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
The court mage of the Gestahlian Empire, Kefka was their first experimental Magitek Knight, giving him the ability to use magic. However, the process was not yet perfected and the infusion damaged Kefka's mind, transforming him into a maniacal harlequin with an unquenchable thirst for blood. Chaotic and unpredictable in his drive to cause destruction, Kefka eventually turned on Emperor Gestahl and seized control of the Warring Triad to become the god of magic, and used their power to destroy the known world.
Kefka has been well received critically, and is often considered by reviewers and analysts to be one of the greatest villains in the Final Fantasy series and video games as a whole.
- 1 Profile
- 2 Story
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Musical themes
- 5 Other appearances
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 Merchandise
- 8 Gallery
- 9 Etymology and symbolism
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
Kefka has long blond hair tied into a ponytail, worn with a feathered headdress. His face is painted white with red around his eyes and his lips are variably bright red or purple. He wears a large, ruffled collar that is primarily yellow with red stripes. His eyes are green.
In his original concept art, which has been used as the basis for his spin-off appearances, Kefka wears robes with an erratic mix of colors and patterns. The torso of his robes is a mash-up of white with pink polka-dots, black with yellow stripes, and plain purple. He wears a long red cloak with a yellow lining and red triangle trim along the interior and yellow and red tassels along the edge. Emerging from above his left shoulder is a mass of material in different patterns. The largest is white with red triangle trim, and with it are three more swatches of material; yellow with blue crown-like patterns, blue with red and white stripes and red trim, and the last is a solid green.
His left sleeve is red with an elbow-length yellow glove that fades to white at the wrist and has green accents along the fingers. His right sleeve is a puffed purple pattern with red polka-dots, and ends above the elbow at a yellow material. His glove is orange with a large cuff and white fingers and red claws, and white swirl patterns like flames emerge from under the cuff and run up his sleeve. His leggings are red, his left leg runs down to his boot, which is two-toned black with pink and gold lining, and the right leg has the red end above his knee over a single blue tight, and his boot is white with a black triangle trim and pink lining. Both his boots are pointed and curled. Finally, he has a yellow skirt wrapped around his waist and a red sash dangling over his right leg, which bears a pattern of black triangles with red lining and half-black, half-white spots.
Alternate concept arts depict Kefka in differently colored robes with different patterns. One such art was used for the basis of Kefka's sprite as a boss in Final Fantasy VI and has influenced his design in some spin-off appearances; the primary differences between his usual appearance and this variant is his clothing features more white and pink, his leggings have white and black stripes, and his collar ruffle is white with alternating red and blue triangles instead of yellow with red stripes. Another concept art that served as the basis for Kefka's field sprite in the Super NES release of Final Fantasy VI gives him robes in various shades of green and yellow with red on his right leg. The Super NES field sprite also depicts him as having slightly gray hair similar to Locke Cole. His field sprite in the 2014 iOS and Steam releases is redesigned to bear a stronger resemblance to his concept art and battle sprites, giving him red and orange robes with a green belt, purple boots, and his cape has green spots along the edge and a larger green pattern along the back of his neck that resembles leaves. He also has a more vibrant shade of blonde hair. His Pixel Remaster sprite is refined to bear an even closer resemblance to his concept art. Kefka wears red robes with a green collar, a yellow and green belt, a red sash on his waist, one blue legging, purple boots, and a green and red cape. He also has a lighter skin tone than other characters to give the impression of his white make-up.
As the god of magic, the only remaining traits of Kefka's previous human form are his blond ponytail and feathered headdress. His skin is violet and he is bare save for a purple loincloth wrapped around his waist; the exact shade of his skin and loincloth vary between depictions. He is more muscular and in some depictions has a golden crest of swirls running along the center of his torso. Kefka has six wings in this form; the upper two pairs are feathered wings in a pale purple color, and the lower pair is a set of leather wings, black with a gradient purple lining. The central pair of feathered wings are much longer than the other two, and in some depictions Kefka's upper pair of wings merge with the middle pair.
