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Director of Research and Development, Hojo doesn't allow things like ethics to hold him back in the pursuit of knowledge. Together with the former director, they pioneered the SOLDIER program, bathing subjects in mako to enhance their battle performance.

Professor Hojo is a major antagonist in the Final Fantasy VII series. He is a supporting antagonist in Final Fantasy VII with an expanded role in Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, and a major antagonist in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-. Hojo also appears in numerous entries of the extended universe, including Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- and Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-.

Hojo is the executive director of the Shinra Electric Power Company's Research and Development division. He develops various biological weapons for the company, but independently pursues his own research in secret. Hojo is a mad scientist who conducts inhumane experiments without regard for ethics or morals. He is mastermind behind SOLDIER, the Jenova Project, the birth of Sephiroth, the Reunion Theory, and many other dark projects.

Hojo is one of the primary antagonists in the series, with his scientific pursuits and experiments linking him to nearly every major villain and profoundly impacting the lives of Cloud Strife, Sephiroth, Zack Fair, and Aerith Gainsborough. He is fought as Hojo, Helletic Hojo, and Lifeform-Hojo N in Final Fantasy VII, and as Weiss Empowered in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-.

History[]

Early history and Jenova Project S[]

Hojo was born in 1945 and eventually joined Shinra's Research and Development division as a scientist, serving as Professor Gast's assistant. In 1977, Hojo and Gast discovered mummified alien remains at the North Crater, mistaking them for a deceased female Cetra. They named the remains "Jenova", and brought them back to the Shinra Building for study. Later that year, Gast approved the Jenova Project.[3] Hojo worked closely with Lucrecia Crescent, Hollander, and Gillian Hewley on the Jenova Project, leading Project S from the Shinra Manor and competing against Hollander's Project G.[4] Hojo married Lucrecia, but used her as a guinea pig for his research.[5] He injected Jenova cells into the fetus of their unborn child, who was born sometime between 1977 and 1982 and named Sephiroth.[3] Hojo also participated in the SOLDIER Project: 0 with Lucrecia and Hollander until 1984, which resulted in failure and the deaths of the test subjects.[6]

Hojo took over Shinra's Research and Development division in 1980 after Gast resigned and went missing,[3] embittering Hollander who also coveted the position.[7] In 1984, he shot Vincent Valentine and experimented on him, granting him an invulnerable body that left him in a death-like state.[8][3] In 1985, Hojo murdered Gast at Icicle Inn, captured the last members of Cetra, Ifalna and Aerith Gainsborough, and confined them to the Shinra Building as test subjects.[9][3]

Original continuity[]

Wutai War, Avalanche Insurgency, and the Nibelheim Incident[]

On June 28, 0001, during "The Lone Discerning Alignment" in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, Avalanche sought to recruit Hojo, releasing research specimens in the Shinra Building. Hojo willingly accompanied Fuhito, intrigued by his Ravens and enticed by his plans to implant the Zirconiade materia into Elfe. Hojo was allowed to test his dragon specimen's combat powers on pursuing Turks, but a dispatched Sephiroth killed it and downed the helicopter. He praised Sephiroth's improved strength, showed interest in Elfe, and returned to the Shinra Building with Tseng, feeling inspired.[10]

Hojo experiments on Zack from CCVIIR
Genesis attacks Hojo, Zack, and Angeal from Crisis Core Reunion

Hojo studies Zack's combat data before Genesis attacks Midgar on orders to kill him.

In April 0001, during Chapter 3 of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Hojo studied Zack Fair's combat performance in virtual reality simulations and deemed him a worthy "study sample".[11] Later, during Chapter 4, Zack protected Hojo during Genesis Rhapsodos's attack on Midgar. Hojo informed him about cell degradation and Jenova. He tested Zack's SOLDIER abilities against released monsters and was pleased with the results. Hojo told Zack that the latter had destroyed the VR machine and would be paying for the repairs before questioning him about SOLDIER and Shinra. Hojo was confronted by Genesis, who intended to kill him on Hollander's behalf, but Angeal Hewley intervened. Hojo referred to them as Hollander's "freak show", expressed dislike for Loveless, an epic Genesis was obsessed with, and mentioned its missing last act.[12]

HojoLastOrder

Hojo in Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-.

