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Villain Overview

Why create, when it will only be destroyed? Why cling to life, knowing that you have to die?
~ Kefka Palazzo
Read my lips - mercy is for wimps! There's a reason "oppose" rhymes with "dispose"... If they get in your way, kill them!
~ Kefka Palazzo
Life... Dreams... Hope... Where do they come from? And where do they go? None of that junk is enough to fulfill your hearts! Destruction... Destruction is what makes life worth living! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! Let's destroy everything!
~ Kefka Palazzo's famous monologue.

Kefka Palazzo (spelled as Cefca Palazzo in the Japanese version), also known as Lord Kefka and Master Kefka, is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VI. He is the former court mage of Emperor Gestahl of the Gestahlian Empire, who plots to become the God of Magic and destroy all life and meaning in the universe. He is also the leader of his namesake secret society known as the Cult of Kefka.

He was voiced by Shigeru Chiba in the Japanese version, and Dave Wittenberg in the English version.

Biography

Final Fantasy Appearances

Final Fantasy VI

Kefka initially appeared as Emperor Gestahl's court mage, who put the slave crown on Terra's head to control her and presumably poisoned Edgar and Sabin's father (as he often uses poison and the previous king was said to be poisoned by the Empire).

When Locke took Terra to Figaro Castle, Kefka arrived and demanded that Edgar hand over Terra. Edgar pretended not to know her, so Kefka set Figaro Castle on fire, but Edgar, Terra, and Locke escaped on Chocobos and the Chancellor hid Figaro Castle underground, much to Kefka's frustration.

At an Imperial camp, as soon as General Leo left, Kefka poisoned the water of Doma, despite Leo expressly forbidding him from doing so. This killed everyone at Doma Castle except Cyan, including King Doma and Cyan's wife and son. Sabin, Cyan, and Shadow fought Kefka a few times before he retreated.

Later, Kefka led an army to attack Narshe so he could claim the Esper, Valigarmanda, but Terra, Locke, Edgar, Sabin, Celes, Cyan, and Gau defeated his army and fought Kefka off.

At the Magitek Research Facility, Kefka drained two Espers, Shiva and Ifrit, and dumped them in a room to die, speaking of restoring the statues (the Warring Triad). He later learned that Espers' magic can only be channeled after they die and become Magicite, and claimed that Celes was an Imperial spy, but to prove her loyalty to Locke, she teleported Kefka and his soldiers away. Kefka later tried to kill Locke's party with two cranes as they escaped in an airship, but they destroyed the cranes.

Kefka later withdrew Imperial forces from an outpost so that Terra and her party could lead him to the Sealed Gate, beyond which were the Espers and the statues of the Warring Triad. However, he was forced to retreat when the Espers came through the portal, unable to control their power.

He was later imprisoned in the Imperial Palace dungeon by Gestahl as part of his ruse to fake redemption and get Terra to lead him directly to the Espers. As soon as Terra got the Espers to Thamasa to make peace with Gestahl, Kefka killed all the Espers and took their Magicite, over the protests of Leo, who seemingly defeated Kefka, but this turned out to be an illusion, and after distracting him with an illusion of Gestahl, killed Leo, then left to obtain the power of the Warring Triad.

Kefka and Gestahl raised a Floating Continent with the petrified Warring Triad on it. They told Celes to kill the other three party members when they arrived, but Celes stabbed Kefka instead. Kefka survived and absorbed power from the statues of the Warring Triad, which absorbed any spells Gestahl sent his way, not wanting the world he intended to rule to be destroyed. Kefka had the statues strike Gestahl with lightning, then pushed him over the edge of the Floating Continent to his death, before moving the statues out of alignment, unbalancing the world and threatening to destroy it. Shadow held Kefka off so the others could escape, and depending on whether the player waits for him, Shadow escaped as well.

However, Kefka became the God of Magic through the power absorbed from the statues, and the world was left in ruin. Kefka ruled the world for a year, destroying any town that opposed him (such as Mobliz) with his Light of Judgment from his tower, which was set in place of Vector, and was worshipped by a cult who built their own tower.

