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Sephiroth (Final Fantasy)

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Sephiroth

Sephiroth artwork by Tetsuya Nomura

Sephiroth is a fictional character and main antagonist in Square's (now Square Enix) role-playing game Final Fantasy VII. He was designed by character designer Tetsuya Nomura and is characterized as a tall man with long silver hair. His appearance was intended to contrast directly with that of the main character, Cloud Strife. Sephiroth's English-language voice actor is Lance Bass in Kingdom Hearts and George Newbern in all other appearances. His Japanese-language voice actor (seiyū) is Toshiyuki Morikawa, although Shin-ichiro Miki voiced the character in Ehrgeiz.

In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth serves as the primary antagonist who attempts to become a god by absorbing the planet's energy. He has also made appearances in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts series, and Final Fantasy: Dissidia.

Sephiroth has been well-received within the video game community due to his complex motivations and his iconic appearance, particularly his extremely long sword, Masamune. As a result, he is regularly featured in top positions on many "best villain" lists and character polls assembled by game publications and fans.

AppearanceEdit

Sephiroth Amano

Artwork by Yoshitaka Amano, depicting a right-handed Sephiroth.

Sephiroth's early designs were done by Yoshitaka Amano and later refined by Tetsuya Nomura. Sephiroth, in all his appearances, wears a long black coat with silver pauldrons, black boots and black clothing underneath. The top of his clothing underneath his uniform is split to reveal his chest, covered by crossing leather straps. His hair is long and silver, a sharp contrast to Cloud Strife's blond spikes, with his bangs parted to either side of his face. Beyond his clothing and hair, Sephiroth is known for his green cat-like eyes and the Masamune, his seven-foot long katana that he is rarely seen without. Sephiroth's typical battle stance with the sword is to hold it over his left shoulder, curving downwards. He wields the Masamune two-handed, presumably to increase the force of his strikes, as he is perfectly capable of using it with one hand.

This appearance has been noted to parallel Satan - some texts describe Satan as a man in a dark cloak, which is also referenced in one of Sephiroth's musical themes, "Chasing the Man in the Black Cape". Sephiroth is left-handed, another attribute that has been associated with evil, the word "sinister" being derived from the Latin word sinistral, meaning "left-handed". Beginning with the Kingdom Hearts series and carrying over to Advent Children and Dissidia, Sephiroth bears a large, black feathered wing over his right shoulder, another allusion to Satan, who was a fallen angel. Although how Sephiroth manifests his wing is not explained, it is shown in Crisis Core that both Angeal Hewley and Genesis Rhapsodos possess similar wings. Thus, Sephiroth's wing may just be a result of his high exposure to Mako or Jenova cells, although this does not explain why he does not have the wing when first shown in Final Fantasy VII.

In the "Compilation of Final Fantasy VII", Sephiroth's uniform basically remains the same as in Final Fantasy VII, but now his coat has several buckles instead of just one and the traditional "SOLDIER" symbol in his belt is replaced by the new one, which was redesigned for the Compilation. In Advent Children, Sephiroth's hair was animated by hand to make sure it looked as real as possible, and he was given an otherworldly appearance with, as co-director Takeshi Nozue stated, "an attractive nose and thin lips. It's a face you'd never see in real life". In the Kingdom Hearts series, Sephiroth retains his core design of silver hair and a black cloak, but his clothing is now given red linings, his cloak has changed shape slightly, and he bears his black wing over his right shoulder. In Dissidia, Sephiroth's design is similar to his Final Fantasy VII design, but his pauldrons are changed to resemble Amano's artwork and his coat is closed by a belt as in Nomura's design.

CharacterEdit

Sephiroth Portrait

Sephiroth's personality is one of cold ruthlessness. Prior to his madness, he was not particularly anti-social, as he has friends in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and willingly tells Zack and Tifa about Mako and Materia on Mt. Nibel. All the same, his cold exterior and professional attitude turn people away. He is very intelligent, and is respectful to those he deems worthy - he considered Professor Gast a great scientist, but looked down on Professor Hojo and described him as "a walking mass of complexes". Sephiroth is confident to the point of arrogance, but as the strongest SOLDIER alive it could easily be argued he has the right to be. Well-spoken and somewhat graceful, Sephiroth is universally calm, collected and in control. He can be frustrated and caught off his guard, but this rarely happens.

Following his fall into insanity, Sephiroth retains most of the above personality traits, but becomes murderous and vengeful as well. He also develops something of a messiah complex, proclaiming several times that he is "the chosen one", destined to lead the planet and become a God. His intelligence has increased vastly following his time in the Lifestream, and he has absorbed the knowledge of the Ancients there. At one point, Sephiroth even says he is greater than the Ancients. He has become highly cruel and delights in mentally torturing Cloud, and in Advent Children, in one of his iconic lines, asks Cloud what he cherishes so he may simply take it from him. Sephiroth is also fiercely devoted to Jenova and her cause, even though her body serves as little more than his avatar.

