Rikku as she appears in Final Fantasy X (drawn by Tetsuya Nomura)
|First game||Final Fantasy X|
|Created by||Motomu Toriyama|
|Designed by||Tetsuya Nomura
|Voiced by (English)||Tara Strong|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Marika Matsumoto|
|Motion capture||Miyuki Shimizu (FFX)
Natsuho Matsuda (X-2)
Rikku (リュック Ryukku?) is a player character in the Final Fantasy series, where she is a playable protagonist of both Final Fantasy X and X-2. Rikku was introduced in the beginning of Final Fantasy X by providing assistance to the main character Tidus and later became the last character to join Yuna's entourage of guardians in a quest to defeat Sin. Rikku is of the fictional Al Bhed ethnicity and is Yuna's cousin. Her character class is most similar to that of the Thief from earlier Final Fantasy titles, combined with the Chemist class. Rikku returned in Final Fantasy X-2 as one of the game's protagonists.
Rikku was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, who also designed other characters from Final Fantasy X and X-2. She is voiced by Marika Matsumoto in the Japanese version and by Tara Strong in English. Rikku also appears in Kingdom Hearts II and Itadaki Street Special and was well received by critics and fans.
In Final Fantasy X, Rikku is a 15-year-old Al Bhed who helps Tidus when he first arrives in Spira, but then disappears from the story for a while, becoming the last character to join Yuna's entourage of guardians. She is bilingual, able to speak both Spiran (English or Japanese, depending on the region) and Al Bhed fluently. Rikku's character class is most similar to that of the Thief from earlier Final Fantasy titles, combined with the Chemist class. She can steal a large variety of items from fiends and bosses alike, many of which can only be acquired through theft. She also is able to dismantle Machina with her "Steal" ability. Once Rikku permanently joins the party, the group gains the ability to customize weapons. Her attitude is somewhat childish, but is also quite cheerful and positive. Rikku is also highly intelligent, being bilingual and skilled in chemistry. An Al Bhed, she is also Yuna's cousin and loves her dearly, and, as such, wishes to prevent her from going through with her pilgrimage, becoming particularly insistent as the party climbs Mount Gagazet toward Zanarkand. She is also the one who informs Tidus that Yuna will die should she summon her Final Aeon. In battle, Rikku uses a variety of claw-like weapons. After the Calm, Rikku visited Yuna at Besaid often before the events of X-2.
Rikku returns in Final Fantasy X-2 as a protagonist, now 17 years-old and prominently featured as a Thief. She is also the one who convinces Yuna to leave Besaid on a journey after showing her a mysterious sphere featuring a person resembling Tidus.
Rikku also appears alongside Yuna and Paine in Kingdom Hearts II as a miniature fairy version of herself wearing modified versions of her Final Fantasy X-2 attire; much like her Final Fantasy X-2 self, Rikku is a bit ditzy and good-natured as well as a treasure fanatic like her teammates. Itadaki Street Special features a miniature Rikku in her Final Fantasy X-2 outfit, along with Yuna and Paine.
Several figurines of Rikku were releassed by various manfucaturers, including by Coca-Cola and Square Soft in 2000 (two), Kotobukiya in 2001, Bandai in 2002, 2003 and 2005, Hobby Japan in 2003, Kotabukiya and Square Enix in 2003, Square Enix in 2003 (three) and 2006, and Square Enix and Amono Shiro in 2008. A special PlayStation memory card was also released by Hori in 2003.
Concept and creation
Rikku was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, who also designed other characters from Final Fantasy X and X-2. Rikku's outfit changed from a casual outfit to a skimpier outfit from Final Fantasy X to X-2. Tetsu Tsukamoto, the alternate costume designer, explains that the change could come from the changes in Spira from the two titles from a "darker, religious feel". The decision to pick Rikku as one of the three female leads came early on in the design process of X-2, due to the developers challenging themselves to create an all-female character party. Yuna and Rikku were the original choices, while a third original character was created to complete the trio. It was rumoured that Square Enix planned to have two sequels to Final Fantasy X - one starring Yuna and one starring Rikku. However, the developers later elaborated that there would be no such "Rikku Version", and it was just a rumour that arose during development.
