Just as his name implies, he is an animal with fire-red fur. But under his fierce exterior is an intelligence surpassing that of any human's...Description
Red XIII, real name Nanaki, is a red lion or wolf-like beast and one of the playable characters in Final Fantasy VII. He also appears in other entries of the Final Fantasy VII series. He is a guest in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Red XIII is the only quadrupedal playable character in the main Final Fantasy series so far.
Red XIII is the name he received as a specimen designation while held captive and experimented upon by Professor Hojo, and remains the name he is called by the party and in battle in Final Fantasy VII. Although he is 48 years old, he is developmentally equivalent to a 15- or 16-year-old human by his long-lived species' standards. He fights alongside Cloud Strife and his allies to fulfill his duty to the planet to defend it as a warrior.
Red XIII uses headdresses to enhance his damage. His earlier Limit abilities augment his stats by adding positive status effects, but his later abilities deal physical attacks to enemies based on his own damage.
Red XIII is a quadrupedal animal with dark red and orange fur and a thin brown mane. His right eye is scarred, and the remaining eye is ochre. He is adorned with a variety of beads, earrings and feathers around his head, with golden pastern braces and brands on his legs. One of these brands is the roman numeral "XIII". The tip of his tail burns, and he seems able to control the flame. Red XIII has black patterns on his legs and what appears to be face paint. He has tattoos on his shoulder and thigh, and as Red XIII's father also has a similar one , these tattoos can be taken to be cultural to their tribe. The XIII tattoo, meanwhile, was placed on him by Professor Hojo.
It is never stated exactly what Red XIII is. It is known that his species is long-lived, he had two parents who perished, and he is one of the last of his kind. He has both feline- and canine-like traits. Reno states in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- that Red XIII "looks like a lion". In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Red XIII roars like a big cat and in Final Fantasy VII Remake, his growls sound like a tiger's. His body shape resembles a mix between a lion and cheetah, with defined, powerful shoulders and he can rotate his front legs, allowing him to swipe side to side with his sharp claws, like a feline. His head is broad, with a defined chin and a flat triangular nose. His teeth also resemble those of a feline's, as apposed to a canine's, who have more teeth than a feline. He is nimble and he walks with a feline gait. However, his howling and association with the moon appear canine, and at another point in Advent Children, Red XIII yelps like a canine as he hits the ground after Bahamut SIN shakes him off. In the original Final Fantasy VII in Costa del Sol, he will bark if the player kicks a football at him and a girl calls him a dog. In Remake he has non-retractable claws, which make his paws look more canine, but he still has sharp, curved claws, as apposed blunt canine claws. On the Way to a Smile: Episode: Nanaki, a hunter calls him a wolf. In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Barret refers to him as a "lab rat- uh, dog", and Red XIII later jokingly refers to himself as a "rat dog".
Red XIII has a strong sense of honor and courage, especially regarding his father, whom he believed a coward who abandoned his tribe. He is polite, curious and observant, with something of a distaste for humans, which may stem from Shinra's treatment of him. He is intelligent, and knows much about the planet due to being raised in Cosmo Canyon.
Red XIII can still be feral when called upon. Red XIII's novella in On the Way to a Smile expands on this duality, showing Red XIII torn between living like an animal or a human—his intelligence and conscience make it difficult for him to live as an animal, while his animal appearance and qualities make him seem as such by humans who disregard his humanizing traits.
Red XIII's dialogue to some of the optional scenarios is different before and after the Cosmo Canyon events to reflect his new-found mindset after discovering the truth about his father, although this is more noticeable in the Japanese script than in the English counterpart. For example in the scenario where Yuffie steals the party's money, before the Cosmo Canyon events Red XIII responds "Greed... A perfect example of human nature," but after Cosmo Canyon he will say, "Give... give back what is rightfully mine!" which no longer includes a demeaning note about the human species.
Red XIII was born in Cosmo Canyon to an unnamed mother and his father Seto. That year, Seto ran off, and Red XIII assumed he had fled in the face of an impending invasion by the Gi tribe. In reality, Seto sacrificed himself to stop an attack from the Gi through the tunnels under Cosmo Canyon. When his mother died, Red XIII was cared for by the elder of Cosmo Canyon, Bugenhagen, whom he came to affectionately call "Grandfather."
Planet ritual and capture
During the events of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- on October 10, 0006, Red XIII partakes in a ritual to appease the planet held every 50 years, but is reluctant as he does not consider himself a warrior. Another member of his tribe, Deneh, is to be his companion for the ritual, and she accuses him of being a coward. When the Turks arrive to capture one of them as a specimen for Professor Hojo, Red XIII attacks them to save Deneh and prove himself a guardian of the canyon. He is defeated, but the Turks allow him to finish the ritual to appease the planet before taking him to Midgar.
