Characters of Final Fantasy VI
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|Final Fantasy VI|
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Square's role-playing video game Final Fantasy VI (released as Final Fantasy III in North America) features fourteen permanent player characters, the largest number of any game in the main Final Fantasy series, as well as a number of characters who are only briefly controlled by the player.
Concept and creation
Final Fantasy VI was the first game of the series to feature character designers other than Yoshitaka Amano. While Amano drew most of the character artworks, monster designer and graphic director Tetsuya Nomura created the original designs and many story episodes for Shadow and Setzer Gabbiani, and field graphic designer Kaori Tanaka created the original designs of Edgar Roni Figaro and Sabin Rene Figaro.
A character named Angela was developed and then cut from the game. She was to be like a "big sister" to Cyan and wield a whip, allowing the story to explore Cyan's vulnerability and private side.
Co-director Kitase wanted to create as many characters that can stand up to be main characters and that the story did not revolve around one character, so each character can have something to bring to the table. In fact, one of the themes of the production was "everyone is the main character" according to Yoshinori Kitase, one of the game's two directors. Kitase also believes that this approach with the game's characters is one of the game's lasting appeals. And despite having a large cast of playable characters, the game is well known for its subtle revealing of character relationships and backstories over the length of the story. Cut scenes of character interaction also feature simulated "camera movement", with a similar emotional effect found in movies. During the game's development, the whole team contributed to the stories of the game's characters, which were then adjusted for consistency with the story by Kitase. Instead of just being "ciphers for fighting, players would have more choice what the characters would do, and how that would alter the narrative and invest the player more deeply in the story. To make the characters even more distinct, their fighting styles and abilities were all made totally different as well. Balancing so many characters was a challenge, and as a result Celes and Kefka became much bigger characters than were initially planned.
Main playable characters
Terra Branford, known as Tina Branford (ティナ・ブランフォード, Tina Buranfōdo) in Japanese media, is the first introduced character, a mentally-enslaved Imperial super-soldier gifted with devastating magic. Hironobu Sakaguchi, the ‘'Final Fantasy'’ series creator, greatly influenced the characters creation. Originally, Terra was to disappear with all the other Espers at game's end, but the developers decided it would be a "waste" to have the character discover her humanity and be erased, so she instead lost her powers.
Terra is the first introduced character, a mentally-enslaved Imperial super-soldier gifted with devastating magic. She is tasked to the Magitek-armored assault on Narshe, slaughtering most of the town's militia in pursuit of a recently unearthed frozen Esper. Upon encountering the creature, her Imperial contingent is annihilated together with her armor. She wakes in Arvis' home, freed of her slave crown and suffering amnesia. Pursued into the depths of Narshe's mines by local forces, she is eventually rescued by Locke (a member of the Returners) and a horde of moogles. After experiencing events in the Figaro kingdom and after another Imperial assault on Narshe to claim the Esper, she eventually learns that she is the daughter of an Esper father and human mother, explaining her natural magical abilities. Brain-washed, extensively trained and manipulated, she had been instrumental in the Empire's subjugation of the other city-states on the southern continent, her powers even decimating fifty Imperial troops in moments. Instrumental in the Returner's strategy to ally with the Espers beyond the sealed gate, Terra succeeds in opening the barrier between worlds and unintentionally unleashes the Espers' devastating obliteration of the Empire.
Now in a post-apocalyptic world, Terra is found bereft of her fighting spirit, having taken on the mantle of a mother figure for the orphans of Mobliz. Ultimately, she fails to stop the attack of a legendary demon known as Humbaba, requiring the party's intervention. Returning later on, the player finds her willing to stand up against Humbaba, joining the player in the fight and avowing to make the world safe for children. At the game's conclusion, expected to fade from existence with the remaining Espers, Terra is informed by the Magicite remnant of her father, Maduin, that so long as some human element of her remains anchored in the world, she will continue to exist.
Terra's initially weak demeanor and her "damsel in distress" nature make her one of the series's "leading lady" characters in the series, all of whom range from meek damsels in distress to strong, confident women. She was preceded by Rosa Farrell from Final Fantasy IV, and Lenna Tycoon from Final Fantasy V, and is succeeded by Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII, Rinoa Heartilly from Final Fantasy VIII, Garnet Til Alexandros XVII from Final Fantasy IX, Yuna from Final Fantasy X, Ashelia "Ashe" B'nargin Dalmasca from Final Fantasy XII, Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, and Lunafreya "Luna" Nox Fleuret from Final Fantasy XV (though the latter was merely a non-player character, she nonetheless came the closest to filling the role).
The character that would become Terra Branford was initially conceived as a half-esper young man in his early 20s. He was a partner and rival of the dark, mysterious Locke Cole. The character's design was eventually changed to that of a half-esper female who is 18 years old in the final version of Final Fantasy VI. Terra was written as a "very passive" character in the first half of the game, in order to show growth as the story progresses. At the end of the game, Terra was supposed to die along with the disappearance of magic, but the development team decided that it would be excessive as she had asserted her human side by that point in the story, so the staff decided to have her stay alive, without her magic side.
