I've never known Sephiroth. I just... I sense him there. It's unbearable to think that Mother might want Sephiroth more than...Kadaj
Kadaj is the primary antagonist of the novel Final Fantasy VII The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story and the secondary antagonist of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. An embodiment of Sephiroth's will manifested from the lifestream, his goal is to find Jenova, whom he considers his mother, and bring about a second Jenova Reunion.
The novel, Final Fantasy VII The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story, written by scenario writer Kazushige Nojima, sheds some light on the events that happened before Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
Like the other embodiments of Sephiroth's will, Kadaj resembles Sephiroth, Vincent Valentine describing him as a "larval" form of Sephiroth. He has shoulder-length silver hair that partially covers his face and green cat-like eyes. Being the youngest-looking remnant, Kadaj has slender, wiry frame and is the shortest of the three.
Kadaj wears black leather clothing that consist of a long coat, boots, and trousers. Kadaj's coat is zipped up to his upper sternum while keeping the lower half open and coattails are strapped to his legs. The image of a single wing is sewn on the back of his coat as an allusion to Sephiroth. He wears black leather gloves and shoulder guards with the straps crossed over his chest. Kadaj's weapon is the Souba, a katana with two parallel blades, which he carries in a sheath on his lower back.
It doesn't matter who she picks, your all going to meet the same end!Kadaj to Rufus Shinra
Kadaj embodies Sephiroth's cruelty and insanity. Nomura describes Kadaj as "insane" whose speech pattern conveys his unstable mind and volatile mood, intermittently talking quickly and then slowly, or breaking into laughter for no apparent reason. Despite his emotional instability, Kadaj has a cunning and deceptive mind, be it using his ability to disguise himself to manipulate others or using brainwashed children as a shield against Cloud Strife. Kadaj is arrogant and mocks Rufus Shinra and the Turks, and enjoys intimidating the former during their interactions. Kadaj thinks of Cloud as his "brother" through Jenova, but considers him a traitor to their cause and treats him with murderous contempt. Vicious and sadistic, Kadaj takes pleasure in tormenting others, particularly Cloud, and in the mayhem that he and his brothers cause during their search for Jenova.
He is devoted to Jenova and dedicated to finding her, but is unaware of Sephiroth's influence over Jenova. Knowing he is simply a remnant of Jenova's legacy and not "whole", Kadaj is brittle about who he is and his purpose in life, and insecure over Jenova "choosing" Sephiroth over him. Though he does not fully understand who Sephiroth is, he tells Rufus he can sense his presence, giving insight to the source of his insanity and motivations. When driven to anger, Kadaj attacks with fury, such as when he attacks Cloud when he calls Kadaj Sephiroth's pawn.
He views all of humanity as "shallow little fools" who cannot go more than a few moments without repeating the mistakes of the recent past before gilding them while pushing forward. Kadaj admires how Jenova traveled across the eons just to erase fools like Shinra Electric Power Company and those who follow them from the face of existence. He questions why others bother to oppose him when their misguided actions make the endeavor fruitless, displaying both a nihilistic view as well as the same hatred for mankind as his progenitor.
Nimble and fierce, Kadaj is a skilled swordsman and battles Cloud competently one-on-one. When Cloud is weakened due to Geostigma, Kadaj can defeat him, and is strong enough to defeat both Reno and Rude alone. Kadaj can summon hordes of Shadow Creepers from the negative lifestream and uses materia to summon Bahamut SIN. In Advent Children Complete, Kadaj infiltrates Healen Lodge by transforming into a black mist.
Upon walking into lake at the Forgotten City, Kadaj demonstrates the ability to exert his will in a form of a black substance, darkening the water; the Jenova cells within the children active when they drink it. This may be a form of Limit Break, as Kadaj glows like other characters in the film when they use theirs.
In The Kids Are Alright-, Kadaj appears before certain individuals under the guise of deceased persons from their past to manipulate them to help him search for Jenova, reminiscent of Jenova's transformation power. He can vanish and reappear in another location, and to become immune to attacks from firearms, likely extensions of his ability to disperse into mist. He can take away people's physical pain as well as re-grant it, as evidenced by his "mending" Evan Townshend's shoulder wound and his encounter with Evan in the mountains.
Unlike most antagonists with great physical and magical power in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Kadaj does not have Jenova cells, and does not acquire materia until halfway through the events of Advent Children. His unusual magic abilities derive from the negative lifestream that makes up his body, while his great physical strength and combat proficiency come from being a personification of Sephiroth's memories.
