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Final Fantasy Rogues Gallery:
The Best of the Worst, and Necron
November 24, 2017

Why should the heroes always get the spotlight? Final Fantasy has had plenty of memorable protagonists in its 30 years, but if every antagonist they faced fell into a cookie cutter "I want to destroy the world because I am bad" stereotype, it wouldn't give us unique motivations to stand off against them in each game. Here, we catalog several of our favorite villains and look into just why they're so compelling. (And yes, spoilers flow freely here, so be warned)


Heath Ledger's Joker award: Kefka
Final Fantasy VI
Kefka (Final Fantasy VI)

Some men just want to watch the world burn. Yeah, we know it's an easy thing to say when talking about Kefka, but you can't help but feel like there's a little of the empire's evil clown general in the late Heath Ledger's performance from The Dark Knight. Kefka really doesn't have a reason for his actions other than just wanting to create death and destruction. The best part, however, is Kefka actually managed to destroy the world and usher in an age of ruin. While the heroes eventually overcome and defeat Kefka, one could argue that he managed to win given the sheer volume of people he managed to kill and the devastation brought upon the world.

by Robert Steinman


Most likely to cosplay as Kefka: Kuja
Final Fantasy IX
Kuja (Final Fantasy IX)

Kuja is probably the closest the series has ever gotten to match Kefka's megalomaniacal attitude. But let's be honest — as much as I love Kuja, it's almost like he got out of drama school waiting for the chance when he could replicate his villainous idol years later. Kuja's erratic behaviour, poetic monologues and destructive capabilities easily rival Kefka's own actions at times: Kuja literally orders the production of a series of expendable dolls to fight for him on the battlefield; he sacrifices the Queen of Alexandria to further his plans; and he destroys an entire planet, in addition to the Mist business on Gaia. Kuja just does not care, and with every flick of his hair and every theatrical quote, I always look back to Kefka. You're trying really hard Kuja, and you're one of my favourites, but you're not quite there.

by Alana Hagues


Separated at birth: Seymour and Ultimecia
Final Fantasy X & Final Fantasy VIII
Seymour (Final Fantasy X) and Ultimecia (Final Fantasy VIII)

So let's take a moment: insane amounts of hair gel used to create antler-like hairstyles? Check. Luxurious, long robes that trail along the ground? Check. Fierce face paint? Check. A plunging v-neck that exposes a little too much? You get the drift. It might not seem overly obvious at first, and that's because Final Fantasy X forces you to spend an uncomfortable amount of time with Seymour, whereas Ultimecia hides away until the end of the game and is mostly forgettable, but Seymour definitely takes more than a leaf out of his predecessor's book. They also both devolve into hideous, multi-armed, multi-legged creatures at some point. Sheesh. Regardless, Seymour's chest hair is enough chest hair to last me a lifetime, thank you...

by Alana Hagues


Most eco-friendly award: Exdeath
Final Fantasy V
Exdeath (Final Fantasy V)

Exdeath really does promote a good image for the villains of Final Fantasy. I mean, how many other games in the series can claim their final boss is a tree? He spends much of the game disguised in sky blue armour and demonstrating his magical powers, but that's not what he's really about. He wants to control the Void and return the world to a state of nothingness. Not destroy it, just rid the world of anything. Just think of how much energy that would save, and how much more nature would be able to flourish? To back this up even further, when he's mastered the Void, he returns to his tree state. Humans are definitely the main source of global warming, so if the Warriors of Light aren't doing anything about it, then why can't Exdeath?

by Alana Hagues


Justified anger: Sephiroth
Final Fantasy VII
Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

You'd probably be a little pissed too if you found out your mother was an extraterrestrial being out to destroy the world, your entire existence a giant science experiment, the fact that you're not a member of the ancient "good guy" race, and it all may not matter because you're possibly a clone to begin with. It's true that Sephiroth has a lot of issues and baggage, but it's arguably more justified than just about any Final Fantasy antagonist. He's got a reason for all of his anger and hatred, and that's one of the reasons he's such a compelling villain. We're not saying it's okay he wants to crash a giant meteor into the planet in order to join the lifestream, but we kinda understand.

