Sephiroth (Final Fantasy) | cultural impact

Cultural impact


Sephiroth has served as basis for several types of merchandise. These include the "Extra Knights" action figures first published by Bandai in Japan in 1997.[52] A different model was released as part of the Play Arts collection, following the release of Advent Children. At the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con International, Kanji Tashiro, Square Enix's manager of merchandise, said that this figure was one of their best-selling items.[53] With the release of the movie Sephiroth was also included in a series of promotional material, primarily consisting of posters. Kotobukiya has included the character in numerous merchandise, including a series of cold casts based on his appearance in both the original game and the film sequel. As a result of promotional campaigns organized in Japan by Square Enix and Coca-Cola, a version of Sephiroth drawn in a super deformed style was featured in the first two volumes of a promotional collection.

Products not connected to the release of the games or film have also been produced. These include a figuren as part of the Final Fantasy Trading Arts Vol. 1 series,[54] a set as part of the Square Minimum Collection alongside Cloud, and a rare figure of "Safer Sephiroth" as part of the Final Fantasy Creatures series (Chromium). "Reverse Sephiroth" was also released as a normal figure in volume 2. A figure based on his appearances in the Kingdom Hearts games was released in the second series of the Play Arts Kingdom Hearts sub-line.[55] Some replica weapon companies have produced replicas of Sephiroth's sword, the Masamune, as a 6-foot-long (1.8 m) katana with a stainless steel unsharpened blade.[56][57] Other types of merchandise includes collectible cards, keychains, lighters, phonecards and plush toys.


On multiple occasions, numerous gaming magazines have chosen Sephiroth as one of the best villains from both the Final Fantasy series in specific and in all of video games in general. GameSpy placed him eighth in their 2014 list of top villains in games, commenting on how difficult it is to defeat him in Final Fantasy VII.[58] In 2005, Sephiroth was the winner in a GameFAQs character battle involving only villains.[59] IGN listed him at number two in its 2006 list of most memorable villains, as well as the fourth top video game villain.[60][61] He has been named the number one villain in an episode of G4's Filter.[62] PC World placed him second in their 2008 list of most diabolical video game villains of all time.[63] That same year, Sephiroth was listed at the top of IGN's list of Final Fantasy VII top characters, with Dave Smith calling him the "heavyweight champion of Final Fantasy villains," and praising his appearance and backstory.[64] He would take the same spot in the list of top 25 Final Fantasy characters by the same site.[65] In IGN's Final Fantasy reader's choice, also written by Smith, Sephiroth was placed fourth, with commentary focusing on his activities in the game's plot.[66] In a retrospective on Final Fantasy antagonists, GamesRadar listed Sephiroth as their top pick, citing his developed motives and acts of evil.[67] GamesRadar also put Sephiroth in their 2013 list of the best villains in video game history at number six.[68]

In 2007, Sephiroth was named the 14th best character of all time in Dengeki PlayStation's retrospective awards feature about the original PlayStation.[69] placed Sephiroth 25th on their 2009 list of top Japanese RPG characters, calling him "one of the most visually striking villains of all time" while praising how different he is from previous Final Fantasy villains.[70] In 2010, Famitsu readers voted Sephiroth as the 21st most popular video game character.[71] Sephiroth was also featured alongside Cloud in ScrewAttack's list of top ten "coolest" characters, although they preferred Cloud.[72] In the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition from 2011, he was voted as the 32nd best video game character of all time.[73] In 2011, Empire ranked him as the 13th greatest video game character, calling him "just insanely cool" and adding "Cloud may be the hero but the real star of FFVII was undoubtedly its dashing villain, Sephiroth".[74] Complex had him ranked as the 35th "coolest" video game villain ever in 2012,[75] as well as the seventh "most badass" video game character and the third greatest Final Fantasy character of all time in 2013.[76][77]