Eventually Terra and her party reunited and entered Kefka's Tower, destroying the Warring Triad, but because Kefka absorbed their power, magic would continue to exist as long as he lived. They confronted Kefka, who now intended to destroy the world rather than rule it because he felt life was meaningless, as it would always end. He sent the Tower of the Gods after them, but they defeated all three segments of it before fighting Kefka himself in an angelic god form. Once defeated, Kefka was destroyed, ending all magic, collapsing his tower, and apparently restoring the world.

Dissidia Series

In Final Fantasy: Dissidia, Kefka shows huge interest in the powers of the character Terra, claiming that she wields the power capable of destroying the world. On several occasions in the game, he tries to turn Terra over to Chaos' side, claiming that she would only hurt more people if she continued to lose control of her powers. In Shade Impulse, a more tragic side of him is briefly shown, where he gives a similar nihilistic rant to his final boss battle in FFVI, only in a more sorrowful tone before self-destructing with a saddened laugh, implying that he destroys simply because it is the only thing that actually gives him any sense of joy, as he no longer can understand love and hope due to losing his sanity.

In Dissida 012 Final Fantasy, Kefka returns as a Warrior of Chaos. In this game, his main plan is to sabotage the other team members' plans so he can betray Chaos. He reveals Kuja's betrayal to the other members and sets up his duel with Lightning, manipulates Sephiroth so he can battle Terra. He also uses Terra to serve him until Kuja removes his controlling spell. Kefka reappears in the final battle, attacking Vaan.

In Dissida Final Fantasy NT, he also appears as a playable character.

In Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia, Kefka again appears as a boss and a playable character, being able to be befriended in the event To Wane a Broken Heart.

Non Final Fantasy Appearances

Kingdom Hearts Union χ

Kefka lends his appearance to a limited time Heartless boss called the "Mysterious Sir" during the Final Fantasy Record Keeper collaboration event.

Personality

Kefka's sprite in the Final Fantasy VI.

While previous villains in the Final Fantasy series were distant, ferocious, nasty, cold, arrogant, ceremonious and ruthless, as they bent on their goals, Kefka is aggressive, pompous, loud, psychopathic, cruel, short-tempered, maniacal and destructive. He is possessed of a deep nihilistic hatred of nearly everything in the world, and indeed, life itself. He also possesses an infamous and sadistic sense of humor, finding joy in the deaths of innocents.

It is strongly implied in the game Final Fantasy VI itself that his personality stemmed from the botched procedure that made him the first Magitek Knight, and thus allowed him to practice magic in the first place.

As a result, Kefka's popularity as a Final Fantasy villain outside of Japan is rivaled by few like Sephiroth. Kefka is well-known for his many one-liners, his final appearance as an Angel of Death (which has become something of a tradition in the series), and his sociopathic hatred of virtually everything in existence.

Lord Kefka

His dark humor and jester-like appearance have earned him the nickname "the Psycho Clown" among fans. Kefka's most defining character trait is debatably his laugh, a trademark high-pitched cackle that is repeated numerous times throughout the game. Supplementary materials, the Japanese versions of the game and Dissidia also imply that he is calculating, narcissistic, temperamental, and manipulative, so he is largely a manchild.

The Fights With Kefka

Kefka is rather unique in the fact he is faced several times in the game and starts off as incredibly weak and even cowardly - yet as his madness grows (along with his influence) he gains ever more power and his battles become more intense - leading up to the final confrontation itself.

Kefka, the God of Magic.

The final battle with Kefka is arguably one of the more memorable moments in Final Fantasy, unlike many final bosses in the series, Kefka was not able to be defeated alone - players were required to fight their way to the top of a tier that was inspired by the Divine Comedy and had Kefka's imagery warped with religious icons (censored in some versions of the game), showcasing his nihilism and madness as the player fights through symbolic representations of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven before finally ascending to the very top of the tier where they are greeted to the final confrontation: a godlike Kefka, who then proceeds to taunt the heroes by stating that life is meaningless - the heroes then engage the new god of magic to finally end his reign of terror.

