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Artwork by Yoshitaka Amano.
Kefka's sprite
"Hee, hee! Nothing can beat the music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison!"
—Kefka Palazzo

Kefka Palazzo (ケフカ・パラッツォ, Kefuka Parattso, spelled as Cefca Palazzo in the Japanese version) is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VI. Kefka acts as the court mage of Emperor Gestahl early in the game, and simply carries out his monarch's orders. However, behind Gestahl's back, Kefka attacks various towns and drains the power of Espers meant for Imperial usage. This gradual culmination in power leads Kefka to overthrow Gestahl and take control of the Warring Triad, effectively becoming the God of Magic itself.

While previous villains in the Final Fantasy series were distant, cold, ruthless, and bent on their goals, Kefka is loud, short-tempered, maniacal, and destructive. His popularity among Final Fantasy fans as a villain is rivaled only by Sephiroth. Kefka is well-known for his many one-liners, his final appearance as an Angel of Death (which has become something of a tradition in the series), and his sociopathic hatred of virtually everything in existence. His dark humor and jester-like appearance have earned him the nickname "The Psycho Clown" among fans. Kefka's most defining character trait is debatably his laugh, a trademark high-pitched cackle that is repeated numerous times throughout the game.

Contents

Appearance & Personality

Artwork by Yoshitaka Amano.

Kefka's appearance is that of an outlandish jester. In his original concept artworks and Dissidia, Kefka wears an outfit composed of primarily red and yellow fabrics, a mismatched jumble of stripes and polka-dots. He wears a red and white stripped ruffle around his neck and a red cloak with a yellow and red inner-lining. In his field sprite in Final Fantasy VI, Kefka wears green robes with gold linings and red clothing underneath. Universally, Kefka's face is covered with white make-up with red make-up around his eyes. He has blond hair tied back into a tight ponytail, accentuated by a feather extending from it. In his "god" form, Kefka appears as a demonic angel with purple skin and a red loincloth. His limbs are far more muscular than his human form, and he bears six wings - four light angelic wings and two dark demonic wings. In this form, the only notable resemblance Kefka retains to his human self is their identical hairstyle.

In terms of character, Kefka is maniacal, short-tempered, flamboyant, destructive and cruel. He is completely insane with no regard for human life, and he in fact finds amusement in the suffering and death of others. He tends to crack dark jokes at times and possesses a hatred of virtually everything in the world; Kefka's only joy in life comes from causing death and chaos wherever he can. What begins as simply a disregard and indifference to human life develops into a sinister nihilism - at the end of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka declares the lives of mortals meaningless and insignificant, and he finds no meaning in things like love and hope that others cherish. As a result, Kefka's goal at this point is to destroy the bonds of existence itself.

It should be noted, however, that Dissidia shows a different view to Kefka's nihilism. Once he is defeated in Shade Impulse, Kefka laments what he sees as the futility of life in a speech mirroring his speech in Final Fantasy VI, and fades with a sad laugh. Afterwards, Terra says that Kefka destroyed to attempt to fill his broken heart, perhaps implying a more sorrowful side to his personality - that of a man who cannot find any meaning in life other than mindless destruction.

Biography

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

Early Life

Kefka's menu portrait

Many details of Kefka's early life are unknown. He is thirty-five years old by the time of the game, and was Emperor Gestahl's right-hand man. Kefka was the first experimental Magitek Knight. The procedure gifted Kefka with incredible magical power, but also shattered his sanity. Kefka became a cruel, destructive madman after the procedure, and eventually acquired a reputation as one of the most dangerous men in the Gestahlian Empire. The exact circumstances are unknown, but sometime prior to the game, Kefka used a Slave Crown to control Terra Branford, and as a test of her loyalty had her burn fifty Imperial soldiers alive.

The Empire

Just prior to the events of the game, Kefka sends Terra to Narshe to acquire the frozen Esper Valigarmanda, sending Biggs and Wedge with her. The mission fails when Valigarmanda awakens in response to Terra's power, dispatches Biggs and Wedge and damages the Slave Crown, restoring Terra's free will but leaving her with amnesia. In her subsequent attempt to flee from Narshe, Terra's memory is temporarily restored and she remembers Kefka ordering her to kill his own men and enslaving her before she blacks out.

Kefka's first appearance in person is when he comes to Figaro Castle seeking Terra under orders from Gestahl. King Edgar, who is sheltering Terra in the hopes she will join the Returners against the Empire, conceals her whereabouts. Kefka doesn't believe Edgar however, and that night sets the castle on fire. When the castle burrows under the desert, Kefka has his bodyguards attack the fleeing Edgar, Terra and Locke Cole. The trio dispatch them and leave Kefka fuming.

