Sonon Kusakabe is a guest character and the deuteragonist of an additional episode introduced in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. He is a ninja warrior from Wutai assigned to accompany Yuffie Kisaragi on her mission to infiltrate Midgar, steal the "ultimate materia" from the Shinra Electric Power Company, and restore their homeland's former glory.
Before Final Fantasy VII
Sonon was born in Wutai and is the older brother of Melphie. As youths, both trained as warriors under Godo Kisaragi and fought in the Wutai War. Toward the war's end, he was devastated by his sister's death at the hands of a haywire Shinra mech, seeding a hatred toward the company, especially the director of Advanced Weaponry, Scarlet.
The new Wutaian government assigned Sonon to accompany Yuffie on her mission to infiltrate Midgar. He arrived in the city three days before Yuffie, traveling to the Sector 7 slums and meeting with Zhijie, Nayo, Billy Bob, and Polk of Avalanche HQ, who agreed to help with their mission.
The day Yuffie arrived in Midgar, Sonon was "out in the town" conducting recon.
During "Wutai's Finest", a returned Sonon apologized to an annoyed Yuffie, who pressed where he'd been. After brief playful banter, Sonon called Yuffie his "boss", acknowledged their slight age difference and her superior experience, and that they'd celebrate her promotion at the Happy Turtle once they finished their mission. At Nayo's request, they accompanied her across town to pick up their fake interplate IDs at a municipal storage depot. They observed Barret Wallace, Tifa Lockhart, and Biggs from afar, Nayo explaining the three were members of an Avalanche splinter cell that defected following a "policy dispute". Yuffie was interested in meeting them, but Sonon advised against it since they likely had Shinra on their tail. Sonon assessed Avalanche HQ were aiding them so that the splinter cell wouldn't, knowing how bad things could've been if they did.
Before reaching their destination, Nayo asked about Yuffie and Sonon's "big plans" after they procured the "ultimate materia". Sonon rolled his eyes as a cocky Yuffie responded it was for power. Sonon felt that robbing Shinra of its most prized possession would deal a blow to their morale, proving that Wutai was down, but not out. The three were hounded by Don Corneo's lackeys, but defeated them. Nayo sated their curiosity regarding Corneo and his "talent scouting" lackeys, and their relentless attempts to lure unsuspecting girls back to his mansion in Wall Market. Sonon abhorred Wall Market's seediness having scouted the area on a recon mission. Sonon and Yuffie were intrigued by a tattooed man in black robes while waiting for their counterfeited IDs. Nayo informed they were failed SOLDIER candidates and victims of Shinra suffering from mako poisoning. Upon receiving their fake Shinra employee IDs, Sonon forewarned an overexcited Yuffie they couldn't just walk up to Shinra's front doors.
Zhijie notified Sonon and Yuffie about a change of plans and requested meeting them at the pillar. An uneasy Sonon jokingly called a boasting Yuffie "mutant", which amused her as they hurried back to town. They witnessed Zhijie being accosted by Public Security officers, watched as he distracted the officers and made a run for it, and chased after him. The duo maneuvered the nearby factory, a trusting Sonon easing Yuffie's concerns for Zhijie, and delayed answering an impressed Yuffie's question about Zhijie being Wutaian, and assured her of Nayo's safety. He understood Yuffie initial hesitance to trust Avalanche HQ and her positive belief they've changed. Sonon and Yuffie overheard from Shinra officers that Zhijie was detained at the pillar maintenance. A clumsy Yuffie attempted to sneak behind the officers, but accidentally alerted them. Once the soldiers were dealt with, Sonon advised Yuffie to think before acting or she'd get herself killed. After strategizing a plan to reach Zhijie, Sonon expressed that Avalanche HQ was "too soft", wishing they collaborated with the splinter cell instead, feeling Midgar didn't need "good people", and acknowledged their indifference toward the city to a tentative Yuffie.