Hee-hee-hee! But what's the fun in destruction when there are no 'precious' lives lost?Kefka
Kefka cares nothing about anyone or anything but himself and he finds no greater joy in life than in inflicting suffering and death unto others. He has no long-reaching goal for his destructive actions, destruction itself is the goal. He manipulates the emotions of others and will readily lie without hesitation, but his purpose for doing this is again usually nothing but his own amusement in tormenting them. Kefka's need to inflict suffering drives him to continuously greater heights to sate his urges, culminating with the ruination of the entire world and the deaths of countless creatures.
Confronted by the party at the end of the game, Kefka reveals the ultimate revelation he has achieved—that life is meaningless. All things that live will die, everything people care about will be destroyed, and everything they achieved will be forgotten. Thus Kefka declares that struggling to continue living in the face of death is pointless and stupid, and people should accept their fates and surrender themselves to destruction at his hands. When the party refutes his claims with their personal reasons for living, Kefka flies into a rage and declares that he will destroy those reasons, and the concepts of love and hope are worthless and he will destroy them as well.
Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy grant a more tragic insight into this mindset: Kefka is so insane and twisted by Magitek experimentation that he is incapable of understanding love and hope and only feels joy when destroying, and his actions are born out of a continuously escalating need to satisfy destructive urges that are never fully sated. He eventually resorts to destroying himself to see if that will finally be enough, self-destructing in a mournful cackle.
Kefka is flamboyant and childish. He is shorttempered and flies into rages at the slightest provocation and has no self-control or restraint. He cracks dark jokes about the atrocities he commits and frequently breaks into hysterical laughter. He is a narcissist who enjoys crossdressing and admiring his own appearance in mirrors. His Ultimania profiles state he enjoys playing with dolls and hates General Leo, who is a morally upstanding soldier.[note 1] Though he enjoys hurting others, Kefka cannot stand to be hurt himself and the sight of his own blood sends him into a violent rage.
In the Japanese versions of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka's dialogue places greater emphasis on his childish nature, while western releases emphasize his hateful and cruel side. In the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VI, he refers to himself with the first-person pronoun boku-chin, a pronoun usually reserved for young boys.
Kefka's powers grow throughout Final Fantasy VI as he accumulates magicite and absorbs power from espers. He prefers ice and poison spells, as well as the Drain spell. When faced as a cinematic enemy using his field sprite, Kefka wields a Morning Star as his weapon.
Kefka has an aptitude with machines: he uses a Slave Crown to control Terra, operates a pair of cranes to attack the party, and his tower contains extensive factory areas still in operation with upgraded forms of Imperial Magitek machines. Prior to becoming a god he was strong enough to neutralize the powers of espers and possessed a spell to instantly kill them and transform them into magicite, which he could cast on groups of espers after taking a moment to channel his power. At this level of power he could also create convincing illusions of himself and others and have them fight for him while he remained hidden.
As the god of magic, Kefka possesses some of the strongest magical attacks in the game, and it is this form that spin-off titles usually base his skillset on. Kefka uses Firaga, Blizzaga, and Thundaga, and his Heartless Angel drains the party's HP to 1. He possesses a powerful physical attack called Havoc Wing, which in spin-offs is depicted as Kefka using his wings to strike. His other attacks include Hyperdrive, sending a wave of explosions along the ground at a target; Trine, using a triangular field of energy to inflict status ailments; Meteor, summoning a swarm of meteorites to bombard the party; and Ultima, creating a sphere of energy that grows and explodes.
Kefka's ultimate attack in Final Fantasy VI is Forsaken, which assaults the party with a wave of magical energy with a distinct visual effect similar to television static. Though he does not use it as a boss, Kefka also possesses the "Light of Judgment", a beam of destructive light that he fires from high atop his tower to destroy towns that anger him. In spin-off titles, either Forsaken or the Light of Judgment are often depicted as Kefka's Limit Break or equivalent mechanic.
