The Iifa Tree (イーファの樹, Īfa no ki?), sometimes mistaken as the Lifa tree, is a location on the world of Gaia in Final Fantasy IX. It was planted long ago by Garland as a gigantic soul filter, filtering the souls of Gaia. It is located on the Outer Continent.
The dwarves of Conde Petie refer to the Iifa Tree as the Sanctuary, because after going through a ceremony, not unlike getting married, the happy couple journey to the Iifa Tree to inscribe their names.
According to the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania what is seen above the surface is not the true Iifa Tree, but just part of the tree's roots. The true part of the tree resides underground and reaches all the way to the planet's core, while its roots zigzag around the world just beneath the surface.
The Iifa Tree first originated from Terra and is over 5,000 years old. It was transplanted to Gaia by Garland after the Terrans' failed attempt at fusing the two planets into one. As a result of the failed fusion, Gaia's landscape was left in ruin, and in order to oversee the world's recovery, Garland moved Terra's magical tree, Iifa, to Gaia. Garland could use the Iifa Tree's roots to stabilize the environment, however, it still took thousands of years for the planet to recover from the disaster.
Around 3,000 years before the game's start, Garland used the Iifa Tree to block Gaian souls from returning to their crystal in the planets' core, halting the planets' soul cycle. Garland's plan was to only allow Terra's souls to cycle. Around 1,800 years before the game's start, Garland built the Soul Divider at the tree's base to replace the rejected Gaian souls with Terran ones so the Terran civilization might one day be revived. The Mist that covers the Mist Continent, is a by-product of the filtering process, and is expelled from the tree to the Mist Continent through the tree roots.
Soul Divider's DestructionEdit
Zidane and his friends are lead to the Iifa Tree by Eiko in order to find Kuja. Eiko dispels the barrier surrounding the tree created by Carbuncle, and the group proceeds to enter the Tree's trunk through a maze of roots. They find a platform which allows for descent into Iifa's depths, where the Mist breeds powerful monsters, and the interior of the tree glows a blinding green.
After Zidane examines the area with more scrutiny, the Iifa Tree begins to shake, and Soulcage, the Soul Divider, challenges the party. Despite Soulcage's assurances of his victory, he is defeated, and his demise triggers the disappearance of Mist from the Mist Continent. However, even with Soulcage gone, the tree still blocks the Gaian souls from returning to their crystal.
Shortly after, the area surrounding the Iifa Tree is the stage of a battle between Alexandria's army and Kuja. The battle ends with Kuja taking control of Bahamut and the Alexandrian forces being destroyed by the Dragon King.
Terra's Destruction and the Iifa TreeEdit
After Terra's destruction, the Iifa Tree activates and expels enormous amounts of Mist across the planet, and its roots protrude everywhere, cutting off several locations to the player. Such locations include the North and South Gates, Observatory Mountain, Ice Cavern, Pinnacle Rocks, Fossil Roo, Conde Petie, Conde Petie Mountain Path, the Desert Palace, Oeilvert, and Esto Gaza.
The portal to the game's penultimate dungeon, Memoria, can be found hovering above the Iifa Tree. A battle ensues with a swarm of Silver Dragons when the Invincible attempts to enter the portal, and the party fights a Nova Dragon.
After the party has defeated Trance Kuja inside Memoria and Necron in the Hill of Despair, Kuja teleports the party outside of the Iifa Tree with his magic. While the rest of the party depart, Zidane stays behind to look for Kuja. The Iifa Tree, however, is writhing and flailing furiously, and after Zidane finally manages to find Kuja, the Iifa Tree collapses upon itself, and presumably dies while possibly taking Kuja with it.
The Iifa Tree lies on the northwestern side of the Outer Continent. Its roots spread out across most of the land surrounding it, with a few sparse forests nearby.
The entrance to the Iifa Tree is barred by a mysterious seal. Eiko explains that an Eidolon is sealed there and that only a summoner can clear the way. After some encouraging, she does so. Gargant Grass grows around this area, prompting Zidane to wonder if a gargant lives nearby.
When the player is first here, the player must select "Ask Eiko" to be able to continue. The Ruby jewel is automatically obtained at this point.
- First area
The dense, twisting roots of the tree provide a path for Zidane and the party to travel across in order to reach the trunk. The area is infested with monsters.
The first four screens of Tree Roots actually take place in the same field area, pictured right. On each screen the player will start at the bottom and move to the top, before appearing on another branch at the bottom again. Only one branch appears on the screen at a time. These screens are all linear paths from a top-down perspective.
The first area is on the branch starting and ending on the the right. Moving off the top and onto the next screen, the second area is on the branch starting and ending on the left. Moving off the top and onto the next screen again, the third area is on the branch starting and ending in the middle. Moving off the top and onto the next screen once more, the fourth area is identical to the first area and is the branch starting and ending on the left. Off the top of this screen leads into another section of tree roots.
