Tag Archives: Selphie Tilmitt

Archetype I: The Perky Refugee

Archetype I: The Perky Refugee
Archetype II: The Jaded Beauty
Archetype III: The Sad Clown
Archetype IV: The Failed Hero
Archetype V: The Pipsqueak
Archetype VI: ???

I am going to kick this series off with perhaps one of the most easily recognized archetypes in Final Fantasy—one that is often brought up with no reference to archetypes whatsoever, and regarded, as often as not, with a certain amount of ire: the Cute Girl. A perky and somewhat obnoxious teenager, she maintains a cheery disposition despite any trials she and the party face. She is always there with a smile and a silly phrase, singing about trains, skipping through a desolate ruin, or writing cutesy love letters to the male lead. She is something of an emotional compass for the player—more than any other character, if something dampens her mood, it’s meant to be nothing short of a tragedy. Famous and infamous examples of this archetype include Yuffie Kisaragi (FFVII), Selphie Tilmitt (FFVIII), Eiko Carol (FFIX), Rikku (FFX), Penelo (FFXII), and Oerba dia Vanille (FFXIII). This archetype is also one of the longest running, and can be found as far back as FFIV with Rydia, and FFVI with Relm.

However, it seems disingenuous to suggest that the Cute Girl’s titular cuteness is the limit of her impact, or the extent of the commonalities between these characters. There are additional common threads that bring these girls together, specifically similarities of foreignness and large-scale oppression. That in mind, I believe a better moniker for this archetype would be the Perky Refugee.

Hear me out.

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