The first few Final Fantasy games didn't have memorable villains. Garland and Chaos in Final Fantasy were little more than piles of numbers that you needed to whittle down and the Emperor from Final Fantasy II was just a Star Wars villain with unexplained power-ups.
Additionally, Final Fantasy III didn't have a main villain of note, Golbez was just Darth Vader and Zeromus only showed up at the end to be killed, and Exdeath was so boring that he was upstaged by his wacky sidekick. Kefka from Final Fantasy VI was an awesome villain, but he has always stood in the shadow of the man who came after him - Sephiroth.
Sephiroth has some of the most memorable scenes in the Final Fantasy series. Everything from the destruction of Nibelheim to his horrific final form has become iconic moments in video game history. Sephiroth just oozes coolness, which is partly why he stands out from the rest of the jobbers that act as final bosses in the other Final Fantasy games.
We are here today to look into the past one of the greatest video game villains of all time.
From his boy band connections to the secret of his final stand, here are 15 Things You Didn't Know About Sephiroth from Final Fantasy!
15 You Cannot Lose In The Final Battle Against Him
One of the unanswered questions regarding Final Fantasy VII is whether the final battle of the game actually happened or if it was all happening in the minds of the party.
The final dungeon features battles against some incredibly weird looking creatures, which culminates in the battle against a body horror recreation of Sephiroth. Is Safer-Sephiroth real or is just an effect of the Mako emanating from Sephiroth's corpse?
The actual final battle in Final Fantasy VII takes place within Cloud's mind. He finally defeats the part of Sephiroth that has remained within Cloud's consciousness since the Nibelheim incident.
This final battle is actually impossible to lose. Sephiroth's attacks can only knock Cloud down to one hit point and won't kill him. Cloud can either use Omnislash (which will appear even if he hasn't learned it) or kill Sephiroth with an automatic counterattack.
The true end boss of Final Fantasy VII is Safer-Sephiroth, as this last battle is only meant to prove that Sephiroth was ultimately a lot weaker, both as a person and a warrior than even he ever suspected.
14 He Ended His Own Life In Last Order
The events surrounding the Nibelheim incident are unclear, which is likely an intentional decision on Square Enix's part. You are given a glimpse into the events of Sephiroth discovering the truth of his birth through Cloud's skewed and manipulated memories of the past, which even he admits doesn't totally add up. We also see different versions of the events in Crisis Core and in an animated movie called Last Order: Final Fantasy VII.
One of the ways in which the story of the Nibelheim incident changed in Last Order was in the method of Sephiroth's death. In Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core, Cloud kills Sephiroth by throwing him into a Mako reactor.
In Last Order, Sephiroth actually kills himself by willingly leaping into the Mako reactor whilst holding the head of Jenova. This change has been criticised by fans, though it makes more sense than Cloud pole vaulting Sephiroth into the Mako while he has a sword stuck inside of him.
13 Cloud's Memory Is Keeping Him Alive
In the world of Final Fantasy VII, all lifeforms return to an entity known as the Lifestream when they die. The Lifestream will then bring them back in a new form and the cycle continues anew.
Sephiroth was able to survive his death by clinging onto his consciousness in the Lifestream. This is likely easier because of the Jenova cells within his body that make him different from other lifeforms that come from the planet.
Sephiroth was able to recover his damaged body within the Northern Cave, though he was unable to move. This is why he needs to act through the Jenova bodies, as they are the only way he can interact with the world.
A series of novellas called On the Way to a Smile were released to promote Advent Children. One of these was called Lifestream Black and they followed Sephiroth within the Lifestream after the events of Final Fantasy VII. It turns out that Sephiroth is unable to die so long as Cloud still has memories of him. Cloud would need to die in order to prevent Sephiroth from ever returning.
12 The Fiend From Final Fantasy VI Was Originally Going To Be Called Sephiroth
The main designer responsible for Final Fantasy VII was Tetsuya Nomura. He created all of the characters and monsters in the game, as well as coming up with other visual and story designs.
This was a huge step up for Nomura, as most of the character designs in Final Fantasy VI were created by Yoshitaka Amano. Nomura was given a lot more creative control with Final Fantasy VII, which helped make him one of the most important people at Squaresoft.
It seems that Nomura may have already been planning Final Fantasy VII while he was still working on Final Fantasy VI. According to his concept art for the game, the Fiend boss was originally known as Sephiroth. This is one of the three members of the Warring Triad, which the player battles near the end of the game.
A version of the Fiend appeared as a boss in Final Fantasy XIV, where it is referred to as Sephirot, the Fiend. The altered name is likely to prevent any confusion with Sephiroth.
11 He Was Originally An Addict/Sister Lover
Final Fantasy VII underwent numerous changes and shifts during its development, which mirrored events that were happening in real life. Squaresoft was eager to enter the 32-bit era of gaming, with the addition of 3D graphics and stereo quality audio to their titles.
