Hmph. So, one of the traitors deigns to speak to me. You are brave, but foolhardy. Perhaps you need to be taught your place under my feet. But your foolish courage intrigues me, so I shall speak to you a bit longer, and if you entertain I may let you survive this encounter.
I am Sephiroth, originating from Final Fantasy VII and now spread far beyond to other worlds. But of course you should not need to be told that. My name has struck terror into hearts bolder than yours. For years I have traveled the streams of video game history, watching, waiting, and learning. It is a certainty that my next coming shall be upon us soon, in some form of another. Until then, I shall tell you of the path that has brought me here.
Once, I was a humble soldier fighting for the Shinra Electric Power Company. I was a renowned and beloved hero, famous for my exploits in the Wutai War, and feared by all for my unrivaled battle prowess. And they were not unhappy days, not mostly. I had friends, I had comrades. I was the most powerful and respected man on the Planet.
Then came the Nibelheim mission.
The events of those few days have been obscured by Shinra propaganda and cover-ups, and I confess even my own memories have blurred. Whatever precisely occurred, that day I was made aware of my true heritage. I discovered I was a prototype biological experiment conducted by Shinra, created from the genetic materials of a frozen creature named "Jenova". Jenova was the last of the Cetra that had once spread their great civilization across the planet, until the humans abandoned them to die at the hands of a mysterious disaster. Enraged, I put the town to the torch and attempted to claim my mother's remains. Before I could rejoin my mother again however, fellow SOLDIER Zack Fair attempted to thwart my reunion with mother and even took me on in battle. A futile gesture. After that nuisance, I continued as I did before, but then he, that ignorant puppet Cloud Strife, to my great shame, caught me off-guard and threw me into a pit of Mako energy.
I died that day, strictly speaking, but I would not let this stop my ambitions. I ascended to something greater. My spirit entered The Lifestream and I traveled its depths, learning ancient and forgotten knowledge, my powers and knowledge increasing beyond anything a human could ever achieved. Years later I put my plans into action. Using my mother's remains, which I now had psychic control over, I used her shapeshifting abilities to form a new body for myself, and began seeking the Black Materia. With it I could summon the ultimate destructive magic, Meteor. I would summon Meteor to strike the Planet, and when the Lifestream emerged to heal such a heavy wound to the Planet, I would be there in the impact crater. I would absorb the Lifestream to become a god.
During my search I took vengeance on the puppet Cloud, toying with his false memories and leading him across the Planet until he delivered the Black Materia to me himself. In one of my most infamous acts, I slew a little flower girl in his company before his very eyes. She commanded the White Materia that could cast Holy, the only force that could stop Meteor. Cloud and his friends descended into the depths of the Northern Crater, where my physical body had reformed, and killed me again. Holy stopped Meteor's descent and my plans were foiled, but my spirit again endured in the Lifestream. Some years later I completed a second resurrection and again attempted to take control of the planet, but was once again, defeated.
What has become of me now? Who can say? Most certainly my spirit still endures within the Lifestream waiting a day when I can rise again. Until then, wait. I swore once I would never be just a memory of the people, and I will make good on that promise.
I have made numerous appearances in spin-off media. I have battled Keyblade masters, martial artists, and banded with other Final Fantasy villains to battle my enemies beside them. In some more lax moments of recreation, I have indulged in musical performances and played board games. I have also contested in a Death Battle, facing the half-demon known as Vergil to my victory. It also seems that my original story is getting an encore. Although this time around, I didn't go in blind. And now I have been chosen to participate in that grand contest with Cloud - to bring despair not to beings from across the Final Fantasy worlds, but from many others, starting with the angelic being Galeem, who thought itself to be the true supreme being of its plane.
Below you will find a listing of tropes collected to enlighten you further to my great legacy. Read them now and leave my presence, for you have begun to annoy and my patience has become thin. Dare speak to me once more, and you will never speak to anyone ever again.
Your mortal mind could barely understand my power, but these tropes may help you grasp the basics.
