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Characters / Dissidia: Final Fantasy Warriors of Chaos I to VI

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A character sheet for the Warriors of Chaos from Dissidia Final Fantasy and its prequel. Note that comments on a character's fighting style generally stay the same between games, except when otherwise mentioned.

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    Garland 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dissidia_Garland_art_2227.jpg
"We will never come to accept one another. We shall always be in conflict!"
"The eternal darkness will transcend time to face its rival once more." — Wheel of Darkness

Voiced by: Kenji Utsumi (Japanese), Christopher Sabat (English)

—Fighting Style: Nemesis

The villain from the original Final Fantasy. His backstory states that he was once a famous hero, but that changed when he kidnapped a princess. This doesn't affect much of the plot, though, and Garland comes just as a dedicated warrior on Chaos' side. Indeed, Dissidia spends a great deal of time giving new elements to Garland's backstory.

Garland's fighting style is that of a Nemesis, wielding a massive sword that can transform as he attacks, such as splitting into two for dual-wield combos or extending on a chain to be swung about. Several of Garland's Bravery attacks change properties depending on if the player taps or holds the button to continue the attack after landing the initial hit, offering tactical variance. As you might expect dragging a blade like that around, though, Garland is very slow to move and attack.

General Tropes

  • Adaptational Badass: Garland ascends from being the first (and weakest) boss in series history to a total badass. He will knock you all down.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Garland and by proxy, Chaos gets a lot more Character Depth in Dissidia, almost to the point that you'll forget the origin story given for him by the first game.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Garland's entire character is based around this one.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Battle dominates his entire character. Fitting, as he sees the cycle of battle to be his only purpose.
      "Only death shall part me from my sword."
    • In fact, in Prologus, Garland, after he and the Emperor are defeated by the Warrior of Light and Lightning, expresses disappointment not at their losing against them, but at how short the battle turned out to be.
  • Co-Dragons: With the Emperor; Garland is clearly the one and only right-hand man of Chaos, but the Emperor still has the god's ear and plays a vital role in the plot. Notably, the two of them are the only ones (aside from Cloud when he challenges Chaos) to speak to Chaos in person.
  • The Corrupter: Originally, Chaos didn't want to go to war with Cosmos, since she looked like his mother, so Garland was brought in by Shinryu to coax him to get over that.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Garland can be bitingly sarcastic.
    Garland: "Am I to be a prisoner of these stupid plans again?"
  • Despair Event Horizon: See also Go Mad from the Revelation below; it's heavily implied that the entire reason Garland is such a Blood Knight is because he has lost any and all hope of escape from his endless cycle of dying and being reborn to fight again. He decided to go with it and figured if his entire existence is going to center around fighting, he might as well learn to enjoy it. And so he did. Undoubtedly made worse by the fact that, according to Dissidia's backstory, he helped start the whole thing. Though it should be noted that he only did so AFTER Cid and Shinryu ordered him to do so.
  • The Dragon: To Chaos, naturally. Garland is both the final villain to be defeated by his heroic counterpart in the Destiny Odyssey storylines, and the final villain to be defeated before the heroes face Chaos in Shade Impulse. In fact, after all the other villains break up to follow their own plans, Garland is the only one still loyal to Chaos.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Garland serves Chaos, but he has his own ulterior motive in doing so.
  • Fallen Hero: He was once a heroic knight before he turned to evil.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: It's never stated outright, but all the dialogue in cutscenes implies that the only reason Garland is so devoted to battle and violence is that he's lost all hope for everything else thanks to the "Groundhog Day" Loop he's stuck in.
  • The Heavy: Chaos acts more as a distant authority figure while Garland is the one directly leading the other Warriors of Chaos into battle.
  • The Leader: Of the Warriors of Chaos.
  • Mythology Gag: His weapon's four alternate forms refer to the Four Fiends from his original game (axe = Lich, twin swords = Marilith, chain whip = Kraken, and lance = Tiamat), and his five Sample Voice quotes speak the Fiends' and Chaos' names. All of his HP Attacks are also all attacks he uses when he is Chaos for the final battle of the original game.
    • In addition, he is both the first and last boss in Warrior of Light's Destiny Odyssey.
    • In further addition, think of how many attacks Wall Rush (knock) the target downwards?
  • Took a Level in Badass: A far higher tier than his original incarnation.

Gameplay and Combat Tropes

  • An Axe to Grind: The sword pommel extends into a haft, and the blade bends forwards into an axe-head for crushing attacks. Represents Lich.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: He can split his sword into two which Garland Dual Wields. Represents Marilith.
  • BFS: The largest one by far, and to add further emphasis to it, Garland is a little over eight feet tall, and compared to him the thing is still huge.
  • Blade on a Stick: The sword extends into a lance for Garland to perform charging attacks. Represents Tiamat.
  • Blow You Away: Cyclone summons a tornado.
  • Cool Sword: He wields a massive shape-shifting segmented sword.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Earthquake shakes the earth.
  • Elemental Powers: Enchants his sword with elemental magic to attack. As another reference to the Four Fiends as well as Chaos from the original game, Garland's HP Attacks represent their elemental affinities and his sword shifts into the appropriate form for them.
  • EX Mode: Class Change!
    "Warrior's soul!"
    • Garland's armor becomes shiny and his cape becomes white, in reference to what he likely looked like when he was still a loyal Cornelian knight. In addition to Regen, Garland's EX Mode gives him access to the following ability:
      • Indomitable Resolve: In EX Mode, Garland's attacks cannot be interrupted by the opponent's Brave attacks, letting him dodge attacks in situations a character otherwise couldn't and stop the opponent's attacks with an attack of his own.
    • In addition, Class Change gives Garland access to his EX Burst: Soul of Chaos.
      "Know your limits!"
    • Garland smashes the enemy before rearing back and charging himself with the power of Chaos. Once he's done, he performs a combination attack on the enemy, hitting them with all four special forms of his sword in order before finishing the burst with a swipe from the BFS shape of his blade.
      "Can you stand this!? Miserable insect..."
  • Implacable Man: In his EX Mode, Bravery attacks and the Bravery-damage portions of some HP attacks cannot interrupt his own attacks once he begins the animation.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Garland's level 100 exclusive weapon, Gigant Axe, gives the highest attack bonus of all the weapons in the game.
  • Magic Knight: His Bravery attacks save for Thundaga are all physical blows, while his HP attacks are Spell Blade attacks where he uses his sword enchanted with magic.
  • Magic Missile Storm: Blaze fires a barrage of fire-bolts.
  • Making a Splash: Tsunami summons a wave of water.
  • Mighty Glacier: He's essentially the Cloud of the villains — he moves and attacks so slowly that it can be hard for him to land a hit, but when he does connect, you'll feel it.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: His sword automatically shifts into different forms when he attacks, one form for each of the Four Fiends from the original Final Fantasy.
  • Playing with Fire: Blaze. Picks up Flare in Dissidia 012, which was used by Chaos instead of the Four Fiends, reflected by Garland using the sword's base form in the attack.
  • Reverse Grip: He holds his sword in a reverse-grip and drags it across the ground.
  • Shock and Awe: Thundaga brings down lightning.
  • Sword Drag: Constantly, leaving a trail of sparks and a drag line in the floor behind him.
  • Variable-Length Chain: The chain seems to as long as he needs to be for any of his attacks.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: His BFS is his only weapon. Thanks to its shape-shifting though, it's all he needs.
  • Whip Sword: The entire sword extends on a chain for Garland to flail it around. Represents Kraken.

Design and Costume Tropes

  • Art Evolution: Garland was one of the toughest characters for Tetsuya Nomura to design, given that he only had Garland's battle sprites to work off of. He described it like designing a completely original character, but he had to maintain the sense it was still the Garland fans knew.
  • Good Costume Switch: Strange as it may sound. His EX Mode changes his costume to have a white cape, apparently reminiscent of how he looked when he was a loyal Cornelian knight.
  • Our Demons Are Different: In his 3P costume.
  • Tin Tyrant: Original flavor version, although his characterization is more similar to a Blood Knight.

In Dissidia

In this story, he opposes the Warrior of Light. However, he often goes along with the plans of the other villains purely for their own sake — he does not follow their plans blindly, though. Like when he consoles Kuja after Ultimecia tells him of some of the nature behind the conflict to drive him past his despair, for example.

  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Garland doesn't take it well when Warrior of Light claims he pities him, and worse when he claims he'll save him.
  • Flat "What": Played with. His response to first hearing the Warrior of Light say he pities him is a flat "Pardon?"
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Garland knows a lot of things Chaos doesn't, such as the fact that the entire cycle of war is supposed to temper Chaos into the ultimate weapon of destruction, or that Garland himself IS Chaos, or at least is going to become Chaos.
  • Resigned to the Call: He sort of makes this a point during his encounters with Warrior of Light — that embracing the cycle of conflict is all that there’s left for them, so they should enjoy it to the fullest.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: His reaction to the Warrior of Light's saying he'll even save him from the conflict.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He's a Blood Knight; what do you think his opinion of chivalry would be?
    Garland (to Terra): "Expect no chivalry here, woman!"

In Dissidia 012

In this tale, his role remains much the same as Dissidia. Appearing in Prologus, he gets very few battles in the storyline of 012 itself.

