For over twenty years, the scourge of the Final Fantasy world has been Sephiroth. Debuting as the main antagonist of the epic and instantly hallowed Final Fantasy VII. Appearing on the original PlayStation in 1997, the game didn’t just take role-playing video games by storm. It took the entire video game world by surprise at how great the game was.
The graphics and dazzling video-cut scenes might have been the eye candy to get the mainstream masses. But it was the compelling story, great characters, and completely customizable gameplay (at least by 1997 standards) that helped make the game an instant classic and it's still considered by most to be one of the best video games of all time and one of the greatest of the Final Fantasy series.
The game’s biggest and most heart-wrenching scene was Sephiroth swooping down and ending Aeris (or Aerith) at the conclusion of the first third of the game. There is no Revive Materia for her. No extra life, she’s just gone; the key to saving the planet. One of the few instances where a playable character is done for good.
Why did such a villain resonate with the fans? All of the above reasons that made the game itself popular. The look, the madness, the giant Masamune sword. As the world of Final Fantasy VII has grown over the years, so has the imposing force known as The One-Winged Angel. Here are 15 Superpowers Sephiroth Keeps Hidden (And 10 Strange Weaknesses).
25 Superpower: Demise Won’t Stop Him
Someone once said that demise is just another path we take. Another person stated if they were struck down, they’d become more powerful than imagined. Sephiroth certainly held these truths to be self-evident. Because for the scourge of Final Fantasy VII, passing isn’t that much of a problem for him.
In one of the big events that take place before the game, Cloud, enraged by what Sephiroth did to Tifa and to the town of Niblehiem, took up his friend Zack’s Buster Sword and ended Sephiroth right there. At the beginning of the game, he wasn’t even functioning.
24 Superpower: Can Brainwash People
Sephiroth’s bond with Jenova and her cells is one of the scariest things seen in a video game. Whatever the story called for, Sephiroth was able to do it, through his ability to utilize the Cetra–infecting creature.
Probably the freakiest ability he has through Jenova cells was his ability to brainwash other people, so long as they too were exposed to Jenova cells, which meant plenty of Shinra and SOLDIER warriors, like Cloud; who was responsible for questionable acts under the control of Sephiroth.
23 Weakness: He’s Mentally Unstable
One of the best characteristics of a great supervillians is their convictions in whatever they’re doing is right. Magneto doesn’t see himself as a bad guy, just someone who wants to preserve the mutant race before they’re thrown in the kind of camps that he grew up in. They believe they’re right, and they’re completely insane.
The One-Winged Angel was no different. Once he learned the truth about where he really came from – Hojo infused his mother with Jenova cells, he went completely unhinged. He turned on Hojo and Shinra, and decided the planet needed to be cleansed, and he would make himself a god in the process.
22 Superpower: Can End Dragons With Ease
It seems a little silly to play through flashbacks. The events at Kalm unfold in Final Fantasy VII as a flashback Cloud is remembering. It might have been a little boring to play through, but as flashbacks go, it sets up a lot of the story.
It also helps that during this time in the game, Sephiroth is a playable character for you, in the party. He’s AI-controlled of course, but it’s still pretty cool to see him running with you as part of your team. Even cooler to let yourself perish facing off against the Dragon that Sephiroth can destroy a few quick hits.
21 Superpower: Can Summon Angels
When playing any role-playing game, most times players need to traverse the entire world, facing off against imposing monsters while raising up their levels and maximum hit points. It’s a great feeling to head into the final boss battles maxed out with enough hit points to take on any attack, gratifying that all those hours spent playing would finally pay off.
Then the One-Winged Angel casts Heartless Angel on you and a very real panic sets in that you’re about to start this whole process over again. Heartless Angel is a terrible summon on your party that brings all of that hard work to just 1 meager HP to have to quickly rebound from.
20 Weakness: His God Delusion
In his quest for vengeance against the likes of Shinra and whoever else he deemed necessary to be destroyed, Sephiroth thought it was his destiny to call upon the summon spell, Meteor, and leave a massive scar in the planet. This would essentially help him merge with the Lifestream to become a God.
While Cloud and his friends stopped the madman, Sephiroth was able to unleash a small portion of this power. The final version you face is called Safer-Sephiroth, and his appearance is as Godlike as you’re going to get.
19 Weakness: Constantly Underestimating Cloud
Even in a role-playing game like Final Fantasy VII, there’s plenty of room for over-confident megalomaniacs who yearn for the total destruction of the world or obscene amounts of financial gain. Thanks to all of the skills Sephiroth amassed over the years, he’s no different than your monologuing Bond villain.
That supreme overconfidence of the One-Winged Angel is one of his biggest weaknesses. He has constantly underestimated the power of the people trying to stop him. Cloud in particular, who shouldn’t be underestimated by him at all; considering he’s already stopped Sephiroth once.