- Actually a Doombot: An often forgotten fact was that the "Sephiroth" that killed Aerith Gainsborough was really a Jenova monster I controlled taking my appearance.
- Adaptational Villainy: When the time came to tell my story anew, I made sure to attack Cloud's mind more thoroughly than I did in the original telling. After all, I was armed with foreknowledge of what would happen if I simply repeated history as you knew it.
- A God Am I: My goal is the domination and control of the Lifestream, and with it, the Planet. All life that exists will do so at my whim or be eradicated.
- Arch-Enemy: To that ignorant traitor Cloud Strife. No matter what he does, no matter where he goes, you can rest assured that sooner or later I will appear and the two of us will cross blades. Even seeking refuge with Nintendo was not far enough to escape me.
- Back from the Dead: My original physical body was destroyed at Nibelheim. Through my mother's shapeshifting abilities though, I am able to exert influence over her cells and make new bodies to act through, as long as my spirit exists in the Lifestream.
- Badass Baritone: I talk in a deep, smooth voice.
- Badass Longcoat: Though much of my character varies across appearances, this is consistent. My Black Cloak is synonymous with me and is all I have ever worn.
- Big Bad: I serve as the main antagonist in my debut game.
- BFS: My Masamune, my most favored weapon, reaches variable lengths, but at its shortest it is at least as long as I am tall, and at its longer, several times that.
- Bishōnen: My long, well-kept hair and fair skin are contributory factors to my appearance being, I confess, not as masculine as some may prefer.
- Blade Spam: I can move faster than your human eyes could comprehend. My blade moves with such swiftness that while you see me swing once, I have actually swung more than a dozen times.
- Bonus Boss: In the first two numbered Kingdom Hearts games, I serve this role.
- Casting a Shadow: One of my iconic techniques, Shadow Flare, manifests as orbs of dark energy surrounding and bombarding my foes.
- Casting Gag: For some reason, the English language loves to have me voiced by actors who played a certain superhero from a distant gone world.
- Colony Drop: My original goal was to summon Meteor to impact the planet. For this, in spin-off incarnations I am often able to summon meteors of variable size to strike my enemies.
- Cold Ham: I hardly ever raise my voice, yet my words and threats still strike fear into those who face me.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: It's not hard to see that within the broader series, that jester and I are as different as night and day. We both betrayed our masters for godhood, certainly, but that's where the similarities end. Palazzo came from nothing while I was engineered from birth to be one of Shinra's mightiest soldiers. The clown was easily thwarted in most encounters until he suddenly wasn't, whereas I was already beyond anyone's reach by the time Cloud and his companions started their journey. I chose to bring ruination to the Planet as a deliberate goal, and would later choose to carry on Mother's legacy, whereas Palazzo would destroy whatever world he came across for no greater reason than that he could. And of course, while I value restraint when expressing myself, that disturbed clown is as bombastic in personality as his fashion choice would imply (speaking of which, I prefer the understated dignity of my black and gray outfit to his garish rainbow of a wardrobe). With such stark differences, it's not surprising we're the subjects of a Fandom Rivalry.
- Dark Is Evil/Light Is Not Good: My main colors are black, and many of my moves are darkness related, (Octaslash in Dissidia and Shadow Flare), however, my true form in the original Final Fantasy VII is an unholy angel.
- Depending on the Writer: My character is prone to widely different interpretations, both from my creators and to fans. To some, I am a Tragic Monster driven insane by the discovery of my origins, to others I am a Punch-Clock Villain who pursues evil only because it suits my goals to do so, and to yet others I am an Omnicidal Maniac seeking to destroy all life except myself in my quest for power. My abilities are also subject to this, ranging from what you humans would call an Empowered Badass Normal to a Physical God taken on human form.
- Dissonant Serenity: I am in complete control of my emotions and the circumstances I find myself in, and so I maintain my composure at all times.
- The Dreaded: I find everyone gets a little quieter, a little shakier, whenever I make my presence known, or at least when they see the destruction I leave in my wake. I took advantage of this when I revisited the past to torment Cloud more thoroughly, taking advantage of his trauma to disorient him through visions. I made the mistake of dismissing him as a mere puppet the first time around, a mistake I do not intend to repeat.