A recurring theme in Kefka's attacks is that they hit in erratic patterns that are difficult to predict, such as his Firaga spells zigzagging in the air before converging on enemies in the Dissidia series. In Final Fantasy XIV he can invert the areas his spells affect, leaving the spots they would normally hit as the safe areas.
As the god of magic, Kefka's telekinetic powers are strong enough to levitate debris from around the world to form a massive tower to serve as his lair. When the party confronts him he levitates them and throws them around with ease. He creates monsters to defend his tower and he revives the Warring Triad from their petrification for the same purpose. He possesses at least a minor level of omniscience, able to see things around the world, and an man in Tzen claims he felt like Kefka was watching him shortly before the Light of Judgment struck the town. Kefka's Light of Judgment is strong enough to sink towns into the sea and severely alter the landscape around them, and it is implied it may create monsters in its wake.[note 2] Due to his nature as the god of magic, Kefka is the source of magic in the world, and his death marks the end of magic and the destruction of all espers and magicite.
When the party confronts Kefka, he appears before them using his normal field sprite, but is in his god form in battle—it is unclear if this is due to technical limitations, or if Kefka is able to shift between his human form and god form. His appearances in other titles depict him as being able to shift at will, entirely or partially to manifest his wings to attack with.
Prior to the start of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka was the first experimental Magitek Knight, a process that gave him the power to cast magic. The process was imperfect however, and Kefka's mind was damaged, transforming him into a destructive madman. Kefka became infamous in the Empire for his cruelty, not hesitating to murder even women and children. These behaviors alienated Kefka from the Imperial soldiers, but earned Emperor Gestahl's appreciation and he began to trust Kefka with more important assignments.
When word came that a frozen esper had been dug up in the northern town of Narshe, Kefka used a Slave Crown to take control of Terra. As a test of his control over her, Kefka ordered her to burn fifty Imperial soldiers, which she did; the incident was heard of in lands beyond the Empire, sparking rumors of a dangerous "witch" in their ranks. He also attended, alongside the other high-ranking Imperial military officers Celes and Leo, Emperor Gestahl's declaration of war speech, proceeding to salute him, though he neglected to motion for Terra to do the same.
Kefka sent Terra to Narshe with Biggs and Wedge as her escort to retrieve the frozen esper. Though the three defeated Narshe's guards and found the esper, the creature reacted to Terra's presence, killed Biggs and Wedge, and damaged the Slave Crown, knocking Terra unconscious. Terra was smuggled out of Narshe by Locke, a member of the Returners, a resistance group opposed to the Empire. Gestahl sent Kefka to Figaro Castle to investigate Terra's disappearance while Locke took her there; the king of Figaro, Edgar, was publicly an Imperial ally but secretly backed the Returners.
Edgar feigned ignorance of Terra's whereabouts when Kefka questioned him, but Kefka was not fooled and returned in the night and set fire to Figaro. He demanded Edgar bring Terra to him, but Edgar had prepared for Kefka's treachery and fled the castle with Locke and Terra on chocobos, and Figaro Castle burrowed into the desert. Kefka ordered his escort, two Imperial soldiers piloting Magitek armor, to attack them, but the trio defeated them and made their escape.
Kefka headed to an Imperial Camp on the outskirts of Doma Castle. General Leo was leading a siege of the castle, but their efforts had been stymied. Kefka intended to usurp Leo's command of the Imperial force and break the stalemate by poisoning Doma's water supply. Leo refused to allow Kefka to use such inhumane tactics, but when he was recalled by Emperor Gestahl Kefka put his plan into action. Edgar's brother, Sabin, was infiltrating the camp with the ninja mercenary Shadow, and when they overheard Kefka's intent they intervened to stop him. The Imperials stalled the two long enough for Kefka to dump the poison and Doma was decimated; the lone survivor of the massacre, Cyan, joined forces with Sabin and the Returners.