Sonon and Yuffie descended to the waste disposal plant, attempting to sneak past a sleeping levrikon at Sonon's suggestion. Yuffie agreed to tread as "quiet as a mouse", but was startled by a rat and awakened the beast, frustrating Sonon. The two eliminated the beast, and found a note from Zhijie detailing the path to pillar maintenance. Sonon thought the well-guarded maintenance building looked like an arms factory and exhorted "keeping it tight" since Zhijie's life was on the line. Sonon and Yuffie watched Shinra officers roughly interrogate Zhijie and created a diversion. Sonon freed Zhijie while Yuffie finished her flashy diversion, and praised her "award-winning performance". They destroyed the Gigantipede Shinra unleashed on them, fist-bumping over their victory. Sonon invited a grateful Zhijie for drinks after their mission finished, promising to show him how "Wutaians really party". Zhijie disclosed the duo of Shinra's plans to destroy Sector 7 and gave them fake Shinra employee IDs.
Back in town, Yuffie and Sonon discovered Shinra had raided Avalanche HQ's base. They hurried to the train station where they met Nayo, who apologized for the lack of a proper send-off, but declared she and her colleagues were rooting for them. Aboard the train, Sonon protected a motion sick Yuffie from the crowd and compared her to his deceased sister. He recounted Melphie's death, stated Shinra was responsible, and asserted the company deserved what was coming.
Infiltrating the Shinra Building
In "Covert Ops", Sonon and Yuffie entered the Shinra Building, slipped past adamant reporters, and used their counterfeited employee IDs to reach the Advanced Weaponry division at the basement where the "ultimate materia" was purported to be located. Scarlet and accompanying security officers boarded the elevator en route to their destination, which left them on edge. The duo reined each other against Scarlet's disrespect toward Wutaian culture and their nation's collusion with Avalanche. Sonon and Yuffie attempted to follow Scarlet, but she locked the security door behind her and directed the "foreigners" to the "scenic route". A vengeful Sonon was frustrated they didn't attack Scarlet, but Yuffie pacified him.
Sonon and Yuffie navigated the weapons development facility and got heated after Yuffie spoke ill of her father and Sonon's master, Godo. An offended Sonon insisted an irked Yuffie ease up on his master, but she felt her feelings were justified. At the weapons testing grounds, a holographic Scarlet used Sonon and Yuffie as test subjects against various mechs, analyzing their combat skills and collecting data. An impressed Scarlet allowed them to exit the room and continue on to materia production.
Yuffie was astonished by the materia reserves and wanted to take some as "souvenirs" and Sonon suggested activating the power to the pods where the materia were being held. The duo defeated attacking shocktroopers, stole the materia, climbed to the second floor, and found themselves at a dead end. Yuffie complained they were lost, but Sonon told her to focus, and asked if she had any spare Da-chao beans. The two took a breather and bonded while snacking. A playful Yuffie expressed surprise at Sonon being able to eat the tough beans, was glad she wasn't on the mission alone, and a smiling Sonon agreed.
Sonon and Yuffie entered Scarlet's office, thinking they found the "ultimate materia" only to learn it was a dud. A taunting holographic Scarlet invited them to the next room to find what they were searching for. A provoked Sonon asked for Yuffie's take on Scarlet's invitation. She believed it was a trap, but nothing they couldn't handle. He clenched his fists and enthusiastically agreed. Following a series of combat tests in the weapon testing facility, Scarlet commended their resilience and led them into the heavy weapons testing facility. Yuffie threatened a mocking Scarlet, who battled the duo in her personal Crimson Mare mech only to be defeated. Sonon and Yuffie cornered her and she hit a hidden button on her stocking, releasing Nero from his containment to hunt them.
