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Sephiroth
Sephiroth-FFVIIArt

Series

Final Fantasy

Debut

Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Console of origin

PlayStation

Species

Human

Gender

Male

Sephiroth is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VII, and one of the major villains in its extended universe.

Before his fall from grace, Sephiroth was one of the most lauded success stories of the Shinra Electric Power Company's SOLDIER program. A great warrior idolized by the public and infantrymen alike for his strength and discipline in combat, Sephiroth's many successes in the field of battle during the conflicts surrounding the Shinra Electric Power Company's bid for global domination led to his status as a celebrity war hero and the poster boy for both the Shinra Military and the company's SOLDIER program.

After learning the truth behind his origins, and coming to believe he is the only remaining survivor of the Ancients, Sephiroth rebels against the Shinra Electric Power Company and enacts a world-wide vendetta against the "corruption" of humankind. His ultimate goal in the world of Final Fantasy VII is to take control of the Lifestream, and with its power and knowledge become a god-like being. In spin-off appearances, Sephiroth is depicted as Cloud Strife's archenemy, and is seen as a symbol of Cloud's troubled past that haunts his life.

DescriptionEdit

Sephiroth wears a long black coat with silver pauldrons, black boots and black trousers. The top of his coat is open to reveal his chest, with his leather SOLDIER suspenders crossed over it. Sephiroth's silver hair is long with his bangs parted to either side of his face. In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Sephiroth's bangs are shorter than in his earlier appearances. Sephiroth has green cat-like eyes and wields Masamune, a seven-foot long katana he is rarely seen without. His battle stance with the sword is to hold it over his left shoulder with the blade curving downward. Sephiroth usually wields the Masamune two-handed. In later appearances a single black wing emerges from his right shoulder.

HistoryEdit

Birth and Early LifeEdit

Sephiroth was born to Professor Hojo and Lucrecia Crescent approximately twenty-seven years before Final Fantasy VII (exact date of birth unknown). Before Sephiroth's birth, Hojo and Lucrecia were working as assistants to Professor Gast, Shinra Electric Power Company's top scientist, on the Jenova Project. The project studied the remains of an extra-terrestrial entity known as Jenova, who was mistakenly thought to be one of the Cetra, an ancient people who had the power to "talk to the Planet". Hojo injected cell samples from Jenova into the pregnant Lucrecia and her unborn baby. Lucrecia carried Sephiroth to term, his fetal form merging with the Jenova cells as he developed. After the baby was born, he was taken away from Lucrecia by Shinra scientists. She never even had a chance to hold her child.

Sephiroth never gained the ability to talk to the Planet, as he is not a true Cetra descendant, but Shinra found another use for him and raised Sephiroth to be a super soldier. They told him nothing of his true parentage, instead saying that his mother's name was "Jenova" and telling him nothing of his father. Sephiroth felt that he was different from other children somehow, but had no idea of the experiments that created him. Sephiroth came to respect Professor Gast until he left Shinra under Ifalna's guidance, and considered Professor Hojo a hack scientist in comparison.

Other than his birth, the details of Sephiroth's life prior to Crisis Core are obscure. Approximately eight years before Crisis Core begins, the Wutai War began when Wutai resisted Shinra's demands to build a Mako Reactor on their land. Sephiroth became instrumental in ensuring Shinra's dominance in the war. He rose to the rank of SOLDIER First Class and was admired and respected as a great war hero, while those in Shinra considered his strength to be unequaled even by other First Class SOLDIERs. Many young men, including Cloud Strife and Genesis Rhapsodos, idolized Sephiroth and sought to join SOLDIER to become heroes like him.

Crisis Core/Before CrisisEdit

Near the end of the Wutai War, Sephiroth has only two close friends within SOLDIER, Angeal Hewley and Genesis Rhapsodos. Though the three are rival SOLDIERs First Class, they see each other as close friends. When Genesis and Sephiroth duel in the virtual reality Junon, Sephiroth seems to be the strongest, but the fight ends inconclusively. Angeal stops the fight before either hurt each other too badly, although the small wound Genesis takes does not heal. Sephiroth offers his blood as a transfusion, but is told it is not compatible. Shortly before the Wutai War ends, Genesis vanishes and is presumed missing in action.

In the months after the war, the anti-Shinra group AVALANCHE intensifies its actions, raiding Junon. Sephiroth engages the AVALANCHE leader, Elfé, who asks whether he wants to "fight for a reason," which has a profound effect on Sephiroth; the results of Sephiroth choosing to fight for a reason would one day threaten the Planet's existence. Meanwhile, it is discovered Genesis has defected from Shinra with a Shinra scientist Hollander, creating an army using Copy Technology to graft Genesis's cells onto other traitor SOLDIER members with which to rebel against Shinra. Angeal goes rogue torn between his loyalties, and the two are declared killed in action.

