Edgar's twin brother, who traded the throne for his own freedom...Game description
Sabin René Figaro, known as Mash in the Japanese version, is a playable character from Final Fantasy VI. He is Edgar Roni Figaro's younger[note 1] twin brother and a prince of Figaro who chose to vacate his claim to the throne in favor of a life of freedom. He became a student of the martial arts master Duncan and trained extensively under him, mastering Duncan's Blitz techniques.
Sabin is a tall, muscular man. Like his brother Edgar, he has blue eyes and blond hair tied in a ponytail, although his hair is shorter. His super-deformed art and in-game sprites depict him with a blue tank top and white pants with a green sash and brown boots. Some concept art pieces depict him with yellow pants, with which he may keep his blue shirt or be topless. This design was used in the PlayStation version's FMV sequences, which also gave Sabin a necklace of fangs. Spin-off appearances of Sabin vary in the color of his pants but retain the top, and Final Fantasy Brave Exvius has both fully clothed and topless variants of Sabin.
Some concept art of Sabin depict him with a short beard, but he has never had one in any version of Final Fantasy VI. According to his character designer Kaori Tanaka, Hironobu Sakaguchi intended for Sabin to have a beard, but this would be difficult to show with the pixelated sprites being used and was left out. Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia gives him a bit of stubble, the only occasion where Sabin has had facial hair in-game.
Sabin does not have a specific design of recurring weapon, and in most of his spin-off appearances he fights barehanded. In Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia, Sabin's weapons are knuckles and claws, and his default weapon in his concept art is the Kaiser Knuckle, which while named for a weapon in Final Fantasy VI, are a design original to Opera Omnia.
Sabin is brash, impatient and straightforward. He tends to act without thinking and leave strategy and planning to others, which often causes trouble for him, like when he gets separated from Edgar and the others during his attempt to attack Ultros. He can be rude or inconsiderate when dealing with others, and a few party members end up getting into a verbal spat with Sabin shortly after meeting him for the first time, like Relm Arrowny. He is not to be mistaken as stupid, as he can improvise clever plans when called upon. Even so, Sabin acknowledges that Edgar is the brains of the two of them and he trusts his judgment.
Sabin has a strong sense of morals and attachment to his family, and is loyal to his friends. He left Figaro to his brother because he felt the nobility didn't care about their father's death and were only concerned with the succession, and he was furious none paid mind to the rumors the Gestahlian Empire poisoned the late king. Even when he abandoned the castle, Sabin did not stay far and lived in close proximity to South Figaro in a cabin with his martial arts teacher and mentor, Duncan Harcourt. Sabin is close to his brother and trusts him implicitly even after not seeing him for ten years.[note 2] He dislikes Gau's antics, especially being referred to as "Mr. Thou", but Sabin does care about him, to the point he gets mad at the wild boy's father for rejecting his son, and he would have hit him if he wasn't held back. Sabin was close to Master Duncan, and despite his appearance, is emotional in public.[note 3]
Sabin is extremely strong, presented as one of the strongest characters in Final Fantasy VI. He can hold up a collapsing house for several minutes, and when using his Meteor Strike technique he grabs an enemy, leaps into the air with them, and slams them into the ground. Famously, he is able to do this to the Phantom Train, giving the implication he is capable of lifting an entire locomotive (and possibly the cars it is pulling) with ease. At the ending, he effortlessly carries a falling girder and throws it away; something that requires three characters to carry if he is not recruited. His Blitz techniques allows him to weaponize his ki and perform magical attacks, including firing energy blasts from his hands, conjuring a swarm of fiery clones of himself, healing wounds, and spinning in place to generate blades of wind.
Sabin's appearances in spin-off titles focus him in different areas depending on which Blitz techniques are featured. Final Fantasy Record Keeper makes him a fire-elemental character with variants of his Blitzes themed around Rising Phoenix, and he focuses on pure damage output with Soul Breaks to boost his attacking speed and grant him follow-up attacks. Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia focuses him in the holy and wind elements through Aura Cannon and Razor Gale, and his EX Ability Phantom Rush deals dual-elemental damage. Sabin's abilities lower the target's resistance to holy and wind damage, and grant him stacks of the status "Battle Spirit" that increases his ATK and max BRV, and his abilities power up to stronger "+" variants once he has three stacks. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius gives Sabin Rising Phoenix and Vacuum Wave as his Limit Bursts, dealing fire and wind damage to all enemies.
