Virtue - You don't need a reason to help people.
Zidane Tribal [ziˈdɑːn] DFF and D012 pronunciation. is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy IX. He is a thief who works for the Tantalus Theater Troupe set to kidnap the princess of Alexandria, an event that escalates to a quest to protect the planet of Gaia.
Zidane is laid-back, casual, outgoing, and generally friendly to those around him. He is flirtatious with women, but develops feelings for Garnet specifically. When the situation calls for it, he can be more serious, particularly in the face of danger. Zidane cares for those around him, often offering them advice on life, and is selfless in his actions. He tries to conceal his insecurities and fight them alone.
Zidane's abilities are Steal and Skill, the former allowing him to steal items from enemies, and the latter providing unique abilities giving him various advantages in battle. Trance turns Skill into Dyne, granting him various powerful offensive physical attack abilities that cost MP. He wields daggers and thief swords, and can equip light armor.
Zidane is a stark contrast to previous Final Fantasy protagonists, Cloud Strife and Squall Leonhart, possessing little of the sullenness associated with them; he enjoys making new friends and is always on the lookout to help those in need.
- 1 Profile
- 2 Story
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Musical themes
- 5 Other appearances
- 6 Other media
- 7 Behind the scenes
- 8 Merchandise
- 9 Gallery
- 10 Etymology
- 11 References
Profile[edit | edit source]
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Zidane has layered blond hair tied into a short ponytail. He has teal eyes and a prehensile monkey-like tail. He wears a white sleeveless shirt under a short teal vest topped with leather accents at the shoulders and back, while the front has a lacy white jabot topped with a green ribbon tied in a bow. He wears blue jodhpur pants, a tan belt, light green gloves with large blue cuffs, and a pair of light green and white cuffed ankle boots with a low heel. He sports a brown sheath on his left hip for his dagger. In Trance, Zidane's hair turns pink and grows longer, and his clothing is replaced by pink fur.
Zidane's weaponry is atypical to the traditional Thief class in the Final Fantasy series. He wields two kinds of weapons: the traditional dagger, and a weapon known as a "swallow blade" or "thief sword". He dual-wields his daggers and the dagger kept on him at all times is known as the Orichalcon, a steel gray dagger with gunblade like properties, including cranks, shafts, connectors, and a trigger on the handle. Thief swords are a short double-bladed naginata-like weapons that resemble two short swords merged at the handle, though with the handle being an arm's length. In later portrayals, Zidane can combine his two blades into a "swallow blade" as well should they be symmetrical parts of the same weapon.
In Dissidia Final Fantasy where Zidane is portrayed in realistic proportions, he is short even when compared to those close to his age, but maintains his lean yet muscular build. Despite being officially listed as 1.73 m tall (the same height as Cloud and slightly shorter than Squall), in Dissidia, Zidane is much shorter than the other two, and is one of the shortest fighters.
Personality[edit | edit source]
The sly eagle doesn't kill at whim.
Zidane is a bit of a skirt-chaser. Despite accusations that all he ever thinks about is girls, Zidane can be serious when the situation calls for it. He advises the party on several aspects of life and is overall laid-back and casual in his actions and speech. Though he is confident in his abilities, Zidane harbors insecurities about his past and concealed loneliness. While usually cheerful, Zidane sometimes gets depressed, lonely, and questions why he should exist. Though he values friendship, he tries to keep his problems to himself and fight them alone. Zidane develops feelings for Garnet and acts like an older brother to Vivi. Towards other party members, even Steiner and Amarant who dislike him, Zidane is generally friendly.
Story[edit | edit source]
Birth under a blue light[edit | edit source]
Yes, my angel of death. But only until you came of age.
Zidane began his life as an "Angel of Death" created by Garland, the ruler of the dead planet Terra. Long ago, the people of a dying planet of Terra planned to save their civilization by assimilating another planet. Unable to find a newly-born planet to fuse with, they settled on assimilating the young planet of Gaia. The Terrans left their physical bodies and locked their souls in Pandemonium to be watched over by Garland until the Fusion's completion. The Fusion was a disastrous failure, leaving Gaia's surface in ruin and ending up with Terra shifting inside the planet of Gaia.
