- “Time for your viscera to see the light of day! Now DIE!”
Exdeath (エクスデス, Ekusudesu?) also known as X-Death, ExDeath, Exodus, or Exodes in Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy V. According to Ghido, despite his knightly appearance, Exdeath was once, and still is to an extent, a tree from the Great Forest of Moore.
Exdeath wears a sky blue suit of armor about seven feet tall with a horned helmet, spiked shoulders and a long blue cloak. His helmet is topped with a two-ended plume and has a thin opening that would normally be used for sight. His armor is decorated with jewels, gold linings and beads, and though he is a warlock, Exdeath carries a sword he can use in battle as proficiently as his magic. The opening on his helmet seems to be the only exposed area to his outfit. His appearance under the suit of armor is revealed in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy by purchasing the second alternate costume for Exdeath.
In his tree form, Exdeath's torso and head are visible, but are a darker shade of blue. Below the torso he shows his true form as a tree, the bark forming a demonic face on the tree's side. Neo Exdeath is a gray-skinned demon with red horns and muscular limbs and the various demons that composed his previous form manifesting from the waist down.
- “Simple-minded fools such as yourselves could never hope to understand my motives.”
- —Exdeath, mocking the Warriors of Light
Exdeath is a selfish, maniacal, loud-mouthed, blasphemous being of evil. He treats Bartz Klauser and his party as mere pests in the way of his withstanding goal, and swats them away without killing them, seeing no reason to dispose of such a mild threat. He may seem cocky, but his power is practically unmatched.
Exdeath shows no empathy for the slaughter of his minions, even thinning out his own lines as punishment for their failings. He is incapable of understanding positive human emotions, such as love, evidenced when Exdeath fights Galuf. Exdeath is sure Galuf can't beat him because "all the hatred in the world could never defeat [Exdeath]". However, Galuf surprises Exdeath at nearly overcoming him, explainsing he isn't fighting out of anger or hate, but out of love for his granddaughter.
Exdeath's appearance in Dissidia Final Fantasy gives a new angle to his motives and personality. His confidence and bravado are shown to come not only from his immense power, but his assurance that, whether or not he succeeds, everything will come to an end and return to the Void. Thus he is not proactive but simply wandering and agreeing to assist other Warriors of Chaos with their schemes. Upon his final defeat in Shade Impulse, Exdeath is more accepting of his defeat than most of the other Warriors of Chaos. Because he strives not only for the elimination of existence, but also for his own eventual demise, he finds pleasure in the feeling of dying. After assuring the Warriors of Cosmos that all will eventually return to the Void, he spends his final moments standing tall and laughing.
Exdeath is an extraordinarily powerful warlock able to destroy large areas of land with artificial disasters. For example, he caused the earthquake that sank Ghido's island, and he burned down the Great Forest of Moore. All Galuf and the other Warriors of Dawn could do was seal him because "he kept going down, but wouldn't stay down". If his strength is ever depleted, he needs only a brief time to regenerate. Even when he was sealed away, Exdeath could possess monsters and people into doing his bidding to shatter the crystals that acted as his seal.
Once Exdeath claims control over the Void his power soars. He can erase any part of existence with a thought, channeling the Void to engulf it and sending it into a random dimension. Only way the Light Warriors can defeat him is when his own power turns against him. When Exdeath is engulfed by the Void and is spat out as Neo Exdeath, he gains more power than ever before since he merges with the destructive power of the Void itself but at the cost of his sanity, threatening to destroy the universe and himself.
In combat, Exdeath, being the incarnation of countless evil beings sealed inside the tree he once was, is highly skilled in the area of spellcasting. Though he rarely ever uses it, he is decent in close combat with his sword. In Dissidia he can telepathically control his sword, allowing him to engage in "melee" combat even from a distance.
After the malicious warlock-king Enuo was defeated and the Void was sealed away, humans turned to an alternative solution to purge their land of corruption and terror. The Great Forest of Moore provided a solitary prison for these malevolent souls, and they were sealed within a tree. Many other monsters were drawn to the forest, making it the most dangerous place on the second world. The various souls residing within the tree made it self-aware and it assumed a humanoid form, a being as evil as the many souls that had spawned him, and Exdeath was born.