Red XIII joins Cloud's group sometime in December 0007 during Final Fantasy VII after being rescued from the Shinra Building. In the original game Cloud's party encounters him during an experiment involving Red XIII and Aerith, in which Hojo is trying to interbreed them to "preserve" their species (Aerith being a Cetra), and provide him with new specimens.
At some point during Red XIII's captivity, Hojo placed a tattoo of the Roman numeral XIII on his left front leg. His right eye was also damaged sometime between his capture and initial discovery by Cloud, Barret, and Tifa, leaving him with a prominent scar and monocular vision. Red XIII later speculates the tattoo means Hojo has injected him with Jenova cells to create another Sephiroth-clone. In actuality, the tattoo is from an unrelated experiment, as Red XIII was captured by Hojo more than three years after the other Sephiroth-clones were created; this is also confirmed in the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega.
Hojo places Aerith and Red XIII in the same containment tank and Cloud's party rushes the lab. Red XIII feigns aggression against Aerith, prompting Barret, one of Cloud's companions, to shoot at the tank, which malfunctions as a result. Hojo opens it and Red XIII lunges at him while the others rush to save Aerith. Red XIII introduces himself and surprises everyone with his ability to talk despite his feral appearance. Red XIII remarks the name is a designation given to him by Hojo, so they can call him what they wish. He helps the party battle another of Hojo's experiments and after being captured by the Turks, Red XIII is not returned to Hojo's lab, but incarcerated in a prison cell within the building alongside Barret, from which they soon escape.
After escaping Midgar, Red XIII intends to stay with the party until they reach Cosmo Canyon. In Kalm, Red XIII listens to Cloud's account on the Nibelheim Incident with interest, and in Junon the party has to cross the ocean on the cargo ship where Red XIII disguises as a human as not to arouse suspicion. The ship stops at Costa Del Sol where Red XIII complains the heat makes his nose dry. He lies down in the shade, observing kids playing football on the streets before the party moves on.
Return to Cosmo Canyon
Until returning to Cosmo Canyon, Red XIII does not discuss his past. After arriving there and meeting with Bugenhagen, it is revealed Red XIII's true name is Nanaki, and despite being 48 years old he is still not considered an adult by his species' standards. After Bugenhagen hears Red XIII's remarks towards his father, whom he believes a coward, Bugenhagen invites him and the party to enter a sealed cavern within Cosmo Canyon.
As the party travels through the cavern, Bugenhagen explains it is haunted by the Gi tribe ghosts, a faction of tribal warriors who laid siege to Cosmo Canyon, and that their anger prevents their souls from assimilating into the lifestream. At the cavern's end a back entrance to Cosmo Canyon is made accessible where Bugenhagen explains the Gi tribe outnumbered the Cosmo Canyon forces.
On a ledge overlooking the cave's entrance, Red XIII discovers the petrified body of his father Seto, who alone stood his ground and fought the Gi, but the Gi tribe's poisoned arrows took their toll and turned Seto to stone. Absolved of his shame for his father, Red XIII vows to become a great warrior like him, and howls at the moon while Seto's petrified remains shed tears. Bugenhagen asks Red XIII to protect the planet and senses the best way of doing it is to remain with Cloud and the rest of Avalanche, who are on a quest to stop Sephiroth and Shinra Electric Power Company from finding and exploiting the fabled promised land. As the others are about to leave the village, Red XIII runs after them and claims he wants to protect the planet, too.
Pursuit of Sephiroth
After finding out Sephiroth is seeking the Black Materia in the Temple of the Ancients, the party visits the Gold Saucer to acquire the Keystone to open the temple's doors and stay for the night. After Cloud explains Sephiroth's objective Red XIII grows concerned over the tattoo he has, wondering if he is also a Sephiroth Clone, but Aerith encourages him to carry on.
After Sephiroth has acquired the Black Materia and set out to North Crater, Aerith absconds to pray for Holy in the Forgotten City, but is killed by Sephiroth just as the party catches up with her. Red XIII howls at her passing as Cloud rests her body to the lake. The party keeps at Sephiroth's trail and defeats the final part of Jenova's body, Jenova∙DEATH, at the Whirlwind Maze, and retrieves the Black Materia. Cloud has the option of giving the materia to Red XIII to hold on to, as he has been taken control of by Sephiroth in the past and does not trust himself. Red XIII promises to keep the Materia safe and not to hand it over to anyone.