StoryEdit

Birth and Early Life Edit

"I knew ever since I was a child, I was not like the others. I knew mine was a special existence."-Sephiroth in Crisis Core

Sephiroth was born approximately 30 years before the start of the game (Exact year left unknown) to Professor Hojo and Lucrecia Crescent. Sephiroth's exact birthplace is unknown, but is widely speculated to be Nibelheim - this is where the Jenova Project began, and Sephiroth later remarks during a mission to the town that it seems familiar to him. Before Sephiroth's birth, Hojo and Lucrecia were working as assistants to Professor Gast, Shinra's top scientist, on the Jenova Project. The project studied the remains of an extra-terrestrial entity known as Jenova, which was mistakenly thought to be one of the Cetra, an ancient people of the world that the game takes place in. Hojo injected cell samples from Jenova into the pregnant Lucrecia. Lucrecia then carried Sephiroth to term, his fetal form merging with the cells of Jenova as it developed.

Before Crisis Sephiroth

After his birth, Shinra raised Sephiroth to be a super soldier, the very first SOLDIER. They told him nothing of his mother except that her name was "Jenova." He was not aware his father was the Shinra scientist 'Hojo' whom he referred to as "inexperienced" and "a walking mass of complexes" - he however, respected Professor Gast, until he left Shinra under the guidance of Ifalna. Sephiroth proved to be an incredibly strong and effective member of SOLDIER, gaining worldwide fame for his exploits such as his role in Midgar's victory against Wutai. President Shinra comes to rely on Sephiroth during the events of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, calling Sephiroth in whenever the situation personally threatens the President's life, like during the first AVALANCHE attack on Junon. Sephiroth engages the AVALANCHE leader, Elfé, but she blocks his strikes, impressing him. While the two are fighting, Elfé questions why Sephiroth is fighting. She asks whether if he ever wants to "fight for a reason", which seems to have a profound effect on the SOLDIER. The results of Sephiroth choosing to fight for a reason would one day threaten the entire Planet's existence.

In SOLDIER Sephiroth had two friends, Angeal Hewley and Genesis Rhapsodos. Though all three were rival SOLDIERs First Class, they each saw each other as close friends. When Genesis and Sephiroth duel in the virtual reality Junon, Sephiroth seems to be the stronger, but it ends inconclusively. Angeal stops the fight before either hurt each other too badly. The small wound Genesis takes does not heal. Sephiroth offers his blood as a transfusion, but is told that his blood is not compatible. Genesis eventually defects from Shinra, making Sephiroth very uneasy about his missions against him. Just before his final mission, Sephiroth hints that he may leave Shinra altogether.

Descent Into MadnessEdit

Sephiroth Crisis Core

Sephiroth as seen in Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII

Main article: Nibelheim Incident

"I've always felt since I was small...That I was different from the others. Special, in some way. But... this is not what I meant..."-Sephiroth in Crisis Core

In the events of Crisis Core and Last Order, taking place five years before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII itself, Sephiroth was ordered to inspect the Mako Reactor outside the town of Nibelheim with a small entourage, consisting of one other member of SOLDIER and a few Shinra MPs. Among this group was his friend and SOLDIER 1st Class member Zack and a 16-year-old Shinra trooper named Cloud Strife. At the reactor, Sephiroth found several pod-like chambers containing monstrous creatures, apparently former humans, possibly mutated by injection with Jenova cells and exposure to Mako. Deeper inside, he found a larger chamber labeled "JENOVA," which contained a very strange feminine-looking creature. When Zack suggests a connection between SOLDIER and the creatures in the tanks, Sephiroth flies into a rage.

Crisis Core shows an expanded version of events at the Nibelheim incident, and Genesis plays a large part in Sephiroth's madness. During this time, Genesis tells Sephiroth that he was born from the Jenova Project, which was used to produce a 'monster'. Going in more depth about Jenova, and the Jenova Project, Genesis states more facts, but Sephiroth himself does not understand all of what Genesis tries to tells him.

Deeply disturbed by the fact that the creature had the same name as his "mother" and by the idea that he himself might have been created in an experiment similar to the one that created the monsters in the pods, Sephiroth made his way to the mansion that had been occupied by Shinra researchers and began reading the research notes that were located in the basement library. As a result of what he learned, Sephiroth became enraged and psychotic. Based on the Shinra reports, he came to believe that Jenova was a Cetra, and therefore that he himself, Jenova's "son," was the last survivor of the Cetra. He also believed that the human race had betrayed the Cetra 2,000 years earlier, leaving them alone to defend the Planet from a calamity it had faced (eventually revealed to have been Jenova itself), and resolved to take vengeance for his "ancestors."

