Kuja (クジャ, Kuja) is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy IX. A Genome manufactured to provoke war between humans, he operates for much of the game from behind the scenes, working under the ample shadow of Queen Brahne. However, he ultimately wishes to acquire the power of the Eidolons so that he may overthrow his creator Garland and rule Terra. After he learns of his mortality, Kuja's goal becomes the eradication of life, believing it "unfair" that the world should one day exist without him.
Kuja has a distinct silver-lavender hair color that falls just beyond his shoulders, with a large, curved spike at the front. He has narrow eyes, with a light-bluish color. He is of medium height, light build, with a pale complexion. He has white sleeves, with a violet guard around his shoulders. Kuja has a white robe that he wears on the back of his legs that extend to his ankles. The robe is held up by four straps that act as a codpiece. His pants are a deeper purple than his shoulder guards and his shoes are black with golden buckles.
Personality-wise, Kuja is somewhat different from many previous Final Fantasy villains. Kuja introduces poetic elegance to the role of the antagonist, contrasting greatly with many Final Fantasy villains. His speech patterns are highly metaphorical and somewhat jovial; he refers to Garnet as a "canary," and Brahne as "the elephant-lady," for example. His refined nature stands in stark contrast to his role as a sadistic war-bringer. This juxtaposition is characteristic of villains in fiction, particularly the evil genius archetype. Like other Final Fantasy antagonists such as Sephiroth and Ultimecia, he has a very narcissistic and sophisticated personality, in contrast to Zidane's humility, friendliness and more relaxed nature. One of the few things he does share with other Final Fantasy villains is his seeming love of luxury, as evidenced by the Desert Palace.
Like any of the other villains in the series, Kuja has an ego to match his power. He lets his pride rule his head. While he could have killed Zidane prior to the game, he chose to let him live so he could prove himself superior to him. After discovering his destiny as a mortal, Kuja goes utterly insane. His former cultured personality is altered into insanity, and Kuja reiterates several times that he believes that life should not be allowed to continue without him. After Zidane finds him in the bowels of the Iifa Tree at the end of the game, Kuja is seemingly repentant. He tells Zidane to leave him behind and escape, and mentions he is happy that his friends managed to escape safely.
In the Japanese version of Dissidia, Kuja refers to himself with the boyish pronoun boku, and addresses others with the familiar/informal kimi.
Kuja is a Genome created by Garland in 1776, 24 years prior to the beginning of the game. The ultimate plan of the Terrans was to assimilate the planet Gaia by gradually replacing the Gaian souls with Terran souls. To speed up this process, Garland created Kuja and sent him to Gaia to encourage war and destruction so that people would die quicker and the souls of Gaia could be replaced faster. Thus, it is Kuja's nature to cause death.
While Garland never told him, Kuja was only a temporary Angel of Death, meant to kill people on Gaia until Garland could perfect the true Angel of Death. Garland eventually made the perfect Genome, Zidane. However, Kuja felt threatened by this new Genome, and so he kidnapped him and took him to Gaia. While Garland was distracted destroying the summoners of Madain Sari, Kuja abandoned Zidane on Gaia. Garland was thus forced to continue using Kuja while a third Angel of Death was created.
While Garland was busy in Terra, Kuja served as a weapons supplier to Queen Brahne, so that she could wage war with Burmecia and Lindblum, thus killing even more people and ridding Gaia of more souls. These weapons that Kuja gives Brahne are the Black Mages, soulless golems that use powerful magic to destroy the other kingdoms. Kuja also has two servants, named Zorn and Thorn, who lead the Black Mages and carry out his orders. They served as Brahne's court jesters early on in the game.
After Burmecia was conquered, Zidane and Freya Crescent arrived too late to defend the kingdom. After spying on Kuja, Brahne, and Beatrix, they attacked but were defeated by Beatrix. The three villains departed, but Kuja delayed and observed Zidane. It is unknown if he recognized him or not, but it is unlikely as Kuja boarded his dragon and flew off, leaving Zidane alive. Meanwhile, Princess Garnet had left Zidane, and Brahne, under Kuja's advice, extracted her Eidolons from her and used one of them, Odin, to destroy the survivors of Burmecia at Cleyra. Zidane and his allies snuck aboard Brahne's airship during the attack and teleported back to Alexandria.
