- “Read my lips - mercy is for wimps! There's a reason "oppose" rhymes with "dispose"...If they get in your way, kill them!”
- —Kefka Palazzo
Kefka Palazzo (ケフカ・パラッツォ, Kefuka Parattso?) (spelled as Cefca Palazzo in the Japanese version), is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VI. The prototype to the Magitek Knights, Kefka acts as Emperor Gestahl's court mage carrying out the emperor's orders, but behind his back schemes for his own ends.
While previous villains in the Final Fantasy series were distant, cold, ruthless, and bent on their goals, Kefka is loud, short-tempered, maniacal, and destructive. His popularity among Final Fantasy fans as a villain is rivaled only by Sephiroth. Kefka is known for his many one-liners, his final almighty appearance (which has become something of a tradition in the series), as well as his sociopathic hatred of everything in existence. Kefka's most defining character trait is arguably his laughter, a high-pitched whooping cackle.
According to the Final Fantasy VI Ultimania, Kefka was born November 19th, he is 5'4, 106 lb, and his blood type is AB.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
Kefka is an outlandish jester and clown. In his original concept artworks, and in Dissidia Final Fantasy, Kefka wears an outfit composed of primarily red and yellow fabrics, a mismatched jumble of stripes and polka dots. He wears a red and white striped ruffle around his neck and a red cloak with a yellow and red inner lining. In his field sprite in the original Final Fantasy VI, as well as alternate artworks and, to a lesser extent, an alternate costume in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Kefka wears green robes with gold linings and red clothing. In his field sprite for the iOS/Android rereleases, he has a white and red ruffle, purple boots, red clothing, and a brown robe with green fabrics and gold linings. Kefka's face is covered with white make-up, red make-up around the eyes and white make-up on his hands. He has blond hair tied into a tight ponytail, accentuated by an extending feather. In his "god" form, Kefka is a demonic angel with purple skin and a red loincloth. His limbs are more muscular and he bears six wings — four light, angelic wings and two dark, bat-like wings (although the Final Fantasy Anthology model replaces the bat-like wings with light angelic wings). In this form, the only resemblance Kefka retains to his human self is his ponytail, which is longer, with strands flowing upwards, and the feather that remains in his hair as a final reminder of Kefka's once-extravagant dress sense. In Dissidia Final Fantasy, his appearance is altered slightly, with Kefka gaining a wide grin resembling a Glasgow smile accentuated in purple lip make-up.
Kefka is maniacal, short-tempered, flamboyant, destructive, and cruel. He is a psychopath with no regard for human life or remorse for the atrocities he commits, and finds amusement in the suffering of others. He cracks dark jokes, breaks out into hysterical laughter upon causing mayhem, and hates everything in the world; Kefka's only joy in life comes from causing death and chaos. His bio in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy states he lacks self-control.
When the Returners infiltrate the Magitek Factory Kefka claims he is all-powerful, and intends to become a god, suggesting Kefka suffers from megalomania. According to the Final Fantasy VI creation guide he is narcissistic, being fascinated with the image in the mirror and dressing up for mirrors. This is implied in Dissidia with Kefka's mirror match quotes being compliments on the other Kefka's appearance. Kefka is a manchild, referring to fighting as "playing" and treating Terra as a doll to be toyed with. In the Japanese versions of Final Fantasy VI and Dissidia Final Fantasy, Kefka frequently uses the first-person pronoun boku-chin when referring to himself, a pronoun usually reserved for young boys.
What begins as a disregard to human life develops into nihilism and at the end of Final Fantasy VI Kefka declares the lives of mortals insignificant finding no meaning in things like love and hope, and seeks to destroy the bonds of existence itself. Dissidia Final Fantasy shows a more tragic view of Kefka's insanity. Once he is defeated in Shade Impulse Kefka laments on the futility of life in a soliloquy mirroring his speech in Final Fantasy VI, and fades with a sad laughter. Afterwards, Terra says Kefka destroyed to fill his broken heart, and in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy before the battle, Terra wonders if Kefka is being tormented when he repeatedly chants "destroy". Kefka's Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy Museum profile mentions he self-destructed to make himself feel better. Thus, in Dissidia, Kefka is presented as a man so twisted all that can bring joy to him is mindless destruction.