by Robert Steinman


Most likely to tip hat and say "M'lady": Ardyn
Final Fantasy XV
Ardyn (Final Fantasy XV)

Adryn makes quite the first impression, with his foppish demeanor and eccentric (even by Final Fantasy standards) outfit. He's never without a quip for any given situation, and even his theme music starts out as this light, cavorting jaunt. But this jester quickly reveals his true colors as a sinister, rage-fueled maniac. Ardyn is a disgraced Lucian king, who underwent the same journey as protagonist Noctis only to be cast down during the final stretch, betrayed by the gods who ordained him. Sustained by the countless daemons absorbed into his body, Ardyn lives on for centuries so that he might one day see the Chosen King ascend the throne and have his revenge. In a game that suffers from a dearth of storytelling, Ardyn manages to fill the void as both a memorable adversary, and a fascinating character in his own right.

by Peter Triezenberg


Most likely to destroy time and space in the name of love: Caius
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Caius (Final Fantasy XIII-2)

What wouldn't you do to save someone you love? If you're Caius Ballad, the oft-overlooked antagonist of Final Fantasy XIII-2, you'd have to draw the line somewhere past "kill the goddess to destroy time and space so that my not-girlfriend doesn't die." Caius is motivated by a genuine love for Yeul, a girl who is cursed with the ability to see the future and is caught in a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth. As a result, Caius manages to have more believable motivations than most of the Final Fantasy villain's canon. As an added bonus, Caius has a pretty neat trick up his sleeve: he can transform into a chaotic version of Bahamut. And his sultry tones belong to none other than Liam O'Brien! It's a shame that his plot is largely sidelined (and resolved in the most ham-fisted and unsatisfactory way possible) in Lightning Returns... but then again, everybody's plot was sidelined in Lightning Returns.

by Peter Triezenberg


Most George R.R. Martin award for screwing people over: Delita
Final Fantasy Tactics
Delita (Final Fantasy Tactics)

It certainly seems like Delita was ready for the Game of Thrones craze well over a decade before the show began. He starts the game as a commoner and close friend to hero Ramza, but then he fights back against the system using guile and conspiracies to become the King of Ivalice. The guy is basically Peter "Littlefinger" Baelish, only he managed to win the titular contest. Oh, and he killed his wife just to make sure nobody knew of his grand schemes in one of the best post-credit scenes the series has ever seen. Bravo, Delita, you manipulative bastard.

by Robert Steinman


Evil homeroom teacher award: Edea
Final Fantasy VIII
Edea (Final Fantasy VIII)

Okay, so Edea isn't really the villain of Final Fantasy VIII, but you could have fooled us given every trailer, screenshot, boxart and game description had her pegged as the evil sorceress and main antagonist. In probably one of the strangest plot twists in series history, it turns out she's actually a former teacher of the orphanage all of the main party members used to attend. Oh, and she's being controlled by an evil sorceress from the future and, ya know what, FFVIII is absolutely crazy and that's before we even get to time kompression. Nevertheless, Edea is probably the scariest homeroom teacher and probably sucked the souls out of all of her students stuck in detention (while she was being controlled by a time traveling evil witch, of course).

by Robert Steinman


Honorable Mentions
"BROTHER! It's been too long!": Gabranth and Golbez
Final Fantasy XII & Final Fantasy IV
Gabranth (Final Fantasy XII) and Golbez (Final Fantasy IV)

Alternatively, you could call this the "Totally not Darth Vader" Award. I mean, it's not that hard a comparison to make: both characters are clad in dark armor, including a helmet that entirely obscures their faces, and both bear hidden familiar connections to someone in the party. Someone should make sure to ask Gabranth about his opinions on sand.

by Peter Triezenberg


"I'm not even supposed to be here today!": Necron
Final Fantasy IX
Necron (Final Fantasy IX)

Before you say anything — Zemus had some build up, as did Cloud of Darkness. Necron, who comes along to spout prophetic nonsense (and steal lines from Yoda), has none. Pretty sure I was fighting a red-haired wannabe jester a few minutes ago, game. Still, at least it's a good boss fight with some excellent music to boot.

by Alana Hagues

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