Palutena is the goddess of light and ruler of Skyworld (also known as Angel Land) in the Kid Icarus series. She is caring and compassionate toward humans; a trait that not all of her fellow gods and goddesses share. She harbors a longstanding rivalry with Medusa, goddess of darkness and ruler of the underworld. In the first Kid Icarus, Palutena is a damsel in distress that the protagonist Pit must rescue, but in later games works as an adviser and mentor to him.
Although her design has evolved over time, Palutena bears the appearance of a woman in her early twenties with long green hair and eyes. She wears a white dress adorned with golden accessories, and wields a staff and shield. On her head, she wears hair ornaments that wrap around from her forehead like antlers.
When the story begins, the kingdom of Angel Land is ruled over by Palutena, the goddess of light and Medusa, the goddess of darkness. Palutena uses her power over light to aid the mortals and help them farm the land while Medusa, who hates mortals, uses her powers of darkness to destroy their crops and turn them to stone. Palutena takes a stand against Medusa’s evil acts and uses her powers to deform her appearance and banish her to the underworld.
Seeking revenge against Palutena, Medusa assembles an army of evil spirits and monster and orders them to attack the Palace of Light where Palutena resided. In the ensuing war between the demons and angels, the demons claim victory and take over Palutena's palace and Angel Land. Medusa’s army imprisons Palutena, and also steals the three sacred treasures; the Mirror Shield, the Arrow of Light and the Wings of Pegasus. Palutena calls upon Pit, a young angel trapped in the underworld, to save her and uses the last of her energy to bestow him a magical bow.
After striking down the demon army, collecting the three sacred treasures, and defeating Medusa, Pit saves Palutena. In the end, Palutena’s strength is restored and she gives Pit her thanks. In the game's secret ending, Pit becomes a teenager, and Palutena kisses him.
Kid Icarus: Of Myth and Monsters
One night, Palutena has a nightmare in which Angel Land comes under attack by a horde of demons. She seeks the opinion of a soothsayer who tells her that her dream is in fact a vision. An army of demons led by Orcos are destined to attack Angel Land. In response to this threat, Palutena summons Pit to once again obtain the three sacred treasures and train for the coming battle. In the end, Pit saves Angel Land and earns the gratitude of Palutena.
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Palutena appears in Kid Icarus: Uprising to assist and advise Pit as he fights against the Underworld Army following Medusa's return. She is able to grant the power of flight to Pit temporarily for five minutes at a time; during this time, she is also able to control Pit's flight path and speed. At times, she will aid Pit by providing hints and tips on how to deal with the game's puzzles and enemies.
Palutena's personality is much more fleshed out in Uprising than in previous entries in the series. She is depicted as being kind and benevolent toward humans and a helpful mentor to Pit. However, she also has a sharp wit and playfully teases Pit over the course of the game. Despite being a goddess, Palutena is also temperamental about her age; at one point, she becomes annoyed with Phosphora when the latter refers to her as "ma'am."
Following the battle to defeat the Aurum invasion, Palutena is possessed by the Chaos Kin, a chaos demon that Pit had accidentally freed earlier in the game. While under its control, Palutena imprisons Pit's soul in a ring and then lays waste to both Skyworld and the human world for three years. When Pit finally awakens and arrives to save her, he manages to break the Chaos Kin's control over her. However, the demon steals Palutena's soul away from her body, turning her to stone. Pit, Dark Pit, and Viridi team up and chase the Chaos Kin into the chaos realm, destroy it, and revive Palutena once more.
After her revival, Palutena assists Dark Pit in reviving Pit and healing his wings. She then equips Pit with the three sacred treasures in order to do battle with Hades, but after Hades destroys the treasures, she takes Pit to see Dyntos, the God of the Forge that had created them. Dyntos agrees to craft Pit a new sacred treasure with which to battle Hades, but before that, Pit must pass three trials. During the second trial, a copy of Palutena appears as an adversary whom Pit must defeat, but after she takes damage, she distorts, becoming zombie-like and an enemy the game refers to as "Pseudo-Palutena." After Pseudo-Palutena's defeat, the real Palutena reappears during the third trial, apparently having just returned to consciousness after Dyntos had put her under.
During the final battle with Hades, Palutena helps Pit one more time by using her power to charge the new Great Sacred Treasure's cannon. When the cannon is fully charged, Pit pulls the trigger, and Hades is defeated once and for all.
Palutena is voiced for the first time in Kid Icarus: Uprising. In the English language version, she is voiced by Ali Hillis, whose previous roles include Liara T'soni of the Mass Effect trilogy and Lightning of Final Fantasy XIII. In the Japanese version, she is voiced by Aya Hisakawa, whose previous video game roles include Chai Xianghua in the Soul Calibur series and Judith in Tales of Vesperia.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Pit’s final smash attack allowed him to summon Palutena’s army, making an image of Palutena appear in the background of the stage and a horde of angels swoop across the screen, attacking enemies. She also makes a brief appearance in the Subspace Emissary story mode as she assigns Pit a new mission.
Palutena appears in all three animated shorts that were produced for the purpose of promoting Kid Icarus: Uprising. In Thanatos Rising, she aids Pit by advising him and controlling his flight path as she does in the game. The second short, Medusa's Revenge, focuses on her rivalry with Medusa. The third and final short, Palutena's Revolting Dinner, is a slapstick comedy in which she does battle with an army of vegetables that threaten to destroy Skyworld.