Guest writer Adam Richardson joins us to discuss some of his favourite characters across the Final Fantasy universe.
With the release of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake finally here I thought I would look back over some of my personal favourite Badasses over the series. I’ve focused on those that aren’t playable in the series as it would be too hard to narrow down the list; and to be perfectly honest with you all I don’t have the time to write a 10-page essay (8 pages of which are about Cid – Highwind).
Seto (Final Fantasy 7) – Although these aren’t in any particular order, Seto sits at the top of my list for Badass of the series. He is the father of Red XIII in Final Fantasy 7 and known as the coward that ran away when their home town was attacked by the Gi Tribe, abandoning Red XIII and his partner to certain death. Red XIII, a red fire dog thing, goes through his angst-ridden teenage phase believing that his father was something to be ashamed of until he returns to his home of Cosmos Canyon. There he meets with his grandfather, a floating old man called Bugenhagen and they start a quest line to find out the truth about the night of the Gi attack. After battling through the caves under Cosmos Canyon Cloud, Red XII and probably Barrett find themselves at the bottleneck where the Gi were entering from. SPOILERS for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake part II (?) and the 1997 original. Red XIII’s Grandfather then tells him the emotional story of his father Seto. Accompanied by a swelling soundtrack, Red XIII discovers that his father selflessly went to the bottleneck to try and stop the Gi Tribe from continuing their assault. There he was pierced by numerous poisoned arrows, which eventually led to him being petrified and turning to stone. Seto’s sacrifice saved not only the Canyon but Red XIII. The scene ends with Red XIII howling at the sky and the petrified statue of Seto shedding tears on the rocks below. In a game where one of the main characters are murdered, you all know the one, this stands out as the most heart-wrenching scene and even on me hundredth play through it still makes me tear-up a little.
Beatrix (Final Fantasy 9) – Although you can briefly, and magnificently, play as Beatrix for a small part of the epic Final Fantasy 9 I’m still counting her as non-playable. Beatrix is the formidable General of the all-female army of Alexandria. Something that makes her such an imposing figure is that the first time you meet her in combat you cannot win. She single-handedly wipes out your party with ease and will do so numerous times. The battle-hardened General fights for the good of the people of Alexandria and in service of the corrupted Queen Brahne. Her story arch in the game is one of the most compelling as she is torn between fulfilling her duty and doing the morally correct thing. As the story continues the relationship between Beatrix and playable Knight Steiner develops from rivalry into love and devotion. This culminates in the two of them fighting side-by-side defending Alexandria and each other while the song ‘’Something to Protect’’ plays in the background (the music in these games are something else!). It’s at this point you get to play with Beatrix’s skill set and can realise just how powerful she is with a devastating mix of Sword Arts and White Magic. Her dialogue and character design make her one of the most confident and recognisable heroines in the series.
Anima (Final Fantasy 10 & 10-2) – Again you could argue that this is a playable character as it is a summon or Aeon to use its correct title in Final Fantasy 10. In 10 you can control your summons actions, however, this is my list so again I’m letting the non-playable part slide. Anima is a summon you obtain later in the game and has a tragic backstory connected to it that makes it/her a total badass. The first time you witness her amazing power is in the Blitzball tournament scene when the stadium is attacked by fiends. In a great cutscene, the Aeon appears like a chained-up fish person shooting an invisible laser from its eyes turning all the monsters to ash, and yes that sentence was factually correct, it’s awesome! Anima’s backstory is heart-breaking but also adds to the reason that she has made this list for me. You later learn that she is, in fact, the mother of Seymour, one of the main antagonists of the game and that she had sacrificed her life to give her son power. It’s not as simple as all that but trying to explain the story of Final Fantasy 10 in less than a thousand words is like trying to hold water in a dream, impractical and pointless. It’s the mother’s devotion to her child and her willingness to sacrifice her humanity that put her up there with some of the best badasses in the series, that and the whole giant fish monster thing.
Angelo (Final Fantasy 8) – Who doesn’t like a good girl? Sant’ Angelo di Roma is the faithful pet of Rinoa in Final Fantasy 10 but more importantly, is used as her limit break. Raised from a puppy Angelo, or Pickles if you chose to rename her as I did, is a constant comfort throughout the story in a world where other animals are trying to kill your party. One of the first Limit Breaks that Rinoa gains access to is called the Angelo Cannon and it is exactly as it sounds. Rinoa, one of the heroes of our story I remind you, straps her dog to her arm cannon thing and fires it at the enemies to deal massive damage! Despite all this abuse though Angelo remains faithful until the end and doesn’t turn on its abusive master and rip her throat out.
Kefka (Final Fantasy 6) – This charismatic and cruel antagonist is considered one of the greatest foes in gaming history. The mixture of pithy one-liners and devastating power put him up there as a true badass and despite his comical appearance he is not to be underestimated. Throughout the game he acts like a puppet master, manipulating Emperor Gestahl, the heroes of the story and his allies to position them exactly where he wants until he eventually reveals his plans for god-hood. His past is a twisted story of a young man that was experimented on until his mind was shattered and he became a heartless monster. This resulted in a dangerous attitude that the world and the people within it deserved to suffer, even more disturbing is that Kefka takes great pleasure in chaos and pain for no other reason than… because… During the course of the game, Terra Branford and her crew face off against Kefka multiple times and manage to thwart his plans but his persistent, rage-fueled attitude keeps him coming back for another fight. In the end, the protagonists of the story cling onto their hope, which in turn drives Kefka further into madness and he vows to destroy everything (Obviously he’s defeated because the good guys have to win). The victory is bittersweet however as by killing Kefka our heroes have dispelled all magic from their world, meaning that even in death Kefka has inflicted damage on everyone. He also has an A-ma-zing fashion sense, decked out in clown make-up and mismatching colours he strikes a flamboyant figure that screams fabulous in an otherwise drab world. Over the years Kefka has appeared in multiple mainline Final Fantasy games and various spin-offs, 24 in total so far, and is regarded as one of the most recognisable villains of the series.
Honourable mentions who just missed the cut:
Ultros (Final Fantasy 6) – The hedonistic villain in Final Fantasy 6 appears multiple times throughout 6 as more of comic relief during the bleak storyline. The giant purple octopus oversized teeth aren’t just for show as he is constantly remarking that he plans to eat our heroes.
Yojimbo (Final Fantasy 10) – This imposing Ronin named after the 1961 classic by Akira Kurosawa is arguably the most powerful Summon in Final Fantasy 10. For those that are unaware you can’t pick or choose what attack Yojimbo performs but rather pay him for his services. If you pay him enough he will perform Zanmato, a one-shot kill sword swipe that will instantly dismiss almost any enemy in the game, including bosses.
Do you agree with my choices above or have I made a glaring omission in my list of top tier badasses. Please let me know in the comments who and more importantly why your choice is one of the best.