On October 01, 0002, during "The Scar that Sunders the Calm" in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- and Chapter 8 of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Hojo arrived in Nibelheim after Sephiroth burned down the village. He ordered a Turk to investigate the Shinra Manor, and conceived a new experiment upon seeing Zack, and especially Cloud Strife, survive their fight with Sephiroth, recovering them for experiments.[13][14] During Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-, Hojo instructed the Turks to rebuild Nibelheim, burying any evidence of the incident.[15]

Hojo began Reunion Theory experiments, injecting Zack, Cloud, and other survivors of the Nibelheim incident with Sephiroth's cells and mako, transforming most into Sephiroth-clones. He tattooed successful subjects with numbers, while failures were left to die. Zack was unaffected due to his previous injection with Jenova cells when he became a SOLDIER and Cloud developed severe mako poisoning, leaving him catatonic and psychologically scarred. Four years later, Zack escaped with a vegetative Cloud.[14]

On October 30, 0006, during "The Howl That Shook Heaven and Earth" in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, Hojo sent Reno and another Turk to capture Nanaki, a member of an endangered species, for research purposes. Nanaki was taken to Hojo's laboratory and branded "Red XIII".[16]

Jenova War[]

During "Storming the Shinra Building" in Final Fantasy VII, Hojo attended a board meeting and updated President Shinra on his research progress, proposing to breed Aerith for quicker results. He was later confronted by Cloud's party, who intended to rescue Aerith. Hojo advised against killing him, suggested they think logically, and unleashed Sample:H0512 on them before escaping.[17]

During "Dangerous Voyage", Hojo vacationed in Costa del Sol. He taunted Cloud about Sephiroth, questioning if he felt called somewhere, and insincerely asked Aerith about Ifalna. Hojo mumbled to head west, ignoring questions about Jenova and Sephiroth being Ancients.[18]

During "That Which Waits in the Northernmost Reaches", Hojo accompanied Rufus Shinra, the new president of the company, as well as Scarlet and Heidegger, to the North Crater. He wondered if they would see Sephiroth and dismissed the "promised land" as a legend. Hojo was amazed by the Weapons and explained their purpose, citing Gast's reports. He was thrilled his Jenova Reunion Theory was proven upon witnessing Cloud's mental collapse, asked Cloud for his nonexistent tattooed number, and dismissed him as a failure, triggering another breakdown in Cloud. Hojo explained the Reunion Theory to Rufus, watched Cloud give Sephiroth the Black Materia, and evacuated with the executives via the Highwind.[19]

During "Mako Cannon Rampage", Hojo sabotaged the Sister Ray, overloaded the mako reactors, and increased the cannon's output without concern for Midgar. He fired at Sephiroth's barrier around the North Crater out of scientific curiosity, killed the Diamond Weapon, and intentionally empowered Sephiroth with more mako energy. Diamond Weapon also damaged the top floors of the Shinra Building, which presumably killed Rufus.[20]

Hojo started the "fragment program", dispersing his neurological data onto the Worldwide Network in case Jenova devoured his mind after cell injection.[21] He was later confronted by Cloud's party, admitting Cloud was the most successful Sephiroth-clone, and revealing himself as Sephiroth's father. He fought the party and was defeated, but soon injected himself with Jenova cells and mutated into the grotesque forms of Helletic Hojo and Lifeform-Hojo N, only to be killed.[20]

Post-death[]

During Hoshi o Meguru Otome, Hojo was sent to an afterlife with a corrupted lifestream. He encountered Aerith and mockingly compared her to Jenova and Sephiroth. Hojo removed his lab coat and revealed a body made of Jenova cells, ultimately becoming his own twisted test subject, driven by madness for science. He told Aerith that her efforts were futile, asserting that all life would eventually become part of Jenova, and was willingly absorbed when Sephiroth merged with the lifestream.[22]

Deepground War[]

Three years later, Hojo took control of Weiss's mind after the Worldwide Network was restored, achieving a digital Reunion. During "Sea of Flames", "Headquarters Under Siege", Deepground Strikes Back", and "Midgar Assault/Fight for the Central Complex" of Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, he commanded the Tsviets and other Deepground SOLDIERs in the Deepground War against the World Regenesis Organization, aiming to summon Omega.[21][23][24][25]