Terra was originally designed by Yoshitaka Amano, who drew concept art of her. Tetsuya Nomura, one of the game's graphic directors, redesigned her in chibi form for her representation in the game. Some of the differences is that her ingame appearance has green hair, as opposed to the original blonde. In a 2006 interview, Amano stated that Terra was his favorite character to design in the video game industry. The development team intended for the game to have an ensemble cast, with no unique protagonist; however, since the first half of the game revolves heavily around Terra, the team decided to have the second half start with another character, Celes Chere. Another reason for this shift is that the team wanted Terra's story arc to progress in a new direction after the first half.
Locke Cole (ロック・コール, Rokku Kōru, also romanized as Lock Cole) is a thief, though he personally prefers to identify himself as a "treasure hunter." Like Terra, Hironobu Sakaguchi was also a major contributor to the creation of Locke. ‘’IGN’’ praised Locke as being the connection between Terra and Celes, helping tie the plot together, and having a unique ability to steal from his enemies.
He bears a personal vendetta against the Empire for assaulting his hometown, killing his amnesiac love interest Rachel in the course of the attack. Her last word is Locke's name. Driven by the conviction that failing Rachel led to her death, Locke seeks to protect both Terra and Celes as he fights with the Returners against the Empire; Locke is equally compelled to seek a means of restoring Rachel's life, as his drive to right his greatest wrong took him to the depths of the Phoenix Cave to acquire the "rebirth" power of the esper Phoenix to save his lost love. The Phoenix Cave itself is a difficult dungeon requiring two parties to traverse and featuring lots of enemies that are vulnerable to light attacks such as Holy. The player will also find that some of the treasure chests are empty, though Locke will give the contents to the party once the dungeon is cleared. In the end, Rachel urges him to move on to find someone new to protect, and gives Celes her blessing to watch over him before departing for the afterlife. He is also featured in the rhythm game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a subcharacter representing Final Fantasy VI. Locke also appears in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, voiced by Yūki Ono in Japanese and Jonathan von Mering in English.
Celes Chere (セリス・シェール, Serisu Shēru) is a former general of the Empire, genetically and artificially enhanced into a Magitek Knight following a magic infusion. Co-director Yoshinori Kitase revealed that he put much effort into creating Celes, and she is his favorite character in the game. ‘’IGN’’ praised Celes for her very powerful subplots, her heroism, her changing of allegiances, and her role in starting the second half of the story in the "World of Ruin".
Celes first appears in Final Fantasy VI as one of the game's protagonists. A former general of the Empire, Celes joined the Returners after being jailed for questioning imperial practices. She becomes particularly close to Returners member Locke Cole. Celes struggles with her allegiance, at turns betraying the Returners and later trying to kill Kefka. She performs at an opera house in order to fill in for a woman who was not able to fill her role. In the second half of the game, Celes awakens from a coma on a deserted island, having been cared for by Cid, another person from the Empire. She discovers that the world had been sent into ruin by Kefka and that he has obtained godlike power to rule the world and that his rule is causing all life to slowly wither away. She attempts to care for Cid, though if players do not do an adequate job feeding him, he passes away. This causes Celes to fall into despair and attempt to kill herself by jumping off a cliff. Whether he lives or dies, she discovers Locke's bandanna, leading her to take a raft Cid had made to find if any of her compatriots had survived. Finding her friends causes her to have hope, and they use an airship to confront Kefka and end his reign.
She later appears as a playable character in the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy Tactics S, and Final Fantasy: Record Keeper. She appears as a supporting character in World of Final Fantasy, where she received her first voice role by Houko Kuwashima and Christina Rose in Japanese and English respectively. Celes' character and story were designed by Yoshinori Kitase, including her attempted suicide and opera performance. who regarded her as his favorite character in Final Fantasy VI. Her role in the game was limited at first, but this changed later in development. She was the first character players control in the World of Ruin due to not wanting fellow protagonist Terra Branford's story to be given too much emphasis over others'. Kitase's enjoyment for Celes informed the decision to feature her specifically as the lead character. She was a Rune Knight, able to use an ability called Rune. This ability was originally owned by another character named Locke Cole. She was originally meant to feature the "conflicted spy" archetype where she would spy on the protagonists. She was also supposed to be mentally unstable like Final Fantasy VI antagonist Kefka. She was originally depicted being tortured while restrained, but this was changed in the Game Boy Advance port of Final Fantasy VI due to the lack of Computer Entertainment Rating Organization age ratings when Final Fantasy VI was originally released. First encountered in the dungeons below South Figaro, Celes is rescued by Locke before her impending execution over protesting the poisoning of Doma Castle. Later in the journey, Celes is used as a body double for the opera diva Maria to fool Setzer into providing transport in his airship to the Empire's capital of Vector. Within Vector's Magitek Research Facility, Kefka and an elite contingent of Magitek-armored troops attack the party – prompting Celes to warp herself and the antagonizers away, saving her friends. Kefka's claims of Celes operating as a double-agent create a schism with her and Locke, though their mutual trust is restored at the conclusion of the events on Crescent Island. On the Floating Continent Celes again rejects the Empire's plans, denying Gestahl's lust for power and impaling Kefka with her blade after being ordered to slay her comrades for amnesty. Regardless, Kefka succeeds in ravaging the surface of the planet by loosing the divine power of the Warring Triad.
