A character sheet for Final Fantasy VI, originally released for the SNES in North America as Final Fantasy III.
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Adaptation Dye-Job: Most notably Terra, from Amano-artwork blonde to in-game green (and back to blonde everywhere else - Dissidia still gives green in an alternate costume). Other characters had their hair turned into warm grey color (amusingly, Relm's portrait shows her original blonde hair color).
Character Development: This is basically Character Development: The Game. Terra learns to love others, Locke gets over his loved one's death, Celes learns to show affection like a human being, Cyan gets over his Survivor Guilt, and so on.
Desperation Attack: As a precursor to the Limit Break that made a proper debut as a battle mechanic in the next game, everyone note except Gau and Umaro; (they only execute when the Attack command is used, and Gau and Umaro don't have one) has one super-strong attack they may perform randomly while in critical health.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Kefka believes that life is meaningless because everything you create will eventually be destroyed and eventually you will die. Terra then states that the sum of one's life isn't what important; it's the day-to-day concerns, the personal triumphs, the celebration of life and love, and being able to experience the joy that every day of your life can bring.
Terra and Celes have access to the best equipment in the game. When placed in the back row, both of them become nigh-unkillable.
Especially true in the buggy SNES version, where the Magic Evade stat is mistakenly used for physical damage as well. Forget unkillable; using certain equipment with high Magic Evade bonuses makes them virtually un-damageable to anything except a few high-end spells that pierce defenses.
Gau and Mog have access to the Snow Scarf, which bar-none has the highest defense stats in the game. Their helmet and shield can be subpar and they'll still get the max defense stat allowed, at which point most normal attacks do only a single point of damage.
Even without the Snow Scarf, Gau's Magic Pot Rage is this - he has a 50% chance to cast Curaga each turn, healing a lot of health; he's immune to all status effects with it; and he absorbs all elemental attacks.
Note: while this game has Loads and Loads of Characters in its Ensemble Cast, Terra is considered to be the central protagonist. They're listed in (roughly) the order you get to acquire them.note Note that the in-game character selection screen order is different. Terra, Locke, Cyan, Shadow, Edgar, Sabin, Celes, Strago, Relm, Setzer, Mog, Gau, Gogo, Umaro. It reflects the characters' order in the game data.
ティナ・ブランフォード Tina Buranfōdo
"A mysterious young woman, born with the gift of magic, and enslaved by the Gestahlian Empire."
Ace Pilot: Terra has access to more attacks in the Magitek Armor in addition of to the standard three elemental beams and one healing move. In the Game Boy Advance version her class name is Magitek Elite.
Action Mom: The children of Mobliz see her as their Mama after their real parents were killed by Kefka's Light of Judgment.
Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Although there is some resentment towards her, the other party members make a point of telling those people that she shouldn't be held responsible for crimes she can't even remember.
Audience Surrogate: For much of the first half of the game, barring her lengthy absence at one point.
Badass Adorable: She has a very vulnerable and sweet personality, but she's an excellent battle unit.
Break the Cutie: Ever since she was a newborn, she had to suffer under enslavement to the Gestahlian Empire. First, she was pretty much raised in a loveless environment. Then, Kefka basically places a mind control device on her against her will, causing her to be forced to fry several Imperial troops alive under his command (50 soldiers, to be precise).
Brought Down to Normal: In the ending, magic and espers cease to exist, but Terra manages to hold onto her life and continues to exist as a normal human.
Catch a Falling Star: In the ending, when escaping Kefka's Tower, Terra's magical powers cease to exist, making her fall. The rest of the party uses the Cool Airship to catch her.
Cute Monster Girl: In contrast to her Dissidia designs, her Esper form is pointedly not this — it terrifies people and is emphasized to be feral and monstrous, with Terra unable to fully control herself in her transformed state.
Determinator: As soon as she recovers from whatever emotional trauma she was experiencing (amnesia and the power leak caused by emotional confusion), she becomes like this.
Doomed Hometown: She was born in the alternate realm of the Espers, so it's more like Doomed Homeworld.
Dub Name Change: From Tina to Terra, so it would still sound "exotic" to Western players.
Fantastic Nuke: Storywise, Terra can be considered as one. Gameplay-wise, she is the only one who can learn the Ultima spell simply by leveling up. Of course, by the time she learns it, the entire party will probably know how to do it from using the Ragnarok magicite or the Paladin Shield.
Fantastic Racism: Terra's "mixed" lineage, her feelings about it, the historical treatment of espers, and the reaction to her existence all have shades of this.
Flashback Nightmare: When she falls down the cave and is knocked out, she undergoes a terrifying flashback revealing that she was placed under mind control via the Slave Crown by Kefka, forced against her will to burn fifty Imperial Troopers alive, and being present for Emperor Gestahl's war speech.
Gorgeous Gorgon: While there are no otherwise repulsive features, in Amano's artwork, her Esper form is depicted as quite... feral. It makes sense, as she is only half-Esper, and her father Maduin resembles the Gigas◊ monster from Final Fantasy V, which is very human-looking.
Green Eyes: Her in-game sprite, though it's hard to tell. Her Final Fantasy Anthology renders show them in full.
Meanwhile, her (in-game) Esper form has Red Eyes, Take Warning—at first played straight, then later subverted.
Half-Human Hybrid: Makes up a good part of her character arc as she questions if she can fit into either world.
The Heroine: According to Word of God, the game wasn't meant to have a main character, as the entire cast was given time to shine. Despite this, Terra is considered the central protagonist. The plot revolves around her for the first half of the game. If you skip recruiting her in the World of Ruin, she still rushes to the final dungeon to take part in the ending sequence. She's effectively become the face of the game due to Dissidia.
Impairment Shot: Gets quite a few of these in beginning due to amnesia, headache, exhaustion, and blunt head trauma before she passes out.
Last of Her Kind: Kind of. After killing off Kefka, all of the Espers and magic disappeared from the world due to Kefka's death. The only reason Terra survived this was because she held onto something in the non-magic realm, thus making her the last Esper to survive (depending on how you define the phrase, considering that she is not an esper anymore by this point).
Magic Knight: She and Celes are the only party members to learn magic naturally, her equipment draw includes swords and heavy armor, the best equipment types in the game, and her stats are all-around high.
Meaningful Name: Her English name is Latin for "Earth". Also, her Japanese name, Tina, was picked for more reasons than simply because it was an exotic name in Japan than in the West: Tina is the shortened version of Christiana, which is the feminine form of "Christian", and is also the name of an early saint who was tormented by her pagan father. Similar to that early saint, Terra was tormented by the Empire when they took her as a child.
Power Glows: Some Fanon holds that this is actually the explanation for the Barbie Doll Anatomy — the glow is so bright, it obscures her clothes (thus, she's still clothed and wouldn't be showing that anatomy). Amano's artwork has it as a case of Fur Bikini.
Properly Paranoid: She is extremely wary of everyone she meets in the beginning because she's afraid they just want her for her powers. Although the Returners try to emphasize that they don't want to force her... they still basically want her for her powers.
The Power of Love: In the World of Ruin, Terra stumbles upon a village of orphans whose parents were killed by Kefka and his Light of Judgment. She starts looking after them, the children take to calling her "Mama", and these new feelings confuse Terra. She eventually realizes that it was love all along and that the future of these children is worth fighting for (she finally understood what General Leo meant about love). It's this, and her love for her true companions, that saves her from going *poof* like the rest of the Espers and the world's magic at the end.
Put on a Bus: After the battle in Narshe and her transformation into an Esper, Terra flies away as her powers go out of control. When her friends find her in Zozo, they discover that she still needs some time to get her head together. The Bus Came Back when the other Returners revisit Zozo after rescuing the Espers from Vector. Terra's regained her memories and made peace with who she is, and she rejoins the party.
Rule of Symbolism: For the first half of the game, she's seen as the Messianic Archetype, the one hope to end the war on the Empire and create peace between humans and Espers; her parents are a mortal woman who conceived her due to G-Rated Sex with an Esper, and she helps fight Kefka knowing it might cost her her life. And if you want to, you could stretch her transformation and subsequent incapacitation at Zozo into a parallel of the crucifixion and resurrection — when she rejoins the party after such, she has significantly stronger powers and more control over them.
Super Mode: Morph/Trance: It doubles her magical and physical damage, doubles her heals, and halves all the magic damage she takes (unless they are barrier-piercing spells). This ability is called the Boss Killer with good reason.
What Is This Thing You Call Love?: A big issue for Terra. Espers are not naturally emotional creatures, y'see, which leads to her powers being sapped to pretty much nothing while she struggles with learning how to love in the second half of the game. Her brief enslavement to the slave crown also rendered her temporarily incapable of feeling emotions after breaking free of it.
The Lancer: To Terra. He accompanies her during two fair stretches of the game, and when she's Put on a Bus, Locke effectively takes over as the leader of the group until she comes back, one segment during that time revealing his backstory at last.
Lightning Bruiser: In sharp contrast to the Fragile Speedster nature of most Thieves in the series, Locke's official job is "Adventurer". The difference is he gets greater access to heavy equipment and the top-tier swords for excellent offense and defense, and he keeps the expected high speed.
