Silence! All was stripped from me! Only hatred for the brother who fled our homeland remains mine.
Gabranth, born Noah fon Ronsenburg (ノア・フォン・ローゼンバーグ, Noa fon Rōzenbāgu?), is a major antagonist in Final Fantasy XII. He is a Judge Magister, the highest rank in the Archadian Empire's military. While he appears to serve the Empire faithfully, a torn and broken man lies behind his lordly façade.
Gabranth is a tall man with short blond hair and hazel eyes, and as Basch's identical twin brother the two share facial features. Gabranth's biography in Dissidia Final Fantasy reveals he is the younger twin, Basch being born first. The Japanese release of Final Fantasy XII had always stated their birth order, but mentions of it were removed from the English translation. Compared to Basch, Gabranth has shorter hair, different hairline, no facial hair, has different eye color, lacks Basch's scar over the eye, has a slightly shorter nose, slightly crooked eyebrows, slight difference in cheekbones and a slightly longer chin.
Gabranth wears the armor of a Judge Magister, a full suit of plate mail with a horned helmet and a long black cape with the symbol of the Empire in red. Gabranth wields two swords in battle, the longer Chaos Blade and the shorter Highway Star, which can connect at the handles into a dual-bladed weapon.
The Republic of Landis is long since gone. My allegiance lies wholly with the Empire.
Gabranth demonstrates a ruthless and cruel demeanor imprisoning his brother and keeping him alive while informing him of every failure his former knights suffer after the Archadian occupation. Yet Gabranth remains a respectful follower to Emperor Gramis to the point the Emperor appoints him bodyguard to his son Larsa.
Though he acts as a faithful Imperial, Gabranth's motivations relate to his hatred toward his believed dishonorable failure at protecting his homeland of Landis, and in turn he directs his hatred toward Basch for abandoning him and their mother to fight for Dalmasca.
Why do you hesitate? Take what is yours. The Cryst is a blade. It was meant for you. Wield it! Avenge your father!
Noah and Basch grew up in the Republic of Landis before it was invaded by the Empire. During the invasion, Basch fled their hometown to the Kingdom of Dalmasca to serve with the military, while Noah moved with his sickly mother to Archadia, her homeland, where he adopted his mother's surname, Gabranth, and joined the Archadian Military. He climbed the ranks, and with the backing of Emperor Gramis, became Judge Magister. Gabranth was placed in charge of the 9th Bureau, primarily concerned with the gathering and dissemination of information for the Emperor.
Gabranth was present at Nalbina Fortress where he killed King Raminas of Dalmasca while impersonating his brother, Basch. In the manga adaptation Vayne Carudas Solidor orders Gabranth to do this, believing Basch's treachery and Raminas's death to give him an excuse to suspend peace negotiations and push his father to take over Dalmasca. The two spread rumors of an assassination attempt on the king's life to trick Basch and a force of his soldiers to storm the fortress and "rescue" Raminas.
In reality, this was a ruse to get Basch at the scene: Gabranth posed as Basch and killed the Dalmascan officials present before pursuing Raminas. The two ran into Basch and Gabranth engaged him, scarring Basch over his left eye before defeating him. Gabranth killed Raminas and one of Basch's soldiers, Reks, witnessed Gabranth (as Basch) confess to the murder. For the next two years Basch is locked up in the Nalbina Dungeons framed for regicide, Gabranth visiting regularly to interrogate him about the Resistance that arose to oppose the Empire.
With Raminas dead, the peace negotiations failed and Archadia's invasion of Dalmasca became total, placing the city of Rabanastre under Imperial control. Two years later, Gabranth and Vayne, now appointed consul of Rabanastre, arrange a banquet to celebrate the latter's arrival. As told in the manga, Gabranth ensures the palace security forces are spotted as a ploy to draw the Resistance to attack, at which point the airship Ifrit and the Archadian forces outside the Royal Palace of Rabanastre attack to repel them.
Reks's brother Vaan infiltrates the palace to steal that night, and flees during the attack. As told in the manga, Vaan spots Gabranth and Vayne and is caught and brought before the consul. He attempts to strike him but is blocked by Gabranth. Though Gabranth suggests Vayne show mercy as Vaan is not with the rebels, Vayne orders him executed and the two depart. Vaan mentions his brother was stationed at Nalbina Fortress, but Vaan and Gabranth do not realize the deeper connection between them.
The night after the attack Gabranth visits the Nalbina Dungeon where Basch is being held captive, and berates Ba'Gamnan, a bounty hunter searching for Balthier, a sky pirate captured along with Vaan and Fran. The three shadow Gabranth to the Oubliette where Basch is held, where Gabranth interrogates him on the capture of Amalia, a member of the Resistance, who is actually the Dalmascan Princess Ashe using an alias. When Gabranth leaves Basch is freed by Vaan, Balthier and Fran, and the four escape the dungeon. As told in the manga, still in Rabanastre, Gabranth tells Vayne that the Imperial resistance in Bhujerba is suspiciously well-funded, and suspects Marquis Ondore to be behind them. Gabranth assists Vayne in searching the palace for the Dusk Shard, unaware it was stolen by Vaan before he fled the palace. Later, when Ashe's group has obtained the Dawn Shard but Vossler's betrayal has the group captured by Judge Ghis, Gabranth reports this to Vayne.