Kefka is thirty-five years old and Emperor Gestahl's right-hand man. At least sixteen years prior to the start of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka was the first experimental Magitek Knight, which gifted him incredible magical power, but shattered his sanity as the process had not been perfected yet. Kefka became a cruel, destructive madman, and acquired a reputation as one of the most dangerous men in the Gestahlian Empire. About six years after the procedure, the Gestahlian Empire's military was restructured with Kefka and Leo Christophe being two of the individuals involved. Kefka used a Slave Crown to control Terra Branford and, as a test of whether its enslaving effects were effective, had her burn fifty Imperial soldiers alive.
- “Hee, hee! Nothing can beat the sweet music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison!”
- —Kefka, about to poison Doma's river
Kefka sends Terra to Narshe to acquire the recently discovered frozen esper, Valigarmanda, sending Biggs and Wedge with her. The mission fails when Valigarmanda awakens, dispatches Biggs and Wedge, and damages the Slave Crown, restoring Terra's free will but leaving her with amnesia.
Kefka comes to Figaro Castle seeking Terra under orders from Gestahl and presumably as part of a reconnaissance mission. He complains about Figaro's location in the middle of a desert and makes his soldiers to wipe his boots from sand. King Edgar, who is sheltering Terra in the hopes she will join the Returners against the Empire, conceals her whereabouts. Kefka doesn't believe Edgar and sets the castle on fire. When the castle burrows under the desert, Kefka has his bodyguards attack the fleeing Edgar, Terra and Locke Cole. The trio dispatches them and leave Kefka fuming.
Kefka comes to the kingdom of Doma as part of a battalion led by General Leo Cristophe. It is rumored Kefka will replace Leo as the general of the Imperial military, to which at least one soldier declares he'd quit if Gestahl ever let Kefka become the head of military. Although Leo wants to win the siege with minimal casualties, Kefka plots to poison the river and kill the castle's population. After Leo is called away by Emperor Gestahl, Kefka orders the Imperials to dump the poison. One soldier is reluctant as there are captured Imperials within the base and Sabin Rene Figaro and Shadow attempt to stop him, but Kefka dumps the poison himself, killing everyone in the castle except for Cyan Garamonde and a Doma Sentry, all the while musing about the music of the unified screams of hundreds of voices.
As the Returners reunite in Narshe, Kefka leads an Imperial force to the clifftops above Narshe to claim Valigarmanda. Kefka persuades his reluctant forces to slaughter everything to get the esper, but the Returners guard it and, after fighting off his troops, confront Kefka in battle. Defeated, Kefka flees, but swears revenge. Terra confronts Valigarmanda and is transformed into an esper herself and flies off. Tracking her down, the Returners meet the esper Ramuh, who tells them the true source of magic: magicite, an esper's remains, which can teach magic at a higher concentration than Magitek. The Returners use Setzer Gabbiani's airship, the Blackjack, to fly to Vector and release the espers imprisoned by the Empire.
Acquisition of PowerEdit
- “ I'm a god! I'm all-powerful! Uwee-hee-hee... I'll collect more espers! I'll extract their magic... And then... ... ... I'll revive the Warring Triad!”
- —Kefka in the Magitek Factory.
Within the Magitek Research Facility the Returners spy Kefka torturing espers and overhear him cackling over the power he has gained from them and his plans to restore the Warring Triad. After entering the heart of the facility and retrieving the magicite of the dead espers, the Returners meet the Imperial scientist Cid, who realises the true source of esper energy. Kefka, overjoyed to learn this, attempts to have Celes, a former Imperial general turned Returner, hand the pieces of magicite over to him, but Celes spirits herself and Kefka away so the Returners can escape, although not before Kefka hints that she is a spy under the employ of the Empire making the Returners doubt her intentions. Later, Kefka activates two large cranes in the Imperial Palace to attack the Blackjack as the Returners flee the continent.
With Terra aware of her origins as a half-human, half-esper hybrid, she and the Returners go through Cave to the Sealed Gate to the Land of Espers to secure their support for an attack on the Empire. Kefka follows and declares that Gestahl has told him to let Terra ally with the Returners to have them open the gate. Kefka is defeated when the espers emerge from the gate and Gestahl has Kefka imprisoned in Vector as a ploy to earn the Returners' trust so they would ally with him to find the escaped espers.
