10 Best Female Protagonists On The GBA
As one of the best-selling handheld consoles, it’s no surprise that the Game Boy Advance has a huge catalog of impressive titles, including Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. In this sea of games, however, female protagonists will remain exceedingly rare until the Nintendo DS is released.
Despite this, there are a few memorable female characters in the console’s vast library. Even though they are not the focus of the narrative, these women still shine and need to be remembered.
Ivy – CIMA: The Enemy
Developed by Neverland, which was best known for creating the rune factory and Lufia franchise, CIMA: The Enemy, or Frontier stories set in Japan, is a 2003 isometric action JRPG. As rookie Gate Guardians, the two co-protagonists, Ark and Ivy, must protect humans from an alien race called CIMA who feed on human hope.
At the start of the game, Ivy is arrogant and immature, making her a perfect foil for Ark. During the early levels, the two protagonists constantly fight over trivial matters such as who is older, braver, or more capable. But, over time, Ivy matures and realizes the important responsibilities she must fulfill in order to be able to protect others.
May – Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald
Released in 2002, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire begins the third generation of Pokemon games and are the best-selling games on the GBA, and the upgraded version of 2004, pokemon emerald, is the third best-selling GBA title. These games broke from the ongoing storyline established by previous generations and introduced a separate region, Hoenn, and many beloved new Pokémon.
In this episode, the main female protagonist is May, and she is either the silent protagonist if the player chooses her, or the main rival. As Professor Birch’s rival and daughter, her ultimate goal is to take care of all Pokémon and befriend them, which shows her caring and nurturing nature. Although she can be a little clumsy, she is cheerful, friendly, and an excellent trainer.
Pratty – Summon Night: Swordcraft Story
Although the JRPG series summoning night existed in Japan since 2000, the main games didn’t have international releases until 2015. Before that, the only officially translated titles were spin-offs, which include 2003’s action JRPG Summon Night: Sword Story. Three years after the legendary Craftlord of Iron, Shintetsu, sacrificed his life to save Wystern, his child decides to enter the Craftlord tournament and become a Craftlord.
At the start, players can choose to be either the male protagonist, Cleru, or the female protagonist, Pratty. Although she is a bit clumsy, Pratty is kind, energetic, cheerful, and strong. Additionally, unlike Cleru, who can only date female characters, Pratty can also have both male and female love interest, making her one of the few LGBTQ+ characters in the GBA.
Ritz – Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Considered one of the best Final Fantasy spin offFinal Fantasy Tactics Advance is a 2003 tactical JRPG set in the “Ivalice” universe. After discovering an ancient magic book, Marche Radiuju, her brother and their two friends find themselves wishing they could live in the Final Fantasy universe to escape their difficulties. The book grants their wish and transports them to the fantastic world of Ivalice.
Although Marche thinks they should find a way home, the other three try to stay in the fantasy, which includes the brash and outspoken Ritz Malheur. Despite their contrasting goals and Ritz’s seemingly cold demeanor, she is the only one of the three who still helps Marche when he needs it (showing her kindness). Because she was bullied for her white hair, she dyes her hair red and tries to act tough to hide her insecurities. But, she eventually learns to accept herself.
Mia – Golden Sun / Golden Sun: The Lost Age
Created by Camelot, which is known for the Bright and Mario Sports franchisegolden sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age are two GBA JRPGs that together form a complete story. When the main character, Isaac, discovers that several characters are trying to bring back Alchemy by using the Elemental Stars to light up the Elemental Houses, he gathers a group to stop them from unleashing the chaotic power.
One of Isaac’s party members is a young woman named Mia, who is one of the last surviving descendants of the ancient Mercury Clan. She always tries to help others with her exceptional healing abilities, and she is the most logical member of Isaac’s group. When Mia has to make a tough choice at the end of Game 2, she has the emotional and moral strength to make the right decision.
Kumatora – Mother 3
Although never released outside of Japan, the 2006 JRPG Mother 3 is often considered a breakthrough title, has a strong cult following, and has an English translation by fans. As the third and final part of the Mother series, the game follows a young boy named Lucas who rounds up a group of misfits to stop the Pigmask army from shooting the Seven Needles.
One of the party members who joins Lucas on his journey is Princess Kumatora, whom the game describes as “strong and wise”. She is cunning, unafraid to speak her mind, and impulsive. Despite her rough edges, she cares about other characters and has great characterization.
Ark Klein – Tales of Phantasia
Although JRPG action Phantasia Tales was the first entry into the course Tales franchise and was originally released in 1995 for the Super Famicom, this installment was not released internationally until the GBA port in 2006. The game follows a young swordsman named Cress Albane, who must use time travel to gather the party and the spirits strong enough to stop the mighty alien wizard Dhaos.
One of Cress’ party members is a half-elf named Arche Klein. She is an exceptionally strong and intelligent magician, but she also faces discrimination due to her mixed heritage. Despite her difficulties, she has a cheerful and playful personality.
Eirika – Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Created as the eighth entry in the fire emblem series and the last of the GBA trilogy, Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones is a 2004 tactical JRPG and the second installment to be released internationally. When the Grado Empire begins to invade other nations and destroy the stones that imprison an ancient demon, the twins, Princess Eirika and Prince Ephraim, must gather allies, stop the Grado Empire, and uncover the truths behind the war. .
Considered one of the best female RPG protagonists, Eirika is a strong, intelligent, kind, and resourceful woman. Unlike her impulsive brother, who likes to fight, Eirika prefers to keep a cool head and resolve things peacefully.
Maya – Ace Attorney Original Trilogy
From 2001 to 2004, the popular legal drama visual novel adventure series ace lawyer started with the original trilogy on the GBA. In these games, the player controls a young, rookie defense attorney named Phoenix Wright as he defends his clients in court and solves cases.
Although Phoenix has been supported by several people during investigations throughout the franchise, spirit medium-in-training Maya Fey was the main assistant in the original trilogy. She is excitable, outgoing, impulsive, curious, resilient and loves food. As she endures the trauma and grief of losing her sister, Mia Fey, in the first game, she continues to move forward and eventually becomes a mature and powerful spirit medium.
Samus Aran – Metroid Fusion
Metroid Fusion is an action-adventure game released in 2002 which was the last side-scrolling game in the metroid series until sequel 2021 Metroid Dread. After the franchise’s iconic protagonist, Samus Aran, is infected with the shape-shifting parasites known as “X”, she must stop her parasitic clone “SA-X” and other infected beings who have taken over the station.
Although Samus is generally more of a silent protagonist, Metroid Fusion showed more of his personality. Because she witnessed the murder of her mother by the space pirate Ridley, the trauma made Samus more calm, melancholy, and distant. Despite this, she is determined, resilient, resourceful, and compassionate, and she refuses to take orders from most people.
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