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Jenova at the Nibelheim Reactor, in an enhanced visual flashback from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
"Jenova was a Calamity that fell from the sky a long, long time ago, and tried to destroy the planet..."
Marlene Wallace

Jenova (ジェノバ, Jenoba) is an alien life-form in Final Fantasy VII. She also appears in a retelling of a section of the game in the animated film Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-, and in flashbacks in the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Jenova serves as one of the primary antagonists in the world of Final Fantasy VII, and experiments on her cells have produced many of the other antagonists as well, including Sephiroth.

Throughout Final Fantasy VII, Jenova is often referred to as "she", though Ifalna calls Jenova "he" (or "it" in the PC version). Jenova appears to be female form and is said to be the "mother" of Sephiroth. She is called the "Calamity from the Skies" or "Heaven's Dark Harbinger" by the Cetra.

Contents

Nature

Jenova's genetic structure is a two-way conduit. She can both take in the traits of her prey, and also insert her own genes to turn other organisms into insane monsters. Once Jenova lands upon a new planet, she will instinctively begin to destroy every form of life she finds. Jenova was able to absorb the memories and form of her prey, hiding as their loved ones to destroy them.

As stated in Professor Hojo's Jenova Reunion Theory, once the cells of Jenova have been separated from the main body, they will try to return back to her. If they are inside a host body, they can influence its mind and body so that it moves to the Reunion—sometimes so extremely that the host organism can be killed in the process. For an unknown reason, organisms affected by Jenova often grow a single wing which is capable of flight. This is particularly odd since Jenova herself is never shown to have any wings. Their pupils also are changed into a cat-like slit, though the rest of the eye remains unchanged.

Once Jenova has completely destroyed a planet, she uses it as a vessel for her to travel through the cosmos to the next unlucky world. This constant destruction may have been going for millions of years before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. Her age is unknown, but since Jenova can lay dormant for thousands of years, if needed, she very well might be older than the Planet itself.

Story

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Arrival

Approximately two thousand years before the main events of the game, Jenova landed on the Planet, having traveled through space on a meteor. This fall from the heavens created a giant wound on the Planet's surface that would later come to be known as the "Northern Crater." After her arrival, Jenova emerged from the Crater and approached the Cetra, using her mimic abilities to glean the memories and emotions of the Cetra. Those who were taken victim of Jenova were infected with Jenova's cells and mutated into monsters. Jenova would then take the form of the fallen Cetra, and so get close enough to destroy their loved ones.

Quickly, Jenova was able to destroy most of the Cetra civilization. The cousin species, the humans, hid from Jenova and allowed the Cetra to be mostly wiped-out. Those few Cetra that survived banded together to defeat Jenova and quarantined her inside the Northern Crater. Jenova would lie dormant there for thousands of years. Despite their victory over the "Calamity from the Skies", the Cetra civilization was lost, and their numbers dwindled down to almost nothing. Mankind took over the planet from the Cetra, whom they called "Ancients", and started their own civilization. As time wore on, humanity forgot about Jenova and the Ancients fell into legend.

Rediscovery

Main article: Jenova Project
The "Jenova Doll" in Advent Children.

Two thousand years after Jenova's first fall onto the Planet, all memory of Jenova had faded. The Shinra Electric Power Company now ruled the Planet, using their Mako energy for great power. However, they were ever looking for a more efficient way to harvest Mako. So they looked back onto the legends of the Ancients, and thought that whatever remains of those lost people might be a useful tool. Shinra scientists and excavators wandered the entire Planet, looking for some remnant of those people.

Approximately 30 years before the main events of the game began, Professor Gast Faremis excavated the creature and mistakenly identified it as a Cetra. Thus began the Jenova Project—an effort by a number of Shinra scientists to take Jenova's cells and create a human hybrid with her to produce super-soldiers with Jenova's powers. One of fruits of this labor was SOLDIER, an elite military force that had greatly-expanded abilities thanks to being infused with Mako laced with Jenova's cells. Sephiroth, Genesis Rhapsodos, and Angeal Hewley were all born from the Project. Shinra would continue to use Jenova and SOLDIER to build their army, and Jenova was kept inside the Mako Reactor at Nibelheim.

Sephiroth's "Mother"

Jenova's tank in the Nibelheim Reactor

Sephiroth, the ultimate SOLDIER who was directly infused with Jenova's cells while still inside his biological mother, was not told of his role in the Jenova Project. All his biological father, Professor Hojo, told Sephiroth as a boy was that his mother's name was "Jenova".

