Time.. It will not wait... No matter... how hard you hold on. It escapes you... And...Ultimecia
Ultimecia is the main antagonist in Final Fantasy VIII. A powerful sorceress, her ultimate goal is to compress all time and space, in essence making herself one with existence as a whole to become "a living god". She knows some of the most powerful magic witnessed, able to manipulate others to make them bend to her will, and to manifest and give life to subconscious thoughts and inanimate objects.
Ultimecia is the first identifiably female antagonist in the series; although the Cloud of Darkness has a distinctly female appearance, and is referred to as such in spin-off appearances, it is in fact genderless.
Ultimecia wears a skin-tight red gown with a plunging neckline that exposes her neck, chest, stomach and abdomen, and only partially obscures her breasts. A black collar extends down the neckline to her waist; the collar rests over her shoulders and covers the junction of her black feathered wings. In Final Fantasy VIII the collar appears to be made of feathers, but in Dissidia Final Fantasy it is made of fur. The dress has a short train, which drags along the floor, trimmed either similarly to the collar, or torn and frayed and made dirty. Long red sleeves with prominent shoulder pads join with her purple taloned hands.
Ultimecia's skin is tattooed or body-painted with lined patterns. She wears a gold necklace, earrings and hair jewelry among a headdress designed to pull her hair up to resemble horns; silver bangs are left to frame her face. Ultimecia has yellow eyes surrounded by purple eyeshadow and she wears deep red lipstick. She has no eyebrows, instead having tattoos. She doesn't wear shoes, walking (or perhaps flying) barefoot, and although Ultimecia has a human appearance, her toenails resemble a beast's claws and are accentuated in her Dissidia Final Fantasy appearance.
While possessing Edea, she dresses in a skin-tight dress with a plunging neckline and a feathered collar, and wears an ornamental frame on her back with strips of gauze fluttering behind her, somewhat mimicking the appearance of Ultimecia's wings. During the possession, Edea's eyes change color from green to yellow.
Upon junctioning herself into Griever, Ultimecia takes on Griever's traits: lion-like head and front paws, a feathered lower half and a plated tail. Ultimecia herself stays below the leonine head with purple limbs. As she starts to become one with the universe Ultimecia's empty shell takes over while her bondaged human remains hang upside down from where her legs should be. Her "face" is but a glowing orb that blinks while she speaks. She has bat-like wings at the top of her head and elongated clawed arms. She wears flowing red robes with red-and-blue veins.
...Lowlifes. ...Shameless filthy wretches. How you celebrate my ascension with such joy. Hailing the very one whom you have condemned for generations. Have you no shame? What happened to the evil, ruthless sorceress from your fantasies? The cold-blooded tyrant that slaughtered countless men and destroyed many nations? Where is she now? She stands before your very eyes to become your new ruler. HAHAHAHAHA! A new era has just begun. This is reality. No one can help you. Sit back and enjoy the show. Rest assured, you fools. Your time will come. This is only the beginning. Let us start a new reign of terror. I will let you live a fantasy beyond your imagination.Ultimecia, speaking to the Deling City citizens during her inauguration
In the English version of Final Fantasy VIII, Ultimecia emphasizes the letter 'c' pronouncing it as a harder sound than normal (transcribed as 'k's in the text). However, during and after she evolves into her final form she loses this emphasis. She also doesn't speak this way in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series, or while possessing Edea. Ultimecia has no accent in Japanese, and arrogantly uses omae to refer to the party, this usually being associated with male speech. Overall, she uses few feminine speech markers, which makes her sound rather like a male antagonist.
Ultimecia has a definitive sense of style: the interior of her castle is filled with faux-Victorian opulence. In Deling City, her waiting room is draped with sheer curtains, and while in Galbadia Garden, she reclines on a throne designed like a translucent flower with lights similar to the fronds of luminescent sea kelp.
Acting through the bodies of other sorceresses, Ultimecia is malevolent and manipulative and filled with anger and hate. Her background and motives are alluded to indirectly, the most significant being her inauguration speech in Deling City where she implies she had been persecuted due to being a sorceress, and the events surrounding the final battle.