Some time after, Gabranth returns to Archadia and reports Vayne's activities to Emperor Gramis, alerting him to Vayne's possible hand in the destruction of Nabudis through Judge Zecht, and his funding of Dr. Cid's experiments at Draklor Laboratory. Gramis worries he no longer knows Vayne's intentions and asks Gabranth to protect Larsa so that he will not become as brutal and merciless in his elder years as Vayne has. Judge Drace confides in Gabranth of her fear for Larsa's safety due to the Imperial Senate desiring him an easily-manipulated heir over Vayne, and the two agree to defend him.
After Gramis's death, Drace accuses Vayne of murdering him, and she is subdued by Judge Bergan. Aware of Gabranth informing Gramis of his actions, Vayne appoints him as Drace's executioner as a test of loyalty. Reluctantly, he kills her, but with her dying breath Drace asks Gabranth to guard Larsa in her place, to which Gabranth promises that he will.
Larsa urges Vayne to make peace with Ashe to avoid a war with the Resistance, as the neighboring Rozarrian Empire would use this as pretense to invade Archadia, beginning a second, more destructive war with Dalmasca as the battleground. Believing Ashe wants a war, Vayne sends Gabranth to track her and ascertain her desires and kill her if a war is indeed her intent. Atop the Pharos Ashe approaches the Sun-Cryst, which she could use to cut shards of nethicite for use to fight the Empire. Gabranth urges her to do so, revealing he was the one who killed Raminas.
Ashe refuses the Cryst's power, realizing her vengeance will only lead Dalmasca to ruin. The dumbfounded Gabranth attacks Ashe and her party, which includes Basch, but is defeated. Dr. Cid arrives, telling Gabranth that he is pitiful for failing at the mission given to him, and that he no longer serves any purpose. When Gabranth attempts to strike the doctor, the Occurian Venat that has allied with Cid throws him back. The disgraced Judge Magister retreats.
Cid's actions aboard the Pharos spill a powerful Mist over Ivalice allowing Vayne to activate the Empire's new battleship, the Sky Fortress Bahamut. Aboard Gabranth confronts Ashe's party, still wounded and unable to understand how Basch has held onto his pride and honor despite repeated failures. Considering his disgrace the punishment he is due to aiding the Empire after they destroyed Landis, Gabranth attacks them and is struck down, Basch urging him to reclaim his name and honor. The party leaves Gabranth to confront Vayne, who uses Cid's manufacted nethicite to become Vayne Novus.
Wounded, Gabranth reaches the scene and, after being ordered by Vayne to defend Larsa due to his "having much need in the Hell to follow," raises his sword toward Vayne. He assists the party in stopping Vayne even as he is aware that doing so will kill him. Gabranth strikes Vayne with his empowered sword, but Vayne knocks him back with a powerful punch. As a dying Gabranth lays in Basch's arms, Vayne summons his Sephira to finish him off but is stopped by Larsa, who uses his own manufacted nethicite to absorb his magick. Vaan picks up Gabranth's fallen sword and wounds Vayne forcing him to retreat to the exterior of the Bahamut. In the subsequent battle Vayne and Venat merge into the Undying, and are destroyed together.
With Vayne dead, the party retreats to their airship, Strahl, to escape the falling Bahamut bringing Gabranth aboard. With Larsa and Basch by his side, Gabranth asks Basch to protect Larsa in his stead, as the Arcadian Empire would fall into strife without an heir to the throne. Gabranth dies and Basch impersonates Gabranth to announce a ceasefire to the Arcadian fleet, ordering them to withdraw. The masquerade persists as Basch takes up Gabranth's armor and accompanies Larsa back to Archadia, serving as his bodyguard.
The party fights Gabranth twice, at the Pharos at Ridorana and on board the Sky Fortress Bahamut. Gabranth focuses mainly on Basch, if he is in the active party, and two short optional cutscenes occur if Basch is in the active party during the battles. He also assists the party during the battle against Vayne Novus as an uncontrollable ally. He protects Larsa from the Sephiras and after the player defeats them, he attacks Vayne Novus while remaining close to Larsa.
Gabranth is also fought in the Trial Mode, at Stage 100, in the Zodiac versions.
