Characters Final Fantasy XII Discussion

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02:52:28 PM Dec 14th 2014
edited by
About the Espers in this game, had a discusion with Drake Clawfang, that turned out rather a bit unfriendly, about of who they are expies of.

I'll post my arguments here.

First, Zalera. It's written in the Final Fantasy Tactics, that his host, Messam Elmdore, is visibly an expy of Sephiroth. Zalera himself, gained greater resemblance to Sephiroth in his FFXII redesign, at least to me. He has a version of Sephiroth's shoulderpads, has an overgrown, right wing, like Sephiroth has in his Safer Sephiroth form, or his Kingdom Hearts design. The Shamaness, attached to him, has also a visual similarity to Jenova, if mostly from the blindfold, that resembles Jenova's headgear. Also, aside from Ultima, Zalera in the only Esper that's directly called an angel.

On the other hand, Zalera's demonic laugh, harkens back to Kefka, along the fact that Zalera's story with the shamaness, hes some visible similarities to that of Kefka with Terra. Not to mention the Good Wings, Evil Wings, that both God-Kefka and Zalera have.

Shemhazai and Zodiark, I would like to discuss after I see what people think about my observations about Zalera.
03:27:44 PM Dec 14th 2014
'Twas discussed in Ask The Tropers as well. I'd like to know what the differences are between Zalera and Sephiroth, though.
03:50:07 PM Dec 14th 2014
Well, the diffrences are their motivations and origin. Sephiroth is an experimental test tube bady, infused with alien DNA. Zalera is a divine creation. Both were tainted in way, but Zalera was tainted by the rage of those he judged, and Sephiroth was tainted since even before his birth. Sephiroth did start out as a mortal, and Zalera is a immortal since day one of his creation. Zalera doesn't fight with a sword, except when he's possesing Elmdore. Zalera is an actual angel, and Sephiroth is only a human(latter humanoid abomination) with an angelic motive. The woman(or woman-like being in Sephiroth's case) they are merged with, are completely diffrent aside from looks. But I did allready write the shamaness is closer to Terra, than Jenova Zalera likes to summon undead, something that Sephiroth doesn't do.
03:50:17 PM Dec 14th 2014
edited by
Aside from the one wing, Zalera does not resemble Sephiroth at all, nor does it use a sword or have a name or title alluding to Sephiroth. The Shamaness standing in for Jenova is a stretch at best. Zalera's element is Death, its Zodiac symbol is Gemini, and it fights using instant death and status attacks - none of which Sepohiroth uses or is known for. He does not have "have a version of Sephiroth's shoulder pads" - he has a collar that connects to his cape, as visible in this image. Further, Zalera's backstory in full is as follows:

“Heretic scion who wrapped the world in dark energies, seeking to take the souls of all living things unto himself. Created in opposition to Emet-Selch, Angel of Truth, and scion of light. Originally tasked with the judging of men upon their deaths, his soul was tainted by the curses of those who raged against the heavens, and seizing one of the gods' servants, a shamaness, as a hostage, he rebelled against his creators. Even now, in defeat, he clutches the shamaness to him in his right arm, and with the aid of her death-wail does he summon the soul of darkness to do his bidding.”

The "seeking to take the souls of all living things unto himself," bit is indeed comparable to Sephiroth and the Lifestream, true. But the rest?

"Originally tasked with the judging of men upon their deaths, his soul was tainted by the curses of those who raged against the heavens, and seizing one of the gods' servants, a shamaness, as a hostage, he rebelled against his creators. Even now, in defeat, he clutches the shamaness to him in his right arm, and with the aid of her death-wail does he summon the soul of darkness to do his bidding."

None of that really says "Sephiroth". He was not tasked with judging men, he was a SOLDIER, he was not tainted by others (Crisis Core came out after FF 12 was done and out, so we can't point to Genesis), Jenova was not a servant of any gods and Sephiroth did not hold her hostage, and the "soul of darkness" bit doesn't fit anything Sephiroth does.

Aside from the Lifestream comparison, the only Zalera has to draw back to Sephiroth is the overgrown right wing. Everything else is very thin. The "Terra = Shamaness because Kefka is Zalera" comparison is even weaker. It's also been noted that in Tactics, Zalera's human host is similar to Sephiroth. Completely irrelevant here, this is not Tactics, this is FF 12, where Zalera has no host, no sword, and no silver hair. "Zalera is a reference to another Zalera who possessed a human who looked like Sephiroth, therefore Zalera is a reference to Sephiroth" doesn't work no matter how you twist the logic of it.