Love Hurts: Locke can't forgive himself for what happened to Rachel until after the Phoenix revives her and she convinces him otherwise.
Loveable Rogue: He seems to be the sort that makes a point of only stealing from his enemies.
Meaningful Name/Punny Name/Gratuitous German: Locke Cole comes from a town called Kohlingen, which is roughly equivalent to a town name like "Coalton". His first name may be taken either as a bad Pun (what is it any self-respecting thief ought to be able to get past?) or a reference to the English philosopher John Locke, who espoused "government by consent of the governed" and the theory of Tabula Rasa — Locke is embroiled in a struggle against the Evil Empire and is particularly protective of the amnesiac Terra, due to his backstory.
My Greatest Second Chance: As the party escapes Kefka's Tower, Celes drops the bandanna she found on Solitary Island and, as she runs back for it, the floor begins to collapse. Celes begins to hang onto an edge as Locke rushes to save her.
As Many X as There Are Y: When Kefka inquires about Terra, Edgar responds, "There are more girls in here than grains of sand out there; I can't possibly keep track of them all!" His castle is in the middle of a desert.
Blade on a Stick: With the Dragoon equipment, spears and pikes become his most powerful weapons later in the game.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: OK, he's incredibly weird, he'll hit on any female of age, and his icon depicts him with a goofy grin, but he created several advanced machines (including a castle that can submerge into the ground and emerge hundreds of miles away) and is a very good ruler.
Chainsaw Good: Edgar can use a chainsaw that sometimes kills the enemy in one hit or deal massive damage.
The Chains of Commanding: After their father's death, Edgar and Sabin were to co-rule. Both wanted out, but at the same time didn't want to plunge the kingdom into chaos their absence would cause. So they settled it with the coin toss. Edgar, being the protective brother he is, rigged the toss with a double-headed coin so it landed in Sabin's favor.
Disc One Nuke: Edgar is easily the strongest member of your team when you get him, thanks to his Auto Crossbow ability which attacks all enemies for more damage than normal attacks will do, so no cost to MP or anything, However, once you get to Zozo and learn magic, its power wanes in comparison to the HP of enemies. Though it should be noted that the only one deal high magical damage at that time is Celes and since you will obtain the Chainsaw (which can deal massive damage that rival spells) from Zozo at that point as well.
Dirty Old Man: Kind of. He's not actually old, but he has some banter with Relm Arrowny (depending on the translation) to this effect. Relm is ten years old and probably young enough to be his daughter. It's worth noting that his actual dialogue is extremely cynical (this is more clear in the English SNES release,) as it's delivered just after a huge Player Punch. He more or less is saying that he hopes Relm isn't dead by the time she's of marriageable age, which is a distinct possibility:
"Here's hoping you're still around in eight years, kid."
The Dutiful Son: Edgar willingly stayed behind to rule over Figaro when Sabin became so desperate to strike out on his own. Edgar eventually settled the matter with a rigged coin toss that allowed Sabin to leave with a clear conscience.
Insists on Paying: If you have him at the head of your party while in Figaro Castle, the shopkeepers there will refuse to take any payment. Edgar insists ("Look, don't you have a family to feed?"), and the player gets a nice discount as a compromise.
Mighty Glacier: He can give and take a lot of punishment, particularly since he tends to stay in the back row, but he's also very slow.
Modest Royalty: Although he's clearly seen as king by his subjects, he avoids gratuitous special treatment by insisting he pay them for their wares.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Appears to be his MO for keeping the empire from getting suspicious about his activities.
Paper-Thin Disguise: As Bandit Chief Gerad, who looks identical to Edgar but with a Palette Swap — How the hell didn't the thieves recognize him? Celes even lampshades this, noting that Edgar was the one who threw most of them in jail in the first place.
Significant Anagram: "Gerad" in the English version; his alias is "Geoff" in the Japanese version.
Small Name, Big Ego: A possible subversion. He's known as a flirt to his subjects (and the children want to marry him), but his banter to Terra and Celes is not reciprocated. If one pays attention, though, he only attempts it once as a kind of greeting and treats them normally from then on.
Something Only They Would Say: When in his "Gerad" disguise, he tries to get rid of Celes while saying "My Lady". Celes responds that only Edgar would address her that way, and after a moment of silence, he declares that "My Lady" is a fairly common way of addressing someone. In the GBA translation, he refers to Celes as a "beautiful lady", saying that it's common courtesy to be polite to ladies.
Static Character: Edgar doesn't change personality-wise as the game goes on. He doesn't need to, seeing as his development was completed before the game began.
Status Buff Dispel: Edgar's Debilitator tool adds an elemental weakness to an enemy. Being completely random, you could easily end up with a fire-spitting dragon that's suddenly weak to fire, and you could reuse it until an enemy was weak to every element.
This Is a Drill: Edgar's toolset includes one massive power drill, complete with safety helmet.
With This Herring: The King of Figaro has joined the party! That means lots of resources, right? Wrong. At least the shops give you a discount. It is somewhat justified in that he spends most of the game on the run, or with his kingdom in shambles, and the shops in his castle are more than willing to give him free stuff. He simply insists on paying, as they have families to feed, too.
Sabin/Macías "Mash" Rene Figaro
マッシュ・レネ・フィガロ Masshu Rene Figaro
"Edgar's twin brother, who traded the throne for his own freedom..."
Action Commands: His Blitz attacks require controller inputs, but you can't use them until you've actually learned them in-game.
Ascended Glitch: As of the Anthology release there is no way in the Worlds of Balance and Ruin that the train-suplexing is unintentional. The PSX bestiary reads:
The GhostTrain will attack with Acid Rain, Evil Toot, and its Wheels for starters. Sabin's AuraBolt and Suplex are effective. Stop it dead in its tracks with Revivify.
Badass Beard: In some Amano artwork. He's clean-shaven in the in-game sprites, portraits, and CG art though.
The Bear: Sabin refers to himself as a bear during the cutscene on Mt. Kolts. Considering what being a Bear refers to in the real world, this is Hilarious in Hindsight, even if intentional. Depending on the artist, Sabin certainly has more of the body type for it, with Amano tending towards the hairier with Badass Beard and CG art tending towards the smoother and beardless. None of this necessarily means Sabin is actually gay (it's still entirely possible he's not), but that he's a "bear" with a fittingly bearish body type. This, along with the fact that he's one of the only adult male main cast (along with Strago) who is never shown expressing any kind of interest in women, has brought him more LGBT Fanbase by far than any other male character in the game.
Big Little Brother: Played straight. He's the younger of the twins, and is suppose to be a tad taller than Edgar. He's also built like a padded bank vault due to years of training, whereas Edgar has a standard build.
Charles Atlas Superpower: The dude can suplex a train, and manages to hold up a collapsing burning building for several minutes during a sequence later in the game. The former's a bug. The latter is canon and is vital to the story.
Duel Boss: After Vargas blows everyone except Sabin away, it becomes Sabin vs. Vargas.
Gentle Giant: He's the largest human character in game, and physically the strongest. He's also a pretty nice guy.
Got Me Doing It: After having a hard time trying to instruct Cyan on how to operate the Magitek armor:
SNES Sabin: Thou art such a pain in the...! Confound it all! I'm starting to talk like you!
GBA Sabin: Oh, for...! Thou art getting to be quite a pain in the— Great, now I'm even starting to talk like you!
Heroic Sacrifice: While he doesn't actually canonically pull one in-game, his Soul Spiral/Spiraler Blitz can be used to this effect as it restores the other party members' HP and cures all their status ailments (even KO and Zombie), at the cost of Sabin's life (his HP goes down to 0 and he's removed from the battle).
I Got Bigger: We're told that as a kid, Sabin was very small and had a weak constitution. After years of training, we see that's no longer the case.
Informed Deformity: After a flashback to Edgar and Sabin as children, the person telling the story comments that at that time Sabin was small — even smaller than Edgar. However, the flashback used the same sprites as the rest of the game, when Sabin is a very large bodybuilder.
Notably, with the exception of Raging Fist and Suplex/Meteor Strike, all of Sabin's blitzes use his magic stat to determine damage.
Lightning Bruiser: At higher levels, you can make him so powerful as to render his Blitzes useless. He's the strongest and one of the fastest characters in the game. At a high level, with two high-end weapons and the Genji Glove and Master Scroll, he becomes a borderline Game Breaker that can take down Kefka in a few turns.
Load-Bearing Hero: Two examples: When he holds up the collapsing house so that Celes can save the child trapped inside, and during the ending, when he saves his brother from some collapsing junk.
Rebel Prince: Didn't want to be king, preferring to focus on his martial arts.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Despite not really being involved in the monarchy, he's still a prince, and quickly becomes a hero to rival any of the others.
Shirtless Scene: Occasionally, in official artwork and CGI animation. He'd be a Walking Shirtless Scene except for the fact that he does often wear a shirt (and his game sprites are always sporting one).
Some Dexterity Required: Sabin's Blitz techniques, while freed from many variables in Fighting Games, still require pulling off Street Fighter-esque input commands. However, the game is much more lenient, and not only can commands be given one button press at a time, but the more difficult ones (even the 360-motion Phantom Rush) can be performed with easy and simplified button presses.
