Vanessa Z. Schneider, the protagonist of P.N.03 makes her living as a mercenary, and does it in a strangely groovy fashion. She snaps her fingers, taps her foot, bobs her head and wiggles her butt, but she doesn't dance to the music - a common misinterception. She executes beautiful and sometimes erotic dance moves as she fires Energy Drives - special attacks which are the game's equivalent to smart bombs in classic 2D shooters.
Vanessa has a sarcastic attitude, and often talks back to her client in a childish manner, like telling the client "I've gotten used to you, haven't I?" when the client asks if Vanessa has gotten used to her Aegis Suits yet (and that the Aegis Suits takes some time to get used to). Vanessa also sees through several of the client's seemingly attempts to care about Vanessa, when all the client really cares about is to get the job done.
Arrogant body language
Despite having her parents murdered, Vanessa seems to be pretty carefree and doesn't take everything seriously. Her moves are arrogant towards her robotic enemies, which is highlighted in the game's intro where she just stands, tapping her foot and snapping her fingers, as two laser beams pass a few inches to the left and right of her face. When this happens, her face remains completely neutral. Then she just finish them off with the Swan Energy Drive and the game starts.
Her multinational name
The name Vanessa Z. Schneider is, according to the game's director Shinji Mikami, a combination of French, English and German names, as Mikami didn't want Vanessa to have a set home country. Vanessa is French, Z. is English and Schneider is German. Vanessa speaks English with a German accent, which sometimes breaks due to bad voice acting (which is most likely in turn due to the fact that the game was extremely rushed, something that Mikami has confirmed).
The game's producer, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, told IGN in an interview that " I wanted a cool and sexy mercenary with a tough exterior that hides her dark past." When Vanessa aquires semi-automatic fire for one of her suits, she shakes her butt left and right while she fires. When she aquires full automatic fire, she starts to gyrate while firing - this is by far her most famous move. It's not exaggerated to state that this move is more famous than the game itself today.
Normal Aegis Suits
Vanessa gets most of her powers from her Aegis Suits, which are directly connected to her spinal cord for lightning quick reflexes. She starts off with the Prima Fusion, which is the white/grey suit seen in most artworks. During the game, after collecting enough points by destroying enemies, Vanessa can buy new Aegis Suits from a shop. These are all colored variations of the Prima Fusion. For example, the Prima Guardian is ice blue instead if grey, and the Prima Blazer is yellow instead of grey. Other suits, like the Intera Blazer, changes even the white colors to red and black. All of the normal Aegis Suits can be obtained from the shop by spending enough points.
The Blackbird is a special, all-black Aegis Suit Vanessa can obtain under certain conditions. These conditions varies between the Japanese and the western version of the game. The Blackbird have all stats maxed out, which makes it the second best suit in the game.
The last suit Vanessa can aquire is called the Papillon. Papillon is French for butterfly, and Vanessa has a butterfly tatoo on her belly when wearing this suit. The Papillon basically consists of a tube top, butt-less chaps and a g-string, making most of Vanessa's bare buttocks hang out. Gameplay-wise, the Papillon differs in a big way - one hit is enough to kill Vanessa, and the suit's defense can't be upgraded. On the other hand, it has every Energy Drive built-in, which makes this the best suit in the game (pro players don't get hit, but will use different Energy Drives for different situations). In the Japanese version however, only three Energy Drives are at Vanessa's disposal - but the player can choose which three freely.
Impressively, all of her animations - including the dance moves for energy drives - were animated by Kenichi Ueda; no motion capture was used.
Vanessa was voiced by Jennifer Hale. She only talks during Mission 9 and in the ending sequence.