Perhaps one of the most mysterious characters from Final Fantasy XV, as well as the boldest, is Aranea Highwind. A classic lancer -- or Dragoon, for those who played the earlier games in the franchise -- Aranea is full of spunk, aggression, and independence. Perhaps this is why so many cosplayers see her as a fun character to create, if only in the sense that they, too, can possess these qualities for a little while.
She's sheathed in the unknown, as not much is certain about her past other than what little we see in Episode Prompto. We also can never truly be sure who's side she lands on but one thing is for sure -- she is a worthy opponent to have on our side during any battle.
Even more captivating than her on-screen appearances are those who truly bring her to life, and here are eight of our absolute favorites.
The first cosplay, created by a cosplayer known as TerminaCosplay, is simply stunning. Not only did she nail the look, but she nailed every single piece of Aranea's uniform as well. According to her Insta, the armor was created by TNTCosplaySupply and completely crafted from foam, a popular choice when it comes to costume armor. Additionally, her wig was cut, styled, and painted by her, adding the final touch to an overall unbelievably realistic representation of Aranea. Interestingly enough, TerminaCosplay admits that Aranea was the only character that she really liked from Final Fantasy XV, but can you blame her? The Aranea Highwind love is real.
This second cosplay was created by Phazon Pixie Cosplay, AKA Claire. Her talent is tremendous and she's been featured all over the place, which is why many cosplay fans may have recognized her. With almost 1k followers on social media, it's no surprise that this cosplayer has quite the following. This Aranea cosplay was pieced together by her, and what's even cooler is that she features mini-tutorials on her Insta so that fans can follow along and watch the process. In addition to Aranea, she recently cosplayed Samus from the Metroid games (for all of you old-school gamers) which came out just as incredible as Aranea.
Next up is a cosplay by Brunette Ambitions Cos, who created a unique twist on Aranea's classic character. Her outfit, based on the artwork of Aranea, is crafted mostly from leathers and fabric (and lots of it, from the creation process!). Progress photos can be found on her Reddit page, where she includes other cosplays such as Wonder Woman, 2B, and A2 from the game NieR Automata. We'd be lying if we said we didn't find this rendition of Aranea absolutely beautiful, and it adds just the hint of a much softer side of her that we don't get the chance to see in the main story.
Alyson Tabbitha created a cosplay last year that actually had fans trying to guess whether or not her photos were real or taken straight from the game. Her appearance was so realistic that she instantly became #goals for many a Final Fantasy XV fan, especially those who have a soft spot for Aranea.
Someone from Reddit even commented that they thought her initial cosplay photos were taken straight from the game as 3D renderings, which is likely one of the highest compliments a cosplayer can receive for their work. If this isn't redefining the brought-to-life game as we know it, then we're not sure what is.
Silky Bean Cosplay, who has their own website, recently created an Aranea cosplay that's simply stunning. In a recent blog post, fans can find photos of the entire process, from start to finish. Each individual piece of armor had been carefully crafted out of foam, shaped, and painted to appear as realistic as possible, giving off the impression of true metal. In between photos, Silky Bean Cosplay details the process even further, explaining how to go about shaping and carving each component so that it fits symmetrically with the cosplay as a whole. Although the blog claims the process is still ongoing, we're excited to see what the finished product looks like.
This cosplay was uniquely crafted by Madison Kennedy, founder of GEEKLAND Magazine. Her cosplay, created a little over one year ago, features Aranea in the traditional clothing she wore during Episode Prompto. Every single detail, even down the individual patterning on her clothing, is realistic and true to life. Her weapon, a classic lance, is beyond accurate, portraying Aranea Highwind in all the glory that she deserves, both on-screen and off. Any fans of the character, even those who haven't yet played the DLC episode, would likely pass out from sheer excitement over seeing this cosplayer walk through the door.
Kaori Leit is responsible for this cosplay of Aranea, featuring her traditional battle garb, complete with lance. More photos can be seen on her social media, which is full of varying cosplays from nearly every corner of the cosplay world but, of course, our favorite is undoubtedly Aranea.
The thing that truly gets us is the detail in her armor, which actually looks as though it's been polished to reflect light in the same way that a piece of shaped metal would. When it comes to surreal cosplays, this cosplayer is the real deal and this rendition of Aranea is one that even the Square Enix team would likely be proud of.
Next up, we have a cosplay by Lilice Cosplay. Similar to the previous cosplay, the details in this entire outfit are seemingly unreal. Done a little over one year ago, Lilice Cosplay uploaded a photo last March, saying of this photo, 'I'm full of happiness and gratitude. This place in Poland was so perfect, just like the game's landscapes! And the edit reminds me of her first apparition, during the "hey pretty boy~" boss scene'. We have to agree wholeheartedly, as there's nothing more striking than a brilliantly done cosplay combined with a perfect set... It's nothing short of perfection.
Cosplay can be intimidating for many, especially when it comes to a build -- basically starting from the ground up when it comes to a costume. This intimidation, however, was not felt by Alison Jeffery Cosplay, who debuted a stunning talent with her Aranea cosplay at Katsucon last year. On her profile, she states that she's a new cosplayer but we don't even believe it... judging by that armor build, the utterly flawless paintwork, and overall structure of her build, we'd guess she's been doing this her entire life. This is nothing but an absolutely gorgeous display from an inspiring cosplayer and, of course, bonus points for finding the whole crew.
Last but definitely not least is a cosplay by Rose. Her cosplay was a casual twist on Aranea's traditional garb and with it, she created something that's nothing short of perfect. Everything, from her choice of bold lipstick to her facial expression, matches all that we could ever dream when it comes to Aranea in real life. We're also slightly jealous of her Episode Prompto-style winter jacket, which looks hella comfortable and chic, totally apropos for this character. Because really, there's nothing more important than looking rebellious and ready to kick some you-know-what at the same time!