- “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.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
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 also carries a sword with him he can use in battle as proficiently as his magic. The opening on his helmet seems to be the only actual exposed area to his outfit. His appearance under the suit of armor is revealed in Dissidia 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 showing a demonic face on the tree's side. Soon after the Void begins to consume Exdeath's physical form, he becomes Neo Exdeath, 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. Throughout the game Exdeath treats Bartz Klauser and his party as mere pests in the way of his withstanding goal, and constantly swats them away without killing them, seeing no reason to dispose of such a mild threat. He may seem cocky, but that's only because he can be, since 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 against Galuf. Exdeath is sure Galuf can't beat him because "all the hatred in the world could never defeat [Exdeath]". However, Galuf is able to surprise Exdeath at nearly overcoming him, to which Galuf explains 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 eventually come to an end and return to the Void. Because of this, he is not proactive within the game's story, simply wandering with little purpose and agreeing to assist other Warriors of Chaos with their schemes.
He is unique in that, upon his final defeat in Shade Impulse, Exdeath is far 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.
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 eventually made it self-aware and it assumed a human-like 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 proceeded to lay 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 young woman named Stella, and the two got married and had a son named Bartz. Five years after he was born, 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.
Eventually 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's first in-game appearance is in the Ronka Ruins when he is released from his seal when the Earth Crystal shatters.
Exdeath teleports back 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 one of Exdeath's minions and used as hostages in order to keep Galuf from progressing further in the siege against his castle. In response, Galuf makes a daring prison break and the party fights their way back across the Big Bridge, defeating Exdeath's lieutenant, Gilgamesh. Exdeath erects a barrier around his castle, sealing him 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 were actually the second world's crystals, and Exdeath was just using the Light Warriors all along. Exdeath uses the crystals' power to torture the Warriors of Light, but Galuf resists the power and takes on Exdeath alone. Galuf dies soon after the battle, and one of the crystals 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, which results in the two worlds merging, and Exdeath resurfaces once again, disguised as a splinter in Krile's hand. At Ghido's Cave, now once 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 once the worlds are recombined, the Rift re-emerges over Castle Tycoon. Exdeath begins to seize control of the Void, sending parts of the world into its depths as demonstration of its power. He takes command of the many demons of the Rift, promising to build for them a world of desolation.
Under Ghido's guidance, the party acquire the newly reformed Sealed Tome and use it to retrieve the Sealed Weapons of Castle Kuza. The Light Warriors climb into the Rift to confront Exdeath, but by the time they reach Exdeath he has mastered the Void and returned to his true, solid 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. After a long final battle, the Neo Exdeath is defeated, and disappears forever. Releasing his control of the Void, the world is restored to normal.
Exdeath is an extraordinarily powerful warlock able to destroy large areas of land with artificial disasters created by his powers. For example, he caused the earthquake that sank Ghido's island, and he burned down the Great Forest of Moore. The extent of his power is further revealed when it is mentioned that all Galuf and the other Warriors of Dawn could do was seal him because "he kept going down, but wouldn't stay down".
Furthermore, if his strength is ever depleted, he needs only a brief time to regenerate. Even when he was sealed away, he was also capable of possessing monsters and people into doing his bidding, specifically shattering the crystals that acted as his seal. This trait was especially evident by his possession of King Tycoon, Queen Karnak, and a Garula to shatter the Earth, Fire, and Water Crystals, respectively.
Once Exdeath claims complete control over the Void, his power soars. He is able to erase any part of existence with a thought, channeling the Void to engulf it and sending it into a random dimension. It is also a significant display of power when it is revealed the only way the Light Warriors are able to 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 also decent in close combat with his sword. In Dissidia he even demonstrates the ability to telepathically control his sword, allowing him to engage in "melee" combat even from a distance.
Exdeath is able to overwhelm a mortal consciousness and replace it with his own. He displays this power with Garula, Queen Karnak, and King Tycoon, as well as an unnamed human guard who activates the Fire Crystal.
|"The Evil Lord Exdeath"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
Exdeath has a theme, named "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 all 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".
Exdeath is fought three times in the course of Final Fantasy V, twice in his knight form, and once in his true form as a tree. Afterwards, Neo Exdeath is fought.
Also, on the Sealed Castle there is a random enemy called Exdeath's Soul, which is similar to the battle with Exdeath at his castle.
- Main article: Exdeath/Dissidia
Chaos has summoned a combined force of Final Fantasy's ultimate villains in an attempt 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 also monitors the actions of Golbez, and is the first villain to discover Golbez's 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 game he 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.
- “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.
- “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 appears as a summonable Legend in Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade.
Exdeath is represented in the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game by three cards: two of the Lightning element and one of the Dark element. The two Lightning-elemental cards feature his artwork from Dissidia Final Fantasy and his EX Mode's render from the same game, while the Dark-elemental card features his original artwork by Yoshitaka Amano.
Exdeath may be a portmanteau of "Death" and "Exodus," which is Greek for "departure" and names the second book of the Torah, where Moses leads the Hebrew people out of Egypt to Israel. This may be a reference to the refuge of the evil spirits that corrupted Exdeath's original body. The inclusion of his Esper form in Final Fantasy XII also suggests this. It may also be a reference to the Latin prefix ex, meaning "out of", symbolizing Exdeath's birth from evil spirits.
It is also possible that the name 'Exdeath' may be a mistranslation and misinterpretation of the original Japanese name, (エクスデス, ekusudesu?). It is possible that his original name was meant to be Exodus. This is evidenced by the fact that Exodus From Final Fantasy XII and Exodus from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance are both 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.
- 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 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 release of Final Fantasy V where Enuo appears alive in the depths of the Void deep inside the Sealed Temple.
- 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.