All that said, I again point to the other Espers which were blatantly based on Lucavi or past Final Fantasy villains. Chaos, Walker of the Wheel, who was deity of the crystals and was killed and reborn dozens of times. Exodus the Judge-Sal (Exdeath the Tree-Spirit Judge in the Japanese version), who desired to return the world to nothing and was stopped and imprisoned. All blatant and unmistakable references. By contrast, Zalera's comparisons call for stretches to connect him to Sephiroth. We know Zalera is named for and based on the Lucavi of the same name, btw. I'm not saying this Zalera could not reference both, but if that was the intent they could call him "Zalera the One-Winged Angel" and have his backstory say he was a soldier for the gods instead of some judge, or have him use Shadow Flare and Heartless Angel. But they don't.

The idea of Zalera being a reference to Sephiroth is not without merit, but it is entirely circumstantial, and has no place on the page.
03:56:17 PM Dec 14th 2014
Also, Sephiroth want's to become a god and first find, later create a paradise(and on the way to it, destroy his planet). While being influenced by Jenova's insticts. Zalera's motivations, aside from revenge on the Occuria, and serving Ultima, aren't exacly clear.
04:04:38 PM Dec 14th 2014
Well, Zalera isn't just a reference to FFT Zalera, they actualy are the same person. Both were originaly servants, and were tainted by something. Although Sephiroth was tainted by Jenova's DNA, even before his birth, and by insanity, after he discovered his origins. You can say that Hojo and Shinra tainted him, in more way than one. Still, fall of both was caused by a taint of sorts. With Lucavi, it's implied their hosts have often some connection to them, and that the Lucavi chose those were especialy compatible with them. The "seeking to take the souls of all living things unto himself" is actualy a very strong connection, comparable to both Chaos' motive of rebirth/reincarnation, for example.

04:27:51 PM Dec 14th 2014
edited by
Also, the overgrown wing is a strong connection, as I don't remember another Square character with an overgrown right wing, other than Zalera and Sephiroth. Zalera's collar, does function also as shoulder pads. It's a strange article of clothing. Not to mention, the collar/shoulder pads and cape, do look pretty similar to Sephiroth's coat. Zalera lighter skin on the chest, or part of his outfit that exposes his chest (it isn't clear in the design if he's wearing clothing, or that's all just part of him), resembles how Sephiroth's coat exposes his chest, and Zalera's look does give a Hell-Bent for Leather(again, it may be just a part of him).

And now to the Kefka part. The Zalera's laugh is pretty similar to Kefka's (although its a different sound effect). The Shamaness comparison isn't only for the sake of theory. Both are forced to serve against their will, and suffer because of that. The Shamaness seemed to have a special connection with the gods, like Terra had with the Espers of Final Fantasy 6. Both Kefka and Zalera seem to gain a great (and disturbing) amount of joy, from forcing their slaves to harm others. The good and evil wing motive, as I said before, is also with both Kefka and Zalera. Zalera's design with the shamaness, has also some similarities to the Lady and Rest part of the tower of gods in FFVI. The “Heretic scion who wrapped the world in dark energies", may be a reference to the World of Ruin Kefka creates, but YMMV.

05:48:57 PM Dec 14th 2014
The only other FF villain outside Zalera that i am remembering in the moment with "Angel of Death" as title is Kuja.
06:17:47 PM Dec 14th 2014
edited by
Another thing, while Zalera has some differences with Sephiroth and Kefka, the five named expies, also have some differences. The Esper Zeromus, holds a special connection with the concept of Law, but both Zemus and Zeromus didn't have this kind of connection. Neither Garland, or Chaos, became death seekers, or were even unhappy with their/his rebirth, before the Dissidia games. Exodus, as opposed to Exdeath, had suffered a Despair Event Horizon, that led him to his desire to unmake everything.

About similarities in attacks. Funny enough, the five named expies' attacks and battles also have little or nothing to do with original five final bosses, with only the fight with Exodus, having some really visible similarities in attacks, most notably the use of the Flare spell.

And as it's pretty worth mentioning, the Espers who have the same names, as the Lucavi from Final Fantasy Tactics, aren't their expies, or just named for them, they are the same characters. They're just about as the same, as Sephiroth was in both Final Fantasy VII, and Crysis Core.
06:23:31 PM Dec 14th 2014
edited by
Yeah, that is some similarity, as both are the Angels of Death. Although I would have to think, and do a bit research, if this could make Zalera a triple Expy. Kuja definitely was kind-off 'tainted'(although arguably in a much more positive sense), by his connection with Gaia's culture, and he definitely raged against his master and creator, Garland.