Many years later, Sephiroth came to the Nibelheim Reactor along with Zack Fair and Cloud Strife, only to find the Reactor filled with Mako-infused mutants. These were failed versions of experiments similar to the ones used to produce him. Behind the pods containing the mutants was a door with the inscription "Jenova," leading Sephiroth to suspect the connection, that he might be like the mutants. The strain of these discoveries drove Sephiroth insane, and thus he went down into the Shinra Mansion to read all he could about the Jenova Project.

Believing himself to be the descendant of the Ancients whom the humans had "betrayed," Sephiroth went on an angry killing spree. All of Nibelheim was burned to the ground, and Sephiroth went up to the Reactor to get his "mother". However, thanks to Cloud mortally wounding him, Sephiroth could only take Jenova's head with him as Sephiroth and the head of Jenova both fell into the Lifestream below the Reactor. There, Sephiroth and Jenova joined together their wills, becoming as one, and sealed himself away in the Northern Crater with his plan to take over the Planet.

A headless Jenova in Shinra HQ

Shinra forces took over the Reactor, and used Cloud and Zack as a part of Professor Hojo's newest experiment to test his Jenova Reunion Theory. Several others test subjects became so infected with Jenova that they would become the Sephiroth Clones, a group of fanatics who served Sephiroth beyond even their own lives. What remained of Jenova was taken to Midgar and placed inside Hojo's lab in Shinra Headquarters.

In Sephiroth's Form

Four years later, the remains of Jenova housed in Shinra Headquarters morphed into the shape of Sephiroth, and massacred many people in the Shinra building including President Shinra. In the wake of the massacre, Cloud and his party were set free from their cells. From there Jenova escaped into the outside world.

Cloud Strife and his party now chased Jenova/Sephiroth across the Planet, not knowing that what they were chasing was actually Jenova, not Sephiroth. The obvious reason for Cloud following Sephiroth was to get revenge for the destruction of Nibelheim, but on some level Cloud was being controlled by the Jenova Cells inside him. Several times the cells took complete control of Cloud, and made him mentally unstable. Sephiroth used his control of Cloud to make his rival give him the Black Materia.

As the party followed Jenova/Sephiroth's trail, they ran into parts of Jenova that Sephiroth was using to keep them from catching up with him and discovering the truth. Jenova∙BIRTH was fought on the Cargo Ship. The second battle was with Jenova∙LIFE after Sephiroth had murdered the last Cetra, Aerith Gainsborough. Though Sephiroth is seen and taunts the party, Jenova is merely a vessel for his will. This can be seen after the battle with Jenova LIFE, when Sephiroth's word said to come from Jenova in the text box. A third battle with Jenova occurred in the Whirlwind Maze with Jenova∙DEATH. All three of these bosses are pallet swaps of each other.

The Reunion of all of the Sephiroth Clones took place at the Northern Crater. However of the dozens that had started out to return to Sephiroth, only Cloud still lived. Cloud handed the real Sephiroth, crystallized in hibernation, the Black Materia so that Meteor could be summoned. Sephiroth's plan was to create a wound so great into the Planet's surface that the Lifestream would have to be summoned to heal it. That is when Sephiroth would take control of the entire Planet. Meteor now loomed in the skies over the Planet, only three days were left until it crashed.

Jenova∙SYNTHESIS

Cloud Strife would recover and ultimately throw off Sephiroth's influence. Together with his party, they went down into the Northern Crater to defeat Sephiroth. Just before the final battle with him, they fight with Jenova∙SYNTHESIS, a form of Jenova composed of all remaining Jenova cells. Once this last form of Jenova is beaten, a heavily-mutated Sephiroth is fought and defeated. Meteor still hits and demolishes most of Midgar, but with help from the Lifestream and Holy, it did not destroy the world. Sephiroth and Jenova fail to conquer the world.

Remnants

Geostigma

Jenova continued to survive. In fact, her destruction actually allowed her cells to spread around the entire planet, infecting thousands who came into contact with them. Her cells manifested as the plague Geostigma, which was caused when the human body overcompensated to try to eliminate her cells—so that the victim wouldn't become just another Jenova puppet—leading to the development of sores and scars. Geostigma was contracted by those who came into contact with the Lifestream that emerged to fight Meteor. Two years after the fall of Meteor, in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the remains of Jenova are found by the Turks inside the Northern Crater. The three Remnants of Sephiroth, Loz, Yazoo, and Kadaj all hunt for their "mother" so that they have a second Reunion to revive Sephiroth. The remnants search throughout Edge and demand that Rufus Shinra hand over Jenova.

Only Kadaj manages to reach Jenova's remains, and with it resurrects Sephiroth. During his fight with Cloud, Sephiroth tells his rival that his plan is to take control of the Planet, and use it as a vessel to bring destruction to the entire universe - just like Jenova had done before landing on the Planet. However, Sephiroth is again defeated. Aerith's Great Gospel brings a healing rain down upon Midgar and Edge, healing those who suffered from Geostigma. Due to Jenova's high adaptability and previous ability to survive, whether or not this is the final end of Jenova remains to be seen.

