A mysterious young woman, born with the gift of magic, and enslaved by the Gestahlian Empire.Description
Terra Branford, known as Tina in the Japanese version, is a playable character in Final Fantasy VI. Her name in menus before the player names her is displayed as ??????, and her "name" in dialogue is Girl.
Terra begins the game as a soldier for the Gestahlian Empire, who used her to further their experiments with Magitek due to her unique ability to innately use magic. After she is freed from the mind control of Kefka, Terra finds refuge in the Returners, a rebel group whose members convince her to ally with them for protection and to stop the Empire from conquering the world. While initially apprehensive about fighting and reluctant to use her powers, Terra comes to accept her true nature and fights alongside the Returners to bring about peace and create a better world for the future.
Though the story of Final Fantasy VI has an ensemble cast with no intended main character, Terra is the first character the player controls and is featured in the game's logo. In spin-off titles she is typically the primary representative for Final Fantasy VI and the foremost character of the game.
Terra was born in the Esper World to an esper father, Maduin, and a human mother, Madeline. When the Gestahlian Empire raided the land and abducted Maduin, he and Madeline were accidentally cast out of the Esper World with Terra. Emperor Gestahl took the baby Terra from Madeline and struck her down. Intrigued by the prospect of a half-esper, Gestahl took Terra back to Vector where she was raised as a living weapon and experiment as the Empire developed Magitek.
The exact details of Terra's upbringing in the Empire are unknown. Both General Celes and General Leo knew her from her time in the Empire, aware she was being used as a biological weapon. Due to her innate magical ability, Terra was given the title of Magitek Elite. Kefka Palazzo took an interest in her and placed a Slave Crown on her, giving him direct control over Terra. One of his orders was to kill fifty soldiers in Magitek Armor—Terra killed them all in under three minutes. The incident was so horrific that it became news even outside the Empire and rumors spread of a dangerous "witch" under their control. At some point after this Terra attended Gestahl's declaration of war speech with Kefka, Celes, and Leo, standing silently by her Magitek Armor while the assembled Imperials saluted their Emperor.
The Empire received word that a frozen esper had been excavated in the mines of the town of Narshe, a neutral city. They sent two Imperial troopers, Biggs and Wedge, as well as Terra, to raid the town and retrieve the esper. The trio killed several members of the Narshe guards and found the esper, but it began to glow and resonate with Terra, and a surge of energy knocked her unconscious. She was rescued by Arvis, a resident of Narshe, who removed the slave crown and sheltered her in his home.
Terra awoke in Arvis's home with no memories but her name. The guards came to the house to arrest her and Arvis had her sneak out the back door and into the mines, and the guards pursued. They cornered Terra in a passage when the floor caved in and she fell to a lower floor, and saw glimpses of her servitude to Kefka before passing out. Meanwhile Arvis contacted Locke, an agent of the Returners, and asked him to help Terra. Locke rushed to Terra's rescue and, with help from a group of moogles that live in the mines, defeated the guards and escaped town through a hidden passage.
Locke took Terra to Figaro Castle and introduced her to its king, Edgar. The two promised to shelter Terra until her memories returned, but Terra was dubious and wondered if they were only interested in her for her magical powers. Kefka arrived to reclaim her, but Edgar feigned ignorance of who he was looking for. That night Kefka returned and set fire to the castle, and Terra, Locke, and Edgar escaped on chocobos while the castle submerged under the desert. Edgar admitted to Terra that they were Returners and asked her to come with them and meet their leader, Banon. Though she was hesitant, the group set out for the South Figaro Cave and the Sabre Mountains, where the Returner Hideout was.
After making contact with Edgar's estranged brother Sabin on Mt. Kolts, the group reached the hideout and Terra met Banon. He told her she may represent the Returners' last hope, and it was clear their interest in her centered around her wielding of magic. Terra was reluctant to be used as a weapon and spoke to the others in the Returner hideout to learn more about why they fight the Empire. Meanwhile, the Empire invaded South Figaro to use as a staging ground for further excursions north, including the Returner hideout. Locke went to sabotage their advance while Terra, Edgar, Sabin, and Banon fled down the Lethe River. Ultros attacked them and Sabin washed overboard, leaving the others to continue alone.
At Narshe, the guards recognized Terra from her raid on the town and refused her entry, but Terra remembered the secret passage into the mines that Locke had used to escape with her, and they snuck back into town and to Arvis's house. Banon tried to convince the Elder of Narshe to side with the Returners against the Empire, but the Elder was unconvinced. Sabin and Locke arrived at the meeting with new allies—Gau, Cyan, and Celes, now no longer of the Empire. Locke warned them the Empire was already marching on Narshe, and the town agreed to allow the Returners to defend them. While preparing their defenses, Terra spoke to Celes about their mutual ability to use magic and asked if she feels love, but Celes took it for mockery.