  • Berserk Button: He really gets riled up when someone talks about trying to find a loophole in the laws of the cycle, particularly in the official quests where he attacks Gabranth and Shantotto when he finds out that they mean to escape.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He does not trust The Emperor trying to convert Jecht to their side, as he suspects that the Emperor has other motives. He does.
  • Final Boss: Of the 012 scenario, against Lightning.
  • Flat "What": In response to the Emperor's request to bring Jecht to Chaos' side.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Implied in his pre-battle quote when facing Feral Chaos, due to their aforementioned connection which would possibly leave him killed as a result of killing him:
    Garland: I shall put you to sleep in the name of the Great Will!
    • Also a bit of a heartstring tugger, since the Great Will in question is Cid, Chaos's father.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • The reason why he serves Chaos is not simply because the Great Will ordered him to, but because he sympathizes with Chaos for being trapped in a realm for circumstances beyond his control.
    • He also disapproves of Ultimecia revealing to Kuja that his memories are fake just to break his spirit, and later tries to console Kuja about it.
  • Properly Paranoid: When he learns that The Emperor intends to convert Jecht to their side, he reacts with suspicion, and openly disagrees with The Emperor. The Emperor accuses Garland of jealousy, and claims that he's only trying to bring about the war's conclusion for Chaos' end; Chaos then allows him to be converted. Turns out, Garland was very sound in his suspicion that The Emperor had an ulterior motive in converting Jecht.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Calls out on Shantotto for trying to destroy one of the gateways, as well as getting herself trapped in World B's rift.

    The Emperor 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dissidia_Mateus_8930.jpg
"You should have disposed of your fantasy and accepted me as master."
"Without conquering one's virtue and desires, thou shall fall into darkness." — Lust for Power

Voiced by: Kenyuu Horiuchi (Japanese), Christopher Corey Smith (English)

—Fighting Style: Trap Master

The leader of the Palamecian Empire from Final Fantasy II, dedicated to Taking Over The World. He was killed by the heroes, but took over hell itself and came back. In the remakes, it's revealed that his soul split in half; the lighter (and still evil) half of his soul goes on to take over heaven.

The Emperor is the Trope Namer for Trap Master. The Emperor relies on sending out mines and spell crests to fight for him, with various effects like drawing opponents in, paralyzing them, or shooting bouncing projectiles when they get close. This makes the Emperor is one of the standout Difficult, but Awesome characters, using mind games and zone control to trick and trap opponents, and then brutalizing them once he has them where he wants them.

General Tropes

  • A God Am I: As mentioned, is the Emperor of Hell and possibly Heaven. And his ultimate plan is to usurp Chaos and Cosmos and take over all existence for himself.
    "Death, life, even the divine shall come under my rule! For the only one suited to rule is I!"
  • The Chessmaster: Is the mastermind behind the game's plot, which involves the heroes and a couple of the villains being Unwitting Pawns. And he pulls it off magnificently.
    • Look no further than his interactions with Tidus, Jecht, and Yuna — he arranged for Tidus to fight Jecht, and when Jecht transfers his light to Tidus, the Emperor has Jecht made a Warrior of Chaos so he can manifest a Crystal of darkness for him in the next cycle. An official quest for the game implies that his plans for Jecht weren't Xanatos Speed Chess, but instead he was planning to convert Jecht all along once he learned their relationship. Thus, Tidus's Heroic Sacrifice to inspire Jecht to do the same was apparently All According to Plan.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: His master plan about defeating Cosmos was also intended to backstab his own allies and even his boss, Chaos, so that he could rule what was left of existence.
  • Co-Dragons: With Garland as described above. Garland is Chaos's head minion, but the Emperor clearly has power and importance above the others. Dissidia 012 moves him up to the third-to-last boss after Chaos and Garland and gives his plans more prominence, arguably pushing him into Dragon Ascendant/Big-Bad Ensemble territory. Prologus appoints The Emperor as Garland's Dragon, as his Assist when Garland is fought.
    • Big Bad Wannabe: He's scheming to overthrow Chaos and, as described in the tropes below, is the main pusher of the Cycle 13 story arc.
    • The Heavy: As mentioned, he's the driving force behind the plot of the original Dissidia and the 013 story in Dissidia 012 — while most villains harbor other agendas, they mostly all obey his plan or are Unwitting Pawns tricked into following it.
  • Dimension Lord: His goal is to become one.
  • The Emperor: The clue is in the name.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: His character file in Dissidia 012 mentions that this is one of his few redeeming virtues. If you're a good warrior, he'll recruit you into his army at the proper rank regardless of your origins or background, probably a reference to Leon becoming the Dark Knight.
  • Everyone Calls Him Emperor: Sort of. As revealed in the Japanese-exclusive novelization of Final Fantasy II, he actually does have a name, Mateus. However, it has never been actually used to refer to him directly in any game, instead being used as a Mythology Gag reference, such as naming his Infinity Plus One Staff "Mateus' Malice" and naming the Ivalice summon based on him "Mateus."
  • Evil Genius: Shares this role with Ultimecia.
  • Evil Laugh: Does an impressive one when he begins charging up Starfall — for good reason, too, if he pulls it off. Also ends his imperfect Cyclone EX Burst with it.
  • Evil Sorcerer
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: He sneers at Kefka for being a "gibbering nihilist", and is the leader of the villain faction intending to conquer the world.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He's quite formal and well-spoken, even when insulting you and declaring his intent to conquer all existence.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: He wants to kill off all his allies and usurp Chaos and Cosmos as rulers of the universe.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Chaos's forces include the Eldritch Abominations Cloud of Darkness and Exdeath, but even they can't compare to the Emperor for vileness.
  • Kneel Before Zod:
    (facing Feral Chaos) "Fallen god, kneel before me!"
    (in Light to All epilogue) "Grovel before my UNRIVALED POWER!"
  • Large Ham: His death scream is very dramatic.
    "UUNNGAAAHHHHH!" ("UBOAAAAAAAAAA!" in the Japanese version.)
  • Malevolent Architecture: His home stage, Pandemonium, is a tight maze full of cramped corridors with a bottomless pit in the middle. Perfect for some traps. In the Omega version spikes also routinely pop out of the group to pierce the fighters and knock them into the air.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Got the mannerisms, personality, and attitude down pat. The looks still need work.
  • Never Say "Die": A rather odd invoking. The Emperor says "I've come back from the afterworld" in the concluding 013 story, rather pointedly avoiding saying "hell". However, several quotes elsewhere in the game, even in the same storyline, directly refer to him having returned from Hell.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Had the Emperor not concocted that plan to have the Warriors of Cosmos gain the crystals and kill off Chaos as well as Cosmos while ensuring his own survival and have Chaos' faction win the standard way, the consequences in the long term would have been far worse than how the 13th Cycle ended, if Scenario 000 in Dissidia 012 is anything to go by.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: As noted below, Christopher Corey Smith voices him in a manner that is very similar to David Bowie, thus, along with the already uncanny physical resemblance, leading to the Fan Nickname "Emperor Bowie".
  • Power Floats: Both floats instead of walking and telekinetically manipulates the staff in battle in addition to holding it.
  • Shout-Out: His character design bears some resemblance to the Goblin King Jareth from Film/Labyrinth, who was played by David Bowie. Apparently, the English localizers noticed this, as Christopher Corey Smith, The Emperor's English VA, voiced him in a very similar fashion to Jareth.
    • Also, his third outfit in Dissidia 012, Violet Robes, bears a rather uncanny resemblance to Maleficent...
  • Slouch of Villainy: He does an impressive one as a Victory Pose floating in the air. Dissidia 012 adds the top floor of Pandaemonium as an arena, giving him a proper throne to do this on in a cutscene.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: He is the emperor of Palamecia, and a skilled sorcerer.
  • The Starscream: The ultimate result of his plan is for everyone, including the gods, to die while he survives and rules over what's left of existence. Ironically, considering what would have happened to Chaos had the cycles actually continued without Chaos' death, it almost seems as though the Emperor was unintentionally doing Chaos a favor by having him killed.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Not only in combat prowess as many characters did, but he's gone from a generic Evil Overlord who only got a few lines of dialogue and little characterization in them, to a scheming, cunning, manipulative, smug, evil mastermind. Sure, he's still just your typical Evil Overlord/The Emperor, but he's a shining example of the archetype's key attributes and what makes them such good villains to use.

