Hair is a huge challenge that haunts cosplayers such as myself. Rarely do anime and video game characters have normal hair, and rarely does the character you want to cosplay have a hair color anywhere near your own. To achieve these epic ‘dos, we sit through hours of painful bleaching, dying, and styling. Even if we don’t do it to our own hair, styling wigs are just as hard because wigs don’t react the same way real hair does to products and the such.
But if there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that video game hair is badass. So what fifteen hairdos made it onto this X-List? Scroll down and find out.
Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2, Lightning Returns)
Hate the Final Fantasy XIII games all you want, but you can’t deny that Lightning has lovely locks. Coming from the standpoint of a woman who’s dyed her hair several different wacky colors, Lightning’s color isn’t easy to achieve if you wanted to do it yourself. My brother attempted to replicate this color many times on himself out of admiration for the character, and it took him about five or six tries to achieve it. The pale pink doesn’t come in a bottle; you have to actually mix it with color diluter and other colors to get it to that point.
The styling is also quite complicated. It’s parted way off-center (parting your hair that way takes a lot of training and pomade), and is straight on one side and curly on the other. The multiple styles atop her head reflects on her mysterious personality. Final Fantasy characters consistently have the coolest, unconventional hairstyles — as you’ll soon see.
Zero (Mega Man X series)
JUST LOOK AT IT. There’s so much hair!
Zero’s hair always reminded me of fire as a kid. The way his pony tail emerges from his helmet and moves with him is quite majestic. And it’s so thick. How does he keep the rest of his hair contained under his helmet? If the hair on top of his head is even close to as voluminous as his ponytail, he’s either got really good conditioner, or is as bald as a pool ball. I’m surprised that he can battle robotic baddies with his own hair getting in the way.
Reno (Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, Advent Children)
Back to my statement of “Final Fantasy characters have some of the best hair,” just take a look at Reno. If you saw someone with this hairstyle walking down the street, you’d think it was a mullet gone wrong. Like Lightning’s hair, Reno’s ‘do is a very unique shade of red, and has several styles that capture his personality. While Lightning has more conventional styles representing her mystery, Reno has wackier looks.
Long bangs, spiky top and back, and a long ponytail match Reno’s fun and quirky personality quite well. Throughout the Final Fantasy VII games (and film) in which Reno is featured, he’s been depicted as cynical, laid back, and in the case of the Advent Children English dub, very “bro-like.” Reno’s style very specific to him. Tidus couldn’t have pulled off this look.
Wakka (Final Fantasy X)
I swear I’m not biased toward Final Fantasy hair.
When I was a teenager, mohawks were the “in thing.” They’re a lot harder to put together than they look. In fact, a functional mohawk usually consists of a lot of Elmer’s glue, not washing your hair for a long time, and various other sticky-icky hair products.
The mohawk-wearing Wakka was meant to be a big-brother-surfer-soccer-player-bro type character, so his personality was represented with this unique haircut. Tetsuya Nomura, character designer for Final Fantasy X, deftly captured Wakka’s energy with this ‘do.
Jak (Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy)
Jak’s hair in the first installment is the hair I’m specifically talking about. Although Jak was much sexier in Jak II (yeah, I have the hots for Jak), it wasn’t quite as fun as it was in The Precursor Legacy.
In Jak 2 his hair slicked back and down, and in Jak 3 it’s cut down quite short. The angrier Jak gets, the shorter his hair gets. The way I see it, Jak’s hair was super crazy in his first title because all of his thoughts and feelings were bottled up, leaving his hair his only form of expression.
Felicia’s bright blue hair is iconic. If you were to see just the full, blue mane, you’d instantly know it was Felicia.
Her hair style isn’t really complicated (unless you’re like me and have no volume in your hair whatsoever), but the color is a challenge. Blue is the hardest hair color to maintain, but you can buy it in a bottle and be done with it after a few sessions of bleach. If you watched the Darkstalkers anime, you know she has a big heart, and her large hair reflects that.
Dr. Chakwas (Mass Effect series)
I’m just going to say it since no one else will: Dr. Chakwas is sexy. She has a smooth British accent with a Meryl Streep-type swagger. The woman looks great for age and is filled with wisdom — her hair symbolizes that.
Chakwas’ hair defines her age. If you were to take away her hair, or replace it with a different style, she wouldn’t be the same character. You don’t often see older characters in games (women, in particular), so Bioware’s decision to give Chakwas age is admirable. Much like Felicia, Chakwas’ hair is iconic.
Billy Coen (Resident Evil 0)
Hnnnnng, Billy has is the sexiest Resident Evil character, ever. Tall, built, inked, with long, messy slicked back hair. Oh god, the amount of pictures I had on my walls as a kid when this game came out.