Celes is the initial character in the World of Ruin, awakening a full year after the global devastation caused by Kefka's actions. Having been nursed back to health by Cid, the player has the chance to return the favor, either resulting in his death (which leads to a scene of attempted suicide and the discovery of Locke's bandana upon an injured seagull) or his survival (prompting reaffirmation in the belief her friends remain alive). Each outcome results in her departing the island aboard a home-made wooden raft. Over the remaining course of the game, Locke and Celes gradually develop a relationship.
Celes's strong will, determination, and even temper make her one of the series's "strong, serious female" characters in the series. She was preceded by Rydia (as an adult) from Final Fantasy IV, and Faris Scherwiz from Final Fantasy V, and is succeeded by Aerith Gainsborough from Final Fantasy VII, Quistis Trepe from Final Fantasy VIII, Freya Crescent from Final Fantasy IX, Lulu from Final Fantasy X, Fran from Final Fantasy XII, Oerba Yun Fang from Final Fantasy XIII, and Aranea Highwind from Final Fantasy XV (though the latter was merely a guest character, she nonetheless came the closest to filling the role).
Celes is also featured in the rhythm game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a subcharacter representing Final Fantasy VI. Her theme, "Celes's Theme", is also featured in the game. Celes also appears in World of Final Fantasy where she is voiced by Houko Kuwashima in Japanese and Christina Rose in English.
Edgar Roni Figaro (エドガー・ロニ・フィガロ, Edogā Roni Figaro) is the young king of Figaro. Edgar was originally supposed to be a womanizer, but this was considered too cliche and evolved into him having lost his mother as an infant. He later fell in love with an older woman but was killed in a "political rivalry", and she remained his version of an ideal woman.
Years before the game's events, neither he nor his twin brother, Sabin, bear any desire for the crown. Edgar determines the succession with the flip of a double-sided coin to grant his brother's deeper wish for a free life, relegating himself to the burden of rule. Edgar later reveals the facts of this rigged gamble to Sabin. As Figaro's monarch, Edgar publicly maintains a strong alliance with the Gesthalian Empire, but secretly provides support and aid to the Returners, a rebel group seeking the liberation of conquered city-states. He fancies himself a ladies' man, earning a reputation as a die-hard womanizer. While attempting to arrange a meeting between Terra and the Returners' leadership, the Empire's court mage, Kefka, makes a surprise inspection of Figaro, seeking Terra. With Kefka's subsequent torching of Figaro, the alliance between the two nations is broken. Edgar helps Terra make contact with the Returners, reuniting with Sabin along the way, and later helps the party reach the western portion of the northern continent after the Narshe assault by means of Figaro Castle's submerging capability. During the World of Ruin, he appears disguised as a mercenary thief-for-hire named Gerad (an anagram of Edgar) in order to get back into the sunken wreck of his castle. Thereafter he returns to the player's control.
‘’IGN’’ described Edgar as flirtatious but heroic, providing comic relief but a strong leader in fighting for the rebels. Edgar also appears in World of Final Fantasy where he is voiced by Shin-ichiro Miki in Japanese and Ray Chase in English.
Sabin Rene Figaro, whose name is Macias "Mash" Rene Figaro (マシアス『マッシュ』・レネ・フィガロ, Mashiasu "Masshu" Rene Figaro) in the Japanese version, is the younger twin brother of Edgar. Soraya Saga, the co-creator of Xenogears, also helped shape Sabine's character.
Disgusted by the cold arbitration of his royal succession, Sabin leaves his heritage behind after winning a rigged coin toss to determine whether he or Edgar would not inherit Figaro's throne. He initially trains under the world-famous martial arts master Duncan Harcourt together with Duncan's son, Vargas. As the years of training wear on, Vargas grows increasingly jealous of Sabin's martial prowess, apparently slaying Duncan in a wrathful fit and fleeing to the mountains, with Sabin in pursuit. It is during these events that the Returners, accompanied by Sabin's brother Edgar, encounter him. With Vargas' defeat, Sabin is prompted to join the cause against the Empire, and after a period of separation where he meets Shadow, Cyan, and Gau following the Imperial siege of Doma, he participates in the defense of Narshe.
After the world's devastation, Sabin is the first ally Celes is led to encounter, found supporting the crumbling wreck of a mansion in Tzen after an attack by Kefka's 'Light of Judgment.' In this event, Celes has a tight time frame to rescue a child still inside the mansion, so the player will have to judge whether or not a battle is worth fighting, especially since some of the enemies can inflict the Condemned status, and often cannot be killed in one hit. Sabin later finds Duncan alive and well in the World of Ruin, somewhere east of Narshe, having survived Vargas' attack. From him, Sabin learns his final martial technique, the Phantom Rush.
Cyan Garamonde, whose name in the original version is Cayenne Garamonde (カイエン・ガラモンド, Kaien Garamondo), is a retainer to the king of Doma, a nation at war with the Empire. Stalwart in the defense of his home against the Empire's assault, he flies into a murderous rage after Kefka poisons Doma's water supply, which kills virtually everyone in the castle, including his wife and child. Launching a suicidal attack on the Imperial siege encampment, Cyan is assisted and rescued by Sabin. Shortly thereafter he encounters the spirits of his deceased loved ones aboard the Phantom Train, sending him into a depressed spiral that persists until the game's second half. Cyan later grows close to Gau after finding him on the Veldt, taking a protective, almost fatherly role over the abandoned child.