Sephiroth proceeded to destroy Nibelheim, setting the town to the flame, before returning to the reactor to claim Jenova's remains. He is followed by Tifa, Zack and Cloud. At the reactor, Tifa takes up Sephiroth's Masamune from her father's corpse and attacks him, but he disarms her and cuts her down. Shortly after entering Jenova's chamber, Zack arrives and attacks him. In Final Fantasy VII he is easily defeated, but Crisis Core retcons this into a full battle. Either way, Zack is defeated and tossed out of the chamber. Cloud enters the reactor and picks up Zack's Buster Sword, rushing after Sephiroth. Caught off-guard, Sephiroth is impaled through the abdomen.

Due to Sephiroth's enhanced anatomy, however, he survived Cloud's assault, though wounded greatly. As Cloud left him to tend to Tifa, Sephiroth sliced off Jenova's head and stumbled from the room. Cloud attacks him again, but Sephiroth stabs him with the Masamune. Cloud summons unknown strength and uses the sword as a lever, hurling Sephiroth into a pool of Mako below the reactor. In Last Order, it was retconed that Cloud only managed to fling Sephiroth into the wall, and that Sephiroth jumped into the Mako pool as a means of escape, stunned by Cloud's strength. No other version of the Nibelheim incident shows events going this way.

Four Year Disappearance Edit

Sephiroth Last Order

Sephiroth, as seen in Last Order

Following this, Shinra sealed the records on Sephiroth and rebuilt Nibelheim in order to cover up the incident, populating it with Shinra employees paid to act as the town's citizens. However, the renegade SOLDIER survived the plunge, and spent the next few years traveling the Lifestream, learning the secrets of the Ancients. In particular, Sephiroth learned of the Black Materia, which could call the ultimate black magic, Meteor. Sephiroth eventually came to rest in the Northern Crater, the site of Jenova's landing 2000 years ago. Crystallized in Mako to increase his powers, Sephiroth would remain in hibernation for some time, using his newfound influence over Jenova to act through her.

Hojo meanwhile decided to make use of the surviving residents of Nibelheim, and so commissioned them against their wills to take part in an experiment that would hopefully prove his Jenova Reunion Theory, a theory that states that when Jenova's cells are separated, they will seek to rejoin each other. Hojo injected the survivors with Mako and Jenova cells, dubbing them "Sephiroth Clones". Cloud and Zack were two of Hojo's subjects for this experiment, and they would spend the next four years as his prisoners in the Shinra Mansion of Nibelheim. Shortly before the main events of Final Fantasy VII begin, Zack broke free and took the semi-comatose Cloud with him. Around this point in time, the call of the Reunion began to go out, and the Sephiroth clones began making their way toward the Northern Crater to join with Sephiroth.

Approximately five years after his supposed death, Sephiroth enacted his plan to find the Black Materia. Jenova's remains, which had been moved to Shinra Headquarters, took on Sephiroth's form and broke out of containment. Jenova/Sephiroth then released Cloud and the members of AVALANCHE, who were being held prisoner, and killed President Shinra. Sephiroth subsequently began searching for clues to the location of the Black Materia. Cloud, seeing Sephiroth's Masamune left at the scene of President Shinra's death, suspects he may be alive and sets out with AVALANCHE to find him and settle the score for what happened to Nibelheim.

Return Edit

Sephiroth-hibernation

Sephiroth hibernating in the Whirlwind Maze

The party first sees Sephiroth on the Cargo Ship, where he alludes to the Jenova Reunion. He also appears some time later in Nibelheim, where he again mentions the Reunion. When Cloud and his allies discover that Sephiroth is tracking down the Black Materia, they go to the Temple of the Ancients to acquire it first. There they again find Sephiroth, who tells them the full extent of his plans - the Planet relies on the Lifestream to heal itself when wounded. Using the Black Materia, Sephiroth plans to use it to call Meteor to strike the Planet, causing another large wound. Sephiroth would then place himself at the center of this wound, merging with the Lifestream and taking control of it, becoming a God ruling over the Planet.

