Winner: Eunie (Xenoblade Chronicles 3)
“Hear that, Noah? Lanz wants something a bit meatier.”
It would be easy to boil Eunie down to her attitude, her ridiculous British-isms, or even her amusing one-liners. In fact, Takahashi and the rest of Monolith Soft could have left her at that, and I bet she’d still get some votes in this category. But even in an absolutely outstanding cast of characters, Eunie stands out. Her consistent comic relief certainly helps leaven the melancholy of the narrative, but it’s the moments where she expresses unadulterated joy, and where she expresses uncertainty, and where she faces the horrors of her past which make her such a stand-out. Her reactions to more than a few moments brought me to tears, and her friendship with Taion is compelling and refreshing. She’s much more than a funny side character: she’s a critical part of the beating heart and soul of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and I won’t soon forget her.
by Zach Wilkerson
Runner-Up: Mio (Xenoblade Chronicles 3)
Like most Xeno protagonists, Mio is incredibly complex. It’s easy to say she rivals Xenosaga‘s Shion Uzuki and Xenogears‘ Elhaym van Houten. When we first meet Mio, we’re introduced to a somber woman with only a few months left to live. Yet over the course of her journey, she continues to grow, holds onto hope, and remains a positive force to those around her despite her dwindling days. Not only is she one of the best-written characters in the Xeno series, she’s also one of the best-acted. Aimee-Ffion Edwards (Ranni the Witch from Elden Ring) gives a wondrous performance that ensures Mio is one of the most human characters in JRPGs despite being an anime catgirl.
by Des Miller