Gameplay and Combat Tropes

  • Agony Beam: His EX Burst, though its description calls it "an attack that takes over the opponent's mind."
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Or, more accurately, Authority Equals Squishing You With Celestial Bodies.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Starfall is impressive to watch and near unavoidable when you successfully cast it, but with such a long cast time (around eight seconds), you're highly unlikely to be able to use it against players unless you're creative or put a lot of space between the two of you. Players instead tend to take advantage of being able to cancel it as a taunt, forcing the opponent to come closer, rather than actually expect it to go off.
  • Boom Stick: Shoots explosive energy balls from his staff.
  • Charged Attack: Starfall.
  • Colony Drop: His trademark Starfall.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: To avoid obvious potential confusion, his ground Flares are blue and the midair ones are orange. Also a Mythology Gag, as Final Fantasy II was the only time Flare manifested as blue fire, while it's been orange and red in the rest of the series.
  • Damage Discrimination: The Emperor cannot be harmed by his own traps unless the opponent has reflected them back at him. Pretty standard, but it still stretches the Willing Suspension of Disbelief to see the man standing inside his own Flare fireball as he charges up Starfall with no ill effects.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Because of the very long time it takes to charge, attempting to perform Starfall is quite a burden, as the Emperor leaves himself defenseless for the span of about nine seconds. Yet if one manages to fire it off, the attack is unblockable and can't be avoided, making it a guaranteed HP hit. The special evil laugh and the bizarrely cool sight of watching a giant meteor materialize out of nowhere to crush your opponent, while watching them squirm as they desperately try to stop you in time, all makes for a real Glory for the player.
  • Death Trap: He's not called a "Trap Master" for nothing.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Emperor relies on sending out mines and crests to attack for him rather than fighting himself. This makes him one of the most strategic characters in the game, as using him effectively requires making good use of the terrain and playing mind games with the opponent to trap and brutalize them. He's not for everyone, but once you get the hang of him, he's a lot of fun to play with.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: The imperfect version of his EX Burst is the Cyclone.
  • EX Mode: Power of Hellfire!
    "My reign is absolute!"
    • The Emperor shapeshifts into his Emperor of Hell form from the endgame of his original game. In addition to Regen, The Emperor's EX Mode grants him the following ability:
    • In addition, Power of Hellfire gives the Emperor access to his EX Burst: Absolute Dominion.
      "Suffer! All is mine to command!"
    • The Emperor surrounds himself and the enemy with a huge cyclone as he concentrates for his attack. Perfect execution results in Entice, where he suspends the enemy in zero gravity and zaps them repeatedly as they lie helpless.
      "Lowly worm!"
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Every character except for Kuja and Shantotto has at least one attack that will cause the Emperor's homing Flare to start chasing him instead. Fortunately for the people who main the Emperor, he is included in that as well. In fact, if the opponent reflects the Emperor's Flare, he can fire out a second Flare (normally, only one can be out at a time) and then re-reflect the reflected Flare to get two Flares chasing the opponent, allowing him to turn this trope back on his opponents if they try it on him.
  • Instant Runes: Though not the only character to use them, the Emperor is particularly notable for how the runes he creates when casting Starfall slowly grow in size and complexity as the attack charges.
  • Magic Staff: Most notably the only villain to carry a casting tool.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Flare. While it does track the Emperor's opponent, it does so extremely slowly, to the point that most characters' walking speeds are faster.
  • Playing with Fire: Flare.
  • Shock and Awe: Thunder Crest. His mines, including his Dreary Cell, appear to be lightning-based, too.
  • Trap Master: His entire fighting style is actually named this. The Emperor almost never attacks directly, instead of he sends out mines and Flares to pressure the opponent, Thunder Crests and Dynamites to draw them in and stun them, and Bombard to knock them backwards and up into his other traps.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The Emperor's traps allow the player numerous chances to sit back with a Slasher Smile as the opponent is hit with no chance of escape. Conjure a Thunder Crest and watch the opponent writhe around while you dash away and charge up Starfall, or sit and watch Flare sloooowly travel towards them as they lay stunned. Summon Starfall and land and watch your opponent be driven into the ground a few feet in front of you, then send out a Thunder Crest to stun them before they even get up, setting them up for another hit.
    • Likewise playing against the Emperor. Even the most mild-mannered of hero players may let slip a Psychotic Smirk after watching the Emperor get stuck in and hopefully killed by his own traps.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: The Emperor has one of the smallest unique movesets in the game; between that and the playstyle required by a trap specialist, you're going to be seeing the same moves often.

Design and Costume Tropes

  • Eyes Always Shut: His Light Emperor outfit.
  • Horned Hairdo: And his 3P costume makes it even taller.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: The Light Emperor's robes have the same basic gold-purple color scheme as his base outfit, but with more white details added, along with his white wings.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: His DLC costume is the "Light" Emperor from Soul of Rebirth, giving him a set of angelic wings.
  • Light Is Not Good: His 4th costume, available as DLC, is the angelic form of the "Light Emperor" from Soul Rebirth. Now, while he may be shiny, and light-based, and angelic, he's still evil. He took over Arubboth, AKA Heaven, when he died.

In Dissidia

Scheming to achieve his own goals, the Emperor is, perhaps, one of the masterminds behind the Chaos faction's plans along with his ally, Ultimecia. As later shown in Dissidia 012, he's in this for the long haul: his ultimate goal is to have Cosmos defeated, then survive past Chaos' death and become the sole ruler of the entire world. Don't be fooled by his looks: he didn't become an Emperor by being a fool.

  • Back from the Dead: Invokes this trope in Shade Impulse, though he uses the phrase "back from the afterworld".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It is implied in his opening quote if fighting against Kefka that he intends to send Kefka to Hell to punish him for his actions.
    Emperor: "A taste of Hell may be just what you need."
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    To Squall: "Such a lofty ego."
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: His insulted reaction to Garland comparing the Emperor to Kefka in terms of scheming, specifically because Kefka's a nihilist whereas he believes in wanting to start the future anew.
  • Minion Shipping: With Ultimecia, due to their alliance in the story mode.
  • Motive Misidentification: Bartz observes the Emperor, Ultimecia, and Sephiroth together, and wonders whether the Emperor and Sephiroth were fighting over Ultimecia. Actually, the Emperor and Ultimecia were attempting to recruit Sephiroth into their plan, but Sephiroth had evidently refused.
  • Pitiful Insects: He likes using this insult — one of his victory quotes is even: "An insect, defeat an Emperor?" The heroes are happy to remind him of it after kicking his ass.
    The Emperor: "Who are you?"
    Firion: "Just a swarm of insects."
  • Plot-Induced Stupidity: Why, when his plan is to let the heroes kill Chaos, would he confront them on their way to him and get himself killed? Averted in Dissidia 012, where the world map mechanic makes it clearer that the heroes track him down to destroy him instead of him confronting them willingly... though it still does beg the question why he decided to hide out in one of the gateways blocking the path to Chaos.
  • Stealth Mentor: As the villain's plan requires the heroes to obtain the Crystals, he advises Tidus in his path for his.
  • Übermensch: He describes himself as such when Garland compares him with Straw Nihilist Kefka:
    Garland: "The clown is just as scheming as you are."
    Emperor: "You would compare me to that gibbering nihilist? No, I have a goal: to escape the ultimate end... and build the future anew."
  • Worthy Opponent: Played with his character-specific Encounter phrases against the witches.
    To Ultimecia: "Let us crown the true master."
    To Shantotto: "It is an honor, milady."
    • And then inverted in one of his victory quotes.
      The Emperor: "You are an unworthy opponent."

In Dissidia 012

In this game, we have an opportunity to see how long the Emperor's invested in this. His plan in the first game was apparently formulated on the spur of the moment: Tidus' Taking the Bullet moment leads to Jecht becoming a vacant vessel. The Emperor realizes this and brings him over to Chaos' side for the thirteenth cycle...

  • Arch-Enemy: To Yuna, and by proxy Tidus and Jecht. Indeed, the events of the twelfth cycle reveal that his thirteenth-cycle clash with Firion is entirely impersonal; it's not that he opposes Firion, it's that Firion opposes him.
  • Graceful Loser: One of his defeat quotes has him feeling that the reason why he lost is because he may have "enjoyed it too much".
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: He really knew how to kiss up to Chaos in order to get him to make Jecht one of his warriors.

    The Cloud Of Darkness 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dissidia_Cloud_Of_Darkness_7458.jpg
"A lone heart will not change the world... What awaits when you awake is always — nothing but despair."
"Light fells the darkness, while darkness swallows the light; all return to nothing." — Roaming Clouds

Voiced by: Masako Ikeda (Japanese), Laura Bailey (English)

—Fighting Style: Bane Of Life

The being that appears upon the perturbing between light and darkness to pull the world into the Void. In Final Fantasy III, she's the main antagonist resurrected after a very long time. In her Dissidia incarnation, her objective of pulling everything into the Void practically describes all of her character. She's said to hover like a cloud, and fights with powerful magic and tentacles coming from her body. Perplexingly, she's supposed to be sexless.

The Cloud of Darkness is the Bane of Life. She has only a few Bravery attacks, though they do have tactical variance depending on how the player presses the attack button when using them. Her true skill is in a wide and versatile array of HP attacks, sending on waves of laser beams, swarms of magical projectiles, and dodging or blocking an opponent's strike to zap them on the recovery. The Cloud of Darkness can quickly sap an enemy's HP to zero, but struggles on the Bravery game thanks to her limited Bravery attack pool and the constant recovery state her HP attacks will leave her in.

