Selphie is a lovable, destructive menace

I have always defended characters in Final Fantasy VIII who are actually great characters (not you Quistis. You’re a creep.). I’ve written an entire piece on my personal website defending and explaining Squall as a character. Several characters in Final Fantasy VIII are either misunderstood or subject to an old mindset tied back to when they originally played it.

Selphie is one of those characters. She is often put in the same category as Yuffie and Rikku (the latter is also a great character, you’re just wrong). They’re considered the spunky, excitable girl in your party that people find annoying. Selphie is spunky and excitable, but she is far from annoying. She is easily one of the best characters in the game, both story-wise and mechanically.

Selphie is introduced to us as an exchange student to Balamb Garden, and she asked Squall for a tour of Balamb. This works as our own tour of the school, but it also demonstrates how Squall currently interacts with people. The next time we see her, she is tumbling down a hill at Dollet. Her intro CG is an adorable way to introduce her, but it does nothing to demonstrate how absolutely destructive and relatable this girl truly is. We find that out eventually, and it solidified her as my favorite character in Final Fantasy VIII.

Selphie is a menace who has a heart of gold. She’s kind to her friends, extremely loyal, more brave than most of your other team members, ready to cheer people up even when she is struggling herself, super talented at things she should absolutely not be skilled with, dedicated, man, does she love trains. She also has great taste by having a huge crush on Laguna. Girl, same. She also is extremely supportive of Squall throughout, as you can see from her “My Diary” entries on the Study Panel at Balamb Garden.

Selphie really shines in a few parts of the game: the Missile Base, the Garden Festival (ish), Trabia Garden, and flying the Ragnarok. In the Missile Base, Selphie is determined to do whatever it takes to save her home Garden, Trabia. She will key smash, she will lie, she steals outfits, she will do absolutely anything she can to stop the missiles. She takes on a mission that seems hopeless by the end to try and save those she cares about. When it turns out she survives with her party by taking refuge in the very machinery they had to defeat at the Missile Base, you see her ingenuity and will to survive at work. Even after all she went through at the Missile Base, she wants to cheer everyone up with a version of the Garden Festival, which can possibly lead to Squall and Rinoa opening up a little more to each other if you don’t screw it up by choosing the wrong instruments.

Eventually, they make their way to Trabia post-missiles to see if anyone survived, and Selphie spends her entire time there cheering up her friends even amidst all the devastation. She is able to put a smile on her face and help those at Trabia heal and move forward. It’s admirable, and it’s one of her shining moments in the game. It really shows how positive she is and how much she cares with her whole heart about those she is friends with. It’s one of the emotional peaks of the game, even if it is a bit overshadowed by the twist.

She can also inexplicably fly an airship with zero training or manuals. What a boss.

Okay, you might ask, but you also mentioned she is a menace. What’s that about? Glad you asked. I hinted a little bit to her behavior and tendency toward destruction with the Missile Base mission. She is also just hilariously violent at the strangest times. She suggests skinning a moomba to escape the prison, using a rocket launcher on a train (wild given her love of trains), and smashing stuff in the Missile Base. She always defaults to the most destructive and ridiculous options first. It’s such a good foil to the bubbly happy personality she has.

Not to mention her combat skills! Have you ever played with her Slots Limit Break? Selphie can absolutely WRECK. She can throw down buffs, full heals, powerful magic, Rapture, and most amazingly, The End. You wanna know how I defeated Omega Weapon? Selphie threw a The End down, and goodbye super boss. It’s an instant win if you’re lucky enough to get it. Her ultimate weapon also has a 255% hit rate, which means she will never miss an attack with it. Because it’s funny, I always junction her with Doomtrain, and I just let her be an adorable powerhouse who can murder enemies with a demon train.

Selphie is an incredible character, an extreme weirdo, and a powerhouse fighter. I honestly don’t see what’s not to love here. She is by far one of my favorite Final Fantasy characters, period.