Kadaj was born in a pond of blackened water near Junon and attacked Kyrie Canaan before fully manifesting, dragging her deeper into the water and nearly drowning her. After Kyrie was saved by Red XIII and brought to Junon, Kadaj ended up conversing with her behind Dr. Eugene's office. To Kyrie, she saw him as a friend who died in an arson incident, due to Kadaj's ability to mimic the appearance of one's dead relatives, a trait he shares with Jenova. This dead friend's name was Kadaj, and he adopted the name. Tseng witnessed this, seeing Kadaj did not match the description Kyrie gave, and Tseng suspected he was Jenova. After introducing himself to Tseng and shaking his hand, Tseng and Kyrie passed out, letting Kadaj leave the area quietly. Kadaj later disguised himself as Fabio Braun and healed Evan Townshend's wound from the surgery for when his arm was shot.
He later lured Evan to a cabin in Icicle Inn after threatening to kill Kyrie if he did not follow, and asked if he knew where Jenova was. He revealed he had met Doctor Drake earlier, asking the same thing, and was told to look in the Shinra Building, but he had found nothing there. As Kadaj explained that he had returned to Drake and gravely injured the man in his disappointment, Evan briefly glimpsed Kadaj's true form. Since Evan was unable to give him answers, Kadaj revealed he had taken away Evan's pain after the surgery, and undid the healing, leaving Evan in agony. When Tseng arrived to find Evan, Kadaj attacked him, but soon fled when he realized Tseng also did not know where Jenova was.
Kadaj then attempted to manipulate Kyrie into supplying him information on Jenova's remains, but Kyrie, having been warned by Tseng not to trust Kadaj from their previous encounter, shot at him. Angered, Kadaj conjured forth his sword and threatened to kill her and Evan, burning down Icicle Inn while pursuing them. When the Turks arrived to help the duo, Kadaj jumped abroad their helicopter and attacked them, tricking it into downing itself with a missile. He goaded Kyrie into going into one of the crevasses and pursued them in the caverns, where they found a Jenova's shriveled, mummified arm. Recognizing the still-living remains of his "Mother", Kadaj attempted to recover it, but Evan kicked into it the lifestream. Kadaj dove after it and dissolved into the lifestream, but not before vowing to return to the physical realm.
My reunion, bet you're dying to watch...Kadaj to Cloud right before turning into Sephiroth
Kadaj's trip into the lifestream, like Sephiroth before him, did not kill him. He revived himself within the North Crater as the Turks were collecting Jenova's remains, as well as having two more remnants of Sephiroth, Loz and Yazoo, come to existence alongside him. They defeated Tseng and Elena before deciding to locate Jenova's head, which remaining the Turks escaped with. The trio subsequently tortured the two Turks they had captured for Jenova's location before heading to the Forgotten City, which they made as their base-of-operations.
Kadaj and his brothers traveled to the Midgar Wasteland and attack Cloud while he was out riding his motorcycle, believing he might knows where Jenova's remains were. As his brothers attacked Cloud with their Shadow Creepers, Kadaj spoke to one of the Turks over the phone about Jenova's remains. Unable to get answers, he recalled the monsters, signaling Loz and Yazoo to retreat as well, and set off to find Rufus Shinra. Arriving shortly after Cloud left Rufus, Kadaj revealed the plague Geostigma was caused by the remnants of Jenova in the lifestream and that those infected were part of a plan for a second Jenova Reunion that would recreate Sephiroth. As Kadaj and his brothers lacked Jenova's cells and Geostigma alone was not enough, so Jenova's remains were needed for a "true reunion". Kadaj believed Rufus knew where they were, but Rufus claimed ignorance, even when Kadaj leveraged Tseng and Elena's lives. Although he did not believe Rufus, Kadaj left him and the Turks alone for the time being and returned to the Forgotten city.
With a group of infected children brought to the Forgotten City, Kadaj told them Geostigma was caused by their bodies rejecting Jenova's influence, and that her presence made them brethren. Kadaj exerted his will as a black substance in a pool of water and had the children drink from it, activating the latent "reunion instinct" in their Jenova cells. When Cloud arrived to save the children, Kadaj and his brothers battled him. With Cloud outnumbered and weakened by his own Geostigma infection, the remnants easily overwhelmed and defeated him, but Vincent Valentine saved Cloud and took him to safety. Having been secretly spying on the remnants, Vincent told Cloud of Geostigma's true nature and the impending rebirth of Sephiroth it could mean, although he did not yet reveal Kadaj's connection to Sephiroth.
With the their reunion instincts to guide the children, the remnants looked for Jenova's remains in Edge. While his brothers prepared to destroy the Meteor monument to look for the remains, Kadaj took Rufus to a skyscraper under construction to witness the event. Kadaj and Rufus conversed over their views of humanity, Kadaj asking why mankind bothers to constantly rebuild after destroying everything they make. When Rufus explained people rebuild to "gild the past" and rid themselves of a recent problem, Kadaj assumed he means Geostigma and remarked it was Shinra who brought it upon the planet. Kadaj also talked about his connection to Sephiroth and confirmed that Sephiroth was about to be reborn. As Loz and Yazoo battled the Turks, Kadaj summoned Bahamut SIN to attack the city and destroyed the Meteor monument. After Cloud and his friends defeated Bahamut SIN, Rufus revealed Jenova's remains in a box concealed under his cloak to a shocked Kadaj.