The Atoner: Joins the Returners partially out of a desire to atone for her crimes as a member of the Imperial army. Her most specific described war atrocity was the burning of Maranda.
Audience Surrogate: Celes assumes this role for the second half of the game, though it gradually gives way as she is rejoined with more of her friends. In the ending, she becomes the viewpoint character again for the most part, and expresses the most concern over Terra's disappearance. She, Edgar, and Setzer are the only characters you must have to finish the game.
Badass Cape: Her costume includes one, even though it's only present in the sprites rather than the artwork.
Broken Bird: It's clear when she joins the party that she doesn't have any experience with genuine friendship and affection. It gets even worse on the World of Ruin, where she may make a suicide attempt depending on the player's actions.
Celebrity Resemblance: Celes resembles the opera singer Maria. Because of this, she becomes a drop-in replacement for the original singer, as part of a plan to obtain an airship. Setzer noticed the difference only after bringing her aboard.
The Chick: As far as the storyline goes, in both the positive and negative aspects. She's the "heart" that pulls the group back together in the World of Ruin. She also spends much of her spotlight in the game pining over Locke.
Concert Climax: She is a replacement singer for the opera and the target of Ultros' 4-ton anvil.
Convenient Coma: Celes was in a coma during the first year in the World of Ruin.
Dark Reprise: The Aria that Celes sings during the opera is repeated in her character theme/leitmotif... the night before Terra, Locke, Shadow, Celes, and Leo depart to Thamasa from the Albrook port, when Locke is trying to apologize to Celes for thinking that she was a traitor during the confrontation with Kefka in the Magitek Lab. It plays again when she attempts suicide by jumping off the cliff after Cid dies.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Joins the party with a very cold attitude, and then Locke gradually defrosts her. After the halfway point of the game, Celes becomes much more friendly towards the rest of the party and is altogether more optimistic and hopeful, to the point where she eventually becomes their unifying force.
Despair Event Horizon: After Celes wakes up from a year long coma to realize that the world really was destroyed, she's stranded on a deserted island with Cid, and everyone she knew is probably dead, the last event that completely destroys any lingering sense of hope is Cid's death, which leads to her attempted suicide.
Foil: To Terra. They have nearly identical equipment save for one armor piece and their exclusive weapons in the GBA version, and their stats are very similar. Their contrasts include outfits, abilities (Runic with Ice and defensive status spells vs Trance with Fire and offensive status spells), and personalities, Terra being innocent, naive, and idealistic while Celes is proud, snarky, and sometimes downright cynical. As she takes over as the viewpoint character in the World of Ruin, some fans consider her a deuteragonist. It's also a rumor that Terra's hair was changed to green in-game to contrast Celes.
Heel-Face Turn: Before the game begins, Celes burns Maranda to the ground; she's the reason that everyone is rebuilding the town when you visit. She resigns from the Empire and is arrested for it afterwards, and after Locke rescues her in Figaro, Celes joins the Returners.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Almost all of her weapons are swords and her ability Runic must have a sword equipped in order to work.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Only in the first translation, when her character quote describes her as having "a spirit as pure as snow." Kind of an Informed Attribute when paired with the fact that she is a former general who is infamous for torching a city, though.
Lady of War: She's designed as a melee character (her class is "Rune Knight") and her former position at the top of society makes her this.
Lonely at the Top: Her character description in the GBA retranslation states this when it says, "None have ever truly known the woman beneath the general's guise..."
Love Hurts: If you let Cid die, Celes tries to kill herself. Before she throws herself off a cliff, she thinks about how everyone is gone; she specifically mentions Locke.
Magic Knight: Aside from a very small handful of exclusive items, Celes's equipment and stats are mirror images of Terra's.
Memento MacGuffin: Finding Locke's bandana tied around a seagull is what gives her the hope to get off of the solitary island and start searching for her friends after her failed attempted suicide, if Cid dies. It appears again in the ending.
The Mole: Subverted: Although Kefka implies that she was a double agent to the Returners, she actually did defect to the Returners, proving her loyalty by teleporting Kefka away before he could attack.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It was nice of her to prove her loyalty to the Returners by turning the sword Gestahl gave her on Kefka, but she really should have decapitated him instead of just stabbing him. Then he wouldn't have been able to move the Warring Triad out of alignment and destroy the world.
No Pronunciation Guide: One of the most famous examples from the SNES era. The closest pronunciation to the original Japanese would be "sel-EES", but stressing the first syllable ("CELL-iss") is also common within the fandom. As for her last name, it's pronounced similar to "share".
Pimped-Out Dress: Worn when she was in the opera. The FMVs from the PS1 version lavish quite a bit of attention on it.
The Power of Love: If Cid dies, Celes will see a pigeon on the beach with a blue bandanna wrapped around its wound. Celes recognizes it as Locke's bandanna and knows that he must be alive. Knowing that Locke is out there somewhere is enough motivation for Celes to leave Solitary Island and find her friends.
Tykebomb: The Empire infused Celes with magic at a young age, much like was done to Kefka, except it didn't cause mental instability in Celes since by that time the process had been refined. Kids have better mental rebound as well.
Useless Useful Ability: Runic absorbs magic cast by enemies and party members alike, and by the time the enemies you face use magic enough to warrant its use, you're relying on magic heavily too. However, stick Celes in a party of characters who don't need magic to deal heavy damage, add in say, Mog or Strago so they can use healing attacks with their special skills, and Runic will render a lot of enemies impotent.
Visible Silence: Her attitude towards Locke after the events in the Magitek Labs.
Blood Knight: When you defeat him in the Coliseum, your party asks him what he's doing there, and he explains that fighting is the only thing he knows how to do. He eventually agrees to join the Returners, mostly so he can put his skills up to the ultimate challenge. The reason for this isn't revealed until much later, and then only to the player.
Counter Attack: Interceptor will occasionally block and counter attacks from enemies.
Dark and Troubled Past: He was formerly a train robber, but he ended up chickening out of giving Baram a mercy kill, and it is hinted that his assassin/mercenary role was his way of running from his guilt for failing to do so.
Dark Is Not Evil: He wears all black, and is hinted to kill for money, but overall, he's not half-bad.
Disappeared Dad: When the details of Shadow's five dreams and Relm's one dream are combined, it becomes certain that he is Relm's missing father.
Driven to Suicide: It's implied in the ending that he deliberately stayed behind when Kefka's Tower was collapsing on top of him as a means to atone for failing to grant his partner-in-crime his mercy kill.
The Drifter: In the World of Balance, sans the Floating Continent, Shadow can leave the party at set points in the story, or after he's earned enough money to earn his hiring fee.
Everyone Has Standards: A programming quirk automatically gives Shadow the party leader slot when Kefka announces that he's going to poison Doma. Unless the player switches Sabin back in, this leads to Shadow expressing moral outrage over an inhumane atrocity.
Flashback Nightmare: Shadow is haunted by his inability to put his friend, Baram, out of his misery.
Game-Breaking Bug: "Interceptor" is considered a permanent status effect for Shadow, and unfortunately, this makes it vulnerable to the infamous Rippler glitch. If an enemy snatches up Shadow's status and is then killed, kiss his beloved pooch good-bye outside of story sequences.
Guest Star Party Member: He'll join your party at a few points throughout the first half of the game, but will decide to leave either through random chance after an enemy encounter or at designated points in the plot. (He signs up permanently later on though.)
I Cannot Self-Terminate: Was asked by his friend, Baram, to kill him, since he couldn't do it himself because of his mortal wounds. Clyde, as Shadow was known then, couldn't do it and ran away.
Shoo the Dog: He stays behind in the collapsing tower at the end, but doesn't want to drag Interceptor into it.
The Stoic: Shadow hardly says anything during the game and very rarely, if ever, shows any emotion.
Shadow: There are people in this world who have chosen to kill their own emotions. Remember that.
Temporary Scrappy: He's an obligatory party member on the Floating Continent, which features the most powerful monsters in the game up to that point. However, he's never been a part of the party since Zozo, so he hasn't had time to learn magic. Unless you go out of your way to teach him some before going to Thamasa during the very short sequence he joins up prior, he's going to have no magic, and if you didn't know he was going to reappear, you probably don't have equipment for him to wear either.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: While his Throw command is (probably) supposed to be used with just shuriken and scrolls, he can throw any weapon, including daggers, swords, spears, dice, brass knuckles, and magic staves.
Wild Card: When he joins up with Sabin he may leave after any random battle, and he will depart after the events of the Phantom Train. The next time he meets the party he demands a hefty fee for his services.
カイエン・ガラモンド Kaien Garamondo
"A noble warrior of a foreign land. A faithful retainer to his lord and master, he fears not even death..."
Awesome, but Impractical: Cyan's Bushido abilites may seem impressive, but it takes so long for the gauge to fill up that it isn't really worth it unless you manipulate your turns so that you select their attacks first and charge up his Bushido while their attack animations are going off.
Badass Grandpa: This man had the sheer balls to take on the whole Imperial Army at Doma... AND WIN!