If you haven’t played RE0, Billy Coen is an ex-Marine who was arrested and for a crime he didn’t commit. Billy was designed as the bad boy with a heart of gold, and his soft facial features mixed with long, slicked back hair perfectly reflected that.
Phoenix Wright (Phoenix Wright series)
Have you ever really sat down and truly examined Phoenix’s hair? I’ve never seen anything like it.
Phoenix’s hair is slicked and spiked straight back with incredibly intricate lines between the spikes. And look at those framing lines! For the average man to achieve such style, you’d need a bucket of pomade, possibly some glue, a metric shitton of hairspray, and the world’s smallest buzz-cutter. Having experience with styling my own hair and others, Phoenix probably spends at least an hour to an hour and a half every day perfecting that ‘do.
Jack (Mass Effect 3)
I absolutely love what Bioware did with Jack in Mass Effect 3.
In the second installment, Jack was a total bitchy hard ass, had not a single fuck to give, and hated about everything that breathed. From 2 to 3, Jack got her shit together. She become a better person, got a job, and fought for a cause. Jack had to put on some clothes — after all, she’s a professor at the Biotic’s Academy! A rebel at heart, Jack still doesn’t wear a lot of clothes, but enough to be presentable — and she’s quite stylish! Her hair goes with the style of her clothing; although not completely bald, she has enough hair now to still show off her tattoos and have a feminine edge.
Nathan Drake (Uncharted series)
You’re probably thinking, “what’s so special about Nathan Drake’s hair? It’s normal!” Exactly. Before I explain why Nathan Drake is on this list, take a look at this render from Uncharted 3 and appreciate the hair tech. Hair is every artist’s worst nightmare, whether it be digital or physical art.
“For planes with transparencies, it takes a good eye and can be difficult to make said planes fall in a way that’s believable,” said an animator who wished to remain nameless. “Taking gravity, and how the hair falls into account, it can end up looking like an amorphous blob on a head. You have to make a good texture map for the pieces so they actually appear as hair with individual strands, rather than planes with big streaks of color.”
Looking at Nathan as a character, he was designed to be relatable. Nathan has the cute boy-next door look, and the hair is the icing on top. The infamous cement hair is what makes his character. Nathan Drake wouldn’t be Nathan Drake if he had a long red ponytail with blonde highlights.
Yuna (Final Fantasy X-2)
As I hold up my shield to dodge the bullets I’m about to get for saying this, I loved the hair in Final Fantasy X-2.
When I was twelve (yeah, the game released over ten years ago), I actually went to a salon with a picture of Yuna from X-2 and told my stylist I wanted hair just like that. All it took was a flat iron and some pomade to make the spiky ends. Yuna’s hair in X was very similar; Instead of spiking out at the end, it just fell around her face and flowed with the wind. I find Yuna’s subtle hair adjustment quite appropriate for her small personality changes.
Ashley Riot (Vagrant Story)
It’s hard to deny how cool Ashley’s hair is, even if you haven’t played Vagrant Story.
If you take a close look at his intricate hair spike-tail-things, they’re not really full of a lot of hair. This means Ashley styles his hair with pure fucking magic. Without the spike-tail-things in Ashley’s hair, his hair would almost resemble that of Nathan Drake. But this is Vagrant Story, a Square RPG, so his hair has to be cool.
C. Viper (Street Fighter IV)
I love and appreciate C. Viper’s hair for many reasons.
Like Reno and Lightning, C. Viper doesn’t have a standard shade of red/pink. It’s a color you’d have to mix and tamper with to get to that shade. Her hair is also, again, many different styles. I’ve seen many cosplayers attempt to reproduce this style, as well as style wigs to reflect the crazy ‘do, but it’s never perfect (if you do have a perfect rendition, please share!).
C. Viper’s hair would take hours to style. If you look closely, the first step would be to pull everything into a bun for support, and then split it into two areas. One area would be then very tightly french-braided, and the other would be teased with a comb, pushed out, and pulled back into the bun, flushing with the french braid. The front would require lots of hairspray, and possibly some pomade.
And, aside from C. Viper’s tie, it’s the only bit of bright color on her body, which wonderfully complements her olive skin-tone and dark outfit.
I was so disappointed to see that Platinum Games lopped off some of Bayonetta’s hair in the upcoming Bayonetta 2. Not that the pixie haircut isn’t cute, but it’s not her.
Bayonetta has the gaming world’s greatest hair of all time. It has charms, chains, ribbons, beautiful color, buns, the whole bit! The woman uses her hair as both clothes and a weapon, for Christ’s sake!
If you can dress yourself in your own hair, and beat the crap out of people with it — you know it’s the best hair around.