1. Tie Between Alice Twilight and Sylvia Christel ('No More Heroes' franchise)
No More Heroes is a franchise that I find doesn't really get much attention in these spheres. That's really too bad, although I'm happy to hear that it will get a third instalment on the Nintendo Switch, so maybe now it'll get its fair share of buzz.
I decided to include two characters in this entry, because it's honestly hard for me to decide whose look I prefer more. They're all beautiful, dammit.
I'll start with Alice Twilight, because I like her much better character-wise. Level-headed non-conformists are my usual cup of tea.
It's not often you see a human character with spider-like rods for weapons. She has beam swords attached to each one, and not only do they look cool by default, but the way she uses them for defence and charging attacks in battle is also wicked. The black and pink colour scheme is one that I personally think looks great, so I naturally like it on her.
It's funny how, before characters like Alice and Lightning, pink hair was almost always associated with benign, ladylike characters. It's nice to see some deviation with that attribute. Finally, her whole getup totally screams "exotic bounty hunter," or "neon biker girl."
And then there's Sylvia Christel, who's actually a pretty fun character despite how ridiculous she is. She has several cute outfits, but I decided to go with her two staple attires for the purpose of this list.
When I see her, what immediately comes to mind is: bad bitch. There's just something so classy about her bawdiness, and she's definitely got that "secret agent in disguise" vibe to her. It's kind of like the hit woman character Lorde plays as in her music video "Magnets," except much more overtly risqué. I also like that there's this youthful playfulness mixed in with her femme fatality, particularly when it comes to her hairstyles.
Her overall aesthetic is quite different from everyone else in the games, because there's nothing particularly elaborate or over-the-top about her look (Margaret Moonlight and Bad Girl come to mind for that). She's far from unforgettable, however, and completely fits in with the tone of the games.
2. Miku ('Everlasting Summer')
Soviet Games' Everlasting Summer is a visual novel that I don't plan on reviewing for a long time, but I adore Miku so much that I've been itching to feature her in a post. Especially after what her awful route did to her, she deserves some love.
I just love how bubbly and sweet she is; I don't care that the protagonist finds her incredibly annoying (he sucks anyways, so his opinion doesn't matter). It also helps that she's super into music like I am. The Japanese song she sings at one point is really cute, and her piano skills inspire me to self-teach the instrument again.
What initially drew me in, however, is her superb design.
Sure, it falls under the recognizable category of "semi-anime" girls, but her whole colour scheme is so complementary. Teal is also one of my favourite colours, so naturally I'd fall for her long pigtails. Her hair definitely gives off this Sailor Moon-esque vibe, and it's very visually pleasing.
Her figure exudes a swanlike grace, with an enchantingly endearing face to match. She would make a wonderful ballerina, or fairy, should we decide to stick to the fantasy setting.
Overall, she has a simple and yet vibrant design that makes her stand out just enough from the crowd. I'm glad it's not overdone.
3. Galdon ('Starfox Adventures')
Galdon definitely doesn't resemble any known dinosaur, and so it's been theorized that he's likely one of General Scales' genetic experiments. I concur, as he exhibits features identical to those of an alien cockroach, like Acklay from Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and the main antagonist of Men in Black.
Still, he looks like a natural fit in his surroundings, given his rock-hard, spiky core and colour scheme. I think that for a relatively tired concept, his design is a fresh spin on it, especially with those spiked frills around his head.
For a first boss, he looks incredibly intimidating, especially to a younger or inexperienced player. The things about him that used to frighten me as a child were his screeching roar, the fact that his towering stature and long legs took up most of the arena, his sharp, reptilian eyes that already devour you before his menacing teeth do, and his surprisingly quick movements.
Luckily, the way to defeat him doesn't require any knowledge of rocket science, since you just have to whack his stinger—and membrane when swallowed—and then pelter his heart with Krystal's staff every time he's open to attack (although timing is important, because the aiming and responsiveness in this game are weird at times).
4. Ganondorf/Ganon ('The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time')
Considering that I'd grown up on cartoons, I think that Ganon (or Ganondorf) is the very first villain I'd actually taken seriously the moment I was met with that serpentine glare of his. I'll write a post about Ocarina of Time in the future that goes into more detail as to why I think he's such a great antagonist, but first... can we just take a moment to appreciate his two forms?
A) Bestial Form
It's really no wonder why people consider the final battle with Ganon to be one of the greatest in video game history. Imagine you are Link, and these soul-piercing, demonic eyes are staring down at you, with deadly twin daggers to match. Scary! My love for this design is twofold; for one thing, his towering physique displays a mixture of godlike porcine and Minotaur-esque characteristics, giving him a look more reminiscent of a colossus rather than a mere beast.
Because of this, he blends in so well with the dusky and rainy environment, very much like how Malus does in Shadow of the Colossus. The periodical lightning that allows you to catch glimpses of his appearance really adds to that "you're screwed" feeling. What was this game rated, again?
B) Humanoid Form
I actually think I prefer this version of Ganon slightly over the former because of how unique and threatening he looks as a human (or rather, Gerudo), given how Nintendo typically designs their villains. He has strong and sinister features all-around, and whenever he smiles, it's like he knows he has you on lockdown no matter what you try to do.
His lofty, burly, and armour-clad build, including the extra rags and spikes, create the impression of a steampunk warlock that can also crush your skull if he feels like it without the help of magic.
His fiery hair reminds me a lot of Bowser's hairdo; I'm just glad Nintendo didn't feel the need to hide him under cloaks and conceal such unorthodox "badassery." If I saw a man like this in my world and someone told me he's part of a biker gang, I'd believe them instantly.
With that all in mind, I honestly don't like what they did with his hominoid designs in Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, because his WW incarnation resembles little more than a stock wizard character, while his TP incarnation looks like an aging knight who should just retire already. Neither appearance captures the essence of Ganon's character—a mystical, powerful, and ruthless rogue—while his design in OoT proudly takes the cake for seamlessly checking off all these requirements.