General Tropes

  • Above Good and Evil: She exists to return the world to the Void, but is pretty much this trope, given that she's a force of nature doing what she is meant to do. Her Dissidia 012 victory quote "Good and evil are powerless" emphasizes this.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of THE VOID, which is essentially nothingness. Either that, or she's its herald. The games have never really strove to clarify this. More explicitly stated, she's an avatar of Fear. This is referenced in several characters' battle quotes when fighting her:
    Squall: "I have no fear."
    Kuja: "You don't scare me one bit!"
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Allusions to her connection to this trope in her original game exist, namely that she was summoned due to an imbalance of light and darkness and thus would restore balance by absorbing it all into the Void. As well, Dissidia 012 implies she tells Laguna how to seal the portal the Manikins are emerging from because she dislikes their presence in the war, as it disrupts the natural cycle of things.
  • Breakout Villain: Xande? Who's that?
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: She could have easily defended herself when Kefka discovered she'd leaked information to Laguna. But saw no reason to bother, since she firmly believed that her actions restored balance to the cycle (she didn't yet know about Cosmos's plan for the crystals).
  • The Brute: A rare femaleish example.
  • Circling Monologue: During her exchange with Onion Knight at the end of his Destiny Odyssey.
  • Cognizant Limbs: The reports state that her snakelike tentacles each have a mind of their own.
  • Complete Immortality: She's practically a force of nature.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Of the Humanoid Abomination type. She is an avatar of the Void.
  • Hidden Depths: No longer just a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere from Final Fantasy III. Cloud of Darkness is shown in both Dissidia games to be a being that strives for cosmic balance. It's just that her idea of "balance" is a bit primitive and twisted.
  • I Am Legion: Does a very good job of making her even more imposing than she already is.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: A bit ironically, she seems completely clueless throughout both games just how un-terrifying she appears to people in general (and especially towards men). Which makes her come across as rather naive, in her own way. In fact, when she first notices Laguna's hesitation she assumes it's because he's "caught in fear's icy grip" (not comprehending that men might get distracted by scantily clad females for reasons other than fear).
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Defeated by Onion Knight during Shade Impulse, she admires his determination to press forward despite her beliefs that they cannot change fate. Retreating back into the Void, Cloud of Darkness comments that humans are fascinating.
    • She also exhibits a curious interest in Laguna due to his remarks about the nature of his loyalty to Cosmos and (more importantly) his will to fight the Manikins, what is essentially a suicide mission as well as a very peculiar manner of death for one to resign themselves to.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: She bickers with Exdeath over whose Void is the true one.
  • Mythology Gag: Her comparatively small role in the conflict makes sense when you remember that she was around for all of one dungeon in Final Fantasy III.
  • No Biological Sex: In lieu of this, she takes the form of a nearly-naked woman. Onion Knight and Golbez refer to Cloud of Darkness as a "she", and Zidane plays this up right before he fights her.
    Zidane: "Well, she is a lady... I guess?"
    • She might well be genderless... just not sexless. Aside from the fact that the two are not the same, it can make a bit of sense if you think about the fact that nature does not have a gender, but is usually represented as a female/mother because it goes well with the idea that nature created, or "birthed" the aspects of itself. CoD is the opposite of nature/existence, so you might well argue that she birthed the void.
  • Older Than They Look: Some of the characters (namely Kefka) imply that the Cloud of Darkness is well over millions of years old, or at the very least well over thousands of years old:
    Kefka: Get lost, fossil. (Dissidia)
    Kefka: Let's bury this ancient relic back into the ground. (Dissidia 012)
  • Omnicidal Maniac: It's her schtick.
  • Out of Focus: She easily has the smallest role of the villains. Her role in Dissidia 012 is expanded from her Dissidia appearance, but only in terms of her impact on the overarcing story, in both she only appears in a small handful of scenes outside the pre and post-battle cutscenes.
  • Power Floats: Besides one scene in her battle with Onion Knight in Destiny Odyssey and her recovery animation, Cloud of Darkness is always hovering in the air.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Given the source material as well as her description in Dissidia, Cloud of Darkness is apparently 1,000 years old. This makes her among the oldest of the Warriors of Chaos, beaten out only by Garland/Chaos.
  • Royal "We": Both the main female body and each tentacle has a mind of its own. She speaks on behalf of all of them. However, Cloud of Darkness does refer to herself as "me" when facing Cloud, Squall, and the Warrior of Light.

Gameplay and Combat Tropes

  • Casting a Shadow: Her various lasers and other projectile attacks are darkness-based.
  • Cherry Tapping: She starts off with all her Brave Attacks, so every move she learns from then is a HP Attack, of which she has many. This means that she's more focused upon destroying HP directly rather than Breaking the opponent first. She's quite capable of destroying the opponent's HP in chunks, one piece at a time.
  • Combat Tentacles: What she uses for her only two Brave Attacks.
  • EX Mode: Flood of Darkness!
    "My spirit seethes!"
    • Cloud of Darkness takes a slimmer, green-skinned form, identical to how she appears in her original game. In addition to Regen, Cloud of Darkness's EX Burst gives her the following ability:
      • [Null] Particle Beam: Cloud of Darkness can cancel the recovery time after using any attack by performing an HP attack. This allows her to spam her various HP attacks at unprecedented speeds.
    • In addition, Flood of Darkness gives Cloud of Darkness access to her EX Burst: Ultra Particle Beam.
      "True darkness!"
    • Cloud of Darkness hovers in front of her enemy, slowly charging her particle beam to 120%. Once done, she fires a positively enormous Particle Beam attack at the enemy.
      "Unleash the shadows!" (Evil Laugh)
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The reigning Queen in Dissidia.
  • Green Lantern Ring: Her only HP Attacks are with her Particle Beams, and much like the Trope Namer, she can shape them into a variety of shapes depending on what she needs.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Her Ultra Particle Beam, and her [0-Form] Particle Beam.
  • Magic Missile Storm: [Fusillade] Particle Beam, and her two-delay Tentacle of Scorn.
  • More Than Infinite: Her EX Burst, Ultra Particle Beam, charges up to 120 percent power.
  • Power of the Void
  • Wave Motion Gun: Her Particle Beam attacks are even called Wave Cannon in the JPN versions.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Every single one of her HP Attacks are some variant of her Particle Beam attack, the only move she had in the original Final Fantasy III. With her Brave attacks, she has four each with three variations, but they all consist of her just hitting her opponents with her tentacles in various ways, or once again firing Particle Beam-like blasts of dark energy.

Design and Costume Tropes

In Dissidia

Perhaps notably, she may be the villain with the smallest role in the game. She's not running any schemes, and only appears as the Onion Knight's foe because, well, he has to have someone to oppose him. She's fought a total of twice in the entire story line, whereas most villains have at least three or more battles.

  • Armor-Piercing Question: She hammers Onion with several after Terra loses control of her powers, fights Onion Knight, and subsequently teleports away. The second time she tries it (before her duel with Onion Knight in Destiny Odyssey), it doesn't work, as he's regained his resolve thanks to Cosmos and Golbez.
  • Number of the Beast: During her story mode battle with the Onion Knight, she is equipped with four blue gems which give her a base bravery of 666 for the fight.
  • Out of Focus: She doesn't get a lot of screentime in Dissidia outside of Destiny Odyssey III, appearing in only one cutscene, one dialogue scene, and being fought in Shade Impulse, while most other villains are fought twice over the Destiny Odysseys. In Dissidia 012, she plays a fairly larger role.

In Dissidia 012

With a new game comes an expanded role. She doesn't get many more battles in this game, but she primarily opposes Laguna; she gives him vital information, which ends up being rather instrumental as the story continues.

  • Even Evil Has Standards: It's implied in the 13th cycle that she told Laguna about the Manikins and where they came from because she wanted him to close the portal, displeased that their presence was upsetting the balance of the war.
    • Also implied in her intro quote if playing as Kefka and fighting against her in Dissidia.
      Cloud of Darkness: "We won't allow you your sordid cries."
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: As noted above, she ends up telling Laguna how to seal away the rift. She ended up having to pay for that gambit shortly after their battle, when Kefka executes her for it. As a result, she doesn't even remember that Terra was under Kefka's control, because warriors who die instantly lose their memories upon being revived for the next cycle, barring being killed by a Manikin.
  • Male Gaze: Which leads to Laguna getting a leg cramp.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Her 012 Museum profile states that she did not like the Gods fighting amongst themselves, and thus, she didn't like their war.
  • Ship Tease: In Dissidia 012, with Laguna, of all people, multiple times.

    Golbez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dissidia_Golbez_5914.jpg
"You're naive, Cecil. Even knowing betrayal and despair, you would depend on the whims of others?"
"Accept hatred and regret as you proceed forth. All paths lead to the future." — Lone Heart

Voiced by: Takeshi Kaga (Japanese), Peter Beckman (English)

—Fighting Style: Thaumaturge

Cecil's older brother, and a major antagonist from Final Fantasy IV. Nevertheless, his role in the story could hardly be considered antagonistic. Appears instead of the real ultimate foe in Final Fantasy IV, Zemus/Zeromus.

Golbez is a Thaumature, utilizing unique two-part spells where he swings his hand and sends out Attack Drones or energy waves, the second part of the attack changing depending on if the opponent was hit at close or long range. This makes Golbez tricky to use, but gives him a lot of combo potential when you get the hang of him. Unusually for a mage, he is a close-to-mid range fighter and struggles at the long range game thanks to the considerable start-up to his attacks.

General Tropes

  • Adaptational Villainy: In Final Fantasy IV, Golbez was just being mind-controlled and was really a good and virtuous person, if stoic and stern, as The After Years shows. In this incarnation, however, he combines the facets of his true kind-hearted personality with his mind-controlled persona as a cold-hearted manipulator. Tropes Are Not Bad, though, as this makes him a much more complex and interesting character.
  • Affably Evil: Emphasis on affable; if Golbez's EX Burst fails to defeat the enemy, he'll muse, "Impressive." Unlike Kuja, who is somewhat sardonic and sarcastic with his compliments, Golbez's praise is 100% sincere.
  • Anti-Villain: He's actually trying to help the heroes win, but serves Chaos under the belief his past as a villain makes him unsuited to serving Cosmos. He also engages in actions that, while intended to contribute towards Cosmos' victory, are morally ambiguous — for example, guess who arranged for Kain to kill off his comrades so they'd survive to the next cycle in 012.
  • The Atoner: Subverted. He doesn't believe he deserves redemption, but Cecil thinks otherwise.
    • His quote when facing Feral Chaos has Golbez state that he shall atone for him.
      Golbez: "I shall atone for your hatred."
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Nightglow, as well as the beginning of his Victory Pose. He naturally walks around like this, too.
  • Badass Baritone: His voice is quite low in pitch, and he rarely ever raises it in cutscenes.
  • Big Brother Instinct: His primary motivation for helping the Warriors of Cosmos.
  • Black Knight: He wears an imposing suit of black armor.
  • Cape Swish: Fond of these, even in battle.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He's fighting for Chaos, but that's only because he feels unworthy to fight for Cosmos after his past deeds as a villain. In any case, Golbez takes the fact he's on Team Chaos as a sign he's evil.
  • Darth Vader Clone: Taken even further than the original, complete with Force Lightning (which the real Vader never used).
  • Defector from Decadence: All he wants is for the cycle to end. To that end, he never really helps the other Warriors of Chaos.
  • Good Is Not Nice: His characterization takes elements from his good and evil portrayals in Final Fantasy IV.
  • Graceful Loser: In keeping with lecturing his opponent when he wins (see Warrior Therapist), while other villains protest or use some variation of This Cannot Be!, Golbez is calmly accepting of his losses:
    "I've no one to blame but myself."
    "I must learn my limitations."
    "Bested by my arrogance."
  • Heel–Face Turn: Although arguably he was never really on the villains' side, he's still actively opposing Cecil as a manner of Tough Love, and he wants the cycle to end. He still won't join Team Cosmos explicitly, and isn't above doing rather underhanded and morally ambiguous things if it means ending it. Yet, for all of his faults, he offers encouraging words to his opponents. During the twelfth cycle, he approached Cosmos directly to help her find a way to stop things for good. They succeed in cycle 13, but Golbez refuses to admit his part in it.
  • Informed Ability: According to The After Years, he's left-handed, but he shows no preferences for either hand in battle.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's because of him that the cycles end and Team Cosmos wins, but he's still fighting for Chaos.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Sorry for those of you who haven't gotten around to finishing IV, but yes, he is Cecil's brother. And if you're in the dark about who the Man in Black is in The After Years, you may want to hold off purchasing his Alt 2 outfit in Dissidia 012.
  • Power Floats: The only time he's ever seen not floating is during cutscenes and when using Nightglow.
  • Reverse Mole: For the Warriors of Chaos. He does a few morally ambiguous things in service to Cosmos, but still ultimately wants the good guys to win.
  • Token Good Teammate: Compared to the Warriors of Chaos who do thing For the Evulz, because they want power, or because they're completely insane, Golbez's goal of ending the cycle and getting everyone back home is the most noble by comparison. That, and he's been a Reverse Mole for Cosmos since the twelfth cycle.
  • Warrior Therapist: He councils almost as many heroes as Cosmos does, for crying out loud! In the case of Onion Knight, it takes advice from both of them before he gets the guts to face the Cloud of Darkness. He even comes across as more insightful than Cosmos when speaking to her over the risk of her upcoming Thanatos Gambit. His warning, that her warriors will not be revived if her gambit fails, has the goddess second-guessing herself for a moment. According to 012, he was even the one who gave Cosmos the idea for said plan in-between the 12th and 13th cycles.
    • This trope becomes very apparent when one listens to Golbez's victory quotes, some of which are advice and warnings directed at his fallen foe.
      "Your loss can strengthen you."
      "Weakness is the greatest sin."
      "There will be always be somebody better than you."
      "You are still too naive."
    • And for the third example, some of his attack audio cues berate the opponent for their carelessness in letting him near them (and with good reason, too).