Exdeath had a castle built upon one of the continents and laid siege upon the kingdoms of the world. The Warriors of Dawn—Galuf, Xezat, Kelger and Dorgann—followed Exdeath to an alternate dimension where Exdeath was defeated and sealed using the power of the crystals. Dorgann feared the seal wouldn't last and stayed behind while the other three warriors returned to their world.
Dorgann fell in love with a woman named Stella, and the two married and had a son named Bartz. Five years later Stella died, and not long after Dorgann passed away as well. Dorgann's dying wish was for his son to lead a normal life, and so he asked Bartz to travel the world. Keeping his promise, Bartz became a wanderer, along with his best friend Boko, his pet chocobo.
Exdeath shatters the world's crystals one by one as he begins to take control of the denizens of the world to break them, including the Queen of Karnak and King Tycoon. Exdeath appears to Bartz and his friends in the Ronka Ruins when he is released from his seal when the Earth Crystal shatters.
Exdeath returns to his castle in Galuf's homeworld to resume his reign of terror. Galuf and his granddaughter Krile rally a counter-attack and the remaining Warriors of Light follow the two, but are soon captured by Exdeath's minions and used as hostages to keep Galuf from attacking his castle. Galuf saves his friends and the party fights their way back across the Big Bridge, defeating Exdeath's lieutenant, Gilgamesh. Exdeath erects a barrier around his castle, sealing himself inside.
Exdeath makes an example of his enemies when he sinks Ghido's island. The sage later reveals Exdeath is seeking something in the Great Forest of Moore where he was created. The warriors venture to the forest and break the seals that bind what Exdeath seeks, but the seals turn out to be the second world's crystals, and Exdeath was using the Light Warriors all along. Exdeath uses the crystals' power to torture the Warriors of Light, but Galuf resists and takes on Exdeath alone. Galuf dies after fending Exdeath off, and one of the crystal shatters. Afterward, Krile becomes a Light Warrior in his stead.
The Light Warriors confront Exdeath at his castle where he had taken the remaining crystals. The crystals shatter, merging the two worlds, and Exdeath resurfaces disguised as a splinter in Krile's hand. At Ghido's Cave that is again above sea level, Exdeath reveals himself and his true goal: to control the Void and return the world to a state of nothingness. The Void had been sealed away in the Interdimensional Rift when the worlds were split, but now when the worlds are recombined the Rift re-emerges over Castle Tycoon. Exdeath seizes control of the Void, sending parts of the world into its depths as demonstration of its power. He takes command of the Demons of the Rift, promising to build for them a world of desolation.
Under Ghido's guidance, the party acquires the newly reformed Sealed Tome and uses it to retrieve the Sealed Weapons of Castle Kuza. The Light Warriors venture into the Rift to confront Exdeath, but by the time they reach him he has mastered the Void and returned to his true form: a monstrous tree. Exdeath sends the Light Warriors into the Void, but is thwarted by the spirits of the Dawn Warriors who restrain the Void and save the Light Warriors. After a heated battle, Exdeath is engulfed by the Void transforming into Neo Exdeath—a being of hatred and nihilism desiring to erase all existence, including his own, for eternity. Neo Exdeath is defeated, and disappears, releasing his control of the Void, and the world is restored with new crystals being born.
Exdeath is fought three times, twice in his knight form, and once in his true form as a tree. Afterwards, Neo Exdeath is fought. Exdeath is the first final boss in the series that requires the player to fight another boss immediately before the final battle. Since Exdeath, all subsequent villains in the series have followed this trend.
|"The Evil Lord Exdeath"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
Exdeath's theme is "The Evil Lord Exdeath", which begins with a theme similar to the one from the famous murder scene of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and further in, an evil laugh is heard. The theme is played during cutscenes where Exdeath makes a presence. Throughout the theme, measures can be heard from Final Fantasy IV's "Ring of Bomb" compounded by dramatic strings that culminates the suspense.
|"The Decisive Battle"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
The theme "The Decisive Battle" is also connected to Exdeath, playing in all of the battles against him. It shares similar tunes with "The Evil Lord Exdeath".