Ascension to GodhoodEdit
- “And time will destroy all of those as well. Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life, knowing that they must someday die? ...Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?”
- —Kefka upon the Returners confronting him at his tower, regarding life and existence.
Gestahl releases Kefka and he is dispatched to Thamasa where he has his soldiers attack both the Returners and General Leo's troops before killing the espers and taking their magicite remains. When Kefka orders his troops to burn the town, General Leo steps in but Kefka slays the general and projects an illusion of Emperor Gestahl who "admits" he set up General Leo to allow the Empire acquire more espers. Kefka explains he'll cover up the murder by claiming he disposed of a traitor.
The Sealed Gate rips open and a wave of espers flies into the village to attack Kefka, but Kefka has grown too strong and the espers' attacks have no effect. Kefka slays them with his magic and takes their magicite shards.
Kefka and Gestahl cross over to the esper world, find the Warring Triad and raise the Floating Continent. When the Returners confront them, he orders Celes to strike the Returners down to prove her loyalty to the Empire. Celes stabs Kefka instead and an enraged Kefka rushes into the field of the Triad and demands they bestow their power upon him. Ignoring Gestahl's warnings, Kefka has the Triad strike the Emperor down and pitches his body off the edge of the floating island. Kefka moves the Triad out of alignment, shattering their delicate magical field. Shadow and the Returners narrowly escape, but the damage is done; the World of Balance shifts into the World of Ruin.
After the end of the world Kefka drains the Triad of their power, turning them into weakened husks and himself into a god. Kefka builds a tower from the rubble of the world he had destroyed and from there rules the world, smiting anyone who dares defy him with the Light of Judgment: a beam of magical energy that can destroy entire towns. A cult rises, worshipping Kefka (likely out of fear more than anything else). Kefka creates numerous new monsters to guard his tower should anyone rise up against him.
- “Life... dreams... hope... Where do they come from? And where do they go...? Such meaningless things... I'll destroy them all!”
- —Kefka during the final battle.
A year after the end of the world, Celes awakes on a deserted island and journeys to reunite the scattered Returners who assault Kefka's Tower. Atop Kefka's Tower he reveals he views life as meaningless and destruction as inevitable. The Returners deny his claims by citing how, despite the world being in ruin, they have found hope on which to hold on. Kefka finds their examples sickening and decides to destroy everything, even the essence of life itself. He summons a gnarled pillar filled with effigies of himself and upon confronting Kefka in a golden skyscape, he laughs maniacally as he states he'll destroy everything.
Kefka is defeated and since he had become the God of Magic, magic vanishes from the world, and the espers and their remains are destroyed. Terra, due to her connection with the children of Mobliz, is spared, and becomes a human. Kefka's Tower collapses and peace is restored unto the world.
Kefka's power improves as the story progresses. He attacks Sabin in the Imperial Camp with a simple Morning Star, and could be injured by any attack (although he remarks after the second battle he was holding back). In Narshe, he knows strong spells for that point in the game, but they are overall weak in the scope of the entire spell list — his strongest spell at this time is Blizzara. Kefka acquires more power by absorbing the espers' strength and by the time he arrives in Thamasa he can project illusions, single-handedly kill dozens of espers while being immune to their powers, and presumably can use Banish. He can disable the espers' powers, an ability strongly implied to result in the destruction of anyone in close proximity, as evidenced by the disappearance of the three Magitek Armor troopers who accompanied him when he used it. He is still vulnerable at this point as Celes stabs him aboard the Floating Continent, although he seems more angry than hurt.
Following his taking control over the Warring Triad, Kefka becomes the God of Magic and his strength increases exponentially. He exploits the abilities of warping reality: elemental manipulation, power bestowal, and magical absorption. He utilizes telekinesis, and can project a pyramid-shaped magical field around him, although it is not specified whether it was intended to be a magical barrier or a projection of his power. Now knowing the most powerful magical attacks in the game, including Ultima, Kefka levitates debris from around the world to form his tower. He uses Light of Judgment to smite those who do not acknowledge his ruling of the world, and at least half a dozen towns are hit by the Light and devastated. Kefka creates various new monsters to guard his tower, including the revived, but weakened, Warring Triad themselves. Kefka creates a new magical spell called Forsaken, (known as "Goner" in the original U.S. SNES release) his signature attack with a magic power of 220, the highest in the game. However, Forsaken does not ignore defense, limiting its potential power. Kefka can use his wings for offense, appropriately referred to as Havoc Wing. In Dissidia Final Fantasy Kefka can use Havoc Wing in his regular form in addition to his god form, although he needs to partially transform into his god form to sprout the wings. He can summon angels to sap others of their strength, called Fallen One (Heartless Angel in the GBA remake).