Sabin was born to the royal family of Figaro and shared the status of heir to the throne with his twin brother, Edgar. When Sabin was seventeen the Gestahlian Empire poisoned his father, whose last request was for his sons to rule together. Sabin was devastated for his death and mad at the lack of grief for the king among the nobility and their focus on the succession of the next king, and declared he would run away and live his own life. He invited Edgar to come with him, but though Edgar did not want to part with his twin, he was hesitant for them to both abandon Figaro. Edgar offered Sabin a coin toss—heads, Sabin wins, tails, Edgar wins—and the winner can choose their path as they like. Sabin agreed and Edgar flipped the coin. What Sabin did not know what that Edgar was using a two-headed coin to rig the result; Edgar gave himself an excuse to not come along and Sabin the freedom to live his own life. Sabin later claimed he didn't want to leave Edgar with such responsibility, but he knew Edgar could look after the kingdom, so Sabin resolved to train and look after him.
Sabin became a student of Duncan, a martial arts master who lived in a cabin near South Figaro. Sabin trained alongside Duncan's son Vargas, who became resentful of Sabin and thought Duncan favored him. Believing Duncan would make Sabin the heir to the dojo instead of his own son, Vargas turned on Duncan and apparently killed him, and fled into Mt. Kolts pursued by Sabin.
As it happened, Edgar was on his way through Mt. Kolts with Terra and Locke on their way to the Returners' Hideout. The three ran into Vargas who attacked them. Sabin intervened and tried to reason with Vargas who refused to back down and the two dueled ending with Vargas's defeat when Sabin used one of Duncan's Blitz techniques on him. Sabin and Edgar reunited and Sabin was happy to see his brother was not going to let Figaro degenerate into a puppet state under the Empire. Feeling that Duncan would rest easier knowing a student of his used his teachings to bring peace to the world, Sabin joined the group.
While the group met the Returners' leader Banon, the Empire invaded South Figaro to use as a staging ground for further raids into the north. A Returner agent reported the Empire was marching toward the hideout and they had to evacuate. A frozen esper had been excavated in Narshe that had piqued the Returners' interests, so Banon elected to flee to Narshe down the Lethe River, and Sabin, Edgar, and Terra accompanied him. On the river the group was attacked by Ultros, who feigned defeat but then grabbed onto Terra's leg from underwater. Sabin leapt into the water to attack Ultros directly, but Ultros was more dangerous than he expected and blasted him away, and Sabin floated down a separate branch of the river from the group's raft.
Sabin washed ashore far to the west near a house. A mercenary and assassin, Shadow, had stopped nearby and Sabin asked him for aid getting to Narshe. Shadow advised the only way lay south towards Doma Castle, but the Empire was planning to attack it. Shadow agreed to aid Sabin as far as Doma and joined him. Near Doma the two found an Imperial Camp used as a staging ground for a siege on Doma that was foiled. Sabin overheard the Imperial commander, General Leo, receive word to return to the Imperial capital Vector. With word of this, Kefka planned to poison Doma's water supply to wipe out the inhabitants. Sabin and Shadow tried to stop him, but got caught up fighting the Imperials, and Kefka put his plan into action.
The lone survivor of Doma, Cyan, attacked the Imperial camp and Sabin and Shadow aided him and convinced him to flee the Empire with them. With the Imperials regrouping, Sabin had an idea and the three hijacked suits of Magitek armor in the camp and used them to fight their way out. The group headed further south into the Phantom Forest and found a seemingly abandoned train on a platform. Sabin eagerly headed inside to look for survivors, but when Cyan and Shadow followed him the door locked behind them and the train departed. Cyan informed them this was the Phantom Train, a supernatural entity that carries the departed to the afterlife, and Sabin elected to get to the engine and shut the train down. After a trip through the train, which included the group running afoul of the ghost passengers, the three engaged the sapient engine that agreed to let them depart at its next stop.
Beyond the Phantom Forest, Sabin and Cyan made it to Baren Falls and jumped down to the Veldt to escape the Empire while Shadow, deciding his agreement with Sabin was fulfilled, departed. Sabin and Cyan washed up on the Veldt and were found by a wild child, Gau, who fled when they awoke. The two learned about him from the village of Mobliz and purchased some dried meat from the village to win Gau's trust by feeding him. Sabin and Gau immediately took a dislike to each other, and Gau nicknamed him "Mr. Thou" due to Cyan's accent, which Sabin protested. Gau told the two about a "shiny treasure" he had hidden in Crescent Mountain Cave, and offered it to them in return for the food. The treasure turned out to be a diving helmet that had been stolen from Mobliz and they used it to swim through the Serpent Trench to Nikeah, and then boarded a ferry to South Figaro to complete the journey to Narshe.