Cloud succeeds in acquiring the Black Materia, but Sephiroth exerts his influence over Jenova's cells and takes control of Cloud, who hands the Materia over to Jenova. At this time Aeris Gainsborough, the true last survivor of the Cetra, tried to use the White Materia given to her by her mother to summon the force called Holy, the only power able to counter Meteor. During her attempt to call forth this Ultimate White Magic, Sephiroth fell from above and impaled her with his sword, killing the flower girl. Though Aeris had successfully called Holy, it was now being held back within the Planet by Sephiroth, preventing it from moving with his will as augmented by Jenova's power. Cloud and his allies continued tracking Sephiroth to the Northern Crater.

At the crater, Cloud kills Jenova in Sephiroth's form and reclaims the Black Materia. Shortly after, Sephiroth's true body is seen in its Mako cocoon, and Sephiroth's mental manipulations of Cloud's weakened mind take their toll. Believing himself nothing more than a cluster of Jenova cells who had taken on the memories of a boy named "Cloud" and the deceased Zack, Cloud delivers the Black Materia to Sephiroth, who uses it. The crater collapses, and Cloud's allies are forced to flee with Rufus Shinra to escape. Sephiroth unleashes the WEAPON from their sleep and erects an energy barrier over the crater to keep them from detecting him.

Meteor Falls Edit

Sephiroth's death

Sephiroth is defeated

With the Weapons causing chaos and keeping his enemies from rallying against him, Sephiroth began shapeshifting his body into a form befitting a God, awaiting the arrival of Meteor. Cloud was eventually recovered by his allies, and they received unlikely assistance from Shinra, who fired the massive Mako cannon known as the Sister Ray at the Northern Crater, piercing Sephiroth's barrier and allowing Cloud and his allies to enter the crater and find Sephiroth.

Descending into the crater, they eventually find Sephiroth at the Planet's core, blocking Holy from stopping Meteor as it began its impact. After they dispatched Sephiroth's larva-like "Bizarro Sephiroth" form, Sephiroth emerged from it, almost entirely transformed into his ultimate form, an angelic being with seven wings. Cloud and his allies destroyed Sephiroth, but his mind endured. Pulling Cloud into the Lifestream for a final mental battle, Sephiroth attempted to take control of his mind again, but Cloud's mental defenses had grown, and he defeated Sephiroth. Battered and bloody, Sephiroth dissolved into the Lifestream, seemingly destroyed.

Resurrection Edit

"I will... never be a memory."- Sephiroth
Sephiroth Advent Children

Sephiroth's CGI artwork for Advent Children

During the events of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Sephiroth again plays the role of the destroyer. It has been two years following the defeat of Sephiroth, and a fatal plague called Geostigma has spread throughout the world, afflicting many with extreme fatigue and open sores on the skin. This plague is revealed to be caused by Jenova's remaining consciousness in the Lifestream, and primarily affects children due to their weaker immune systems. This disease has also affected Cloud, who experiences visions of Sephiroth numerous times during the film.

The now-reclusive Cloud finds himself confronted by a strange trio of silver-haired men who are the physical manifestations of Sephiroth's will and spiritual energy, his powerful will having allowed him to pull out of the Lifestream before being fully diluted. However, without a great abundance of Jenova's cells, Sephiroth cannot be fully reborn. These three, Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo all believe themselves to guided by their "mother" Jenova, but rather it is Sephiroth himself who forces their actions. The leader, Kadaj becomes the vessel of Sephiroth after absorbing the contents of a case containing remains of Jenova, transforming into the man himself. Sephiroth reveals his new plan is to use Jenova's influence over those infected with Geostigma to control the planet - once they die, their tainted spirits will join the Lifestream and further infect it with Jenova, until Sephiroth can control it. Then, he will use the planet to travel the universe, and find another planet to rule over.

AC-Sephiroth-Concept

Concept artwork of Sephiroth in Advent Children.

Sephiroth and Cloud then fight in the ruins of Midgar. Though Cloud is exhausted by the effort, Sephiroth does not break a sweat. He is merely toying with his old foe, hoping to crush his spirit before killing Cloud. Sephiroth is defeated by Cloud's Omnislash Version 5 move, utilizing his new sword First Tsurugi. Sephiroth remains floating in the air as his single black, feathered wing then appears. His final words are "I will...never be a memory," and his single wing wraps around him. The wing fades away, revealing what is left of Kadaj's body as he falls to the ground. The weakened Kadaj is then accepted into the Lifestream as his body and soul 'evaporate' into the falling rain, Aerith's Great Gospel.