During the World of Ruin, Cyan sequesters himself atop Mt. Zozo, writing pseudo-love letters under the guise of a deceased Imperial soldier to Lola, a woman in Miranda. This same soldier had previously requested Cyan and company write to Lola on his behalf upon meeting him in Mobliz before the planet's destruction. Later, the player has the chance to bring Cyan to the aging ruins of Doma Castle, wherein monsters named after the Three Stooges (called the Three Dream Stooges) invade his soul, with the rest of the party in hot pursuit. Cyan's soul is represented as a four-stage dungeon: the first stage is a rather disorienting area where one party member must find the other two team members and then tackle the Three Stooges. The second stage of the dungeon is based loosely on the Phantom Train, and the third stage loosely based on the Narshe mines. The last stage is based on Doma Castle itself, with a similar layout, allowing the party to view some of Cyan's fondest memories (such as teaching his son Owain how to use a sword) and containing the dungeon's final boss: a composite demon that feeds on Cyan's depression. This could imply that the party is traveling through Cyan's memories themselves. The party cannot backtrack to a previous stage upon clearing one. Upon clearing the whole dungeon, Cyan faces his guilt and overcomes it, restoring his faith in himself and his ability to live life. Cyan speaks in a style resembling Shakespearean English, often using words and phrases such as "thou art" and "shalt not" and so on. Likewise, Cyan makes frequent use of the archaic copula verb "gozaru" in the Japanese version, a common feature of the faux-historic dialect used by samurai and ninja in other contemporary Japanese media.
While being a serious and gloomy character to the story with the deaths of his wife and son, Cyan also gave some light-hearted comedy at times with his relationship with Gau, with whom he grew very close, taking a protective, almost fatherly role over the boy. Cyan also had a predisposition to difficulty with technology.
Shadow (シャドウ, Shadō) is a paid assassin and mercenary, always accompanied by his faithful dog, Interceptor. Although drawn by Yoshitaka Amano, this character's concept, personality and background were designed by Tetsuya Nomura. During the first half of the game, Shadow operates only on a freelance basis, at times available to the player for a fee and at times appearing in the employ of the Gestahlian Empire. In two instances within the World of Balance, Shadow is forced into the player's party Crescent Island and the Floating Continent. Shadow's fate is determined entirely by player action on the latter area; should the player jump from the World of Balance attempting to escape the Continent's destruction sooner than 00:05 on the clock, Shadow is presumed to have perished during the collapse of the world (the player will be prompted if they want to jump or wait for Shadow). However, if the player waits until 00:05 on the clock, Shadow will accompany the party, jump aboard the Blackjack and be available for permanent recruitment in the World of Ruin.
In the second half of the game, Shadow is, if rescued, found injured within the Cave on the Veldt and is returned to Strago's home in Thamasa to heal. Later on, he may be acquired by betting an item he seeks at the Dragon's Neck Coliseum and winning the ensuing match. Whenever Shadow is placed in the party, his backstory is revealed through dreams and nightmare sequences by using a Tent or resting at an Inn. Shadow's actual name is Clyde and he once lived a life of crime with his partner, Baram ("Billy" in the Japanese version). The pair are infamous in the pre-war period before the game begins as a duo of train robbers known as the Shadow Bandits, but Baram eventually suffers mortal wounds during a failed railway heist. Baram tasks Clyde to finish him off, but Clyde instead panics, fleeing his friend. An indeterminate span of time passes, seeing Clyde collapse from exhaustion upon reaching Thamasa, found by a young woman and her dog. It is heavily implied (and was actually confirmed in a 1995 interview with the game's developers) that Clyde fathers Relm, another character from the game, with this woman, eventually departing Thamasa under the guise of Shadow to escape his guilt over abandoning Baram.
Gameplay-wise, Shadow avoids engaging in close combat, instead opting to throw ninja weapons at distance. His special ability "Throw" enables him to throw unequipped weapons that may inflict extremely heavy damage on an enemy. Being a Ninja class character, Shadow has high speed and strength but low defense and average magic statistics. His weapons are various daggers and he can also use specialized throwing weapons to attack multiple enemies. If an enemy hits him with a physical attack, there is a chance that Interceptor will block it, absorbing all or most damage. Interceptor's counterattacks ("Wild Fang" and "Takedown") can inflict powerful non-elemental damage on non-floating enemies.
At the game's conclusion, Shadow remains within the crumbling ruin of Kefka's tower, quietly separating from the party and encouraging Interceptor to flee with the others. His final words are directed to Baram: "It looks like I can finally stop running... Come and find me all right?" (Japanese version: "I don't need to run away anymore. Embrace me warmly.") Interceptor is later seen with Relm in Strago's section of the ending. In Final Fantasy VI Advance it is implied that Shadow remained behind in Kefka's tower as it collapsed, allowing himself to die. Despite appearing in only one major role, the character was well received, including being voted at number seven in a popularity poll for Final Fantasy series characters by V Jump in 1995.
