Villain Spotlight: Sephiroth
Oh what a gloomy day it is today my fellow geeks. It has been nonstop rain in the land of Harkness, and the sky is a dull grey. The best part it, I love gloomy weather. It makes me feel less guilty for being super lazy most of the time. However, even on gloomy days, work needs to be done, and I would be beside myself if I didn’t give you all what you want, because Arthur knows what you all want….Villains!! Today I bring to you the master of doom and gloom, and the bastard of Midgar…Sephiroth!!
First off, I would like to say that if you do not know who Sephiroth is, you are sorely missing out on a character who is at times more complex than most characters you will encounter in any medium, yet other times so straight forward that you would think he had some kind of asshole disease. He is the star (sorry Cloud, but you know this is true) of Final Fantasy 7, and the main reason (later on) our titular heroes go on the quest to save the day. Wielding a sword that literally is not possible to wield, he creates many misfortunes and schemes that plague the heroes throughout their entire journey. He is even responsible for what could arguably be one of the most traumatic and shock inducing gaming deaths in history, which we will get to later, because it’s so awesome.
Sephiroth is a rather complicated being. Born of an experiment by the Shinra Corp (think of Resident Evil’s Umbrella but more out in the open) in which they fused alien cells from Jenova (alien life form that came to Earth). This understandably makes him rather unstable for the most part, but not so much so towards the beginning. He actually starts out much like a lot of other villains, in the fact that he doesn’t know what he truly is. He serves as a soldier for the Shinra Corp for most of his life, and doesn’t come into villainous fruition until later on when he finds out what he is really made of. And let me tell you guys something, he comes to fruition in the most awesome and metal of ways (take that as you like it). His first official act of menace was the assassination of the Shinra president, which when you think about it, isn’t that big of a deal since they are dicks anyways, but it’s not all it may seem. Everyone is shocked at this act, but they do not know the implications behind it. Sephiroth, as previously mentioned, was the most powerful member of SOLDIER, and was a standout in all his missions. However, one such mission took a bit too much of a toll on our old silver haired friend.
Sephiroth was given a mission to Nibelheim, and during the course of that discovers that he is actually a product of an experiment, which leads him to go slightly fucking crazy. He comes to the conclusion that since his apparent “Mother” (Jenova) attempted to conquer the planet 2000 years ago, he should probably do the same thing. He begins calling himself a god, and a complex is born. He proceeds to burn down the entire village and kills most everyone, but he runs into Cloud and they battle it out, to the point that Sephiroth is assumed dead. But to anyone who has ever played a game, this is never totally true. He reappears later on, and lets everyone know what he is going to do. As in he is going to summon an ancient entity known as Meteor to completely devastate the planet. Not a good idea, buddy. He intends to expose the Lifestream of the planet, which will allow him to merge into it and become even more powerful. We also find out that most of the time you see Sephiroth, it is not really him, but Jenova who has taken over his presence. Sephiroth’s body is sealed away in the Northern Crater of the world, and Jenova has been enacting its will through Sephiroth. However, this does not make Sephiroth any less of a dick as he is still just as evil, as you will come to learn in later appearances. He splits into two versions, Bizarro Sephiroth, who I assumed has a blossoming friendship with Solomon Grundy, and Safer Sephiroth, who sounds like a bitch. Cloud beats them both, and in a final battle within Cloud’s mind, finally puts Sephiroth to “rest”, and by rest I mean he comes back later on in different games, never truly being dead.
Speaking of dead, like I promised earlier, Sephiroth was responsible for one of the most prolific and traumatizing deaths in all of gaming, the death of Aeris. Aeris was Cloud’s somewhat love interest, even though Tifa was way hotter and way more into him, and Sephiroth guts her like a rotten fish. It was so unexpected and so brutal, that most people attempted to replay the game thinking it was something they did wrong. Little did they know that this was supposed to happen, and there was no way of stopping it. It left such a bitter taste in the mouths of players that it created an uproar. Most people are still upset about it, but I feel like it was beautifully done. It provided that last little push for Cloud to do what needs to be done. At this point, there have been many deaths in video games, but I don’t think that most people felt the same way that they did during Aeris’s death. It was as if people had lost a family member, and they cried out that they had hundreds of phoenix downs, but they just wouldn’t work on her (glorious video game logic). It was a sad day in Final Fantasy-land, but a necessary day.
Sephiroth went mainly unnoticed and unused for a while until his inclusion as a side-boss in Kingdom Hearts 1+2, Final Fantasy Crisis Core for PSP, and his appearance in Final Fantasy-Advent Children. Advent Children is absolute eye candy for anyone who likes CG animation. Everything is so beautifully and wonderfully done that it seems like a miracle of animation. He returns and takes over the body of one of three members of a secret organization that worships him. Cloud and the rest of the gang are busy dealing with a new disease on the street called Geostygma, and those worshippers take a chance and strike while everyone is all messed up, and summon Bahamut, in literally one of the most insane scenes ever. How can you even fight something like that? Sephiroth finally shows up and he and Cloud have a battle for the ages, with Sephiroth being beaten again….unfortunately. It also gives us hope though that he can be brought back, mainly due to the way he was brought back in this. All it takes is a little Jenova and you have yourself a ready made mass murderer demigod. Reread that sentence and tell me it is not one of the best things you have ever heard.
I honestly don’t think I could write anymore about Sephiroth because reading it doesn’t do him much justice. You need to see his face and see his sword to really appreciate what he is. I also have to give credit to Crisis Core for giving us exactly what we wanted, and actually showed us the burning of Nibelheim and Sephiroth’s decent into madness. Pretty good for a PSP game. I also know that some people will be upset that I didn’t choose Golbez, Kefka, or even Seymour or SIN, but I just felt Sephiroth has more appeal and just all around badass-ness. Who knows though, Kefka seems to be waiting and laughing maniacally behind the scenes…if you’re lucky…maybe he may make an appearance? Until then my fellow Midgarians, remember never to cast Meteor…unless you wanna doom us all.
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