In The Reunion Files, Nojima had stated that Sephiroth's only true goal in the film is taking revenge on Cloud, who he saw as a rookie SOLDIER. His revival had been decided to occur early on in the project, but not the exact reasons or means of how he would be revived, and these details were decided at later dates. Sephiroth's dialogue was also made to sound profound, as "he thinks on a level higher than humans", and his hair and eyes were exceptionally difficult to animate. Various minor details were made to emphasize Sephiroth's other-worldly character; he was never made to blink, almost never grunted or breathed, and even in the heat of battle kept his voice calm and controlled. Nomura says that when creating Sephiroth, his appearance was set but he had trouble deciding what kind of voice he should have; once Toshiyuki Morikawa auditioned, Nomura knew he was exactly what he wanted. Morikawa also noted that, with Sephiroth's on-screen presence, he knew his final lines had to be done properly, and with input from the director, gave Sephiroth's iconic final words a sense that "he's not done yet".

BattleEdit

Sephiroth Final Boss

Sephiroth in the Final Battle against Cloud

Sephiroth is fought in the original Final Fantasy VII in the Lifestream as a scripted final boss of the game. He fights a one on one duel with Cloud. Before those are two non-scripted battles against his "pupa" form, Bizarro Sephiroth and his "God" form Safer Sephiroth. He is fought as in Crisis Core twice and can be challenged again in Missions. Sephiroth's DMW is Octaslash.

As a Party MemberEdit

Sephiroth battle appearance

Sephiroth in battle next to Cloud

Sephiroth is briefly a part of Cloud's party during the flashback at Nibelheim. However, he cannot be controlled by the player. He is equipped with the Masamune, a Gold Armlet and a Tough Ring. He has Fire, Ice, Lightning, Restore, Earth and Revive materia, all mastered, and Lightning, Ice and Earth connected to a mastered All materia. However, none of his equipment or Materia can be moved or unequipped. At level 50 and with such strong Materia, Sephiroth can easily defeat all the enemies that he and Cloud encounter inside Mt. Nibel. He also can't take any damage whatsoever in battle.

ManifestationEdit

All manifestations of Sephiroth seen throughout the game — excluding flashback sequences and his real body at the Northern Crater and Core of the Planet — are Jenova's entire body under his control, shapeshifted to take on his appearance. The Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega Guide, littered with information directly from the creators of Final Fantasy VII, stated that Sephiroth "was not content to become a mere puppet and assumed position of her mind and will." Despite some initial debate over Jenova's influence over Sephiroth and vice versa, this confirms that Sephiroth had taken control of Jenova's body to the extent that, in essence, he was Jenova. Sephiroth appears through Jenova at regular intervals, until the party confronts him at the Northern Crater. At this time, Sephiroth has absorbed most of Jenova's remaining cells, so he appears to the party by way of astral projection. It is also at this time that Sephiroth's true body is seen preserved in crystallized Mako. In the game's two penultimate battles, Sephiroth takes on two other forms as detailed below.

Cloud's final confrontation with Sephiroth is purely mental/spiritual and takes place in the Lifestream, a final battle of wills. Sephiroth is defeated, and his soul dissolves back into the Lifestream. Even so, Sephiroth's true fate was revealed in Advent Children, as he sought to continue his "Mother's" ghastly mission and his will survived dissolution, leading to the creation of the Remnants of Sephiroth. Sephiroth again appears through Jenova, using her cells and the body of Kadaj to shapeshift Kadaj's body into his own image. In this sense, Sephiroth is still "dead", but as Jenova's cells still remain in existence in some way, he is still able to exert influence over them and act through them, leaving the option open for him to be reborn again at a later date, if another source of Jenova cells could be found. However, such a rebirth is still apparently not without limitations, as once Cloud defeated Sephiroth with Omnislash Version 5, Sephiroth's will over Kadaj failed and he vanished, leaving a fatally wounded Kadaj behind.

Birth of a GodEdit

Bizarro sephiroth

Bizarro Sephiroth is the first form of Sephiroth that Cloud and his party face at the end of the original game. Although many explanations abound, it is sometimes assumed that this is a cocoon state that Sephiroth uses to prepare for his ultimate form. Bizarro has five parts: Head, Right Magic, Left Magic, Core, and Torso. The Head poses no real impact in the battle, but the Left and Right Magics act as a barrier that raises the Core's defense. Once they are brought to inactivity, the Core's defense drops. After the Core is defeated, the Torso then becomes more vulnerable. Bizarro's attacks range from the self-healing Bizarro Energy to Heartless Angel which brings down every character to 1 HP.

One-Winged AngelEdit

Sephiroth's Final Form

Safer Sephiroth is the ultimate form of Sephiroth seen in the original game. Though one more battle follows Safer Sephiroth's defeat before the end of the game, it is a staged, unlosable battle purely for plot purposes, so the fight with Safer Sephiroth is essentially the final battle of the game as far as gameplay itself is concerned. Sephiroth has taken on the form of an angel with seven wings and a humanoid torso, presumably his preparation to ascension as a god. Despite Sephiroth being found in the bowels of the Planet, the battle takes place in a kaleidoscopic swirl of clouds circling Sephiroth, giving the sense that the battle is taking place in another, heavenly plane of existence. Here, Sephiroth demonstrates his incredible power with magical attacks including Heartless Angel, Shadow Flare, Deen, Pale Horse, and his signature attack, Supernova, in which he summons a meteor to destroy the Solar System and cause the sun to explode.