Ultimecia demonstrates a strategic and diplomatic mind, such as convincing the president of Galbadia to employ her as the nation's diplomat, as well as enticing Seifer Almasy, normally a hostile youth, to devote himself to her. In Dissidia Final Fantasy Ultimecia manipulates Kuja into performing for her ends and tries to get Sephiroth to join her and Emperor Mateus in their quest of taking over the world, though they end up failing. In Dissidia, if defeated by someone other than Squall in Shade Impulse, Ultimecia is painted in a more tragic light where she implies that she tried to use time compression to return to her childhood.
I am Ultimecia. Time shall compress... All existence denied.Ultimecia
Ultimecia is an immensely powerful sorceress who focuses on time and space manipulation. In the final battle she casts spells such as Bio, Quake, and Meteor, or absorbs fallen party members into time. Her final form has a devastating magical attack called Hell's Judgement that reduces HP to one point for the entire party, and she employs it often.
Ultimecia can manifest and give life to subconscious thoughts and inanimate objects. This includes giving life to Griever; Ultimecia manifests it from Squall's subconscious, having found Griever to be his conception of the most powerful force that could exist, and brings him to life for battle against Squall himself.
Ultimecia seeks to become omnipotent through the absorption of all time, space, and existence. She can invade and control an individual's body and mind both internally and externally, and, through the use of Junction Machine Ellone, wields this ability throughout different eras. Ultimecia can reach into a person's mind to steal or give life to thoughts, knowledge, and magic. Her ability to manipulate objects and matter has also led to some interesting junction forms.
Despite being a sorceress of time, Ultimecia rarely uses time-based spells, such as Haste, Slow or Stop in battle. It is unknown to what extent the magic used is from Ultimecia or from the host when possessing other sorceresses, but as Edea, Ultimecia can teleport and phase through solid matter, create a barrier to repel a bullet, use the powers of telekinesis, and cast fascination spells.
This is reality. No one can help you. Sit back and enjoy the show.Ultimecia
Ultimecia's castle dominates the landscape in the era where she lives. It is implied she is the sole ruler of her world, although besides fallen White SeeD no other inhabitants of her world are introduced, their fate unknown. Ultimecia is aware of her destined encounter with the "Legendary SeeD" and desires to bring about time compression to absorb all time, space and existence, becoming "a living god".
With the Junction Machine Ellone Ultimecia sends her consciousness back in time to take possession of Edea Kramer, a sorceress living on the White SeeD Ship. Ultimecia's plan is to send her mind far enough back in time to cast the time compression spell, but the Junction Machine has a limit; to get even further back in time, she needs to find a girl called Ellone with a natural gift to send people's consciousnesses through time, upon whose powers the junction machine was originally built. Ultimecia uses Edea as a host to infiltrate the government of Galbadia, and is appointed ambassador of Galbadia by President Vinzer Deling.
President Deling announces her appointment in the first worldwide televised broadcast in 17 years. The broadcast is interrupted when Deling is taken hostage on-air by Seifer Almasy, a renegade SeeD cadet. Ultimecia (within Edea's body) surfaces from a teleportation spell and offers to save him from his "predicament". When Squall's SeeD party approaches her, they are paralyzed by her magic and Seifer allows Ultimecia to teleport him away to Galbadia.
Although Seifer is announced executed, Ultimecia turns him into her sorceress' knight and makes him her personal guardian. Nonetheless, Deling continues to publicize his new ambassador and plans a parade in Deling City to honor her appointment. Unbeknown to Ultimecia, General Caraway of Galbadia and the SeeD mercenaries from Balamb Garden formulate a plan to assassinate her at the parade to prevent her from usurping power across the world.
General Caraway's daughter, Rinoa Heartilly, attempts to trick Ultimecia into taking a bangle created by Dr. Odine to seal away her sorceress power. Ultimecia seemingly recognizes the bangle, telekinetically disables Rinoa and takes control of her body, leading her to the balcony of the Presidential Palace. Ultimecia ascends the podium to give her acceptance speech to the people of Galbadia with Rinoa in tow, but it is a speech of hatred.
