Sephiroth (in Japanese: セフィロス Sefirosu) is the primary antagonist of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, and a major antagonist in the extended Final Fantasy VII universe, Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, and also the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
Before, Sephiroth was once a first class SOLDIER from Shinra Electric Power Company (better known as Shinra Inc.) that was idolized by many in terms of his swordsmanship skills, intellectual actions, and discipline. His outstanding performance in the battlefield made him a celebrity war hero and an inspiration. His positive attitude did not last long until he, Zack Fair, and Cloud Strife ventured in the mako reactor in Nibelheim. Sephiroth then proceeds to Shinra Manor to search for possible clues of his origins.
Finally learning the truth, Sephiroth goes insane, rebels from Shinra, and sets Nibelheim on fire. Believing he is the chosen one, he decides to become a god and rule the planet.
He is also Cloud Strife's arch-nemesis.
Ascent to War Hero and Fall from GraceEdit
Sephiroth is the child of Professor Hojo and Lucrecia Crescent, 2 Shinra Inc. scientists. While in the womb, his mother, Lucrecia, was injected with cells of a powerful alien being known as Jenova, and in his fetal form, he merged with the cells and was taken from Lucretia at birth. He was kept in the dark about his real mother, only told that she was named Jenova, and the terrible experiments that were been performed on him. Later in his life, he became a member of SOLDIER, Shinra Inc.'s super warriors. Sephiroth became the most powerful SOLDIER going beyond 1st class and became known as the SOLDIER Hero. He was particularly renowned for his accomplishments during the war between Shinra and Wutai, where he was first seen easily defeating a powerful Djinn known as Ifrit. Sephiroth was close friends with two other Shinra experiments, Angeal Hewley and Genesis, Genesis being considered a failure compared to him, and both were also unaware of what had been done to them. Genesis and Angeal would spar with Sephiroth, until one day Genesis tried to go all out; Sephiroth was able to keep up, and nearly kill Genesis until Angeal broke up the fight. Genesis would leave Shinra shortly afterwards with Professor Hollander. Sephiroth hoped to bring him back however. Then, Shinra sent him to Nibelhiem to inspect a broken Mako reactor, along with another SOLDIER 1st Class (Zack Fair), and several infantry men, one of which was Cloud Strife.
Once in the city, Zack asks Sephiroth about his parents, and he mentions that his mother's name was Jenova, but said nothing about his father. Sephiroth climbs Mt. Nibel with the rest of his men to inspect the reactor, and in it he finds a room labeled Jenova. In the room he sees Jenova- a hideous abomination, in the form of a female. Why Jenova is in a armored containment suit when later revealed is unclear, although it is likely a small error by the game creators. This and the witnessing of other mutant creatures ("failed" SOLDIERs injected with Jenova cells) brings about what essentially is a psychotic break, leading to him question who, or what, he is. For six days he locked himself in the basement of Shinra mansion reading books about the experiments Shinra had been doing.
This research causes Sephiroth to believe that Jenova was a Cetra and that he himself is the last surviving Cetra, he also comes to think that humanity betrayed the Cetra by leaving them to defend the planet against an evil calamity, the calamity actually being Jenova herself. With this information along with his anger for being used as an experiment for Shinra, Sephiroth slowly slips into insanity. On the seventh day, Sephiroth decided to take revenge on the humans for leaving the Cetra and making him one of Shinra's experiments, but first insanity took him and he set fire to Nibelhiem, Zack thus confronts him later on, with Cloud not far behind.
When they reach the reactor, Zack breaks into the room labeled Jenova, and demands that Sephiroth tell him why he burned the town down. Sephiroth stood in front of a discolored and disfigured woman in a test tube, Jenova, and addresses her as "Mother" believing she is his real mother due to the fact that he was told his mothers name was Jenova. After talking to Jenova about reclaiming the planet Zack attacks him and they have a fight, though Zack seemingly provides ample challenge, in the end a clearly bored Sephiroth easily dispatches the "traitor". Sephiroth turned back to his "Mother" and acts as if nothing as happened. Cloud then walks in, and takes Zack's Buster Sword and swipes at Jenova. An Infuriated Sephiroth stabs Cloud through the stomach, though somehow Cloud manages to pull the sword up and throw Sephiroth off the edge of the reactor core, although, as an alternate ending in the anime Last Order Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth intentionally jumps into the reactor asking Jenova to go with him to the "Promised Land".
