Video games have many protagonists who are iconic and / or already known by many people. But not many antagonist or villain characters can hold the same status. Of the few iconic villains, the one whose popularity has been able to pass the times and ages is Sephiroth.
But when did Sephiroth actually first appear in the game world, and where did he appear after? Besides that, the most important thing, what made this antagonist or villain character so iconic and known by many people even today?
From Final Fantasy Then Penetrating Various Worlds
Sephiroth first appeared in Final Fantasy VII which was released in 1997 for the Playstation. He is a villain, aka the main enemy, that you must defeat throughout your adventure. He has a relationship with the main character Cloud Strife and intends to destroy the world that you must stop.
Since his appearance in Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth has immediately become an iconic character. He then appeared in various Final Fantasy spin-off games such as the Dissidia Final Fantasy series and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm. Together with the main character Cloud Strife, he also frequently appears in other game series such as Kingdom Hearts, and was recently announced as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Wherever he is, Sephiroth always has a distinctive appearance. He wears a black robe, has long hair, and uses a VERY long sword. He also always looks calm and cool in any situation.
Edgy, But Also Terrible
At first glance, one of the reasons Sephiroth is so iconic and known today is his appearance. He is the first edgy anime swordsman in video game history. In his day, there weren’t many characters who looked as edgy (mysterious, quiet, and dark) as Sephiroth. In fact, I’m sure there are players who prefer Sephiroth to Cloud just because of his appearance.
But appearance alone will not make the character in the game iconic. Although it does make a contribution, Sephiroth’s visual appearance only complements his image in the game world: a force of nature with terrifying powers capable of destroying the world and worthy of fear.
Since being first introduced in Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth has been called a very strong character, and that message is conveyed through the story and gameplay.
When playing Final Fantasy VII, your first big mission is to conquer an evil kingdom / colony called Shinra. Playing with Cloud and his friends, you can’t afford to bring down the kingdom and eventually get caught. But suddenly the kingdom was immediately slaughtered, and the person behind the massacre was Sephiroth alone.
Sephiroth is also told as a super soldier who is unmatched. He was Cloud’s aspiration when he was young, and was able to defeat powerful monsters even by himself. Whatever you can’t do, he can do it easily, alone. But one day he reappears after disappearing and then decides to destroy the world. In an instant, your main enemy in Final Fantasy VII is a super warrior who looks like he can’t be defeated.
Indeed, Sephiroth had the motivation and background that made his decision to destroy the world a little more interesting. But without even that, the message conveyed is clear: Sephiroth is a man with terrible power and you should be afraid.
Wherever he appears in games, Sephiroth always has that image. As an example, let’s see when he was first announced on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As usual, he still has his trademark looks and weapons. But apart from that he appears after splitting Galeem, the main boss in Smash Ultimate single player mode. Even though both from other promotional videos and gameplay, Galeem is described as a very strong boss who is equal to the gods in Smash Ultimate. But even he was helpless in Sephiroth’s hands.
When compared to characters like Kefka in Final Fantasy VI or the many antagonistic characters in other games, Sephiroth probably doesn’t have a flashy personality to be called iconic. But he doesn’t need that, because from the moment we first appear, we know that Sephiroth is a character to fear, and that’s enough to make him one of the iconic villains in game history.