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Laguna Loire, designed by Tetsuya Nomura.
Laguna Loire is one of two main playable characters central to the plot advancement in Final Fantasy VIII.  He serves as a direct counterpart to Squall Leonhart, as his personality is the direct opposite, and he joined the military outright, instead of becoming a mercenary.  During Final Fantasy VIII, the characters are known to fall into these bizarre dream-like states.  This is where they encounter Laguna, and sometimes his two companions, Kiros Seagul and Ward Zaback.  Squall and his group never interact with Laguna directly, as they seem to be experiencing parts of his life through the various involved characters' points of view.  Squall always experiences these dreams directly through Laguna, while the other characters are seen through the vision of the other members of his party at the time.  Laguna is initially encountered as a 27 year old soldier in the Galbadian army, who uses a machine gun as his primary weapon.  He does however express on numerous occasions that he does not really enjoy being a soldier, and reveals that he is an aspiring journalist.  He is known to be incredibly clumsy; especially around attractive members of the opposite sex.  Laguna even suffers from severe leg-spasms when he gets too nervous around them.  This leads to Squall not being very impressed by his visions of Laguna, and even states "I dreamt I was a moron..." after his first encounter with him.

Dream Sequences

The first dream sequence with Laguna involves himself, Kiros, and Ward going to a high-class pub to watch the beautiful Julia Heartilly's piano performance.  Laguna views these performances on a regular basis, and the original scene humorously depicts Laguna rushing in a panic to ditch his current assignment just so he can watch Julia's performance.  This eventually leads to his friends poking fun at him, believing that he only watches them because he has a crush on her.  His friends eventually convince him to try and talk to Julia, but as he approaches, he begins to have second thoughts whilst simultaneously suffering from a leg spasm; which simply makes him look like a complete idiot.  Julia realizes what Laguna was trying to do and begins talking to him herself.  Laguna is surprised by her willingness to talk to him, and later that evening they develop a relationship and express their feelings for one another.  Julia also reveals to Laguna that she is considering writing lyrics and adding singing to her performances, which Laguna encourages.  After their time together, Laguna reveals that he is being shipped out on a mission and will not be back for some time.

This time Laguna and his two companions wind up in Centra on a scouting mission.  After events don't go so smoothly the three companions find themselves on the run from a number of soldiers from Esthar.  They eventually become closed-in on a cliff edge and are attacked by several soldiers.  Kiros and Ward are seriously injured, and Ward loses his ability to speak during this time.  Laguna defeats the soldiers but realizes they have no choice but to jump off the cliff to escape.  He throws Kiros and Ward from the cliff edge while comically adding "You guys...sure have guts...", and then attempts to climb down himself.  Laguna loses his footing however, and winds up falling off the cliff into the water below.

Laguna and Raine in Winhill.
It is later revealed that during the previous events, Laguna was separated from his friends, as well as being seriously injured.  This eventually leads Laguna to being discovered by a young woman named Raine, who takes him to her hometown of Winhill where he is nursed back to health.  Initially Raine is disinterested in Laguna romantically, but she eventually finds herself falling for him.  Due to the fact that Raine saved his life, and the townspeople treated him so well, Laguna decided to spend his time protecting the village in order to repay them for their hospitality.  It is also during this time that Laguna realizes his dream of becoming a journalist, and thus spends his time writing about various different things.  Laguna also develops a strong bond with a young girl named Ellone, who refers to him as Uncle Laguna.  She was entrusted to the care of Raine, and Laguna takes it upon himself to take full responsibility for her.  Eventually Laguna and Raine develop a relationship, but it is cut short due to the fact that Ellone is kipnapped.  Laguna hastilly leaves the town in pursuit of Ellone, and instructs his friend Kiros to take care of Raine while he is gone.  Unbeknownst to Laguna, Raine is pregant with a child of her own at his time of departure.

Laguna eventually winds up in Esthar, where Ellone is being held captive.  He is captured by Esthar soldiers, but eventually manages to escape.  This leads him to discovering the whereabouts of Ellone, and he frees her from captivity.  Laguna is also one of the key people responsible for rallying the people of Esthar and freeing them from the rule of the evil Sorceress Adel.  Laguna, with the help of Dr. Odine, places Adel in suspended animation and launches her into outer space.  Afterwards Laguna is elected President of Esthar, and feels that he owes it to them to remain due to himself playing a key role in their freedom.  He is unable to return to Winhill, and thus sends Ellone back to Winhill without him.  This is when Raine dies after giving birth to her child; Squall.  Due to Laguna's absence, they both wind up being sent to an orphanage.

