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 twin brother and thus an heir to the throne of Figaro Castle, who fled his kingdom in search of a quiet life free of corruption, and lived as a student of the martial arts. During the flashback when he is first seen, his dialogue is attributed to Youth before the player enters his name.
Sabin fled the kingdom, and became a pupil to the renowned martial arts teacher, Duncan. Ten years later, Sabin, having mastered many of Duncan's Blitz techniques, reunites with his brother and joins the Returners to fight the Gestahlian Empire and defeat Kefka. Sabin is a straightforward fighter who jumps to use his strength to help someone, driven by emotion and a sense of right or wrong, and is a loyal and dedicated friend to his allies.
Sabin's ability is his use of Blitz techniques, which are input with touch or button inputs to select the desired ability, and are among the most devastating attacks in the game. He equips claws as his weapons and some light armor.
Sabin is a tall, muscular man with long blond hair tied in a ponytail and blue eyes. He wears white pants and a blue tank top belted with a sash, though several pieces of concept art also depict him shirtless. Some concept art shows him with facial hair, but due to difficulty depicting this in sprites he instead appears clean shaven in all in-game depictions including the PlayStation remake's CG cutscenes, as well as in his menu screen portrait across all versions.
Sabin is a brash and straightforward fighter. He is content to leave the tactics and strategy to the others since his greatest strength is physical. In particular, he sees Edgar as the brains of the party and trusts his judgment implicitly. Sabin can get emotional at times and has a strong sense of right and wrong. He has a quick temper and takes rash actions that get him into trouble, but he is a loyal and dedicated friend, encouraging Terra and taking a shine to Gau. Whenever he sees an opportunity to use his strength to help someone he takes it.
He is less cultured and erudite than Edgar; for instance, he is puzzled by all the singing at the opera. Sabin doesn't mind jokes at his expense and will laugh heartily at them himself. He has an unflappable determination and excels at thriving in situations where most people would give up.
Sabin was born to the royal family of Figaro and shared the status of heir to the throne with his twin brother, Edgar. As a child, Sabin was considered the smaller and weaker of the two brothers. When Sabin was seventeen the Gestahlian Empire poisoned his father, whose last request was for his sons to protect the kingdom.
Sabin, upset at the apparent lack of sorrow for his father's death and all the talk of succession, urged Edgar to run away with him. Edgar wanted to go but knew abandoning the kingdom would go against his father's wishes, so he gave his brother his freedom in trade for his own. Edgar proposed a coin toss, picking "heads" for Sabin. The coin he threw had his face on one side, and Sabin's on the other. Sabin left the kingdom, unaware of the trick that had been played on him, and Edgar became the new king. Sabin tells Edgar later he did not want to leave him with so much responsibility, but knew his brother would look out for Figaro the best.
Sabin fled the kingdom, and after some time met the renowned martial arts teacher Duncan Harcourt. Having trained before and wanting to be stronger to protect his brother, Sabin asked Duncan to teach him, and Duncan agreed. He became Duncan's best student, which made Vargas, Duncan's son, jealous, as Vargas thought Sabin was going to be the next master. Sabin knew otherwise, as Vargas was Duncan's only son and heir. After apparently killing Duncan, Vargas fled into Mt. Kolts and Sabin pursued him. Sabin made no attempt to contact Edgar in the ten years they were apart.
When Sabin sees Vargas attack Edgar, along with Terra Branford and Locke Cole, he jumps in to save them. After confronting Vargas about his deeds, Sabin reveals his mastery of Duncan's Blitz techniques and defeats Vargas. Edgar recognizes Sabin, and Sabin offers to help his brother after a short reunion. Together, they see Banon in the Returner Hideout, but the rebel group is attacked by Imperial troops shortly after their arrival.
Banon heads for Narshe to investigate the frozen esper, and Terra, Edgar, and Sabin accompany him. On the way down the Lethe River they are attacked by Ultros who sticks a tentacle to Terra's leg. Sabin is enraged and jumps into the river to fight the octopus directly, but he is swept away and separated from the group.