The Battle for the Frozen Esper commenced with Kefka leading the Imperial forces while Banon directed the defense, and they repelled the Empire. The group visited Valigarmanda and it resonated with Terra again, and a shockwave knocked the other Returners back as Terra approached it, demanding answers of what she is. A conduit of energy flowed between the two and Terra transformed into a monstrous esper-like form and flew way. The Returners regrouped and set out to track her down and find out what happened.
The group found Terra in Zozo in the care of Ramuh, an esper. Terra was still transformed and unable to control her powers, and could not speak or recognize the party. Ramuh explained he called Terra to him for her safety when he sensed her transformation, but denied she was an esper. To help her come to terms with her nature and control her powers, he advised the party go to Vector and rescue the espers being held in the Magitek Research Facility, as he believed one of the espers there could be of aid.
The Returners raided the facility and retrieved the magicite remains of many espers. When they returned to Terra, one of them, Maduin, resonated with her. Terra's memories were restored and the story of her birth in the Esper World and the Empire's invasion was revealed to the party. Now able to transform into her esper state at will, Terra returned to human form and rejoined the party.
The party returned to Narshe and were told the town had formally joined the Returners. They had come up with a plan to attack the Empire with a coalition of the Returners, Figaro's weaponry, and Narshe's resources, but lacked the manpower. Banon suggested opening the Sealed Gate to the Esper World and making an alliance with the espers. While Terra was hesitant, she accepted that her very existence was proof co-existence between human and esper was possible, and agreed. The party set out to the Cave to the Sealed Gate. An Imperial Observation Post was stationed at the entrance to the cave and was suspiciously abandoned when they arrived, but the Returners continued on.
When Terra approached the Sealed Gate the Returners were ambushed by Kefka. The other party members engaged him while Terra called out to the espers, and Kefka claimed that the Empire let Terra "escape" to trick the Returners into opening the gate. As the two groups fought, Terra shifted into her esper form and the Sealed Gate opened, and many espers rushed out, carrying Kefka away. Terra was blown back and collapsed, and the gate closed, a rockslide sealing it further. The Returners decided to regroup on the Blackjack, their airship, and leave the cave. At the abandoned Imperial base, another of the group informed them they saw the espers fly toward Vector.
The Returners found the espers attacking the city in a rage, ignoring Terra's attempts to call to them. The Blackjack was damaged in the chaos and crashlanded near Maranda. The Returners traveled to Vector and found the city in flames and its population devastated. At the Imperial Palace, Gestahl insisted he had seen the error of his ways in light of the true power of the espers, and declared the war is over. He was concerned the espers may attack again, and asked for Terra's help find them and negotiate with them. Terra agreed and Locke volunteered to accompany her.
The two met up with General Leo in Albrook and learned the expedition was being accompanied by Celes, who had been missing since the Magitek Research Facility, and Shadow, a mercenary Leo had hired in town. During the boat ride to Crescent Island, Terra could not sleep and went out on deck, where she spoke to General Leo. Leo was distant and admitted he felt guilty he did nothing to help Terra while the Empire was using her, and reassured her that in spite of her heritage, she was capable of feeling love, it would just take time and the right people.
Terra, Locke and Shadow went to Thamasa, where the residents avoid strangers and acted strangely around them. A resident of the town, Strago, acted particularly suspicious, but the party wasn't sure what to make of it. While resting in the town, a building caught fire with Strago's adoptive granddaughter, Relm, stuck inside. Strago asked Terra and Locke to help him rescue her, and they witnessed Strago's magical abilities as he tried to fight the flames. The two entered the house with Strago and found Relm, and Shadow rescued them when they fell unconscious in the collapsing house.
Strago revealed the truth of his Magi ancestry and agreed to accompany Terra and Locke on the search for the espers, and advised they check the western caves. Within the caves they discovered statues of the Warring Triad emanating with magical power, and Strago explained they were effectively the gods of magic. Terra speculated the espers were drawn by the energy, and that the statues' power connected the human and the esper worlds. The group found the espers and their leader, Yura, who recognized Terra's power. The group convinced Yura to set up a conference with General Leo.
