A gambling vagabond who finds freedom from society's narrow views of morality aboard his airship, the Blackjack...

Game description

Setzer Gabbiani, is a playable character in Final Fantasy VI. He is a world-wandering Gambler who operates a casino aboard his private airship, the Blackjack.

Though Setzer is initially a neutral party during the Third Gestahlian Campaign, the Returners trick him into helping them reach the Imperial capital Vector, and he throws his lot in with them against the Gestahlian Empire. Over the course of the game he becomes a genuine friend and ally of the group and works with them to free the world from Kefka.

Profile[edit | edit source]

Appearance[edit | edit source]

SD art by Tetsuya Nomura.

Setzer wears a long black duster coat with triangle-pattern trim that is variably yellow or white, and a deep purple lining. His attire under it is a ruffled black shirt, matching pants, and white boots. He has purple eyes and long silver hair. In his SNES sprite his coat has a brown lining and his shirt is blue, possibly due to the limitations of the sprites and palette—the iOS and Steam versions give him a sprite that more closely matches his concept arts. His face is covered in scars acquired from a lifetime of gambling-related fights and dangerous airship tests.

In Kingdom Hearts II Setzer retains this basic design but with a white shirt instead of black and without ruffles, and he wears his coat pinned over his shoulders and his arms out of the sleeves.

Setzer's weaponry consists of gambler's paraphernalia; playing cards, darts, and dice, that he throws at enemies to attack.

Personality[edit | edit source]

Gambling against the Empire, with nothing to lose but my life... I haven't felt so excited in years!

Setzer joins the Returners

Setzer lives a life of risk and gambling. He considers his facial scars a testament to the dangerous life he lives.[3] He has a sense of theatrics and can be flash and vain. The Impresario of the Opera House presumes Setzer will appear in the climax of the first act, as he knows Setzer likes to make an entrance. Setzer is vain and proud of his fashion sense. In the Japanese version of the game, he joins the party wearing a Bandana, an armor piece he otherwise cannot equip. This was done to show Setzer refuses to wear bandanas since Locke also wears one.[4] While the party is dressing Gau to meet his father, Setzer complains they have no fashion sense and suggests Gau wear an outfit identical to his.

Setzer's characterization shifts between the Super NES and Game Boy Advance English scripts, with the GBA script being more faithful to the original Japanese. In the SNES version Setzer was a happy-go-lucky thrill-seeker who gambled with his life for the fun and adventure. In the GBA version Setzer is more resigned and fatalistic, believing that all people die when it is their fate to, and thus does not hesitate risking his life because if he dies it was fated to happen. In his dialogue when wandering the Blackjack, Setzer claims that being free of attachments and obligations is what he considers important, as it allows him to gamble more. The dialogue has a humorous tone in the SNES version, with Setzer mentioning being able to gamble as an afterthought, while in the GBA version he is dismissive of the idea of "attachments" because gambling means more to him. The SNES version has Setzer claim that the Empire has made him rich, implying he has worked for them, but the GBA equivalent line says the opposite, that his business has declined under the Empire.

Removed from the Super NES version was mention of Setzer's dream to build the world's fastest airship, but his dream was shattered with the loss of Darill, his girlfriend[5] who owned her own airship, the Falcon. Setzer attributes the loss of Darill in an airship test to losing his drive in life and becoming the broken man he is. The destruction of the Blackjack demoralizes Setzer further and the party finds him in the World of Ruin drinking in a tavern, mourning the loss of his wings. With the party's encouragement, he rejoins them and pursues a new dream—taking back their world from Kefka.

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Setzer's abilities in spin-off titles tie to his Slot command in Final Fantasy VI and its associated abilities, most commonly Prismatic Flash and Dive Bomb. He is often a support attacker who specializes in debuffing enemies. Reflecting his gambling theme, his attacks may involve an element of chance to augment their effects.

His Desperation Attack is Red Card, but it does not always feature as his Limit Break in other titles.

Story[edit | edit source]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Setzer waiting for Darill.

An unknown time before the start of Final Fantasy VI, Setzer was in a relationship with a woman named Darill, owner of the airship Falcon. They competed over having the fastest ship, which caused Darill to push the Falcon to the limits of its performance. She wanted Setzer to have the Falcon should something happen to her, but Setzer laughed he would win it from her in a race instead. Darill won the race and declared she would fly beyond the clouds and see the stars closer than anyone had before. Setzer told her to be back by sunset and meet him on "[their] hill". Darill never returned, and the wreck of the Falcon was found a year later.[6] Setzer restored the Falcon and sealed it beneath Darill's Tomb.

Setzer kidnaps "Maria".