Covert Pervert: If you look in Cyan's secret box at Mt. Zozo when Cyan isn't in the party, you can find several books, among them Machinery for Dunces, A Pictorial Guide to Machines, Everything about Machines, Machines for the Mechinically Disinclined, and Bushido in the Bedroom.
Crutch Character: Borderline Example - his later Bushidos requires very long waiting, leaving the party at enemy's mercy. This can be avoided by making Cyan go last, and by the time other party members finished their attacks, Cyan is ready to kick ass, and since VI is the starting point in a series when attacks have noticeably longer animations... You still have to delay your whole team in order to make him go last, though, and you'll still usually be slowing your team down if you go after the high-level Bushidos. That said, if you put him in the same party as Gau, Mog, or Umaro, they can still attack while Cyan is charging. In addition, Cyan's level 1 Bushido attack, which can be activated as soon as you select it, is quite powerful, capable of piercing defense, and can get you through a lot of early battles on its own.
Cultured Warrior: He's very skilled at making hand-crafted silk flowers, and he's also a talented poet.
Dead Person Impersonation: Writes letters and sends flowers to the girlfriend of the dead soldier he met in Mobliz to make her happy.
Everything's Better with Samurai: His character class. He's also the only one in the game, although presumably there were others in Doma before they were killed.
Failure Knight: He is one of only two known survivors of Doma Castle. Even his wife and child die when Kefka poisons the river (the other on-screen survivor is an unnamed soldier who together with Cyan is searching the castle for more survivors. He is never seen or mentioned again after Cyan discovers his dead family and goes berserk).
It's All My Fault: He blames himself for not stopping Kefka from poisoning the river, even though there's no way he could have known the bastard was going to do it. Wrexsoul and the Dream Stooges cheerfully exploit his guilt.
Japanese Honorifics: He speaks using lingo reserved for samurai, including heavy use of "de gozaru", in the original script.
Walking Techbane: He is NOT good with machines and has a pronounced aversion to them. He tries to learn more about how to use them over the course of the game, though.
Watching Troy Burn: Shortly after repelling an initial Empire attack, Cyan has to watch nearly everyone in his home castle drops dead from poison, including his king as well as his wife and son.
Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Cyan's dialogue, originally written in what is sometimes called the "samurai dialect" of Japanese, extensively uses "thee" and "thou" even where grammatically inappropriate. Other characters make fun of him for it. This was fixed in the retranslation, and his early modern English is much more grammatically correct.
"Draped in monster hides, eyes shining with intelligence, a youth surviving against all odds..."
Badass Adorable: Being able to survive in a fierce wilderness and kick the ass of monsters bigger than you since you were barely old enough to walk should qualify anyone as this.
The Berserker: When Rage is initiated, although unlike the Berserker status in the series, he has a 50-50 chance of either physically attacking, or using the special move related to the specific "Rage" he's using.
Cloudcuckoolander: He doesn't seem to have any interest in the larger situation and is primarily just concerned with his friends.
Disc One Nuke: Several of Gau's Rages use abilities for free that are ordinarily not available until later. For example, using Destroyer allows you to use Reraise, for no MP cost, in the World of Balance.
Hulk Speak: Frankly it's impressive that he's able to speak with any kind of coherence, given that he was abandoned as a newborn.
Innocent Fanservice Boy: Some Amano concept art showed him naked (but not showing parts). This would have been entirely logical for a Wild Child in Real Life. The in-game graphics and the more well-known art show Gau wearing his more familiar animal skin clothes.
Lethal Joke Character: He's completely uncontrollable and all of the Rages he actually starts with suck, which makes many players dislike him. If you train and equip him correctly, though, he can be extremely effective.
Lightning Bruiser: Perhaps to make up for his uncontrollable nature and inability to equip weapons, Gau has all-around great stats.
Makeover Montage: During the World of Ruin the party gets him cleaned up to meet his father.
Mega Manning: His Rages; one for almost every enemy in the game.
Nature Hero: A very friendly one. He was raised entirely isolated from people and his skillset is based around wild monsters.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Setzer's Slot command can pull this off in two ways. One is to get 7-7-Bar on the machine, which kills the entire party. The other is getting three bars to trigger a random Esper summon. If the game randomly decides to summon Crusader when your party is still weak, you'll be wiped out.
Sky Pirate: Only very slightly. He doesn't attack and rob other ships (mainly because he has the only airship) but he's definitely not a strict adherent to the law.
Summon Magic: Two of his Slots results. Three bars brings up a random Esper, while three silver dragons will always summon Bahamut.
Take My Hand: Does this to Terra when the Apocalypse ripped the Blackjack into two before both of them falling, making this gesture somewhat pointless and to Celes in the massive ending scene if you didn't re-recruit Locke in the game's second half.
ストラゴス・マゴス Sutoragosu Magosu
"An elderly gentleman who has spent his whole life pursuing the secrets of monsters..."
Can't Catch Up: By the time you recruit him, the World of Balance is almost done, and you get him for an hour or two before you move on to the Floating Continent. As a result, you'll have a hard time teaching him even the most basic spells, and in the World of Ruin, he'll be lagging behind everyone else still learning them while they've moved on to the World of Ruin Espers and their end-game magic.
Elite Tweak: Having problems learning some Lores? Use other's characters' abilities to make the process easier; Gau and Relm can use many Lores, and even Setzer can use one if you're very lucky with (or rigged) his Slots.
Face-Heel Turn: He loses track of Relm during the apocalypse. Believing her dead, he allows the Cult of Kefka to brainwash him and take him in. He snaps right out of it, though, once he realizes that Relm is alive.
Glass Cannon: If you equip him right, he can do a lot of damage, but as you might expect he can't take a whole lot of punishment.
Heroic BSOD / Despair Event Horizon: It is strongly implied that the reason he joined the Cult of Kefka was because he felt he had nothing left due to believing that Relm had died. Thankfully, when Relm reveals her survival, he quits the cult.
Lethal Joke Character: Relm doesn't have very good Strength or weapon options, and Sketch is mostly useless. But she has the highest base Magic stat in the party (even though she doesn't initially know any spells), and her equipment spread also provides her with a lot of magic-boosting options. So with a bit of training and Esper use, she can become very useful.
Little Miss Badass: She proves her worthiness by following the party through a dangerous cave and defeating Ultros.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Shadow can equip Relm's memento of her late mother... and she actually gets along with Interceptor... It was confirmed in a 1995 interview with Squaresoft, as well as in the GBA remake for Final Fantasy VI.
Parental Abandonment: Relm's mother is said to be dead in the inventory description of her Orphan's Plot Trinket; her father, on the other hand, is never directly mentioned. Indirectly, there's a million and one hints that he's Shadow. The developers confirmed this in an interview. There was going to be a scene between Strago and Shadow confirming his relationship to Relm, but it was dropped.
The Pen Is Mightier: Statistically not, but what she draws with it is possibly mightier depending on the subject.
Tagalong Kid: She's an excellent mage and a fun character, but she doesn't have a huge amount of relevance to the plot.
Useless Useful Spell: Save for a few specific instances, the Sketch algorithm falls into this for two reasons. Firstly, it has the monster's stats, rather than Relm's. Secondly, many elemental or status attack will be likely nullified or even absorbed.
Chekhov's Moogle: He's one of the Moogles who help Locke protect an unconscious Terra from the Imperial soldiers trying to capture her near the beginning of the game.
Cute Bruiser: With proper Esper stat training and the right equipment, Mog can slaughter enemies.
Dance Battler: Learns various dances related to the environment; each has various attack and support techniques.
Flat Character: Has only a few lines of dialogue in the whole game, none of which indicate much of a personality, is the only non-secret party memeber without a World of Ruin sidequest, and to top it all off, he doesn't even have a unique sprite, looking just like every other Moogle in the game.
Killer Rabbit: In the World of Balance, Mog's Dances are wicked strong. In the World of Ruin, Mog makes for a great Dragoon Knight.
Lost Forever: The Water Harmony Dance can only be learned in the World of Balance via the Serpent Trench or the Lethe River in the original game. The GBA version adds one last chance to get it if you acquire him in the World of Ruin and take him into the optional boss battle with Leviathan, but if you don't, it's Lost Forever for good.
Magic Dance: Learned through fighting in the relevant environments.
Optional Party Member: Aside from a brief appearance at the beginning of the game, Mog won't join your party during the main storyline of the World of Balance; you have to go slightly out of your way and complete a side quest in order to recruit him. (See Friend or Idol Decision, above.)
Cursed with Awesome: Sometimes Umaro's uncontrollable nature is a blessing in disguise. He completely ignores the restrictions on attacking in the Cultists' Tower, he can still attack while Cyan is charging his Bushidos, and he'll never do anything stupid in the Coliseum.
Dumb Muscle: Umaro's muscles are as thick and hard as the mountain stone. So is his head.
Fastball Special: When Umaro has the Berserker Ring equipped. Guess who plays the role of the fastball... Sometimes he'll even throw himself.note Yeah, you could rationalize it as him charging the enemy, but where's the fun in that?
Hulkspeak: He only has a couple lines of dialogue, but he speaks worse than Gau!
An Ice Person: If Umaro has the Blizzard Orb equipped, he will sometimes attack the enemies with an ice storm.