As Cloud goes on ahead Red XIII and some others of their party stay behind to guard the materia. The place gets windy and Red XIII cannot see his whereabouts. He calls out to the others but no one responds. As the scene settles he finds himself alone. Tifa, Cloud's friend who has been traveling with them since the start, runs up to him and urges him to go help Cloud who's in trouble. Red XIII is confused, but follows Tifa's orders, without realizing Tifa is an illusion conjured by Sephiroth to trick Red XIII to delivering the Black Materia to Cloud.
Red XIII rushes to Cloud who, among with the Shinra executives, has found Sephiroth's true body inside a materia crystal. Cloud asks Red XIII to hand over the Black Materia and Red XIII complies, but Sephiroth's lies have made Cloud doubt he is real and his psyche has been broken. Cloud hands the materia to Sephiroth who uses it to summon the Meteor awakening the Weapons sleeping in the crater, and everyone but Cloud escapes the scene. Red XIII later joins the party on the stolen Shinra airship, the Highwind, as they set out to look for the missing Cloud.
After Cloud has been saved and has rejoined the party, Bugenhagen joins them to visit the Forgotten City and unveils the nature of Holy, which Aerith had summoned to combat Sephiroth's Meteor, but in the planet's core Sephiroth is blocking it. Returning to Cosmo Canyon after the Diamond Weapon has been defeated, Bugenhagen falls ill. Red XIII runs to him, and the others stay back to leave them alone. Bugenhagen tells Nanaki there is so much more to life than what is within Cosmo Canyon, and he should survey the world and all its unique facets to gain the true knowledge he mentioned in their last meeting. Bugenhagen passes away and Nanaki takes up a resolve to protect the Planet.
Red XIII takes part in the attack on the Northern Cave with the rest of the party, defeating Sephiroth in later January 0008. He watches alongside the others as Meteor destroys Midgar and is stopped by the power of the Holy and the lifestream.
Red XIII is the center character in "Episode: Nanaki". Upon returning home, Red XIII (now called by his real name Nanaki by everyone) vows to follow Bugenhagen's wishes by traveling the planet to observe all life he can and teach others what he learns. After he leaves, however, a void begins to grow in his heart—he dubs this void "Gilligan" for the sake of helping to remember it. During his travels, Nanaki struggles with being a beast and acting like a human, as well as his longevity, which means he will experience a great deal of loss.
Vincent tells him "Gilligan" is his fear of loss and the loneliness that will come with living a long life. Vincent encourages Nanaki, saying that one day he may have children of his own to keep him from being lonely. Vincent reveals he is immortal himself, meaning he will be living longer than even Nanaki. The two agree to reconvene in Midgar every year for the remainder of Nanaki's life where he will tell Vincent the stories of his travels.
Nanaki appears in the latter part of "Episode: Yuffie", assisting Yuffie in rescuing Yuri from a cave after it overflows with lifestream tainted with Geostigma. He mentions during this time he acquired a cellphone while visiting Midgar to keep in touch with the other party members, though he struggles using it. Nanaki later leaves Wutai, but returns on the Shera to help Yuffie continue to search for a cure for Geostigma.
In Final Fantasy VII The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story, Nanaki finds Evan and Kyrie playing in a pond in the wastelands outside of Junon. Evan attempts to drive Nanaki away with a gun, but accidentally destroys his own truck. Nanaki then saves Kyrie from drowning in the pond, and takes her to Junon to recover.
Geostigma crisis and Deepground conflict
During the events of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, when Edge is under attack by Bahamut SIN in 0009, Nanaki hastens there with Cait Sith on his back, and uses his claws and teeth to battle the dragon. He appears later aboard the Shera and once more in Aerith's church. He is only given one line in the entire film; when he comments on how some children still have Geostigma, and is revealed to have a slight accent.
In Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, although there is a scene where the whole cast is gathered in Midgar, Nanaki is not present. He is, however, present during the ending, lying next to Shelke as he rests outside of 7th Heaven.
500 years later
500 years after Meteorfall, Nanaki arrives to a precipice overlooking the overgrown Midgar ruins with two young cubs, implying he has mated with Deneh or another female of his species. The three dash through a canyon and climb up to the crest of a cliff and look down at the remains of Midgar, now covered in moss and trees while a flock of birds flies by. After the scene fades, the sound of distant children's laughter is heard.