Back in Thamasa, Yura and Leo began peace negotiations, but were interrupted by Kefka who revealed this was a ruse for him and Gestahl to retrieve more espers to turn into magicite. Kefka wounded the gathered Imperials and Returners but Leo, and killed Yura and the other espers. Leo tried to fight back, but was killed, and Kefka then slaughtered more espers that forced open the Sealed Gate and tried to stop him. In the aftermath, Terra and the others mourned Leo and met up with their allies on the Blackjack. Gestahl and Kefka entered the Esper World, found the Warring Triad, and raised the Floating Continent.
The party flew to the Floating Continent to stop Gestahl and Kefka's plans. Kefka used the Warring Triad's power to kill Gestahl and unleashed their power on the world, causing the Cataclysm. In the chaos of the world's reshaping, the Blackjack was destroyed and the party members scattered.
At some point after the cataclysm, Terra found herself in the village of Mobliz. Kefka had attacked the town with his Light of Judgment, destroying much of it and killing all the adults who tried to protect their children—two teenagers, Duane and Katarin, were the eldest residents left. Terra felt a strange pull to the village and elected to stay and take care of the kids, many of them coming to view her as a surrogate parent and referred to her as "Mama".
When the party came to Mobliz, they asked Terra to rejoin them, but she refused, as she wanted to understand what the unfamiliar emotions she felt were, and the more she tried the less inclined she felt to leave. A demon, Humbaba, attacked the village, and Terra was wounded trying to defeat him, forcing the party to intervene and chase Humbaba away. Terra told them she could not accompany them and they left.
A time later the party returned to the village and learned Katarin was pregnant. Humbaba attacked again and the party engaged him while Terra stayed with Katarin and Duane. The party was struggling against Humbaba when Terra emerged from hiding and transformed into her esper form to help them. Humbaba was slain but Terra still struggled to contain her esper form's power. The children of Mobliz came out and were initially frightened of Terra's appearance, but then recognized her and gathered around her without fear. Terra realized she had come to love the children and with this epiphany resolved to fight on their behalf, to create a better world for them to grow up in. Terra entrusted the care of Mobliz to Duane and Katarin and joined the party in their battle against Kefka.
As the party prepared to invade Kefka's Tower, Terra's friends worried over her fate as they might have to destroy the Warring Triad, the source of magic that sustains espers, and they did not know what would happen to Terra if they did.
After Kefka was killed, Terra transformed and used the last of her power to help the party escape the now crumbling tower. The magicite shards in the party's possession shattered as magic vanished from the world, and with his last words Maduin told Terra she could live on as a human if there was something in the world she felt strongly for. As Terra and the party's second airship, the Falcon, flew out of the tower, Terra's power faded and she fell from the sky. The Falcon dove to catch her and Terra awoke on the deck of the ship, now fully human due to her love for the children of Mobliz. She stood at the airship's helm and untied her ponytail, savoring freedom at last.
Terra is an eighteen-year-old woman with long hair tied in a ponytail, a red dress with a purple or pink sash around her waist, red boots, and red bracers. The details of her outfit differ considerably between her concept art and sprite art. In her concept art, Terra has blonde hair, a cape and tights with floral patterns, and a pink hair ribbon. In her sprites, Terra has green hair, purple shoulder pads, and no tights.
Terra has been portrayed with varying eye colors. In her in-game sprite and the FMVs added to the Final Fantasy Anthology version, she has green eyes. When in her esper form, Terra is depicted as a nude figure with pink-purple skin, long, wild hair reaching past her waist, tufts of fur on her arms and legs, and yellow claws on her hands and feet. In the SNES and GBA versions of Final Fantasy VI, her esper sprite has red eyes and her portrait has yellow eyes, but the 2014 mobile and Steam releases have her with green eyes in her sprite and blue eyes in her portrait.
Alternate artworks for Terra depict her with a white leotard with a blue jacket with sleeves, a blue cape, and blue boots, and another gives her a black and white striped short-sleeved top that bears her midriff, a matching skirt, and a blue cape.
At the onset of Final Fantasy VI, Terra is confused and fearful and has amnesia, strengthening her hesitations. She has no idea who or what she is or what the war she has been caught up in is about. The few memories she has imply she was a willing soldier of the Empire, disturbing her and causing her to be wary of joining the Returners, uncertain if she belongs with them and can trust them. Terra comes to hate and fear her powers, as she feels they are only good for destruction and alienate her from others who fear her or would exploit her abilities.
Following her connecting with the magicite of her father, Maduin, Terra regains all her memories and gains better control over her powers. She becomes more proactive in aiding the Returners to try and establish peace between humans and espers. However, she still rejects her power, having now seen what the Empire has used magic for, and feeling that others are hungry for power only to fight.