During "Omega & Chaos/A Finale Chaotic", Hojo revealed himself to Vincent through Weiss, crediting Lucrecia's theory and Vincent's transformation into Chaos as his reason for injecting himself with Jenova cells. He aspired to be resurrected as Omega and traverse the cosmos, using Deepground to secure a durable body and utilizing Nero the Sable for his rebirth. Hojo declared the basis of his final experiment revolved around Chaos being born from a tainted lifestream, thus Omega was likely born from a pure one. Despite initially defeating Vincent, Hojo was soon defeated by him, urged on by Shelke Rui. Hojo was baffled by Omega's fading power and protested Nero merging with Weiss as it would infect his vessel for Omega, but the brothers merged regardless and Hojo faded away.[26]

Remake continuity[]

After Ifalna's death, Hojo collected her corpse from the Sector 5 slums, cataloging her dissected hair, skin, organs, and bones. At some point, he recorded a segment for Shinra's Memorial Museum, condescendingly introducing the Research and Development division. Hojo additionally created multiple models of a cyborg named Chadley to assist with his research.[27]

Pursuing the Reunion and Sephiroth[]

Hojo interrogates Aerith from FFVII Remake

Hojo interrogates a captive Aerith.

During "The Belly of the Beast" in Final Fantasy VII Remake, Hojo explained his scientific intentions unrelated to the "promised land" to a captive Aerith, praising her dead mother as a precious specimen before leaving for an executives' meeting. He updated President Shinra on research progress, proposed psychologically torturing and breeding Aerith with SOLDIER candidates, and remarked that something stank after the meeting. He returned to his lab, fantasizing about Aerith's crossbred offspring and methods of mental torture to further his research. When Cloud's party held him at gunpoint and Hojo deduced they were Avalanche, he directed them to President Shinra, but they instead demanded to see Aerith. He unleashed test subjects on them and escaped. He later recognized Cloud and recalled he was never a SOLDIER before the Whispers carried him away, fascinating him.[27]

Hojo addresses the party from the safety of his control room from FFVII Remake

Hojo tests Cloud's party in the Drum.

During "Deliverance from Chaos", Hojo monitored Cloud's party maneuver his large research facility, the Drum, pitting them against various specimens and mechs while collecting data. He periodically commentated and provoked the party, indifferent to them destroying his "toys". Hojo was content with the collected data after the Swordipede was defeated and prepared the party for the next stage, but they escaped.[28] Later on, during "Destiny's Crossroads", Hojo manically laughed about Sephiroth taking Jenova's remains.[29]

During "Blood in the Water" in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Hojo was alerted by Captain Titov that fiends had attacked Shinra-8, some merging with robed passengers and others forming Jenova Emergent. He was intrigued by the new mutations and madly wished to be there, wanting DNA samples. Hojo denied reinforcements, told Titov to let the experiments proceed uninterrupted, promised him a place of honor in his lab, and reminded him to mark his body for identification.[30]

Hojo in Costa del Sol from FFVII Rebirth

Hojo encounters Cloud's party in Costa del Sol.

During "Fool's Paradise", Hojo arrived in Costa del Sol to observe the robed men and was welcomed by Mayor Kapono, who assigned Johnny, Naomi, Fran, and Yorda as his attendants. He taunted Aerith and Cloud, hinting at his status as a Sephiroth-clone and referencing the Reunion Theory. He offered assistant positions to the trio of girls, attempting to entice them with the prospect of helping to birth the world's next hero. Hojo unleashed the Grasptropod on the beach, releasing fiends that fused with the robed men for his research. He intended to collect them and almost captured Cloud's party, but Yuffie Kisaragi intervened, and Hojo took his leave.[31]

During "Those Left Behind", Hojo attended a board meeting about the Magnus Materia Project and the newly-emerged Weapons. He was amused by their arrival, desiring his lifelong dream to capture and study one.[32] During "The Planet Stirs", Hojo infused Roche with S cells at his request, praising his willingness. He boasted about the speedy process, declared himself at the forefront of science, and gazed at a Jenova cell, refusing to improve on something already perfect. He later provided Scarlet with amalgams and Specimen H1024 to help secure the Weapon in the Gongaga reactor.[33] During "The Long Shadow of Shinra", an AI caretaker of Hojo tested Cloud's party in the Shinra Manor. Hojo also observed Chadley helping Cloud's party locate the Nibel Region protorelic and infected him, briefly glitching Chadley.[34]