Sabin, Cyan and Gau arrived as Kefka's forces prepared to attack, and the Returners defended the city in the Battle for the Frozen Esper. In the aftermath Terra transformed into an esper and flew away. The Returners set out to find her, starting with using Figaro Castle's ability to submerge and move underground to reach the western cities of Kohlingen and Jidoor. While at Figaro Castle, Sabin went off alone to explore, since he hadn't been home in ten years. That night as the rest of the party rested, Sabin sat in the throne room and reminisced on the death of his father and his decision to leave the castle. Edgar revealed himself and the two brothers affirmed their devotion to each other, toasting to their parents and their kingdom.
Sabin continued to journey with the group during their battles against the Empire, until Emperor Gestahl raised the Floating Continent that contained the Warring Triad, the gods of magic. Kefka turned on Gestahl and seized the power of the Triad for himself, and moved them out of alignment. The disruption of the balance between their magic caused the cataclysm, and the party was scattered around the world.
One year later, Sabin passed through the town of Albrook while looking for his friends and moved on to Tzen. Kefka attacked the town with his Light of Judgment, causing a mansion in the town to collapse with the owner's child inside. Sabin rushed to hold up the house, when a former ally, Celes, arrived. Sabin urged her to get inside and rescue the child while he stayed outside to keep the house from collapsing. Celes rescued the child and Sabin leapt away as the building crumbled. Sabin laughed to Celes that "a little thing like the end of the world" wouldn't kill him, invigorating Celes who was assured that all their comrades had survived.
Celes and Sabin journeyed to the ruins of Mobliz, where all the adults had perished protecting their children from Kefka's Light of Judgment. The two found Terra there caring for the children in a cavern beneath the town, who refused to leave as she had developed a bond with the children she couldn't explain. A demon named Humbaba attacked the town and wounded Terra, forcing Celes and Sabin to defeat it. They left Terra to recover and moved on to Nikeah, where a group of bandits called the Crimson Robbers were planning to raid Figaro Castle, which had been lost underground. The leader of the thieves, a man named "Gerad", bore a suspicious resemblance to Edgar, and Celes and Sabin snuck aboard the ship the thieves used to travel to South Figaro.
The two followed the robbers into the South Figaro Cave, where sandworms had tunneled into the prison of Figaro Castle. In the engine room of the castle, Edgar revealed himself to the two and they helped him fight off the tentacles jamming up the engine. Edgar rejoined them and they hid as the thieves returned and left, thinking "Gerad" had been eaten by the monster. With the castle's engines fixed they were able to surface and use Figaro to travel to Kohlingen. The two met another former ally, Setzer, who directed them to Darill's Tomb to find a new airship: the Falcon.
The party traveled to Duncan's house, now relocated north of Narshe, and found Duncan there, alive and training. Sabin broke into tears learning his teacher was alive, and Duncan leapt to the roof of the house and challenged Sabin to train with him and learn his ultimate Blitz technique: the Phantom Rush.
The party eventually attacked Kefka's Tower and destroyed Kefka, and the tower began to collapse. As the party fled they came to a locked door, and while Edgar was picking the lock a steel girder fell from the collapsing ceiling. Sabin caught the girder and held it up while Edgar worked, telling him that while he regretted leaving Edgar with the responsibility of ruling alone, he knew his brother could protect the kingdom, and Sabin would train to protect his brother. Once the door was open Sabin threw the girder away and the party continued on. In the ending Sabin and Edgar stand together and wave down at the people of Figaro Castle.
Sabin is a Monk. His special ability is Blitz, which lets him execute powerful martial arts techniques based on the player's controller inputs. He has high physical stats and wields claws as his weapon type, and his armor includes universal shields and lightweight armor. Sabin's Desperation Attack is Tiger Break, which deals magical damage to one enemy.
Sabin shares his theme with Edgar, and it is the background music for Figaro Castle. This leitmotif has a more sentimental reprise in "Coin Song", played during flashbacks of the two, and is reprised again in the "Ending Theme".
The original version of "Edgar & Sabin's Theme" is included on the music player in Final Fantasy XV. The Memories of FFVI album it is the ninth track of is bought for 100 gil from JM Market in Taelpar Rest Area.
Sabin has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- In the manual for Final Fantasy Origins, Sabin is shown as an example name chosen for the Monk class in Final Fantasy.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a cameo.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a card.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
- In Xenogears, two royal siblings, named Rene and Roni, closely resemble Sabin and Edgar (Rene being large and muscular, Roni being a handsome man with long hair who is talented with machines, and both having blue eyes and blond hair). Kaori Tanaka, the character designer who wrote much of Edgar and Sabin's backstories, was a writer on Xenogears.