Shortly after he rescued Garnet, Zidane and his allies undergo a series of events in which Garnet learns her roots as a summoner, and the group is overall split in two. Zidane, Garnet and Vivi return to Lindblum, only to see Brahne use another Eidolon, Atomos, to conquer it. At this time, Regent Cid tells them about Kuja's role as Brahne's weapons supplier. The three decide to turn their attention to defeating Kuja and cutting off Brahne's supply of Black Mages. Armed with the knowledge that Kuja came from the north, they set out to the Outer Continent.
On the Outer Continent, Zidane and his allies track Kuja, following leads to the Black Mage Village and Madain Sari, recruiting Quina Quen, Eiko Carol and Amarant Coral on the journey. The group continue on to the Iifa Tree, a gigantic tree that assists in filtering the Gaian and Terran souls - the Mist that Kuja uses to create the Black Mages is a byproduct of this process. They kill SoulCage, stopping the flow of Mist, but Kuja arrives on his dragon and tells them he no longer cares.
Brahne's fleet arrives, and Brahne attacks Kuja. Kuja survives Brahne's attacks and forces her to summon Bahamut to destroy him. However, even Bahamut barely even draws blood from Kuja. At this time, the airship Invincible appears, and Kuja uses it to take control of Bahamut. Bahamut turns on Brahne, killing her and destroying her fleet.
Garnet is crowned the new queen, and Kuja returns to Alexandria, intent on killing Garnet. Kuja summons Bahamut and commands it to destroy the kingdom. Garnet and Eiko rush to the castle's turrets, and call the Eidolon guardian of Alexandria, Alexander. Alexander destroys Bahamut, much to Kuja's amazement. Deciding to take control of Alexander, Kuja again calls the Invincible. However, Garland is at the controls, and has become aware of Kuja's desire to rebel. The Invincible destroys Alexander and Alexandria, frustrating Kuja and leaving him without any Eidolon to manipulate.
Zidane and his allies return to Lindblum, where Cid tells them that Kuja has seized control of his airship and may have recruited the sentient Black Mages from the Black Mage Village. They use Cid's sailing ship, the Blue Narciss, to return to the Outer Continent and find Kuja's Desert Palace. Kuja quickly captures the group, and tells Zidane he will release his friends if he retrieves an artifact for him. As Kuja is unable to use his magic due to an anti-magic field around the place, he sends Zidane to Oeilvert with three of his friends.
While Zidane is at Oeilvert, Kuja betrays him and attempts to kill his companions that were left behind. They narrowly escape Kuja's trap, but Zidane returns before Kuja finds the escapees and hands over the Gulug Stone from Oeilvert. Kuja escapes with Eiko, and Zidane follows him to Mount Gulug. In Mount Gulug, Kuja commands Zorn and Thorn to extract Eiko's Eidolons, but the attempt fails because she is too young. At this time, Eiko's pet Moogle Mog enters a Trance, unleashing its true power as the Madeen Eidolon. Kuja is surprised by this, and realizes that to enter Trance, one merely needs to experience a surge of powerful emotions, even if they are negative ones.
With help from Cid's wife Hilda, Zidane and his companions find a path to Terra. On Terra, Zidane meets Garland, who reveals his past and Kuja's to him, claiming that Kuja is in denial of his own existence as a Genome, and hides his distinctive tail to conceal his identity as one. Although Garland attempts to take Zidane's soul, he survives, and he and his allies attack Garland. Weakened but alive, Garland is usurped by Kuja, who has taken control of the Invincible and returned to Terra.
Engaging Zidane and his friends, Kuja enters a Trance and crushes them with Ultima. Kuja reveals that he has absorbed the captive souls on the Invincible, including the soul of Queen Brahne; her feelings of greed, hatred and jealousy are the emotional surges Kuja needs to enter such a powerful Trance. Kuja then kicks Garland off of Castle Pandemonium's precipice and declares he will rule both Gaia and Terra. As he taunts the defeated Zidane, Garland's spirit speaks to Kuja, telling him that he is not immortal like he believed, that he was created to last only until the real Angel of Death, Zidane, reached maturity. Horrified, Kuja comes to realize that he is nothing more than a temporary pawn, much like the Black Mages. This revelation quickly drives Kuja mad, and he declares he won't let the two worlds exist without him.