Gabranth is a support character in Sky Fortress Bahamut.
|Status Immunities||X-Zone, Petrify, Doom, Confuse, Disease, Sap, Lure, Float, Berserk, Bubble|
|Innate Statuses||Protect (100%), Bravery (100%)|
|Augments||Safety, Null Evade, Adrenaline, Last Stand, Counter, Counter Plus, Attack CT 0* Counter, Counter Plus, Attack CT 0 lost when Sephiras killed|
|Gambits||(A)* Foe: nearest visible ⇛ Attack Very Often|
(A)* Self: HP < 60% ⇛ X-Potion Very Often* only once
"The Archadian Empire" (帝国のテーマ, Teikoku no teema?) plays during the first boss battle against Gabranth at the Pharos at Ridorana. Composed and arranged by Hitoshi Sakimoto, it is the eleventh track on disc 2 of the original soundtrack.
"Desperate Fight" (死闘, Shitō?) is the boss battle theme that plays during the second battle against Gabranth at the Sky Fortress Bahamut. Composed and arranged by Hitoshi Sakimoto, it is the fifth track on disc 3 of the original soundtrack. The theme can also be unlocked in Dissidia Final Fantasy, given the title "Fight to the Death," another translation of the Japanese track name. While it represents the third of three tracks from Final Fantasy XII in that game, it is not available in the original soundtrack.
Creation and developmentEdit
In the English version of Final Fantasy XII, Gabranth is voiced by Michael E. Rodgers, while he is played by Keith Ferguson in the English versions of Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, who had previously voiced Gabranth's brother, Basch. In the Japanese versions of Final Fantasy XII and Dissidia, he is voiced by Akio Ōtsuka. In Final Fantasy XII, Gabranth has an echo to his voice when he speaks with his helmet on. This is absent in Dissidia and Dissidia 012.
The one point of disagreement between the translators and the original Japanese developers revolved around the translators' decision to have the actor who played Gabranth (Michael E. Rodgers) mimic the twin brother Basch's voice (voiced by Keith Ferguson) in the scene where Gabranth is impersonating his twin. In the Japanese version the two actor's voices play over one another to give the scene the quality of a dream-sequence, but the translators opted to go for the more "realistic" sound. The debate came after the recording was finished, and eventually the team sided with the translators, but there were those who chafed at what was essentially a directorial decision being made by the translation team (albeit with the blessing of the voice director).
Gabranth has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Dissidia Final Fantasy (2008) as a playable character.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood as an officer of the Garlean Empire assigned to conquer Dalmasca, here named Noah van Gabranth.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as an enemy.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as an enemy.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a Legend and a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Mobius Final Fantasy as an ability card and a costume for the Wol.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances Edit
Gabranth has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:
Gabranth has two Play Arts action figures: one for Final Fantasy XII and one for Dissidia Final Fantasy. He also has a statue called "Judge Master Gabranth." A new one is being released to commemorate the HD remaster, Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age.
The most expensive piece of Final Fantasy XII merchandise is a 1:1 replica of Gabranth's helmet, only 500 of which were made. Although not for sale, a life-size armor of Gabranth has been showcased in Square Enix exhibitions.
The collector's editions for The Zodiac Age include busts for the Judges.
Noah was the tenth and last of the pre-flood Patriarchs famous for the story of Noah's Ark. Fon is based on German word von. Von means "from" (or "of"), and is used to denote someone is of noble descent. Ronsenburg comes from a combination of the old German surname Ronsen meaning "son of Roland"—Roland being the archetypical paladin—and the German noun Burg meaning "castle".In Abrahamic religions,
- Performing every Concurrence adds Gabranth's helmet to the Sky Pirate's Den in Final Fantasy XII and awards the player with the Mist Walker title.
- The longer of his dual-bladed weapon, the Chaos Blade, originally appeared in Final Fantasy Tactics as a Knight Sword and the strongest weapon.
- The shorter sword, the Highway Star, is likely named for the Hironobu Sakaguchi-designed racing game, Highway Star, also known as Rad Racer outside of Japan. It also shares a name with Deep Purple's 1972 hit, "Highway Star."
- A Judge that resembles Judge Gabranth appears in concept art for the Final Fantasy XII spin-off game Fortress, although he wields a lance rather than a sword. This character was to be Basch under Gabranth's identity.
- The logo of Final Fantasy XII features Gabranth in blue and purple, with a peach-colored brushstroke on the right. During the time Yoshitaka Amano created the logo illustration there was a bit of a distance between his office and the Square Enix office, and he drew up another piece while the Square representative was on the way to pick up the pieces; the one drawn within that hour was the one that ended up being chosen.
- Gabranth poses like he does in the logo when met inside Sky Fortress Bahamut.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Final Fantasy XII Scenario Ultimania, p.029
- ↑ A Voice for Ivalice: The Localization and Voice Acting of Final Fantasy XII (Accessed: December 03, 2018) at US Gamer
- ↑ The Art That Shaped Final Fantasy: Thoughts From Famed Artist Yoshitaka Amano (Accessed: December 03, 2018) at Game Informer)