Granblue Fantasy is filled with an enormous variety of awesome characters, most of whom are playable characters that can be drawn in the gacha.
From the very outset, though, you have two faithful companions who never leave your side: the protagonist’s feisty baby dragon-type thing Vyrn, and Lyria, the latter of whom in particular is a big reason I find myself continually drawn back to the game.
While initially appearing to be the same sort of “mysterious young girl” character seen in a wide variety of Japanese role-playing games over the years — and particularly in mobile-social RPGs such as Granblue Fantasy and its peers — Lyria quickly distinguishes herself as a thoroughly pleasant character to have around, making her an ideal companion for you, the player, as you proceed on your journey around this fantasy world.
Art: Kouji (Astral Reverie) – via Pixiv
While Granblue Fantasy is beloved the world over for its wide variety of enormously attractive and sexy collectible characters of both genders, Lyria is a little more understated in her appeal. She’s certainly pretty and cute, and characteristics such as her long, flowing turquoise hair, semi-transparent white dress, bare feet and elaborate jewellery mean that she’s immediately recognisable as a “mascot” for the game, but she’s more than just visual appeal. Her soft but enthusiastic voice and her energetic dialogue mean that she’s an encouraging presence that pushes the player on to achieve great things.
Lyria herself is also a major plot component in the main scenario of Granblue Fantasy, being one of only a few individuals with the ability to absorb the immense power of Primal Beasts. It would have been easy for her to be left in this role, only really pulled out when Important Story Things were happening, but instead she’s extremely effectively used as a character to reinforce and encourage the player-protagonist.
Protagonist Gran (or his female counterpart Djeeta) is completely mute throughout Granblue Fantasy, save for a few dialogue options you get now and then which usually don’t have much of an effect. Lyria, then, often takes on the role of speaking “for” the protagonist, though rather than adopting the Legend of Zelda (and/or Lassie) approach of simply implying they said things by using phrasing such as “…What’s that you say? Timmy fell down the well?”, Lyria instead tends to take the initiative in conversations and then ask if the player agrees with them. There is lots of “…Isn’t that right, Gran?” and “Don’t you agree, Djeeta?”
Art: Eredhen – via Pixiv
Although Granblue Fantasy’s main plot is resolutely linear, Lyria’s keenness to involve the player-protagonist in everything she talks about helps you to feel engaged in the story, like you’re part of it. It’s very easy for silent protagonists to feel like passive observers swept up in events that are beyond their control, and this approach sidesteps that issue nicely. While Gran isn’t the most important character in the story by any means, he’s still the player’s avatar in the world of Granblue Fantasy, so it’s important for the player to feel like they’re not simply watching events unfold from behind a glass wall.
Lyria’s character can be interpreted in different ways according to who you are, whether you truly choose to inhabit the role of Gran or Djeeta, and what you actually want from your “relationship” with her. She’s often depicted as being jealous of other people who express an interest in getting close to the player, for example, but her writing is such that it’s kept just a little ambiguous as to whether she feels this way simply because she wants to be friends, or if she has romantic intentions towards the protagonist. This helps to keep things inclusive for a variety of different players, as well as allowing those who find Lyria a particularly appealing character to indulge their fantasies of being fawned over by a pretty young girl.
Art: Akiha (Attract) – via Twitter
Lyria also acts as a constant presence throughout the game’s side content, allowing this to be written in a “universal” manner regardless of the characters the player has managed to acquire either through the gacha or story progress. While the main scenario quests make use of a gradually growing core cast of characters as you progress, sidequests are pretty much always accompanied by just Lyria and Vyrn, who offer some commentary on the situation (“…isn’t that right, Gran?”) before you find yourself thrust into the inevitable battle. In some ways, this helps make it feel like the sidequests are providing you with the opportunity to spend some “alone time” with Lyria, when in fact you’re still making use of your carefully curated party to overcome a battle challenge.
Lyria tends to be the character that has the most attention lavished on her during special events quests, too, often finding herself with a variety of custom sprites depicting her in various new outfits and poses. During a cookery-themed quest, for example, she had some adorable new sprites depicting her in an apron holding a mixing bowl; the recent summer-themed quests, meanwhile, saw her in both a school swimsuit and an adorably oversized straw hat at various different points.
Art: Hankuri – via Twitter
In many ways, Lyria is the “main character” of Granblue Fantasy, despite the fact that she’s not even a playable party member except under certain very specific circumstances. She’s certainly the face of the game, appearing on most of the game’s various title screens as well as in chibi form to highlight important achievements, new journal entries and story progress in the game interface — not to mention in much of the game’s marketing.
She’s an inoffensive, universally appealing character, and manages to pull this off without ever crossing the line into blandness. Rather, she has enough personality and energy about her to make her a memorable character in her own right, while having a broad enough appeal that players of all ages, genders and sexualities will almost certainly find something to like about her.
She’s one of the best things about Granblue Fantasy, and I’m not ashamed to say that I love her quite a lot — as do, clearly, quite a lot of other people from across the world!
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