Gameplay and Combat Tropes

  • EX Mode: Summon Shadow Dragon!
    "Creature of shadows!"
    • Golbez summons his Pet Dragon from Final Fantasy IV and merges it onto one of his Shoulders of Doom. In addition to Regen, Golbez's EX Mode gives him access to the following ability:
      • Black Fang. By pressing and holding R+Square, Golbez begins the ungodly long charging time for the Shadow Dragon's signature attack. If the attack is successfully charged and launched, the enemy suffers an unblockable, undodgeable One Hit Brave Break, crippling them and giving Golbez plenty of Brave to work with.
    • In addition, Summon Shadow Dragon gives Golbez access to his EX Burst: Twin Moons.
      "Guide my inner shadow, Light and Dark above..."
    • Golbez traps the enemy with the Shadow Dragon's Binding Cold attack and begins charging a spell. Perfect execution results in him rising into the air and casting his ultimate spell: Twin Meteor.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Gravity System, Float System, and Ambush System. Has Sector Ray in Dissidia 012.
  • Full-Contact Magic: It's what makes him so effective, as the hand motions he uses to command his energy waves and attack drones can also damage the enemy in addition to the magic part. Thus, he can hit at close and long range.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The grandiose movements he makes when casting spells are legitimate attacks. Of course, Golbez is both built like a brick house and covered from head to toe in steel.
  • Gravity Master: Gravity Force.
  • Magic Knight: He's an interesting example, preferring to batter you with his hands rather than using a weapon, but he's still equal parts physical and magical and definitely fits this better then Kung-Fu Wizard. Subverted in gameplay, though, as his hand swings technically deal magic damage.
  • Mighty Glacier: Has brutal power, especially in the original Dissidia with his infamous dodge-cancel and EX-cancel combos that let him string together as many as four attacks with proper timing, his attacks come out fast at close-range, and he has excellent HP attacks. If only his movement speed and ranged attacks were faster.
  • Mythology Gag: There is an alternate version of his Twin Meteor EX Burst (itself the attack used by him and Fusoya to defeat Zemus) where his Shadow Dragon tells him to "give your power to Meteor" just like Fusoya did. Like in the original game, Golbez replies, "Very well" (or, "Iidesutomo!" in Japanese).
  • Playing with Fire: Glare Hand and Rising Wave.
  • Reverse Shrapnel: Genesis Rock.
  • Shock and Awe: Cosmic Ray and Nightglow.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Nightglow launches the opponent upwards very quickly and very, very high. On all but the highest arenas, it's a guarantee that the opponent will be smacking into the Invisible Ceiling.
  • Villain Teleportation: His fighting style makes liberal use of this; his jumps are even teleports.

Design and Costume Tropes

  • All-Encompassing Mantle: While it doesn't completely cover his front, when his arms are lowered, it does come around far enough to partially conceal them.
  • Badass Cape: So badass he pulls it around to protect himself when he blocks.
  • Barbarian Hero: His third alternate costume in Dissidia 012 is his Man in Black outfit from Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, although he left his BFS back on the moon.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: In accordance with Yoshitaka Amano's artwork of him.
  • The Giant: He's huge. Golbez's model is 8'2," an inch behind Garland and tying with Exdeath, together they're the three biggest characters in the game other than Chaos. This means he towers over every other character except for Gilgamesh by two feet or more. What makes Golbez particularly notable in this, though, is his third outfit, where he takes off the armor — not only is his model not scaled down at all, but he's actually slightly bigger than his armored costumes.
  • Hidden Eyes: Golbez is somehow able to pull it off without a helmet in his 3P costume.
  • Man in a Kilt: In his Man In Black costume.
  • Shirtless Scene: Man in Black again.

In Dissidia

While cold and strict, he honestly wants to help Cecil to obtain his crystal.

  • Four Is Death: Inverted; he's the only one on Chaos' side who doesn't end up dying, unless Sephiroth's last words are to be believed.
  • Manipulative Bastard/Guile Hero: In keeping with his penchant for such from Final Fantasy IV, he plays a lot of head games with Cecil to challenge his resolve in order to bring out his true feelings, and also plays a part in nudging Firion and the Onion Knight along their paths. He tries to do the same for Bartz, but Bartz runs away before he can finish talking.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. Golbez, in fact, is the only Warrior of Chaos to not bite the bullet, which instead leads to him Walking the Earth (see below).
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: He and Cecil, especially in the latter's Paladin aspect.

In Dissidia 012

Though appearing in few scenes, Golbez still holds a key role in the development of the cycles.

  • Aborted Arc:
    • A throwaway line from Exdeath implies that Golbez is looking to get a Crystal of his own, but this apparently never happens and is never touched upon again.
    • Additionally, it's heavily implied that Golbez was the one who told Cosmos how to create the Crystals, but how Golbez knew that himself is never explained.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He was content to fight in the cycle as punishment for his sins until Cecil showed up in the 12th cycle. Then he began acting to ensure Cecil was safe and helped Cosmos in her plans to end to the war to see that he got to go home.
  • The Chessmaster: He triggered all the defining events in the 12th cycle that gave way to a possible victory in the next one.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Evokes this to Kain.

    Exdeath 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/DissidiaExdeathArtwork_2501.jpg
"Embrace the stillness of eternity."
"The true Void lies nowhere. Only the power of life exists."Power of the Void

Voiced by: Tarō Ishida (Japanese), Gerald C. Rivers (English)

—Fighting Style: Entropic Adversary

The warlock from Final Fantasy V born from a mass of evil spirits sealed in a tree that became sentient. He controls the power of the Void. With a background similar to Cloud of Darkness, he wishes to absorb everything into nothingness, even himself, so that nothing at all exists anymore.

Exdeath, as an Entropic Adversary, is the very definition of a Barrier Warrior. His Bravery attacks are slow to start up, easily avoided, and do little damage, but Exdeath is not meant to be the aggressor; he has various Block moves that can deflect attacks, including Omniblock which can block almost any attack in the game. Once the opponent fumbles into one of Exdeath's shields, he unleashes the counterattack, striking with deceptive speed and power to deal heavy damage. Naturally, though, he struggles at playing the offensive game and has to rely on his Block cancels to trick opponents into making the first move so he can counter them.

