Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Characters We Love: Riki (Xenoblade Chronicles)

By Patrick Hawes-DeFrias

Xenoblade Chronicles is one of those hidden gems that snuck by a good number of people. In fact, it almost didn’t make it to international sales. But I’m glad it did, because to this day I consider it to be one of the best RPG’s around. One of its many good qualities is the strength of its characters, and today we’re taking a look at one of my personal favorites- the Heropon, Riki!
I’m going to try extra hard to not spoil anything in this game, but out of necessity I will be saying some of Riki’s plot details. If you have a Wii U, I HIGHLY recommend you pick it up on the virtual console and play it as soon as possible.
Anyway, Riki. He’s a Nopon, which in the Xenoblade games are tiny little fluffballs with short and stubby arms and legs, though they make up for it with large prehensile ears that they can use as arms. Not exactly the kinds of things that you’d expect to get into the middle of a fight, right? Well normally you’d be right, but in the context of Xenoblade Chronicles, Riki is the “Heropon”, which he claims to be a title granted to Nopon who are destined to be great heroes. The group meets him at the Frontier Village, the main Nopon settlement. However, the Frontier Village’s elder has chosen him to be the Heropon for more… financial reasons. You see, Riki and his family have racked up “lots of monies” worth of debt within the village for food. Oh, so looking at the cute picture of him at the top of the page, he must be the youngest in a group of siblings, and is thus the most able-bodied to work for the village, right?
Nope, he’s a 40-year-old father of 11 kids.
Yep, that’s right. Underneath Riki’s cute and squishy exterior, Riki is actually a middle-aged father trying to provide for his children and wife. Here’s a picture of them, by the way.
Riki also just has a very fun, cute personality. He tries to be as impressive and heroic as possible, despite being a tiny marshmallow-like creature. He speaks in a way that you’d expect from a Tarzan-type character- English, kinda, but consistently mixes up certain words and talking in the third person, things like that. He constantly bumps heads with the party’s token big dumb guy, Reyn, which leads to most of the game’s slapstick. But, he’s not a COMPLETE joke- he always makes sure to back up his friends, no matter what, and later on we get to see him have a fairly deep conversation with Xenoblade’s resident stoic, brave swordsman Dunban. I refuse to spoil it, but you get the idea that for all his cuddly charm and goofball antics, Riki is much more noble and wise than he lets on.