Final Fantasy VIIEditIn Final Fantasy VII while seeking to find the Black Materia and destroy the world, Sephiroth desires to reach the "Promised Land" by doing so. He is briefly playable in a flashback to the events that occurred in Nibelhiem 7 years prior. Most of the game is spent searching for him, but Sephiroth is always one step ahead of the heroes. His desire is to find the so-called promised land, so he can use the large amount of mako energy to activate the black materia, summoning Meteor, a powerful spell which Sephiroth tricks Cloud and the others into finding. Once activated, the black materia would send a meteor into the planet, causing the planet to try and heal itself using the Lifestream's mako energy, Sepiroth would then absorb this energy, thus becoming a god and rule the planet.
As the game progresses, it seems Sephiroth's powers become greater and greater, to the point where he can control Cloud, and even the remaining cells of Jenova herself. His control over Cloud however, allows him to obtained the black materia from him. Using Cloud, Sephiroth tries to make him kill Aerith Gainsborough while she is praying in the Forgotten Village trying to summon the spell Holy to help counter act the meteor summoned by Sephiroth, Tifa however yells and breaks Sephiroth's manipulation, and so using his control over Jenova, he forces her cells to take his own form and uses her to impale Aerith through the stomach.
Cloud and company pursue Sephiroth to the planet's wound, a crater that was left behind when Jenova arrived on the planet. They go into it and Sephiroth shows Cloud several flashbacks of what really happened at Niblehiem, and reveals that Cloud has his cells in him, and that Sephiroth could control him because of this. The illusion ends and Cloud, who does not believe himself to be Cloud, hands over the Black Materia to the real Sephiroth that had been frozen in the planet's core. Sephiroth had controlled remnants that shared Jenova cells from inside the planet in order to bring himself back to life to and achieve his plan of becoming a god to rule the planet.
Eventually Sephiroth achieved his plan and became "Bizarro Sephiroth" (in Japanese: リバース・セフィロス Ribāsu Sefirosu) and "Safer Sephiroth" (in Japanese: セーファ・セフィロス Sēfa Sefirosu), which is his ultimate god or god-like form. One last battle commences between Cloud, his friends, and Safer-Sephiroth, who is eventually defeated. Despite this, his conscience remains intact and he drags Cloud into the Lifestream to have one last confrontation with him, this time in a metaphysical realm. However, just like before, Sephiroth is defeated. The Meteor continues its course and crashes into Gaia, but due to Aerith's ability to talk with the planet and summon the spell Holy, the Lifestream is able to push back the meteor before it causes ultimate destruction to the planet.
In Advent Children, though Sephiroth was defeated 2 years earlier, but has left a great dent in the planet. He infected the lifestream, and so created a disease called Geostigma. Geostigma weakens the immune system, causes exhaustion, and black sores on the skin of the infected. Children are more prone to getting this disease than adults, however, this does not mean adults can't get it; in fact, Cloud has it. 3 remnants of Sephiroth that did not dissipate into the lifestream, named Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, are seeking to reunite with their "mother" Jenova, and attack Cloud, calling him their "brother". As the movie progresses, two of the remnants are defeated, leaving only Kadaj, who merges with what is left of Jenova. By doing so, he becomes Sephiroth's avatar, adopting his physical appearance. Cloud and Sephiroth fight once more, and while it seems Cloud is out matched, he is still able to defeat Sephiroth, who just before fading back into Kadaj, saying "I will...never be a memory.".
Kingdom Hearts SeriesEdit
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by SleepEdit
Sephiroth, though not visibly seen, is mentioned as a well-known hero. His reputation inspires Zack Fair to train to become Sephiroth's equal in power and legend.
After Master Xehanort's defeat, Zack witnesses Hercules train under Phil, noticing one of Sephiroth's feathers floating towards him. Zack then disappears, with the feather landing where he once stood.
Kingdom HeartsEditSephiroth appears as an optional boss in the first Kingdom Hearts game for both the North American version, and later the Final Mix version. He is found in Olympus Coliseum. No story is really provided, though it does refer to him as "The SOLDIER Commander" and a man once known as the "greatest of swordsmen".
Prior to Sora's arrival to Olympus Coliseum, Cloud strikes a deal with Hades: if Cloud defeats Hercules in battle, Hades will lead Cloud to Sephiroth. However, the deal is not payed off.