StrengthEdit

Sephiroth's strength is unreal. He is far stronger in reality than any story you might have heard about him.
—Cloud Strife

Even after appearing in so many titles, Sephiroth's true strength is still unknown. It's stated in the official book "Reunion Files" the Sephiroth seen in Advent Children has "ascended to a new level of existence" and is much stronger than before. But Sephiroth never used the full extent of his powers in the final fight against Cloud, and because of that his true potential is still unknown. Statements from Kitase and Nomura in the Advent Children Director's Commentary of the Japanese DVD try to convey Sephiroth's power. Kitase said. "Sephiroth's existence and will is extremely powerful. There is nothing stronger, nothing above him." Producer Kitase even decided that they couldn’t make any other character stronger than Sephiroth in the world of Final Fantasy VII. A handful of characters besides Cloud, including Elfé, Genesis Rhapsodos and Zack Fair, are able to battle Sephiroth competently, but it is usually implied he doesn't exercise his full strength against most opponents.

As shown in Crisis Core and Advent Children, Sephiroth is a highly skilled swordsman and is very strong and agile. In Advent Children, Sephiroth is able to battle and maintain an advantage on Cloud despite Cloud's seeming advantage of having two weapons, and slices apart large sections of the Shinra Building. In Crisis Core, Sephiroth is able to defend himself with ease when facing both Genesis Rhapsodos and Angeal Hewley at once. Although Genesis gains a temporary advantage on Sephiroth one-on-one, Sephiroth quickly retaliates and forces Genesis on the defensive, and at this time he single-handedly cuts apart the cannon of the Sister Ray, slicing clean through it with one-handed strokes. Also in Crisis Core, he can unleash bursts of energy from his sword and can teleport, and he retains the ability to unleash energy bursts in Last Order and Dissidia.

SaferSeph-concept art

Concept art of Safer Sephiroth.

After absorbing Jenova and his time within the Lifestream and Mako hibernation, Sephiroth is able to project illusions in addition to being able to shapeshift Jenova's cells into his own image. By the end of Final Fantasy VII and in Advent Children, Sephiroth's powers have increased dramatically. When AVALANCHE faces off against Sephiroth within the planet, he seems to have obtained so much power that before the battle, he paralyzes AVALANCHE members and causes them great pain by using his will alone.

As Safer Sephiroth, Sephiroth has a variety of powerful magical attacks, and in his signature "Super Nova" attack, Sephiroth is able to summon an asteroid to destroy most of the planets in the solar system and cause the Sun to supernova and explode. It should be noted that this is purely for theatrics, obviously, as this sequence is shown every time Sephiroth uses the attack, and also this sequence differs from the one in the original Japanese version, where it simply shows a vortex forming somewhere in space that somehow produces a massive explosion.

In Advent Children, Sephiroth has reverted to a human appearance, although his black wing is shown right before he reverts back to Kadaj. In addition to his usual abilities, he is also able to control the Lifestream contaminated by the last thoughts of those who died of Geostigma—this "dark Lifestream" manifests during his battle with Cloud as a series of black tendrils that descend from a swirling vortex of dark clouds above Edge. Any other powers Sephiroth may have developed or retained are not shown.

Sephiroth's strength in the Kingdom Hearts series has caused him to be ranked among the harder bosses in the series. Sephiroth in both games is able to summon meteors, pillars of fire and orbs of dark energy. He can teleport, levitate, and is still a strong swordsman, able to conjure the Masamune at will. Sephiroth also uses what has become his signature move across several games, Heartless Angel—capable of draining the player's MP to 0 and their HP to a single point, this is his strongest attack and perhaps one of the most dangerous in the series.

EtymologyEdit

Sephiroth is named for the סְפִירוֹת Səphīrōth (medieval Hebrew form of Sephirot), described in the Kabbalah as the manifestations of God that allow Him to manifest in the physical and metaphysical universes, referring to Sephiroth's simultaneous existence in the Lifestream and the Planet, and his manifestations through Jenova. Sephiroth also means "numbers", which can be attributed to the Sephiroth Clones. Sephiroth's penultimate form "Bizarro Sephiroth" is a mistranslation, and "Rebirth Sephiroth" would be much more apt.

OneWingedAngelSeph

Sephiroth's single wing as seen in Advent Children.

