☀「 character info 」
name: Oerba Dia Vanille
canon: Final Fantasy XIII
age: 19 or 519.
role in canon: The Chick, Stepford Smiler, and Apocalypse Maiden, Vanille is one of six main characters in Final Fantasy XIII. She serves as the game's narrator, and is also a big part of the reason everything sucks for everyone.
☀「 history 」
❝ It's easy to lose sight of things in a world as wide as this one. ❞
She'll be taken from Chapter 11, just after the battle with Hecatoncheir.
At this point, she has admitted, and been forgiven for, her part in Dajh's becoming a l'Cie, and has finally been able to tell the truth to Fang, and to stop lying to her about their past and the ruining of Gran Pulse. It is here in her canon that Vanille comes to terms with the fact that running from her Focus and lying only brings harm to others, and that she must face it. She gets another truckload of character development at the end of the game, but the most important parts are covered by this point.
☀「 personality 」
❝ I'm not all smiles and sunshine! ❞
On the surface, Vanille is your average Final Fantasy genki girl: cute, bubbly, and a little goofy. Or in Vanille's case, a lot goofy, with a plethora of semi-sexual sound effects and a ridiculous hip-shaking skip even in the most hopeless of times. She's the one with boundless energy and enthusiasm, with a smile and a hug ready for anyone who looks a little down. Pretty much the group cheerleader, Vanille's main role for a large portion of the game seems to be to keep the party's spirits up with her wacky antics and inappropriately cheerful reactions to strange and terrifying situations. Her nonchalance and apparent ignorance as to the severity of the situation even leads one of the characters to ask himself, “What's wrong with her?”
Everything after this is full of spoilers.
It's nothing too serious, poor Vanille's just got herself a serious case of Stepford Smiler. Underneath all that joy and wide-eyed naivety hides a whole lot of guilt, fear, and knowledge that could save everyone a whole lot of trouble, only she's not telling yet – and there'll be quite a lot of damage done before she does.
Vanille's personality is one that seems to be made up of contradictions. She is a kind, caring, good person, and yet she lies, deceives, and makes decisions which have huge, negative impacts on the people around her. While this failure to be straightforward and truthful is essentially the catalyst for many of the game's major events, including the branding of several of the main characters, Vanille is at heart not a deceptive or dishonest person. It is clear throughout the course of the game that her knowledge wears at her, that her lies grow increasingly more difficult to tell, and that she feels an overwhelming sense of guilt for her role in the predicament the party members find themselves in.
Basically, while it's definitely a part of who she is, all that surface childishness and perkiness serves as something of a front to hide the fact that a lot of what goes wrong for the party over the course of the game is at least partially her fault.
It first appears that Vanille has very little to do with the events of the game, and that she is there solely for the player to wtf at. It is gradually revealed, however, that a great deal of the game's events are centered around her and Fang, and it is her relationship with Fang that shows the deepest parts of Vanille's character. Five-hundred years prior to the events of the game, Vanille and Fang lived on Gran Pulse, which was having some sort of war with Cocoon. People died a lot, including their families, which made Fang mad and Vanille sad. Anyway, Fang went to the fal'Cie Anima to ask to become a l'Cie to help fight the war against Cocoon, but she ended up yelling at it for letting all these horrible things happen to the people of Gran Pulse. Vanille had followed, but had not intended to become a l'Cie, and when Fang's outburst led to the priests of Anima calling for her death, Vanille covered Fang's body with hers, and begged them to let Fang live in exchange for her own freedom as a human – to make them both l'Cie.
This type of self-sacrifice is typical of her, and is illustrated several times throughout the game. She boards the Purge train of her own free will to avoid her Focus – which is not an act of cowardice as it might seem, but one of bravery. She would rather become a Cie'th and experience an eternity of misery than become Ragnarok and destroy a world, or let Fang bear that burden for her. When the party learns of their Focus, Vanille takes advantage of Fang's lost memories and tells them all that she was the one who became Ragnarok, broke Cocoon's shell, and wiped out Gran Pulse so that Fang doesn't have to feel guilty about it. At the end of the game, she and Fang together sacrifice themselves to save a world that hates them.
Vanille is a very empathic character, capable of reading those around her and fitting herself into whatever role she believes they need. This is most apparent with Sazh and Hope, with whom she takes on the roles of surrogate daughter and older sibling, respectively. However, when her own guilt clouds her mind, she is notably less able to find and fit into such roles, as is the case with Lightning and Snow. She seems to actively avoid forming any sort of bond with them, likely because she is aware of and blames herself for the crystalizing of the one person most important to the both of them.