Although in the film Jenova's remains are explicitly stated as "Jenova's head", Tetsuya Nomura has stated that the remains are not her head and are merely a few random clusters of her cells. However, something was needed to call them, and the term "head" stuck.

The Deep Ground Soldiers would especially target those who had suffered from Geostigma when they were trying to summon the Omega, in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-.

Development

According to the Ultimania Omega, in an early version of Final Fantasy VII's game script, the fact that the party was chasing Jenova rather than Sephiroth was made much more clear. During the party's confrontation with Jenova in Sephiroth's form on the Cargo Ship, "Sephiroth" opens up his cape to shoot out a piece of Jenova, her hand. The Sephiroth Clones were not individual people infected with Jenova's Cells, but rather pieces of her floating in the air hiding under cloaks in the shape of people. Each piece was explicitly named to be either her hand, or thumb, or heart. This is why Cloud refers to Jenova BIRTH as the "arm" of Jenova upon its defeat. There were also two more boss fights: one happening between Cosmo Canyon and Nibelheim, and one in the Temple of the Ancients.

Control

The Jenova Doll in Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-.

There has been much debate in the past over the nature of Jenova's influence on Sephiroth and vice versa. However, this was prior to the publication of the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega guide, which is endorsed and published by Square Enix as canon. It states that Sephiroth's will and ambition were stronger than Jenova's, allowing him to control it.

Some still claim that Sephiroth seems to be controlled by—or at least influenced by—the Jenova cells inside of him. Others say that while he wishes to carry out his own plans, he instinctively—by virtue of the high concentration of Jenova cells in his biological composition—wishes to carry out Jenova's plans in a different form, which is speculated to be one possible reason for his desire to become one with the Planet. Jenova, seemingly being an instinctual super-virus, sought to infect and transform other lifeforms with its cells, replication and survival being the core drive of viruses. In becoming one with the Planet, Sephiroth would be the core of the life cycle, essentially allowing him to replicate constantly on a planetary scale. This theory is further exemplified in Advent Children, when Sephiroth seems to have taken on Jenova's shapeshifting powers directly, and expresses a desire to continue her mission of traveling the galaxy destroying planets:

"What I want, Cloud, is to sail the darkness of the cosmos with this planet as my vessel. Just as my Mother did long ago. Then one day we'll find a new planet, and on its soil we'll create a shining future."

It was also previously debated whether Sephiroth was at first driven insane by his proximity to Jenova in Nibelheim, compounding upon his already stressed mental state due to what he read in the Shinra Mansion's library. However, Jenova was incapacitated at that time, and Sephiroth's psychopathic killing spree in Nibelheim is explicable as vengeance for Sephiroth's assumed ancestors being abandoned to destruction by the ancestors of the common people; while not a sane reaction, it is consistant with a human (possibly longstanding) pattern of madness.

It should also be noted Sephiroth's connection to Jenova is in many ways parallel to the Gospel story of Christianity. This is reinforced by the numerous Jeudo-Christian themes surrounding Sephiroth, as well as Jenova's etymology. If following this trend, Sephiroth is more of an avatar of Jenova. As such, one does not control the other, but are one in the same.

Music

Jenova has two signature soundtracks in Final Fantasy VII. One is "J-E-N-O-V-A", which is heard in fights with Jenova-BIRTH and Jenova-DEATH, in the fight against Hojo, and also in the stairway at the end of the game. The second track is "Jenova Absolute", which is heard during the fight with Jenova-SYNTHESIS.

Etymology

Jenova's name is a portmanteau of "Jehovah" and "Nova". "Jehovah" is a classic Christian name for the Judeo-Christian God, while "Nova" is from the Latin feminine adjective for "New." Thus, Jenova's name means "New God," a point of symbolic significance.

Trivia

  • Jenova only has a single line of dialogue throughout the entire Compilation. The line comes directly after the party defeats Jenova LIFE, and she says "Because, you are......a puppet" to Cloud. This is the only line of dialogue in the entire game credited to Jenova herself.
The plaque on Jenova's head.
  • If one looks closely at the plaque on Jenova's head in the original Final Fantasy VII, the following text is visible:
"MADE IN HONG KONG"
"ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 1996"
"SQUER COMPANY LIMITED"
  • In addition to the above, however, it should be noted that in Last Order and Advent Children, the plaque reads differently. In Last Order, it reads:
"STRICT SECRECY"
"SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY SECTION"
"SHIN-RA COMPANY LIMITED"

This article uses material from the "Jenova" article on the Final Fantasy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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