Enraged, Kuja destroys Terra and returns to Gaia, Zidane and his friends narrowly escaping on Garland's airship with the other Genomes from Terra. They find Gaia now covered in Mist, and surmise that Kuja is at the Iifa Tree. With the help of Beatrix commanding an alliance of the survivors of the kingdoms of the Mist Continent, Zidane and his friends penetrate the barrier into Memoria, a world of the memories of the souls inside the Iifa Tree. Guided by Garland's spirit, they find the innermost realm of Memoria, the Crystal World.
In the Crystal World, they find Kuja at the Crystal, the source of all life. Still unwilling to allow life to continue without him, Kuja summons Deathguise, who is summarily destroyed. Upset, Kuja engages Zidane's allies himself, and upon his defeat casts Ultima again, defeating them. They appear in a mysterious area and are met with Necron, who has appeared to destroy all life. Necron is defeated, however, and life is allowed to continue.
After Necron's defeat, Kuja uses the last of his powers to teleport Zidane & co. outside the Iifa Tree. Zidane decides to stay behind to rescue Kuja, and he barely makes into the Iifa Tree's core as the trunk and roots outside collapse. Kuja tells Zidane that he is sorry for all that he did, but Zidane understood why he did it. Mikoto, the third Angel of Death Garland had created, tells Kuja in spirit how he taught the Genomes and had given them hope for the future. Suddenly, the interior of the tree begins to collapse as well, and Zidane is seen jumping on top of Kuja to protect him as flailing roots converge on them. It is unknown whether or not Kuja survives this, as no mention of him is made in the ending.
As one would expect of the game's primary villain, Kuja is shown to be an exceptional mage. He can create Black Mages from Mist using machinery and magic, and even with no outside help can summon Mistodons from Mist. He is capable of controlling monsters as well, and is shown to control an army of Silver Dragons led by a Nova Dragon, as well as the monster Deathguise that attacks Zidane's party in the Crystal World. Kuja is also largely immune to injury - even the Dragon King Bahamut's attack only barely succeeds in drawing blood from him.
After entering Trance, Kuja's power increases exponentially. He knows the strongest spells of the game including Curaga, Meteor, Holy and Flare, and his strongest spell Flare Star is potentially lethal to the entire party. He is able to completely destroy Terra using Ultima, and even defeats the party with it. When Kuja casts Ultima against the party, no damage is displayed as being taken but the battle instantly ends, so it is physically impossible to survive the spell.
Kuja is fought as a boss at Pandemonium and in Trance form in Memoria. Both times he casts Ultima upon his defeat, so although the party technically wins the battle, for storyline purposes Kuja prevails.
|"Kuja's Theme" from Final Fantasy IX|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
Kuja's main theme is the eponymous Kuja's Theme, a sinister piano theme accompanied by a heavy beat which plays during many of his appearances, most prominently during his first appearance in Burmecia. The song was later re-released as Kuja 5 on the Soundtrack Plus, and has a longer piano section. In many occasions where he appears, the song 'Immoral Rhythm' plays as well, a piece whose ominous beat bears a striking similarity to the Shinra theme song, 'ShinRa Company', from Final Fantasy VII. The theme is retooled into a second theme, Dark Messenger, that plays during the boss battle with Trance Kuja.
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. Kuja is one of these villains. He stands as the villain opposing Zidane Tribal.
As the youngest of the villains serving Chaos, Kuja is looked down on by his peers for his youth and inexperience. Determined to prove himself their superior, Kuja concocts several plans to trap the Warriors of Cosmos, particularly focusing on Zidane with the intent to break Zidane's spirit with isolation and feelings of powerlessness. To accomplish his goals, he works alongside Exdeath, the Cloud of Darkness, and Kefka.
In Hindu cosmogony, Kuja is the name of the planet Mars -- a red world, similar to Kuja's homeworld of Terra. Mars is also the name of the Roman God of War, which greatly matches Kuja's personality, since his mission is to promote war on Gaia.