Sonon bound Scarlet and interrogated her to no avail, prompting Yuffie to take over and ask about the new "super-powerful" materia Shinra was developing. An amused Scarlet remarked that Wutai had some highly skilled intelligent operatives or that a "mole was in their midst" before Sonon left to investigate a commotion in the adjacent room. He was ambushed by Deepground SOLDIERs and Yuffie rushed to his aid. As they fended off the SOLDIERs, Yuffie relayed to an outraged Sonon that Shinra intended to drop the Sector 7 plate and that the "ultimate materia" didn't exist. He was disappointed, but felt they gained valuable intel. An outnumbered Yuffie and Sonon were pushed into an old combat simulation room where Scarlet set the pain sensation to maximum, forcing the two to battle elite digital foes. They escaped after destroying the projector within and followed a desolate trail of corpses leading to Nero.
A disturbed Sonon and Yuffie watched Nero absorb SOLDIERs and gain power, challenging them to a fight. Nero taunted them and Yuffie was crept out by his ever-growing powers over darkness, but Sonon spurred her strength and focus. The duo gained the upper hand after a few unsuccessful attempts at killing Nero, unleashing final blows that resulted in Nero dissipating into darkness. They briefly celebrated and Sonon offered to carry a tired Yuffie to the exit, but she declined. As they made their way out, a reconstituted Nero attacked from behind. Sonon, remembering Melphie's death and sensing a dark presence, raced to protect Yuffie and pushed her into the elevator, blocking the door as Nero impaled him with darkness and his prosthetic sheers. Sonon used his remaining strength to push the elevator's button, encouraged Yuffie to keep going for their sakes, and smiled at her as the door closed and darkness enveloped him. As his consciousness faded, Sonon imagined reuniting with Melphie and eating Da-chao beans together, though he couldn't crack his. He tearfully hugged his sister as Nero impaled him once more, dragging Sonon's body away and vanishing into the void.
Sonon is a muscular young man who is few years older than Yuffie. He has tan skin, swept-back spiky brown hair, and brown eyes. He wears a gray and black jacket with crimson ninja armor on the shoulders and a light red tunic underneath. He wears crimson ninja-armored black leather gloves, dark cargo pants with two black pouches, black socks, and red and black sneakers. His weapon of choice is a long staff.
Sonon is a polite, reliable, protective, vengeful, prideful, and forthright man with an overall serious, grounded nature. Despite his seriousness, he has a sense of humor and teases Yuffie throughout their mission. Compared to Yuffie's exuberance, he is far more humble, rational, cool-headed, and pragmatic, preferring to strategize accordingly rather than jump in blindly, though he occasionally taunts his enemies confidently. He is adaptable, quickly acclimating to life in the Midgar slums and adjusting his tactics in combat. He is a firm supporter of action and justice, believing Avalanche HQ to be "too soft", justifying the splinter cell's bombings, and that Shinra has what's coming to them.
Sonon was close with his younger sister, Melphie, deeply loving and protecting her. He was devastated when she was killed by a Shinra mech at the end of the Wutai War. He recounts his memories of Melphie to Yuffie, who she reminds him of, mentioning her motion sickness, their warrior training, and how she had "promise". Her death causes him immense emotional pain, fueling his resentment toward the Shinra Company and want for revenge. Upon being mortally wounded by Nero, Sonon imagines being with Melphie again and eating Da-chao beans, tearfully hugging her in his final moments.
Throughout their mission, Sonon develops a brotherly bond with Yuffie, who reminds him of Melphie. Age difference aside, he acknowledges her superior experience and respectfully calls her "boss", which greatly pleases her. Yuffie mutually enjoys his company, finding his sense of humor amusing and appreciating company. He cares for her well-being, easing her worries and giving her helpful advice. Due to her similarities with Melphie, Sonon is protective of Yuffie, shielding her from the train crowd while she feels motion sick and eventually sacrificing himself to save her. However, Sonon gets exasperated by Yuffie's cockiness and her reckless approach to things throughout their mission, preferring strategy over blind action. Sonon's respect for Godo strains his friendship with Yuffie, who despises her father, but also informs his respect for her and tradition.[note 2]
Sonon is a skilled ninja warrior, having received training from Godo since a young age. He fights with a staff and knows some ninjutsu, as shown when warping to Yuffie's position to attack enemies in perfect synergy. He is formidable at both physical and magical combat. If Yuffie falls in battle, Sonon gives up his health to revive her. Sonon and Yuffie have compatible synergy and are able to combine their skills to unleash joined attacks.