In spite of the problems she causes for others, she is not selfish or cruel. At worst, she is motivated by guilt and fear, and at best she is motivated by a desire to save the world and atone for the trouble her lies have caused. She seems to believe that she is deserving of whatever punishment the others deem fit, as illustrated by her asking Sazh to shoot her for her part in what happened to his son, and her closing her eyes to take it when she thinks Fang is going to hit her after her lies are revealed.
She is almost childishly self-centered in that she does not seem to look beyond her own involvement in things before placing blame on herself. Her actions do lead to suffering for the party and those close to them, but everything that happens is a direct result of fal'Cie whims. While she decided to deny her Focus and board the Purge train, leading the fal'Cie Anima to brand Serah, it was ultimately the fal'Cie who caused everything, not Vanille. But she blames herself and emos out and lies about it anyway, which complicates everything for everyone.
Without Fang, Vanille is generally at a loss. She is a follower rather than a leader, and often takes a back seat to Fang's brash recklessness. When the two are separated, Vanille is not very good at taking care of herself, and seems to attach herself to the nearest person. Taking care of Hope, and helping him in his quest to confront Snow seems to give her some direction. Their course of action during the events of the Purge is perhaps not the most logical, but it is clear that while functioning as sort of a caretaker for Hope, Vanille is able to push her own fear to the side and try to help Hope deal with the loss of his mother. She seems to take on the older sister role with him, and the surrogate child role with Sazh, out of a need to have someone to be with and something to do about as much as she does it to be helpful. Though she has ample opportunity to tell the party the truth, she does not do so, as they are the only people she knows, and she does not want to risk them hating her for what she has done. So she is not entirely free of blame, but her reactions to the situation she finds herself in are very human. She attaches to the nearest people because she is somewhat dependent by nature, and avoids giving them important information so they won't hate her and abandon her, but it is made extremely clear that this deception is contrary to her usual behavior, and that she feels terrible for it the whole time.
Though her cheerfulness and enthusiasm are exaggerated to cover up her intense feelings of guilt, Vanille is really a happy person. She likes to take care of people, and to make others happy makes her happy. She often gives the other characters a push in the right direction, whether they want it or not, and even if it can make her appear a little inconsiderate, she does it with their best interests at heart. She's emotional, the sort of person you wouldn't expect to be a good liar. She is prone to crying, though she is capable of putting on a brave face when the situation calls for it. She does not like to inconvenience others with her problems, and prefers to cover up her sadness so as not to worry anyone. She is also a little sassy, not afraid to tell others when she thinks their behavior is silly. All in all, Vanille's a good kid trying to do what she thinks is best in a terrible situation.
☀「 abilities 」
❝ I'd rather fight and lose than give up without even trying! ❞
In canon, the characters are given access to a wide range of abilities once they are branded by the fal'Cie. These abilities are divided into roles, and while every character can gain access to every role by the end of the game, each specializes in three in particular, gaining the largest variety of abilities and being most effective in their specialist roles. For Vanille, these are the Medic, Ravager, and Saboteur roles. The following are the abilities Vanille has access to on the Crystarium:➟ Commando; Deals lots of damage.☼ Adrenaline » When uninjured, physical and magic power are increased.
☼ Attack » Physical damage.
☼ Blindside » When attacking a foe targeting an ally, Attack and Ruin do more damage.
☼ Deathblow » When attacking weakened enemy, there is a chance to kill them in one hit.
☼ Faultsiphon » Recovers some ATB when attacking a foe under status ailment.
☼ Jeopardize » When attacking a Staggered foe, gain increased chain bonus.
☼ Ruin → Ruinga » Non-elemental magical damage. Ruin is a single-target spell, Ruinga is area-effect.
☼ Scourge » Deals massive damage to target recovering from Stagger.
➟ Medic; Curative abilities, intended to restore ally HP, raise them from KO, and remove status ailments.☼ Cure → Cura → Curasa → Curaja » Restores HP. Cura and Curaja are area-effect spells, healing all within range. Curasa and Curaja heal more the more damage has been dealt.
☼ Esuna » Removes debuffing status effects.
☼ Raise » Removes KO and restores some HP.
➟ Ravager; Elemental magic abilities, intended to damage opponents. Vanille has much greater affinity with fire and ice, as evidenced by her higher spell levels in these elements, so consequently would be better with abilities of that nature.☼ Aero → Aeorora » Wind element damage. Aero is single-target, Aerora is more powerful and hits a target and those close by.
☼ Blizzard → Blizzara → Blizzaga » Ice element damage. Blizzard is single-target, Blizzara is more powerful and hits a target and those close by, Blizzaga is more powerful and is area-effect.
☼ Fearsiphon » When attacking a Staggered foe, recover a small amount of ATB.
☼ Fire → Fira → Firaga » Fire element damage. Fire is single-target, Firra is more powerful and hits a target and those close by, Firaga is more powerful and is area-effect.