Kefka led a larger Imperial force to Narshe to lay siege the city and take the frozen esper. The Returners—Terra, Locke, Edgar, Sabin, Cyan, and other new allies Celes, a former Imperial general, and Gau, a wild child—regrouped at Narshe and organized in defense of the city. On the cliffs above Narshe where the townsfolk had moved the esper, the Returners made their stand against Kefka and his forces, and fought their way through the Imperial ranks to defeat Kefka. Kefka retreated, vowing he would not forget the defeat. In the aftermath, Terra approached the frozen esper, transformed into an esper-like form, and flew away.
The Returners found Terra in the care of an esper, Ramuh, who asked them to infiltrate the Empire's Magitek Research Facility in the capital city Vector to free the captive espers there. Ramuh told the Returners about magicite, the remains of dead espers that is able to transfer their power to their holder more efficiently than the Empire's Magitek extractions. In the facility the Returners spied Kefka torturing the weakened espers Ifrit and Shiva, deeming them drained of power and worthless to him. He tossed the two into a garbage chute, and the Returners retrieved their magicite and continued to the main research labs.
The Returners shut down the extraction tubes, but the espers had been drained of too much energy and transformed to magicite. The head of Magitek research, Professor Cid, came upon the scene and realized the truth about Magitek power. Kefka was nearby and also learned this, and ordered Celes to bring the magicite to him. Kefka claimed that Celes had faked her defection to infiltrate the Returners, and when the group let their guard down he ordered a pair of Imperials with Magitek armor to attack. Celes teleported Kefka and his men away in a show of loyalty and the group left with Cid. Cid sent them down a mine cart to the outside and they rendezvoused with Setzer, owner of the airship Blackjack that had ferried them to Vector. Kefka rushed to the Imperial Palace and activated a pair of cranes to attack the Blackjack, but the Returners destroyed them and escaped.
The Returners learned that Terra was half-esper, and headed to the Cave to the Sealed Gate that led to the esper world so Terra could ask the espers for aid in attacking the Empire. At the gate Kefka appeared and taunted them, claiming he and Gestahl had allowed Terra to fall into the hands of the Returners so they would open the gate for them. As the Returners and Kefka fought, Terra's calls were answered and the gate opened, and espers rushed out and carried Kefka away. The espers attacked Vector and decimated the Empire, and by the time the Returners arrived to investigate the aftermath, Gestahl had found out about Kefka's actions at Doma and imprisoned him for war crimes.
Gestahl called a ceasefire and asked the Returners to aid the Empire in locating the rogue espers and getting them to attend peace talks to end the war. The Returners agreed and Terra and Locke accompanied an Imperial expedition led by General Leo to Thamasa, where the espers had last been sighted. They found the espers and convinced them to return to Thamasa to meet with Leo. At the town the two sides had reached an understanding when Kefka appeared with a small contingent of Magitek armored soldiers and incapacitated the Returners and Imperials alike. Kefka told Leo he was here on Gestahl's orders and killed the espers and seized their magicite, and then ordered his troops to burn the town. Leo fought Kefka to stop him, and Kefka vanished and called for Emperor Gestahl. Gestahl seemed to appear before Leo and admitted his true goal was to acquire power, but Gestahl then turned into Kefka, who revealed Leo had been fighting and speaking with illusions. Kefka pushed Leo to the ground and leapt on top of him and killed him.
As Kefka reveled in the power rush the magicite was giving him, the Sealed Gate was forced open again by another group of espers that sensed the deaths of their friends. They flew to Thamasa to attack Kefka, but he neutralized them and slaughtered them, claiming their magicite. Kefka returned to Gestahl and the two entered the esper world and found the Warring Triad, a trinity of ancient petrified gods that had originally created the espers and magic itself. With the power of the Warring Triad, Gestahl raised the island the Sealed Gate was on as the Floating Continent, the Triad at its summit.