Later, Sora enters the Platinum Match and encounters Sephiroth himself, besting the One-Winged Angel in a duel. In the Final Mix version only, following Sora's departure, Cloud encounters Sephiroth and engage in a battle before dissipating in light.
Kingdom Hearts IIEdit
In the second Kingdom Hearts game, while still an optional boss, Sephiroth is given a backstory. Sephiroth claims he is the darkness in Cloud's heart and as long as that darkness remains, Sephiroth cannot die. Thus, Cloud and Sephiroth have been fighting for a long time, across many different worlds. One year after Sora's battle with Xehanort's Heartless, Cloud has been looking for Sephiroth in Hollow Bastion, wanting to end their conflict once and for all.
Sora and company first encounter Sephiroth as they leave Hollow Bastion's castle to assist in the Battle of the 1000 Heartless. The One-Winged Angel inquires of Cloud's whereabouts, but realizes that Cloud is getting enlightened and takes his leave. He soon after rescues his arch-nemesis from a swarm of Heartless and taunts him about the darkness.
After defeating the MCP and discovering Hollow Bastion's true name of Radiant Garden, Sora and company arrive at the Dark Depths, once more encountering Sephiroth, who asks where Cloud is and on Sora's identity. Sora and company refuse to answer. Sephiroth then notices Sora's Keyblade and engages Sora in battle, intending on testing the weapon's loyalty and Sora's strength.
After an arduous battle, Sora triumphs over the One-Winged Angel. Sephiroth, though, informs Sora that only Cloud can truly defeat him, and orders the Keyblade wielder to bring Cloud to him. Sora then finds Cloud in the Marketplace and tells him of Sephiroth's location, prompting Cloud to travel there to engage Sephiroth in battle.
As Sora returns to the Dark Depths, Cloud arrives and duels with Sephiroth. As the two lock blades, Sephiroth taunts Cloud once more, but Tifa arrives, encouraging Cloud to let go of his inner past. Though Sephiroth is irritated at Tifa's appearance, Cloud suddenly glows in a bright aura and warps both himself and Sephiroth to an unknown world to continue their duel.
Dissidia: Final FantasyEdit
Sephiroth makes an appearance in the Final Fantasy-based fighting game Dissidia and it's prequel Dissidia 012. Despite a few more colors in his wardrobe, he pretty much stays the same. In the story he mocks Cloud's inability to find a reason to fight. Once Cloud defeats him and obtains his crystal, Sephiroth tells him to remember that he is the only reason that Cloud was able to get it.
Among all Final Fantasy villains in Dissidia Final Fantasy, Sephiroth seems to be treated with the most fear by both villains and heroes. Unlike other Final Fantasy villains, Sephiroth truly believes he is right, and from this draws substantial willpower, and fervent religious willpower; this with his psychopathy, substantial martial ability, and massive power reserves make him among the most powerful of Chaos' warriors, if not the most powerful.
In some cutscenes, it is revealed that Sephiroth had no memory of his past life when he awoke as a servant of Chaos, however, he says that he is slowly gaining it back. His personality does fully comes back near the end of the game.
Theatrhythm: Final FantasyEdit
The fallen hero also appears in this rhythm game as a boss in Final Fantasy VII scenarios. Commonly during the song "One-Winged Angel". He is also an unlockable playable character by gathering eight black shards.
Etymology and SymbolismEdit
Sephiroth is named for the סְפִירוֹת Səphīrōth (medieval Hebrew form of Sephirot). Sephiroth is a plural noun in Hebrew; the singular is Sephirah (also spelled Sefira). The Sephiroth are 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 "counting" (of numbers), which can be attributed to the Sephiroth Clones. Sephiroth's penultimate form, Bizarro∙Sephiroth, is a mistranslation, and "Rebirth Sephiroth" would be more apt.
It is often believed the name Safer∙Sephiroth is a mistranslation, similar to how Helletic Hojo should have been translated as "Heretic Hojo." A common rumor is that "Safer" is a misspelling of "Seraph" (שרף) due to Safer∙Sephiroth's angelic appearance. A Seraph (plural "Seraphim", שְׂרָפִים) is described in the Hebrew Bible as being a humanoid angel with 6 wings.