Sabin washes ashore near a house, where he meets Shadow, the infamous mercenary. Shadow agrees to help him find his way to Narshe, and leads him south towards Doma, a kingdom under siege by the Empire. Sabin and Shadow sneak through an Imperial Camp and observe General Leo, Sabin being impressed by his principled nature. They overhear Kefka Palazzo's plan to dump poison into the river to kill Doma's citizens. Sabin and Shadow try to stop him, but to no avail. Cyan Garamonde, one of the finest soldiers in Doma and one of the only survivors of the poisoning, attacks the camp alone in revenge. Sabin and Shadow aid him, and Cyan agrees to help them travel to Narshe. Together they escape the camp in Magitek Armor and head south to the Phantom Forest.
The trio boards the Phantom Train and learns they must shut off the engines to escape. They enlist the help of a ghost and stop the train. They head to the Baren Falls where Shadow leaves Sabin and Cyan. Sabin and Cyan jump down the falls and float down the river to the Veldt. They are rescued by a wild child named Gau, who refuses to talk to them unless they feed him. They buy Dried Meat from the nearby town of Mobliz and feed the boy, who shows them his "shiny thing," a scuba-diving helmet which allows them to travel the Serpent Trench to Nikeah. From Nikeah they take a ferry to South Figaro and complete the journey to Narshe.
Sabin, Cyan and Gau arrive as Kefka is planning a raid on Narshe to get the frozen esper. The three meet up with Banon, Terra, Locke, Edgar, and Celes Chere and successfully defend Narshe. After the battle Terra reacts with the esper and is turned into one herself, flying away. A search party is sent to look for her. On the way the party passes through Figaro and Sabin walks around the castle, which calls back old memories, including the coin toss with Edgar.
The party finds Terra atop the tallest tower in Zozo, where she is being cared for by Ramuh. He tells them they need to go to Vector and free the imprisoned espers, one of them being Terra's father, Maduin. They meet up with Setzer Gabbiani, the infamous gambler who owns an airship, after tricking him into kidnapping Celes. Setzer was not willing to help them, but Celes proposes a coin toss to decide it. If she won, Setzer would help; otherwise, Setzer and Celes would marry. Edgar provides a fixed coin to guarantee Celes's victory, much to Sabin's dismay. It is assumed this was the coin Edgar used when deciding which of the brothers would rule, but there is no ensuing conversation on this matter. Setzer helps anyway and the group recovers the espers from the Magitek Research Facility. Maduin's magicite returns Terra to normal and restores her memory.
Back in Narshe, the Elder joins with the Returners. They plan to have Terra contact the espers and ask them to attack Vector, after which a coalition of Returners and Narshe guards would storm the city from the north. The plan is a success, and Emperor Gestahl sues for peace. At a banquet he asks Terra to convince the espers to negotiate a treaty. She and Locke go to Crescent Island to relay the Emperor's message, but Edgar and Sabin are skeptical and stay in Vector to make sure the Emperor wasn't lying.
Edgar seduces one of the Emperor's maids into revealing the Emperor's true plan: he wants to lure out the espers to capture them. They fly to Thamasa to warn Terra and Locke, but are too late. Kefka attacks the town and kills the espers, as well as General Leo. Using his newly-acquired magicite to revive the Warring Triad he and Gestahl turn the Esper World into the Floating Continent. The party chases after him, but Kefka's power has grown exponentially. He moves the statues out of alignment, causing the end of the world and he party is separated.
One year later, Sabin makes his way to the town of Tzen (and apparently passes through Albrook on the way) just as Kefka strikes with his "Light of Judgment." When the tallest building in town begins to collapse, Sabin uses his strength to hold the building up while he waits for someone to save the child inside. That someone happens to be Celes, and Sabin joins her after she saves the child.
Sabin and Celes make their way to a destroyed Mobliz where only the children have survived, being cared for by Terra. She is feeling things she never felt before, and as a result can no longer fight. Sabin and Celes defend the town from a monster named Humbaba. They make their way to Nikeah, where they find Edgar disguised as a thief named Gerad, purportedly the leader of the Crimson Robbers.