The Returners flew to the Floating Continent on the Blackjack and confronted Gestahl and Kefka. Celes stepped forward to try and talk sense into Gestahl, but he used the Triad's power to paralyze the other Returners and invited for Celes to join him and Kefka in ruling the world. Kefka gave Celes a sword and ordered her to kill the others to prove her loyalty, but Celes rounded on Kefka and stabbed him. Infuriated, Kefka called out to the Warring Triad and they began to react. Gestahl ordered him to cease, as the Triad's awakening would destroy the world and there was no value in such a thing, but Kefka refused. Gestahl tried to strike down Kefka with magic, but his attacks were absorbed by the magical field the Triad projected. Kefka ordered them to show Gestahl their true power and bolts of divine lightning rained down around them; one struck Gestahl and mortally wounded the emperor, and Kefka kicked him off the edge of the Floating Continent to his death.
Kefka knocked Celes aside and moved the Triad, disrupting their balance of power. Shadow arrived and began to push them back into place, pinning Kefka between them. With the disruption of power the Returners were freed and escaped to the Blackjack with Shadow, but it was too late to stop the damage Kefka had done. With their formation changed and their balance destroyed, the power of the Warring Triad was unleashed on the world in a chaotic cataclysm that reshaped the face of the planet, killed countless people and animals, and destroyed the Blackjack, scattering the party across the world.
In the year that followed, Kefka built a tower in the former location of Vector, using debris from the Imperial city and the rest of the world in its construction. He situated himself atop the tower, guarded by the Triad, and drained their power to become the god of magic. In the ruined husk left of the world, citizens lived in constant fear of Kefka using the "Light of Judgment" to burn down their town if they displeased him. Kefka used the light to destroy Mobliz and attacked South Figaro as well, though its citizens regrouped and rebuilt the town. He later attacked Tzen, but the only destruction caused was the collapse of a manor home. A cult dedicated to worship of Kefka was created whose members built their own tower, and citizens around the world, either afraid of Kefka's wrath or with no purpose left in their lives, left to join the cult.
The Returners regrouped and invaded Kefka's tower, destroying the Warring Triad before they reached the tower's summit. They stood before Kefka as he flaunted his power and told them their lives were meaningless and insignificant. The Returners replied that he was wrong and gave him their reasons for living, but Kefka refused to accept this and turned the Light of Judgment on the world. The Returners attacked and Kefka fought them in the form of a divine being, but was defeated and faded away.
With Kefka's defeat, the source of magic in the world was gone—the party's magicite crumbled to dust and Terra's power began to fade. With her last strength she led the party out of the tower to their new airship, the Falcon, and they escaped the collapse of Kefka's tower. Terra survived the destruction of magic due to her bond with the orphans of Mobliz, allowing her to remain in the world as a pure human. With Kefka's death the world began to rebuild and the Returners savored their victory.
Kefka is fought as a boss on five occasions, though only three are actual battles. He is fought in Narshe and Thamasa as a normal boss, and at the end of the game as the final boss. In the Imperial Camp and at the Cave to the Sealed Gate, Kefka is faced as a cinematic enemy in battles that end in cutscenes as soon as Kefka is attacked.
Additionally, several dummied stats for Kefka exist. A dummied enemy named "Kefka", without Kefka's sprites, appears within the file. There are also many dummied stats and equipment given for Kefka as a party member, used for the cinematic battles where he is fought using his field sprite. If hacked into the party, he will lack battle commands during combat; the game will freeze when it is his turn, unless other hacks are used to give him viable battle commands.
"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.
"The Fanatics" is the background music for the Cultists' Tower and plays during the party's confrontation with Kefka atop his tower. It features drumbeats and synthesized low male vocalizations (female vocalizations in the TOSE rendition).