Due to circumstances regarding these events, Laguna is never reunited with Julia Heartilly.  She eventually completes her song "Eyes on Me", which is written about her relationship with Laguna.  She eventually marries General Caraway and gives birth to a daughter, Rinoa Heartilly.  A few years before the start of the game, Julia is killed in a car accident.

Post-Dream Sequences

After the conclusion of the final dream sequence Laguna is no longer a playable character.  It is revealed through Squall's meetings with Ellone that she was the one responsible for sending Squall and his friends into the dream-like states.  She reveals that she has a special power to let people relive the past through other people's memories, and was hoping that by sending Squall into the past he would be able to help change the events that occured during these times.  Laguna even mentions several times during the dream sequences that the presence of "fairies" are giving him abnormal fighting strength that he normally did not have, which would imply that Squall and his companions had at least some effect on these events by experiencing them.  Ellone reveals that she was trying to prevent the death of Raine, and was hoping to reunite her with Laguna.  This proved unsuccessful however, as she realized that you could not alter the events, but only simply view them.  Ellone also explains that part of the reason why Ultimecia is controlling other sorceresses from this time period, is because she needs Ellone's powers to achieve her goal of time compression.

Laguna aged 44, visits Winhill after 17 years.
Eventually Squall and his party meet up with Laguna, after he has been reunited with Ellone.  During this time that Squall's party meets Laguna in person for the first time, he is now 44 years old.  Once aboard the airship Ragnarok, Kiros and Ward make hints to Squall about his parents, stating that he is fortunate for taking after his mother instead of his father.  Laguna also tells Squall that he has something important to tell him afterwards, but it is never stated what it was that Laguna wanted to tell him, and it is never shown either.  Laguna then remains on board the airship Ragnarok, where he helps them prepare for their final battle against Ultimecia.

There are many obvious hints and references throughout the game that imply that Laguna is Squall's father, such as how in the game's ending FMV, it shows a scene where Laguna proposes to Raine, revealing that they were married.  He also visits her grave, which displays the name Raine Loire on it.  This implies that at the time of giving birth to Squall, and passing shortly afterwards, she was indeed giving birth to the child of herself and Laguna.  The connection has also been speculated through the fact that all of their names relate to water, being Laguna, Raine, and Squall.  Because of the evidence portrayed throughout the game, it is obvious that Laguna is indeed the father of Squall Leonhart.  There is also a scene where if the player visits the town of Winhill, Squall will have inexplicable visions of Raine, whom he has never met before in his entire life.  It is believed that the surname Leonhart was chosen by Squall himself, as he never met his true parents.

Abilities

Weapon

Machine Gun: Laguna only uses one weapon throughout the entire game of Final Fantasy VIII.  This is largely due to the bizarre circumstances in which he is a playable character.  Ordinarily the player can collect items and modify more powerful weapons at a junk shop.  Neither Kiros, Ward, or Laguna can have new weapons modified for them.

Magic & Junctioning

Whenever a dream sequence is initiated, the player must associate each member of his party to every character who is involved in the dream sequence.  Squall always experiences the dream sequences through Laguna, therefore his available magic and junctions are always transferred to Laguna.

Limit Break

Desperado: Laguna pulls the pin from a grenade and throws it into the middle of a group of enemies.  He then quickly swings on a rope above his enemies in Tarzan-like fashion shooting them repeatedly with his machine gun.  Aftewards, he swings away as the grenade detonates, causing severe damage to all enemies on screen.

Due to the unique circumstances in which Laguna is a playable character, he only has one limit break that can be used throughout the time he is controlled by the player.

Memorable Quotes

"I feel a draft on my butt..."

"You guys...sure have guts. You know how high this cliff is...!?"
- After throwing Kiros and Ward off a cliff into the ocean, trying to escape from Esthar Soldiers.

 "Oh well, nothing's cheaper than something free."

"It's like killing two pigs with one stone."

"Darn it, did it again! Why don't I ever think things through before I answer?"

"But...who cares!? I speak with passion, from the heart! That's what matters most."

"I see... I didn't understand a word."
- After being giving simple directions on how to reach Dr. Odine's labratory.

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