According to the Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania guide, Ultimecia casts a fascination spell that drives the crowd into a frenzy of reverence. Ultimecia impales President Deling through his chest with her hand in front of the city and throws his corpse aside. She declares herself the ruler of Galbadia, assuring the beginning of a "new reign of terror", and brings two Iguion statues on the side of the Arch of Triumph to life and orders them to devour Rinoa as a sacrifice. Leaving Rinoa to her fate, Ultimecia boards her float that glides out into the street parade.
As Ultimecia passes underneath the Arch of Triumph the gates trap her inside. The sniper working with the SeeDs, Irvine Kinneas, takes a shot at her from atop the clock tower, but she blocks the bullet with a protection spell. Ultimecia is confronted by Squall, Irvine, and Rinoa (who had been rescued from the Iguions), and is disgusted upon discovering Squall is a SeeD. Ultimecia uses Edea's Ice Strike Limit Break to stab him through the shoulder.
Instead of killing Squall and his friends Ultimecia has them imprisoned in D-District Prison and orders Seifer to extract information from them via torture, namely, the reason SeeD persecute sorceresses. The interrogation yields no results as the SeeD themselves have not been informed of their organization's true goal. As Galbadia's new dictator, she declares Garden to be her enemy, and orders missiles to be launched at both Balamb and Trabia Gardens. Balamb Garden avoids the missile attacks thanks to Squall and the others (who had escaped from prison) making the Garden mobile, but Trabia Garden is annihilated.
Ultimecia takes control of the remaining Galbadia Garden and sets out to find Ellone. Galbadia occupies the towns of Balamb and Fishermans Horizon at her order to search every house, but comes up unsuccessful. Ultimecia attacks Balamb Garden directly, but the Battle of the Gardens ends with Squall leading his allies into Galbadia Garden where she is confronted in the Garden Auditorium.
Oh, my loyal knight, Seifer. The sorceress is alive... The sorceress demands. Find the legendary Lunatic Pandora, said to be hidden beneath the ocean.Ultimecia
Ultimecia orders Seifer to dispatch the SeeDs, and when he fails, she is forced to do battle. The encounter ends with Ultimecia being bested inside Edea's body and Edea inadvertently relinquishing her powers to Rinoa, transferring Ultimecia from within Edea to Rinoa's body. Ultimecia uses Rinoa to revive Seifer, orders him to salvage the Estharian weapon of mass destruction, Lunatic Pandora, from beneath the ocean, and Rinoa falls into a coma; whether Ultimecia forces this upon Rinoa, or if she collapses due to the strain of having received Edea's sorceress power, is unknown.
Edea, no longer a sorceress, divulges to the SeeD Ultimecia is a sorceress from the future who wants to destroy the world with time compression. Searching for a means to awaken Rinoa, Squall takes her to the Lunar Base—the Estharian space station—to see Ellone, hoping she could cure Rinoa with her powers over time. Ellone had come to the space station to meet with the president of Esthar, but Ultimecia appears to be unaware of her presence and uses Rinoa to unlock Sorceress Adel's tomb, kept in space orbiting the planet overseen by the president of Esthar himself. With a more powerful sorceress in reach, Ultimecia abandons Rinoa in space to die.
Meanwhile, Seifer and the G-Army have taken control of the Lunatic Pandora and triggered the Lunar Cry, which brings monsters down to the planet from the moon. Adel's unlocked tomb comes down with the monsters. Seifer captures Ellone, who had escaped the Lunar Base on an escape pod, and brings her to the Lunatic Pandora for Ultimecia's use.
Squall and his comrades have saved the now recovered Rinoa from space and figured out Ultimecia's goal. They concoct a plan to halt Ultimecia's scheme with the Esthar scientist Dr. Odine, who explains Ultimecia exists many generations in the future and the only way to reach her is via time travel. Their plan is to defeat Adel, leaving Rinoa the only sorceress in the present era whom Ultimecia could control. After she would take over Rinoa, Ellone would send both of their consciousnesses into the past, allowing Ultimecia to initiate time compression. Ellone would then send both of their minds back to their original bodies. To survive the time compression Squall and his friends would have to keep their bonds strong and wade through the compressing timelines and reach Ultimecia's era.
