinoa into another argument over their views on life before they are given word it is clear to leave town. Unable to return to Balamb Garden, the group heads to the Galbadia Garden instead. En route the two argue again, this time about Squall's cold attitude towards his teammates. Squall, Selphie, and Quistis mysteriously fall unconscious, and when they awaken, Rinoa, feeling guilty for being so hard on him, apologizes.
The group makes it to the Garden and learns Seifer has been announced executed. Rinoa reveals her past with him and the SeeDs receive new orders. Rinoa pretends to be a SeeD to avoid conflict and joins Squall's group in heading to Deling City to meet their contact, Rinoa's father, General Caraway. After meeting with the SeeDs General Caraway locks Rinoa in another room and informs the SeeDs of his plan to assassinate Sorceress Edea.
After the briefing Rinoa escapes the room, having discovered a rare Odine Bangle in a drawer. She rushes to Quistis to tell her of her plan to stop the sorceress by tricking her to wear the bangle said to suppress a sorceress's powers. Quistis berates her, thinking Rinoa's plan is only contrived to oppose her father. Left to her own devices, Rinoa carries out her plan alone. She infiltrates the Presidential Residence and offers the bangle to Edea as a gift. Edea renders Rinoa under her control like a puppet, and Rinoa placidly follows Edea out onto the balcony where she is designated as a sacrifice for Edea's coronation ceremony.
Edea summons two Iguions to attack Rinoa, but Squall and Irvine, a G-Garden sharpshooter who is to aid them assassinate the sorceress, save her. Squall has discovered Seifer is alive and has become Edea's sorceress' knight, meaning he may have to kill him, something Rinoa feels ambivalent over. After Squall fights Seifer Rinoa and Irvine join him against Edea who renders Squall unconscious with an ice javelin. As he falls off the parade float Rinoa fruitlessly reaches out to him. The group is captured and imprisoned in the D-District Prison, barred by Irvine who escaped. Irvine returns, acting on orders from presumably Rinoa's father, to retrieve Rinoa from imprisonment and, with tenacious convincing from her, the pair assists the rest of the group's escape from the compound.
During their capture, the group learns that in retaliation for the attack on Sorceress Edea, Galbadia has targeted Balamb and Trabia Gardens in a missile attack. Splitting into two the party attempts to prevent the attack: Selphie's plan is to sabotage the missiles aimed at Balamb Garden, while Squall rushes to warn the Garden of the impending attack. It is up to Squall to place Rinoa in either group. If Rinoa is sent to the Missile Base she assists the group in the base's destruction, but the missiles are launched regardless. If Squall takes Rinoa to Balamb Garden, she helps him find the headmaster during a riot and activate the Garden's mobile functions to move the Garden away from the spot the missiles were programmed to target. After everything calms down Rinoa asks Squall to give her a tour of the Garden.
The party is reunited in Fishermans Horizon where the mobile Balamb Garden crashes. Squall acts as an ambassador and enacts a formal apology, but Mayor Dobe, the leader of the pacifist city, tells them to leave as their presence can only cause destruction. Galbadian soldiers invade the town and Dobe heads off to discuss peacefully with them. The soldiers do not listen, and Dobe is rescued by Squall and his team. Grudgingly, the mayor accepts their apology, and orders the city's technicians to restore Balamb Garden to full functionality. Selphie's group reunites with Squall and for a moment Squall is almost elated, something that does not go unnoticed by Rinoa.
Squall is appointed commander of SeeD and to celebrate his friends organize a concert for his honor. If Rinoa doesn't like the band's music she argues with Squall and runs away. If Rinoa enjoys the music she convinces Squall to trust in his friends more.
As his first command Squall liberates Balamb from Galbadian occupation. Next they head to the ruins of Trabia Garden, Selphie's home Garden, where he offers the students Balamb Garden's support. While waiting for Selphie, Rinoa voices her worries about being an interloper and a burden within the group and what would happen in the future. The others recollect their pasts and discover they were raised in the same orphanage and that Edea—Headmaster Cid's wife—is the Matron who used to look after them.
The Garden embarks to Edea's Orphanage in search of clues, but is intercepted by a similarly mobile Galbadia Garden. The Battle of the Gardens ensues, and Rinoa falls off the Garden's edge, but Squall rides a Galbadian jetpack to save her and regroup with the others inside the enemy Garden. Rinoa asks Squall about his lion ring, as she is holding it for him, having obtained it from Zell for safekeeping. Squall explains it symbolizes pride and courage, and Rinoa ponders if she can become a lion too.