So Mag Bas, what do you think about this situation? Do you think Zalera could be an expy of Sephiroth, Kefka, or both?

03:51:58 AM Dec 15th 2014
In my opinion, per your post about the differences Sephiroth is not an expy of Zalera - there are a few too many major differences, and Expy requires near-identicality.
04:20:43 AM Dec 15th 2014
edited by
Well not really, expies are more based up to a point, and it's Captain Ersatzes that are near identical. Thanos from Marvel is based on Metron from Kirby's Fourth World, acording to his own creator, Jim Starlin, yet is pretty diffrent.

Among the 5 named expies of final bossess, Famfrit and Mateus look nothing like their inspirations, to the point many fans don't know they are expies of The Cloud of Darkness and The Emperor. As I wrote, Zalera is argubly more similar in terms of design, and backstory to Sephiroth and Kefka, than some of five named final boss expy espers are to their namesakes. Septimus Heap, did you read my post about it, starting from "Another thing, while Zalera has some differences with Sephiroth and Kefka, the five named expies,",?


Apollo from The Authority comic, is another clear expy(and confimed), of Superman, yet has a pretty diffrent look, and a completely diffrent backstory.

[Edit 2]

Also, there are the five final boss Espers, who have very diffrent origins from their namesakes, being fallen angels. None among the first five Final Bosses from Final Fantasy, were angels, fallen, or not. Exdeath is a tree, that became sentinent after many demons were sealed in it, and was evil from day one of his existence, because of that. The Esper Exodus meanwhile, is the oldest of the angels, who was originaly benevolent, but went through a Despair Event Horizon, and started to view nothing has really sense, so he should destroy everything, as form of mercy kill for the whole creation. Exdeath meanwhile was never good, and never went through a Despair Event Horizon. And he only started to want to destroy everything, once he merged with Void, and became it's avatar. Not because he viewed it as a mercy kill for existence.

[Edit 3]

Another expy, that is very diffrent from his inspiration, is Jin Kisaragi, from BlazBlue. He is an expy of Ky Kiske from Guilty Gear, yet has pretty diffrent abilities, a rather diffrent backstory, and a VASTLY diffrent personality. I really don't see Zalera being that more diffrent from Sephiroth, than the expies I mentioned. And none of them really fits the near-identicality definition of expy you gave, and those three are pretty well recognized as expies.
05:25:52 AM Dec 15th 2014
Also, it would prove really productive, if more than three people(me, Drake Clawfang, and Septimus Heap) mostly discussed this. At least Mag Bas did some contribution here, though.
03:13:54 AM Oct 12th 2012
Beg pardon ? What "administrative decree" says that spoilers aren't supposed to be used on character pages ? I see nothing of the sort in the Special Efforts section, Trope Repair section, in the Handling Spoilers section and Spoilers Off section. I may have missed something (after all, I'm not perfect), but otherwise if in the following 12 hours the editing isn't justified I'll call a moderator.
04:31:01 PM Aug 1st 2012
Perhaps we need to split off a character sheet for Revenant Wings on that page?
05:57:27 PM Jan 30th 2012
edited by illegalcheese
So, I'd classify Vaan as The Big Guy along side Basch. Given that the group is constantly in combat situations, and Vaan doesn't really fulfill any other role, I'd say he falls into being The Big Guy by default. I say The Big Guy instead of Tagalong Kid just because his stats, (which in other cases in this particular game tend to be an example of Gameplay and Story Integration) would imply that he's a very strong fighter, which I think is vindicated in later games (where he goes toe-to-toe with a Physical God, among other things).

I feel like I've seen this kind of character before, which is the only reason I'd care to bring it up. Just want to get an opinion on it.
01:38:00 AM Jan 31st 2012
edited by NonoRobot
Vaan's role in the story is rather small, and is one of the youngest member of the team. Thus, the Tagalong Kid entry is justified, and shouldn't be removed in my opinion. However, we can add to the entry that he manages to have a greater role in his own game. As for The Big Guy... You're right when you're saying that, stats-wise, he could fit the role. However, there are already two entries which deal with that : Jack of All Stats and Lightning Bruiser. I don't think that The Big Guy trope applies to him : he just doesn't have the body/appareance for that (he's a kid after all).
07:15:23 AM Jan 31st 2012
None of the Five-Man Band roles should be assigned "by default." Either he is, or he isn't, and in the story, he most definitely is not.
03:14:38 PM Jul 26th 2010
What is this, no entry on Venat?
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