As Sephiroth participates in the AVALANCHE Insurgency and Genesis War, his loyalties and emotions continue to be thrown into turmoil leading to Sephiroth refusing missions concerning Genesis and Angeal, and on a later assignment he allows them to escape. Zack Fair, one of Sephiroth's SOLDIER First Class comrades, kills Angeal and apparently Genesis, but Genesis resurfaces several months later. Sephiroth participates in a mission to "rescue" Professor Hojo who had almost defected with the AVALANCHE forces attacking the Shinra Headquarters. In September of 0002, Sephiroth tells Zack he is considering retiring from Shinra, and their next mission together will likely be his last.

On September 22nd 0002, Sephiroth arrives at Nibelheim to investigate an outbreak of monsters near the town's Mako Reactor that is believed to be connected to Genesis. He arrives with a small entourage, including Zack and two Shinra infantryman, one of whom is the sixteen-year-old Cloud Strife. At the reactor Sephiroth finds several pod-like chambers containing monstrous creatures who used to be human, mutated by exposure to Mako. He finds a large chamber labeled "JENOVA" containing a feminine-looking creature. When Zack suggests a connection between SOLDIER and the creatures in the tanks, Sephiroth flies into a rage, horrified the reason he is "different" may be because he was created similarly to the monsters in the pods.

Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- shows an expanded version of events at the Nibelheim Incident, and Genesis plays a part in inciting Sephiroth's madness by telling Sephiroth he was born from the Jenova Project, its goal to produce a "monster". Disturbed by the creature in the reactor having the same name as his "mother", Sephiroth makes his way to the Shinra Manor that had been occupied by Shinra researchers, and for three days reads the research notes in the basement library and wonders why he was never told the truth of his origins. He comes to believe Jenova is a Cetra, and therefore he as Jenova's "son" is the last Cetra survivor. He believes the human race had betrayed the Cetra 2,000 years ago leaving them alone to defend the Planet from a calamity (eventually revealed to have been Jenova itself), and resolves to take vengeance for his "ancestors".

On October 1st, Sephiroth destroys Nibelheim, setting the town on fire and killing many of the townspeople, before returning to the reactor to claim Jenova's remains. He is pursued by Tifa's father, Tifa, Zack, and Cloud. At the reactor, Tifa takes up Sephiroth's Masamune from her father's corpse and attacks him, but he disarms her and cuts her down. Shortly after Sephiroth enters Jenova's chamber, Zack arrives and attacks him.

Zack fights Sephiroth but is defeated and tossed out of the chamber. Cloud enters and picks up Zack's Buster Sword, rushing after Sephiroth. Caught off-guard, Sephiroth is impaled from behind through the abdomen and collapses. As Cloud leaves to tend to Tifa, Sephiroth slices off Jenova's head and stumbles from the room. Cloud attacks him again, but Sephiroth impales him with the Masamune.

Out of sheer force of will Cloud pulls the sword out of his chest and uses it as a lever to hurl Sephiroth into a pool of Mako below the reactor. Sephiroth vanishes with Jenova's head still in his grasp, apparently falling to his death. In Last Order -Final Fantasy VII- the scene depicts Sephiroth jumping into the pool of Mako willingly, having noted he is unable to defeat Cloud. Following the Nibelheim Incident, Shinra seals the records on Sephiroth, declaring him killed in action, and rebuilds Nibelheim to cover the incident, populating it with Shinra employees paid to act as the villagers.

Sephiroth fell into the Lifestream, his willpower too great to allow himself to be consumed. Over the next several years Sephiroth travels the Lifestream, growing in power and knowledge, and the fragments of his body congregate at the Northern Cave inside the North Crater, joining to recreate Sephiroth's physical form in a cocoon of Mako. Sephiroth's new goal is to merge with the Lifestream and seize control of it to become a god.

Though his physical body is encased in Mako Sephiroth can control Jenova's cells as an extension of his body and thus act on his plans through the remains of Jenova's body. Hojo injects Zack, Cloud and the survivors of Nibelheim (save for Tifa who was rescued by Zangan before Shinra found her) with Sephiroth's cells, turning them into Sephiroth Clones. Hojo believed the Jenova cells within Sephiroth would call for a "reunion" of those who shared its cells, and wished to see his theory put to test.

Final Fantasy VIIEdit

Approximately five years after his supposed death, in December 0007, Sephiroth enacts his plan and puts out the call for the reunion to summon the Sephiroth Clones to the North Cave. Jenova's remains, which had been moved to the Shinra Headquarters in Midgar, shapeshift into Sephiroth's form and break out of containment. Jenova/Sephiroth releases Cloud and the members of the second reincarnation of AVALANCHE, who were being held prisoner, and kills President Shinra after declaring Shinra should never acquire the Promised Land. Cloud, seeing Sephiroth's Masamune left at the scene of President Shinra's death, suspects Sephiroth may be alive, and sets out with AVALANCHE to find him and settle the score for what happened to Nibelheim.

The party finds Sephiroth on the cargo ship headed to Costa del Sol, where he alludes to the Jenova Reunion and leaves an arm of Jenova behind that transforms into a monster Cloud's party must fight. Sephiroth appears some time later in Nibelheim Shinra Manor basement, where he mentions the reunion and calls for Cloud to follow him. At the Temple of the Ancients Sephiroth reveals the full extent of his plans — the Planet relies on the Lifestream to heal itself when wounded, and the North Crater, where the Lifestream is abundant, is where Jenova fell two thousand years ago.