In the World of Ruin, Terra fully accepts her powers at last when she defends the children of Mobliz from Humbaba. Realizing she loves the children, an emotion she was afraid she was incapable of feeling, Terra rejoins the party to defeat Kefka and create a better, peaceful world for the kids. Her courage and resolve are settled from then on, and she is determined to use her powers as needed—not to destroy or cause war, but to protect the things and the people she cares about.
Terra has a fondness for moogles, expressed in many of her spin-off appearances where she interacts with the creatures.
In Final Fantasy VI, Terra can equip most weapons and armor, including heavy armor and mage robes, making her a versatile character. Terra is generally associated with the fire element, able to cast spells like Fire, Flare, and Meltdown. She is adept in a variety of offensive magic, but fire-themed spells are her focus.
Terra's ability in Final Fantasy VI is Trance, where she transforms into her esper state. She can only sustain it for a short period of time before she reverts to her human form. In addition, Terra is able to fly while in her esper form.
Due to her time as a pawn for the Empire, Terra is skilled with a Magitek Armor, being able to use advanced abilities with the Magitek command not usable by other characters, such as Banisher and Magitek Missile.
Terra is an all-around powerful character. Her large equipment draw and good base stats allow her to function as a physical or magical attacker. She is one of only two characters to have innate Magic and will learn new spells as she levels up. Her special ability, Trance, doubles any damage she deals while in use and halves magic damage, furthering her as a powerhouse character. Her Desperation Attack is Riot Blade, which deals magical damage to one enemy.
Terra is a required party member for many portions of the World of Balance, but is entirely optional in the World of Ruin.
"Terra" is the main theme of Final Fantasy VI, and it is worked into the tracks "Opening Theme", "Metamorphosis", "Save Them!" and "Ending Theme". The theme plays on the overworld map in the World of Balance, but is replaced by "Dark World" and later "Searching for Friends" in the World of Ruin. The piece's melody is incorporated into "Awakening", another theme associated with Terra that plays when she experiences a personal revelation, including when Terra awakens in Arvis's house at the beginning of the game.
"FINAL FANTASY VI Symphonic Poem: Born with the Gift of Magic" is a symphonic poem arranged and orchestrated by Roger Wanamo for the Final Symphony concert series. Final Fantasy VI was the first Final Fantasy game Wanamo played and was swept away by the story, the characters and the music. He wished to retell his experience with this arrangement that focuses on the journey of Terra Branford, the heroine born with the gift of magic. Over the course of the piece he examines the different stages of Terra's life that made her into the person she is.
Terra has appeared as a guest character or cameo in numerous titles throughout the Final Fantasy series.
She is often a recurring magical unit focusing on fire-elemental attacks, but is sometimes given a lesser affinity for wind magic. Due to her esper heritage, some spin-off titles give Terra a connection to summons. World of Final Fantasy states she is able to call summons against their will, and she was used in a ritual to awaken the abilities of summoners from other titles. Riot Blade is often treated in spin-offs as Terra's Limit Break or equivalent mechanic, but sometimes her Trance ability fills such a role instead.
Terra has appeared in the following games:
- Final Fantasy VI: The Interactive CG Game as a playable character (demo).
- Final Fantasy XIV as a Triple Triad card.
- Final Fantasy Tactics S as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Dimensions II as a summon.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy NT as a playable character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a playable character.
- 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 World Wide Words.
- Final Fantasy Explorers as a Trance.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- World of Final Fantasy as a summonable Champion.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
- Puzzle & Dragons as a playable character.
- Monster Strike as a playable character.
- Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble as a playable character.
- Secret of Evermore, Terra appears among the crowd in the Antiqua Coliseum with other Final Fantasy VI characters.
- Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, there are several obtainable Avatar Parts in the Avatar Menu based on Terra's Dissidia outfit, such as "FF6 Terra's Sword".
- Gunslinger Stratos 2, a costume based on Terra was released on November 6, 2014.
Behind the scenes
The character that would become Terra Branford was originally a male half-esper in his early 20s whose design was changed to that of an 18-year-old Terra. At the end of the game, she was supposed to disappear with the espers, but the development team decided it would be "going too far", and had her only lose the magic part of her being.
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. Terra's character and story were colored by influence from Hironobu Sakaguchi. Starting the World of Ruin story arc with Celes was seen as making sense in the overall flow of the story, but the developers were also concerned that starting it with Terra would place too much relative importance on her story. Also, the developers wanted to show what she had been doing since the end of the world.
As all character sprites, Terra's was designed by Kazuko Shibuya, who initially designed her with short blonde hair. Shibuya created the pixel art first and afterward Yoshitaka Amano would make his illustrations as the game was being developed. Shibuya made Terra's finalized design with green hair, whereas Amano drew her as blonde. Shibuya has commented that keeping such details consistent between the sprite art and Amano art would have made the characters harder to distinguish between and dilute their distinctive traits.