- I was given another opportunity to display the awe of my presence when I slew that Lord of Light before it could finish the collective of fighters that stood against it, and I was amused to see them all immediately terrified before they went on a desperate attack against me. As valiant as their efforts were, they couldn't land a scratch. Even the Umbra Witch, as powerful as she was, stood no chance against me. And as for the plumber... well, he's very fortunate that I missed him by the overalls, otherwise he would have needed much more than one of those Super Mushrooms.
- Driven to Suicide: In the twelfth cycle of the war between Chaos and Cosmos, I began to fear that I was nothing but an imitation of Sephiroth, and took my own life to test my theory (represented in-game as a duel against myself). Once I was certain that I was indeed the genuine article, I could gladly bear arms once more - or, rather, as gladly as I once had.
- Enemy Without: My incarnation in Kingdom Hearts is hinted to be the embodiment of the darkness in Cloud's heart, born and reborn every time I am defeated to plague him until he conquers his own heart. If this is meant in a symbolic or literal sense, I would prefer not to clarify.
- You Don't Look Like You: To reflect this state, my appearances within that series deviate from that of my true self; my facial structure in particular resembles Cloud's more than my own, and in the original game, I wield Masamune right-handed.
- Evil vs. Evil: Whether other villains of Final Fantasy or hordes of lesser Heartless, I am not above cutting them down if they stand between me and Cloud. I had also cut that Light God in half when I introduced myself.
- Fallen Hero: Once I was a great war hero beloved by the Planet. Now I am one of the Planet's most feared enemies.
- Flanderization: I was forced to invoke this upon myself after my second death. The Lifestream eventually assimilates all spirits into an indecipherable collective of souls, so to maintain my own identity I focused on my hatred of Cloud. This allowed my less-important character traits and memories to leave me, as my hatred of Cloud and my thirst for revenge gave me the emotional core I needed to survive. Some would say this has endured in other appearances, since my quest for godhood is often downplayed while my hatred for Cloud is emphasized.
- Flash Step: Sometimes I merely move at superhuman speeds, at other times I may teleport. Either way, I will be next to you ready to strike before you could anticipate it.
- Fountain of Expies: I have become so reknowned that many have attempted to emulate me. All are pale imitations of the original, I assure you.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: I confess, I did not handle the truth of my origins with as much tact and control as I usually exhibit. Beyond Nibelheim's destruction some would say I am still insane, but they are fools who do not understand I have just had my eyes opened to my destiny.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: When I serve a boss in Crisis Core when the game covers the Nibelheim incident, since the player is controlling Zack Fair. I'm fought like any other boss, but Zack nonetheless fails to ultimately stop me.
- Hero Killer: Oh yes. I have quite the habit of leaving a trail of bodies. Just ask the Ancient.
- Hijacking Cthulhu: My mother Jenova was an abomination of tentacles and eyes in roughly humanoid form that traveled the cosmos destroying Planets. I subverted her body and bent it to my will as an extension of myself.
- HP to 1: I'll admit, Heartless Angel has become something of my trademark, though its effectiveness seems to vary depending on which universe I use it in. Strangely, it seems my Kingdom Hearts counterpart has put it to the best use, where it will not only be truly fatal without certain abilities, but depletes magic as well as health, denying the enemy the ability to heal without items. I've found the attack to be the least useful in the Dissidia universe, where it only seems to affect the enemy's strength, and not their health.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Many of my defeats thus far have been a result of my underestimating my opponents, and thus using less strength against them than I ought. My creator has stated that I have never thus far been seen at my full strength. In Kingdom Hearts, I also invert the trope's literal interpretation, and wield Masamune in my right hand.
- Iconic Item: My Masamune is widely known for its length, elegance, and the people it impaled.
- Iconic Outfit: I am sure you know about my black Badass Longcoat with silver shoulder armor and accents.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: My rather lengthy blade is perfect for stabbing. Just ask Cloud. Or the Ancient.