Kefka eventually comes to the kingdom of Doma after this, as part of a battalion led by General Leo. Although Leo is attempting to win the siege against Doma with minimal casualties, Kefka is secretly plotting to poison the river and kill the entire population of the castle. After Leo is called away by Emperor Gestahl, Kefka takes command of the Imperial forces and orders them to dump the poison. Sabin Rene Figaro and Shadow attempt to stop him, but Kefka flees and dumps the poison himself, killing everyone in the castle except for Cyan Garamonde and a Doma Sentry. Until his ascent to Godhood, this was considered Kefka's worst crime. This also sends Cyan into a deep depression over his guilt, which has potentially disastrous complications for him later in the game.

Kefka going to Narshe with his army.

As the Returners reunite at Narshe, Celes warns them that Kefka has gathered a large force of Imperial soldiers and is leading them against the town himself. Kefka orders the troops to kill anyone in their way, and leads them to the clifftops above Narshe to claim Valigarmanda. The Returners retreat to the mountains to guard the Esper, and after fighting off his troops confront Kefka himself in battle. Defeated, Kefka flees but swears revenge.

Shortly after this, Terra confronts the Esper Valigarmanda again and is transformed into an Esper herself. Tracking her down, the Returners meet the Esper Ramuh, who tells them the true source of magic: Magicite, an Esper's remains, which can teach magic at a much higher concentration than Magitek. Armed with this knowledge, the Returners use Setzer Gabbiani's airship, Blackjack, to fly to Vector and release the Espers imprisoned by the Empire.

Acquisition of Power

"I'm all powerful! Hee, hee, haw! I'm collecting Espers! I'm extracting magic! And... ... ... I'll restore the...Statues!"
—Kefka in the Magitek Factory

Within the Magitek Research Facility the Returners spy Kefka torturing and beating Espers, specifically Shiva and Ifrit. They also overhear Kefka cackling over the power he has gained from the Espers of the facility, and his plans to restore the Warring Triad. After entering the heart of the facility and retrieving the Magicite of the dead Espers there, the Returners meet Cid, who realizes the true source of Esper energy. Kefka, overjoyed to learn this, attempts to have Celes, who has betrayed the Empire, hand the Magicite to him, but Celes spirits them away so the Returners can escape. Kefka appears afterwards in the Imperial Castle, activating two large cranes to attack the Blackjack as the Returners flee the continent.

With Terra now aware of her origins as a half-human half-Esper hybrid, she and the Returners go through a cave to the Land of Espers in the hopes of securing their support for an attack on the Empire. Kefka follows and declares that Gestahl had told him to let Terra ally with the Returners in order to have them open the gate. Kefka was subsequently defeated when the Espers emerged from the gate. It is unknown how he was returned to Vector, but Gestahl had Kefka imprisoned as a ploy to earn the trust of the Returners so they would ally with him to find the Espers that had escaped.

Ascent to Godhood

Kefka in a FMV from the Anthologies port of Final Fantasy VI.

Kefka was released by Gestahl and dispatched to Thamasa, where he proceeded to have his soldiers attack both the Returners and the troops of General Leo, before killing all the Espers there and taking their Magicite remains. When Kefka ordered his troops to burn the town, General Leo stepped in and fought Kefka. However, he only succeeded in destroying a shade of Kefka, and the real one emerged moments later and slew him. The sealed gate subsequently ripped open, and a second wave of Espers flew straight to the town to attack Kefka, but at this point Kefka had simply grown too strong and their attacks had no effect; Kefka easily killed them all and took their Magicite, enhancing his already potent powers even further with the dozens of shards he acquired.

With the sealed gate open, Kefka and Gestahl crossed over to the Esper world, found the Warring Triad and raised the Floating Continent. When the Returners confronted them, Kefka rushed into the field of the Triad and demanded they bestow their power upon him. Ignoring the warnings of a shocked Gestahl, Kefka had the Triad strike him down and pitched his body to its doom off the edge of the island. After this, he moved the Triad out of alignment, shattering their delicate magical field. Shadow and the Returners narrowly escaped. However, the damage was done and the Apocalypse occurred; the Triad awoke from their slumber and the World of Balance was shifted into the World of Ruin.

In the aftermath of this, Kefka drained the Triad of their power, turning them into weakened husks and himself into a God. Kefka built a gigantic tower, fittingly called Kefka's Tower, from the rubble of the world he had destroyed. With more or less the entire world fearing him, Kefka ruled over the World of Ruin from atop the tower, smiting anyone who defied him with the Light of Judgment, a beam of magical energy that could destroy entire towns. A cult eventually rose, worshiping Kefka, likely out of fear more than anything else. During this time, it is unspecified what Kefka spent his time doing, though he implies during his dialogue with the party before the final battle that he created numerous new monsters to fight them and guard his tower should they rise up against him.