Behind the scenes
Before Yoshitaka Amano drew the final artwork, Edgar, Sabin, and their backstory, were designed by Kaori Tanaka. Tanaka also authored the doujinshi Figaro no Kekkon: Tales from Desert, which explores their backstory, though Tanaka notes the story is not canon to the game.
In the doujinshi, as well in developer interviews, Tanaka went into further detail on Sabin's backstory. He was afraid of squirrels from an incident where one bit him as a child, and he formed a surrogate family relationship with Gau and Cyan, as two children who have lost their fathers and a father who has lost his child. Sabin also sees aspects of himself in Gau. In Figaro only close friends and family members are to know one's middle name, and Gau and Cyan are the only ones Sabin has told his middle name to.
In the Japanese version, Sabin is established as the younger twin and Edgar the elder, and the English Super NES script has Sabin refer to Edgar as "big brother" on several occasions. References to their respective ages are removed from the retranslation Gameboy Advance script; the reason is unclear.
The original idea for the Tzen event in the World of Ruin was to have Sabin die if the player ran out of time while in the crumbling house. Were the player to return to Tzen with Edgar he would wander forlornly in the middle of the night, searching through the rubble in vain. However, the World of Ruin was seen as dark enough and the event was changed.
Several of Sabin's Blitz commands are based on special attacks in fighting video games, both in appearance and in their command inputs. For instance, Aura Cannon uses the same button commands as the Hadoken in Street Fighter, and take the form of the fighter thrusting their hands out and firing a blast of blue light.
Pop cultural impact
Professional wrestler and world champion Joshua Harter, formerly one half of the tag-team "The Motor City Machine Guns", wrestles under the ring name "Chris Sabin", and one of his signature moves is "Bum Rush". Harter is an avid gamer and took his alias from the character, as Final Fantasy VI (known as Final Fantasy III on the Super NES) was one of his favorite video games growing up, and he was sure to always have Sabin in his party.
Sabin's ability to use the Meteor Strike Blitz on the Phantom Train is infamous in the Final Fantasy VI fandom and a popular subject for fanart of Sabin. A video of the battle declaring it "The Best Moment of Final Fantasy 6" depicts Sabin using Suplex (as it was called in the Super NES version) to defeat the Phantom Train in one hit; the video has several hundred thousand views as of writing.
A common misconception is that bosses in Final Fantasy VI are typically immune to Meteor Strike and the Phantom Train's vulnerability was a glitch or oversight that was retained through re-releases of the game due to the fame of Sabin's feat. In actuality, many bosses throughout the game are vulnerable to Meteor Strike, including several of the eight legendary dragons. Even so, it is Sabin's ability to use Meteor Strike on the Phantom Train that has stuck in the minds of the fandom above any other enemy.
Sabin is an Italian name that means "Man from the Sabines" (an ancient tribe from central Italy).
Rene is an alternate spelling of the French name René, which is derived from the Latin renatus, or "reborn".
Sabin's real name in the Japanese version is マシアス (Mashiasu?), while his nickname and name used throughout the game is "Mash" (マッシュ, Masshu?). His real name has never been given with an official romanization, however given his nickname it likely derives from "Macías".
- The Japanese script refers to Sabin as the younger brother and Edgar as the elder brother. In the SNES script Sabin refers to Edgar as "big brother", but the GBA retranslation never makes the distinction.
- Sabin quickly intervened to rescue his brother from Vargas, Duncan's son, and even after not seeing Edgar in ten years, Sabin assures Terra that his brother can be trusted, as he is one to put the needs of others above his own. He asks Terra not to tell Edgar that and laughs it off.
- When he reunited with Duncan after the cataclysm, after thinking that Vargas had killed him, he cries tears of joy, and after hearing of his father's death, Sabin sobbed in grief when Edgar found him outside the castle.
- Final Fantasy VI Settei Shiryō-hen, p.22
- Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume 1, p.278
- 嵯峨空哉 (Soraya Saga) (Accessed: October 19, 2016) at Twitter
- Final Fantasy VI, Sabin: It's not like I wanted to dump all that responsibility on you.. I knew you'd look out for the kingdom. I wanted to be able to look out for you. That's why I went off to become stronger...
- Final Fantasy VI – 1994 Developer Interview (Accessed: December 09, 2018) at shmuplations
- Jon Robinson (June 16, 2012). Chris Sabin Interview. IGN. Archived from the original on 22:58, June 18, 2020 (UTC).