The self-proclaimed guardians of law and order in Archadia. They're the Elite Guard of House Solidor. Which effectively makes them the commanders of the Imperial Army.Balthier
The Archadian Judges in Final Fantasy XII are the de facto guardians of law and order in the Archadian Empire, making them in effect the nation's Supreme Court, and commanders of the Archadian military. They are also the elite guards of House Solidor, the Archadian ruling family. Judges are referred to as "your honor" by both outsiders and each other.
The Archadian Judges are a special order of knights under the Imperial Archadian Ministry of Law. With the spread of Archadian influence came a rise in crime and regional conflicts. To reduce the amount of time required by judicial process, House Solidor introduced legislation bringing a military court into existence, this being the origin of the Order of Judges. They are the supreme enforcers of Archadian law in the world of Ivalice. Each wields extraordinary legal power in his or her own right over lower-ranked Archadian officers.
The higher ranked Judge Magisters, in addition to functioning as chief arbiters and enforcers of Archadian law, are also the elite guard of House Solidor which effectively makes them the commanders of the Imperial Army.
The Judge Magisters wield quite a bit of magickal and physical power. They are called on sometimes to guard high profile people, such as Princess Ashe or Lord Larsa. They are also sent on the most sensitive and important missions, such as retrieving the Dusk Shard or the Sword of Kings.
Judge Magisters are always seen in full plate armor and are rarely seen with their helmets off. Each Judge Magister has a unique set of armor with complex helmet ornamentation, usually including horns. All known Judge Magisters are humes, and Judge Gabranth once states to Ba'Gamnan that the Archadian Empire only employs humes in their military.
List of Judges
This is a list of Judges, currently active and inactive from the beginning of Final Fantasy XII.
- Judge Bergan - Judge Magister of the Archadian Imperial Army and director of the 2nd Bureau. He is killed by the party atop Mt Bur-Omisace, unable to control the manufacted nethicite grafted into his bones.
- Judge Drace - Besides being Judge Magister, she also serves as mentor and mother figure to Lord Larsa. She is killed as a test of Gabranth's loyalty to Vayne when she accuses Vayne of killing his father. She is the only female Judge Magister.
- Judge Gabranth - Judge Magister of the 9th Bureau, which is primarily concerned with the gathering and dissemination of information. His true name is Noah fon Ronsenburg, the twin brother of Basch fon Ronsenburg, and has a personal vendetta against him. After Gabranth dies his post is taken by his brother Basch.
- Judge Ghis - Officiant of the 13th Bureau and commander of the Dreadnought Leviathan, the flagship of the 8th Fleet of the Western Armada. He despises Vayne and after capturing the Dawn Shard begins plotting to take the crown for himself. He pays for his hubris when the Leviathan implodes after he tests the Dawn Shard in its engine.
- Judge Zargabaath - Captain of the Alexander, flagship of the 12th Dalmascan Fleet of the Archadian Army. Zargabaath is the only Judge Magister to survive the events of the game.
- Judge Zecht - Judge Zecht was sent on a mission to Nabudis to test the Midlight Shard. The results were catastrophic, wiping out the capital and covering the area in a thick Mist. Afterwards, he quit the Archadian military and was assumed missing, probably dead, and is considered "a great man" by several of the other Judges. Two years later, Judge Gabranth finds the wayward Judge, posing as a sky pirate called Reddas. Zecht sacrifices himself to destroy the Sun-Cryst, redeeming himself of his previous atrocities.
- Ffamran - Appointed Judge by Dr Cid, Ffamran only served the Archadian military for a short time. Due to Cid's growing madness he ran away, changed his name to "Balthier" and became a sky pirate. Ffamran was never a Judge Magister.
- Hausen - Judge of the Archadian empire, Hausen is Larsa Solidor's bodyguard while he treks to the land of the garif in Kerwon, Jahara. Not much is known about this Judge, apart from the fact that he is a male hume. The party only encounters him if they double-back to Jahara and speak to him after Larsa joins the party. If the party does this, he will reward them with two Hi-Potions and an Ether.
Judges appear as enemies, often accompanying the Judge Magisters in battle. Ghis, Bergan and Gabranth are fought as bosses during the story.
Trial Mode is a bonus mode exclusive to the Zodiac versions. Its stage 100 battle is against all Judge Magisters: Judge Gabranth, Judge Ghis, Judge Bergan, Judge Drace, and Judge Zargabaath. This is the final level of the trial and considered its ultimate challenge. This thus adds Drace and Zargabaath, who are not fought as bosses during the main storyline.
The "Theme of the Empire" is played in many scenes associated with the Archadian Empire. The theme "Upheaval (Imperial Version)" plays in all the boss battles against the Judges.
Some of the Judge Magisters appear in Final Fantasy Record Keeper.
Bergan, Gabranth and Drace appear on a job card.
The Judge Magisters appear in Final Fantasy Trading Card Game. Each represents a different element.
Behind the scenes
The Judges in the world of Ivalice appear to not only draw inspiration from judiciary powers and chivalric order knights closest to the monarchy, but also from samurai, specifically retainers in the service of daimyo and the aristocratic court. Many of the Judge Magisters wear horned helmets, most notably Gabranth. In pre-Meiji Restoration Japan, some samurai armor incorporated a horned, plumed or crested helmet used to identify military commanders on the battlefield. Popular culture has come to associate horned helmets with Vikings, although there is no evidence that Viking helmets had horns. Horns as a symbol represent strength and aggressiveness.
The Imperial Legatus armor designs in Final Fantasy XIV are based on the Archadian Judges' armor.
The English voice recording for Final Fantasy XII was done in Los Angeles under the direction of Jack Fletcher, but the localizers did not want to use the "go-to anime voice actors", especially for the Judges who wear full-face helmets and thus didn't need the voice actors to be able to match the lip animations. Stage actors were auditioned for the parts, many of who had never done voice acting before. For many of the Judges the localization team did ADR recording to picture without the actors seeing the picture, largely British stage actors who recorded in a studio in the UK with the team giving direction over an ISDN line.
The collector's editions for The Zodiac Age include busts for the Judges.
- EDGE #278 Tale of Tales Meet Alexander O Smith the translator who's brought some of Japan's biggest RPGs to the West p. 95
- A Voice for Ivalice: The Localization and Voice Acting of Final Fantasy XII (Accessed: April 01, 2020) at US Gamer