During the choosing of characters for Dissidia Final Fantasy, Terra was Tetsuya Nomura's first choice for the hero representative of Final Fantasy VI, based partially on being featured prominently on Final Fantasy VI cover and in advertisements, and that, not counting Cosmos herself, there would be no females on Cosmos's side if not for her. The first artworks of Terra were not her final look: the design changes made from the first to final versions include a differently designed face, longer bangs, a slightly bustier body, and a paler shade of blonde hair.
Along with Faris, Terra was Yoshitaka Amano's favorite character to design. With over two dozen pieces of artwork of her by Yoshitaka Amano, Terra has the most official artwork of any Final Fantasy character.
In the GBA and later versions, there's a slight change to Terra's actions during her flashback: Originally, she doesn't move at all when the top generals and soldiers salute Emperor Gestahl after the latter gives his declaration of war speech. In the GBA and later versions, although still not saluting, she nonetheless moves in close along with the top generals while still staying a slight distance away from them and the Emperor. This is because the GBA, Steam, and iOS versions have a smaller screen display compared to the SNES and PlayStation versions.
The data texts for the game contain a line omitted apparently for the flashback of Kefka placing the slave crown on Terra where she shouts, "No! Get away from me!" (a similar line is used when she casts Blizzara in Dissidia).
In the original Final Fantasy VI, Terra only has one voice clip, a screeching wail, uttered when she first transforms into an esper and flies off. The clip is later reused after the fight with Humbaba and she descends to the ground in her transformed state.
Starting with Dissidia Final Fantasy Terra is voiced by Yukari Fukui in Japanese Dissidia series, who also voiced Oerba Dia Vanille from the Final Fantasy XIII series. In the English versions, she is voiced by Natalie Lander, who also voiced Emily Jefferson in The 3rd Birthday, also made by Square Enix. Both actresses voice her with a youthful, innocent and gentle (yet at times sharp) tone. Both of Terra's voice actresses from Dissidia have continued to voice her in all subsequent voiced appearances.
In May 2018, Square Enix released a silver Terra pendant with a fuchsia gem as part of the Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary campaign. The reverse side simply reads "Final Fantasy" with a carving of a crystal. Terra is depicted in her Dissidia Final Fantasy appearance, and is released alongside pendants of the other Final Fantasy protagonists.
In May 2018, Square Enix released a figure of Terra under the Play Arts -Kai- line in her Dissidia Final Fantasy appearance.
Tina is the shortened form of various names that end with -tina, including Christina (English for "Follower of Christ"), Martina (Latin for "Servant of Mars" and "God of War"), Valentina (Latin for "Strength" and "Health"), etc. Tina has no meaning of its own as a standalone name.
"Christiana" was an early saint who had been tormented by her pagan father. This resembles how Terra was taken by Emperor Gestahl and raised in a loveless environment and made to obey against her will.
Terra" is the Latin word for "Earth". It is also present in some Latin-derived languages such as Italian and Portuguese."
Branford can be split into two distinct parts.
Brân is a word of Welsh origin that means "raven" or "crow", an animal associated with sorcery and shapeshifting in Irish and Welsh mythology. This suits Terra's esper roots as well as her unique command, Trance, by which she transforms into her esper form.
A "ford" describes the shallows of a body of water suitable for crossing unassisted.
In the Canadian manual for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Terra's last name is misspelled as "Bradford".
- Final Fantasy VI Settei Shiryō-hen, p.10
- Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume 1, p.264
- Final Fantasy VI (SNES) script § "Narshe"
- Final Symphony (Accessed: July 08, 2015) at Spielmusikk Konzerte
- V Jump issue (in Japanese) (dead) (Accessed: September 25, 2009) at Infoseek
- Final Fantasy VI – 1994 Developer Interview (Accessed: December 09, 2018) at shmuplations
- The Making Of: Final Fantasy VI (dead) (Accessed: February 21, 2015) at Edge Online
- 25 Years Since The Release Of Final Fantasy VI – Looking Back At The Passion (Accessed: April 09, 2019) at One Million Power
- Chapter EX Director Section II Part 6 Interview with Tetsuya Nomura, p.696-699 (Accessed: June 12, 2020) at The Lifestream
- A Day in the Life of Yoshitaka Amano (dead) (Accessed: November 04, 2015) at 1UP.com
- Bob Rork Woolsey (Accessed: July 18, 2014) at Chrono Compendium