Even if Kefka was never meant to be playable, the developers assigned him some stats and equipment for when the party faces him. There are three sets of stats for him and the stats below are Kefka's raw stats, before being modified by the equipment he's wearing for the battles.
|Name||1st Set||2nd Set||3rd Set|
Kefka has two sets of equipment, and the first set of equipment is associated with his first and second set of stats above. He has the Morning Star, Mythril Helm, Mythril Vest, and Ribbon permanently equipped. Kefka's second set of equipment is associated with his third set of stats. He's permanently equipped with a Morning Star, Paladin's Shield, and Ribbon. Just like the other temporary characters in the game, if Kefka is hacked into the player's party they will be unable to remove his equipment. The first set of equipment Kefka uses is during the battles in the Imperial Camp and Cave to the Sealed Gate, the second set is used during his battle against a red palette swap of Ifrit in Thamasa.
Kefka fights the party five times including the final battle. In all battles, save for the final one, Kefka flees or uses an illusion of himself to fight. Of the first four fights only the second is winnable — Kefka flees from the first fight after any attack and the third and fourth battles end in cinematic scenes and have no conclusion.
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"Kefka" plays frequently during the first part of the game and during the party's confrontation with him before the final battle. The theme begins with a light, bouncing beat using wind and string instruments, until the background drumbeats and cymbals become more prominent and the theme becomes louder and more dramatic, perhaps a reflection of Kefka's rise to power or his further descent into insanity.
During the final battle, "Dancing Mad" plays. One of the longest musical scores in the series, depending on how many times each section is repeated, a remix of "Dancing Mad" by The Black Mages runs for just over twelve minutes — other remixes last even longer. The music is divided into four sections, one for each tier of the final battle. The piece includes remixes of "Kefka", as well as themes from throughout the game.
Creation and DevelopmentEdit
According to Final Fantasy VI writer Yoshinori Kitase, the scene where Kefka has his accompanying soldiers dust off his shoes was ad-libbed into the script, as he felt the original introduction scene was too boring. He wrote it to give the players an early implication that Kefka had a few screws missing.
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Kefka is known for his high-pitched trademark cackle. Kefka laughs often but usually only cackles prior to large events in the plot. As the game progresses the laughter is remixed slightly, and in the final battle is extended to almost five seconds at the start of the battle, and the normal laughter is frequently repeated during the rest of the fight. Kefka's trademark cackle is incorporated into the "Dancing Mad" track, and is audible just before the track begins to loop.
In Final Fantasy VII the player can hear a lower, slowed-down version of Kefka's signature laugh if they go to the Ghost Square at the Gold Saucer and inspect a "face" in the corner of the item shop. They can also hear this laugh when Tifa and Cloud fall in the Lifestream, at Mideel. Kefka's laugh also appears in Square's Chrono Trigger when the player talks to Nolstein Bekkler in the Millennial Fair. The player can also hear it from Ozzie. Zalera, one of Final Fantasy XII Espers, uses a remake of Kefka's laugh in his final attack, Condemnation.
Kefka appears as a recruitable character in Final Fantasy Tactics S.
- Main article: Kefka Palazzo/Dissidia
Chaos has summoned a combined force of the ultimate villains of Final Fantasy to gain control of the Final Fantasy worlds. Kefka is one of these villains and represents Final Fantasy VI, opposing Terra Branford.
Working with Kuja, Exdeath, and the Cloud of Darkness, the group's goal is to destroy all existence. Kefka attempts to use Terra to further their plans by taking control of her, then appearing to taunt her with the brutality of her abilities and her past servitude to Chaos. He assists Kuja to capture Zidane, though accidentally catches Bartz instead. Kefka suggests to have Exdeath trick Bartz into giving the trap to Zidane.