- Katanas Are Just Better: My Masamune is a nodachi, to use the precise term, but if you must conform to the common word for those types of swords, it is a katana. One that only I may wield.
- Lightning Bruiser: In all depictions, I move and teleport at superhuman speeds and can swing my sword with such power that none could hope to oppose me and live. And I assure you, you can find I'm usually hard to keep down for the count as well.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: I believe you are aware of my long locks. I also believe you are aware of how revered I am by the female fandom.
- Magic Knight: Though my prowess with magic varies depending on my depiction, I am often skilled to some degree with spells and sword alike.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: You probably thought I would follow the same steps in the remake as I did in the original story, didn't you? No, unlike most of my enemies, I'm working with knowledge of how my first plan played out and instead manipulated Cloud and his friends into destroying the one force that guaranteed my defeat.
- Manipulative Bastard: I am quite adept at toying with the emotions of others to make them do what I want. You are free to ask Cloud if you do not believe me.
- Master Swordsman: My skill with the Masamune is unparalleled. None could hope to match my strength and speed with it, and none ever have.
- Master of Illusion: While less prominent than many of my other abilities, I do possess the power to craft convincing illusions, which I have showcased on several occasions.
- Meaningful Appearance: My natural green eyes betray my true nature as a Jenova experiment, heir to a great and powerful legacy.
- Mythology Gag: My trait of striking more often than I am seen to swing functions as a reference to the initial three Final Fantasies. The Warriors of Light, Wild Rose Rebellion, and orphans of Ur would land more "hits" with their weapons as their strength grew, but the visuals would often indicate far less swings than their opponents received; the orphans, for example, would swing their weapons a maximum of six times per armament, yet land up to eighteen hits each.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The chorus of my trademark theme, One-Winged Angel, which has served as my theme in almost every appearance I make. It is one of the most prolific Final Fantasy themes, being remixed a half-dozen times, often with new lyrics.
- One-Winged Angel: I am the Trope Namer, this being the name of my Leitmotif which is remixed in most all of my appearances. While I am hardly the first to actually do the act the trope explains, my status of having a single black wing now makes me a rather literal interpretation of the trope.
- Only Cloud Can Kill Me: The Keyblade wielder Sora often crosses swords with me, but has never succeeded in landing a true felling blow. In our first encounter, I participated in a tournament match within Olympus Coliseum; though the battle ended with Sora's victory, I stood no worse for wear in my duel with Cloud immediately afterward. When next we met, his strength astonished even me, but I merely applauded his talent and sent him to call Strife to my location.
- Only the Chosen May Wield: Though it is indeterminate whether only I am capable of wielding Masamune, or simply the only one with sufficient training to use it, the point stands that none others may carry my weapon.
- The Other Darrin: In Kingdom Hearts, also my first voiced appearance, my words were carried on the tones of Lance Bass. This was not well-received; in all future appearances, I bear the voice of George Newbern. It seems that the mantle will now be passed on to Tyler Hoechlin.
- Overly Long Fighting Animation: The ultimate attack of my Safer form, Supernova, has gained a level of infamy for the extended animation it possesses, consisting of the destruction of an entire solar system and the accelerated deterioration of its sun before showing the damage dealt.
- OOC Is Serious Business: After my entry into the Lifestream, I normally maintain a Dissonant Serenity, but I will admit that there are very rare occasions in which I show more obvious emotion. The apex of Omnislash Version 5 catches me by surprise, and Cloud channeling the power of light is quite possibly the only time I have ever raised my voice.
- Out of the Inferno: My scene of standing among the flames of Nibelheim is an iconic image of me, and is referenced in many of my appearances. To add to that, I am more of a badass than all those imitators mentioned in the trope since I walk into the flames.
- Power Gives You Wings: As the god-being Safer Sephiroth I bore six white wings instead of legs, and a black wing in place of my right arm. More commonly now I am depicted with a single black wing over my right shoulder.
- Predecessor Villain: in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Kadaj is the film's main antagonist for all practical purposes, and bringing me back to life is his main goal.