Sorceress Edea is defeated and Rinoa starts acting strange: she revives a defeated Seifer before collapsing. Edea had been possessed by another sorceress from the future known as Ultimecia, but being defeated by SeeD snapped her out of it and she becomes the SeeD's ally.
Rinoa remains comatose and her condition concerns Squall who realizes he is in love with her, driving him to seek a cure. He knows Ellone, a girl he used to know from the orphanage he was raised in, can send people's consciousnesses back in time. Squall searches for her to ask her to send him in Rinoa's past to discover what happened to her. Being led to Esthar, Squall and Rinoa are sent to the Lunar Base space station to meet Ellone.
Rinoa awakens under the control of Ultimecia, as after being defeated, Edea had unknowingly passed on her sorceress power to Rinoa. Ultimecia uses Rinoa to unlock Sorceress Adel's spacebound tomb and leaves Rinoa to die in space. Cured from her coma, Rinoa ponders her impending demise before Squall contacts her telepathically with Ellone's help, telling her to activate the emergency oxygen supply of her spacesuit. Squall ditches his escape pod from the Lunar Base that is being destroyed by the Lunar Cry and intercepts Rinoa in space. The two discover the derelict Ragnarok airship that was floating aimlessly in space near them.
On board the Ragnarok Squall communicates their current situation to Esthar Air Station, and enables the ship's autopilot to return to the planet. Squall confesses many things to Rinoa about himself and Rinoa tells him he is the one who gives her the most comfort and happiness. The land base tells the two Rinoa will be seized by the Esthar government upon landing because she has become a sorceress.
Esthar officials take Rinoa to contain her sorceress powers in a new tomb in the Sorceress Memorial, like what they had done to Sorceress Adel before her. Fearing she would hurt anyone else or be hated by society, Rinoa allows her powers to be sealed. After being pushed into action by his friends, Squall breaks into the Sorceress Memorial as Rinoa is about to be cryogenically frozen, and takes her away with him to Edea's Orphanage.
In the flower field behind the orphanage Rinoa voices her concerns about being possessed and turning evil, but Squall makes a silent vow to become Rinoa's sorceress' knight. Rinoa asks Squall to kill her should her worst fears come to reality, but Squall assures his enemy is Ultimecia alone. Rinoa tells Squall of a nightmare she had in which she wanted to see him, but could not find him. The couple promises to meet at the flower field should they be separated.
Joining forces with Esthar, the SeeDs devise a plan to defeat Ultimecia. They invade the Lunatic Pandora on the Ragnarok and fight through Seifer and an awakened Sorceress Adel (now Ultimecia's vessel). Ultimecia orders Seifer to capture Rinoa, who is junctioned to Adel's body through Ultimecia's powers. Squall and the others defeat Adel who passes on her sorceress power to Rinoa. Ultimecia possesses Rinoa and Ellone sends Ultimecia and Rinoa back in time so Ultimecia can cast time compression, a magic spell only possible to cast if the sorceress's consciousness simultaneously exists in the past, present, and future.
The process of time compression is long, and allows for Squall, Rinoa, Zell, Quistis, Irvine, and Selphie to enter Ultimecia Castle in the future and defeat Ultimecia. The time compression unravels leaving the combatants stranded in time and they make their way back by remembering who they are and where they want to be. Rinoa reappears in the flower field where she and Squall had made their promise, but Squall is nowhere to be found. Using her sorceress powers, Rinoa transforms a flower petal into a feather that finds Squall in a void, trapped between time. She follows him to the void and brings him back to the flower field.
Balamb Garden celebrates SeeD's victory over Ultimecia and Squall and Rinoa stay outside on a balcony overlooking the ocean. Noticing a shooting star, much as the one he had seen on the night the pair first met, Squall smiles at Rinoa and kisses her as the Garden flies under the moonlight.
Rinoa wields Blaster Edges and has two Limit Breaks: Combine and Angel Wing. Combine allows her to work with Angelo to perform an ability learned from a Pet Pals magazine, while Angel Wing enters her into a berserk-like status in which she casts random spells from her stock without expending them at five times the normal power, but cannot be controlled. Her ultimate weapon is Shooting Star.
As with other player characters, a Triple Triad card based on Rinoa can be obtained. Her card is in the possession of General Caraway, who will play it if the player loses the Ifrit card to him; the player can win Ifrit back from Martine at FH behind Dobe's house.
Creation and developmentEdit
Tetsuya Nomura, the main character designer for Final Fantasy VIII, struggled drawing Rinoa. He wanted to create a character who would leave an impression on the viewer; instead of a beauty, he wanted something cute. He feels some of his personal preferences were included in the design. For Rinoa he also created a "cute" vocabulary list and some ideas for her habits which were sent off to the scenario writer Kazushige Nojima.
