They Make Being Bad Look Good.
The Final Fantasy series has always been known for its solid storytelling, grandiose worlds, and excellent character building. When Final Fantasy VII leapt onto western soil, it opened the eyes of many gamers to what the RPG genre was capable of. The newest iteration of the Final Fantasy saga, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, features a large cast of fan favorite characters duking it out against each other in an arena style setting. The first of its at least six DLC characters was announced recently – Vayne Carudas Solidor – and the newest Dissidia villain got us thinking about how great some Final Fantasy antagonists have been. Today, we’ll be looking at the top 10 Final Fantasy Villains from any of the series’ numerous entries. Remember, these are just opinions, and they are based on more than just pure villainy in this particular list.
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead
10. Kuja (FFIX, Dissidia)
Starting our list as a rather interesting villain, Kuja has a flair for the flamboyant (much like Kefka). In his case, Kuja fears death so much that he is willing to destroy everything in order to save himself. Kuja manipulates his way to the graces of the Queen, Garnet’s mother, and uses her power and influence to reap destruction. He is of the same ilk as Zidane, which is a rather depressing tale in and of itself, and as such, he sees his fellow tailed player as his adversary. All the world is Kuja’s stage, and he wishes to play on it forever.
9. Gabranth (FFXII)
When one conjures ideas of Final Fantasy on the PS2, the image of a Judge – one of the many villains in Final Fantasy XII – will likely appear at the top of many lists. The iconic armor of the Judges is intimidating, and Gabranth’s may be the sharpest of the bunch. He is a powerful adversary, and his ill will toward his twin brother, Basch, causes him to hunt Vaan and party in perpetuity. His final moments find him some redemption, as he wishes Basch to don the Judge gear and put an end to the war that had plagued the land.
8. Genesis Rhapsodos (FFVII Crisis Core)
Perhaps one of my personal Final Fantasy villain favorites, Genesis found himself as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII’s main antagonist. He is a man faced with his own mortality (his body is rapidly declining due to his imperfect fusion with Jenova), and as he realizes his impending doom, Genesis coaxes his war brothers Sephiroth and Angeal into joining his path of destruction (though Sephiroth doesn’t snap until much, much later). He always carries around a copy of Loveless, the popular play that haunts Final Fantasy VII, and he quotes the literature nearly as often as you meet him. One of my favorite scenes in Final Fantasy history is the ‘training’ battle between Genesis, Angeal, and Sephiroth, as it exemplifies the power of all three men. Genesis’ tragic lore puts him on this list, and he’s a Final Fantasy villain worth remembering.
7. Seifer Almasy (FFVIII)
While he isn’t the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VIII (indeed, Seifer begins as an ally and ends, at the worst, as a neutral party), Seifer’s tale is both believable and sympathetic. Like many students who fail to live up to expectations, Seifer’s two wishes were to become a member of SeeD – Garden’s elite mercenary forces – and a sorceress’ knight. After failing the field exam for disobeying direct orders, Seifer’s mental state continually crumbles (mostly due to his own disappointments and the fact that he let his school and friends down). In an effort to save his name, Seifer attempts to take hostage the President of Galbadia. Sensing his weakness during the altercation, the sorceress Ultimecia, possessing the sorceress Edea’s body, convinces Seifer to join her in destroying the fabric of time itself. Oh, dude killed Odin.
6. Caius Ballad (FFXIII-2, Lightning Returns)
Another sympathetic villain on this list, Caius Ballad poses as both Lightning and Serah’s nemesis in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. Featured prominently in XIII-2, Caius’ past is riddled with tragedy. He has been tasked with protecting the Seer Yuel, a girl with the ability to foresee and change the past and future. Unfortunately, death is an inevitable consequence of altering history too often, and Caius is cursed with watching Yuel, a woman he loves, die a countless number of times. His goal – the reason he fights against Serah and Lightning – is to prevent Yuel from suffering any further.