|“||Look into my eyes... You're-going-to-like-me... You're-going-to-like-me... Did it work?||„|
|~ Rinoa Heartilly to Squall Leonhart|
She is best known for her trademark angel wings printed on the back of her duster sweater and, as such, her "character symbol" is a white feather that signifies the wings. She is Squall Leonhart's love interest, and is featured in the game's logo with him. In battle, Rinoa wields a unique weapon called the Blaster Edge, a bladed projectile she shoots toward the enemy from a firing mechanism on her left arm. After hitting the target, the projectile returns to Rinoa like a boomerang. Rinoa owns a pet, a faithful dog named Angelo that accompanies Rinoa in battle by attacking the enemy or aiding the party.
Rinoa's shoulder-length black hair has three caramel highlights on both sides of her face. Her eyes are dark brown.
Rinoa is first seen at the SeeD ball wearing an off-white sheer fabric halter dress, her signature necklace, a bracelet on her right arm, and white shoes. She appears in the ballroom outfit again at the Garden Festival event in Fishermans Horizon. Her signature outfit is a long, sleeveless, blue rib-knit duster sweater that has a pair of white wing designs on the back. She wears matching rib-knit arm warmers, a black tank top, a denim button-up skirt, a black ribbon on her left arm, and black bike shorts that have zippers going down the front and a pair of silver buckled black boots. Her necklace features a ring. Just before the Battle of the Gardens starts, she receives Squall's Griever ring from Zell, who borrowed it to make Rinoa a replica. Rinoa adds the Griever ring to her necklace and wears it along with her own for the remainder of the game.
Apart from the angel wings symbol and her ring, shooting stars have a significance to Rinoa. She points at one when first met and also in the final moments of the game's ending. Her strongest weapon is named Shooting Star and one of her most powerful Limit Breaks is called Wishing Star.
Rinoa is compassionate, warm, and friendly, although she can act stubborn and naive. Despite being born to a well-to-do family and her father being an important figure in Galbadian military, she is greatly concerned by the troubles in the world. Rinoa joins a resistance movement fighting against Galbadia to achieve Timber's independence in a mixture of genuine desire to fight for a resistance movement and rebellion against her father. However, the Owls are rather amateurish and she has very little experience with the realities of rigorous, constant combat and is unnerved at the prospect of fighting solo, as she admits to Squall at the parade. She can be impulsive and act without thinking, which gets her into trouble on some occasions. On the other hand, she is very loyal to her friends and committed to doing what she thinks is right regardless of the consequences. She refuses to abandon them when she's given the opportunity and can be quite forceful in helping them.
She also clashes with the SeeD members several times, most notably Squall and Quistis, for what she perceives as a cold and mechanical attitude and their impatience with her inexperience. Rinoa serves as a foil to Squall in particular, as a person who had a normal upbringing and who can freely express emotion. Although she initially dislikes him for his coldness towards his teammates and disdain for the Timber Owls, Rinoa gradually becomes more interested in Squall throughout the game. She encourages him to open up and talk about his feelings, as well as teasing him playfully to try and break through his shell.