When the player ventures here after obtaining Amarant, the fourth screen will instead take the player to the Tree Trunk.
- Second area
The second area of tree roots. Unlike the other two, the camera is not at a top-down angle. The exit on the right side leads back to the fourth screen of the first field area of tree roots. The exit on the left side leads into the third area of tree roots.
- Third area
The bottom of the screen links to the second area of tree roots, and the top of the screen contains a descending platform. The platform responds only to Zidane. This takes the player into an Inner Roots area.
The first time the player goes onto the elevator a short scene occurs where the party discover what the platform does.
- First area
Mist and roots permeate even the inside of the tree. Blue treasure chests not seen in Gaia are scattered throughout.
- Second area
This area has a number of offshoots from the path on the left. The second encountered from the top has an action related where the character can push something. Pushing it drops a chest containing a Phoenix Down onto the first offshoot from the path. Another offshoot from the path at the bottom-most point in the screen is a chest containing a Hi-Potion. On the path before the chests for the other items will be a Healing Rod, however it only appears once the player presses a switch in the third inner roots area.
- Third area
Near the top of the screen there is a small cave on the left with a switch. This reveals a chest in the previous room. Toward the bottom in a small cave on the right is a chest containing an Ether. A left offshoot from the path at the bottom of the screen holds a chest containing a Lamia's Flute, and further along the path is a chest containing a Remedy.
The lower depths of the Iifa Tree glow a bright green. A leaf-like elevator platform that again only responds to Zidane takes the party on a spiralling descent.
The green light grows brighter at the very bottom, which appears to have a structure similar to the shape of a harp. The light is so bright that the bottom cannot be seen; only swirling green pools are visible. Soulcage ambushes the party here and is defeated, ending the expulsion of Mist.
The player progresses with the story when they press the action button on the farthest right point. Talking to Dagger will then trigger the scene onto a boss fight against Soulcage. After the battle a scene ensues and the player will find themselves immediately back at the Outer Seal.
At the top of the screen is Mocchi who is fairly hidden. The bottom of the screen leads onto the Tree Path.
A scene will automatically ensue when the player first comes here, and the player will eventually encounter a pair of Mistodon enemies, shortly followed by an an encounter with a single Mistodon.
Talking to Mocchi here involves a small part of the Mognet sidequest where Mocchi will let the player read a letter from Stiltzkin to Mocchi.
The Tree Path is a long path where the player is chased by Mistodon enemies as fixed encounters.
The exit on the right leads the player to the Tree Trunk, and the exit on the left leads the player to a scene at a statue of Leviathan. A scene occurs with Dagger , and the party automatically obtain the Aquamarine jewel.
- Main article: Mognet (Final Fantasy IX)
The Iifa Tree's moogle appears in the third tree roots section and in the Tree Trunk. If the player earlier received the Vivi's Eyes letter they can give it to Mocchi. Finding Mocchi at the Tree Trunk will allow the player to read the Blessing or Curse? letter from Stiltzkin to Mocchi.
Inside the treeEdit
Battle with KujaEdit
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
The theme of the Iifa Tree is called "Iifa Tree."
When the player returns here for Kuja, "Dark Messenger" plays. "City Under Siege" plays once the party talk to Kuja and onwards.
|Backgrounds and Screenshots|
Iifa is pronounced the same as Aoife, an Irish word which means "beauty," but as a name, it is used more symbolically as an adaptation of the Latin Eva, which comes from Biblical Hebrew חוה Ḥawwā and means "living." (The common English form of this name is Eve.) Emphasizing the tree's superficial association with life, the circle-and-cross pattern on the front of the tree resembles the Ankh, an Ancient Egyptian symbol for life.
The "world tree" is a motif in several religions and mythologies, represented as a colossal tree which supports the heavens, the world, and, through its roots, the underworld. This is similar to how the Iifa Tree connects Terra to Gaia and the "afterlife" it governs by using the soul cycle, also, the roots of the Iifa Tree are very long, encircling the entire planet in their grasp.
It is also connected to the motif of the tree of life, a mystical concept alluding to the interconnection of all life on the planet.
- The Iifa Tree appears in Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a trade accessory.
- The theme song for the Iifa Tree in Final Fantasy IX is based on the moon's theme from Final Fantasy IV.
- The Iifa Tree is also where the eidolon Leviathan is found.
- It is only when Zidane stands on the lift devices that they activate; this is demonstrated when Eiko fails to move the lift alone. This may be because both the Iifa Tree and Zidane are from Terra and are therefore connected.
- The Iifa Tree makes a cameo in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a location seen in the background of Final Fantasy IX FMS events.
- Iifa Tree was designed by concept artist Christian Lorenz Scheurer, who "wanted to give the tree a brain-like appearance".