During "Where Angels Fear to Tread", Hojo accompanied Rufus and the Turks to the Temple of the Ancients, bringing along chained robed men for his research, including Roche. He informed Rufus that the temple was not the promised land but a historic place for a reunion. Hojo eagerly watched Cloud's party enter the temple, anticipating Sephiroth's arrival. He later laughed in amusement as Cloud gave Sephiroth the black materia.[35] During "End of the World", Hojo returned to Midgar with Rufus and the Turks. Rufus denied him the opportunity to treat a gravely injured Tseng, stating he had enough "material". When Rufus asked about what happened at temple, Hojo refused to draw any scientific conclusions, but believed Shinra could dream far bigger.[36]

Characteristics[]

Appearance[]

In both Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII Remake, Hojo is an older man with round glasses, a gaunt frame, hunched posture, lightly tan skin, gray or sometimes brown eyes, and long black hair tied in a ponytail. In Final Fantasy VII, he wears a white lab coat over a white oxford-style shirt, white slacks, and dark brown shoes. During flashbacks, Hojo wears a teal dress shirt beneath his lab coat, paired with white and navy blue breeches, and black shoes. In Final Fantasy VII Remake, he has facial stubble and wears a black oxford-style shirt under his lab coat, navy blue slacks, and black dress shoes.

The younger Hojo sports a white lab coat over a cadet blue dress shirt in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- and he wears his lab coat over a white dress shirt paired with a blue tie, grayish brown slacks, and black dress shoes in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-.

Personality[]

I wish only to satisfy their material greed so I can be left to pursue my great work.

Professor Hojo from FFVII Remake

Hojo is madly devoted to science.

Hojo is a mad scientist, passionately driven by intellectual curiosity and nothing material.[37] He is self-righteous and pompous, claiming to have the greatest intellect in the world and speaking condescendingly to others.[3][1] He worships science, desiring only to pursue knowledge, understand the planet, and travel the cosmos.[4][38]

Hojo conducts inhumane experiments on live subjects without remorse or regard for decency.[3][1] He despises his own ignorance, having underestimated certain test subjects like Cloud and powers surpassing science like Sephiroth. He never apprises Shinra leaders of his work, keeping his research and plans to himself.[3] Tseng theorizes Hojo's sinister personality was influenced by his closeness to Jenova.[39]

Hojo regards everyone and everything as test subjects.[1] He is mostly hated by his colleagues, who view his eccentricity, willingness to switch sides for the sake of research, and unethical experiments as dangerous. Hojo felt inferior to Gast's genius and eventually murdered him.[9][3] He detests Hollander, sharing a rivalry over their separate Jenova Projects and power struggle for their division's leadership, dismissing him as a second-rate scientist and calling his Project G subjects monsters.[7] He admires Lucrecia for her intelligence and appearance, marrying her and bringing Sephiroth into the world together, but they clash over research, and he also used her as a research subject.[3][3][5]

Hojo never explicitly mentions being Sephiroth's father, but Sephiroth is his primary motivation beyond science. He believes Sephiroth's abilities transcend scientific understanding and watches him with great interest, eventually helping him gather more power.[3][4][7] Hojo views research subjects as mere pawns for his scientific goals and takes pleasure in experimenting on the Ancients, Ifalna and Aerith, both of whom are deeply disturbed by him.[17][27][40]

Abilities[]

Hojo was a brilliant scientist who contributed to numerous projects for both Shinra and himself. He developed various biological weapons for the company, researched the Cetra for many years, and led the Jenova Project, personally overseeing Project S, which led to the birth of Sephiroth.[3][4][7][1] Hojo enhanced warriors by bathing them in mako, ultimately creating the SOLDIER program.[7][1]

Hojo started the Jenova Reunion Theory, injecting survivors of the Nibelheim incident with Jenova cells and mako to create people who would have powers like Sephiroth's.[3][15][38] Hojo was also a tech expert who uploaded his neurological data to the Worldwide Network before Jenova devoured his mind and Cloud's party killed him, later using his data to digitally revive himself and possess Weiss with the goal of becoming Omega.[8]

Gameplay[]

Hojo is fought during Act 4: Decisive Battle in Final Fantasy VII as Hojo, Helletic Hojo and Lifeform-Hojo N. Though he has many forms only one resembles him as a human, as the others are mutated monsters. In Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, Hojo is fought as Weiss Empowered.