"Dancing Mad" plays during the final battle with Kefka. 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 are 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. In some official remixes, such as the Distant Worlds rendition, the synthesized vocals are replaced with actual vocals in Latin. The lyrics allude to Kefka's role in destroying the world and his insanity.
Kefka has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy XIV as the final boss of Sigmascape V4.0, the final wing of the Omega: Sigmascape raid in the Stormblood expansion.
- Final Fantasy Tactics S as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Dimensions II as a summon.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy NT as a playable character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character and enemy boss.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as an enemy boss.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as an enemy boss.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival as a playable character and enemy boss.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy All the Bravest as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy World Wide Words.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision and enemy boss.
- War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as an enemy boss.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
Kefka has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:
- Itadaki Street series as a playable character.
- Lord of Vermilion series.
- Puzzle & Dragons as an obtainable character and an enemy boss.
- Monster Strike as a playable character.
- Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ as an event boss named Mysterious Sir.
- Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble as a playable character.
Non-Final Fantasy appearances
In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, there is a dungeon called the "Kefka Burial".
In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Kefka is mentioned in the Japanese version as one of the incorrect answers in Dr. Topper's quiz, specifically "Who is the ultimate enemy in this adventure?" (In the localized versions, this was changed to "Goomba").
Behind the scenes
According to Final Fantasy VI director, 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.
The developers did not initially intend to create a "world of ruin". Rather, the plan was for the party to save the world and defeat Kefka just as the world was about to be destroyed. However, because the game was coming along more smoothly than expected, the developers could free up time to implement another version of the world after its "end".
Although Kefka's status as a magitek knight was strongly implied throughout the game, the player does not find this out during standard gameplay. It instead requires that the player infiltrate Vector and reach the bar area without getting caught and talk to the barman.
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.
Because of the different aspect ratios for their platforms that make the screen "shorter", in the GBA and iOS versions of Final Fantasy VI characters move differently in some cutscenes to keep them in the frame. With Kefka this is most observable during the party's confrontation with him before the final battle - in the Super NES and Playstation releases, Kefka stands still on his perch, but in subsequent releases he moves up and down and the field of energy surrounding him follows him. The Steam version of Final Fantasy VI also retained this change.
In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Kefka breaks the fourth wall during his victory pose, leaning back to make a face at the viewer as the camera rotates around him. This has become a recurring trait of Kefka in spin-off appearances. In Dissidia NT one of his intro poses is to pretend to creep past the camera before stopping and turning to face the viewer, and as a victory pose the camera tilts out of place and Kefka levels it before stepping back to pose with his team. In Opera Omnia he looks at the viewer in the same manner as his Dissidia NT intro pose when using his Havoc Wing EX Ability. In Final Fantasy XIV Kefka brings his hands together and mimes a gun pointing at the party as the camera moves in front of him, and he grins and "fires" at the viewer as the battle begins.
Pop culture impact
Kefka is considered one of the most popular villains in Final Fantasy by fans and critics, often being compared to Sephiroth in terms of impact and legacy. His ruthlessness and brutality, dark sense of humor, and success in attainment of godhood and ruling over the world for a year before being killed, are often cited as reasons for his appeal. Video game websites including GameSpot, IGN, Kotaku, and GameSpy, have consistently ranked Kefka high in polls of Final Fantasy characters and video game villains and bosses, both in staff-written articles and in reader polls. He is often compared favorably to the Joker from Batman media, for reasons including his clown-like appearance, chaotic insanity, and evil laugh.
Kefka's English voice actor is Dave Wittenberg, who also voices Yazoo in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Amodar in Final Fantasy XIII, and Captain Cryptic in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Wittenberg voiced him with a high-pitched and comical top tone that occasionally drops to an intimidating growl. In the Japanese versions, Kefka was voiced by Shigeru Chiba, who also voices Valkus in the OVA Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals and Provost Zaidou Tekise in Final Fantasy Agito and Final Fantasy Type-0. Dissidia Final Fantasy was the first instance of Kefka being vocalized, and Wittenbrg and Chiba have returned to voice Kefka in all appearances since that have featured voice acting.