Quotes

Hee, hee! Nothing can beat the sweet music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison!
~ Kefka, about to poison Doma's river.
I'm a god! I'm all-powerful! Uwee-hee-hee... I'll collect more espers! I'll extract their magic... And then... ... ... I'll revive the Warring Triad!
~ Kefka in the Magitek Factory.
And time will destroy all of those as well. Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life, knowing that they must someday die? ...Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?
~ Kefka upon the Returners confronting him at his tower, regarding both life and existence.
Grr...! Don't think you've won!
~ Kefka.
Hee-hee-hee! But what's the fun in destruction when there are no 'precious' lives lost?
~ Kefka

Audio

Kefka's laugh

Trivia

  • In the Japanese version of Dissidia, Kefka was voiced by Shigeru Chiba, who also voiced Buggy of One PieceDiscord from My Little Pony, and Emperor Pilaf and Raditz of the Dragon Ball series.
    • Coincidentally, Kefka's arch-nemesis, Terra Branford's field sprite bore a resemblance to Bulma from the Dragon Ball series, whom Pilaf also antagonized, and he also briefly tormented Terra in Dissidia with a dark truth about her during their first onscreen meeting, similar to Raditz and Goku's first meeting in the DBZ series. Both also had them taking a childlike character with them, although for differing reasons (Raditz abducted Gohan, Goku's son, in an attempt to force Goku to give in to his Saiyan nature and kill many people; Kefka unintentionally took Onion Knight along when he fought the latter when the latter angrily attacked the former for his tormenting Terra).
    • Kefka himself is a villainous clown like Buggy and is also a leader of his own group.
    • In addition, similar to Discord, Kefka tried to make the world into a mess, the only difference being that Discord simply did it out of a delusional belief that he was helping the world while Kefka did it for fun and due to nihilism.
    • Ironically, at one point during his battle with Terra in Dissidia, Kefka flies into the screen at high speed with an immensely maniacal facial expression in a similar manner to Yazoo, one of the Remnants of Sephiroth, in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Kefka's English voice actor, Dave Wittenberg, had previously voiced Yazoo.
  • In Final Fantasy: Dissidia, Kefka breaks the fourth wall by humming the Final Fantasy Fanfare after winning a fight.
  • Kefka is one of the few characters in the Final Fantasy series to use the attack "Heartless Angel".
  • Kefka's final theme is "Dancing Mad" and is one of the longest Final Fantasy themes - starting off as an almost hymn-like tune complete with pipe-organs then breaking into an apocalyptic battle-tune: it is considered by many as one of the most popular Final Fantasy themes (rivaled by "One-Winged Angel").
  • Kefka's laugh appears in Square's "Chrono Trigger" when the player talks to Nolstein Bekkler in the Millenial Fair. Ozzie also has Kefka's laugh. It is also used in the fangame based on the Creepypasta character Sonic.EXE.
  • His God of Magic form bears some resemblance to the fallen archangel Lucifer of Abrahamic beliefs who is sometimes depicted as another name for Satan/The Devil.
  • It is to be noted that his characterization differed between the Japanese and overseas releases of Final Fantasy VI. In the former, his childish aspects were more emphasized, while the latter gave him a far darker tone of characterization, where it has made explicit that he was fully aware of the pain and misery he was causing people with his actions and outright enjoying it, as well as far more outrageous and hateful, yet still written in a humorous manner. Future again releases such as the GBA, iOS, and PC versions combined both aspects in the Japanese releases.
  • He is often considered to be "the Joker of Final Fantasy" by his fans, which Final Fantasy: Dissidia shows Square Enix's awareness of by giving him a distinctly Joker-esque voice in the game's English dub.
  • He is one of the two most popular Final Fantasy villains, other being Sephiroth. He is often ranked above Sephiroth in this regard due to his resemblance to the Joker, his song, and the fact that, unlike Sephiroth and most other villains, he succeeded at his initial goal, becoming a god and ruling the world for a year.
  • Kefka makes a cameo in Nefarious in the villain song "The Bad Guy's Gonna Win" as one of the villains Crow shows. 
    • It's a reference to when Kefka poisoned Doma's rivers in Final Fantasy VI.
  • Like Exdeath, Kefka has more screentime than other Final Fantasy villains.

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