☼ Overwhelm » The more allies target the same foe, attacks gain increased chain bonus.
☼ Thunder → Thundara » Lightning element damage. Thunder is single-target, Thundara is more powerful and hits a target and those close by.
☼ Water → Watera » Water element damage. Water is single-target, Watera is more powerful and hits a target and those close by.
➟ Saboteur; Debuffing abilities, intended to enfeeble the target by decreasing defense and resistance, and causing status ailments.☼ Death » Vanille's unique ability. 1% chance of dealing instant death, otherwise deals massive damage.
☼ Deprotect → Deprotectga » Decreases resistance to physical damage. Deprotect is single-target, Deprotectga is area-effect.
☼ Deshell → Deshellga » Decreases resistance to magical damage. Deshell is single-target, Deshellga is area-effect.
☼ Fog » Prevents use of magical abilities.
☼ Jinx » Increases the duration of all debuffs cast on the opponent.
☼ Pain » Prevents use of physical abilities.
☼ Imperil → Imperilga » Increases weakness to elemental attacks, increases susceptibility to debuffs. Imperil is single-target, Imperilga is area-effect.
☼ Poison → Poisonga » Drains a constant percentage of target's health over time. Poison is single-target, Poisonga is area-effect.
➟ Sentinel; Shields allies from enemy attacks with enhanced defense.☼ Entrench » Counter attack after guarding. The longer the guard, the more damage dealt.
☼ Mediguard » While guarding, slowly recovers HP.
☼ Provoke » Makes the target and nearby opponents attack the provoker.
☼ Reprieve » When uninjured, able to survive an attack that would KO.
☼ Steelguard » While guarding, greatly increases defense to physical and magical attacks.
➟ Synergist; Buffing abilities, intended to increase resistance to enemy attacks, and make ally attacks more effective.☼ Barfire » Increases resistance to fire damage.
☼ Barfrost » Increases resistance to ice damage.
☼ Barthunder » Increases resistance to lightning damage.
☼ Barwater » Increases resistance to water damage.
☼ Boon » Increases all enhancing abilities' strength and duration.
☼ Bravera » Increases physical power by 80%.
☼ Faithra » Increases magical power by 80%.
☼ Protectra » Increases resistance to physical damage by 50%.
☼ Shellra » Increases resistance to magical damage by 50%.
☼ Veil » Increases resistance to debuffs.
☼ Vigilance » Increases the chance of interrupting foe action, grants immunity to interruption.
➟ Techniques; Varying command skills that help give the party notable tactical advantages.☼ Dispelga » Removes all buffs and debuffs from allies and enemies.
☼ Libra » Scans enemies for their attributes - reveals weaknesses, immunities, and HP.
☼ Quake » Does earth damage to all enemies in a large area.
☼ Renew » Revives all KO'd allies and restores half their HP.
☼ Stopga » Cancels out all actions, foe and player party alike.
☼ Summon; » At a certain, character-development specific point in the game in the game, each character goes through a sort of crisis of faith, or emotional upheaval, and their Eidolon comes to beat some sense into them. The Eidolons are drawn from the characters' l'Cie brands in the form of a crystal which, when shattered, releases them for battle. Each character must show their Eidolon their worth in a fight by utilizing their various role abilities to drive up the Gestalt gauge, at which point they have 'tamed' the creature, and will henceforth be able to summon them for help.▹ Hecatoncheir » Vanille summons her
giant vibratorpersonal Eidolon. He's a big multi-armed robot creature who fights alongside her with his own abilities (Aerial Tackle, Arise, Counter, Force Projection, Hurricane Kick, Looming Wrath, Pummel, and Quake). When Gestalt Mode is triggered, Hecatoncheir transforms into a four-legged mech with giant guns, and Vanille rides on his back (provocatively). In this form, Hecatoncheir is able to use different attacks (Chain Cannons, Force Blasters, Missile Tetred, Piercing Ray, and his ULTRA MEGA ATTACK, Gaian Salvo).
In addition to her magic, Vanille has a weapon... thing. She uses these... collapsible antler rod things, called binding rods, in battle. They serve as both a channeling device for her spells, and as a weapon to hook and entangle the enemy, sort of like a fishing rod with multiple lines. Throughout the game, she can acquire different rods which have different abilities, such as prolonging the duration of her Saboteur deubffing, or increasing the effectiveness of her healing spells in the Medic role.
Oh, and I think she can talk to animals?? She seems to know what the Chocobo Chick is saying, at least.
As a note: Vanille would not be particularly inclined to use most of these abilities in-game, except for self-defense, or defense of those she cares about. That would go double for Death, which would only be used in extreme circumstances.