A youth draped in monster hides, his eyes shining with a warm and gentle light...
Gau is a teenager with wild hair (blondish-brown on his sprite, but green in artwork). While he's of average height for his age, he walks with bad posture—occasionally on all fours—and wears tattered clothing fashioned from animal skins. While his artworks by Yoshitaka Amano and his in-game sprite portray him as skinny, his official stats show his weight at 170 pounds.
Having grown up alone in the wild, Gau has no concept for etiquette or grammar and often refers to himself in the third person. In some situations, he calls out "gau!" even if the player doesn't name him this. Gau has a keen interest in shiny objects, hoarding them in a cave on the Veldt. He is afraid of heights. Gau is one of the few party members with no character story tied to the central plot, and doesn't appear to have a reason to join the party beyond his attachment to Sabin and Cyan.
Gau was born in a house north of the Veldt. During childbirth Gau's mother died and, as a result, his father went mad. He believed Gau was a demon and threw him out on the Veldt. As part of his delusion, Gau's father convinced himself it was all a dream and no longer remembers Gau or his wife. Gau survived on the Veldt on his own.
Amid their escape from the Gestahlian Empire, Sabin and Cyan leap off Baren Falls and wash up on the northern shore of the Veldt where Gau finds them on the beach. Gau runs away as Sabin comes to, and the next time Sabin encounters Gau he demands food. Tossing Gau a Dried Meat earns the wild child's trust, and Gau starts following them around.
Gau takes a liking to Cyan. The feeling is mutual, even though Gau makes fun of Cyan's overly formal and archaic speech (and starts to use it on the perplexed Sabin, calling him "Mr. Thou", despite Sabin's insistence that Cyan should be "Mr. Thou"). Gau agrees to show them his treasure, a diving helmet. Sabin, Cyan, and Gau use the diving helmet to travel through the Serpent Trench to Nikeah, where they take a ferry to South Figaro and make their way to Narshe where Cyan and Gau join the Returners.
Gau stays with the party and helps them fight against the Empire, but during the end of the world he is separated from the others. A year later, Gau has returned to the Veldt. He rejoins the party, but only if a group of three or fewer encounters him. After rejoining his companions, Sabin decides Gau should meet his father—but first, Gau is given a makeover.
Sabin takes him to Jidoor and dresses him up with the armor salesman making rude comments that anger Terra and Celes. Locke makes Gau wear a bandana just like his, and Edgar comments it would be hard to expect some class out of Locke, which infuriates him enough to beat up Edgar in the armor shop.
When Gau meets his father, his father doesn't recognize him, and mentions having had a "dream" of throwing away a supposed demon child into the Veldt. He compliments Gau's "parents" for raising such a nice young man. Sabin threatens to beat up Gau's father, but Gau is happy to find out his father is still alive.
As the party is escaping the crumbling Kefka's Tower, Gau finds several shortcuts to help the party get away.
Gau's ability is Rage, which lets him mimic monsters' attacks, elemental affinities, status resistances, and even inherent status effects, such as Protect, Haste, and even Float. If the monster has an inherent status ailment—like Sap, Blind, or Undead—Gau will mimic those as well. While in Rage status Gau becomes uncontrollable and all he will do is perform a physical attack using the monster's weapon of choice, or use a special attack/spell/enemy spell used by the enemy whose Rage he is using. While Gau is using a Rage, he is temporarily 'equipped' with a predesignated attack graphic that simulates the weapon or physical attack of the mimicked enemy. This does not affect Gau's attack power, however, and is merely a visual effect. On the Veldt Gau has the ability Leap, which lets him learn new Rage techniques. Gau has no Desperation Attack.
In the SNES release, if Gau is equipped with a Genji Glove, Gau will attack twice with the selected Rage's physical attack or the special attack, depending on what Gau decides to attack with. In all versions of the game, if Gau is equipped with the Master's Scroll, he will not only attack four times, but if the Rage uses the monster's special attack, he will perform that four times as well. This is especially lethal with Rages such as the Stray Cat's Cat Scratch and the Gold Bear's Gouge. Magic spells and enemy spells, such as Blaster or Flare Star, are unaffected by the Master's Scroll.
Gau can be encountered as an enemy on the Veldt if he has leaped previously and not returned yet and the party has fewer than four members. As long as the battle is not a back attack, side attack, or pincer attack, there is a chance Gau will appear after the monsters are defeated. He can be attacked and even killed during this time, but if the player does not attack him, he will speak up and rejoin the group with the Rages of any monsters present in the battle he leaped and the battle he returned in.
