Waifu Wednesday: Ayla (Chrono Trigger)

Waifu Wednesday

I talk about Chrono Trigger a lot, but it wasn’t until a recent Rice Digital Friday Letters Page that I realised I had neglected to discuss one of the most important aspects of the game: the waifu powerhouse that is Ayla. Never one to let a mistake go uncorrected, I’ve decided to rectify this obvious oversight.

That’s right. For this week’s Waifu Wednesday, we’re going back in time to show a little love to our favourite time-travelling cavewoman who is always in charge of the situation.

Who is Ayla?

Ayla jumping

For those who haven’t played Chrono Trigger, my immediate advice is to do so. If you’re not sure of what system to play it on, I’ve got a few thoughts on that too. The game centres heavily on the theme of free will and fatalism, with time travel being the core mechanic the story revolves around. And, like any good time travel game, the party goes back to prehistoric time to try to save the world. This is where they first encounter Ayla, who bursts onto the scene when they are surrounded by dinosaurs — because people and dinosaurs lived side-by-side in this world. Don’t question it.

After saving the party and immediately hitting on the main character, Ayla invites everyone back to her village for a celebration. She joins them on their quest to return to their own time and eventually becomes a permanent member of the group, taking on Lavos and the eventual destruction of the world with the kind of joyful enthusiasm that becomes her trademark throughout the game.

Why we love her

Ayla
Fanart by Fumio

Ayla doesn’t always understand what is happening around her. She is a simple woman from a simple time. Its unclear if she ever really figures out that she is travelling through time throughout the game, but that doesn’t stop her from doing the right thing. Her powerful physical attacks and high hit points make her a solid choice to keep in your party right to the very end. Who cares if she never quite wraps her head around what Robo is?

She might not be the smartest character in the game, but that doesn’t mean Ayla is dumb or lacks depth. She has a central philosophy which guides her actions and won’t be deterred from it. She views the act of quitting or fleeing from a necessary fight to be akin to dying, which is why she is always the most determined member of the party. Even in the face of the overwhelming power of Lavos, she does not back down or waver. Always a good quality to have in a friend.

Why You’ll Love Her

Ayla
Fanart by unknown artist — let us know if you know the source!

It takes someone with a real big personality to take the dumb cavewoman act and make it endearing and Ayla does that without even trying. She is fun, enthusiastic and sometimes a little over-affectionate, with a fierce loyalty to her friends even if she doesn’t know what they are. Her strength is remarkable, even exceeding that of the party’s mechanical companion Robo, but she also has a soft side. She’s not afraid to tell people when they have done wrong as well as build them up when they have done good.

Add all this to the giant hair and the “abs for days” aesthetic she has got going on, it is clear why Ayla deserves to be our Waifu Wednesday feature. No one else in the game manages to take such a simple concept and breathe such life into her character.

If you’re looking to dive into Chrono Trigger, we recommend trying to find a copy of the DS version. Failing that, you can also pick it up on Steam.

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