You know them. Some of you love them and some of you hate them. They're the non-human RPG sidekicks: the adorable little guys who dispense either cute catchphrases or ironically sharp wit, and do it behind that fuzzy widdle face. Most of them also pack a ridiculous punch for their adorable appearance. It's high time we chronicle those non-human party members that can not only disembowel ninja assassins, but do it with a teddy-bear smile.

The Sprite from Secret of Mana is an odd creature. For one, despite the pink pigtails, he's a guy. For another, he seems to have little use when he is first obtained. However, when magic becomes available, the little guy's purpose becomes clear. The Sprite clears out half the bosses in the game without taking damage by layer-casting deadly spell upon deadly spell. The result is a ridiculous amount of damage, and a highly satisfied little sprite.

Kingdom Hearts is a bizarre (but awesome) mixture of SquarEnix RPGery and Disney licensing prowess. The result is a very popular game with excellent RPG elements. Another result is that your summon spells are Disney characters. Although the summon spells in KH2 are much maligned, many of them grow on the player as he uses them in his travels. The cutest (and best) of these is Stitch. Stitch, at first, didn't seem to do much. He just hangs out on the screen and waits. However, Stitch turns out to be a master of defense, parrying away the most annoying attacks, refilling your MP for endless casting of offensive spells, and he makes getting enough points for Jiminy's Journal a hell of a lot easier in the colliseum.

Imagine this scenario: You're trying to cross a valley to answer the prophetic dreams you've been having, but the bridge is out, so you have to go the long way. The problem is, the long way is infested with UFOs and sentient trees that spontaneously combust, and they're all out to get you. What's a lone baseball loving boy to do? Buy a few teddy bears, of course! While not technically members of your party, teddy bears follow you on the world map, and they'll take a beating for you in combat. When you haven't got any friends to help you, make like a child and let your teddy bear be your friend.

Fighting a UFO is a little strange. What's stranger is fighting the inhabitant, a ten-story space alien with a huge ray gun. The strangest part is when, after his defeat, a miniature version of him joins your party. No doubt about it, Starky is a strange one. However, his ray gun and innate White elemental ability make him a valuable addition to your Chrono Cross team.

Unlike most catgirls, Mao isn't a mostly human girl with some cat-like features added to appease the furries. No, Mao is a f'real giant cat, standing up on her hind legs. She's also a mob boss and a master of drunken fist. Put that in your hip-flask and drink it. Mao is not only useful in combat, but she's also well-connected, and her antics with ninja Frank are generally amusing.

Vivi might stretch the boundaries of "non-human" (He's a Black Mage which, in FF9's world, is sort of like a golem) but there's no denying that he's both adorable and deadly. Vivi starts out useful and only grows in power, and by the end of the game Vivi is the consummate black mage. Vivi can call meteors from the sky, obliterate airships with bolts of lightning, and flip out and kill people in a style usually reserved for ninjas. And although he may be a little ball of angst and rage, he still has a big, floppy hat and an innocent manner of speaking.

What could be cuter than moogles? They're pink, for crying out loud! And that pom-pom is actually more adorable than legally allowed in the state of Texas. However, it isn't until the sixth Final Fantasy (the game series wherein Moogles are a recurring element) that a Moogle really gets to do something. And boy, does Mog do something. Mog is a powerful little guy, confident with both spear and spellbook, and his Dance powers are among some of the more useful (if unpredictable) in the game. Properly equipped, Mog is a force to be reckoned with, and a heck of a lot of fun to use. The potent combination of cute and deadly marches on.

The first time you see a Red Chocobo, you are likely near the end of Final Fantasy Tactics, confident in your abilities. Then you walk into Finiath River and five or six of these cute, feathery redheads Choco Meteor your ass into oblivion. These guys are just plain unfair, and the best part is that you can breed as many of them as you want. All hail the Red Chocobo, mightiest (and cutest) non-mechanical means of conveyance known to gaming history!

Funny how the cute catgirl that hates your guts turns out to be one of the strongest soldiers in your army about thirty seconds thereafter. Sure, Lethe might look like a frail child, but she can tear unopposed through massive floods of enemies, dodging everything that gets thrown at her and shredding even the dreaded Bird Laguz with near-impunity. Lethe is cute, yes, but Lethe is mighty.

At first, Midna is just kind of strange, but once you get used to her she's interesting. Cute, even, if a little creepy. It's not until near the end of Twilight Princess that you discover Midna's true identity... and just how much ass she kicks. I won't say too much for spoiler issues, but suffice to say that Midna is the very mightiest of adorable sidekicks.

So that's that: a compendium of deadly, but adorable, non-human RPG sidekicks. Some find them lovable and powerful. Others find them childish and annoying. Whatever your reaction, you have to admit that they have shaped the face of roleplaying games, and are likely to continue doing so for years.

List by Rewikitty (03/14/2007)

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