Your power is a gift, not a curse. No matter what happens, you must remember that. You are this world's last ray of light...our final hope.Banon, to Terra
Banon has long, messy and bushy brown hair and beard with a mustache. He wears a brown cloak with layered green, orange, and yellow linings, and green robes with black pauldrons, red bracers, brown boots, and a belt with a zebra-striped sash. His in-game sprites simplify this to an orange cloak with a large collar that covers his upper chest, a green tunic, red bracers, red pants, and brown boots. Banon's hair remains long, although straight rather than messy, but he retains his beard and mustache.
Banon is pragmatic and straightforward. He is forthcoming to Terra about her being the Returners' only hope to turn the tide of the war and speaks openly of rumors that she killed fifty Imperial soldiers; when Locke protests that she has no memory of doing this, Banon replies "hiding from the truth won't change it!" He's strict and serious but not harsh, and coaxes Terra to see her magical abilities as a gift, not a curse, that can be used to help defeat the Empire. He has a high level of self-control, although he shows happiness when Terra agrees to join the Returners.
Banon is quick to remind others of the near-destruction of the world during the War of the Magi and fears that the Gestahlian Empire's pursuit of Magitek power will result in history repeating itself. Instead of using Magitek machinery to combat the Empire, Banon believes the best course is to get the aid of the espers directly, and believes the war can be brought to an end swiftly if they can earn their trust. When the espers decimate the Empire, Banon can barely believe they could be capable of wreaking such destruction.
Banon's unique ability is Pray that restores HP to his allies.
Edgar, Locke and Terra escaped Figaro Castle after Kefka's attack, and Edgar asked Terra to come with them to the Returners' Hideout and meet Banon if she wanted to be protected from the Empire and learn more about her powers. At the hideout Banon told them a story about a man who opened a box that unleashed the evils of humanity on the world, leaving only a ray of light: hope. Banon believed Terra is that light, their last hope to repel the Empire. He besought her to speak to her allies and hear their reasons for fighting the Empire and see if it convinced her to aid them.
While the Returners were meeting, the Empire conquered South Figaro to use as a staging ground for further northern invasions, and a force began to make its way over Mt. Kolts to the Returners' base. When one of their agents brought warning of this, Banon elected to flee down the Lethe River with Terra, Edgar, and Sabin, and go to Narshe to investigate the frozen esper there that first brought Terra to the Returners' attention; Locke would go to South Figaro to sabotage the Empire's advance. On the river the four were attacked by Ultros and Sabin was washed away, but the remaining three made it to Narshe safely.
At Narshe the local guards refused the three entry, as they recognized Terra from when she had attacked the town with the Empire. The guards knocked Banon back when he tried to explain the situation. Terra remembered a secret entrance into the mines that Locke had used to get her out of town, and they used this entrance to sneak into town and meet with Arvis, a secret supporter of the Returners. Arvis warned Banon that the townsfolk were adamant about remaining neutral in the Imperial war, and Banon met with the Elder of Narshe to try and convince him of the need to act against the Empire, but the elder was unmoved.
During the negotiations Sabin and Locke arrived with new allies: Cyan, Gau, and Celes, a former Imperial general. Celes knew the Empire was planning to attack Narshe with a larger force, and when a guard reported that force approaching, the elder agreed to at least allow the Returners to protect the town. At the cliffs above the town where the frozen esper had been moved, the Returners made their stand; with Banon guarding the passage to the esper, the other Returners fought off the Imperials and faced Kefka commanding the attack and sent him into retreat.
After the battle, Terra confronted the esper and transformed into an esper-like being that flew away. Banon remained in Narshe while the party searched for Terra. When they found her and discovered her origins—that she was the child of an esper and a human—they returned to Narshe. Banon informed them the city had agreed to support the Returners, and they had been coming up with a plan to attack the Empire with a combination of Figaro's machinery and Narshe's resources, but they lacked the manpower. Banon suggested Terra go to the Sealed Gate to the esper world and ask the espers for aid, and they could storm the Empire from the east while the Returners invaded from the west.