For his part Nojima wanted to have Rinoa like books and reading; this is why she is found in the Balamb Garden library when not in the active party. One detail that did not make the Japanese-to-English translation was Rinoa's habit of forming cutesy words (much like Selphie). One such word was oHARO~ ("ohayo" (good morning) and "HELLO" put together).
Mayuko Aoki acted out most of the motion capture needed for Rinoa's FMV sequences, although Yasuko Yokoyama acted as her motion actress for the waltz scene and Hoshimi Asai performed Rinoa's stunt scenes, such as when she falls down the side of Balamb Garden.
During the game Rinoa does not have a voice, but in some FMVs, she is heard breathing. Foley artists in the USA recorded and mixed all the sounds featured in the FMV movies.
There is a dummied piece of dialogue in the scene where Squall and Rinoa are onboard Ragnarok where Rinoa tried to dissuade an assumed jealousy in Squall for her having dated Seifer in the past. When Squall did not catch on, Rinoa commented that Squall does not care about other people's pasts.
The romance between Squall and Rinoa is accompanied by a variation of Julia Heartilly's "Eyes on Me". Rinoa's introduction in Balamb Garden's dance hall is accompanied by the "Eyes on Me" variation, "Waltz for the Moon", and her second introduction on the Forest Owls train is accompanied by another variant, titled "My Mind", which often is considered to be her theme.
This would continue as a pattern over the next two games, as the character themes of Garnet and Yuna would likewise be variations of "Melodies of Life" and "Suteki da ne", the themes of their respective romances with Zidane and Tidus.
Rinoa has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy VIII demo as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy VIII technical demo in a cutscene.
- PocketStation memorycard icons as an icon.
- 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 summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy All the Bravest as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a character and summonable vision.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a card.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearancesEdit
Rinoa has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:
During the ending of Dissidia Final Fantasy, when everyone is disappearing, a feather (possibly a reference to Rinoa) falls down towards Squall. He grabs hold of it and disappears with the other Warriors of Cosmos. In Shade Impulse, Squall mentions to Ultimecia and Onion Knight he made a promise to return to someone in his world, referring to Rinoa.
In Gunslinger Stratos 2, an outfit based on Rinoa appears as a costume for Ryn Rakando in the third-person shooter arcade game. Announced during a Tokyo Game Show, the costume was released as part of a Final Fantasy-themed collaboration event for the game in November, 2014.
In Star Ocean Till the End of Time, a costume themed around Rinoa's outfit is available as the 3P costume for Maria Traydor. The player can unlock the costume by collecting 120 Battle Trophies.
In RWBY, a minor reference to Rinoa appears in the "Yellow" trailer where Yang Xiao Long visits The Club and interrogates Hei Xiong if he knows the "Transient Princess". The Transient Princess is in fact the name of a Rinoa CG that Monty Oum created and the image's name references the way that Final Fantasy VIII manikins are named in the Dissidia series.
- For more information, see Dead Fantasy Wiki: Rinoa Heartilly.
Rinoa appears in the second segment of the fanmade Dead Fantasy series. She uses a fanmade gunblade called the Vanishing Star for melee combat, and a fanmade blaster edge called the Silenced Tear for long-ranged attacks. She has angel wings that enable her to fly, and can be used to protect herself and her allies. She was Monty Oum's favorite character in the series. Rinoa retains her appearance from Final Fantasy VIII, but the black ribbon on her left bicep is missing. She wears a gun holster where she wields her Vanishing Star. In the latest screenshots for Dead Fantasy VII, Rinoa gains the black ribbon and her black tank top is replaced with a matching tube top.
Rinoa's Transient Princess form is not seen in the movie, but has her wear a combination of her white ballroom dress from Final Fantasy VIII and her primary outfit. She wears a white strapless short dress whose skirt at the back extends to her feet. Her dress is designed after an angel wing motif and the materials appear similar to a wedding veil. Her silver-buckled black boots are replaced with a black knee-high heeled boots. Her hair is longer and is styled in layered curls and the caramel highlights change to white silver. In this form, she doesn't permanently have her angel wings like in the battle footage.
Rinoa uses the sorceress power to conjure portals, use telekinesis and augment her magic. She debuts in Dead Fantasy II with Kairi to aid Yuna, Rikku, and Tifa against their Dead or Alive rivals. The fight ends with Rinoa conjuring portals from the moon that transport each Final Fantasy girl with their rival to another location.
