Sephiroth (セフィロス Sefirosu) is the primary antagonist of Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, and a major villain in the extended Final Fantasy VII universe, Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, and also the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Sephiroth was once a first class SOLDIER, but after misinterpreting his origins and believing he is the chosen one, he decides to become a god and rule the planet.
Ascent to War Hero and Fall from Grace
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 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 Sehpiroth 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 VIIIn 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 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 engery, 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 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" (リバース・セフィロス Ribāsu Sefirosu) and "Safer Sephiroth" (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.
left|thumb|Sephiroth as seen in the original FFVII.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 Series
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
This game, set 10 years before the series' main storyline, depicts a time where Sephiroth was still regarded as a legendary hero. His reputation inspired Zack Fair to pursue the goal of equaling his feats, attempting to convince Philoctetes to accept him as a pupil.
Kingdom HeartsSephiroth appears as an optional boss in the first Kingdom Hearts game. He is found in Olympus Colosseum. 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".
In KH: Final Mix, a brief meeting between Cloud and Sephiroth can be seen, followed by a 30 second or so battle which ends with a flash of light, so the winner is unknown.
Kingdom Hearts II
"No matter how many times I fall, your darkness keeps calling me back."
- Sephiroth to Cloud
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. Cloud is currently searching in the world of Hollow Bastion (whose true name is Radiant Garden) hunting for Sephiroth, wanting to end their conflict once and for all. In the Dark Depths of Hollow Bastion , Sephiroth appears standing at the cliff where Sora was saved by Maleficent, and asks where Cloud is. Sora and company refuse to answer, then Sephiroth looks at the keyblade, and takes interest in it, wondering if it will not change its mind once he defeats Sora, thus initiating the battle.
While it is recommended that you are around level 50 to defeat the final boss, Xemnas, it is recommended that you not fight Sephiroth at any level lower than level 80. When you defeat him, he just turns around, unscarred and in perfect condition. He then asks Sora to ask Cloud to come to him so they can fight each other. Cloud shows up almost immediately afterward and a short cutscene showing their battle is shown, ending with the two going vanishing in a flash of light, with the two presumably being transported to another world.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
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 psycopathy, 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 Fantasy
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's also an unlockable playable character by gathering eight black shards.
Etymology and Symbolism
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 (religion)|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 considering Jenova to be his mother, yet also being implied to have become one with her, may allude to the Christian belief of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, yet also being one and the same with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit via the Holy Trinity.
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 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.
- 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 debateable. 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 psycopathy, 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, behaviour and motives are reminiscent of Psaro, a villain from the equally veteran Enix RPG series Dragon Quest. They are often portrayed together in unofficial fanworks, mainly in Japan.