Kefka is known for his high-pitched trademark cackle. Kefka laughs often but usually only cackles prior to significant plot events. 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 Dissidia, Kefka's laugh is performed by his voice actors in a manner identical to the synthesized sound effect used in Final Fantasy VI.
The same original sound effect of Kefka's laugh in the original Super NES port of Final Fantasy VI was retained in the Pixel Remaster port and in Final Fantasy XIV. 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.
A figure based on Kefka's god form was released in the Master Creatures series. It bears the name Cefca Palazzo. It depicts Kefka's final boss form floating above the swirling yellow mist. His standard appearance later appeared as part of Volume 5 of the Creatures -Kai- series.
Etymology and symbolism
Kurt Koffka, a German psychologist who worked on the Gestalt psychology. Another possibility is Franz Kafka, known for his stories based around hopelessness whose writings are considered existentialist."Kefka" may derive from
"Palazzo" is a common last name of Italian descent and means "palace", "mansion", or "castle". The word can also be cut to the adjective pazzo, the equivalent of "insane". Its pronunciation is similar with the word palhaço, which means "clown" in Portuguese.
The term pagliaccio (pronounced: paʎˈʎattʃo or PAH-yah-CHOH) means "clown" in Italian, which possibly bears an intentional resemblance to Kefka's surname and fits his distinctive clothing.
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, as well as the form itself being named such in Dissidia NT. Additionally, the three stages of his Statue of the Gods first place him in the role of Satan as he appears in Dante Alighieri's Inferno, before having him sequentially mock both the concept of Purgatory and Michelangelo's Pietà, and at last appear in his final angelic form. The final form also appears to present an opposite scenario to the famous image of God reaching out to Adam while giving an emphatic gaze; whereas God is depicted reaching with his right hand to connect to Adam and humanity, Kefka retracts his right hand, holding out his left in a gesture of repulsion towards the party while giving a mocking smirk.
In the 2015 Dissidia arcade game, Kefka's default player name is "nameless madcap". A madcap is slang for someone who is insane, and when used as an adjective indicates that a particular object was eccentric in nature.
Kefka's nihilism, and the Returners' refutations of his nihilism, allude to the Japanese philosophical concept of mono no aware ("the impermanence of all things"). This belief states that all things in life - including life itself - are fleeting and soon to pass, but it is their impermanence that makes them beautiful, and one must understand and accept this as a fact of life to be able to let go of things that are lost. The Returners reflect this ideology by finding happiness in life in spite of the losses they have suffered, while Kefka rejects this ideology as nonsensical and sees destruction itself as the only happiness worth pursuing.
- The English Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive misstates this and lists Kefka's like as General Leo and dislike as playing with dolls.
- The Crumbling House is suddenly full of monsters after Kefka attacks Tzen with the Light of Judgment, but it is not clear if Kefka or the Light created them, or if the monsters entered the house as it began to collapse.
- Final Fantasy VI The Complete, p.181
- Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume 1, p.303
- Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania File 1: Character, p.305
- NPC: I got this strange feeling Kefka was watching, then the whole town started shaking... Scared me out of my mind!
- Final Fantasy VI, Vector citizen: Here's another one for you... That Kefka guy? They say he was Cid's first experimental Magitek knight. The process hadn't been perfected yet. Kefka ended up with extraordinary magic power, but it shattered his mind...
- 20th Anniversary Ultimania, p.174
- The Making of Dissidia Final Fantasy - Final Words from the Producer (dead) (Accessed: June 05, 2016) at 1UP.com
- 25 Years Since The Release Of Final Fantasy VI – Looking Back At The Passion (Accessed: April 09, 2019) at One Million Power