Garland was tasked with removing the souls of Gaia's "cycle of souls" and replacing them with Terra's. Garland synthesized humanoid vessels called Genomes to eventually host the Terran souls. To expedite the draining of Gaian souls Garland gave a soul to a new Genome whom he named Kuja who would be his "Angel of Death" sent to Gaia to cause unrest and death. However, Garland deemed him a failure.
Although not mentioned in the game, the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania elaborates that Garland had made the mistake of creating Kuja as an adult, which meant he never experienced a childhood and thus never developed capacity for complex emotions, meaning Kuja would never be able to enter a Trance on his own. The dangerous mix of power and undeveloped emotions, which allowed Kuja to feel no remorse for his actions, was too much for Garland; he placed a limit on Kuja's life, and created another Genome to replace him: Zidane.
Zidane was experimental in that he would live through a full life, growing up as a child before developing into Garland's "Angel of Death." Growth and learning through childhood would allow Zidane to feel complex emotions and grant him the power to enter Trance, thus making him superior to Kuja.
Kuja, infuriated by Garland's decision to create another Genome, deposited Zidane on Gaia and abandoned him. Young Zidane, unaware of his mission, was found by Baku at the age of four, and was raised by him as a member of the Tantalus Theater Troupe in Lindblum only remembering one thing of his previous life: a blue light.
Though a theater troupe on the surface, the group is more akin to a band of thieves, and Zidane was raised in their ways. At 13 years old, Zidane departed on a journey to seek out his origins and spent two years traveling. During this time he met a Burmecian dragon knight, Freya. Although Zidane never discovered anything about his past, he came to realize that a "home is where the heart is" and a place where can return to any time, and thus returned to Baku and Tantalus in February 1798.
In April 1798, while Zidane was pilfering the King's mansion in Treno, he unknowingly framed the king's bodyguard, Amarant, as the culprit. When Zidane later meets Amarant during his adventures he no longer remembers the encounter.
Mission[edit | edit source]
Listen, Vivi. You gotta do something next time. You should try—screaming back or whatever. Like... 'Get off me, you scumbag!'
Zidane to Vivi
Twelve years after Zidane was adopted into Tantalus, the troupe arrives at Alexandria on a mission appointed by Lindblum's Regent Cid to kidnap Princess Garnet. Although the mission is a success, the theater ship is damaged during the escape and crashes into the Evil Forest. Baku wants to leave the forest, but Zidane insists on finding the missing Garnet first. He beats Baku in a sparring match to quit Tantalus and sets out to rescue the princess, bringing the black mage Vivi and an Alexandrian Knight of Pluto, Steiner—who had accidentally become embroiled in the kidnapping scheme—along with him.
Saving the princess from the Evil Forest, Zidane and his companions escape with Blank's help, another member of Tantalus, who is petrified along with the forest. The crew travels through the Ice Cavern where Black Waltz 1, sent by Queen Brahne to retrieve Garnet and her royal pendant, casts a sleeping spell upon them. Zidane alone resists and defeats the Black Waltz, reviving the others.
Outside he suggests Garnet abandon the formal mannerisms she grew up with and adopt an alias to shield her identity from the villagers of the nearby Dali. Garnet, inspecting Zidane's weapon, decides to use the name "Dagger." Upon discovering Dali is manufacturing black mage soldiers and delivering them to Alexandria, the group commandeers a cargo ship to Lindblum.
Many concerns have arisen surrounding Alexandria and its queen. Zidane participates in the Festival of the Hunt in Lindblum, reuniting with his old friend Freya. Before the hunt begins Zidane follows a singing voice to the Lindblum Castle observatory, finding Garnet who is preoccupied about her mother and her inability to steer her country away from war. Zidane attempts to cheer her up, promising a date with her if he lands first place in the festival.
The festivities are short-lived as a dying Burmecian soldier alerts Regent Cid to an Alexandrian military force moving against Burmecia. Zidane tries to stop Garnet from returning to Alexandria to speak with her mother, but she sprinkles sleeping weed in the group's cuisine and absconds with Steiner to return to Alexandria.
Intent on saving Burmecia, Zidane, Freya, and Vivi encounter Quina Quen while traveling through Qu's Marsh and arrive at Gizamaluke's Grotto as it is lying under siege from the Alexandrian black mages, commanded by the queen's jesters Zorn and Thorn. In Burmecia Zidane attempts to help Freya find the king. They discover Queen Brahne, General Beatrix and a mysterious man named Kuja in the royal palace, and upon overhearing the king has escaped to Cleyra, the four challenge Beatrix. She bests them and Zidane and his friends are left behind as the villains make haste to Cleyra.
