[Featurama] Silver Haired Devils: Sephiroth
A while back here at Twinfinite, we spent an entire week discussing villainy. We gave our favorites, discussed their acceptance in society and even re-imagined what our favorite games would be like under a more diabolical director. I loved celebrating villains, but still there were many ideas left on the chopping block for me.
After sitting down and thinking about each of my favorite villains in each respective genre, some of the top villains always seemed to share the same characteristics. Tall, confident men with horrific experiences that really could have been a great hero. Instead, their terrible past was something too hard to overcome and these villains took that experience and ran into the darkness with it. They turned into something absolutely horrible.
Silver haired devils.
Come join me over the next few days as I wax on about these demons from comics, anime and gaming before Halloween approaches.
Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII
Sephiroth is the one man army that is arguably a legitimate competitor for everyone’s greatest gaming villain. This isn’t just because he is the villain from the one JRPG that changed the genre forever in the west. In a fit of childish rage, he went from the greatest hero Shinra ever employed to the villain that would rain fire down from the heavens.
He goes from being an idol to an exterminator in dramatic fashion.
What a convoluted little tale we have of the super strong SOLDIER Sephiroth. Born out of a lunatic’s experiment that attempted to attach the genes of the alien Jenova to his body, he rose up to become a war hero for the Shinra company while still being unaware of his origin. It is only when he stumbles across the village of Nibelheim that he finds an old library that reveals the truth.
He was one of numerous test subjects Shinra was working on. Upon discovering that Jenova was in fact an ancient evil that almost gained control of the planet, he decided to follow through with her plans. He proceeds to bury himself in the Planet’s core and uses the power of Jenova’s remaining cells to launch a meteor at the earth in an attempt to cripple the planet.
With the planet on its last legs, he plans to merge with the planet’s energy and consume it. His motivation is to simply replace the one who created him and carry on their will. As a son takes over for the father, Sephiroth will take over Jenova’s will.
Moment of Friendship:
Before the events of Nibelheim, Sephiroth was nothing more than an honest soldier. He fought alongside his teammates and led them as any good military man would.
It is in these moments you can really feel Sephiroth’s strength. As you fight alongside him against giant dragons, you feel as if your attacks have no bearing on the battle. However, when this man makes a simple slash, he can bring down a dragon. It is awe inspiring to see this legendary hero live up to his name. Even more inspiring when you know exactly what he will turn in to.
It is in Cloud’s tragic recount of Sephiroth’s turn to madness over those short few months in Nibelheim that you really understand how devastating this man is. He was once the one man everyone looked up to. Now he only brings death and destruction with him.
There are a lot of moments to choose as Sephiroth is the very definition of badass. From the burning of Nibelheim to the murder of Aeris, the callous nature of his destruction is the stuff of gaming legends. He doesn’t everything with such ease that it is almost unbelievable that you can stop him.
This showcase of power is defined in the simplest way a game could produce it.
Final Fantasy VII’s first disc is built around your battle with the corrupt President Shinra. Hours of time are dedicated to showing you exactly what kind of sick operations Shinra has planned. From the destruction of Sector 7 to the genetic experimentation, this is the most loathsome group of people on the entire planet (maybe with the exception of Don Corneo).
So you spend hours battling their foot soldiers and climbing up their Ivory Tower in an attempt to put a stop to this madness. And you fail. Cloud and his friends are showcased in front of President Shinra as a joke and then imprisoned in a cell with no chance of escape.
When Cloud wakes up, all the guards are unconscious, the cells of Jenova that the mad scientist Hojo was working on are gone, and there is blood. Lots of blood; so much that there lies a trail of it leading all the way back to President Shinra’s office. When you arrive, you see it. Pinning the loathsome man to his desk is Sephiroth’s sword. His 12 foot long Masamune has impaled Shinra through the back and he is nowhere to be seen.
It doesn’t get much better than this.
Here we have a man that just did what a party of 5 people could not. He even left behind the sword that nobody else could wield as a reminder of his actions. It was the final farewell to his humanity as he left behind the one thing that defined his name in SOLDIER. Sephiroth snuck in like the Boogey Man while the team was asleep and caused wide spread chaos in a really small time frame.
It was from here that the true chase for Sephiroth began.
What’s Next For Our Villain:
Most likely a cameo role in Kingdom Hearts 3 if that project ever gets off the ground. With confirmation that Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still in production, Kingdom Hearts looks to be taking a vacation this console generation. I’d argue that an HD version of Final Fantasy VII is very unlikely and with the PC version just getting a re-release, there aren’t too many new avenues for Sephiroth to travel.
The Advent Children movie and spin off video games have pretty much settled all matters for the title so the only real avenue I can think of is maybe an HD port of the hit PSP versions of Final Fantasy.