General Tropes

  • Breakout Character: He was one of the more overlooked villains before Dissidia. After it came out, his obsession with the Void, Lethal Joke Character status, and Large Ham tendencies made him a Fountain of Memes. The result is he's far more popular than he was before, something Square-Enix notes in Dissidia 012 as covered under Ascended Meme on the main page.
  • Composite Character: He has the motivations of Neo Exdeath (as normal Exdeath very much did not want to erase himself) but his own personality.
  • Death Seeker: Apparently, this is Exdeath post transformation into Neo Exdeath, because not only does he retain Neo Exdeath's desire to return existence into the Void, but the desire to see himself erased, as well.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Exdeath is actually an amalgamated consciousness made up of monsters sealed in a tree, wrapped in an armored shell. Like the Cloud of Darkness, it's not entirely clear whether the consciousness running the whole thing is an embodiment of the Void, or its herald. Technically, he's neither. Just a blasphemous legion of evil that just so happened to gain, and master, the power of nothingness. Because that's what everyone wants: an Omnicidal Maniac who can erase existence with a thought.
  • Large Ham: With a name like that, it's practically required.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: Released the Manikins from the Void to use as minions and seems to be the one who controls them, as he's the only one shown summoning them in Dissidia 012.
  • Mondegreen: Two bullet points for English versions, and three for Japanese misheard as English.
    • Delta Attack: "Get the fruit!"/"Get the protein!" ("Death approaches!")
    • Almagest: "Naive Weekly!" ("Naive weakling!")
    • The laws of the universe mean nothing!: "To the asylum beyond!" ("To the silent beyond!")
    • Neo Almagest: "Embrace the sins of eternity." ("Embrace the stillness of eternity.")
      • High Block: "Tasty arrow!"
      • Vacuum Wave: "You're a-comin' to me!"
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: He bickers with the Cloud of Darkness over whose Void is the true one.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast
  • Omnicidal Maniac: When Golbez questions what his true ambitions are, he coyly, yet blatantly, hints that he has his own way of ending the conflict of the gods: killing everyone.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Let's see. There's Exdeath, ExDeath, Ex-Death, X-Death, Exdeth... And, if his Ivalice appearances count, Exodus.
    • Let's not forget the translation from the OVAs, "Exodeeze."
  • Stealth Pun: His unlockable TURTLE!/KAME! line. Not only is it a nod to Ghido, but it's also a play on the concept of turtling, a game term referring to forgoing offense in favor of superior defense. A strategy that Exdeath excels in.
  • Straw Nihilist: Unsurprisingly, yes. What with how he uses the Void. A example of this is what he says to Firion:
    "Dreams are meant to be shattered."
  • Title Drop: Got one in the Japanese version with his defeat quote, "Is this my final fantasy?" Then, Woolseyism struck and changed it to "Will I end like a mirage?"
  • When Trees Attack: His EX Mode skirt is colored to resemble his tree face. Did we mention that when he dashes, it sounds wooden?

Gameplay and Combat Tropes

  • Awesome, but Impractical: Like the Emperor's Starfall, Maelstrom is a guaranteed hit but takes a disgustingly long time to cast. While the Emperor can still cast Starfall by hiding in one of his flares or creating distance, Exdeath's slow movement speed means you'll rarely be far enough away. And just like Starfall, it's more practical to just use as bait- and indeed, it can immediately lag cancel into any of his blocks, making it seem to have been designed for such.
  • Balance Buff: Exdeath was built to be a Barrier Warrior who used Guard attacks to defend, then unleashed a counterattack. The problem was his four Guard attacks each outclassed the other, his counterattacks weren't very fast, and he was vulnerable when attacking. The prequel changed the properties of his Guards to give each of them distinct strategic value, his counterattacks execute much faster and have higher range, and he can cancel many of his attacks into Guards. He also got a new HP attack, Maelstrom, which can hit anywhere in the arena and can also cancel into a Guard. This makes him much better at defending himself and gave him ways to pressure an opponent better.
  • Barrier Warrior: Exdeath possesses a multitude of attacks based around nullifying, reflecting, and countering enemy attacks. Even the developers admitted that he's pretty much invincible if mastered. Good luck with that, though, since he has a very high learning curve. This means that you do not want to see a fight between two Exdeaths, demonstrated here.
  • BFS: Less noticeable than examples of this trope in the game since his sword isn't that big relative to him, it's pretty long compared to everybody else.
  • Blow You Away: Hurricane. Gains Maelstrom in 012.
  • Charged Attack: Maelstrom.
  • Cool Sword: He has an ornate sword, though he doesn't use it much.
  • EX Mode: Power of the Void!
    "Supreme power!"
    • Exdeath takes on his penultimate form; the fusion of tree and humanoid that he uses in the final battle (except in his new 3rd alternate costume, where his appearance more closely resembles the humanoid body at the apex of Neo Exdeath). In addition to Regen, Exdeath's EX Mode gives him access to the following ability:
      • Speed Guard: Exdeath's guards execute faster and have reduced cooldown. In addition, he has more counterattack options after a successful block.
    • In addition, Power of the Void gives Exdeath access to his EX Burst: The Laws Of The Universe Mean Nothing!
      "To the silent beyond!" or "TURTLE!"
      • As a nice nod to his relationship with his old minion, Exdeath using his EX Burst on Gilgamesh gives an extra two text boxes during the attack input taken straight from Final Fantasy V's script;
        "You worthless fool!" "Fall to the depths of the Rift!"
    • Exdeath surrounds himself and the enemy with the power of the Void as he drains the power to nothing. Perfect execution results in Neo Almagest, where he traps the enemy in a rapidly shrinking portal to the Void, which he finally crushes between his hands as the screen goes dark and the music fades.
      "Embrace the stillness of eternity..."
  • Flying Weapon: His sword.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite using a sword in gameplay, he couldn't equip them in Dissidia.
  • Instant Runes: Delta Attack and High Block. They also pop up under him during Reverse Polarity, his teleportation spell.
  • Joke Character/Lethal Joke Character: He's amazingly slow, has almost no combos, an extremely difficult to master list of brave attacks, and easy to predict HP attacks. He's by far the easiest computer opponent in the game (this actually makes him ideal for power leveling, as even a measly level 1 player can kill a maxed out level 100 Exdeath with the right summon set up, or he can just be Cherry Tapped to death). But if you're a talented enough player to master Exdeath's counter attack-based BP moves, you can devastate your opponents in a flash.
    • He received several buffs in Dissidia 012, however, including a MUCH smarter A.I. Players expecting the derpy Exdeath from the first game are going to be in for a nasty surprise when they discover that A.I. Exdeath suddenly learned to block-and-counter, and WILL hit you with Maelstrom if you try to run off and grab an EX Core.
  • Lightning Bruiser: When he does one of his famous counters after a block, his attacks are lightning-fast and have an increased critical hit chance for attacking a staggered opponent. In addition, just because his normal movement is slow doesn't mean he can't still keep up with you with Reverse Polarity, which moves plenty fast for him to get around as easily as any other character.
  • Magic Knight: Carries a sword, but much like Terra, relies moreso on magic. He instead uses the sword via telekinesis to focus his magic.
  • The Slow Walk: Slowest in the game — Ultimecia is the second-slowest character, and in an exercise done to determine how fast each character was by having them walk across the World of Darkness arena, Exdeath still took almost three times as long as her to make it across.
  • Stone Wall: Except for Reverse Polarity, Exdeath moves and attacks approximately at the speed of tree, and takes hits like one too. It comes with being a dedicated Barrier Warrior.
  • Telefrag: If he teleports directly to the opponent's location, he damages them.
  • Teleport Spam: Since he won't be walking anywhere if the player plans to get there before their opponent rage quits from boredom, expect to see it a lot.
  • Villain Teleportation: Reverse Polarity.

Design and Costume Tropes

  • Helmets Are Hardly... Villainous?: His 3P outfit in Dissidia 012 is based on his second form, Neo Exdeath, as well as Amano's alternate design for him. He looks arguably more menacing than he did with the helmet.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Although not nearly as much as Golbez.

In Dissidia

Exdeath's role in the first game is similar to most villains, standing out only in that he has the least personal relationship with his personal foe, Bartz, and a little more relevance given near the end of the story, arguably to serve as exposition. Ultimately, he cares little for the war between the gods, since he believes blindly in that it will all ultimately lead everything into nothingness.

  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Nothing gets past him in Dissidia's plot. He knows what his cohorts are planning, especially the fact that Golbez is a traitor, he sees right through Onion Knight's attempt to avoid fighting him, and he knows exactly how the cycle of conflict will end if it goes on the way it has been. The only thing keeping him from being more of a threat is that he simply doesn't care, as he believes his ultimate objective is inevitable and guaranteed by the conflict, so there's no need to do anything. Even in regards to Golbez, all he does is taunt Golbez that he knows what's up. He considers executing Golbez for it, but when Cecil makes that more trouble than it's worth, he foregoes that plan.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When he's killed the final time in Shade Impulse, he revels in the feeling of dissolving to nothingness, and faces his death standing tall, laughing deep and long.
  • Must Have Lots of Free Time: In one cutscene in Onion Knight's Destiny Odyssey.
    Exdeath: (to Onion Knight and Terra) "I come out here to kill the time, and what do I find but a woman and child!"
    • Justified in that Exdeath believes that regardless of how events turn out, all outcomes will eventually lead to the Void consuming all of existence. This is why he seems to aimlessly wander around throughout the various cycles of the conflict, even deciding to play along with Kuja's schemes in Dissidia. So, in his mind, he wins either way, and has no reason to really do anything.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: When facing Cloud of Darkness, Exdeath tells her that her Void is nothing more than a pale imitation. Which is ironic coming from the legion of evil tree spirits. Makes you think his might be the imitation.

In Dissidia 012

In Dissidia 012, Exdeath takes the role of Kain's personal foe, chasing him around while the Dragoon tries to hide away his allies for the next cycle. Ultimately, they confront one another as Kain tries to buy time for Lightning and the others, and is ultimately defeated and killed right there, realizing too late that Golbez had betrayed him and let Kain get close enough to attack.

  • Arch-Enemy: To Kain, and with Golbez's hand in the unfolding events, especially what eventually happens to Exdeath, to all three IV cast members by proxy.
  • Evil Laugh: Gained a glorious one as a victory quote.
    BWO-HO-HA-HA-HA!
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: An Official Quest shows Kain's actions after his encounter with Lightning — turns out the only reason he didn't kill her off then was because he didn't want Exdeath following him back to where he was keeping the fallen heroes safe. If Exdeath and Garland hadn't shown up, Kain and Lightning would have kept fighting and one of them would probably have eventually killed the other, and from there the entire plot of the game unravels.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Aside from his A.I. being much more competent, he can now cancel out many of his attacks into blocks, and if you just try to keep your distance and not attack while waiting for him to give you an opening, he's got Maelstrom, which can hit you anywhere in the arena, and can still be cancelled into a block.
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    Kefka Palazzo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kefka_dissidia.png
"Hopes aren't worth dirt! I'm going to destroy everything!"
"The past is filled with pain and suffering, but all is well if you have fun living." — Fanatic's Leer

Voiced by: Shigeru Chiba (Japanese), Dave Wittenberg (English)

—Fighting Style: Mad Mage

The insane sorcerer who, after gaining immense power by absorbing the strength of the Warring Triad, became even more sadistic and nihilistic than he was even after his magitek infusion during Final Fantasy VI. His personality hardly holds much sanity, resulting in the other villains not taking him seriously. Instead, they try to use him for their convenience, since his two main motivations are simply his desire to destroy all that is, and his desire to bring Terra back onto the side of Chaos, so that she can help him achieve his first motivation.