Defeat

"Life...dreams...hope...Where do they come from? And where do they go? Such meaningless things...I'll destroy them all!"
—Kefka during the final battle.
The tiers of monsters atop Kefka's Tower leading to him.

A year later, Celes awoke on a deserted island and journeyed to reunite the scattered party members, and the reformed Returners assaulted Kefka's Tower. Battling their way to the summit to confront him, Kefka revealed his ultimate, nihilistic revelation; that life is meaningless and insignificant. Not content to rule over the world in its ashes anymore, Kefka's new goal was the destruction of the very essence of life itself. Denying his claims with examples of love and friendship from their own lives, the party battled Kefka's final servants and confronted Kefka himself.

In a final epic battle, Kefka was defeated. However, since Kefka had become the God of Magic, magic vanished from the world along with Terra's powers. Terra, due to her connection with the children of Mobliz, was spared and became a human, but Magicite and Espers vanished and Kefka's Tower collapsed as the world was restored to its former glory.

Symbolism

"Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life knowing that they must someday die? Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?"
—Kefka, on the futility of existence


Kefka's last name "Palazzo" is a common last name among individuals of Italian descent and means "Palace", "Mansion", or even "Castle"[1] His clothing is reminiscent of a Venetian jester, reinforcing his possible Italian lineage.

The final battle against Kefka draws strong symbolism from Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, an epic poem in which Dante travels through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. The first tier in the battle is represented by a demon, and in the Divine Comedy the first tier is Hell where Satan is entrapped up to his waist. The second tier of the battle contains beasts, people and machinery, which collectively represent Purgatory, the second tier in the Divine Comedy. The third tier is inspired by Michelangelo's Pietà, a sculpture of Jesus' body lying in Mary's lap after he is crucified. This represents the third tier in the Divine Comedy, Heaven, with Rest and Lady in the positions of Jesus and Mary in the Pietà. The final tier in the Divine Comedy is when Dante comes face-to-face with God, who explains to him the meaning of life. This is reflected in Kefka, who has become the God of Magic and tells the Returners that life is meaningless.

Kefka as the God of Magic.

Kefka himself appears to the Returners as a purple angel with four angelic wings and two dark demonic wings. This appearance draws parallels to Lucifer, the fallen angel that became Satan. One of Kefka's attacks is "Fallen One", which was later re-translated as "Heartless Angel", both of which draw back to the idea of Kefka as a fallen angel. His signature attack is "Forsaken", which again hearkens to Lucifer and his rebellion against God. Kefka's six wings could be taken as a reference to the Seraph, the highest choir of angels with six wings. The background of the battle is a field of golden clouds with beams of light shining through them, symbolizing Heaven.

Strength

Kefka's god form in a FMV from the Anthologies release.

Kefka is a rarity among Final Fantasy villains in terms of power; while most other villains are consistently powerful, Kefka's power improves dramatically as the story progresses. He attacks Sabin in the Imperial Camp with a simple Morning Star, and in Narshe he knows spells that are strong for that point in the game, but are overall weak in the grand scope of the game's spell list - his strongest spell at this time is merely Blizzara. Kefka acquires his power slowly by absorbing the strength of Espers. By the time he appears in Thamasa, he is easily able to project realistic illusions, can single-handedly kill dozens of Espers, and is immune to their powers. However, he is still vulnerable at this point - Celes stabs him aboard the Floating Continent, and Kefka is shocked and enraged by the sight of his own blood, although he seems more angry than hurt.

Following his taking control over the Warring Triad, Kefka becomes the God of Magic itself and his strength increases exponentially. Now knowing the most powerful magical attacks in the game, including Ultima, Kefka levitates debris from around the world to form his tower, a bizarre patchwork of terrain and rooms. He also uses his "Light of Judgment" to smite those who do not acknowledge his ruling of the world, and at least half a dozen towns are hit by the Light and devastated. Kefka creates various new monsters to guard his tower, including the revived, but weakened, Warring Triad themselves. Kefka also creates a new magical spell called "Forsaken", (known as "Goner" in the original U.S. SNES release) his signature attack with 220 magic power, the highest in the game; Ultima, the strongest spell the player can learn, only has 150 magic power by comparison. However, Forsaken does not ignore defense like Ultima does, limiting its potential power.