If it's to be a hunt, you could use a nose like mine.Red XIII in the game's ending sequence
Cloud, Tifa and Barret come to the Shinra Building to free their friend Aerith. This time, Hojo plans to breed Aerith with a SOLDIER candidate, and it is not outright said that he would be considering Red XIII. When Barret breaks Aerith's containment tank, Red XIII's tank also opens, and he rushes to hunt after Hojo and comes across Cloud, Tifa, Barret and Aerith in Hojo's lab. Barret takes him for a monster, but Aerith says that Red XIII is a friend and places her hand over his head. A healing light emanates and Red XIII loses any aggression he had previously felt.
Cloud passes out after having a reaction to Jenova, and they retreat to Aerith's old room in the lab to recuperate. They get message that the eco-terrorist group Avalanche is going to rescue them, and head to the roof of the Shinra Building, but end up falling deep into Hojo's lab instead and must find their way out. Red XIII helps the others by leaping across the walls to cross over gaps to pull levels to open the path back up. When they finally catch up with Hojo again, Red XIII lunges at him but is frozen in place by a robot while Hojo runs off.
Red XIII explains to the others that the Whispers are beings sent by the planet itself to constrict the flow of destiny, but even if they end up defying destiny itself, Red XIII helps the party in their fight against them and the re-surfaced Sephiroth and wants to join the others in following him afterward. During their battle against the Whispers, they witness a vision of an older Red XIII by the ruins of Midgar.
Final Fantasy VII
Red XIII is a playable party member in Final Fantasy VII who uses a variety of headdresses to enhance his fighting abilities, many of which boost his Magic. Many of his earlier Limits boost his power in combat, while his later Limits are more geared towards damaging multiple enemies. Red XIII's stats are well-rounded and he has the highest Speed stat. His ultimate weapon, the Limited Moon, does more damage the fuller his MP gauge is.
Red XIII is a guest character who aids Cloud and his party after he is released from Shinra's grasp. He cannot be controlled by the player, and his stats, equipment and abilities do not appear in the menu. He joins near the end of the game, at Chapter 17. He has two magic materia embedded in his collar, and is capable of casting Cure on his allies and Bio on his enemies.
Red XIII moves swiftly and performs jumping attacks using his fangs and claws. His role in combat is minor and he doesn't deal any significant damage, although he can assist in staggering. He has two unique attacks: Sidewinder and Stardust Ray. Sidewinder is a spinning attack similar in execution to his normal attack in the original game. He may use it during the fight against The Arsenal, if the player takes too long to destroy the boss' Barrier Drones. Stardust Ray works similarly to Cloud, Barret, and Tifa's second level Limit Breaks, as it deals repeated damage to the enemies in an area and greatly increases their stagger gauge. It is mostly used against stronger normal enemies (such as the M.O.T.H. Unit), as well bosses (such as Jenova Dreamweaver), and is used alongside Barret's Fire in the Hole Limit Break in the last phase of the fight with the Whisper Harbinger.
Outside of battle, he can be used to solve some minor puzzles in the Drum where Cloud commands him to run over the wall to activate terminals and open paths for the party to cross.
During the motorcycle section where the party escapes from Midgar, Red XIII will restore a portion of Cloud's HP between waves of enemies.
Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-
Nanaki is fought as a boss, first in Chapter 18 and then in the Training Mode.
"Red XIII's Theme" (レッドXIIIのテーマ, Reddo XIII no Tēma?) plays when Red XIII introduces himself after the battle with Sample:H0512. Additionally, "Cosmo Canyon" (星降る峡谷, Hoshi Furu Kyōkoku?) and "The Great Warrior" (偉大なる戦士, Idai naru Senshi?) are similar to "Red XIII's Theme." They play in Cosmo Canyon and when Red XIII sees the petrified Seto, respectively.
Red XIII has appeared in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a series of abilities.
- 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 Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a card.
Red XIII is the only playable character from Final Fantasy VII yet to be added in Dissidia Opera Omnia.
Red XIII makes a cameo in Dissidia Final Fantasy as a tutor from the in-game manuals.
In the fighting game Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring, a game with playable characters from Final Fantasy VII, the second-to-last boss, Django, resembles Red XIII in his alternate "outfit", even employing attacks alluding to Red XIII and his father: Seto Punch, Seto Low Punch, Seto Combination, Nanaki Kick, and Nanaki Combination. Two of his attacks are named after Red XIII's Limit Breaks: Sled Fang and Blood Fang.
Behind the scenes
It was character designer Tetsuya Nomura's idea to have a four-legged party member, but it was a struggle to make it work as he wouldn't easily be able to climb ladders, and when he turned his tail his body would end up going inside walls.
As evidenced by the demo content on the fourth disc in the Japanese International release and Amano's artwork, Red XIII existed from an early place in development, though his inclusion was not necessarily initially as a playable character.