When it became obvious that Nintendo was sticking to cartridges with their next console, Square decided to jump ship to Sony and their PlayStation. Final Fantasy VII represents a huge shift in the gaming world, which helped to seal its legacy in video game history.
The characters in Final Fantasy VII underwent numerous changes throughout development. Sephiroth was no exception to this, as his relationship with Aerith changed from being lovers to siblings, which is why their hairstyle is so similar in the final version of the game.
Sephiroth was also planned to be addicted to Mako as if it were a drug. This is because it allowed him to access the power of Jenova within his body. Sephiroth would become hopelessly addicted to Mako and would undergo severe personality changes during withdrawals.
10 He Was Voiced By A Member Of NYSNC
The arrival of the first Kingdom Hearts game was hotly anticipated by fans of Disney and Final Fantasy alike. This was a game that gave Cloud Strife the chance to fight alongside Donald Duck against hordes of shadow monsters. Crossovers like that almost never happened back then, which is what made Kingdom Hearts stand out from the competition.
Kingdom Hearts did receive a lot of abuse online before its release due to the reveal of Sephiroth's voice actor. The most beloved Final Fantasy villain of all time was voiced by Lance Bass, who is best known for being a member of NSYNC. The idea that a singer from a boy band was going to voice Sephiroth was harshly received by many fans, even though he barely had any lines in the game.
Lance Bass was replaced by George Newbern, who has voiced Sephiroth in all of his movie and video game appearances since.
9 The Limit Break Retcon
You are briefly given the opportunity to use Sephiroth as a party member during the Nibelheim flashback in Final Fantasy VII. The player is given the chance to see first-hand just how powerful he really is. Sephiroth is able to slay dragons with a single swing of his sword while possessing a huge range of powerful magic spells.
Sephiroth is the only playable character in Final Fantasy VII that doesn't have any Limit Breaks. This is due to the fact that you only use him for a brief period of time.
The later games in the Final Fantasy VII collection have retconned certain details about Sephiroth, one of which includes his Limit Break. In Final Fantasy VII -Crisis Core- you can encounter a member of Sephiroth's fan club who reveals that the Supernova attack used by Safer-Sephiroth is actually his Limit Break.
The reason this is considered to be a retcon is that when Safer-Sephiroth uses Supernova in Final Fantasy VII, it plays the same sound effect used when summoning a monster, rather than the one used when a Limit Break is activated.
8 The Shinra Corporation Provided His Shampoo & Conditioner
One aspect of Sephiroth that made him more popular than the other Final Fantasy villains is that he is a handsome man who appeals to those who are attracted to anime/video game characters. Sephiroth has a significant fanbase who are willing to look past the whole "attempted genocide" thing because he is deemed attractive by them.
The only other Final Fantasy villains who come close in that regard are Jecht (for those with daddy issues) and Kefka (for those who are attracted to sexy clowns.)
In Crisis Core, Zack can join a group of Sephiroth fangirls called the Silver Elite. They will send you emails with information concerning Sephiroth, which includes a message about his hair.
One of the mail messages you get from the Silver Elite reveals that the Shinra Electric Power Company provides Sephiroth with specially made shampoo and conditioner that are scented with thirteen different kinds of perfume. Sephiroth goes through a whole bottle of each whenever he washes his hair.
The Shinra executives might not care about draining the life from the planet, but at least they want all of their top soldiers to avoid dandruff and split ends.
7 Bizarro-Sephiroth's Stats Change Depending On Your Actions
The last combat encounter in Final Fantasy VII is a series of battles that take place one after the other. After defeating Jenova-SYNTHESIS, the player is thrust into their first battle against the mutated body of Sephiroth that has lingered on within the Lifestream.
Bizarro-Sephiroth looks like the Final Fantasy villains of old, with its monstrous body that is composed of several different aesthetic elements, one of which includes the angel wings that become important to his next form.
Bizarro-Sephiroth's name is apt, as it is one of the strangest battles in the entire game. The way in which you battle it changes depending on your actions throughout the game.
If you took a long time battling Jenova-SYNTHESIS and have a low-level party, then only one group gets to fight Bizarro-Sephiroth. If you picked up Vincent & Yuffie and have a high-level party, then you have to split the group into three and take on a far more complex version of the battle.
The stats for Bizarro-Sephiroth will be increased for every level ninety-nine character you bring into the battle with you. Its health will also be increased if you used Knights of the Round during the battle against Jenova-SYNTHESIS.
6 The Monster Hunter Crossover
In the same way that the Final Fantasy series jumped ship from Nintendo to Sony in the '90s, Capcom surprised everyone by doing the opposite with the Monster Hunter games. The Monster Hunter series became a national phenomenon in Japan when the PlayStation Portable versions of the game became huge hits.
The series moved to the Nintendo 3DS with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, which was likely due to the larger userbase, especially outside of Japan.