It is often believed that the name "Safer Sephiroth" is a mis-translation, similar to how Helletic Hojo should have been translated as "Heretic Hojo". A common rumor is that "Safer" is a misspelling of "Seraph" (שרף) or "Seraphim" (שְׂרָפִים) due to Safer Sephiroth's angelic appearance. Seraphim are described in the Hebrew Bible as being humanoid angels with six wings: "Above Him stood the Seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew". Safer Sephiroth could easily be seen as a Seraphim, with a seventh wing in place of his arm. However, the origin of the name "Safer Sephiroth" is Hebrew; the boss' name as written in Japanese is "セーファ・セフィロス," or "Sēfa Sefirosu"; note that "safer" can also be transliterated as "sefer," "sapher," and "sepher". "Sepher" (סֶפֶר) is Hebrew for "book"; thus, the boss's name translates to "Numbers Book," or, more accurately, "Book of Numbers".

Sephiroth is also known as the "One-Winged Angel," referring to Final Fantasy VII's final boss theme. The title is significant due to Sephiroth's "fallen angel" connotation, a title given to those who have fallen from grace. To some, the name "One-Winged Angel" seems strange, as Safer Sephiroth has a total of seven wings. However, the original Japanese name is "片翼の天使 (Katayoku no Tenshi)," which means "an angel with a wing on one side," rather than an angel with only one wing. And, as noted above, Sephiroth appears in many titles after Final Fantasy VII with a single black wing, drawing back to his title as the One-Winged Angel.

Musical ThemesEdit

Sephiroth is also the focus of three pieces of theme music written by series composer Nobuo Uematsu. His primary theme song is "Those Chosen by the Planet", a piece utilizing bells, low drums, and a deep chorus, which accompanies Sephiroth's appearances throughout the game. "Birth of a God" accompanies the battle against Bizarro Sephiroth, the first of Sephiroth's final two forms.

One-Winged AngelEdit

Main article: One-Winged Angel The most noteworthy piece (and a lingering fan favorite) is the one that plays during the final confrontation with Sephiroth, "One-Winged Angel". In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, a slightly altered version called "Enemy to the World" is played, and another version called "Advent: One-Winged Angel" is played during the Cloud/Sephiroth battle in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Its showing in every game in which Sephiroth appears has made it Sephiroth's theme song, replacing "Those Chosen by the Planet" in the role.

Other AppearancesEdit

Final Fantasy VEdit

A 2D sprite of Sephiroth, modeled after Final Fantasy V style sprites, occasionally appears in the loading section of the Anthology port of Final Fantasy V.

Dissidia Final FantasyEdit

Sephiroth Dissidia Artwork
Chaos has summoned a combined force of Final Fantasy's ultimate villains in an attempt to gain control of a number of Crystals, resulting in total control of the Final Fantasy worlds. Sephiroth is one of these villains and stands as the villain representing Final Fantasy VII, opposing Cloud Strife.

Kingdom Hearts seriesEdit

Sephiroth Kingdom Hearts

Sephiroth appears in the Kingdom Hearts series as an optional boss and Cloud's archrival. It is implied that this incarnation of Sephiroth is the physical embodiment of Cloud's dark memories, and as such cannot be permanently killed, as he implies Cloud has beaten him before only for him to return. Sephiroth attacks with sword combos, pillars of fire, meteors, and orbs of dark energy, and is commonly considered among the harder bosses of the series.

First MeetingEdit

SephirothKH1

CG render in Kingdom Hearts

During the Platinum Match, at Olympus Coliseum, Sephiroth appears and fights Sora. He is a secret boss available in all but the regular Japanese version. After being defeated by Sora, Cloud finally meets Sephiroth. Sephiroth implores Cloud to turn to the darkness, which Cloud refuses. The two engage in a high-speed battle in the air, the outcome of which is unknown.

Kingdom Hearts IIEdit

Right before the invasion of Hollow Bastion, Cloud warns Sora and company about Sephiroth, and his ways of the darkness. Later, as Sora exits the castle to go help defend against the invasion, Sephiroth appears. He asks about Cloud's whereabouts, but Sora doesn't answer, though he and his friends reveal that Cloud realizes that Sephiroth is the manifestation of Cloud's darkness. Seeing that Cloud is becoming enlightened and desires to fight him, Sephiroth takes his leave.

During the battle, Cloud is surrounded by Heartless, but Sephiroth intervenes, defeating them all in one swipe. Cloud intends to defeat his nemesis to escape the darkness, but Sephiroth only replies that Cloud will never be able to do so, and will always cower in the light. Cloud vehemently denies his dark half's claims, but Sephiroth is undeterred, and leaves just as Tifa arrives.