Shadow was featured in numerous top lists of the best ninja characters in video gaming, including by The Armchair Empire in 2006, Japanator.com in 2007, and Wild Gunmen in 2010. In addition, his dog, Interceptor, won the Nintendo Power Awards '94 at first place in the category Best Goodie ("the most popular good guy that isn't quite the main hero of the games"). According to Nathan Schlothan of RPGamer, "few RPG dogs are quite as iconic as Interceptor," an "incredibly loyal and friendly dog" that is "the one thing that ties Shadow to the past he has otherwise cast aside" as well as "an invaluable asset in battle."
Gau (ガウ) is a thirteen-year-old feral child who lives among the animals on the Veldt, having survived in this harsh environment nearly his entire life. Yoshinori Kitase, one of the game's two directors, spent the most time developing Gau, stating that stories like Flowers for Algernon as well as tales about children raised by wolves were the inspiration and origin of Gau, though it evolved further from there.
His powers of speech are poor, barely capable of communicating with others and often growing frustrated with complex sentences (in the Japanese version this frustration is further exaggerated). Initially encountered by Sabin and Cyan, Gau is tempted into the party with a slab of dried meat and returns the favor by presenting the pair with Mobliz' missing Diving Helm, enabling the trio to survive the underwater current of the Serpent's Trench and eventually reunite with the Returners. He grows close to Cyan very quickly, becoming fast friends with him immediately upon their first meeting, calling him "Mr. Thou." He has a very strange power: he is able to assume the powers and elemental resistances of any monster fought previously with his Rage techniques (for example: the Rhinotaur Rage technique grants him the ability to absorb lightning damage; he also gets a lightning attack from it).
Gau is again encountered on the Veldt in the World of Ruin. In this second part of the game his origins are more thoroughly explored – by taking him and Sabin to the old man in the lone house west of the Veldt where Sabin's subplot first began in the World of Balance, it is learned that this man is, in fact, Gau's father, having tossed him into the wilds shortly after the death of his wife in childbirth and consequently labeling Gau a "demon child". This was mentioned when Sabin first visits the port town of Nikeah, when he talks to a woman who says the man had tossed his own child out of his home thirteen years ago.
Gau's youthful naivete and boundless energy make him one of the series's "energetic young boy" characters, a role that was preceded by Palom from Final Fantasy IV, and succeeded by Zell Dincht from Final Fantasy VIII, Vivi Orunitia from Final Fantasy IX, Hope Estheim from Final Fantasy XIII, and Talcott Hester from Final Fantasy XV (though the latter is a non-player character, he nonetheless came the closest to filling the role).
Setzer Gabbiani (セッツァー・ギャッビアーニ, Settsā Gyabbiāni) is a gambler who owns the Blackjack, the only known airship in the world. He is first encountered by the party after being tricked into kidnapping Celes Chere instead of Maria, the opera diva with whom he's enraptured. Capitalizing on Setzer's love of gambling and chance, Celes coerces him into a bet using Edgar's double-faced coin, the result of which is his joining the Returners and committing his airship to their service. His ship, however, is torn apart when Kefka unleashes the divine power of the Warring Triad. In the World of Ruin, Setzer is found lamenting the loss of his ship in the pub of Kohlingen. Once reminded of his former bravery, he elects to lead his comrades to the tomb of his long-deceased friend, Daryl. In the depths of the crypt Setzer relives his memories of his and Daryl's romantic rivalry, revealing the restored hulk of her airship, the Falcon, which is turned over to player control.
Setzer also makes a small appearance in Kingdom Hearts II, as the reigning champion of the false Twilight Town's Struggle tournament, where he fights with Roxas, the first playable character of the game. He is either victorious or defeated, depending on the player's ability, and the plot advances either way.
The character was created by designer Tetsuya Nomura, who helped give him personality, look, and background. Setzer appears in Kingdom Hearts and is voiced by Ryōtarō Okiayu in the Japanese version and Crispin Freeman in the English version.
Strago Magus (ストラゴス・マゴス, Sutoragosu Magosu, Japanese name Stragos Magus) is an elderly gentleman living in the village of Thamasa. He is Relm's grandfather and (together with the other inhabitants of Thamasa) a descendant of the ancient Mage Warriors who fought in the War of the Magi. Through his magical ancestry, Strago is able to learn techniques used by enemies, known as Lore (Blue Magic). He joins the Returners in thanks for saving Relm from a burning building, helping them seek the Espers on Crescent Island. He departs Thamasa with Relm, joining the party permanently, after Kefka's brutal attack on his village. Convinced of the worst for his granddaughter in the World of Ruin, Strago enthralls himself to the Cult of Kefka in a fit of depression, snapping out of his trance only when confronted by Relm. Strago later returns to Thamasa with Relm, confronted by an old friend with whom he once hunted the legendary beast, Hidon, and is compelled to seek out and destroy the monster. Undertaking this side quest enables Strago to learn the ultimate Blue Magic, though contrary to what he says to Relm, he does not have to tackle it alone (he must, however, be in the party during the battle with Hidon). Very early on in the development of Final Fantasy VI, there was an idea of Strago developing his own village in the style of Sim City, but was cancelled due to lack of time in the development schedule.