Banon's plan worked better than he expected: a group of espers rushed out of the Sealed Gate and laid waste to the imperial capital Vector, causing massive destruction and casualties. When the coalition of Returner forces reached the city, the Imperials put up no resistance and surrendered. The party arrived at Vector and had a banquet with Emperor Gestahl, and he told them the war was over and asked them to help the Empire locate the espers before they attacked again. Banon was dubious of the idea of teaming up with the Empire to look for espers, but the party went along with it.
Banon's fate after this point is unclear; he is never seen again once the party departs Vector to go on the Imperial expedition.
Banon is an Oracle (神官, Shinkan?, lit. Oracle)[note 1] His four primary stats are very low, with his Magic being mediocre. However, his defensive stats—Defense, Magic Defense, Evasion, and Magic Evasion—are higher than any of the playable cast save for Umaro. His equipment is permanently set to a Punisher, Magus Hat, and Silk Robe. Because Banon has no MP, the Punisher's effect to deal a critical hit at the cost of MP will not trigger. Though the Punisher has high attack power for the point in the game he is playable, Banon's extremely low Strength makes him an ineffective attacker.
Banon's ability is Pray, which casts the equivalent of a Cura spell on the party. Pray is considered a spell, which means it is affected by Runic and reflect, and Banon is unable to use Pray if he is affected by silence or imp. With Pray Banon is an effective support character; Terra, Edgar, and Sabin can focus on attacking while Banon spends every turn using Pray to top up the party's HP. A level grinding spot on the Lethe River allows the player to battle enemies over and over, using Banon's Pray to sustain the party.
While Banon is in the party, if he is KO'd it is an instant Game Over. Through the player is not informed of this until boarding the raft on the Lethe River, this condition is in effect the entire time Banon is in the party, including the Three Scenarios. For this reason it is best to keep Banon in the back row. Because his level is much lower than the party's (he is the average of the party's levels minus three), it is beneficial to level up Banon a bit outside the Returner Hideout before boarding the raft.
Behind the scenes
In the Super NES and PlayStation Anthology versions, when Edgar suggests using Magitek weapons of their own to combat the Empire, Banon's refusal to resort to such a tactic is disabled due to an oversight in the dialogue coding, and the conversation skips to him suggesting they have Terra speak to the frozen esper to wake it up. This has the effect of giving the impression Banon concurs with Edgar's idea instead of opposing it. This glitch is fixed in the Game Boy Advance version, making it clear that Banon's intent from the beginning was to combat the Empire with the aid of espers, either the frozen esper or the espers beyond the Sealed Gate.
Banon lacks a chocobo-riding animation. While many guest characters do not have chocobo-riding sprites, this is not an issue for them as the player cannot ride a chocobo while they are in the party. Banon is an exception—a chocobo stable lies in a forest south of Figaro Castle, so players can travel far south of Narshe and rent a chocobo while Banon is the party leader. If they do this, when Banon and the chocobo are turned to the side, Banon's sprite will turn into a distorted version of Terra's esper form using his palette, as the game tries to load Banon's chocobo-riding animation from where such an animation ought to be, and the sprite for Terra's esper form is the next after his in the game data. All versions of Final Fantasy VI have this glitch with the exception of the Pixel Remaster port, which gives Banon a proper animation when riding a chocobo.
Banon's fate is unknown. Given that Gestahl's alliance with the Returners was revealed to be a trick, they may have had him killed when the deception was revealed. Otherwise it would seem that Banon perished in the cataclysm. When Hironobu Sakaguchi was asked what happened to Banon and Arvis (whose fate is also ambiguous), Sakaguchi replied "use your imagination".
Banon's sprite with a different palette is reused for Duncan.
Banon is a Welsh female name meaning "Queen". An alternate spelling (Bannon) is a family name of Anglo-Saxon origin that translates to "warrior" or "soldier".
- The Japanese word (神官, Shinkan?) can be used to refer to either priests of Shinto religious practices, or oracles of ancient Greece.