After Rufus cast the box off the building, Kadaj leapt after it and caught it mid-air, though Rufus's gun shots had damaged the container. The ensuing chase between the remnants and Cloud along the highways into Midgar led to the apparent deaths of Yazoo and Loz, who tried to prevent Cloud from reaching Kadaj. Kadaj gained the lead and stopped at the Sector 5 slums church to inspect Jenova and was horrified at what was left of her and cried. When Cloud burst in, an enraged Kadaj attacked him with various spells, but Aerith called a geyser of healing water to erupt from the flowerbed, wounding Kadaj and causing him to flee while curing Cloud of his Geostigma.
Cloud confronted Kadaj outside the ruins of Shinra Building, where Kadaj was unaware of what to do with Jenova's remains now that he had them. When Cloud pointed this out, Kadaj bitterly acknowledged that he was a "puppet" and retaliated in rage. Back to his full strength, the battle ended with Cloud as the victor and Kadaj hanging from the edge of a tower. Having loss his sword and cornered by Cloud, Kadaj leapt into the air and absorbed Jenova's remains into his body, recreating Sephiroth moments later.
After Sephiroth's defeat, a mortally wounded Kadaj reformed from his dissolving remains and attempted a halfhearted attack on Cloud, but instead collapsed into his arms. Weakly calling him "brother", Cloud held him while Aerith spoke to Kadaj from the lifestream. Believing her to be Jenova, Kadaj called her "Mother" and happily dissolved with her guidance.
Kadaj has appeared in the following media throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a card.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as an enemy.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision and enemy.
- Mobius Final Fantasy.
- Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
Behind the scenes
Sephiroth was an incredibly powerful rival for Cloud in the game. We needed a villain just as powerful for this film, but maybe even more so given the short amount of time. That's why we made Kadaj so evil, in addition to being insane.Tetsuya Nomura, Reunion Files.
Kadaj was designed by Tetsuya Nomura. Before Kadaj was named, or his brothers were designed, the character model and artwork for Kadaj were called "Lost Name". Kadaj was the first remnant to be shown in film footage, appearing during the Tokyo Game Show in a short trailer in which he fights Cloud, who is armed with the Buster Sword, which in the final film would be replaced by the Fusion Swords. For this scene, Nomura attended the motion capture session and modeled for Kadaj himself to demonstrate his fighting style using a bamboo sword. At this point, Kadaj was referred to as "the mysterious enemy".
Kadaj was made the youngest remnant and their leader to provide the psychological terror of an unstoppable child. Kadaj and his brothers could be the youngest villains in the Final Fantasy series; though physically in their teens, the trio has only existed for two weeks when they attacked Edge. At first, Kadaj was meant to be a violent teen acting out irrationally. The subplot of the remnants pursuing Shinra to find Jenova's head was added to give Kadaj a purpose to pursue.
Two scenes featuring Kadaj—his conversation with Rufus during the attack on Edge, and his death scene where he hears Aerith—were going to be cut from the final product, but Nomura pushed for them to be included to expand on his character. The staff envisioned Kadaj as a reminder of what Cloud once was—a puppet to Sephiroth's will—which led to the inclusion of the line in which Kadaj reminds Cloud of this. The line endeared Kadaj to the staff, which led to the development of more scenes featuring him. Nomura remarks that Kadaj is a "tragic" character and that his scene with Aerith is meant to give him salvation.
According to The Turks Are Alright, Kadaj got his name from Kyrie after he took on the appearance of a deceased friend of hers as part of a ruse, but came to adopt it as his own. Being the only one to meet Kyrie, Kadaj likely named his brothers after two of Kyrie's other deceased friends who had died alongside his own namesake.
Kadaj is voiced by Shotaro Morikubo in the Japanese version. He shares his Japanese voice actor with Naghi Minatsuchi from Final Fantasy Type-0. Morikubo's voice helped shape Kadaj as a dazed youth with an insane streak. Nomura chose Morikubo as he felt Kadaj would have an accent, and Morikubo had a peculiar speech pattern he found fitting. Morikubo joked that Kadaj's lines were difficult to get right due to the sudden shifts in tone his insanity called for, and it was only after failing to get them right and "losing his cool" that the desired effects would be achieved. Co-director Takeshi Nozue described Kadaj as being easy to model as the strength of Morikubo's voice work gave a strong impression of how Kadaj should look.
He is voiced by Steve Staley in the English release.
Khadaj (خــداج) is Persian for "incomplete" or "imperfect". This refers to Kadaj's role as a remnant of Sephiroth.
- Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children -Reunion Files-