Relm Arrowny (リルム・アローニィ, Rirumu Arōnii) is a ten-year-old artist from the village of Thamasa, the granddaughter of Strago, and the youngest playable character in the game. When the group arrives in Thamasa, she meets them briefly, and they later save her from a burning house. She joins the party after tailing the player in the Esper Cave, despite complaints from Strago, and saves them during a scripted battle against Ultros. In the World of Ruin, Relm is either first found unconscious in the Cave on the Veldt (in the event the player did not wait for Shadow on the Floating Continent) or tasked with a commissioned painting by the grossly-deformed Owzer. Once Relm is recruited in the second half of the game, her presence in the party will snap Strago out of his chanting march at the base of the Cult of Kefka's tower.
Scenes with Relm and Interceptor upon the party's first meeting further imply that she is Shadow's daughter, supporting flashbacks during Shadow's dream sequences. A relic special to Relm, the Memento Ring, directly references her departed mother – Shadow is the only other character capable of equipping this item.
Relm's youthful energy and optimistic spirit make her one of the series's often-featured "perky young girl" characters, an archetype preceded by both Rydia (as a child) and Porom from Final Fantasy IV, and Krile Baldesion from Final Fantasy V, and succeeded by Yuffie Kisaragi from Final Fantasy VII, Selphie Tilmitt from Final Fantasy VIII, Eiko Carol from Final Fantasy IX, Rikku from Final Fantasy X, Penelo from Final Fantasy XII, Oerba Dia Vanille from Final Fantasy XIII, and Iris Amicitia from Final Fantasy XV (though the latter was merely a guest character, she nonetheless came the closest to filling the role).
Mog (モグ, Mogu) is a moogle who lives within the caves of Narshe with the rest of his species. He is distinguished from all the other moogles encountered in that he can speak human language, which was taught to him by the Esper, Ramuh, in Mog's dreams. During the game's introductory sequences, he and many other moogles help Terra and Locke escape from Narshe. Later in the story, Mog may be saved from a villainous thief, Lone Wolf, or abandoned for acquisition of an item. Either way, Mog is again encountered in the depths of the moogle's abandoned hollow in the World of Ruin. His class is a "Geomancer." These skills are learned based on the terrain, and activate attacks that incorporate the terrain, such as landslides, sandstorms, avalanches, forests, and so forth.
Gogo (ゴゴ) is the first of two hidden characters in the game, encountered should the party be engulfed entirely by a creature on Triangle Island called the Zone Eater. In the game's development stage, Gogo was even harder to find as he wandered between different pubs in the World of Ruin, disguising himself as characters you had not yet re-recruited. Only after players find the real character could they then return to the fake one and Gogo would reveal himself and be recruitable.
A self-described "master of simulacrum," Gogo opts to mimic the party's desire to save the world, thus accompanying them. Gogo's gender is not known. He or she is so shrouded in clothing that even the body's form is indecipherable. It is assumed that Gogo's identity and gender remain vague because, as a mime who copies others, these facts are irrelevant. A boss named Gogo previously appeared in Final Fantasy V as a boss at the depths of the sunken Waltz Tower, guarding the final crystal shard, which granted the Mime job class.
Umaro (ウーマロ, Ūmaro) is a yeti and the second hidden character in the game. In the World of Balance, references to him are made by citizens of Narshe with dubious sobriety, though he can be seen peering out of a cave above the entrance to the mine shafts. He is encountered much later in the game during the World of Ruin, after the group fights him over a Magicite shard. Should Mog be in the player party, he will convince Umaro to join the group.
Umaro cannot be controlled during battle and he can only equip relics. However, two of these relics, which only he can equip, grant him some powerful special attacks that he may use even in the Tower where the Cult of Kefka resides (everyone else can only use magic unless the "Berserk" spell is cast on them). One of these attacks, granted by the Rage Orb, allows him to fling a party member at an enemy: this doesn't hurt the thrown party member and can even damage an enemy a fair amount. The second attack, granted by the Blizzard Orb, allows him to strike all enemies for ice-based damage. As always, the player has no control over when these attacks are used.
Other major characters
This section covers other characters who either play a major role in the plot, or are briefly controllable by the player (but without the full range of options given to the above fourteen characters).
Kefka Palazzo (ケフカ·パラッツォ, Kefuka Parattso, Cefca Palazzo in Japanese materials) is a sociopathic nihilist who served the Gestahlian Empire as Court Mage until he used the Warring Triad to devastate the world. He serves as the main antagonist of the game. ‘’IGN’’ describes him as "dominating" the history of the ‘'Final Fantasy'’ franchise for his maniacal representation of evil.
Kefka's appearance was designed by Yoshitaka Amano, who was given complete creative freedom in Final Fantasy VI, with only brief character outlines as guidelines. His approach was to create "real" and "alive" characters, though with consideration for the representation as small computer sprites. Kefka is well known for his clown-like apparel, which has been compared to the Joker from Batman. His dress has been described as "garish", with "makeup smeared across his face" and "a shrill, girlish laughter" that is thought to "punctuate his madness". In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, he also bore lip makeup patterned in a way that resembled a Glasgow smile.