18 Superpower: Survived All Of The Experiments Performed On Him
At the beginning of the film, Advent Children, Barrett’s daughter Marlene perfectly describes the Man In The Black Cape: “There was one SOLDIER named Sephiroth, who was better than the rest, but when he found out about the terrible experiments that made him, he began to [dislike] Shinra. And then, over time, he began to [dislike] everything.”
All of those experiments performed on him by Hojo and Shinra…being infused with the Jenova cells since birth. Sephiroth was able to survive all of them, and come out the other side the best that SOLDIER had to offer.
17 Superpower: Can Wield The Masamune
Thanks to all of the experimentation performed on him, the One-Winged Angel was Shinra’s greatest warrior. Like Cloud, he too was ex-SOLDIER. His strength in battle was unmatched. His weapon of choice needed to be equally dangerous.
He wields the Masamune blade. Named after the real world Japanese sword-smith, the sword is a masterpiece of battle. It’s slightly curved enough to impale Aerith from on high. It is also uniquely tailored for a madman like Sephiroth, the blade is seven feet, only he can wield it.
16 Weakness: Safer Sephiroth’s Supernova Doesn’t End You
For all of his bravado and all of his desire to join the Lifestream, Sephiroth’s big bad Limit Break assault can’t actually end anyone in your party. Don’t get cocky when the assault comes, you still need to be ready to cast some healing spells really quick.
Just because it doesn’t end you doesn’t mean that Safer Sephiroth’s Super Nova makes you stronger. Instead, you’re going to get walloped with any and all kinds of status effects: Confuse, Silence, and Slow to name a few. Having your HP reduced greatly isn’t fun either. But the big bad’s big bad attack doesn’t destroy you – a huge weakness to exploit if you know which Materia and spells to arm yourself with.
15 Superpower: Infected The World With Geostigma
After Cloud and company stopped the maniacal Sephiroth from casting Meteor, the city of Midgar was its only casualty; instead of the whole planet. In the years that followed Cloud and Tifa were working as couriers, while a new sickness had been unleashed on the planet – Geostigma.
The disease, as it turned out, was created by Sephiroth. Once he was defeated, the world was infested with this plague, which affected everyone infused with alien Jenova cells. The body tried to fight off “foreign invaders,” but got sick in the process. The cells were actually Sephiroth’s will acting through them.
14 Superpower: Doesn’t Need Materia
In the world of Final Fantasy VII, magic users are able to conjure up all kinds of spells using orbs called Materia. Unlike later games in the series, where there was seemingly a limited amount of magic for users to learn, FFVII had a finite number of slots, so customizing for every battle was essential.
The One-Winged Angel didn’t have that problem. With the exception of the madman's quest for the Black Materia to cast Meteor, Sephiroth didn’t need any Materia to cast spells throughout the game.
13 Weakness: Loves His Mother
We all had one. Even undead guys like Eric Draven knew that mother is the name of god on the lips and hearts of children. Perhaps between his love of his mother and his own god-complex combines for a very potent weakness in the ex-SOLDIER.
Between the truth about his creation and the sorrow he feels for what happened to his mother, not to mention the love he has for her, is what started his descent into madness. Sephiroth never got over the love he had for his mother.
12 Weakness: Has No Chance In The Final Battle
After spending countless hours of leveling up and earning countless weapons, collecting all kinds of items; your party finally reaches the Northern Crater for the final battle with Sephiroth. After spending what would normally be a few hours strategizing and battling Bizarro and Safer Sephiroth, you are transported to a black room.
Slightly panic-stricken that you again have to deal with the monster a third time for another grueling battle, it’s quickly realized that you actually can’t lose the fight. The Masamune reduces you to just one HP, but that’s the worst of it. If you really want to be ridiculous you can just sit back and watch Cloud counterattack until the beautiful ending.
11 Superpower: Can Summon Meteor
What’s the entire story of Final Fantasy VII? To stop Sephiroth from destroying the planet, right? That’s the whole reason Cloud and his buddies band together. It’s what Aerith prayed for help with and tragically perished for. It’s why the planet summoned Holy to save itself.
Using the Black Materia, Sephiroth was able to pull off these feats by summoning the intense and cataclysmic Meteor spell. Only The One-Winged Angel was powerful enough to summon such a destructive force.
10 Superpower: Can Make Multiples Of Himself
When Cloud defeated Sephiroth at Niblehiem, Sephiroth fell into the Lifestream that held the planet together. He was already powerful enough to hold himself together and keep from totally bonding with the Lifestream.
He would become stronger than ever and have more superpowers than he ever had. One of which was being able to conjure up multiple images of himself. This is why and how he never physically appeared in front of Cloud and his friends until they encountered Bizarro Sephiroth at the end of the game.
9 Weakness: Bizarro Sephiroth Conditions
Once you find Sephiroth at the planet’s core, he looks like a grotesque beast. Bizarro Sephiroth looks like a massive enemy to take down, and he can be depending on how high you’ve leveled your party, whether or not you’ve found Yuffie and/or Vincent; and how you defeated Jenova Synthesis.