Behind the scenes[]

According to the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega,[41] in the early story drafts of Final Fantasy VII Hojo's death happened earlier and under different circumstances. In the game's original story ideas Sephiroth was not the one who was "cloned", but rather, Red XIII. Red XIII would have been a beast-type SOLDIER and Hojo would have produced clones of him, all following the same naming pattern of color and number. Originally, the party was planned on having to face the Red XIII clones, and after having defeated them, the party would have been forced to fight Hojo and kill him.

Voice[]

Hojo was originally voiced by Nachi Nozawa in the Japanese releases of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- and Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- until Nozawa passed away. Paul Eiding provided his voice in the English releases. In Final Fantasy VII remake project releases, Hojo is voiced by Shigeru Chiba in Japanese and James Sie in English.

Etymology[]

"Hōjō" is a common Japanese family name with historic importance. The Hojo clan was a family of regents of the Kamakura Shogunate between 1203–1333 A.D. The Hojo were an offshoot clan of the Taira, by whom the latter founded the Shogunate military oligarchy through Taira no Kiyomori. Though they helped to spread Zen Buddhism and were at the helm of operations to fend off the Mongol Invasions, the Hojo clan all met their end upon the Siege of Kamakura in 1333, committing mass seppuku as the city burned down upon the end of the war. Their personal swordsmiths were the Soshu school, who included Yukimitsu and his son, Masamune.

Another clan named Hojo, founded in 1493 and dissolved in 1591, was a daimyo in the Sengoku period (1467–1603).

The individual kanji of Hōjō (宝条?) mean "treasure"(宝贝)and "article / item / strip / method"(条件、一条衣服、条理)respectively. It is perhaps an ateji or transliteration of a Japanese name using Chinese characters.

It is unknown whether "Hojo" is his first or last name, but since Professor Gast is referred to by his first name with his title, the same may be the case for Professor Hojo.

He, Rufus, and President Shinra are the only characters in Final Fantasy VII to have kanji in their name.

Citations[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Final Fantasy VII Remake Ultimania, p. 48
  2. Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Signature Series Guide, p. 07
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, p. 09
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Crisis Core Complete Guide, p. 30
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Official Complete Guide, p. 318-319
  6. Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Ultimania
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-
  9. 9.0 9.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "Beyond the Snow Fields"
  10. Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, "The Lone Discerning Alignment"
  11. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 3"
  12. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 4"
  13. Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, "The Scar that Sunders the Calm"
  14. 14.0 14.1 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 8"
  15. 15.0 15.1 Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-
  16. Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, "The Howl That Shook Heaven and Earth"
  17. 17.0 17.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "Storming the Shinra Building"
  18. Final Fantasy VII script § "Dangerous Voyage"
  19. Final Fantasy VII script § "That Which Waits in the Northernmost Reaches"
  20. 20.0 20.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "Mako Cannon Rampage"
  21. 21.0 21.1 Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, "Chapter 1 (Dirge of Cerberus)"
  22. Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, p. 576-591
  23. Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, "Chapter 4 (Dirge of Cerberus)"
  24. Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, "Chapter 6 (Dirge of Cerberus)"
  25. Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, "Chapter 8 (Dirge of Cerberus)"
  26. Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, "Chapter 11 (Dirge of Cerberus)"
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Belly of the Beast"
  28. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Deliverance from Chaos"
  29. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Destiny's Crossroads"
  30. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth script § "Blood in the Water"
  31. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth script § "Fool's Paradise"
  32. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth script § "Those Left Behind"
  33. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth script § "The Planet Stirs"
  34. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth script § "The Long Shadow of Shinra"
  35. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth script § "Where Angels Fear to Tread"
  36. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth script § "End of the World"
  37. Final Fantasy VII Kaitai Shinsho The Complete, p. 29
  38. 38.0 38.1 Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania
  39. Final Fantasy VII The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story
  40. Final Fantasy VII Remake Trace of Two Pasts
  41. Early Material File Character Files – p. 519 and part of p. 520 of the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega (Accessed: February 14, 2020) at The Lifestream

References[]

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