A reader's choice poll organized by GameSpot placed Sephiroth as the best boss of all time, receiving five times more votes than Bowser, who finished in second place; most of the comments noted the difficulty of the final fight against Sephiroth, as well as its distinctive elements when compared to other games.[78] In 2005, Electronic Gaming Monthly listed him as number one in their list of top video game bosses.[79] Game Informer ranked the "top-notch" fight against Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII at third place on their 2008 list of top boss battles.[80] PlayStation Official Magazine included him on their 2012 list of ten best boss fights ever, commenting that "after potentially 100 hours of chasing the murdering swine, you finally catch up with Cloud’s nemesis Sephiroth, and it’s one of the most epic battles in PlayStation history."[81]

The scene in which Sephiroth kills Aerith during Final Fantasy VII has also prompted much commentary. For example, when comparing him with Cloud, ScrewAttack noted that with this scene, Sephiroth was established as "the biggest bastard."[82] GamesRadar simply called him "the biggest cock blocker in the gaming world," as writer Shane Patterson found Aerith's character to be appealing, and due to the fact Sephiroth killed her, players were unable to use her anymore.[83] Also referring to the scene as a shocking moment, GameSpot suggested that the FMV sequence of Sephiroth appearing in front of the Nibelheim fire "might be one of the most recognizable cutscenes ever to grace video games."[84] GamesRadar's article "Non-playable characters we wish were playable" featured Sephiroth as a character that they wished would have been playable in Final Fantasy VII so they "could relive skewering Aerith like an annoyingly dainty, needlessly chaste salmon over and over."[85] IGN put Sephiroth in the 2009 articles "Big Boss of the Day" and "Baddie Brawl", with the latter comparing him with Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid.[86][87] Lisa Foiles of The Escapist included Sephiroth on her 2014 list of top five katana wielders.[88]

However, some game editors have criticized Sephiroth's character. For example, IGN's Smith has stated that "Sephiroth was certainly a good-looking fellow, but his motivations were about as clear as mud."[89] When comparing Sephiroth with the Final Fantasy VI villain, Kefka Palazzo, GamesRadar commented that he "seems as interesting as a dead accountant painted brown."[90] took a humorous approach to Sephiroth's several appearances after apparent deaths and in other games, ranking him third in their "They Is Risen" feature, which covered the ten most notorious video game resurrections. The publication noted that if the character continued to be used, Square Enix would eventually "run out of ways to remix One-Winged Angel."[91] GameSpy editor Ryan Scott called Sephiroth the "King of Overrated Characters" during GameSpy's villain feature for Dissidia Final Fantasy, arguing that gamers were impressed by him only because of his design and by how he killed Aerith during Final Fantasy VII.[92] On the other hand, AnimeFringe called him "the most notorious villain in the entire Final Fantasy series" and "quintessential bishōnen in the eyes of many fans -- male and female," comparing him with Kefka and praising his complexity.[93]

Critics have also commented on Sephiroth's role in other games. In relation to Crisis Core, IGN AU stated that "even Sephiroth gets his moments in the sun," praising the depth in his backstory, which would later make his boss battle more entertaining.[94] IGN UK agreed, stating that his character was granted "a more human dimension" and enjoying some of the events from before his transformation into a villain.[95] His boss battle was also shown in's "25 More of the Most Badass Boss Fights Ever" in which the staff praised how the original battle from Final Fantasy VII was expanded in the title.[96] A feature published by GamerHelp included Sephiroth's Kingdom Hearts's fight in a feature titled "The Hardest Bosses of All Time", noting that regardless of the player's skill "walking away from this match unscathed" is not possible, to the point of saying that the fight was more difficult than the entirety of Final Fantasy VII.[97] AnimeFringe stated that only advanced gamers would be able to defeat Kingdom Hearts's Sephiroth because the player has no backup and that his "devastating attacks can kill in seconds."[20] In 2013, Complex ranked Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II as respectively the seventh and fifth hardest boss fights in video games; in addition, Safer Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII placed 12th.[98]

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