Given only the artwork and outline to work with during production, writer Yoshinori Kitase felt that one early scene of Kefka's approach of a castle was too "boring to make completely normal" and decided to ad-lib a scene where he requests that his accompanying soldiers dust off his boots in the middle of a desert. The scene set the tone for his personality from that point onwards, suggesting that there "may be a screw or two missing from this character's head". He has been described as "powerful" and "manipulative", though he is retiring on occasion when confronted by opposition and even called a coward for delegating his authority. He is also known for his sarcastic tone and one-liners. As Kefka's power grows, his nihilism and madness grow in tandem and as he attains godlike powers he thirsts for the destruction of all life, expresses his loathing of everything in existence by chanting the word "hate" to his enemies. He is also very sadistic, taking amusement at the very idea of people dying and screaming. This is especially evident when he poisons Doma, as well as his admission prior to confronting the Returners for the final time that he enjoys destroying things precisely because precious lives are lost in the process. In his Dissidia appearance, Kefka's insanity is further explored, suggesting that his actions stem from a desire to fill his heart with destruction when love failed to provide his life with meaning. Final Fantasy VI features a song called "Kefka", which exemplifies the "sadistic joy" of the character. His laughter has been called the greatest video game laughter of all time.
Ultros (オルトロス, Orutorosu), whose name is Orthros in the Japanese version, is a large, talking, purple, carnivorous octopus who appears multiple times as both antagonist and comic relief. Each time he appears to fight the party, he is bent on making a meal out of them, making him the first (and, so far, only) carnivorous antagonist in Final Fantasy history. ‘’IGN’’ called him "unintentionally hilarious", noting his lack of any real motivation to follow the heroes and fight them so many times. Ultros appears in Dissidia: Final Fantasy as a summon, again using the name Ultros. Ultros also makes a cameo appearance in the film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.
Typhon (テュポーン, Tyupōn), whose name is Chupon in the original North American Super NES version, is a large, red, two-headed floating monster, who appears as Ultros' "friend" while fighting the party while they are going to the Floating Continent, the final stage of the World of Balance. Typhon doesn't speak often but has a volatile temper, according to Ultros. After the game shifts to the World of Ruin, the two of them end up working as a receptionist and combatant in the Colosseum. Typhon's specific purpose here seems to be discouraging the betting of "useless" items, rather than actually fighting, by snorting the betters out of the arena. Ultros, sometimes under the name Orthros, and Typhon have since appeared in other games: both are optional bosses in Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls under the names Orthros and Typhon, Ultros is a boss in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, and as a boss in Chocobo's Dungeon 2 under the name Orthros again. Orthros also makes an appearance in Final Fantasy XII as an elite mark black flan who attacks women, and Typhon appears in Final Fantasy VII as a summon. He also appears, again as a flan named Orthros in Final Fantasy Tactics A2. Ultros and Typhon appear in Final Fantasy XIII-2 as downloadable content, and again as an optional boss fight in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Leo Cristophe (レオ・クリストフ, Reo Kurisutofu) is one of the three top generals of the Empire, the others being Celes and Kefka. Unlike his compatriots, Leo refused to undergo Magitek infusion. Fiercely loyal and possessed of a strong sense of personal honor, Leo conducts himself with a measure of restraint and ability otherwise absent in the tyrannical ambitions of the Empire. His siege of Doma sought to minimize casualties on both sides of the fighting until Kefka's poisoning of the water supply, and he is the first to espouse the Emperor's later, apparent desires for an end to the war. Leo later leads the Imperial mission to seek a truce with the Espers on Crescent Island, accompanied by both the Returners and the troops loyal to him. This turns out to be a ruse meant not only to lure the Espers into a trap (seeing Kefka reduce them to Magicite to collect for the Empire) but to also eliminate Leo and other Imperial dissidents who might threaten Gestahl's plans. Although more than a match for Kefka's tricks in combat, Leo is eventually – and brutally – cut down after Kefka masquerades as Gestahl, playing on Leo's unswerving loyalty to kill him. He is thereafter buried by the Returners and surviving villagers of Thamasa.
Temporarily controllable only during Kefka's assault, Leo has a special ability called 'Shock' that deals heavy damage to all foes about him by creating a powerful energy field. He is also in possession of powerful equipment and Relics the player is unable to acquire until much later in the game.
Banon (バナン, Banan) is the leader of the Returners, a group of rebels that opposes the Empire's harsh oppression. The party first meets him in the Returners' secret base, where he plans to have Terra try and speak with the frozen Esper in Narshe. He later accompanies them to the imperial capital of Vector when Gestahl proposes a truce, which eventually turns out to be a ruse. They have a party and a laugh about it but he is last seen among the ruins of Vector after the Espers destroyed it. His fate after Kefka's rise to power is unknown. Banon is temporarily controllable during a mission to transport him from the Returners' secret base to Narshe. His special command, 'Pray', is a powerful healing ability that targets the entire party and does not use magic points.