The white feather symbolizing Rinoa appears within Dead Fantasy IV until the preview of Dead Fantasy VIII. The last screenshot of Rinoa shows her fighting several jets with her magic. Rinoa was set appear in a future installment Dead Fantasy VII to fight her rival, Rachel, but since Monty's death, the series ended up in a permanent hiatus. Rinoa's fighting style is based on a Chinese style Straight Sword, and the way she wields her gunblade is based on a Dao Sword. In contrast to her original gameplay where she wields her blaster edge with two hands, in Dead Fantasy her blaster edge automatically launches the blade. Her grunts in Dead Fantasy II are from Sion Eltnam Atlasia from Melty Blood, voiced by Rio Natsuki.
Rinoa's last appearance is in Dead Fantasy Gee along with the other Final Fantasy girls dancing the song "Gee" by Girls Generation. Rinoa wears her white ballroom dress and doesn't permanently have her angel wings like in the battle footage, but they briefly appear when the lights are off. Rinoa plays the role of one of the Girls Generation member, Kwon Yuri.
Rinoa has a fanmade design known as the "Dion Rogers' Rinoa" that was popular among cosplayers. Late 2004 to early 2005 Square held a competition to see who would make the best fanart following the theme "FFanything-2". The winner would get their design turned into a pixel rendition.
In one of the windows outside the Square Enix Artnia café is a display containing a crystal chandelier, a suspended wall mirror and a candle lit dresser in front of a red curtain. Besides the dresser is a silhouetted figure of Rinoa in her "request pose" that she performed when asking for a dance with Squall.
Being one of the central characters of Final Fantasy VIII, Rinoa has featured in numerous merchandise, such as in the Final Fantasy Play Arts Action Figures, Final Fantasy Trading Arts, Final Fantasy Trading Arts Mini and other Final Fantasy VIII action figures.
Rinoa has been part of the Coca-Cola marketing campaigns where she has had several different bottle-cap figurines: chibi and regular versions, red crystal versions of each and the color of the figurine's base either yellow or red.
The Transcendent Artists Collection: Final Fantasy VIII statue features Rinoa with the Guardian Force Siren.
The Rinoa Zippo lighter is perhaps the rarest piece of merchandise; only a few hundred were ever produced. Other very rare pieces of merchandise are the ballroom scene Final Fantasy Cold Cast Collection statue and the Rinoa chrome statue, both limited at 3,000 pieces.
Before the magazine Shonen Jump revealed the name "Rinoa Heartilly" many publications translated the name as "Lenore", which means "light" (romaji transcription of "Lenore" is Rinoa). The French translation of the game comes closer to this, calling her "Linoa" (also a Haitian/Tahitian female name meaning "light of the earth").
The name Rinoa may be a variation of Riona, a Gaelic Irish name meaning both "pure" and "royal". Both meanings could be attributed to Rinoa, in the angelic appearance and in the Forest Owls members referring to her as "princess".
Rinoa's surname, Heartilly, is derived from the English word "heartily". Heartily is an adverb meaning in a cordial manner, with warmth and sincerity, with zest or enthusiasm.
- Three of Rinoa's weapons, the Valkyrie, Cardinal and Shooting Star, are Ultimecia's exclusive weapons in Dissidia Final Fantasy.
- Aside from the Laguna flashbacks, Rinoa is the only playable character in the present timeline to not have any connection to SeeD or Garden.
- In Final Fantasy XV there is a sign in Insomnia that reads "リノア銀行" (Rinoa Ginkō?, lit. Rinoa Bank).
- The character Kaldea Orchid of the Square 3D theatrical beat'em up game The Bouncer appears to lift various features from Rinoa.
- Rinoa makes a cameo appearance in Matthew Shezmen's FUN 'N' FANTASY XV (Final Fantasy XV Cartoon Parody) on a poster that says "PROJECTILE DOG MISSING" and to call Rinoa about any information, although her phone number is yanked off.
- As a sorceress, Ultimecia is almost the mirror opposite of Rinoa: Ultimecia is an evil sorceress with black wings, while Rinoa is pure and has white wings; Rinoa has black hair and Ultimecia has white-silver hair; Ultimecia wears a red dress, while Rinoa's sweeper is light-blue; Rinoa uses Angelo in battle and Ultimecia uses Griever; Griever is based on a lion, while Angelo is a dog; Rinoa is associated with angel imagery whereas Ultimecia's hair style takes the shape of horns, a motif often associated with the devil; Rinoa's special power appears to be that of revival, whereas Ultimecia seeks to cause death and destruction.
- Due to their juxtaposition, a popular fan theory is to posit that Ultimecia is Rinoa from the future. Director Yoshinori Kitase has denied this, saying "No, that is not true. I don't think I'll incorporate that even if we do remake the game. But that being said, both Rinoa and Ultimecia are witches, so in that sense they are similar, but they're not the same person."