While most players wouldn’t have been able to pull off all of the mitigating conditions, Bizarro can have only 60,000 HP to deal with. That’s only a few big summon spells with quad-magic attached. Much easier to deal with than a monster that has 180,000 HP.
8 Superpower: Flight
Sephiroth is a master at everything else – a master tactician, swordsman, and he doesn’t even need Materia to cast magic. The Jenova-infused monster can pretty destroy the world until the planet decides to fight back.
Squaresoft, the company behind the Final Fantasy series, broke the mold when they created Sephiroth. Might as well give him even more abilities to deal with. Someone decided he wasn’t imposing enough and decided to give the ability to fly. Picture that discussion – “What else can give to Sephiroth to make him even more of a threat?” “Because he’s not a threat enough? "...Oh, I know, let’s make him fly too!”
7 Superpower: Technically Immortal
In a fit of rage, Cloud actually defeated the One–Winged Angel at Niblehiem. He ran Zack’s Buster Sword right through Sephiroth and left him for the grave. Sephiroth is a highly-skilled SOLDIER who was experimented on, but even he shouldn’t have been able to be run through with a broadsword.
No one, not even Sephiroth could have survived such a killing blow. However, thanks to Jenova cells, Sephiroth didn’t die, he simply merged with the Lifestream, albeit momentarily. Thanks to this ability, Sephiroth is technically immortal; he can be eliminated, but between his willpower and the Lifestream, he won’t be eliminated for long.
6 Weakness: Aurora Fence Attack Restores Your Health
Some video games over the years have had some sort of AI assist feature that will either help the player or the computer, depending on how good you’re doing in the game. Final Fantasy VII even has this feature, right when it counts the most during the final battle.
Bizarro Sephiroth has an attack called the Aurora Fence. For the party, it restores all of your HP and revives KO’ed characters. It also removes all status effects, good and bad. So while you might have recast some of your own status spells, it’s a pretty sweet deal for the big bad to cure the entire party.
5 Weakness: He Won’t Let Loose
Every time Cloud and Sephiroth did battle, he always would find a way to win. Whether it was surprising him at Niblehiem, or during the game itself where the ex–SOLDIER was constantly outnumbered by Cloud and his friends; Sephiroth was always defeated. But he wasn’t going down without a fight.
Even weakened, he was always able to be a convincing threat. For whatever the reason, Sephiroth couldn’t or wouldn’t totally let loose and annihilate everyone. He clearly could have. It’s never explained why he didn’t but had he let loose, Final Fantasy VII would have had a very different ending.
4 Superpower: Could Leave Afterimages Of The Masamune
In the world of Final Fantasy VII, The Masamune blade is one of, if not the most powerful sword in the game. It’s approximately six to eight feet tall and seemingly only can be utilized by a certain white-haired madman ex-SOLDIER bent on eliminating everyone.
Whether it was the power of the sword, the swordsmen, or the combination of the two with Jenova-infused cells, but Sephiroth was able to also create afterimages of the blade to use with all of the copies of himself he could create.
3 Superpower: Jenova Cells Transported Him To The Northern Crater
After underestimating Cloud at Niblehiem and getting severely wounded, if not eliminated, Sephiroth was left for the grave and more than worse for wear. He fell into the Lifestream and was able to keep himself together by sheer force of will.
But it was the alien species Jenova and its cells that really helped power him. His connection to them helped to fuse with Sephiroth, bringing his body to the Northern Crater where he was ensconced in a Mako–cocoon while he regained his full strength.
2 Superpower: Youth Is On His Side
It might not seem like a superpower at first, but when you’re essentially bred for war since you were in utero, it is a superpower that Sephiroth is not even thirty by the time Final Fantasy VII starts. After Hojo dosed his mother with Jenova cells, the One-Winged Angel was raised for the sole purpose of being a dedicated member of SOLDIER for Shinra.
It was a fit of teenage rebellion when he realized what had happened to him. Sephiroth was then ready to wage war against everyone to become one with the Lifestream. You might have thought that a middle-aged battle-hardened veteran would be responsible for the events of the game. But no, the guy wasn’t even 30 yet.
1 Weakness: Bizarro Core Vulnerability
Sometimes, you have to work to expose a heavy weakness in an opponent. After you set up your party combinations, it’s time to start the arduous task of taking down the Jenova-infused Sephiroth once and for all. In what could take an hour or so of attacking, healing, summoning, reviving, and repeating, Cloud and his friends meet the One-Winged Angel first in his Bizarro form.
To expose the behemoth’s weakness, you have to work to take out his Left and Right Magics, along with the head to expose Bizarro’s core. Once exposed, it’s pretty much smooth sailing – just make sure he doesn’t cure himself to restore all that you worked to take out.