Cid Del Norte Marquez (シド・デル・ノルテ・マルケズ, Shido Deru Norute Marukezu) is the chief magical researcher of the Empire, and one of the many incarnations of Cid in the series. His pursuits lead to the creation of the Magitek labs and production facilities, together with the development of Magitek armor and soldiers. He is very close to Celes, turning against the Empire upon witnessing her fight against Kefka. In the World of Ruin, he washes up on the same lonely island as Celes, caring for her throughout the duration of her coma. Those others who wash up along with them eventually fall to despair and commit suicide before she awakens. Celes is turned over to the player's control at this point, and Cid's ultimate fate is left to the player's ability to care for him in the sequence that follows. Should Cid die, Celes will discover a letter and the key to Cid's raft after attempting suicide herself. In the event Cid is nursed back to health, he will provide the raft for Celes of his own accord, wishing her farewell.
Emperor Gestahl (ガストラ, Gasutora, Gastra) is the aging, power-hungry dictator of the militaristic Empire. Obsessed with the legends of magical power dating from the ancient War of the Magi, Gestahl seeks the sealed world of the Espers prior to the game's beginning, affording him the capture of dozens of Espers – Terra's father and Terra herself among them. These enslaved few would form the basis for the Empire's Magitek in the years to come, the fruit of this research enabling Gestahl to crush the city-states on the southern continent and expand northward. Later in the game, his second attempt to enter the Esper world proves largely successful, though the culmination of these events lead to his death at the hands of Kefka and the destruction of the world.
Maduin and Madeline
Maduin (マディン, Madīn), an Esper, and Madeline (マドリーヌ, Madorīnu, Madonna in US SNES version), a human woman, are Terra's parents. They meet after Madeline accidentally stumbles into the Esper world, and Maduin nurses her back to health. Though other Espers do not trust her, Maduin defends her, and they soon conceive Terra. Eventually Gestahl invades the area, captures Maduin, kills Madeline, and takes Terra with him. Maduin is drained of his magic for twenty years before he is finally reduced to Magicite. Maduin would later be referred to by name as an Eidolon used by Eiko Carol in Final Fantasy IX and as a summon in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, romanized instead as "Madeen". He also appears as an Esper in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and as a transfiguration of Titan in World of Final Fantasy.
The Warring Triad
The Warring Triad (三闘神, Santōshin), individually known as Fiend (鬼神, Kishin, Doom in US SNES version), Demon (魔神, Majin, Poltergeist in US SNES version), and Goddess (女神, Megami), are the beings directly responsible for the War of the Magi and the creation of Espers. After the seemingly endless period of near-apocalyptic destruction their conflict causes, the Triad willfully cease their battle and mutually seal away their abilities, reducing themselves to stone statues. It is the magical balance of these three that maintains harmony throughout the world, though Emperor Gestahl, obsessed with power, seeks the Triad to further his own desires. Gestahl is betrayed and slain by Kefka, who gains control of the Triad and upsets their balance – this singular act virtually annihilates the planet's surface, reducing it to a wasted, chaotic shadow. Drained of their power by Kefka in the time following his ascension, they are awakened as mindless husks that attack the party as the player traverses the mangled spires of Kefka's tower.
The Warring Triad appears in Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in the form of statues on the floating continent Azys Lla, virtually identical to the original sprites in appearance. A series of side quests allows players to fight them for powerful weapon rewards. In this appearance, the three deities are given names based on notes from original concept artwork that ended up not being used in Final Fantasy VI. The Fiend is named Sephirot, the Goddess Sophia and the Demon Zurvan
Reception and legacy
In its review of the Game Boy Advance release, IGN says Final Fantasy VI's "cast of characters is huge and varied, and though several of them do draw from traditional RPG archetypes, this was the game that helped define those archetypes in the first place." In the GameSpy review of the Game Boy Advance version, it is said that "the large cast of characters, that is one of this game's hallmarks, is most impressive because of their individuality, both from a story and from a gameplay perspective, as well as the amount of effort that was put into exploring their personalities, motivations, and histories." Nintendo Power described the characters as some of the more memorable Final Fantasy protagonists ever, citing the ending's great character moments.
Several characters from the game have received standalone praise, such as Kefka who has been repeatedly named one of the franchise's greatest villains. In 2008, IGN placed him sixth on their list of the "Top 25 Final Fantasy Characters" with similar sentiments, but also included several other characters from Final Fantasy VI on the list. Ultros, who placed twenty-fourth, was praised for bringing "much needed" comic relief for the title, described as being augmented by Ted Woolsey's translation for the North American localization. Celes placed fourteenth, and was stated as providing one of the greatest memorable scenes and musical pieces in the game through the impromptu opera scene. Setzer placed twelfth, described as having "that most crucial of qualities in a hero, an unshakable sense of humor," as well as introducing the Gambler job class that would appear in later titles in the series. Nintendo Power listed Shadow as one of the best ninjas on Nintendo consoles. In an article on Dissidia Final Fantasy, IGN editor Ryan Clements called Terra one of the most recognizable and well-loved characters to join the army of Cosmos. In another poll the same year, eight of the characters – Locke, Edgar, Celes, Setzer, Terra, Shadow, Sabin, and Relm – were named among the fifteen most popular characters in the Final Fantasy series. In 2012, IGN made a list of their all-time favorite Final Fantasy characters, and included Celes, Edgar, Kefka, Locke, and Ultros.
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