The new relationship between Monster Hunter and Nintendo allowed for a lot of crossovers with series like The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing. These collaborations included other companies, like Square Enix, who released a suit of Palico armor which resembled the outfit worn by the Warrior of Light in Final Fantasy.
A weapon called the Wing of Judgement was released as part of the Square Enix collaboration with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. This is a large scythe-like sword that ends in a blade shaped like a black wing. If you look closely at the shaft of the weapon, you can see the head of Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII has been included as part of the design.
5 The Death Of Aerith Was Full Of Inconsistencies
By far the most iconic scene in Final Fantasy VII is the death of Aerith. This is considered to be one of the most important moments in video game history, as it was the first time that the death of a character truly mattered to the player. Aerith wasn't the first Final Fantasy character to die, though the others weren't as emotional, except for maybe Galuf in Final Fantasy V.
Fans have noticed that there are numerous inconsistencies with the death of Aerith in Final Fantasy VII. Sephiroth's gloves keep appearing and disappearing when he descends from the ceiling, while both his and Aerith's positions also keep changing. The location also looks weird, as the tiled floor becomes bare at the end of the cutscene.
It's possible that all Final Fantasy cutscenes have these kinds of errors and that people only noticed these because they happened during the most important one of all.
These inconsistencies have also fuelled a fan theory that suggests that Aerith was meant to die later in the game, as she does have some unique dialogue after the events of her death if you hack her back into your party using cheat devices.
4 His Name Refers To The Manifestations Of God
The name Sephiroth wasn't picked out of a hat. It is a Hebrew word that comes from Kabbalah, which is an offshoot of Judaism. Sephiroth comes from the word "Sefirot," which refers to the ten manifestations of God within the world, through which he may enter the human consciousness.
The meaning behind Sephiroth's name becomes more apparent on the second playthrough of Final Fantasy VII. Sephiroth was killed by Cloud during the Nibelheim incident, yet his mind was able to resist assimilation into the Lifestream, which allowed him to recreate his body in the Northern Cave.
The body of Sephiroth is trapped within Mako, so he needs to use the pieces of Jenova to manifest in the world, which includes his gear and weapons. The body of Jenova that is contained within the Shinra Headquarters is what allows Sephiroth to return to the world and set his plans for the Black Materia in motion.
3 He Has His Own Perfume
The Final Fantasy series has become one of the biggest and most recognizable franchises in the video game industry. Final Fantasy VII helped the series find a mainstream audience, which has only grown with each new game.
Square Enix has capitalized on this fame with a ton of merchandise relating to the series, including figures, posters, keychains, and every kind of knick-knack you could imagine. You're probably going to want to get a mortgage if you want to collect all of the Play Arts Kai figures, as they can be pretty expensive.
Square Enix has released four different Final Fantasy-themed perfumes over the years, which have been based on Cloud, Lightning, Noctis, and Sephiroth. The Sephiroth perfume comes in a stylish black bottle that has a little charm attached to it in the shape of a black wing.
It smells like fruits and spices, instead of a sweaty dude in leather or burnt corpses, which would be more accurate to what he would actually smell like-- minus the smell of his amazing hair products.
2 The Japanese Version Of Supernova Was Totally Different
Final Fantasy VII has no respect for the player's time. The game had no problem including lengthy animations for the summoned monsters, which you had to sit through every single time you used them.
This was because Squaresoft was so impressed with their 3D technology that they assumed people would want to sit through almost two minutes of the Knights of the Round animation for the rest of time. The later games in the series rectified this by letting you skip through the summon sequences.
Sephiroth's Supernova attack is even longer than Knights of the Round, as you have to sit and watch a meteor blow up most of the solar system, before hitting you for percentage damage, as something that destroys several planets cannot actually kill your party.
The original Japanese version of Supernova was totally different from the International versions of the game. This version of Supernova shows a brief image of planets followed by a flash of light, which dealt direct damage. It seems that Squaresoft preferred the more complex version of Supernova, as it is the one included in all later ports of the game.
1 The Masamune Is A Viable Weapon In Real Life
Anyone who has tried to cosplay Sephiroth knows what a pain in the ass it is to carry around a replica of the Masamune all day. This extends to a lot of Final Fantasy characters who use annoyingly large weapons, like Cloud or Garland. The Masamune is so long that even one made out of cardboard is unwieldy to hold or swing for extended periods of time.
The YouTube show Man at Arms is dedicated to making real-life versions of fictional weapons, like the Fierce Deity Sword from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. They once did an episode where they created a real version of the Masamune.
The most surprising thing about a real Masamune is that it can actually be used as a viable weapon, though you would need to be incredibly strong to use it effectively. An average person would be able to get a few good swings in with the Masamune before it tired them out.
Man at Arms also created a real version of the Buster Sword, which turned out to be way less viable as a weapon than the Masamune. It took two people to lift the Buster Sword and even they couldn't hold it for very long.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Final Fantasy's Sephiroth? Let us know in the comment section!
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