Kingdom Hearts Girls II (Namine)
2. Namine (KH: Chain of Memories, KH: Days, KH: coded, KHII)
The spot for number one was a toss up between Xion and Namine, but really they're equally great. While Xion's story is about discovering her roots and passing on her mission to Roxas, Namine's story is about growing a backbone and standing up for what she believes, giving a beautiful screw you to her oppressors.
Like Xion, Namine is actually meant to be a poor comparison to Kairi, even poorer than Roxas is to Sora, because Namine isn't even a Nobody, and neither is Xion. In a way, they are both supposed to be seen as Parasites to Kairi: Namine is designed to replace Kairi in Sora's memories, while Xion is a puppet whose powers come from Sora and whose form comes from Sora's memories of Kairi, and she siphons more memories of Sora from Roxas whenever they occur. Viewed in this light, both Xion and Namine are harmful, latching onto memories and manipulating them into power. Yet, they are so much more important, and, in my opinion, so much better than Kairi.
From Doormat to Rebel
When we first meet Namine, she is the wallflower of all doormats. The moment she comes into being the Organization snatches her up and psychologically abuses her so much that she is meeker than a mouse. But how she changes!
She starts by replacing Sora's memories - which is exactly what the Organization wants. But it's also what she wants: She's been so abused and screwed up that she wants a pleasant relationship with literally anyone, and whether or not it's real doesn't matter anymore. But then when Larxene tells Sora the whole deal, that his memories are fabricated - he forgives her. Of course, as the Messiah archetype you expect him to, but, while not being crazy pleased about being manipulated, he validates the reasoning behind her actions and give her genuine affection, and do you realize how long she's been craving that? Like all of her year+ long life okay. In true "Heart is power" form, this is actually enough to give her enough courage to make her own decisions (leaving Repliku, restoring Sora's memory) and standing up to her oppressors, Marluxia and Larxene. And damn if that wasn't satisfying.
I'm always really upset that DiZ goes and uses her in the same exact way the Organization uses her. Like, he's not the Organization, but he's about as good of a guy as John Winchester was a father. However, this is still an upgrade to her position in CoM: Instead of being forced to be "bad," she's working to save a friend, albeit somewhat in complete isolation and under house arrest, but at least she still has Riku as a friendly voice to talk to. In Days she basically becomes this mystic character because she knows what's going on - which makes total sense because she's the witch with the power of manipulating memories of and about Sora and is currently trying to reconstruct him. I think she sees a bit of herself in Xion, because she totally empathizes with her while, at the same time, letting her know that her existence is actually screwing up the universe. But instead of trying to convince her that she needs to sacrifice herself, like DiZ would want, she validates Xion's fears about not existing (and never existing) and lets her decide for herself. She knows what it is like to be backed into a corner, so instead of becoming her oppressor, she becomes Sora and enables Xion with free will.
AND THEN IN KHII SHE BECOMES SO STRONG. Think about it. She stays long enough to restore Sora to factory settings, all the while sneaking out to give Roxas all of the information he needs to know to make an informed decision, like she did with Xion. Then she slips out of DiZ's reach, and he's already been shown to be pretty damn powerful. She manages to go so far off the grid that neither DiZ nor Organization XIII can find her. However, she never runs away; when Kairi goes and gets herself kidnapped, Namine almost immediately saves her. They both go back to The World That Never Was so that Kairi can find her friends, and when confronted by an Organization member, Namine goes into a fight position. Kairi does as well, but we've always known her to be spunky and reckless; this little action shows so much character growth, it's insane. This isn't a "I'll stand up for what I believe in" speech she gives Marluxia, nor is this a "using my body as a human shield because I don't want you to hurt my friends" stance she gives Larxene. This is a full-on implication that she is ready to fight to the death with this vile person who is indirectly responsible for all of the bad things in her life, that she has taken full control of her existence and will actually engage in aggressive behavior in seeking what she wants. The wallflower has bloomed into a beautiful and thorny rose.
Evolution into the Mystic Character
Despite her story finishing with KHII, she comes back in coded with a message for Sora, which actually ties in with her mystic character. Her message is one telling Sora to stop the hurting caused by the main antagonist, Xehanort. From a literary standpoint, no one else could have given this message. Namine has been through so much hurting, so much pain and abuse, but, using Sora's basic human kindness as a rope to pull herself out of the mire, she enables herself to become her own person and ends her existence satisfied. She is technically Sora's success story, and it probably would have been enough for her to be happy. But she also empathizes with other characters bound by oppressors (Xion, Roxas, everyone in the coded montage). Her goal in life, after ending her oppression, seems to be giving people kindness and knowledge, and let them make their own decisions, and not let them be forced into decisions by outside forces. Of course she would inform digital!Sora of the pain she and her fellow victims are in. But she's not especially concerned with herself (although the fact she cares about herself is on par with all of the character development she's gone through thus far), instead focusing on trying to fix the pain of others. But Sora is the Key. He is the only one capable of ending the pain. So it only makes sense that she would encrypt a message to the Keyblade Wielder while restoring his memories so that he might feasibly save them.
In a way, I feel that Namine is like a freed slave, who goes back to guide other slaves to their ultimate freedom
Xion might be my favorite, but I absolutely love Namine's character development throughout the entire series. I really really hope Square Enix brings her back for good sometime during KHIII.