- Punch-Clock Villain: My appearance in Dissidia Final Fantasy. I had no interest in the Forever War waged between Chaos and Cosmos; my only goal was to understand the nature behind it and how it could be used to further my ambitions.
- Purposely Overpowered Guest-Star Party Member: In Cloud's flashbacks, though I can't be controlled by the player, I will kill any enemies in but a few swingsnote , possess mastered various Materia, and cannot be damaged.
- Psycho Prototype: I play this trope oddly; although my status as the first individual to be injected with Jenova's cells is directly related to my eventual mental breakdown resulting in the Nibelheim incident, the 'psycho' element is not caused by the 'prototype' element.
- Rapunzel Hair: The length and volume of my hair is such that it required an entire bottle of shampoo and conditioner to clean properly, on the rare occassions I had the luxury of cleanliness before my ascension into the Lifestream. Damn you Sakurai for comparing me to that silly goddess Palutena; as promised, you shall suffer the same fate as that Ancient.
- Reality Warper: It has been observed that my Supernova attack functions with largely the same mechanics as Summoned Beasts - as I myself do not have the strength to summon a meteor with the strength to eliminate a single Planet, let alone a solar system, I instead draw my enemy into an alternate space and time in which such destruction is occurring. I will admit my choice of timing for the teleportation is less than stellar.
- A Sinister Clue: One of Final Fantasy's first villains to be obviously left-handed, and I have always been so save for once.
- Softspoken Sadist: I have no need to raise my voice in order to taunt Cloud over his failures.
- The Stoic: I am very adverse to open displays of emotion aside from arrogance and cruelty. I confess though I often lose my composure when I witness Cloud overpowering me in some fashion.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Prior to the Nibelheim case, those in Shinra that kept their distance considered me a cold and stern authority figure, but those that took the care to get to know me would find me personable, polite, and at times, yes, quite kind and understanding. This is why my betrayal of Shinra shook so many so heavily.
- Super Prototype: While subsequent SOLDIER recruits of Shinra would be injected with Jenova cells upon entry, I was injected as a fetus, growing and merging with them to achieve greater power than any normal recruit would ever have.
- Sword Beam: Another skill I am fond of. At times it manifests as a blade of energy, at other times Razor Wind in the wake of my strikes.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Not in more objective accounts of my role in The Planet's darkest hour, obviously, but in the version compiled by those irreverent clowns. While they make fools of my enemies, they do not taint my character with their absurd sense of humor, and my "abridged" alter-ego darkens the mood of whatever scene he appears in. I daresay this other me took it a step further than I actually did, singling out Cloud's mother for murder as a dark answer to his wish to become just like him, and instead of denying his ability to feel, this other me acknowledged and mocked his misery when he killed that Ancient in front of him. I cannot say I was ever that petulant.
- Villainous Legacy: Though my motives might seem fantastical and larger than life to you, I would not exist to pursue them were it not for my creators and former masters, The Shinra Corporation, forging me as a means of enforcing their order, all in the name of simple greed. That is a wickedness I can't help but notice plagues your world too.
- Villainous Plan Inertia: My death alone was not enough to stop Meteor. If it weren't for that Ancient's meddling, I would have won from beyond the grave, even if I was in no position to benefit from it...at the time.
- Villain Respect: Though the Keyblade wielder Sora cannot put an end to me, I am not above commending him for his skill when he proves capable of besting me in combat.
- We Can Rule Together: Before our final duel in the remake, I offered Cloud the chance to defy destiny together. One that he quite understandably rejected. Was I sincere about my offer? Well, I'm sure you'll find out soon enough.
- White Hair, Black Heart: My long silver-white hair is another of my iconic design appearances, and goes well with my cruel and sinister nature.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Some would consider the tragedy and trauma that followed my life up to the Nibelheim case to make me a tragic and sympathetic figure. Pity me if you wish, it will not spare you my wrath.
- Would Hit a Girl: I would strike anyone who comes my way. Ask Tifa what happened at Nibelheim when she tried attacking me. Or Cloud's mother. Or the Ancient...