Safer∙Sephiroth could easily be seen as a Seraph, with a 7th wing in place of his arm. However, the origin of the name Safer∙Sephiroth is Hebrew; the boss's name as written in Japanese is "セーファ・セフィロス", or Sēfa Sefirosu; "safer" can also be translated as "sefer", "sapher", and "sepher". Sepher (סֶפֶר) is Hebrew for "book"; thus, Safer Sephiroth (Sefer Sfirot) literally translates to "Book of Numerations", possibly linked to the mathematical formulas that appear during his Supernova attack. However, it more likely refers to the Sefirot, the 10 aspects of creation according to Jewish mysticism.
The presence of a single, black wing protruding from his back (or right arm) is taken from Lucifer (better known as Satan or The Devil) in the Bible. Lucifer was a Seraph/Angel before he turned against God and fell from heaven. Sephiroth having a single black wing emphasizes his evil nature, as Lucifer is often depicted with black wings, among other fallen angels.
Sephiroth's plan in Final Fantasy VII to ram a meteor into the Planet and use the overflow of Lifestream to become a god refers to a concept in Zohar regarding the Tree of Life, where it is said that if someone tries to fill all of humanity into a vessel, the vessel will break, alongside the universe, causing life to flow erratically yet in a familiar pattern.
Sephiroth appears as a young man with long silver hair and green cat-like eyes. He wears a long black leather trench coat with shoulder plates and sometimes appears with a single black wing; he often appears with black feathers falling around him. A common misconception is that this is the cause for his theme, and common alias, "One-Winged Angel." The true cause for this is in his final form having absorbed vast amounts of mako, transforming his (non-dominant) right arm into a grotesque black scale and feathered wing. All future appearances with the black wing are in reference to this, presumably to imply he has retained the same level of power in a human form.
However, upon the advent of FFVII Crisis Core, it is revealed any survivor of the Jenova Project possesses the ability to sprout this wing, however, to date it remains unclear why this is. Sephiroth having literally joined with Jenova possesses powers far beyond that of other test subjects, and it cannot be assumed his abilities and theirs are truly relatable.
In his most recent appearances, it appears as though he now exists at some level as an energy-being comprised of mako, given his ability to die, and reappear unchanged at will. Ironically his attempts to destroy the planet seem to have made him more of a part of it.
At first, Sephiroth's personality was one of a true friend and hero, but after his fall into insanity, he became dark and cold with a sinister yet calm personality, though inside he has great anger and hatred for Shinra Inc. and humanity in general.
Despite his destructive and inimical nature, it is hinted, or "implied" by Cecil Harvey's quote against Sephiroth in Dissidia, "There is sorrow in those wintery eyes," that Sephiroth may have sadness and pain inside him.
Sephiroth's most famous weapon is the Masamune; in the Final Fantasy universe this seems treated more as a style of sword, as one is left in the President of Shinra after his attack, which appears most often as a 10-foot long katana, though other lengths appear occasionally.
|Toshiyuki Morikawa (Crisis Core, Advent Children, Last Order, Dissidia, 012, Kingdom Hearts II)||Lance Bass (Kingdom Hearts)|
|Shinichiro Miki (Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring)||George Newbern (Crisis Core, Advent Children, Dissidia, 012, Kingdom Hearts II)|
- Sephiroth has now become one of the most popular Final Fantasy villains ever.
- The saying "I will...never be a memory" may imply that Sephiroth may keep coming back, leading us to think he will never lose without deciding, but this is debatable. Though, he never seems to lose without accepting the opponent to have won, if this is simply due to an arbitrary level of talent Sephiroth observes or if he truly believes he cannot win is unclear.
- It is imperative at this point to note also Sephiroth is not at all like the typical FF villain, though very delusional, within this illusion and his psychopathy, Sephiroth is very calm and seemingly sane. His ambition is not universal destruction, but universal cleansing, draining all planets of life, as he believes his "mother" Jenova did, before crashing to the planet.
- His appearance, behavior and motives are reminiscent of Psaro, a villain from the equally veteran Enix RPG series Dragon Quest. They are often portrayed together in unofficial fan works, mainly in Japan.
- George Newbern, Sephiroth's English voice actor from Advent Children onward, was well-known for being the voice actor for Superman in the DC Animated Universe and various other animated incarnations of the Man of Steel as well as his more villainous counterparts such as his Injustice incarnation and his Justice Lords self.
- Both his voice actor Toshiyuki Morikawa and Cloud's voice actor end up voiced Griffith from dark fantasy manga Berserk. Ironically, Sephiroth is quite similar to Griffith; they started out as soldiers, but then they ascended into godhood and became the main villain of their respective installments. However, Griffith is much worse than Sephiroth.