Lightning Bruiser: He's one of the physically strongest characters in the entire series, and he's surprisingly fast to boot.
Not Completely Useless: His uncontrollable nature makes him a surprisingly good choice for the Coliseum, and he's completely unaffected by the Fanatics' Tower's restrictions on attacking.
Optional Party Member: He doesn't have any relevance to the story, being the friend of Mog, who also doesn't have much relevance.
Irony: He and fellow secret character Umaro are polar opposites — Gogo can do everything but not well, while Umaro does one thing and does it very well.
Master of None: Gogo can learn just about every skill that's normally accessible to your characters. Unfortunately, Gogo will never do any of them as good as the originals.
Mega Manning: A variant in that Gogo typically steals the abilities of the other heroes, rather than Gogo's enemies. Anything the other Returners can do, Gogo can do too... just not as well because of Gogo's terrible stats. Gogo also specifically imitates what the other active party members can do — if equipping magic from the menu, Gogo can only cast a spell learned by someone else currently in the party.
Optional Party Member: Like Umaro, Gogo only shows up in the World of Ruin and needs some effort to recruit.
Powers as Programs: Gogo can equip almost any other character's special ability (except Terra's Trance and Shadow's Throw if he died)), and does need to equip appropriately to use some of them, though. This includes equipping appropriate relics to use altered abilities, like Mug or Gil Toss.
Secret Character: Recruiting Gogo requires you to engage in battle with a giant sandworm that swallows the party whole. Gogo lives in its innards.
Supporting Leader: He's the leader of the Returners and thus the driving force in the war on the Empire, but aside from the trip with him to Narshe, he's working in the background while the player pursues various leads on how to gain an edge in the struggle.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Vanishes from the game once you reach the World of Ruin and is never mentioned again. Though if you think about where he was last seen (in Vector), he may likely be dead.Word of God states you're supposed to use your imagination.
General Leo Cristophe
レオ・クリストフ Reo Kurisutofu
An elite soldier in the Vector Imperial Army.
Ambiguously Brown: His artwork and portrait depict him with dark skin, but his field sprite is peach. This may be due to limitations of the game's color palettes though, since different character sprites often draw from the same palette.
Badass Normal: He refuses a magic infusion and thus has no magical powers at all. In the five minutes you control him, he proves that he doesn't need them, he's still far stronger than your normal party members.
Nice to the Waiter: How do we know from his first appearance that General Leo is an Anti-Villain? He tells an Imperial he's not going to attack Doma again because it'll cause too many casualties on both sides, and doesn't want his men throwing their lives away. That, and he actually speaks to Kefka like a person, as opposed to the heroes and other Imperials who speak about him like the Monster Clown he really is.
A spectre encountered aboard the Phantom Train; for some reason, he wants to come with the party, but bows out before they get to the front of the train. If Shadow is not with Sabin and Cyan, a second ghost can be recruited as well.
Ambiguous Gender: The Super NES release referred to the Ghost as an "it", but the Advance remake uses male terminology.
Loophole Abuse: Since you can only use the Ghost during a time when you don't fight any bosses, they didn't bother giving the bosses in the main game resistance to Possess, so even enemies immune to instant death will perish. This can only be accomplished with glitches or hacking, though.
Promotion to Parent: On Solitary Island, Celes says that Cid is her "granddad" and she his granddaughter.
Reluctant Mad Scientist: Kind of. He says he was threatened by Kefka, but he was extracting power from espers long before (his process is what created Kefka). He does express remorse when confronted with people who point out how awful his actions are.
Unfazed Everyman: Arvis is the Returner to go to in Narshe, and tags along with Banon when the Returners travel to Vector for peace negotiations with the Empire. Arvis is resourceful, but he isn't a combatant.
Bonus Boss: Bet a Megalixir in the Coliseum to face him in a proper fight. He's moderately strong on his own, but the Duel Boss nature of the Coliseum combined with the fact you can't control your character bumps him up to end-game difficulty, usually requiring a One-Hit Kill build to beat him before he does the same.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Who is this guy? What does he want? Is he a friend or an enemy? How does he know Ultros? It doesn't help that apparently there's an impostor Siegfried running around, so each time you encounter him, who knows if it's the real thing or not.
What Could Have Been: Would have been part of a quest to recruit Gogo involving uncovering people Gogo was masquerading as across the world, before it was decided to give Gogo his own dungeon.
What Happened to the Mouse?: In the World of Ruin, you find him trailing Gerad and the thieves into Figaro Castle. Once you get through the cave, though, he vanishes, and it's never revealed what he was doing there.
Zero-Effort Boss: The fight against him on the Phantom Train is a complete joke. If you're using the Black Belt accessory, he will probably die during his (really weak) initial attack flurry; even if he doesn't, he'll die in one hit to nearly anything. But it's later indicated that the one on the Phantom Train is an impostor.
Maduin and Madeline
マディン と マドリーヌ Madin to Madorīnu
Terra's parents, Maduin was the guardian of the gateway to the Esper World. Somehow Madeline found her way there, and the two fell in love and had a child to see if their two races could truly co-exist.
The main antagonist of the game who arguably steals the show, to the point that he's the only character in the game who has his own Wikipedia page. Also has a self-demonstrating article.
0% Approval Rating: All of the Imperial soldiers (or at least the ones in General Leo's camp near Doma) often complained about Kefka, with at least one soldier threatening to quit the military if Kefka was ever allowed to become general in Leo's stead. And for good reason: He had fifty of their finest soldiers burned to a crisp via a mind-controlled Terra, and when poisoning Doma, he is also fully aware that any Imperial captives being held at Doma would die of the poison and does it anyways, stating that it's their fault they got captured in the first place.
A God Am I: Notably the first (though hardly the last) Final Fantasy villain to seek out godhood, and one of the few to achieve it when he absorbs the power of the Warring Triad.
Not the first. That'd be Emperor Mateus Palamecia from Final Fantasy II, if you consider taking over both Hell and Heaven godhood.
Apocalypse How: Causes Planetary Class 1, and it is hinted that a year later that it's gotten up to Class 2 and is on the verge of Class 4, with animals dying out and humans struggling to survive. Then the party ticks him off and he decides to go for Universal Class 6, if not an Ominversal Class 6, going by his statement of "I'm going to destroy everything! I'll create my own Empire of Death/I'll create a monument to non-existence!"
Creepy Circus Music: Kefka's eponymous theme combines this with a military march. It starts out light and bouncy with string and wind instruments, then descends into a loud flurry of drumbeats and cymbal clashes. Which is a good indication of how Kefka himself goes as the game progresses. It's sampled twice in "Dancing Mad", the final boss theme.
Death from Above: After his ascent to godhood, Kefka used his Light of Judgment to deal this to anyone who dared oppose him.
Depending on the Writer: A case of this occurring via Woolseyism. The English Super NES version of Kefka is characterized quite differently from the Japanese version due to the translation of his lines. In general, the Japanese version is more silly and comical, emphasizing his Psychopathic Manchild traits, while the English translation depicted him as more hateful and malicious, emphasizing his joy in causing others misery. The Gameboy Advance re-release and his Dissidia incarnation took some cues from the English adaptation of his character because of how popular he is in the West, while otherwise remaining true to the Japanese version.
The Dragon: Fills this role before he murders Gestahl.
Dragon-in-Chief: Even before he overthrows Gestahl, Kefka's the one who actually confronts the party most of the time, while Gestahl is more of a distant Evil Overlord.
Dramatic Irony: Kefka spends a full year causing destruction, but life continued and people still carried on hope for the future. In the end, while Kefka snaps at the party that their lives are meaningless and worthless, his life is the one that has truly become devoid of meaning and worth, because he cast off such things trying to deprive others of them.
Drunk on the Dark Side: If you're not quite sure how strong Kefka is at any given point of the game, don't worry, he'll be happy to show you. Most prominent at Thamasa, where he deals a Curb-Stomp Battle to at least a dozen Espers, demonstrating he can not only kill them en masse with no trouble, but that he's immune to their powers.
Epic Flail: In his earlier boss fights, he has a Morning Star equipped.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Even with their homes burned, mutated monsters roaming the world, friends and loved ones dead, and the world a charred husk, the people of the world, including the party, find the strength to keep living and look for hope for the future. Kefka is at first confused by this, then goes to enraged because it doesn't make sense to him.
Like Terra, Kefka was used as an Imperial experiment and has no friends or family and no real joy in his life. While Terra learned to control her powers and found love, Kefka's powers came at the cost of his sanity and he turned to destruction to give his life meaning.
Like Celes, Kefka is an Imperial general with great magical power. While Celes has held onto her humanity and principles, Kefka's madness stripped away his, if he had any to begin with.
Expy: Of The Joker. The English localizers of Dissidia apparently noticed this, seeing how they had Dave Wittenberg voice the character in a very similar manner to Mark Hamill's characterization of The Joker.
Follow the Leader: Mimicking Mateus' methods of poisoning a kingdom aside, he himself started a trend of villains who desired to become gods in the series.
For the Evulz: This is his defining trait — whatever the reason (see Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds further down for an explanation), the reason Kefka causes so much chaos and death is because he has fun doing it.
