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Though a little late to the party, I am about to begin playing Tales of Berseria soon as part of the Tales series. I consider myself a fan of these particular titles, a popular JRPG series dating back to 1995 with countless games to its name. Though I have yet to play every title in this large series, the games I have played have left me with plenty of fond memories of their rich stories and interesting characters.

After all, great characters drive the story forward. When you grow fond of characters to the point of caring about what happens to them, they become more than just your party members. Whether I like a character for their personality or battle prowess, some hook allows me to remember them to this day.

Narrowing down the list was hard. There were so many characters to choose from throughout the titles. But to keep this list concise, I have decided to sort this by my top three female characters and top three male characters, respectively. Of course, this list will exclude Tales of Berseria (up to this point).

Not to mention, this is my list. Everyone will have different favorites. Mine just happen to be these particular ones.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the list. Let’s start with the ladies.

Cheria Barnes3. Cheria Barnes – Tales of Graces

First off, Cheria from Tales of Graces is the RPG staple of a healer. In this particular game, having Cheria makes Tales of Graces that much easier. Without her healing, the game is much more challenging.

However, I never figured out why a delicate flower like her uses throwing knives as her weapon.

Still, I enjoy Cheria as a character regardless. I think she embodies the typical shoujo (girl) romance in anime. As a guy who actually likes shoujo anime, I found her (frustrating) attempts to capture the love and attention for the stereotypically dense male protagonist funny and cute. It would just be too easy otherwise, right?

Rita Mordio

2. Rita Mordio – Tales of Vesperia

What makes Rita from Tales of Vesperia lovable? I think her enduring quality stems from her “business first” kind of attitude. She strives to be a no-nonsense type of individual. Rita always looks for logic for a better understanding of the world.

And yet, I think this personality trait enhances her character when the player finds out she is in fact quite brilliant.

I respect smart characters in stories, but I also find Rita’s brand of intelligence charming. Toss in her extraordinary capabilities as a mage, and you have a dual combo of brains and spectacular sorcery all in one package.

1. Milla Maxwell – Tales of Xillia (1 & 2)Milla Maxwell

Milla from both Tales of Xillia titles has been my favorite character in general up to this point. Sexy, powerful and just a driving force in the Tales of Xillia storylines, I think Milla is a magnificent showcase of both beauty and strength.

A major appeal to her character? Her confidence. She is always so adamant and brimming with the resolve to complete her mission and serve her duties admirably. As a result, I just love what she represents as a whole.

There should be more female protagonists like her in general (and not just for the Tales series, either).

3. Emil Castagnier (Ratatosk Mode) – Tales Emil Castagnierof Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

I had to be honest about this one. Sometimes, you need a straightforward/tough-as-nails character who follows their own rules. Rebel, badass or whatever you want to call them. For this particular case, I enjoyed the (Ratatosk Mode) of Emil Castagnier from Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.

Without going too in-depth, Ratatosk is the Lord of Monsters in this game’s story. Ratatosk imbues Emil with a vicious, bolder attitude and also takes over his body in battle. Power for a price, huh? Sure thing.

Although Emil may represent a generic sword wielder in RPG titles, sometimes the tried-and-true formula is perfectly acceptable.

2. Rowen J. Ilbert – Tales of Xillia (1 & 2)Rowen J. Ilbert

Wisdom is something you must respect. Rowen from the Tales of Xillia titles has experienced a lot in his lifetime. Always sharing his vast knowledge with other party members, Rowen comes off as a likable senior you can learn a lot from if you just ask.

Also, Rowen’s style of combat as a mage is unique. As a “conductor” in battle, Rowen casts his spells based on the rhythm of combat. Enemies do not stand a chance when he conducts his way to victory.

1. Ludger Kresnik – Tales of Xillia 2Ludger Kresnik

In many ways, Ludger from Tales of Xillia II is the type of guy people should strive to become.

He fights with three different types of weapons (four if you count his transformed state), is a mean cook, loves cats and even ends up winning the affection of all his fellow party members by just being a kindhearted and outstanding male protagonist.

Some may say Ludger is too much of a Gary Stu, but Ludger to me is just a cool person.

The best way to approach life is to improve yourself to work toward your ultimate version. And for these reasons, Ludger is my favorite male protagonist for the Tales series.

So this is my top favorite list for characters in the Tales series. So far, anyway. Again, I am about to play Tales of Berseria, so who knows? Perhaps the list may change down the road as future titles make their way into the franchise.VelvetUntil then, I’ll take my time enjoying the games as a Tales series fan.

Character images for the Tales series belong to Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. (BNEI).

Also published on Medium.

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