- Main article: Exdeath/Dissidia
Chaos has summoned a combined force of Final Fantasy's ultimate villains to gain control of the Final Fantasy worlds. Exdeath is one of these villains and stands as the villain representing Final Fantasy V, opposing Bartz Klauser.
Along with the Cloud of Darkness and Kefka, Exdeath's aim is to engulf the world in the Void. With the desire to fight his rival Bartz, Exdeath helps Kuja in his plans for Bartz and Zidane. He monitors the actions of Golbez, and is the first villain to discover his treachery.
Exdeath's alternate outfit gives him the appearance of the enemy Exdeath's Soul from Final Fantasy V.
Exdeath returns as a Warrior of Chaos in the prequel to Dissidia Final Fantasy alongside the other characters from the original. He acts as an antagonist to Kain, pursuing him as he dispatches the other Warriors of Cosmos and taunting Kain with his decision to betray his allies but not ally with their enemies. Near the end of the cycle Exdeath and Golbez attack the Warriors of Cosmos with a horde of manikins and Kain remains behind to fight them off. As another Warrior of Chaos, Golbez uses his control over the manikins to let Kain through their ranks to strike down Exdeath.
As a second alternate outfit, Exdeath takes on the appearance of Neo Exdeath as he appears in Yoshitaka Amano's concept art, having black skin, a demonic face with large horns, and a blue and yellow cape.
Exdeath appears as an enemy.
Exdeath appears in Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a boss.
- “A black mage born of the malevolent souls residing in a tree. Using the power of the Void obtained in the Interdimensional Rift, he is attempting to erase everything in this world for all eternity.”
- —Character Description
Exdeath is an ally and a summonable Legend in Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade. He is depicted in his default Final Fantasy V outfit. His EX ability is Grand Cross.
- “Malevolent souls sealed within a great tree of Moore gave rise to this evil mage. Scary stuff.”
- —In-game description.
In addition, Neo Exdeath also appears as the final boss of the main story. Neo Exdeath is encountered inside the Interdimensional Rift.
Exdeath is represented in the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game by many cards: most are Lightning element, and one of the Dark element. Lightning-elemental cards feature his appearance in Dissidia Final Fantasy with his Tetsuya Nomura artwork, his EX Mode's render and alternative outfit render, while the Dark-elemental card features his original artwork by Yoshitaka Amano.
Exdeath may be a portmanteau of "death" and "exodus", a reference to the refuge of the evil spirits that corrupted Exdeath's original body. It may also be a reference to the Latin prefix ex, meaning "out of", symbolizing Exdeath's birth from evil spirits.
It is possible the name 'Exdeath' is a mistranslation and misinterpretation of the original Japanese name, (エクスデス, ekusudesu?) and his original name was meant to be Exodus. This is evidenced by Exodus from Final Fantasy XII and Exodus from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance both being translated and interpreted as "Exodus", while their Japanese name, (エクスデス), remains the same. The Esper Exodus resembles Exdeath's knightly form with tree like qualities, while the Totema pays homage to his tree form. Square Enix has shown a history of keeping a more widely known and accepted name in the United States, however, such as Edward Chris von Muir, whose original name was Gilbert.
The Exodus (from Greek ἔξοδος exodos, "going out") is the charter myth of Israel; its message being the Israelites were delivered from slavery by Yahweh and therefore belong to him through the covenant. It tells of the enslavement of the Israelites in Egypt following the death of Joseph, their departure under the leadership of Moses, the revelations at Sinai, and their wanderings in the wilderness up to the borders of Canaan.
- A common misconception is that Exdeath is the reincarnation of Enuo, due to some older guides to the game stating Enuo was sealed in the Tree of Moore that became Exdeath. This is false, however, as it is stated in-game by NPCs in the Phantom Village that Enuo was consumed by the Void. This is also disproved by the Finest Fantasy for Advance and subsequent releases of Final Fantasy V where Enuo appears alive in the depths of the Void deep inside the Sealed Temple.