Kefka is a Mad Mage, a truer description than any you could ask for. His spells have crazy twists, like Fire spells that zigzag through the air, Blizzard spells that bounce around, and so forth. Kefka's zany spells can be easy to block and dodge if you know their twists, but when they land they have terrific power.

General Tropes

  • Adaptational Villainy: Inverted. Kefka is definitely just as cruel, wicked and monstrous as in Final Fantasy VI, but Dissidia tweaks him slightly to portray his nihilism and thirst for destruction in a more tragic light, making Kefka surprisingly sympathetic in his final moments when he never came close to getting sympathy from the heroes or the audience before. See Sad Clown further down the page.
  • Ax-Crazy: Anyone who has played his original game shouldn't be surprised by this.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: As above. See Not-So-Harmless Villain.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: He winks and laughs at the player, hums the victory fanfare sometimes when he wins against a stronger opponent, and points out that the Onion Knight is a stand-in for Locke ("imitation hero", as he put it).
  • Card-Carrying Villain: "Destruction is fun" is his entire motif.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: He wears a feather in his hair and paints his fingernails red. Also, he is the only male character besides Cloud able to equip ribbons and female exclusive equipment.
  • Dark Chick: Shares this role with Kuja.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Some of his pre-battle taunts can be interpreted as him having the hots for Terra and himself.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: His Mirror Match quote is a minor case of this.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: "Why create when it will only be destroyed? Why cling to life, knowing that you have to die?"
  • Evil Laugh: It's his trademark.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: If his intro quotes during his mirror matches are anything to go by, he certainly is a narcissist in terms of looking at himself in the mirror and loving his reflection.
  • Girly Run: The way Kefka runs... well, it really didn't seem like how a guy would run.
  • Glasgow Grin: Kefka's normal form sports the Heath Ledger's Joker variation. In his EX mode, however, he sports a genuine one.
  • A God Am I: His EX Mode is his "god of magic" form.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Sort of: Because he constantly has a smile made on him (see Glasgow Grin or Slasher Smile), even when he's defeated, he is still smiling, although his reaction indicates that he's feeling the exact opposite emotion for losing.
  • Guttural Growler: When being threatening.
  • Hope Crusher: Emphasized with this quote on fighting Terra:
    "Hopes aren't worth DIRT! I'm going to destroy EVERYTHING!"
  • The Hyena
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • He claims Sephiroth is "just another sadist with a god complex... like THAT's something special!" This pretty much describes Kefka perfectly (and he probably knows it). Also counts as a form of Lampshade Hanging, because most major Final Fantasy villains want to become a god, destroy everything, or both. It's par for the course, really.
    • Also, in Dissidia 012 his intro quote to Laguna Loire is "Would you look at this clown?" Err, Kefka, you really need to look at yourself in the mirror.
  • Idle Animation: One of the few to have an extended one. He tilts back in the air, silently laughing, if left alone long enough.
  • The Jester: Appearances aside, he has no qualms of mocking his fellow Warriors of Chaos compatriots in addition to the Warriors of Cosmos. He even lampshades the trope when fighting the Emperor in Dissidia 012:
    Kefka: Look at who I get to mess with next!
  • Just Between You and Me: Averts it repeatedly. More than once the dialogue goes in a direction that seems to indicate Kefka will reveal information to the heroes, only for him to laugh and refuse to spill the beans or wave that they wouldn't be interested anyway. Keeping with his tendency to Troll the other characters, he makes a point of averting the trope by telling them enough to interest them and get them to ask what he's talking about, but he doesn't give them anything actually helpful.
  • Lack of Empathy: Hoo boy, is he lacking in it. In the first Dissidia, he frequently taunts Terra for her beatdown on Onion Knight, as well as her apparently being "destruction incarnate" and the possibility of her enjoying hurting Onion Knight, and taunts and laughs at the heroes after Cosmos was killed by Chaos, and then he taunts Terra with information relating to their role in Cosmos' death, and then retracts it as soon as he learns that she actually wants to know. In Dissidia 012, he cruelly mocks Kuja's loss, not to mention taunting Terra for renouncing her destructive nature.
  • Large Ham: See his page quote.
  • Laughably Evil: He acts like a complete clown at times (fitting, given the fact that he resembles one). Also, when about to fight an opponent, his opening action is to turn around, bend over with his head turned to face the enemy, and slapping his own butt at the enemy, essentially telling them to "kiss [Kefka's] butt".
  • Laughing Mad: It's his trademark... Seriously, he named the trope! It's also strongly implied in the first Dissidia that, similar to Laughing Octopus, his manic laughter is the only way he could express himself, even when the actual emotion he is feeling is significantly different than his laughter suggests.
  • Meta Guy: Makes several Aside Glances (though the way Kefka does it, it ends up more like a Jump Scare), occasionally hums the Victory Fanfare when he wins, and hangs many a lampshade. An interesting way to think of Kefka is that he's fully aware about the video game he and the others are in, and likes to troll them with his knowledge of the cliches they embody.
    About Sephiroth: "He's just another sadist with a god complex, like THAT'S something special!"
    About Squall: "You sure are talkative, in your head!"
    About Vaan: "And here I thought you were just another prepubescent pretty-boy."
    About Kuja: "He and his black thong are going to regret this!
  • Monster Clown: But this time it's more obvious than ever! Uwee hee hee!
  • Mundane Utility: Power Floats, of course, but he's fond of laying down and lounging on the air itself during some cutscenes. Who knows if he's just miming being "at rest" or is actually reclining, depending on how much power it takes to float.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Don't let the clown make-up and constant joking around fool you — Kefka is just as cruel, sinister, and powerful as any other villain, and though he focused on Terra in Dissidia, in Dissidia 012, he's just as manipulative and sneaky as the rest, too.
    • In Dissidia 012, according to the museum profile for the Cloud of Darkness, the reason she doesn't remember Kefka using Terra as a pawn in the 13th cycle is because Kefka killed her in the 12th when he found out she told Laguna how to stop the flow of Manikins. Yes, Kefka, the guy who cracks a fart joke, pulls a You Have Failed Me on the Anthropomorphic Personification of the realm of nothingness! That is also retconned into the dialog for the 13th cycle; at some point, Kefka complains about the purification of traitors who give vital information to the enemy. Apparently, Kefka didn't expect the Cloud of Darkness to be around again, and is pissed at Shinryu for it.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: While not really stupid, Kefka is far more devious and cunning than his behavior would indicate. Most obvious in Dissidia 012, where he's cackling and joking around with Kuja about him failing to kill Zidane and his friends, then once Kuja leaves, mutters he knows Kuja let them go on purpose and starts plotting how to make him pay for it.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Emphasis on "omnicidal". And emphasis on "maniac".
  • Power Gives You Wings: Sprouts four of them in his EX Mode. He can also sprout them as a combat move, "Havoc Wing", in which he flips over and shoots them out of his back, attempting to impale his enemy at close range.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Let's just say that what he says when activating the Light of Judgment has him very literally lusting for destruction.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: This is especially evident in this quote:
    Kefka: "LET THE PARTY BEGIN!"
    (Terra teleports seconds before the Ultima balls hit her)
    Kefka: "Hm? Was that it? I wanna play more~!"
    • Also his reaction after fighting Vaan, before realizing that Vaan also took Terra with him.
      Kefka: "Incredible! That's the most fun I've had in minutes!"
    • Also, in the Japanese versions of the games, he uses the pronoun "boku", which is usually used by young boys.
  • Retractable Appendages: He can protract and retract his wings to attack.
  • Sad Clown: It is implied shortly after his defeat in Shade Impulse that he thinks no matter what people do, the things they create will be lost and their lives will end, so why bother with any of it? Terra realizes after he fades for the last time that the reason he was so lustful for destruction is because nothing else made him happy, not even the normal things people are happy for.
    Kefka: Life...dreams...hope...where do they come from, and where do they go? None of that junk is enough to fulfill your hearts! Destruction, destruction is what makes life worth living!

    Terra: It was your broken heart...you were trying to fill it with destruction.
    • Firion reinforces the trope with his pre-battle quote when facing Kefka.
      Firion: "I've never heard... a sadder laugh..."
  • Shout-Out: Dave Wittenberg's performance as Kefka sounds similar to Mark Hamill's characterization of The Joker.
  • Sissy Villain: He has flamboyant clothes and effeminate mannerisms.
  • Slasher Smile: His even resembles Heath Ledger's characterization of the Joker from the Dark Knight (IE, resembling a glasgow smile).
  • Straw Nihilist: The actual motivation behind Kefka's all-consuming desire to destroy everything is his firm belief that nothing in life matters or has any value. Any time you get a glimpse underneath the Ax-Crazy Monster Clown personality, the hints of how much this drives everything he does are almost Tear Jerkers.
  • This Cannot Be!: His defeat quote.
    "Inconceivable!"
  • Those Two Bad Guys: With Kuja, much to the latter's dismay. Also with Exdeath due to their similar nihilistic goals.
  • Throw It In!: A lot of Kefka's lines and quirks can be traced back to Shigeru Chiba, who ab-libbed a lot during recording sessions.
  • Troll: He annoys the other characters, he knows it, and he has fun doing it.