Zidane helps defend Cleyra, but Brahne summons the eidolon Odin, decimating the settlement. Zidane and company barely escape as they follow Beatrix's army through their own teleport spells. Reappearing aboard Brahne's airship, the Red Rose, they overhear Beatrix voicing her doubts about her queen. They overhear Brahne's plans to execute Garnet, who now lies captive in Alexandria, her eidolons extracted from her. Using teleportation magic they arrive in Alexandria ahead of Brahne and, with Steiner and Tantalus member Marcus's help, defeat Zorn and Thorn and find Garnet.
As Freya, Steiner, and a reformed Beatrix hold off the guards, Zidane, Garnet, and Vivi escape through the underground tunnels to Pinnacle Rocks where they watch Brahne invade Lindblum. Sneaking into the city, the group reunites with Cid and discusses their options. Deciding to go after Kuja, the source of Brahne's weapons, they use a tunnel called Fossil Roo to cross to the Outer Continent.
Encountering the Black Mage Village on their travels they stay for a while for Vivi. Zidane tells Garnet what he knows about his past and where he came from. They learn of Kuja's possible abode, the Iifa Tree, and along the way meet Eiko, a young summoner girl who develops a crush on Zidane. When she realizes he is oblivious to her attempts at romantic overtones, she questions him about his relationship with Garnet.
Zidane and Garnet share a moment in a boat on the shores of Madain Sari, the abandoned village of the summoners where Garnet was born before she was inadvertently adopted into the royal family and given a new identity. Garnet asks Zidane about his reason for helping her upon which he is reminded of a parable about an adventurer named Ipsen who had asked his traveling companion the same question, and Zidane responds in the same manner: "Because I wanted to."
At Iifa Tree's core the party defeats SoulCage to stop the production of Mist back in Mist Continent, halting Alexandria's manufacturing of black mages. Upon returning to Madain Sari they meet the bounty hunters Amarant and Lani who have been sent by Brahne to collect Garnet's pendant that unbeknownst to her houses a powerful summoning gem. The former ends up joining the party, puzzled by Zidane's outlook on life as Zidane refuses to kill him after besting him in a duel.
Brahne has turned against Kuja and tracks him down at the Iifa Tree, summoning Bahamut. Kuja enslaves the dragon and commands it to destroy Brahne's fleet and kill her. Zidane and the rest return to Alexandria where Garnet is to become the new queen.
Emotion[edit | edit source]
Go on, Vivi. Don't worry about me. Someday, you'll probably do the same thing for someone who's really important to you. Dagger is more important to me than anything else.
As Garnet is to stay in Alexandria Zidane is heartbroken at the prospect of losing her, though unable to express his feelings. Frustrated and unwilling to accept she must remain isolated as Alexandria's monarch, Zidane and his friends head to participate in a card tournament in Treno to get his mind off things. Zidane makes it to the final round where he is challenged by Cid, but when Alexandria Castle comes under attack from Kuja the group hurries back to Alexandria on Cid's new airship, the Hilda Garde II. Garnet and Eiko summon Alexander whom Kuja attempts to enslave, but Garland interferes.
Flying in on the Hilda Garde II, Zidane leads the group up onto the castle's apex and saves Garnet and Eiko as Garland destroys both Alexander and Alexandria. The party departs to Lindblum where the town is being rebuilt and, as the party discusses their next strategy, it is learned Garnet has lost her voice in response to the tragic events. Zidane decides to bring the party to pursue Kuja, but the Hilda Garde II is a failure as an airship and is dismantled and they depart on the sailing ship Blue Narciss instead.
When they arrive at Kuja's home, the Desert Palace, the group is imprisoned and Zidane is blackmailed into helping Kuja retrieve the Gulug Stone from the ancient ruins of Oeilvert on the Forgotten Continent. While there, Zidane and his companions are astonished to find Oeilvert a haven of lost technological works from a long-gone civilization. Though Zidane does not know it, the artifacts were left by the people of his homeland, the Terrans. Zidane is the only one to decipher the writings on the Terran holograms, though he is unable to conclude what the predictions of Terran downfall truly mean.