In Battle

Main article: Kefka (Final Fantasy VI Boss)
Main article: Kefka (Final Boss)

Kefka fights the party a total of five times during the course of the game, including the final battle. In all of these fights except for the final one, Kefka flees or uses an illusion of himself to fight. Of the first four fights, only the second is actually winnable - Kefka flees from the first fight after any attack and the third and fourth battles end in cinematic scenes and have no conclusion.

Music and Sound

''Kefka''
Image:Music-harp.gif
Image:Kefka.ogg
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Kefka's theme is simply titled "Kefka" and plays frequently during the first part of the game and during the party's confrontation with him before the final battle. The theme begins with a light, bouncing beat using wind and string instruments, but eventually the background drumbeats and cymbols become more prominent and the theme becomes louder and more dramatic, perhaps a reflection of Kefka's rise to power.

During the final battle, the piece Dancing Mad plays. One of the longest musical scores in the series, depending on how many times each section is repeated, a remix of Dancing Mad by The Black Mages runs for just over twelve minutes - other remixes last even longer. The music is divided into four sections, one for each tier of the final battle. The piece also includes remixes of Kefka's theme, as well as themes from throughout the game.

Kefka's laughing sprite
''Kefka's Laugh''
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Image:KefkaLaugh.ogg
Trouble with the audio sample?

In addition to his music, Kefka is well known for his high-pitched trademark cackle. Kefka laughs many times over the course of the game, but usually only cackles prior to large events in the plot. As the game progresses the laugh is also remixed slightly, and in the final battle is extended to almost five seconds in length at the battle's start and the normal laugh is frequently repeated during the rest of the fight. In fact, Kefka's laugh is played just as many times as his musical theme and is certainly recognized just as much by fans. Kefka's trademark cackle is incorporated into the Dancing Mad track, and is audible just before the track begins to loop.

Other Appearances

Dissidia Final Fantasy

Artwork by Tetsuya Nomura
Main article: Kefka Palazzo/Dissidia

Chaos has summoned a combined force of Final Fantasy's ultimate villains in an attempt to gain control of a number of Crystals, resulting in total control of the Final Fantasy worlds. Kefka is one of these villains and stands as the villain representing Final Fantasy VI, opposing Terra Branford.

Working with Kuja, Exdeath, and the Cloud of Darkness, the group's goal is the destruction of existence. Kefka attempts to use Terra to further their plans of destruction by taking control of her, then appearing to taunt her with the brutality of her abilities and her past servitude to Chaos. He also assists Kuja in his plan to capture Zidane, though he accidentally catches Bartz instead.

Non-Final Fantasy Appearances

Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Portable

Kefka appears as a chance card in the game Itadaki Street Portable.

Merchandise

The "Cefca" figure released by Master Creatures.

A toy based on Kefka's god form has been released in the Final Fantasy Master Creatures series of Final Fantasy toys. It bears the name Cefca Palazzo. It depicts Kefka floating above the swirling yellow mists quite like in the final battle, and is decidedly more demonic-looking than the one featured in the game.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Many aspects of the final battle with Kefka are reused in Final Fantasy VII for the battle with Safer∙Sephiroth. Both bosses use Havoc Wing, Heartless Angel, and take on the appearance of angels with dark wings among a backdrop of clouds. Both battles also feature a close-up of the character's face just before they unleash their ultimate attack (Forsaken and Supernova).
  • Kefka's strongest weapon in Dissidia is called "Dancing Mad," after his final musical theme.
  • A running joke in the fandom is to compare Kefka to Batman's archenemy The Joker due to similar personalities and appearances.
  • According to the Dissidia character files, Kefka was born November 19th.
  • In the video game, "Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind", there is a dungeon called the "Kefka Burial".
  • In Final Fantasy VII the player can hear a distorted version of Kefka's signature laugh if they go to the Ghost Square at the Gold Saucer and inspect a "face" in the corner of the item shop.
  • Kefka was named the third greatest villain in a video game by Nintendo Power in their 250th issue.


References

  1. WordReference Online Dictionary.

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

Starwars

Up to date as of February 04, 2010

From Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki.

Kefka
Biographical information
Homeworld

Ord Cestus

Physical description
Species

Half Human/Half Kiffar

Gender

Male

Chronological and political information
Era(s)

Rise of the Empire era

Affiliation

Kefka was the leader of one of the Cestus Cybernetics Families. The Families of Cestus Cybernetics aspired to overthrow the Regent G'Mai Duris from the government. The Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and the vippit Doolb Snoil managed to make the Regent give up trusting the Families. Finally, the Republic Cruiser Nexu bombed the bunker where many members of the Five Families were hidden. The remaining members of the Families had to dealt an agreement with the Regent and the Republic.

Appearances


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







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