Red XIII was originally designed as a beast-type SOLDIER capable of using magic and understanding human language. He would have been a protector of the Buga tribe, to which Bugenhagen belonged, and his father Seto would have been his predecessor before having fled, making Red XIII contemptuous of him. In the final product, Red XIII's tribe is unnamed, but otherwise he is roughly the same as originally conceived. When he was first drawn, Nomura chose the name "Red XIII" as he wanted a name that did not sound like a name, and so combined a color with the number "13", which is believed to be unlucky. Other staff members later assigned Red XIII's true name as "Nanaki". During early plans for the game, Red XIII was to have the "Beast" job class.
Red XIII was planned to be the focus on a cut sub-plot. After being captured by Shinra, Hojo would have produced several clones of Red XIII, which would have had blue and purple fur and been named Cobalt XIV and Indigo XV, respectively. After defeating them, the party would be confronted by two more clones, and a battle would ensue where the party would fight both the clones and the real Red XIII, and be forced to figure out which was the real thing and avoid killing him. Though the clones would be defeated, Red XIII would have the party spare them, as they were the last of his kind beyond him. Cobalt XIV and Indigo XV would later reappear in the final dungeon partially mechanized, determined to prove themselves superior to the original Red XIII.
Red XIII is nearly always seen from the left, the side of his good eye. This is seen in FMVs, his menu portrait, the end of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the ending of Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, and even almost all of his concept art. The same rough angle as his Final Fantasy VII portrait was used in his portrait for Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, in which he still has both eyes.
In a screenshot published before Final Fantasy VII was released, Red XIII's name is shown spelled with with Arabic numerals rather than Roman.
In the rest of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Red XIII has little screen-time, appearing only briefly in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-. This is because his fur makes him difficult and costly to animate.
For Final Fantasy VII Remake, the developers considered it important to establish his relationship with Cloud in the game, and used him as a starting point of the level design in the Drum. However, they did not plan to make him playable, fearing disruptions to the tempo of the game and confusion for new players to have control a character that appears so late.
Red XIII is voiced by Masachika Ichimura in Japanese, though he only has two lines in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. He is voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi in Final Fantasy VII Remake.
He is voiced by Liam O'Brien in the English version of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Red XIII shares his English voice actor with Caius Ballad from the Final Fantasy XIII-2, Kain Highwind from the 3D remake version of Final Fantasy IV and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, and Cu Chaspel from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates. Red XIII is voiced by Max Mittelman in the English version of Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Etymology and symbolism
The name "Nanaki" was chosen because it has a Native American sound to it, fitting with the Native American theme of Red XIII and Cosmo Canyon. Tetsuya Nomura chose the name "Red XIII" by combining a color with a number to have a name that didn't sound like a name.
The word nana from "Nanaki" means "seven" in Japanese. This might be an allusion to the number seven.
"Nanaki" might also be taken to mean nameless (名無き), though it's unknown if this is an intended reading or a coincidence.
Red XIII's species is never named in the series, but could relate to shisa and komainu, that derive from Chinese "guardian lions", and resemble a cross between a lion and a dog. "Lion-dog" statues are used as wards, people placing pairs of shisa on their rooftops or flanking the gates to their houses, and komainu seen alongside temple entrances. In the Final Fantasy VII series, Red XIII's species act as the planet's guardians.
- Final Fantasy VII manual - North America, pg.9
- Final Fantasy VII manual - PC
- Final Fantasy VII manual - Europe
- Square Electronic Arts, ed (1997). Final Fantasy VII North American instruction manual. Square Electronic Arts. pg 9. SCUS-94163.
- 『FFVII リメイク』レッドXIIIと宝条のビジュアルが公開！ ｢なんでも屋クエスト｣など新要素の情報も！ (Accessed: February 14, 2020) at PlayStation blog (jp)
- FFVII 10th Anniversary Discussion: p. 8 to 13 of the FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (Accessed: March 28, 2020) at The Lifestream
- Final Fantasy VIII Beta [from FF7 International JB CD 4 Bonus] (Accessed: November 12, 2021) at YouTube
- Shanley, Patrick; Wigler, Josh (2020, July 6). "Inside the 'Final Fantasy VII Remake' Team's "Familiar Yet New" Adaptation of a Classic". From 'Hollywood Reporter'. Archived from the original on July 14, 2020.
- Ryan, Zachary (2020, July 8). "How FF7 Remake's Developers Reintroduced a Classic Game". From 'IGN'. Archived from the original on July 14, 2020.
- Famitsu, ed (1997) (in Japanese). Final Fantasy VII Kaitai Shinsho. Famitsu. pp. 16. ISBN 4-7577-0098-9.