Setzer became infatuated with the opera star Maria and decided to abduct her and make her marry him. He sent a letter to the Impresario of the Opera House warning him he would come. At this time the Returners were seeking a way to reach the southern continent and infiltrate the Empire, and met the Impresario in Jidoor and read Setzer's letter. It so happened that one of the Returners, Celes, bore an uncanny resemblance to Maria. The Returners hatched a plan to have Celes take Maria's place in the opera and allow Setzer to abduct her, and she could then sneak them onto his airship.

Despite an attempt to sabotage the opera by the octopus Ultros, the Returners' plan succeeded and Setzer took Celes aboard the Blackjack. Celes dropped a rope down to let the Returners come aboard, and when Setzer found them he realized he had been duped. The Returners asked for Setzer's help fighting the Empire, but he was more interested in Celes, whom he decided he preferred to Maria. He offered Celes a deal that he would help them if she married him. Celes made a counter-offer to leave the decision to a coin flip—if it was heads he would help them regardless, but if it was tails she would marry him. Setzer agreed and Celes flipped the coin. It came up heads, but Setzer examined the coin and found it was a two-headed coin. Amused by the trick, he tossed the coin back to Celes and agreed to uphold his end of the bargain anyway.

Setzer joins the party and teaches them how to control the Blackjack.

Setzer landed the Blackjack near Albrook and the Returners set out from there, Setzer prepared to lift off on short notice should they need a hasty escape. As they fled the Magitek Research Facility, Setzer had grown worried about them and brought the Blackjack to Vector. He met with the group and asked why Celes was not with them, but put off explanations until they escaped. Kefka deployed two cranes to attack the Blackjack, but Setzer and the Returners fought them off and made their getaway. Locke asked Setzer to take them to Zozo to see Terra, filling him in on Terra and the espers.

After meeting with Terra in Zozo, the group returned to Narshe and spoke to the leader of the Returners, Banon. A plan had been formed to attack the Empire but they lacked manpower, and Banon asked them to go to the Cave to the Sealed Gate to the esper world and ask the espers for help. At the gate several espers rushed out and flew to Vector. The Returners boarded the Blackjack and followed to investigate, and found the city under attack by the espers. The Blackjack was damaged in the battle and crash-landed near Maranda. The Returners returned to Vector by foot and met with Emperor Gestahl, who had been frightened by the espers' show of power and called a truce. Terra and Locke agreed to accompany an Imperial expedition to Thamasa to locate the espers.

Setzer returned to the Blackjack to begin repairs, aided by Professor Cid of the Empire, though Setzer refused his offers to improve the ship's performance by gutting the casino and streamlining the design. Meanwhile in Vector, Edgar seduced one of the Empire's serving girls who warned him the expedition was a trap to lure the espers out. The Returners fled on the repaired Blackjack before the Empire could move against them, and flew to Thamasa. They were too late to stop Kefka from massacring the espers, and the reunited party grouped on the airship. Setzer told Terra the Empire had found "some statues", horrifying the Thamasan resident Strago.

Gestahl and Kefka entered the sealed gate and discovered the Warring Triad, the petrified remains of the gods of magic. They used the power of the Triad to raise the Floating Continent. The Returners used the Blackjack to engage the Imperial Air Force defending the floating continent, and dropped onto it to confront Gestahl. Kefka killed Gestahl and moved the Triad out of alignment, creating massive destruction across the planet. The Returners attempted to flee on the Blackjack, but the airship was torn apart in the storm of magic and the party was scattered across the world.

Setzer returns to the party.

One year after the cataclysm, Celes found Setzer in the pub in Kohlingen, demoralized with the loss of his wings and unwilling to rejoin the fight. Celes encouraged him to fight like he had before the world ended, but Setzer told her all his dreams were gone; Celes replied he should find a new dream, like freeing the world from Kefka, and it was a dream she'd chase with him. Setzer was reinvigorated and took the party to Darill's Tomb to unearth the Falcon. As they descended to the dock Setzer told them about Darill and her ship, and Setzer asked the Falcon to help him become the world's greatest pilot. The airship arose from the sea and the party had the means to travel the world and find their friends.

Setzer in the ending.

After Kefka was defeated and his tower was collapsing, Setzer, Celes and Edgar came to a passage with two doors. Setzer tossed a coin to decide where to go, and while Celes and Edgar ran to one door, Setzer called to them to go the other way. The door they had been about to approach exploded outward, and Setzer warned them "Whenever you think you're right, you're wrong. And that's a big mistake." As the two continued, Setzer mused the saying was something Darill used often. He and Edgar later got stock on a platform that required switches to be pressed simultaneously to open the path, helped by the mime Gogo.

