Analysis: Sephiroth in Crisis Core

This post was originally inspired by the #IHaveaTheory challenge on Square Enix Amino.

To that end, I’ve set my sights on Sephiroth. You know, the man we all first knew from Final Fantasy VII as the guy you’d never invite to a fireside chat.

WARNING: FINAL FANTASY VII AND CRISIS CORE SPOILERS AHEAD

But before that in game canon, there was Crisis Core. Where Sephiroth was young and had friends and absolutely no desire to crush us all with a meteor (probably). We start at the beginning: Sephiroth was raised and trained as an intellectually and physically exceptional child with no immediate family.

While there’s no canon information on his childhood, some of his behavior in Crisis Core reflects what his mentality likely was.

Unlike many real life students with exceptional skills, Sephiroth had all of the special instruction and resources he needed to prosper. By the time we see him in Crisis Core, Sephiroth was entirely confident in abilities he’d been building on his entire life.

Yet when Genesis expressed jealousy over Sephiroth’s fame, he told Genesis he could have it. This is an indication that his confidence was self-contained rather than something he got from or held over other people. In short, fame or the lack of would not affect him at all.

This connects to another issue that exceptional people face in their upbringing. According to a guide by the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), “specific provisions for [gifted and talented students] stir heated controversy regarding whether or not they need special attention”.

Zack himself displayed this skepticism just before his mission with the Turks that Sephiroth was originally assigned to. Upon hearing that he refused to go, Zack asked if they were being too soft with him or babying him (depending on language/translation).

You can see the scene here at about 6:40.

For Sephiroth, this kind of controversy led to his abilities defining him to others in one of two ways. His status as the best First Class SOLDIER led people to believe he was either a hero beyond their standing or he was entitled more than he deserved.

Let’s consider that in conjunction with the immense value he placed on his friendship with Angeal and Genesis.

To have two friends who treated him as someone on their level, whether positively or negatively, meant a great deal to Sephiroth. There were few people who wouldn’t judge him based on his reputation since he had no family.

The bottom line is that Angeal and Genesis (and later Zack) gave him something his reputation could not: a sense of belonging.

And that feeling overpowered everything else Sephiroth held as important. He refused the mission that Zack went on because it was an act directly against his friends. When he was on his way to Modeoheim, he put his current mission off to go out of his way and talk to Zack – even though Zack was upset with him at the time.

Full clip here.

Sadly, this value Sephiroth placed on belonging was his undoing in the end.

To be human and exceptional separated him from nearly everyone, even others who were First Class. But at least he had that in common with people – humanity.

His discovery of the truth took that last bastion of hope away along with two of his closest friends. (The below video shows Sephiroth’s struggle as he tried to hold onto his humanity and the particularly painful way he found out he wasn’t human after all.)

Full clip here.

Failing that, Sephiroth had utterly nothing in common with anyone insofar as he knew. What meant most to him in life was inaccessible to him forever (or so he felt).

All that remained to fill the void was his greatness. In his mind, that had defined him to everyone else throughout his life, and he only thought he’d been defined by something more to those he cared for.

With his feeling of belonging gone, Sephiroth had to face that he would never truly belong among humans.

That combined with inevitable rage at the deception and horror at the truth of his origin… Sephiroth turned to godhood to embrace what he had originally tried to reject.

He was exceptional and he did not belong among these people; he never would. Grieving it in solitude could drive him mad or…

Sephiroth could choose not to grieve, instead empowering himself by believing he never really needed to belong. The feeling was simply another deception by the lesser beings of humanity.

And so, he rationalized godhood as his destiny.

and I’m still sad about it after all these years
#BlameHojo

Thank you for reading!

 

BioQuest: Find Him

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Jack was steady, calm. His gaze never left hers as he waited and he even nodded to reassure her. With or without the mask, his face would betray nothing…

Where was Booker? What had Jack sent him to get?

Elizabeth refined an inscrutable expression in her work with Suchong. That was the difference between doctor and subject in the lab. But she felt her shoulders tense and eyes widen, if only somewhat, as she wrapped her arm around his. “Where did he go? If he’s in danger, I have to know.”

“I can’t lie to you.” Jack looked straight ahead, watching the crowd. Perhaps for someone or to avoid looking at her. “He is.”

She tightened her jaw and her grip on his arm. Slowly, gently, he rested his hand on hers and squeezed. The guitar practice formed calluses on his fingertips… Elizabeth opened her eyes without realizing she’d closed them for a few seconds too long.

Of course Booker went wherever Jack asked. How many hours had they spent together over the past few months?

“Take me to him,” she meant to command when it came out imploring.

“I will. You are the only one actually allowed there, after all.” He stopped between an empty table and the dance floor. “I suppose I would be too.”

A flash of a wince, and he looked away to lead her out of the restaurant.

“What? Where are we–”

“You know where,” he reminded her. Not one person moved to stop them, perhaps thinking they were young lovers overcome with alcohol.

A thought like that, now of all times?

Elizabeth scoffed at herself, keeping pace with Jack. The crowd and music faded behind them in the halls of the Welcome Center… Until the music mixed with screaming and gunfire, and he stopped.

“Fontaine.” His voice was somewhere near a breath and a hiss, and his calm air disappeared. Jack took in a sharp breath, looked to Elizabeth, away, and back again. “The labs. Go find him.”