From Bad to Worse: No matter how bad things are, he will always try to make it worse. Just take his destruction of the world — it wasn't enough for Kefka to murder countless innocents, rip apart the continents, and unleash mutated monsters on the people, he had to spend his time afterwards blasting the ashes of civilization when he got bored.
From Nobody to Nightmare: He starts the game as a court jester lackey of Gestahl, and by the end of the game, rules the world as a god.
Generic Doomsday Villain: A deconstruction. Kefka has no overarcing goal or motivation besides gaining power, destroying the world, and causing trouble along the way. It turns out this is because he's so insane that he's unable to understand morality and goodness, and thinks all life is pointless and empty including his own. Destruction is the only thing that gives him purpose and so he embraces it because nothing else holds meaning to him.
Genius Bruiser: Kefka's very strong in magic, and is probably tall given his height in Dissidia, yet he is also a pretty good manipulator as well as implied to be technologically skilled (piloting and maintaining Magitek armors, single-handedly manning two cranes in Vector to prevent the Returners' airship from escaping, and presumably inventing Terra's slave crown).
Genocide Backfire: Poisoning of Doma, which resulted in very angry Cyan. In his case, it wasn't really out of fear or hatred of the Domians as much as feeling it is a good kick to do something like that.
Gone Horribly Right: Ultimately, they did succeed in making Kefka a super-powered magic-user capable of destroying their enemies. He just decided to move on to everything else too.
Good Wings, Evil Wings: Has four angelic wings and two demonic wings. However, they seem to be inconsistent on this — in his Anthology render, Kefka has six angelic wings, while in Dissidia, he has two demonic wings, and his four angelic wings are treated more like they're fused together so he has just two large wings instead.
Hope Crusher: His favorite tactics and sight is when people is in despair or agony. When he becomes a god, he destroys any semblance of hope in the world since he thinks it's meaningless (and a lot better if it's hopeless).
The Hyena: His pre-recorded sound byte of a cackle is his calling card.
Ignored Epiphany: When the party explains to Kefka that no matter what he does life will go on and people will always find reasons to keep living, he lowers his head, turns around slowly... then spins back around and delivers his famous Shut Up, Kirk! comeback.
Just Between You and Me: Kefka, while maniacally reveling about the power he gained in the Magitek Research Facility, is overheard by the Returners, where he also expresses his intent to revive the Warring Triad. It's subverted because despite being overheard by the heroes, he still succeeds in his plan anyways.
Kick the Dog: His poisoning of Doma, his murder of General Leo (and his also casting an illusion of Gestahl "admitting" to Leo that he tricked him into having him collect more Espers and magicite for no reason outside of adding insult to injury), his attempted torchings of Figaro and Thamasa, his having Terra burn fifty soldiers under his employ alive, and finally his destruction of the world and his frequently using the light of judgment on the world.
Knight of Cerebus: To the entire series. The villains of the first five games didn't have very deep characterizations or motivations beyond being Evil Overlords who wanted to take over or destroy the world. Kefka had the same goal of world destruction/domination, but he was clearly having fun causing death and chaos along the way just because he could. And when it came time to execute his plan, he succeeded, making VI one of the few Final Fantasy games where The Bad Guy Wins, and the game picks up After the End in the dead husk of the world that Kefka reigns over, and the party tries to set things right.
Know When to Fold 'Em: Variation. It's strongly implied that he was holding back his power significantly when confronted at the Imperial Camp by Sabin and Shadow, and was running away because he didn't want any distractions from dumping poison into Doma.
Light Is Not Good: Kefka has a weapon called the Light of Judgment that he uses to destroy towns that oppose him, and in the final battle, he turns into an angelic-looking creature. Also provides the trope image. Heck, even before becoming the God of Magic, he basically resembled a very colorful clown, was blond and blue/green eyed, and wore white makeup, and was also heavily implied to have pyromaniacal tendencies (eg, forcing Terra to torch his own soldiers alive, attempting to burn Figaro Castle, having his troops burn Thamasa, was implied to have caused a lot of fires when misaligning the Warring Triad, not to mention the whole Light of Judgment thing). His God of Magic form also mixes this with Dark Is Evil, as he possesses a pair of bat wings as well as looking more fierce and demonic overall in his god form.
Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating Kefka not only causes his tower to collapse, but seems to herald the rebirth of the planet's ecosystem and the cessation of magic's existence.
Kefka: Hee-hee! Nothing beats the music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison! Uwee-hee-hee! (dumps poison in Doma's water supply)
Mad God: He seems a bit less insane than before when you confront him at the end of the game, but he's still way off the deep end.
Madness Mantra: "I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate you!"
Mad Scientist: Probably, seeing how it was heavily implied that he was the one who invented Terra's Slave Crown.
Meaningful Name: Aside from his first name bearing similarity to Franz Kafka, Kefka's last name, Palazzo, is Italian in origin that means palace, mansion, and/or castle, and also sounds very similar to Basque pailazo, Catalan pallasso, Greek paliatsos, Italian pagliaccio, Portuguese palhaço, Spanish payaso, and Turkish palyaço, which all translate to "clown," and his appearance pretty much makes it clear that the similar names are very fitting.
Mind over Matter: He was seen levitating two of the Returners with Telekinesis when they confront him at the top of his tower nearing the end of the game. It's unknown how he got them, although it's heavily implied to be when he absorbed the Warring Triad shortly after he moved them out of balance at the end of Act 1.
Minor Injury Overreaction: After Celes stabs Kefka, he starts screaming about blood as well as either shouting insults while lying down at Celes or screaming the aforementioned Madness Mantra, depending on the translation. However, in his case, it may just be more showcasing of his insanity.
Monster Clown: His in-game overworld sprite doesn't look like one (aside from probably the red splotches below the eyes), but he acts like it. In the Amano artwork and the cutscenes added in the PlayStation version, he does look like one. Also, his Fan Nicknameis "The Psycho Clown".
Noblewoman's Laugh: His laugh sound effect, at least in the SNES version, sounds like this.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: He, and by extension The Empire, did not know that the best and most efficient way to grow in magical power was to use the remains of dead espers, the magicite, until the heroes acquired some from two espers they had drained through their own inefficient methods. This could explain his leap in power from when fought at Narshe to him single handedly slaughtering the espers in Thamasa.
Nietzsche Wannabe: While he really starts being this only after destroying the world, you still gotta admit that when taking everything else that Kefka was into consideration, this REALLY wasn't something that boded well for the World of Balance... OR the World of Ruin for that matter.
Kefka Palazzo: Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life knowing that they must someday die? Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?
Kefka: What's the fun in destruction if no precious lives are lost?
Orcus on His Throne: To his credit, though, he probably doesn't even need to move from his chamber to destroy the party, but where's the fun in that? It's also implied ("I've prepared some suitable entertainment for you!"/"I've been practising my greeting!") that he was waiting for the party to fight their way to him so he could fight them again, and created the monsters in his tower in preparation for their arrival.
Pietà Plagiarism: The third tier of the final battle... And when you see Kefka in place of Jesus on the pietà, you simply have to face the facts: The world is fucked, and if you want a savior, you'll have to be the savior yourself.
Poison Is Evil: Poisons Doma and uses the Poison and Bio spells in battle.
Psychopathic Manchild: In the Japanese version, Kefka uses the first-person pronoun "bokuchin", which is primarily used by young boys, when joking around or trying to act sweet.
Psycho Prototype: Kefka seems to cover a lot of insanity tropes, doesn't he? He was the first Magitek Knight ever produced, but the experimental process, due to it not being perfected yet, snapped his mind.
Put Them All Out of My Misery: There's no doubt that Kefka tries to make everyone's lives as empty and meaningless as he thinks they are. However, in keeping with Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds nudges described further down, his declaration of intent to destroy the very emotions of hope and love comes off as him deciding that if he can't feel those emotions, then no one else will.
Pyromaniac: He seems to love setting things on fire, seeing how most of his atrocities involve fire somehow.
Razor Wings: His God form is fond of the physical attack Havoc Wing, his AI script allowing him the potential to use it every single turn, and later in the battle using it twice in a row.
Sanity Slippage: Kefka slides down the hill of sanity rather nicely throughout the game. At the beginning, he seems to be just doing his job, but, well, he tumbles down the slope quickly. One moment of mention is on the Floating Continent where despite all the power he's gained, Celes manages to trick him and actually stab him with a sword and draw his own blood. The moment he completely loses it is just before the last battle, after the heroes have given their self-help book speech.
Spell My Name with an S: Lampshaded in the newer translation, which has one guard in Figaro Castle mention a fringe cult that spells his name with "C"s and not "K"s.
The Starscream: Careful reading of Kefka's lines during the game reveals that he has a major problem with being a servant, and by the time of Thamasa, he's not even hiding that he's taking power for himself instead of Gestahl.
Starter Villain: Serves this role before becoming the Big Bad. Kefka is the face of the Empire for the first quarter of the game or so, and the battle with him at Narshe is effectively the climax of that portion of the game. Afterwards, Terra transforms, the party heads to Zozo, and attentions turn to the Empire and the Espers. Kefka is still prominent, but he doesn't take center stage again until the Floating Continent.