After the Master Control Program is defeated, Sora encounters Sephiroth at the Dark Depths. The villain again asks about Cloud, but Sora and his companions don't reveal anything. He then inquires about Sora, Donald, and Goofy's identities, but again, they refuse to answer. Sephiroth then notices Sora's Keyblade, and attacks, intending to test Sora's power and that of the Keyblade. Sora appears to overcome him, but Sephiroth just shrugs off the battle. Sephiroth complements Sora on his skill with the Keyblade but says that Cloud is the only one that can "eliminate him". Sephiroth then tells Sora to find Cloud so that they can settle their feud.

Cloud arrives later, and a battle begins, with Sephiroth desiring to draw Cloud into the darkness. However, Tifa protects Cloud, saying that Cloud does have light in him, and that, even if he doesn't, then he just needs to be surrounded by light. Nevertheless, Sephiroth and Cloud start off for another battle, but disappear in a brilliant flash of light. Their location and status are unknown.

Despite the fact Sephiroth and Sora can battle in Kingdom Hearts, his dialogue with Sora in Kingdom Hearts II implies that there encounter in the first game never happened, since Sora, Donald and Goofy don't know who is, and Sephiroth doesn't seem to know them either. However, Sephiroth says "so that's a Keyblade", indicating that while he may or may not have seen a Keyblade before, he at least knows of them. His battle quote - "show me your strength" demonstrate that in his battle with Sora he wished to test his power, and see the Keyblade in action. Although he appears in Hollow Batison/Radiant Garden,it is not said whether he resides there permanently or not, which can also mean that Radiant Garden may not be his home world.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by SleepEdit

Fenrirbbs

The Fenrir in Birth by Sleep

Although he hasn't been confirmed, in "The Gathering" the Fenrir Keyblade can be seen. This lead to the speculation that Sephiroth would appear in Birth by Sleep, or Tifa, who has the Fenrir Keychain. There have been no characters from the Final Fantasy franchise confirmed for Birth By Sleep yet, and Tetsuya Nomura had stated that their were many keyblades already used as "fillers" in the scene, meaning this speculation could be a red herring.

Itadaki Street seriesEdit

ItadakiSephiroth

Sephiroth appeared as a playable character in Itadaki Street Special along with Cloud, Aeris and Tifa from Final Fantasy VII. He also appeared as a character in Itadaki Street Portable.

Ehrgeiz: God Bless the RingEdit

In this fighter game, Sephiroth appears together with some other Final Fantasy VII characters. Sephiroth is controllable both in his normal appearance and the shirtless version that Cloud confronts alone at the end of Final Fantasy VII. He fights mostly with his fists, but can also do sword-draw attacks and various combos with the Masamune, as well as use a variation of Meteorain.

LittleBigPlanetEdit

SephirothLBP

Sackboy's Sephiroth costume in LittleBigPlanet

A Sephiroth costume will be sold as downloadable content for the character Sackboy, in the PlayStation 3 game LittleBigPlanet.

TriviaEdit

FFTClockwork City of Goug

Cloud uttering Sephiroth's name in Final Fantasy Tactics.

  • When Cloud is transported to Ivalice by a device called the Celestial Globe in Final Fantasy Tactics, he comes out confused and disoriented. The first thing he says is "The heat! Inside my skull... No, stop... Sephiroth---no!" The Final Fantasy VII boss does not actually appear in the game, though a black-caped swordsman is mentioned in one of the Errands.
  • Many aspects of the final battle with Kefka from Final Fantasy VI are reused in the battle with Sephiroth with both bosses use Havoc Wing, Heartless Angel, and take on the appearance of angels with dark wings among a backdrop of clouds.
  • Sephiroth has been a common face in the Gamefaqs user popularity contests. He was the runner-up in the Character Battle II, losing to his nemesis Cloud. He was voted the most popular villain in the Got Villains? contest, beating Ganondorf from the Legend of Zelda series.
SephirothBakuraCard

Bakura shows off "his favorite card"

  • Sephiroth has a small cameo in the popular fan parody "Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series". When the other characters show off their favorite cards, Bakura (who is secretly a villain) holds up a card showing Sephiroth from Advent Children, before exclaiming "oops, wrong one", and holding up another.
  • Sephiroth's strongest weapon in Dissidia is called "One-Winged Angel", after his final musical theme.
  • In Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, the player receives a Keyblade called "One Winged Angel" after defeating Sephiroth. It slighty resembles Sephiroth's Masamune.
  • In the TV show, Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, Butchy parodies Sephiroth through the episode Sir Nutalot. He appears with Sephiroths' long silver hair and usually attire.

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