Final Fantasy VI: Famous Last Words (FFVI-13d)

Movement IV

final form

Kefka’s final creation has been destroyed and we are now facing the antagonist himself. Just to cap off everything he has been telling the heroes, he gives them one more reminder that life is pointless and meant to be destroyed before the heroes have their chance to have at him. Finally, we get to put every inch of effort we put into this game into getting rid of Kefka, and even with how well crafted the story has been, everything has been leading up to the finale, and even the finale itself builds to this fourth and final movement. It does not disappoint.

As Lady and Rest are destroyed, the fugue fades off and the organ intro heard in the opening piece of the game, Omen, introduces Kefka in his final form seen above (at 11:30). It’s been Kefka’s plan to get to this point all along, and as Omen already gave us a musical summary, it also gave the ultimate foreshadowing of Kefka starting from its very first note being represented in the organ and it’s sacred ties, and is now depicting what it was meant to this whole time. As soon as the organ finishes the intro and Kefka comes into full view, he says his last words as a heavy repeating drum pattern kicks into the forefront. This is the most intense the music has been yet, and at first listen Movement IV is also the simplest Dancing Mad has been. That almost seems disappointing! We get the multifaceted creation of the last three movements then we reach the full finale and it’s just a clichéd boss fight song? Well, no.

First of all, it does a fantastic job of creating intensity—a perfect feeling for the last fight. But that doesn’t explain why the depressing-sounding second section of Movement IV exists. We are finally destroying Kefka, a villain who actually succeeded in his plan and destroyed the world. The heroes aren’t even fighting for the sake of saving the world; they’re merely fighting for the hope that they can rebuild it with Kefka out of the way. We’ve been given every reason to hate Kefka and all he has done, and the last bit of written music in this epic finale is sad? Yes, it is, and let me explain why this was a great choice on Uematsu’s part

The last three movements of the monster tower were all Kefka’s creation. His final speech and the now-defeated tower were his final statements. These statements came from one of the most mysterious, but terrifying and evil, villains. Kefka compares well to Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. In that film, we were never really given the exact reason the Joker was the way he was. He was simply evil, and we were left only with a few ideas of what his past possibly was. Joker was a mastermind, but completely unpredictable, and he did all he did for the sake of chaos and destruction. The Joker and Kefka have a striking resemblance to each other, but Kefka has one thing that almost no villain ever has: that he won. His plan succeeded. He gained all the power he saw possible and destroyed the world. Every single moment of Kefka came off as a surprise, and it took until his very last speech until we really had a clear idea of what his motives were directly from him.

Yet for all we know so far, we have only seen and heard what he wants us to see and hear, and we have truly never seen into him. We haven’t seen him backed up against a wall (except for walls he arranged to be backed up against), or truly afraid, or really showing any emotions at all. His last statement to us was his creation, the tower, and as even his current image shows, he is saying, “Look at me and what I have become. There is nothing greater than me and I have become a god just to show you that life is meaningless.” It was, as he said in his final speech, “a monument to non-existence” and it was created out of what was the perceived ultimate power. It was everything he lived by and reason for all his actions: destruction, chaos, non-existence, and the lack of a point. It was Kefka’s display to us, but Kefka’s inner life had remained hidden, just like Ledger’s Joker.

But now Kefka has been caught off guard, as a team of misfits has cast down his final creation. He is doing his best to hide his fear, but the music betrays him. While the last three movements of music have each showcased different attributes that Kefka assigns to himself, this final movement looks at Kefka himself and it expresses for the first time in the entire game Kefka’s emotions. We see him in his final form, and the music shows his true final self. He’s angry and scared like an animal wildly lashing out in fear during his last stand, depicted so well by the first section of this movement. Then the sudden sadness of the second section comes as Kefka is hit with his own reality. He was wrong. Not only was he wrong, but he created his own fall. He succeeded in everything he planned, and everything he lived by and thought was true was being proven with no one to stop him. He has mocked every bit of how he sees existence, humanity, power, and even the sacred and religion calling himself a god and ultimate power, but doing nothing but destroying. He is even depicted as a clown, and is the ultimate jokester who has not failed in mocking every inch of his perceived existence. Now he stands in a last stand against a team. A team stands for everything that he believes is futile, and this particular team of heroes was created by him through his destruction and chaos. They represent life, love, unity, and humanity. These heroes are a monument to existence with a point and purpose, and their current purpose is set on himself. Kefka. His only point in living created the one thing able to bring his fall. He is defeated leaving us with his famous last words: silence–mocked by everything he had mocked.

This concludes my Final Fantasy VI series.

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