As the Returners reached the Falcon and took off, Terra used her esper powers to fly ahead but her strength was fading and she fell from the sky. Celes called for Setzer to dive and catch her, and Celes pulled Terra to safety from the bow of the ship. Terra regained consciousness and thanked Setzer for the save, and Setzer reminded the two the Falcon was the fastest ship in the world. The Returners flew over their recovering world savoring their victory.

Spoilers end here.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Setzer is a Gambler. His special ability is Slot, which can have various damaging or healing effects based on the slots outcome. If he equips the Heiji's Jitte relic, Slots becomes Gil Toss, which allows Setzer to damage all enemies at the cost of gil. His Strength, Stamina, Magic Defense and Speed, are average, his Defense is high and his Magic is low. He can equip most heavy armor, and wields Gambler's items, weapons with random effects in the damage they deal. His most notable weapon is the Fixed Dice, whose damage is not halved by Master's Scroll, making it possible to potentially deal four hits of 9,999 with no risk of being evaded. His Desperation Attack is Red Card that deals magical damage to one enemy.

It is possible to tackle the final dungeon before recruiting all party members in the World of Ruin, but Setzer is one of three playable characters who are always available before it becomes accessible; the other two are Edgar and Celes. It is possible to complete Kefka's Tower and finish the game with only these three characters, but since the game forces a split into three separate parties for the three paths, each must finish one of the paths by themselves.

Musical themes[edit | edit source]

Setzer's theme is built off C major, a grand fanfare that plays as the background music for the cabins in both airships. His leitmotif is reprised in A major in "Epitaph", which plays during his reminiscence of Darill, and in C major again in the ending theme, "Balance is Restored". In addition to his character reprisal in the "Ending Theme", Setzer's theme is reprised during the first half of the ending credits.

The theme is included in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Compilation Album.

Other appearances[edit | edit source]

Setzer Gabbiani has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:

Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances[edit | edit source]

Setzer has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:

Other media[edit | edit source]

According to Yasuhisa Izumisawa, Lightning's masculine garbs from Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII are based on Setzer.[7]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Artwork by Yoshitaka Amano.

After it was decided Final Fantasy VI would feature an ensemble cast with no clear main protagonist, everyone in the development team was encouraged to provide ideas for characters and their episodes. Setzer's character and story were colored by influence from Tetsuya Nomura.[8]

According to the "Chocobo's FF Laboratory" feature published in V Jump in 1993, the character of Faris Scherwiz from Final Fantasy V was originally a female gambler named Eva Scherwil. The developers encountered difficulties in making her fit in the game's world and atmosphere, and changed her into a pirate. In a later issue of V Jump, the developers noted Setzer evolved from an abandoned concept for Final Fantasy V.[9] Nomura had had jobs in mind for Final Fantasy V, such as a ninja with a dog, and a gambler who fought with dice and cards, among others. These ideas were not used for Final Fantasy V, but when work started on Final Fantasy VI, they were used for Shadow and Setzer.[10]

A rarely-noticed fact about Setzer is that in the Japanese version he joins the party with a Bandana equipped although he cannot equip them (if removed he cannot reequip it). This is not a bug, but was meant to be an inside joke showing Setzer's vanity does not allow him to wear the same things as Locke. In the GBA version Setzer does not come with a Bandana, as the porting team possibly thought it was a glitch.[9][4]

Setzer is likely based on the concept of bakuto, itinerant gamblers in Japan from the 18th century to the mid-20th century who were one of the forerunners of the modern Japanese crime gangs known as yakuza. Bakuto plied their trade in feudal Japan, playing traditional games, such as hanafuda and dice, and were mostly social outcasts who lived outside the laws and norms of society.

The discrepancy between his original personality and his portrayal in the Kingdom Hearts series is alluded to in Dissidia Final Fantasy. In Shadow and Setzer's conversation in the Duel Colosseum, Shadow says, "Don't even think of bribing your opponents to lose." Setzer indignantly replies, "What's that about? I would never stoop to that!" although Setzer may be saying this sarcastically.

Merchandise[edit | edit source]

Setzer's key chain.

Square released pencil toppers and key chains in 1994 with the cast of Final Fantasy VI. Among them was merchandise featuring Setzer. These products were available in vending machines. Setzer's key chain features his in-game sprite design.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Setzer may allude to the German word setzen, meaning "to bet on something". Alternately, it may be a corruption of "César", a name whose variants are found throughout certain European countries, including Spain, Italy, and Portugal. "César" itself is derived from Latin Caesar. a title of nobility in the Roman Empire.

Gabbiani is the Italian word for "seagulls", but also is similar to the Italian verb gabbare, meaning "to trick, to cheat".

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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