Ultimecia possesses Adel as she awakes from the frozen state she had been kept in the tomb, and orders Seifer to capture Rinoa. Ultimecia junctions Rinoa to Adel's body, but after engaging Squall and his friends in battle, Adel is defeated and passes on her powers to Rinoa. Ultimecia possesses Rinoa, allowing Ellone to send both of their minds to the past, where Ultimecia casts time compression only to have it temporarily halted when Ellone sends their consciousnesses back to their respective eras. Squall uses the partial time compression to enter Ultimecia's future.
Squall and his allies enter Ultimecia Castle, and after getting past the various traps and puzzles, confront Ultimecia in the Master Room. The SeeD battle Ultimecia who reaches into Squall's mind to find a power he values most. Using this information she summons Griever, the strongest Guardian Force in Squall's mind. In the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII, Ultimecia unveils the party's fears of memory loss, but claims it is not what they should fear, but the power of Griever, and orders the GF to unleash its ultimate attack, Shockwave Pulsar. After Griever's defeat, Ultimecia junctions herself to him, amplifying her power.
After Griever's body is destroyed, Ultimecia transforms and begins absorbing time, space and existence into her new body. She speaks of the futility of fighting against time and her final speech is distinctly different from how she spoke before.
Despite her extensive powers, Ultimecia is unable to overcome her fate as the links that bind Squall and his friends protect them from time compression, and she falls in a massive explosion as time begins to decompress. As Ultimecia cannot die until she passes on her sorceress power, she ends up in Edea's House of the past where she passes on her power to the Edea Kramer of that time. In doing so, Ultimecia ultimately perpetuates her predestined defeat, while fading away in a cloud of purple smoke.
Ultimecia is fought a total of six times, twice within Edea, once within Adel, twice in her own body, and once when junctioned onto Griever. There are four final boss battles, the first phase being against the normal Ultimecia. The second phase is against her newly created Guardian Force, Griever. She junctions herself to Griever during the third phase, and the fourth and final phase is fought against Ultimecia in her existence-absorbing final form.
The video game website 1UP.com ranked the final battle with Ultimecia #15 on their list of the 25 best final boss battles in video game history. Ultimecia was also listed in Den of Geek's website as the third most difficult boss in video gaming history.
Ultimecia has a variety of musical themes that accompany her presence. The themes often contain the words, "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec", which are first heard in the game's opening, "Liberi Fatali". All of her themes tend to invoke feelings of melancholy and terror.
"Succession of Witches" is accompanied by a chorus chanting the words, "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" and is usually heard when Ultimecia appears to Squall and his comrades within the body of a sorceress she has possessed.
"Premonition" plays during the times Ultimecia is fought within the body of Edea and also plays during the first phase of the final battle with Ultimecia in her real body, and during the battle with Griever, until Ultimecia orders him to use Shockwave Pulsar. The theme then transitions into "The Legendary Beast".
"Compression of Time" is an ambient theme played when Squall and his party enter the future through time compression. It features a synth saxophone accompanied intermittently by a chorus.
"The Castle" is the dungeon music for Ultimecia Castle that features a baroque organ, and is separated into three sections of varying emotions. The styles of these three sections vary from lighthearted, dark and sinister, and playful intimidation.
"The Extreme" is the final boss theme played during the confrontation with Ultimecia's ultimate form. This is likely Ultimecia's most recognizable theme. A version by the Black Mages is included on the The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight album. It is also used at various times during battles with her in Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
Ultimecia has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Dissidia Final Fantasy (2008) 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 and boss.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a boss.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as a boss.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Mobius Final Fantasy on cards and as a boss.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
Ultimecia has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:
- Puzzle & Dragons as a playable character.
- Monster Strike as a playable character.
- Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble as a playable character.
Behind the scenes
As a sorceress, Ultimecia is almost the mirror opposite of Rinoa: Ultimecia is an evil sorceress with black wings, while Rinoa is pure and has white wings; Rinoa has black hair and Ultimecia has white-silver hair; Ultimecia wears a red dress, while Rinoa's sweeper is light-blue; Rinoa uses Angelo in battle and Ultimecia uses Griever; Griever is based on a lion, while Angelo is a dog; Rinoa is associated with angel imagery whereas Ultimecia's hair style takes the shape of horns, a motif often associated with the devil; Rinoa's special power appears to be that of revival, whereas Ultimecia seeks to cause death and destruction.