While he is "leaped" on the Veldt, Gau is treated as not being in the party, so the player will be unable to select him when forming a party aboard their airship or in Narshe, and when a new party member joins Gau's level will not factor into the calculations for the new member's initial level.
Gau is able to equip the Merit Award only on the SNES version, and with that he can improve his Rage abilities when equipped with specific weaponry. Such weaponry like the Kazekiri (Wind Slash), Kagenui (Stop), Boomerang (Long Range), and Assassin's Dagger (Death) among many other weapons that have extra effects when attacking. Not only did this work when Gau used the Rage's Attack (weapon strike), but also for when he used the Special Ability of Rages such as Stray Cat's Cat Scratch and Guard's Critical. The only exception to this are weapons that deal an automatic critical hit by consuming MP don't work when using a special attack. Due to the stacked advantages, the later releases of Final Fantasy VI starting with the PS version prohibited Gau from equipping the Merit Award and in turn, Gogo with the GBA version.
The most popular setup for Gau is to equip him with the Merit Award, the Offering, and a Kazekiri, which randomly casts Wind Slash upon hits, and then use the Stray Cat Rage. The result is Gau attacking four times, randomly using Wind Slash, which would be boosted in power by the effects of the Stray Cat's "Catscratch" attack. This combo proved so powerful that in all subsequent releases Gau is prohibited from equipping the Merit Award. Gogo would later follow suit in the Finest Fantasy for Advance release, having lower stats than Gau, but able to use the same combination.
Gau's stats are all around high, with the exception of his defense, but this can be attributed to the variety of attacks and abilities he uses via his Rages. To compensate for his lack of ability to equip a weapon, his natural attack power is higher than any other character.
Gau is unique in that when he is re-recruited in the World of Ruin, he is treated as though he leaped and is rejoining, and thus will rejoin at whatever level he was in at the end of the World of Balance.
Gau can equip lightweight vests and hats, universal shields, and a few helmets. Gau cannot equip weapons without using the Merit Award (SNES only), except for the universal Impartisan. Equipping it will make him physically weaker unless he's under the Imp status.
Creation and developmentEdit
After it was decided Final Fantasy VI would feature an ensemble cast with no clear main protagonist, everyone in the development team was encouraged to provide ideas for characters and their episodes. Gau's character and story were colored by influence from Yoshinori Kitase.
The developers acknowledge that Gau doesn't have much to do with the game's plot, but is something of an extra character. Originally, the reunion with his father was supposed to take place in the World of Balance and was shorter. Sabin and Cyan were both involved with the reunion, so it may have been meant to occur during Sabin's split scenario after the Lethe River event.
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
Gau has an eponymous theme heard when Gau finds Sabin and Cyan lying near a river after they dive into the Barren Falls, as well in the ending sequence. It was selected and rearranged for both the Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale albums.
Gau was set to appear as a playable character and one of the representatives of Final Fantasy VI, but was never released.
Gau appears as a Legend.
Gau is a playable character in Final Fantasy Record Keeper.
Gau appears with Earth-elemental cards.
Gau appears on a Triple Triad card.
"Gau" is presumably a misspelling of gao.Gao is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a growling noise.
- A "just in case" text can be found among the Albrook dock dialogue before the party embarks on the Magitek Armor transport ship. It was thought it could be possible to have Gau here, if the player left him on the Veldt and picked him up right before this event, but there is no way the player can do this as they cannot leave the southern continent at this point due to the airship being grounded near Maranda, and the dummied scene can only be unveiled by hacks. Once the party of three arrives at the ship, Gau waves them good-bye and leaves Terra and Locke. The dialogue on the SNES/PSX version is: "Terra: ... Where's Gau...?" and the reply "Locke: He hates ships. We must...leave him behind!", while the Game Boy Advance equivalent is: "Terra: Where's Gau?" and the reply "Locke: He must not like boats. Oh well...guess it's just the two of us!"
- To see the full version of the armor shop scene where the party dresses Gau up to go meet his father, the player must have both Locke and Edgar in the party, while Terra, Celes, Cyan and Setzer must be waiting in the Falcon.
- When the player must reach Zozo to find Terra, and sends a party of one to Zozo with only Gau, he will have his own scripted dialogue in the scene with Ramuh.