|“||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|
|“||Why create, when it will only be destroyed? Why cling to life, knowing that you have to die?||„|
|~ 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|
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. Kefka is an evil clown who acts as the court mage of Emperor Gestahl of the Gestahlian Empire early in the game, and simply carries out his monarch's orders. However, behind Gestahl's back, Kefka attacks various towns and drains the power of Espers meant for imperial usage. This gradual culmination in power leads Kefka to overthrow Gestahl and take control of the Warring Triad, effectively becoming the God of Magic itself. Infusions of Magitek power caused him to lose his sanity. At the age of 35, he is known for his high-pitched, maniacal laugh. Kefka Palazzo is also the leader of his own namesake secret society of diabolical cultists known as the Cult of Kefka.
PersonalityWhile previous villains in the Final Fantasy series were distant, ferocious, cold, ceremonious, ruthless, and bent on their goals, Kefka is aggressive, loud, cruel, short-tempered, maniacal, and destructive. He is possessed of a deep hatred of nearly everything in the world, and indeed, the world 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 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 surpassed only by 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. 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 narcissistic and 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, 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.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.
Dissidia: Final FantasyIn 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.
Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy
Kefka's role in the soon-to-be-released prequel is so far unclear, yet his heroic counterpart, Terra, is shown wearing a headress resembling a Slave Crown, implying that Terra will fight for Chaos under Kefka's control.
- Kefka's Japanese voice actor is Shigeru Chiba, who also voiced Buggy of One Piece, Discord from My Little Pony, and Emperor Pilaf and Raditz of the Dragonball series.
- Coincidentally, Kefka's archnemesis, Terra Branford's field sprite bore a resemblance to Bulma from the Dragonball 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 child-like 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 (rivalled by "One Winged Angel").
- Kefka has some similiarities with another famous evil clown - namely The Joker. both have a morbid love of death and destuction and a macabre sense of humor, as well as having a largely ambiguous backstory outside of the event that resulted in their becoming insane (Kefka's earlier life outside of being the first Magitek Knight is never revealed, and the Joker's backstory other than being disfigured by chemicals at the ACE plant and Batman being involved is left ambiguous due to his tendency to tell a different origin story each time). In addition, at least some versions of the Joker were also exceptionally nihilistic in their outlook on life, explicitly comparing it to "one big joke" and claiming that living in insanity and or without rules is the only sensible way to live (in other words, desiring to cause chaos simply for the sake of chaos), similar to Kefka. However, Kefka differs from The Joker in the scale of his plan: seeking godhood and succeeding (while The Joker, by in large, is content with being human, although he did undergo a similar portrayal as Emperor Joker). Kefka's voice actor, Dave Wittenberg even voiced Kefka in a similar manner to Mark Hamill's cheerfully deranged portrayal of The Joker in the Dissidia subseries.
- Coincidentally, some of his actions in the game also resembled the Nolanverse version of The Joker, specifically his seemingly working to advance the Mob's interest and initially being considered an insignificant threat, only to betray them by the second act after gradually becoming more powerful. His Amano artwork as well as his Dissidia appearance even gave him a similar appearance, including a Glasgow smile accentuated in lip makeup, to the Nolanverse Joker. Coincidentally, Dissidia also came out around the same time as the trailers for The Dark Knight.
- Kefka is the first Final Fantasy boss to become a god. Not counting of course future remakes of Final Fantasy II.
- The Fiery Joker put Kefka Palazzo at Number 1 on both his Top 10 Final Fantasy villains, and Top 15 Craziest Characters in Gaming. He also did a Sephiroth vs. Kefka Palazzo conflict to figure out who's a better villain, and Kefka won 5-2.
- Elements of Kefka's character were also repeated for other villains in various franchises. Most notably, Dimentio and Mephiles the Dark (the former of whom was coincidentially also a magical jester). Unlike Dimentio and Mephiles, he does not actually kill the main protagonist(s) (unless one counts Shadow), although he does come close to ensuring Terra died with him due to her Esper heritage.
- Both villains also had their plans undone at tremendous costs, like Kefka (in Kefka's case, his death resulted in magic permanently vanishing from the world, and with it, the Espers, which nearly resulted in Terra Branford fading away due to her Esper heritage).
- 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.
- Killbane from Saints Row: The Third bears a similar role to Kefka as both first appeared to be enforcers to villains who first appeared to be main antagonists until their deaths at the first half of the story only for their enforcers to turn out as the true antagonists.
- His God of Magic form bears some resemblance to Lucifer who is sometimes depicted as another name for Satan.
- 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's 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 hateful, yet still written in a humorous manner. Future rereleases such as the GBA, iOS, and PC versions combined both aspects in the Japanese releases.