Final Fantasy VI and VII are often considered the best in the long-running series and they both feature iconic antagonists. So, let's explore what makes these characters who they are and decide which one is the ultimate Final Fantasy villain.
Note: the following article contains heavy spoilers for both Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII. You've been warned!
Kefka Palazzo is Emperor Gestahl's chief assistant. You'd initially assume that the emperor would be Final Fantasy VI's antagonist yet Kefka emerges as much more sinister as the plot unfolds. What made him so evil? Well, he was the first Magitek Knight which is a soldier created in Gestahlian Empire experiments. The procedure messed with Kefka's brain and knocked way too many screws loose in the process. Hence, an evil madman is born. On the other hand, Sephiroth has a much more complex origin story. While his mother was pregnant, his father (Professor Hojo) injected her with the alien creature Jenova's cells. Although unaware of this, Sephiroth eventually became a celebrated soldier and on one particular mission, he discovers how he came to be. However, he mistakenly thinks that Jenova is a Cetra (part of an ancient civilization) and takes it upon himself to avenge his ancestors. Clearly, Sephiroth has the better origin story.
What's a villain without an evil plan? One of the first revealing moments in Final Fantasy VI is when you see Kefka torturing espers and gloating about the power that he has received from them. Seeking more power, he eventually discovers The Warring Triad which is 3 statues of ancient goddesses and plans on stealing its power to become a god. What more could a villain want? Meanwhile, Sephiroth initially seeks vengeance on his ancestors' behalf yet his ultimate goal is to become a god as well. He plans on doing so by summoning Meteor to crash into Gaia then absorb the Lifestream which would have otherwise healed the planet. That's some devious stuff and although both villains want pretty much the same thing, Sephiroth's plan is a lot more intricate so he wins this category, too.
Let's take a look at what each of these villains actually accomplished. Aside from being an all around violent psychopath, Kefka controls Terra using a slave crown to kill 50 soldiers, sets Figaro Castle on fire, poisons Doma Castle's water supply, murders General Leo when he tries to prevent him from burning down a town then frames him for being a traitor, kills Emperor Gestahl, and even causes the actual apocalypse to occur thus ushering in an era of ruin. How could Sephiroth compete with that? For starters, he sets the town of Nibelheim on fire, kills President Shinra, manipulates Cloud to give him the Black Materia, murders Aerith in a shocking story sequence, and, although unsuccessful, summons Meteor to potentially destroy the planet. Even though Sephiroth is manipulative and murderous, Kefka's multiple downright heinous actions make him win this category. Is that something to be proud of, though? I think not.
The last boss sequences in Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII are amazing to say the least. The encounter with Kefka initially involves climbing a twisted pillar known as the Statue of the Gods where you battle 3 segments of it which contain strange Kefka-like entities. The fact that it features some steampunk style elements alludes to Kefka's creation as an imperial experiment. After that, you confront a godlike Kefka in a golden sky arena. The entire battle is a major endurance test and being able to use all of your party members is an awesome mechanic. Meanwhile, Sephiroth takes 2 forms. The rules for fighting the horrifying Bizarro Sephiroth depend on how you played the game up to that point which is strange. After that, you fight the angel-like Safer Sephiroth complete with his absurd Super Nova attack that takes forever to complete. Of course, Cloud then battles Sephiroth in his mind but that's impossible to lose.
Finally, these battles feature amazing music. Dancing Mad plays while fighting Kefka which is an over 17 minute piece with many unforgettable movements and Sephiroth's One-Winged Angel theme features an actual choir and some truly epic orchestral arrangements. Nobuo Uematsu is one talented composer! Overall, I have to say that fighting Kefka is more memorable than taking on Sephiroth although I enjoy Sephiroth's boss battle music a bit more. Nevertheless, Kefka wins here.
I must admit; this is a lot tougher of a decision than I thought it would be but in the end, the baddest Final Fantasy villain is...
Sephiroth may have a much more interesting origin story and his goal is incredibly imaginative yet Kefka takes the cake by accomplishing some truly jaw-dropping evil acts and being one of the most epic final bosses in video game history. When you think about it, it's very strange how similar these characters are as they both set towns on fire, desire to become gods by destroying their respective planets, and resemble fallen angels in their final forms. Kefka definitely wears a lot more makeup, though.
That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!