And Jack ran back towards the Kashmir, stopping only to get a gun from one of Sullivan’s men… He was already dead, blood soaking a dark pool on his suit and the plush carpet.

The crossbow was just as she concealed it beside the restaurant entrance, waiting.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

– – –

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BioQuest: Be Here

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Diane offered her hand to Elizabeth, smiling even as her eyes hung heavy. There was nothing to fear from Diane and Elizabeth knew how she’d feel about Ryan… and she smiled, taking the lone woman’s hand.

“Good evening, Diane,” she answered. “I’m Anna DeWitt.” With her free hand, Elizabeth pointed to the pair of men she spotted as perhaps being Jack and Booker. “And I have an idea for you… I know that man with the red tie is here alone too.”

Elizabeth led Diane by the hand and she followed, her eyes already brighter in curiosity. She weaved her way through the party crowd, realizing as she did that everyone here was drinking not to celebrate, but to relax. Or make an empty attempt at it.

One of Sullivan’s guards was posted in each of the corners for this room, their guns concealed only as ominous silhouettes. She wasn’t the only one who saw it. “Hello, gentlemen,” she chimed. “Could you spare a dance for two ladies this evening?”

“Well, I’ll be,” the man with the red tie said in a smooth southern accent, turning to look Diane over and grin. “If it ain’t the fine Miss McClintock! I would be honored to have you on my arm tonight, ma’am,” he offered and put his hand out for her.

The man in the white suit angled his head down, but he glanced at Elizabeth through his mask… Yet she knew. There was Jack.

Alone?

“Mr. Sinclair?” Diane slipped her fingers out of Elizabeth’s, a smile coming to her voice. “My God, I had no idea you here! I…” She gulped, looking to Elizabeth and she gave her a small nod. Diane laughed and wrapped her arm around his. “I’d like that.”

Elizabeth watched them blend back into the crowd, waiting for them to get out of earshot. Once that was done, Elizabeth looked back at him and sighed.

“You look nice,” Jack admitted, meeting her gaze at last. “I thought you weren’t coming to the party.”

“I’m here for you and Booker.” Elizabeth watched the bubbles rising in the champagne in her glass… And put it on the table, sliding it away. One alcoholic DeWitt was enough. “Why are you here?”

“For you,” he responded, smiling. “Booker said you’d come looking, that you wouldn’t quit, and I should be here.”

He held his arm out and kept his gaze on hers. “He’s so proud of you, you know. So whatever happens, please don’t be upset with Booker. He went there for me. I asked.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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BioQuest: Opportunity

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Scanning the room, Elizabeth looked for a red sash or necktie on any of themen… Booker loved that red sash around his neck, and she was counting on that. Drumming her fingers of her free hand on the champagne glass, Elizabeth answered the woman.

“Oh, I never had a date,” she chuckled and hoped that would comfort the blonde. After all, alcohol certainly wouldn’t. “Who could stand up such a charming woman as yourself?”

She counted five men so far with red neckties. Two were dancing with women and Elizabeth had never seen Booker so much as flirt with a woman since… Well, likely just before she was born. They weren’t him.

“Andrew Ryan,” the woman said, wistful and tender all at once, and picked up another glass. “Supposedly the man who loves me.”

“I’m sorry,” she caught herself and smiled. “I’m Diane. Diane McClintock.”

Only one of the men she counted stood with a shorter, leaner man at his side, both in suits… One black, one white. But she would have to get closer to see. And yet in front of her stood a valuable contact in Rapture who seriously needed a good friend. Someone she could n trust. Perhaps tell her secrets to.

Diane offered her hand and a sad smile.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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BioQuest: Masked

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Read the previous chapter.
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The New Year’s party.

Elizabeth smiled, reaching for the bird necklace under her collar. Jack had never seen anything like a party. With all the time he spent with Booker, it’d be a simple undertaking to convince Booker to take him there. But at least it was just a party, where the greatest threat was a bad appetizer and small talk.

Or in this case, political tension… But she didn’t want to dwell on that.

36_Masked_1

Still, she fought the urge to toy with the stub of her pinky. That was easy with Suchong around since he liked to ask what caused it, but here…? Elizabeth kept her eyes ahead and strode through the mostly empty halls towards the Welcome Center to the Kashmir restaurant.

At the front, a guard waited but there was no one else for security in sight. Safety ruined the atmosphere of Ryan’s strength, she guessed.

“Ma’am,” the guard said, adjusting his stance and offering yet another mask. “For the party.”

36_Masked_2

She wrapped her fingers around the edge of the cat mask, nodding. “Thank you.” This was going to complicate it for her, although it explained why it was easy for Booker and Jack. With masks and suits, they’d look like everyone else.

She tied the mask’s strings behind her head and slipped into the crowd. Smooth jazz played on the speakers and streamers hung loosely from support beams overhead. But no Booker or Jack immediately apparent, and she couldn’t very well shout their names.

She stopped by a table of little snacks and drinks, picking up a glass. Elizabeth had to blend in even if she had no intention of drinking tonight.

“Hello,” a hollow voice greeted her, and Elizabeth turned to see a blonde woman in a butterfly mask.

36_Masked_3

“Did your date stand you up too?” She laughed drily, swishing her wine and downing the glass.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

– – –

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36_Suggestions


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