Stripperiffic: In his final form, he wears what appears to be a single length of purple cloth wrapped around his loins.
Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: With more emphasis on Temper Tantrum. When the party tells him that all his destruction and chaos has failed to wipe out life and people are rebuilding and still have hope, Kefka snaps and goes on a berserk rampage, deciding that he simply hasn't gone far enough yet.
Super Prototype: Likewise, Kefka was depicted as being far stronger magic-wise compared to the other Magitek Knight, Celes Chere: For one thing, he has Blizzara, Poison, Drain, and all three of the 1st level Fire, Ice, Lightning spells at Level 18. Celes, at the same level, only has Blizzard, Antidote, Imp, Cure, and Scan. Take note that she was created after Kefka was.
Team Rocket Wins: Kefka is a laughable threat until he gets some major magical upgrades from the Espers and becomes a killing machine in Thamasa.
Took a Level in Badass: It's jarring to see him go from running away from a lone Sabin (granted, Shadow could be there as well) through an entire camp full of his army and having to run away with his tail between his legs from the collective party, to kicking the party's collective asses twice, then killing the best soldier in the Empire, without using any magic, and a small army of Espers on his own that were able to thrash the Capital City of the Empire. And that's just the start of the madness.
Villainous Breakdown: The entire game follows Kefka slowly but surely sliding even deeper into complete madness than he already is. He's actually kinda normal, if still evil and cackling, when you first meet him in Figaro. But by the end of the game...
Villainous Harlequin: If not for Terra's flashback, this would have been the first impression of him.
Villains Never Lie: After the party reaches the part of the Magitek Factory where Espers are being held in captivity, Kefka enters and declares that Celes was a mole. Locke believes him, forcing Celes to perform a non-lethal variant of a Heroic Sacrifice to save Locke.
We Have Reserves: This is Kefka's general approach to warfare. He broke the siege of Doma Castle by poisoning the water supply, killing everyone inside — including women, children, and even some Imperial soldiers that were being kept as prisoners of war.
When you first sneak into Vector, if you can get all the way up to the Cafe where all the Imperial soldiers are hanging out, one man will tell you what he knows of Kefka's backstory. Oddly, just hearing the broad outline and filling in the rest with your imagination is almost scarier than knowing the details.
In addition, it's only at the end of the game that Kefka's nihilism and contempt for life become apparent, possibly because becoming the God of Magic and spending a year burning the burnt husk of a dead world gave him time to reflect on things.
Perhaps one of the darkest interpretations of the trope, evidence in the original game and Dissidia suggests it isn't so much Kefka not seeing the value of love and hope as it is he actually can't understand them anymore, his mind is just too far gone, and destruction is all he has to bring joy and meaning to his life with everything else beyond his understanding now. His famous end-game speech in VI is reused in Dissidia, but with a very obvious tone of despair to the words, Kefka seemingly lamenting the meaninglessness of life rather than declaring it.
The Ultimania guide to FFVI suggests that Kefka was once one of the Empire's top generals. After the Magitek infusion damaged his mind, he was forced to step down and reappointed as Gestahl's personal lackey, then made to oversee the perfected Magitek Knights; Terra and Celes. What really drove him over the brink was watching Leo take up his former position and outdo him in every aspect.
When the Returners give their collective "World of Cardboard" Speech at the end of the game, Kefka looks down and turns away for a moment, seeming distinctly sad. Unfortunately, that's when he really goes off the deep end.
And finally, Kefka's Dissidia 012 museum profile implies that he was Driven to Suicide in the final storyline because he thought destroying himself might finally satisfy his insatiable need to destroy.
Leader of the Empire with grand ambitions and a batshit-insane Dragon.
Bodyguard Betrayal: Gestahl appears with Kefka thoroughly on his side on the Floating Continent. And then Kefka must show them the meaning of power...
Disc One Final Boss: One of the first bosses to invoke this trope, but the technology of the time (cartridge) made it less opaque. Still, when the player is confronting Gestahl, one can't help but think the game is a little short.
Even Evil Has Standards: He desired to rule the world, but when Kefka decided to demand that the Warring Triad expose their true power, he attempts to stop Kefka, feeling that it was going too far. In addition, when Kefka murders General Leo, he claims that he'll simply report that he disposed of a traitor as an excuse for murdering him, implying that Gestahl would not have approved of Kefka killing General Leo, even though he manipulated the latter, unless there was good reason.
Godzilla Threshold: Eventually tries to use Meltdown on Kefka. Keep in mind Meltdown is one of the most powerful spells in the game and hits the enemy and caster parties for heavy damage. Gestahl was clearly desperate.
Go Karting with Bowser/No, Returners, I Expect You to Dine: After the Espers razed Vector, Gestahl seemingly has a change of heart (or at least realizes that after the Esper attack he has no chance against the Returners), asks for the ceasefire, invites the party to the dinner party, blames everything on Kefka, asks the party to find the espers and negotiate with them to prevent another War of the Magi. The party doesn't fall for it, but they play along since they really need to convince the Espers not to destroy everything. And they leave behind lots of people to uncover the plans.
Karmic Death: It's very fitting that Emperor Gestahl dies at the hands of Kefka after he was responsible for having Kefka infused with magical powers, and had him Promoted to Scapegoat when things started going wrong. Add additional karmic points for the fact that Kefka kills him using the power of the Warring Triad, the very things he has pursued all of this time.
Military Brat: According to the Final Fantasy VI timeline, Gestahl was from a well-off military family. It's also strongly implied that his father was heavily involved in a large coup that resulted in Vector becoming an Empire.
A Nazi by Any Other Name: Let's see... He's an amazingly charismatic dictator attempting to conquer the world, his troops are obliquely compared to Nazi stormtroopers in a reference to a scene from Star Wars, his troops use the "Nazi arm-raise salute", he keeps Espers in a note Magitek Research Facility:concentration camp, and... oh, he wanted to create a "master race" by breeding Celes and Kefka. His characterization is also quite similar to Mussolini and his Facism movement, especially when taking into account the fact that he was essentially trying to resurrect an old empire of Magic.
Pragmatic Villainy: In the SNES version, at least, Emperor Gestahl tries to stop Kefka from doing something that will cause The End of the World as We Know It, because he wants to rule the world, not blow it up. Kefka kills him. In the GBA version, his final words were "The world will now experience true fear..." before being kicked off by Kefka, implying that it was closer to Even Evil Has Standards.
Redemption Equals Death: In a sense. He realized just how dangerous Kefka was and tried to stop him from ending the world, and got killed for his efforts. Probably more a case of Pragmatic Villainy as described above.
Three ancient gods that effectively created magic as it is now known, they created the Espers in the crossfire of their feuding but turned themselves to stone when they realized the struggle was destroying the world. They are named Demon, Fiend, and Goddess.
Barrier Gods: Their alignment keeps their own powers in check. Move them out of alignment and the imbalance of power drastically reshapes the known world.
Bowdlerise: Fiend and Demon were renamed to Doom and Poltergeist/Poltrgeist in the SNES and PS Version, and Goddess was give more clothing in the SNES version.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Demon is red, Fiend is primarily blue with gold wings, and Goddess wears blue and bears a gold crest. Dissidia assigns them colors in a roundabout way — the three circles that appear during Kefka's EX Burst are in the same formation as the Triad, and Demon's is red, Fiend's is yellow, and Goddess's is blue.
God Is Evil: Though their backstory reveals they realized the havoc they were causing and stopped, by the time you find them in Kefka's Tower, they're fighting for this side for whatever reason. Hell, thanks to Kefka absorbing most of their energies, they barely even qualify as gods by that point.
Infinity+1 Sword: Demon drops the Radiant Lance, Fiend drops the Mutsunokami, and Goddess drops the Excalibur. In the original Super NES release, the former two were the strongest weapons of their kind. Excalibur was outclassed by the Ultima Weapon, Ragnarok, and Illumina, but getting the latter two meant passing up the Ragnarok Magicite that taught Ultima.
Lost Forever: Hope those of you aiming for 100% Completion brought Strago to fight Fiend, because he's the only enemy in the entire game who knows the Force Field Lore. Averted in the Advance port, where you can fight Fiend again... if you feel like dragging Strago through the Soul Shrine.
Secret Art: Tyrfing for Demon, Fiendish Rage and Force Field for Fiend, and Overcast for Goddess. Quasar is not exclusive to Goddess, but it is likely she'll be the first enemy you see using it, since of the only other two with it, one is a normal enemy you're likely to kill before it uses it, and the other is the GBA-exclusive Gilgamesh.
Snake People: Demon's concept art depicts what ended up being his sprite as the torso of a snake body.
Shout-Out: The rest of the series contains subtle references to them, such as three statues in Kuja's palace resembling them, and Yunalesca resembling Goddess in her second form.
Stripperiffic: Goddess. She actually got censored in the SNES version.
Eight ancient and powerful dragons sealed in the earth, they were unleashed when Kefka moved the Warring Triad out of alignment. They reappear in the Advance bonus dungeon Dragons' Den with their boss, Kaiser Dragon.
Actually Four Mooks: The reborn Ice Dragon appears as a group of four, but their sprites overlay on top of each other so you can't pick out a specific one to target.