Sonon is an unplayable guest party member in Episode INTERmission. Yuffie can issue him commands to perform and equip him with upgradeable staves, materia, accessories, and armor. He uses staves to beat on his opponents and provoke them, which allows Yuffie to attack from ranged or short distances.
He has three weapons: Marshalist's Staff, Indurate Staff, and Djinn Staff. He has various weapon abilities: "Twirling Lunge" is a spinning attack that increases an enemy's stagger, "Swirling Storm" draws the attention of a weakened enemy until Yuffie deals a certain amount of damage, "Fighting Spirit" strikes an enemy multiple times dealing high damage, and "Incite" continues targeting an enemy while dealing increased damage. Sonon's limit break, "Dance of the Dragon", delivers myriad blows and deals high damage.
Sonon's actions and abilities complement Yuffie's. Together, they can perform synergized attacks at the cost of lower ATB gain; Sonon will follow Yuffie's lead, targeting the same enemies and performing a series of strong physical attacks and matching ninjutsu. Synergized limit breaks can also be unlocked. He acts as both tank and support, maintaining enemies' attention, healing her at low health, and reviving her at the cost of being KO'd himself. (Yuffie needs to synergize with Sonon to be revived after Nero's instant death attacks.)
Sonon has a few musical themes associated with him in "Episode INTERmission". "Sonon's Theme", track 15 of disc 1 on the Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade Original Soundtrack, plays when he joins Yuffie's party, and in the Sector 7 slums thereafter. "Melphie and Sonon", track 6 of disc 2 on the Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade Original Soundtrack, plays while he recounts Melphie's death to Yuffie on the train. "Seeing Melphie Again", track 4 of disc 3 on the Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade Original Soundtrack, is heard in Sonon's final moments when he imagines being with his sister again; it also incorporates a sad variation of "Sonon's Theme".
Behind the scenes
Sonon was designed by Tetsuya Nomura. He originally planned to design Sonon as "thin" and "handsome", but decided to give him a more "masculine" appearance since Yuffie acted different around Cloud and Vincent in Final Fantasy VII, so therefore he was interested to see how she interacted with him.
At the ending of "INTERmission", the dying Sonon imagines being with his sister in a dark boundless void with small blinking lights. Lights in darkness are sometimes used to represent the souls of the dead in Japanese culture.
Sonon was voiced by Aleks Le in Final Fantasy VII Intergrade. He previously voiced a background character in Final Fantasy VII Remake and was overjoyed to be cast as the voice of Sonon, and to be featured on the cover of "Episode INTERmission" with Yuffie since Final Fantasy VII is special to him.
- Sonon told Yuffie he had a "few years on her" during their introduction, and Scarlet later refers to the two as "teenage ninjas" in the Shinra Building, roughly placing his age at 19.
- Sonon and Yuffie have conflicting opinions about Godo. Upon meeting Yuffie, Sonon introduces himself as Godo's student, but she irritably interrupts him, not wanting to talk about her father. While infiltrating the Shinra Building, Sonon wonders how Godo is holding up, angering Yuffie who exclaims that he's an incompetent "drunk" and deserving of his prison sentence. A defensive Sonon feels offended, insisting she "ease up" on his master.
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Handoff"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Scarlet's Trap"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Shinra Building or Bust"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Esteemed Avalanche Colleagues"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Back to Base"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "After Him"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Tracking Zhijie"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Save Zhijie"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Find That Materia"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Hunt Continues"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Invitation"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Fateful Confrontation"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "A New Threat"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Escape"
- Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Dread"
- Adam Vitale, RPGSite (17 March, 2021). Tetsuya Nomura talks FF7 Remake Intergrade, Ever Crisis, & The First Soldier in Famitsu. Archived from the original on 12 June, 2021.
- Le 2021