His alternate form is a palette swap based on his Final Fantasy VI battle sprite.
Kefka reappears as a Warrior of Chaos in the prequel to Dissidia Final Fantasy alongside the other characters from the original. In this cycle he acts to sabotage the plans of his allies to betray Chaos, revealing Kuja's treachery to the other Warriors of Chaos and arranging for him to be defeated by Lightning, and manipulating Sephiroth to attack Tifa, prompting Cloud to reveal his true colors when he tries to protect her. He uses Terra as a weapon of war until Kuja weakens his spell, allowing Terra to resist him and flee Kefka's grasp with Vaan. Kefka serves as one of the participants in the final battle of Scenario 012, fighting Vaan.
Kefka's second alternate outfit gives him green robes with red and gold details, based on an alternate Yoshitaka Amano artwork and bearing a resemblance to his Final Fantasy VI sprite.
Kefka appears in his normal form as a boss in the game.
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Both Kefka and his final form, called Lord Kefka in the game, appear as bosses in Final Fantasy All the Bravest. He attacks with Firaga in his human form. In his angelic form, he uses Havoc Wing that hits three targets, horizontally while Forsaken hits over eight different characters.
Kefka appears on many trading cards in the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game. One depicts him in his Dissidia Final Fantasy artwork, another depicts him in his Final Fantasy VI artwork, and cards with his Dissidia renders show him in EX Mode and his regular appearance.
Non-Final Fantasy AppearancesEdit
Kefka appears as a chance card in the game Itadaki Street Portable.
Kefka appears as a card belonging to the God Tribe in the sequel to Lord of Vermilion. It features his original Yoshitaka Amano artwork. His in-game appearance is identical to his normal appearance in Dissidia Final Fantasy.
A toy based on Kefka's god form has been released in the Final Fantasy Master Creatures series of Final Fantasy toys. It bears the name Cefca Palazzo. It depicts Kefka's final boss form floating above the swirling yellow mist.
Etymology and SymbolismEdit
Kefka's last name, "Palazzo", is a common last name of Italian descent and means "palace", "mansion", or "castle". The Italian term pagliaccio for clown, bears a possibly intentional resemblance to Kefka's surname and fit his distinctive clothing.
His first name, Kefka, may derive from Kurt Koffka, a German psychologist who worked on the Gestalt psychology, also reminiscent of Gestahl, the emperor in Final Fantasy VI. Another possibility is Franz Kafka, known for his stories based around hopelessness (his writings are considered existentialist, a philosophy similar yet at the same time opposite of Kefka's).
Kefka's God of Magic form resembles the fallen angel Lucifer, also known as Satan. The similarity was further alluded to with the SNES translation for one of his attacks, Fallen One, one of the names for Lucifer.
In Japan, the color purple represents death, which explains why Kefka's god of magic form is primarily purple.
- In the video game, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, there is a dungeon called the "Kefka Burial".
- Kefka was named the third greatest villain in a video game by Nintendo Power in their 250th issue.
- In earlier versions of Final Fantasy VI, before the player fights Kefka, he says "Life... hope... dreams? Where do they come from? And where are they going?" This is similar to the title of one of Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
- A variation of the above quote was used in the Halloween event for Final Fantasy XIV in 2011: "Life...Dreams...Imps... Where do they come from? And where do they go?" This was one of many lines indicating that an Imp had spawned for players to interact with in town.
- The Spanish web Meristation named Kefka the second greatest villain in the history of video games.
- Although Kefka's stance as a Magitek Knight is implied in the story, it is never directly stated via normal gameplay. The player must talk to the barkeep at Vector's tavern after avoiding getting caught by the patrolling guards to find this out explicitly.
- Kefka's role is foreshadowed in the game's prologue where he briefly descends from the Imperial Palace at Vector in the part where the narration states "Yet there now stands one who would reawaken the magic of ages past, and use its dread power as a means by which to conquer all the world...".
- ↑ Final Fantasy VI/Timeline
- ↑ Vector citizen: Here's one for you... That guy Kefka? He was Cid's first experimental Magitek knight. But the process wasn't perfect yet. Something snapped in Kefka that day...
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9002538&publicUserId=6049935