Rikku is voiced by Tara Strong and Marika Matsumoto in the English and Japanese versions respectively. Strong was cast as Rikku by the game's English version voice director Jack Fletcher, who had worked with her in other roles before. To prepare for the role, she was given the original recordings of Rikku's Japanese voice actor, as well as a description of her from Fletcher and the writers. Strong found it easy to fit Rikku's personality, due to it being fairly straightforward. She found the most challenging part of voicing Rikku to be dubbing the lines to make the characters' voices sound more real. The Al Bhed language was created beforehand, having to be told on a word-by-word basis of what each word means.
Rikku was critically well received. She has won the award for "Hottest Character" in G4's 2004 G-Phoria awards show and the "Viewers' Choice: Baddest Good Girl" on G4's Video Game Vixens in 2005. Her English version voice actor, Tara Strong, has received mostly positive reception for her portrayal of Rikku in both Final Fantasy X and X-2, winning an award for "Outstanding Character Performance - Female" at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences's Interactive Achievement Awards.
In 2007, Rikku was included by Tom's Games among the 50 greatest female characters in video game history. In 2008, GameDaily included Rikku in their list of "ten babes who should meet your mom", citing her good sense of humour, but 1UP.com used her as an example of the "perky idiot" character type. That same year, Chip ranked her as the 18th top "girl of gaming".
Several publications also noted her for sex appeal. In 2008, GameDaily ranked Rikku as the 15th "hottest game babe" for her as spirited personality, excellent figure and knack for mechanics. UGO.com included her on their 2010 list of the "hottest video game girls". That same year, Complex ranked her, along with Yuna and Paine, at 20th place on their list of the "hottest women in video games". In 2012, PLAY ranked her as the fifth "hottest" blonde in games. On the other hand, Lisa Foiles of The Escapist included Rikku from FFX-2 on her list of five most impractical female hairstyles in games, adding that she "looks like a slutty 1990s Olsen twin."
According to GameDaily, "her revealing outfit and joyous attitude made her a favorite amongst fans." In a 2010 Famitsu poll, Rikku was voted the 50th most popular video game character. In 2013, Rikku was voted the 13th most popular female Final Fantasy character in an official poll by Square Enix. The character has became a popular subject of cosplay.
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- Square Co (December 20, 2001). Final Fantasy X. PlayStation 2. Square EA. Level/area: Bikanel Island - Home. "Rikku: Summoners journey to get the Final Aeon. Yuna told you, didn't she? With the Final Aeon, she can beat Sin. But then...but then... If she calls it, the Final Aeon's going to kill her! Even if she defeats Sin, it will kill Yunie too, you know! / Tidus: Was I the only one who didn't know...?"
- Square Co (March 13, 2003). Final Fantasy X-2. PlayStation 2. Square Enix. "Yuna [voiceover]: It all began when I saw this sphere of you. At least, it looked like you. I couldn't say for sure. I thought I might find more spheres like it if I joined the Gullwings. So I did. Oh, in case you're wondering, the Gullwings are sphere hunters, and sphere hunters are, well...this! We fly all over Spira. I'm really enjoying myself."
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- "Biggest Guns, Best Bounce and Viewers' Choice Baddest Good Girl". G4TV. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
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- The 50 Greatest Female Characters in Video Game History, Tom's Games, 2007-02-20.
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- Mitchell, Richard (2011-12-02). "Top 50 Hottest Game Babes on Trial". GameDaily. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- UGO Team (2011-10-27). "Rikku - Hottest Girls in Games | Top 50 Videogame Hotties". UGO.com. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- The 50 Hottest Women In Video Games, Complex.com, November 8, 2010.
- "Top 10 hottest blondes in games | PLAY Magazine". Play-mag.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
- Lisa Foiles. "Top 5 Most Impractical Female Character Hairstyles | Top 5 with Lisa Foiles Video Gallery | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
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- Andy Gold (2010-07-23). "47 Hot Rikku Cosplay Chicks (PICS)". gamefront.com. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
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