Anti-Magic: The reborn Gold Dragon in Dragons' Den absorbs all magic.
Badass Boast: Kaiser Dragon's greeting to the party when the player finds him.
Bonus Boss: Technically, all of them are optional encounters.
Boss Rush: In the Soul Shrine in the Advance release, their eight reborn incarnations plus Kaiser Dragon are the final opponents.
Bragging Rights Reward: Congratulations, you defeated Kaiser Dragon and won the Diabolos Magicite! Pretty pointless now since all that's left is the Soul Shrine — the spells Diabolos teaches are pretty useless since odds are everyone knows Ultima, and his level up bonus, in terms of pure Min-Maxing, just means party members get a half-dozen or so extra stat points.
Cast From Life Span: The reborn Red Dragon will eventually expire once it puts all its energy into blasting you with the most powerful attacks it can, including Ultima. It's entirely invulnerable until it does, so the party can only endure its onslaught.
Color-Coded Characters: Aside from the black and grey Storm Dragon and green Skull Dragon, the Eight Dragons are colored pretty much just as you'd guess given their elemental typings as listed below. And even with those two the coloring fits.
Earth Dragon's earth elemental attacks can be avoided by casting Float. He has an attack to neutralize Float. Meanwhile, he himself is floating and the reborn dragon absorbs earth, so his earth attacks that hit enemies and allies alike don't hurt him.
Blue Dragon's AI script has it scan for party members with status buffs, then it inflicts itself with status ailments and uses Rippler to swap its status ailments and buffs with yours.
The reborn Red Dragon will use Ultima to deal a Total Party Kill, then a final Flare in case you cast Reraise on anyone.
The Holy Dragon starts off Genre Blind and becomes this in the rematch. The original uses only Holy, and the player is encouraged to use Reflect Rings in the dungeon where you fight it, thus all its attacks will be Reflected and it can't harm you. The reborn Holy Dragon uses Heavenly Wrath (a powerful physical attack), Heartless Angel, and Saintly Beam — namely, it pointedly uses attacks that cannot be Reflected.
Genre Blind: The Gold Dragon may absorb all magic, but its weakness is water, and it turns out Flood is one of the few spells that can't be absorbed, not to mention Strago's water-elemental Lores.
Dummied Out: Kaiser Dragon is actually a reimagining of "CzarDragon", a Bonus Boss found in the coding of the original Super NES release but never implemented in the game. Various text in the Super NES release also alludes that a rematch with the Eight Dragons was also planned and would have used the gimmicks of their reborn selves.
Early Bird Boss: The game encourages you to visit Mt. Zozo pretty early on. You are encouraged to step on a switch that releases the Storm Dragon, one of the stronger of the original eight. First timers usually come up against it first.
All Your Powers Combined: Kaiser Dragon. He actually has several patterns of attacks he cycles through — a Non-Elemental one, one each for the other eight elements listed, and then his final stage where he uses attacks of various elements.
Foreshadowing: A certain NPC describes them, along with Humbaba and Deathgaze, as one of the ancient monsters of the world.
Infinity+1 Sword: They all guard powerful weapons in the original game, though usually not the strongest of their types. Their reborn incarnations, however, do drop the strongest weapons.
No Cure for Evil: Averted with the reborn Holy Dragon, it has Auto-Regen and a 66% chance to counter any attack by casting Curaga on itself.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Holy Dragon is originally the weakest of the Eight Dragons. The reborn Holy Dragon is one of the strongest, and in particular has learned Heartless Angel as a counter-attack. Factor in that it uses Saintly Beam, which cannot be Reflected or absorbed by Runic, and the fact that there is exactly one equipment piece to absorb or nullify Holy attacks, and you're looking at a Total Party Kill if you aren't careful.
Our Dragons Are Different: Red and Holy Dragon are the only ones to be a Palette Swap of another one of the Eight Dragons; the other six use their own sprites among the group, and thus their appearances vary wildly.
The reborn Blue Dragon is pretty much the same as the original, just higher stats. Its "gimmick" is just that it inflicts more status ailments on itself when using Rippler as described above, but it still only does that if you use your own status buffs.
If you brought along Celes to fight Red Dragon, she can use Runic to absorb all of its spells.
Secret Art: They all get one in the Dragons' Den, aside from Earth Dragon and Storm Dragon, who had theirs originally.
Red Dragon: Red Fang and Eraser.
Blue Dragon: Blue Fang.
Ice Dragon: Freeze.
Holy Dragon: Heavenly Wrath.
Earth Dragon: Honed Tusk.
Storm Dragon: Leaf Swirl and Wing Saber.
Skull Dragon: Apparition and Fear.
Gold Dragon: Mighty Claw.
Kaiser Dragon: Last Breath.
Took a Level in Badass: Their reborn incarnations in Dragons' Den are far higher tiers than the originals. The Holy Dragon is particularly notable — the original is entirely incompetent and a party with Reflect Rings is invincible, but the reborn version is one of the most powerful of them.
Weaksauce Weakness: The first time you come across most of them, anyway, or in the SNES version. The Ice Dragon is subseptible to Mute, the Dirt Dragon is easily put to sleep, the Holy Dragon is especially Mute-subseptible (as it has absolutely no physical attack), Red Dragon can be confused and Rasped down to nothing... the list goes on. The only ones that can't be locked down easily are the Blue Dragon and Storm Dragon.
A recurring octopus boss with a fondness for bad jokes. Sometimes seen with his dumb monster partner, a wind beast named Chupon/Typhon. For more info on his appearances in spin-offs, see the Recurring Character sheet.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Where does Ultros come from? Why does he hate the party so much to pursue them around the world attacking them? Why did he even attack them in the first place? Mysteries that will likely never be solved.
Harmless Villain: His battles in VI were never all that difficult to begin with, and he was never as formidable as his more rarely-seen friend Typhon. In the World of Ruin, Ultros is forced to work indefinitely as a receptionist to pay off his crippling debts. You can see him and speak to him as often as you please, but his role as a villain has ended.
Jerkass: Ultros is this in spades. While he is the game's Plucky Comic Relief, he's also downright mean. He attacks your party several times throughout the game for no reason other than just because. In the battle against him in Crescent Mountain, he mouths off to Relm, a little girl who just wanted to paint his picture. This causes the party to stop fighting and berate Ultros for making a little girl cry! He eventually caves in. Of course, Relm had ulterior motives for painting his picture, but Ultros didn't know that and still reacted badly to it.
Foreshadowing: A certain NPC describes him, along with Deathgaze and the Eight Dragons, as one of the ancient monsters of the world.
Recurring Boss: First fought by Terra, then by your party the first time you visit Mobliz. On your second visit, he is first fought by your party, then by Terra, who is permanently in Esper form for this battle, as well as the remants of your party that wasn't blown away by his Humbaba Breath.
Shock and Awe: He loves using lightning attacks, and he absorbs it as well.
An ancient monster released in the apocalypse that flies about the world terrorizing the people.
Foreshadowing: A certain NPC describes him, along with Humbaba and the Eight Dragons, as one of the ancient monsters of the world.
Get Back Here Boss: Flees after a few rounds of battle, but can't regenerate his HP after combat, so you can wear him down after repeated encounters. It's hard to track down a monster that could be anywhere in the world when you have no way to tell where he may be. You're going to be spending a lot of time flying around looking for him.
An Esper living in the human realm, he calls Terra to him when her powers awaken.
Ascended Extra: Before this game, summons (excluding Bahamut and Odin) didn't get a lot of character exploration. Ramuh was no exception. This time, aside from Valigarmanda and Maduin, Ramuh could be considered the most plot-important Esper in the game.
Heroic Sacrifice: Turns himself into Magicite to grant the party his power to help save the other Espers.
Heroic Sacrifice: Casts a binding spell to sweep the Empire out of the Esper realm, but he's so old it's implied he lost his life.
Senseless Sacrifice: But by the time he does it, the Empire has already captured enough Espers to begin their campaign and keep it going for 20 years.
The frozen Esper excavated in Narshe that kickstarts the plot of the game.
Aborted Arc: Once the Returners try to wake it up, they forget about it for the rest of the World of Balance. Justified in that the first time they tried it, most of them almost got thrown into a chasm and Terra lost control of her powers and transformed the first time, so trying again would be risky to the point of stupid.
And I Must Scream: It still has some sense of awareness when inside the ice, able to defend itself with magic in the World of Ruin. Possibly subverted in that, once he finally wakes up, he's confused about whether or not the War of the Magi is still happening.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: Teaches Firaga, Blizzaga, and Thundaga, and uses a tri-elemental attack when called into battle.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: While the Returners fail to wake Tritoch up the first time they try it and subsequently leave it alone for the rest of the game... unless you, as the player, make them go back and try again.
Interface Spoiler: In the story, it's only ever referred to as "the frozen Esper", except that right at the start of the game, when your party enters the battle screen to play out a cutscene, you can see its name displayed in the enemy listing.
Kill It with Fire: Or rather, free him with fire by melting him out of his icy prison. Either that or chip him out of there with barrier-piercing attacks like the Phantom Rush, Locke's Valiant Knife or some of Cyan's Bushido techniques.