They don't know what Edgar is up to, so they follow him to South Figaro and through South Figaro Cave. They corner Edgar in Figaro Castle's engine room, where he reveals he was using the thieves to get into the submerged castle so he could resurface it. They help Edgar fight off the tentacles jamming up the engine, and Edgar rejoins them. They head to Kohlingen where they meet up with Setzer, who takes them to Darill's Tomb to find a new airship: the Falcon.
Sabin hears Duncan is still alive, and is meditating in his house north of Narshe. Sabin pays Duncan one final visit where Duncan helps him perfect his ultimate Blitz technique: the Phantom Rush (Bum Rush in the original SNES translation). After defeating Kefka and while fleeing Kefka's collapsing tower, Sabin saves Edgar from being crushed by a falling girder. He says he only left Figaro to become stronger, and defend the kingdom and his brother from an Imperial attack.
Sabin is a Monk. His special ability is Blitz, which is a series of martial arts abilities that do damage based on his Magic power and level, and he learns new Blitzes as he levels up (and his final Blitz can be learnt from Duncan in the World of Ruin). However, he has low magical stats, instead having very high physical stats. His weapons are limited to claws, being able to also equip some shields, and some lightweight armor. Sabin's physical strength and powerful Blitz moves make up for many of his shortcomings, and make him a powerful character in many cases. His 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.
Creation and development
Before Yoshitaka Amano drew the final artwork, Edgar, Sabin, and their backstory, were designed by Kaori Tanaka (later nicknamed Soraya Saga), an artist who would go on to participate in the development of Xenogears. Two royal siblings named Rene and Roni appear in the latter game, who 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). Soraya Saga also authored the doujinshi Figaro no Kekkon: Tales from Desert, which explores their backstory, though Saga notes the story is not canon to the game. Edgar's middle name is Roni, and Sabin's is Rene. Tanaka has said that only their closest friends and family members use those nicknames and among the party, Relm is the only person who knows Edgar’s middle name, and only Cyan and Gau know Sabin's.
Tanaka has described the relationship between Sabin, Gau, and Cyan as a surrogate family for each other: two children who have lost their fathers, and one father who has lost his child. Sabin sees an aspect of himself in Gau. She has also said the reason Sabin is scared of squirrels is because one bit him when he was a child.
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.
Sabin has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- 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.
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".
- Before Yoshitaka Amano drew the final artwork, Sabin, Edgar and their backstory were designed by Kaori Tanaka (later nicknamed Soraya Saga), an artist who would go on to co-create Xenogears. Two royal siblings named Rene and Roni appear in the latter game. Soraya Saga also authored the doujinshi Figaro no Kekkon: Tales from Desert, which explores Sabin and Edgar's backstory.
- The Blitz "Aura Cannon" ("AuraBolt") has the same button commands as the famous "Hadouken" from Street Fighter. They are both ranged attacks. However, Aura Cannon's appearance more closely resembles the more powerful "Shinkuu Hadouken" from the later X-men vs Street Fighter and VS series games.
- In the same vein, the "Raging Fist" ("Pummel") shares the button command and name of a special move in the Art of Fighting series, and is one of the signature moves of the Kyokugenryu style of karate, practiced by protagonist Ryo Sakazaki.
- For the instruction manual of Final Fantasy Origins, the PlayStation remake of Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II, Sabin is shown as an example name chosen for the Monk class of Final Fantasy.
- 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," a direct reference to Sabin Figaro. One of his signature moves is also the Bum Rush.
- Using a Game Genie and the "Super Sprint Shoes" code, it's possible to bypass the battle with Vargas when the party meets Sabin by reaching the cave entrance before Vargas hops down. The player continues to the Returner Hideout and Sabin will not appear until the Lete River sequence at which point he's suddenly added into the party at level 1, with no equipment and no Blitz abilities.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Final Fantasy VI Settei Shiryō-hen, p.22
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume 1, p.278
- ↑ 嵯峨空哉 (Soraya Saga) (Accessed: October 19, 2016) at Twitter
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Final Fantasy VI – 1994 Developer Interview (Accessed: December 09, 2018) at shmuplations