Kuja may also have been taken from the Japanese word "kujaku," which means "peacock," an animal befitting of Kuja since they both share a flamboyant nature and similar color scheme.
|Zidane Tribal - Vivi Orunitia - Adelbert Steiner - Garnet til Alexandros XVII - Freya Crescent - Quina Quen - Eiko Carol - Amarant Coral|
|Temporary playable characters|
|Marcus - Blank - Cinna - Beatrix|
|Black Waltz No. 1 - Black Waltz No. 2 - Black Waltz No. 3 - Brahne Raza Alexandros XVI - Garland - Kuja - Lani - Necron - SoulCage - Zorn and Thorn|
|Artania - Artemicion - Lord Avon - Baku - Black Mage No. 288 - Bobby Corwen - Choco - Erin - Cid Fabool VIII - Cid Fabool IX - Fratley - Gilgamesh - Queen Hilda - Hippaul - Jane - Lowell Bridges - Mikoto - Mog - Morrid - Nero Brothers - Knights of Pluto - Puck - Quale - Quan - Ruby - Queen Stella - Stiltzkin - Doctor Tot - Zebolt|
|Gaia - Terra|
|Alexandria - Evil Forest - Ice Cavern - Dali - Morrid's Tower - Lindblum - Gizamaluke's Grotto - Burmecia - Aerbs Mountains - Treno - Gargan Roo - Cleyra - Pinnacle Rocks - Fossil Roo - Chocobo's Forest - Quan's Dwelling|
|Conde Petie - Black Mage Village - Conde Petie Mountain Path - Madain Sari - Iifa Tree - Desert Palace - Earth Shrine - Mognet Central|
|Oeilvert - Daguerreo - Ipsen's Castle - Wind Shrine - Water Shrine - Chocobo's Lagoon|
|Esto Gaza - Mount Gulug - Fire Shrine - Shimmering Island|
|Bran Bal - Pandemonium|
|Chocobo's Air Garden - Chocobo's Dream World - Crystal World - Memoria - Chocobo's Paradise - Qu's Marsh - Hill of Despair -|
|Races and creatures|
|Black Mage - Burmecian/Cleyran - Dwarves - Eidolon - Genome - Gargant - Human - Moogle - Oglop - Qu - Summoner|
|Active Time Event - Airship - Battle of the Iifa Tree - Blackjack - Chocobo Hot and Cold - Chocograph - Crystal - Festival of the Hunt - Frog Catching - Gulug Stone - Invincible - Jump Rope - Magic Stone - Mognet - Siege of Burmecia - Siege of Cleyra - Siege of Lindblum - Tantalus Theater Troupe - Tetra Master|
|Original Soundtrack - Original Soundtrack PLUS - Uematsu's Best Selection - Melodies of Life -Final Fantasy IX- - Piano Collections
|Abilities - Add-on - Allusions - Armor - Characters - Eidolons - Enemies - Enemy Abilities - Items - Jewels - Locations - Merchandise - Timeline - Translations - Walkthroughs - Wallpapers - Weapons|
|Warrior of Light - Firion - Onion Knight - Cecil - Bartz - Terra - Cloud - Squall - Zidane - Tidus|
|Garland - The Emperor - Cloud of Darkness - Golbez - Exdeath - Kefka - Sephiroth - Ultimecia - Kuja - Jecht|
|Shantotto - Gabranth|
|Chaos - Cid of the Lufaine - Cosmos - Shinryu|
|Old Chaos Shrine - Pandaemonium - World of Darkness - Lunar Subterrane - The Rift - Kefka's Tower - Planet's Core - Ultimecia's Castle - Crystal World - Dream's End - Order's Sanctuary - Edge of Madness|
|Prologue - Destiny Odyssey - Shade Impulse - Distant Glory - Inward Chaos|
|Other Gameplay Modes|
|Arcade Mode - Duel Colosseum|
|Accomplishments - Battle Piece - Battlegen - Bravery - Chaos Reports - Chase Sequence - Combinations - Command Mode - Cosmos Reports - Crystal - Data Install - Destiny Points - EX Mode - Friend Card - Skills - Play Plan - PP Catalog - Passwords - Quickmove|
|"Cosmos" - "Chaos" - "The Messenger"|
|Abilities - Accessories - Armor - Enemies - Merchandise - Museum - Player Icons - Shop - Summons - Translations - Version Differences - Wallpapers - Weapons|