Due to their juxtaposition, a popular fan theory is to posit that Ultimecia is Rinoa from the future. Director Yoshinori Kitase has denied this, saying "No, that is not true. I don’t think I’ll incorporate that even if we do remake the game. But that being said, both Rinoa and Ultimecia are witches, so in that sense they are similar, but they’re not the same person."
Ultimecia's plight is similar to several Greek tragedies involving self-fulfilling prophesies, such as Oedipus and Perseus. Both involve relatives of protagonists sentencing their infantile kin to die upon learning that they would die by their hand; the child is invariably saved and unknowingly fulfills his destiny. In a similar fashion, Ultimecia tried to eliminate SeeD, the children who would rise up to defeat her, but in so doing created the very circumstances that allowed herself to be defeated.
The speech Ultimecia holds in Deling City is almost completely different in the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII. She even mentions the words "final fantasy". The original speech can be read here.
Although not credited, Ultimecia is one of the few characters whose voice is heard during the game: her laugh is heard at the beginning of the final battle.
In the Dissidia Final Fantasy series, Ultimecia is voiced by Atsuko Tanaka in Japanese.
In the English versions, she is voiced by Tasia Valenza. Ultimecia speaks in a normal voice with a flirtatious tone in contrast to her appearance in Final Fantasy VIII where she emphasizes the letter 'c'.
Ultimecia's name differs depending on the translation.
The English and French translations' addition of "Ulti" to the name could be derived from the word "ultimate". A definition of "ultimate" is to be the furthest away or the best of a kind; Ultimecia was assumed to, once time was compressed, possess every sorceress power bestowed upon humanity by the Great Hyne, effectively becoming "the ultimate sorceress". Another theory is that her name derives from the spell Ultima. "Ultimate" comes from ultimare, which in Latin means "to be final, come to an end", befitting of Ultimecia since she may be the last sorceress—she does not pass on her sorceress power to anyone in her own time, but rather, to someone in the past.
The Spanish translation's take on the name (Artemisa) is close to the original Japanese name (Arutimishia), and also could be derived from Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the hunt (also the Goddess of Childbirth, Virginity, Forests, and the Moon), and Zeus and the nymph Leto's controversial child who never married and remained chaste for all her days. The Ultima spell is called "Artema" in the Spanish language versions, close to the original Japanese name of the spell Arutema.
The Italian and German translations' take on the name (Artemisia) calls back to at least three prominent historical women:
- Artemisia I of Caria (About 480 BC)
- Known as the "Tyrant of Halicarnassus", she fought alongside the Persians in the Battle of Salamis, but survived the battle using an unorthodox tactic; by sinking a friendly Persian vessel which made the Greeks think she was fighting for their side and backed off.
- Artemisia II of Caria (About 350 BC)
- The wife (and sister) of King Mausolus; she is known in history for her bizarre way of grieving from her husband's death and to memorialize him she had the Mausoleum of Mausolus built, that is known today as one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World".
- Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1653)
- A female painter, whose theme in many of her paintings is female strength and sometimes even dominance over men.
In Italian culture "Artemisia" is a typical sorceress name.
As "l" turns to "r" in Japanese, it might also simply be that "Ultimecia" is a phonetically wrong transliteration of the katakana composing her name in the Japanese version (literally: a ru ti mi shi a), which, as most foreign-sounding words in such language, is written "as it is pronounced", and that her name is meant to be "Artemisia".
- FF8 Ultimecia dialogue comparison (Accessed: September 25, 2019) at radiantbutterfly @tumblr
- Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania — and related — Translations Continue (Accessed: December 16, 2019) at The Lifestream
- 25 of the Most Badass Boss Fights of All Time (page 3 of 5) (dead) (Accessed: May 29, 2016) at 1UP.com
- Top 25 brutal bosses in videogames (Accessed: August 21, 2018) at Den of Geek
- Is Squall Really Dead? Final Fantasy Producer Addresses The Series' Biggest Fan Theories (Accessed: August 21, 2018) at Kotaku