The party retrieves the Gulug Stone and returns to Kuja, who kidnaps Eiko and flees to the Lost Continent. Zidane and his friends follow and witness Eiko's pet moogle enter Trance and save her, sparking Kuja's interest in the power of Trance. Kuja departs and the party finds the airship he has been using, the Hilda Garde I, and its owner, Queen Hilda herself, whom Kuja had kidnapped. The party returns to Lindblum and Hilda and Cid are reunited. Garnet goes missing and Zidane ventures alone to Alexandria to find her at her mother's grave. Garnet asks for Zidane's dagger and cuts her hair with it, regaining her speech.
They return to Lindblum to reunite with everyone else and learn from Hilda that Kuja hails from another world. Cid completes his newest airship, the Hilda Garde III, and the party ventures to Ipsen's Castle to unlock the portal to Terra. Zidane earns Amarant's respect when he uses teamwork to retrieve the four elemental mirrors from the castle, saving Amarant from his arrogant attempt at the spoils.
Where the heart is[edit | edit source]
Regrettable... I thought your soul would be perfect for a new angel of death..."
"I AM the new angel of death! Yours!!!
Garland and Zidane
I... am merely a vessel... For what purpose was I given life...? Should I even exist...?
Zidane questioning his existence
With the mirrors collected and the elemental shrines cleared of guardians, Zidane directs Hilda Garde III to the Shimmering Island that reveals itself as the portal to Terra. The party jumps from the airship into a portal of shining light and emerges in Terra where Zidane is led to the village of Bran Bal by a girl who resembles him. He is shocked to discover the town is inhabited by blond-haired humanoids with tails, the other Genomes Garland had created. A perplexed Zidane is given the basic details of his young years in Terra by the girl named Mikoto and he resolves to meet Garland, his creator, and determine the truth to his life.
Drained by Garland's revelations, Zidane confronts him. Garland explains Zidane is to be his "Angel of Death" to deprive Gaia of its souls so Terra can assimilate it, but Zidane refuses to play any part in this plot. Garland attempts to remove Zidane's soul and make him into a regular Genome, and when Zidane wakes up in Pandemonium's depths he falls into despair, believing everything he knew was a lie and that his only purpose is to assist in Gaia's destruction. When his friends come to his aid, Zidane shuns them. Remembering the times he helped her find the strength to carry on, Garnet pleads with him to let his friends believe in him as he believed in them. Zidane realizes he has the power to determine his own purpose in life: protecting everyone he cares for.
When the group faces Garland Kuja appears and uses the souls within the airship Invincible to ascend to Trance. He kills Garland, but after learning of the limit placed on his life and his impending death, he flies into a rage and decimates Terra. Zidane and company commandeer the Invincible to evacuate Terra of the Genomes and return to Gaia. Surmising Kuja would soon destroy Gaia as well, Zidane resolves to pursue him into Memoria, an abyss of the planet's memories that has manifested above the Iifa Tree.
Memoria's fathomless reaches contain memories from every age of Gaia, as well as memories of its people. Traveling through Memoria takes Zidane and his friends back in time all way to the root of all life, the Crystal in the Crystal World, where they face Trance Kuja. Upon his defeat Kuja blasts the party with a powerful Ultima spell, and they are transported to the Hill of Despair where the omniscient harbinger of death, Necron, seeks to return everything to a "zero world," believing non-existence is the only means of expunging the fear of death from the living that is making their existence perpetual suffering. Zidane expresses hope for the future and trust in his friends, and together they defeat Necron.
Necron senses the strong will to live in Zidane and his friends and dissipates. A dying Kuja teleports the group out of the Hill of Despair and returns them to the outside of the Iifa Tree. As his friends say their goodbyes and depart with Cid on the Hilda Garde III, Zidane stays behind to try to save Kuja. Evading Iifa Tree's crazed roots as the dying tree is writhing, Zidane makes it to the tree's core where he finds Kuja near death. Kuja, his Trance gone, apologizes to Zidane for all he has done before the tree consumes them both.
