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Sephiroth: Why We Love Gaming’s Most Notorious Badass

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chris-littlechild - April 25, 2012

Final Fantasy VII's primary antagonist has a special place amongst the pantheon of video game villains. He's perhaps the most popular character from the series, and with such a demented cast (cat riding a giant sentient stuffed toy, anyone? Anthropomorphic rat-woman in a rather fetching coat with a spear?) as this, that's a dear diary accomplishment indeed. He's the kind of guy who'd insert that katana of his straight up your rectum if approached for an autograph, but nobody seems to mind. You'd wear that ass-wound with pride. (I can't sit down any more, butby Christit's an honour. He's inadvertently lanced that boil I had back there too, three cheers for Sephiroth!) Let's take a closer look at the appeal of this seminal swordsman.

At the opening of the game, Cloud's reminiscence seems to portray a respected war hero, the Action Man of his time. (Minus the real moving eyes lever and androgynous plastic crotch that still weirds me out.) It even showed the guy's complete superiority with those mock battles with the monsters. You'd pathetically attack, the equivalent of jabbing at the thing's balls with a broken toothpick. You'd then watch Sephiroth's almighty shitstorm-unleashing swipe that could seemingly cleft your average immense astral body in twain. This utterly ends the dragon thing or whatever the hell it was supposed to be, and reminds you how laughably feeble you are. Thanks for nothing, you silver-haired bastard.The pure latent awesome of the guy who appears not to have taken off that black coat since 1997 is thus made clear, so early in the adventure. (Although, that toothpick business actually sounds rather painful. Scratch that analogy.)

These capers were just the hors d'oeuvre to the megalomaniacal main course. (megalomaniacal roast chicken perhaps, that's my personal favourite.) The ‘Roth later learns the devastating details of his birth, in a conversation that I assume went somewhat thusly:
"Hey Sephiroth, you see the freakish mutants in these tanks? That's you, that is. In a manner of speaking, anyway. Your mother was so doped up while pregnant with you, I don't knowwhatthe hell you are."
"Oh. Funky. What a fascinating revelation. We should discuss this in more detail some time. Maybe over lemonade on the lawn at my house. We could make a day of it, go to the beach or something."

It's been quite a while since I've played, but that's pretty much the gist. Except some of that crap wasn't known yet, and the response wasn't so much an invite to a friendly day of frolics and general good-time at the beach (no homo). On reflection, it may well have been a catastrophic flip-out and village-burning murderous shitstorm.

Yes, definitely the latter.

The postscript to this insanity is another factor in Sephiroth's fame. Concluding that he's superior to humans, he hatches possibly the greatest lunacy in the history of world domination plots. To wit: utilising ancient magic to send a meteor hurtling towards himself. The sentient planet will then use its power, the Lifestream, to heal itself. Absorbing/merging/whatever he's up to with this will see his birth as a quasi-Deity. Without the quasi. (Drinking in excessive amounts of a strange liquid would just make me need to piss, frankly. This is why I'm not famous.) There's a certain degree of success here, but being the catalyst for such a fantastic plot as Final Fantasy VII's is another reason we love Sephiroth. Not to mention having the testicles like cannon balls that'd be required to go through with these utterly mental machinations.

This guy is, pure and simple, a badass of the highest order. As with Wesker, the practically synonymous outfit helps here. Sephiroth, however, has the additional talent of effortlessly hefting a ginormous sword nobody but himself can even lift. Looks great on a CV, I don't doubt. This legendary blade, the Masamune, is a collectable item in-game, but nobody can equip it. This is the developers themselves telling you, "want to be as awesome as Sephiroth? Welltough nuts, you can't. Nobody is. His penis is bigger than yours too, incidentally. Not that I've seen it. That one magical night aside, he told me never to speak of that." For this, and for valiantly aiming a meteor at his own face, we salute him. (Let's not be pernickety and speak of force fields and the like.)

Here's a match between Cloud Strife and his notorious nemesis from Dissidia Final Fantasy:

Article by Chris Littlechild

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