Using the Black Materia, Sephiroth plans to call the Ultimate Destructive Magic — Meteor — to injure the Planet and place himself at the center of its impact zone as the Lifestream emerges to heal the Planet's wound. Sephiroth plans to merge with the Lifestream, becoming a god.

Cloud acquires the Black Materia, but Sephiroth exerts his influence over Jenova's cells within Cloud's body and takes control of Cloud, who hands the Materia over to Jenova. Aeris Gainsborough, the true last survivor of the Cetra, uses the White Materia to summon Holy, the only power able to counter Meteor. During her prayer to call forth the Ultimate White Magic, Sephiroth (or rather, Jenova transformed into his image) impales her with his sword, killing her. Though Aeris had successfully called Holy, Sephiroth holds it back within the Planet. Cloud and his allies continue tracking Sephiroth to the North Crater.

Cloud and his party kill Jenova in Sephiroth's form and reclaim the Black Materia. Cloud entrusts it to a party member for safekeeping while he and Tifa continue deeper into the crater and find themselves in an illusion of Nibelheim's destruction that Sephiroth conjured. Sephiroth wants to break Cloud by revealing his mind pieced together the events of him being there instead of Zack. Sephiroth deceives Cloud into thinking he is a mere cluster of Jenova cells that assumed the identity of a boy named "Cloud".

Sephiroth's manipulations take their toll and shatter Cloud's fragile mind. Sephiroth projects an illusion of Tifa before the party members left behind to bring the Black Materia to Cloud. Once Cloud takes back the Black Materia he hands it to Sephiroth's true body residing within a Mako cocoon. Sephiroth summons the Meteor, which awakens the Planet's defense mechanism, the Weapons. The walls of the area crumble as the Weapons arise from their slumber, and Sephiroth's Mako cocoon falls into the crater. Cloud's allies flee with Rufus Shinra on the Highwind while Sephiroth erects an energy barrier over the crater to keep the Weapons from detecting him.

Sephiroth begins shapeshifting his body into a form befitting a god, awaiting Meteor's arrival. Cloud recovers upon discovering the truth about his past. In late January 0008, Shinra fires the Mako Cannon, known as the Sister Ray, at the North Crater, piercing Sephiroth's barrier and allowing Cloud and his allies to enter the crater and reach Sephiroth.

They find Sephiroth at the Planet's core, blocking Holy. Emerging from his larval Bizarro∙Sephiroth form upon defeat, Sephiroth becomes the angelic Safer∙Sephiroth‎, a being with seven wings. Cloud and his allies destroy Sephiroth, but his mind endures. Pulling Cloud into a metaphysical final battle, Sephiroth attempts to take control of him, but Cloud's mental defenses have grown, and he defeats Sephiroth. Sephiroth dissolves into the Lifestream, seemingly destroyed. With Sephiroth gone, Holy is released from the Planet core and together with the power of Lifestream destroys the Meteor.

AbilitiesEdit

The full extent of Sephiroth's abilities is unknown. It is stated in the official book Reunion Files that the Sephiroth seen in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has "ascended to a new level of existence" and is stronger than before. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children producer Yoshinori Kitase has said, "Sephiroth's existence and will is extremely powerful. There is nothing stronger, nothing above him." Though Cloud and other characters have been able to battle Sephiroth competently, it is implied in most of these fights that Sephiroth was not fighting at his full potential, Sephiroth's power being somehow limited or he is holding back.

As a human prior to the Nibelheim Incident, Sephiroth possessed superhuman strength, speed, agility, endurance and reflexes. He is a master swordsman and can produce beams of energy by swinging his Masamune, can swing faster than the human eye can see, and can cut through solid metal and concrete. In his boss battle in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- he can teleport, his only shown instance of doing so in the Final Fantasy series.

Following his assimilation of Jenova and his immersion in the Lifestream, Sephiroth's powers increase dramatically. He can cast magic without the need for Materia, can fly, levitate, project illusions into the minds of other beings, and manifest the Masamune at will. Through his control over Jenova, Sephiroth can shapeshift her cells into his visage and other forms, and act through them as though they were his own body. This allows Sephiroth to remain "alive" even when dead, by morphing Jenova's cells into a new body to act through from within the Lifestream, but his ability to do this is limited. He can mentally manipulate creatures that contain Jenova's cells in their body, and if their mind is weak enough, can exert total control over their bodies, and can control the "negative Lifestream" composed of those who died of Geostigma.

Sephiroth's signature attack is Supernova, his ultimate attack when fought as Safer∙Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII. The Kingdom Hearts series depicts Supernova as his strongest attack, and Crisis Core and Dissidia refer to it as his Limit Break. His other trademark attacks are Heartless Angel, a move that drains the opponent's HP to a single point; Octaslash, a sequence of eight sword attacks; and Shadow Flare, a barrage of dark energy orbs. In Kingdom Hearts and Dissidia, he can use variations of Meteor through his command of the Black Materia.

GalleryEdit

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