Gameplay and Combat Tropes

  • Confusion Fu: His fighting style is appropriately summed up as "Mad Mage". The main idea behind Kefka's attacks is that they don't hit where you're supposed to expect them to. Instead, they zigzag to hit from a different direction than where he fired them, or they stop randomly when firing before moving again a second later to screw up your dodge timing.
  • Dance Battler: When using Zap-Trap Thundaga, he spins around as if dancing and clapping as the heavens rain thunderbolts, while also shouting maniacally "Dance, Dance!" Presumably, the reason he does this is due to his severe insanity.
  • EX Mode: Power of Destruction!
    "Watch this!"
    • Kefka takes on his God of Magic form from the end of Final Fantasy VI. He loses his makeup and garish clothes in exchange for purple skin and two pairs of wings (presumably changed from the original six wings for ease of character modeling. The head-feather is still in style, though). In addition to Regen, Kefka's EX Mode gives him access to the following abilities:
      • Glide: Kefka uses those wings to great effect, and gains the power to fly around the stage.
      • Exhilarating Magic: All of Kefka's spells become even crazier. Some of his spells fire more projectiles at a time, others track opponents better, and some change the timing of their firing to screw with the opponent's dodge attempts.
    • In addition, Power of Destruction gives Kefka access to his EX Burst: Warring Triad.
      "Be careful! Watch this!"..."
    • Kefka descends from on high, and draws power from the signs of the Warring Triad. Performed perfectly, the EX Burst results in Light of Judgment, a beam of light from the heavens that incinerates the enemy.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: With his own crazy twists, of course. He's got two variants of each -aga level spell. Notably the only villain with access to all three elements.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Havoc Wing.
  • Light Is Not Good: Just ask anybody who's been on the wrong side of his Light of Judgement. Oh wait, they're all dead.
  • Overly Long Fighting Animation: His Ultima spell is a reference to one from his original game. Ultima's spellcasting animation in Final Fantasy VI was longer than many of the others in that game (considering this is where spellcasting started getting long, this is saying something). Kefka's Ultima in Dissidia travels for approximately three seconds before detonating; thus, taking longer than normal to actually harm the opponent.
  • Pure Energy: Trine and Forsaken Null.
  • Roboteching: Much of his moveset revolves around this, most notably his two Firaga attacks.
  • Squishy Wizard: He moves slowly, most of his attacks have a lot of start-up and end lag, and they can be easy to avoid or block. But when they do hit, they pack a wallop.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Hyperdrive.

Design and Costume Tropes

In Dissidia

In the first game, Kefka's primary goal is to seize control of Terra and use her power to further his plans to destroy all existence. To this end, he uses a Puppeteer's Wheelnote  to take over her mind and use her to attack Onion Knight, then taunts her about her destructive abilities that make her better suited to serving evil than good.

  • Actor Allusion: Kefka, upon meeting with Terra for the first (onscreen) time, implies that she was a bloodthirsty monster beforehand. When he realizes that she doesn't remember, he reveals this information in such a way that causes her great trauma. Lastly, although unintentional, he takes a kid upon his escape (more specifically, the kid fought him), just like Raditz did with Goku in the beginning of the Vegeta saga. Both Raditz and Kefka are voiced in the Japanese version by Shigeru Chiba.
    • It's also not the first time Chiba's voiced a Monster Clown. He was previously the voice of Buggy the Clown from One Piece.
    • Also, Kefka's antagonism of Terra is somewhat similar to Emperor Pilaf's antagonism of Bulma, and overall acts like an insane overgrown kid just like Pilaf. Pilaf is also voiced by Chiba.
    • There's one regarding Dave Wittenberg as well: During the battle with Terra, Kefka briefly makes a crazed face (specifically while chortling while flying high-speed towards the camera after the third attempt at bombing Terra with various Ultima balls) as he flies towards the screen. Another one of Dave Wittenberg's characters, Yazoo, gives a very similar facial expression at one point in Advent Children.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In-universe, Terra (story mode) and Firion (via intro quote) take pity in regards to Kefka.
    • Also in Light The Way Conclusion in the story pre-battle exchange, where, while Kefka is undergoing a mantra of shouting "Destroy!" in a repetitive fashion, Terra wonders whether Kefka is himself feeling tormented.
  • Death Seeker: Is perfectly willing to even have himself killed as long as he at least sees some destruction. See Driven to Suicide.
  • Die Laughing: After he self-destructs in Shade Impulse. Unlike most examples, his laughter has shots of sobbing.
  • Driven to Suicide: Implied with his blowing himself up after being defeated in Shade Impulse. The Dissidia 012 bio even listed him as self-destructing, feeling that at least would make him feel better.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Towards Terra (as seen in their cutscenes), and the main reason he wants to brainwash her back to the side of Chaos. He also shows this towards Shantotto ("Now you've got what it takes to destroy the world!")
  • Mad Bomber: Kefka has shades of this in Dissida. For one thing, during his fight with Terra in Destiny Odyssey, Kefka is seen laughing maniacally when he is lobbing explosive orbs (implied to be his Ultima spell) at Terra both during their first onscreen encounter (when he fires some spells at her while claiming that there's another enemy for her to destroy) as well as during their fight, especially when they are exploding. He then fires the same spell at Terra shortly before their battle in "Shade Impulse", with him laughing as it is exploding. Also, when he is using the Ultima spell during gameplay, shortly after it detonates, he starts cackling.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kefka's expression when he sees the Cloud of Darkness attempt to blast away Terra and Onion Knight with her particle beam (seen for a split second).
  • Pragmatic Villainy: When the Cloud of Darkness had the chance to kill Terra (and presumably Onion Knight) with an energy attack, Kefka put down Cloud of Darkness's hand because he wants to make sure Terra returns to Chaos' side, feeling that she still has some use (that, as well as him and Cloud of Darkness having different methods of carrying out destruction: She wanted to destroy Terra outright, Kefka simply wants to "have some fun" while destroying things).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Well, it wasn't much of a speech, but Kefka's opening line to the Emperor (which qualifies as a Mythology Gag to what he said to Gestahl after he ended up fried by the Warring Triad) qualifies as such.
    Kefka: You are less than worthless!!
  • Shadow Archetype: To Terra.
  • Stalker with a Crush: His obsession with Terra borders on this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Probably suffers from this prior to fighting Terra in Shade Impulse, if the pre-battle exchange in Light The Way part III of Dissidia 012 is anything to go by.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Terra believes that the reason why Kefka was so insane and hell-bent on the destruction of everything was because of a "broken heart". And then there's this:
    Kefka: "Why create when it will only be destroyed? Why cling to life, knowing that you have to die? None of it will have meant anything once you do."

In Dissidia 012

Kefka is still concerned with Terra primarily; in this game, he has full control over her (initially) and puts her to work fighting. However, he's also in prime form as a villain otherwise, manipulating enemy and ally alike into fighting, either For the Evulz, or for the sake of the Emperor's scheme.

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: When he overhears Cloud and Kuja deciding not to fight, he mocks the "pitiful little poppets [for] letting their precious past prevent them from properly participating".
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: A rare villainous example: If Kefka ends up defeated, sometimes he will apologize and beg to be let go.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Gives an especially big one when he discovers that Vaan took Terra and ran after fighting him.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Fitting in with his Stalker with a Crush tendencies, there's some rather thin subtext about Terra's servitude to Kefka. At one point, he remarks "She always comes running straight back into my arms, anyway. What do I care!", and when she refuses to fight, he tortures her, saying "Sorry babe, I only hurt you because you make me."
  • Double Take: Has a rather amusing one when Vaan runs off with Terra.
    Vaan: "We'll finish this next time! For now, I'm just gonna take the girl! Catch ya later!"
    Kefka: (waving) "Yeah, it's been a pleasure! Wait, you're, you, you're you w-w... WHAT!?"
  • Evil Mentor: He gives Kuja advice and assistance with capturing the heroes, but he does this to keep Kuja on track with the fake memories he implanted him with between the 12th and 13th cycles. And so he could get those fake memories into Kuja's head in the first place, he arranged for him to fight Lightning, then stood back and not only watched him die, but also proceeded to mock him.
  • Kick the Dog: He mocks Kuja when the latter is defeated/killed by Lightning. Honestly, it's really no wonder why Kuja would hate him.
    Kefka: Oopsie! Someone went and lost, didn't he? (Kefka approaches a keeling Kuja) You know what they say about second place: Completely pathetic! (Kuja fades away in clouds of darkness) Meh. Don't sweat it, a little thing like that's not gonna be the end of you. Should be the end of that rebellious phase of yours, though! The next time you fight, it will be study time! (mimes writing) All over again!
  • Manipulative Bastard: Not only does he screw with Kuja's plans, he also plants the idea to attack Tifa in Sephiroth's head, giving him a reason to send Cloud after him with the intent for this to motivate Cloud's Heel–Face Turn and eventual death. He did this simply because he did not like the idea of the two of them choosing to sit out the war.
  • Mythology Gag: The song that plays during the battle against Kefka in Prologus is "Esper Battle" from Final Fantasy XII. Fans of the series will note that the theme is fitting, as Kefka himself tried to exploit the espers in his game for power before eventually settling for turning them into magicite.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Gets very close with Kuja, leaning on his shoulders and getting right up in his face several times.
  • Toilet Humor: This guy can pull a fart joke out of nowhere.
    Kefka: What's this? The brooder and the narcissist having a heart-to-heart? Oh, this is rich. So rich it gives me gas. Gives me gas, I say! *camera cuts away, fart noise* And I... *camera cuts back* give it back."
  • You Have Failed Me: He executes the Cloud of Darkness after learning that they gave away information to Laguna about the door to the Rift.

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