With Zidane thought dead, time passes until Tantalus returns to Alexandria to perform I Want to Be Your Canary for Queen Garnet. At the play's climax the character Marcus casts off his cloak, revealing Zidane. Garnet runs out of the castle, leaps into his arms and the couple embraces as their friends and the audience cheer on.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Zidane wields daggers and thief swords in battle. His special command is Steal and his skillset is Skill. Steal gives him a chance to steal an item from an enemy, potentially allowing the player to obtain powerful equipment from enemies. Skill is Zidane's skillset, providing unique abilities with various effects. His support abilities include abilities that can boost physical damage—such as MP Attack, the Killer abilities and Counter—while he can learn many unique abilities, such as Protect Girls, Flee and Mug. Zidane's Trance changes Skill to Dyne, giving him abilities to deal devastating damage to enemies.
Musical themes[edit | edit source]
"Zidane's Theme" plays twice: when the party boards the cargo ship at Dali, and again briefly when Zidane takes control of the cargo ship's steering. It starts out quickly, becomes slower by the middle section, then reverts to the faster beginning. "Unrequited Love" (also known as "Unfathomable Reminiscence") is a slower, more melancholy variation of the middle section of "Zidane's Theme". "Not Alone" plays when Zidane learns the truth about his existence and refuses his friends' help.
Other appearances[edit | edit source]
Zidane has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy XIV as an outfit and a Triple Triad card.
- 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.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call 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 All the Bravest as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy World Wide Words.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Mobius Final Fantasy as a cameo job utilized by Wol.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Tetra Master as an opponent and cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances[edit | edit source]
Zidane has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:
Other media[edit | edit source]
Zidane is referenced when the Yuko Sasaki mentions how he had some cool lines in his game.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
The only time Zidane uses his prehensile tail is when he evades Steiner on the cargo ship.
The Tantalus logo seems to symbolize Zidane—it is blue and bears a heart, a dagger, and a pair of angel wings.
Zidane's birthday is in September, the ninth month of the year, appropriate for the protagonist of the ninth installment of the Final Fantasy main series.
Zidane resembles Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, the protagonist of Journey To the West. He is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. At one point, he defies Hell's attempt to collect his soul. Instead of reincarnating, he wipes his name out of the Book of Life and Death along with the names of all monkeys known to him. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he accompanies the monk Tang Sanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from "the West".
Merchandise[edit | edit source]
Zidane has been released as Play Arts figures.
In May 2018 Square Enix released a silver Zidane pendant with a yellow gem as part of the Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary campaign. The reverse side of the pendant simply reads "Final Fantasy" with a carving of a crystal. Zidane is depicted in his Dissidia Final Fantasy appearance, and was released alongside pendants of the other Final Fantasy protagonists.
In September 2019 Square Enix released Bring Arts figures of Zidane and Garnet. Zidane comes with his Ultima Weapon, default daggers as well as his Mage Mashers. The limited edition Battle of Destiny statue released in March 2020 depicts Zidane with Trance Kuja in Crystal World. The central ring features a LED system with moving lights as if it were spinning around the crystal.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Etymology[edit | edit source]
Zidane is a European variant of the Arabic name Zeydan, meaning "increases the faith." His name has varied in spelling according to the localization as Yitán (Spanish), Gidan (Italian) and Djidane (French).
All spellings of Zidane's name are somewhat phonetically close to the French word gitane, which means "gypsy", although this word is used for women. Vincent Zouzoulkovsky, lead translator of the French version of Final Fantasy IX, revealed in an interview the change from the official spelling "Zidane" to the French spelling "Djidane" was done to avoid misplaced association between the character and the French footballer Zinedine Zidane.
Long before Final Fantasy IX, Hironobu Sakaguchi had already used the name ジタン (Jitan); it was in the first game he ever made, The Death Trap. ジタン is romanized "Gitanes" in The Death Trap and "Zidane" in Final Fantasy IX, but it is the same word in Japanese.
In-game, Zidane may have received his name from the character in Lord Avon's I Want To Be Your Canary, as he was presumably named by Baku.
His name is commonly mispronounced "zih-DAYNE", but Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy have confirmed the pronunciation as "zih-DAHN".
The surname Tribal may come from the word "tribe".
References[edit | edit source]
- Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, p.008-009
- FFIX World Chronology – p.44-46 of the FFIX Ultimania - Characters' personal timelines (Accessed: December 07, 2018) at The Lifestream
- Character Height Comparison Chart from Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimania
- World Establishment (development materials) continued – p.41 and 42 of the FFIX Ultimania (Accessed: December 07, 2018) at The Lifestream
- [Final Fantasy IX] Hidden Scenes (Accessed: November 13, 2019) at YouTube