kefka palazzo spelled as Cefca Palazzo in the Japanese version) is the primary antagonist of Final Fantasy VI. Kefka acts as the court mage of Emperor Gestahl 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.
While previous villains in the Final Fantasy series were distant, cold, ruthless, and bent on their goals, Kefka is loud, short-tempered, maniacal, and destructive. His popularity among Final Fantasy fans as a villain is rivaled 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 arguably his laugh, a high-pitched whooping cackle that is repeated numerous times throughout the game.
Kefka’s appearance is that of an outlandish jester. In his original concept artworks and Dissidia Final Fantasy, Kefka wears an outfit composed of primarily red and yellow fabrics, a mismatched jumble of stripes and polka-dots. He wears a red and white stripped ruffle around his neck and a red cloak with a yellow and red inner-lining. In his field sprite in Final Fantasy VI, Kefka wears green robes with gold linings and red clothing underneath. Universally, Kefka’s face is covered with white make-up with red make-up around his eyes. He has blonde hair tied back into a tight ponytail, accentuated by a feather extending from it. In his “god” form, Kefka appears as a demonic angel with purple skin and a red loincloth. His limbs are far more muscular than his human form, and he bears six wings – four light angelic wings and two dark demonic wings. In this form, the only notable resemblance Kefka retains to his human self is their identical hairstyle.
In terms of character, Kefka is maniacal, short-tempered, flamboyant, destructive and cruel. He is completely insane with no regard for human life, and he in fact finds amusement in the suffering and death of others. He tends to crack dark jokes at times and possesses a hatred of virtually everything in the world; Kefka’s only joy in life comes from causing death and chaos wherever he can. What begins as simply a disregard and indifference to human life develops into a sinister nihilism – at the end of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka declares the lives of mortals as meaningless and insignificant, and he finds no meaning in things like love and hope that others cherish. As a result, Kefka’s goal at this point is to destroy the bonds of existence itself.
It should be noted, however, that Dissidia shows a different view to Kefka’s nihilism. Once he is defeated in Shade Impulse, Kefka laments what he sees as the futility of life in a speech mirroring his speech in Final Fantasy VI, and fades with a sad laugh. Afterwards, Terra says that Kefka destroyed as an attempt to fill his broken heart, perhaps implying a more sorrowful side to his personality – that of a man who cannot find any meaning in life other than mindless destruction.
Kefka is a rarity among Final Fantasy villains in terms of power; while most other villains are consistently powerful, Kefka’s power improves dramatically as the story progresses. He attacks Sabin in the Imperial Camp with a simple Morning Star, and in Narshe he knows spells that are strong for that point in the game, but are overall weak in the grand scope of the game’s spell list – his strongest spell at this time is merely Blizzara. Kefka acquires his power slowly by absorbing the strength of Espers. By the time he appears in Thamasa, he is easily able to project realistic illusions, can single-handedly kill dozens of Espers in one blow, and is immune to their powers. However, he is still vulnerable at this point – Celes stabs him aboard the Floating Continent, and Kefka is shocked and enraged by the sight of his own blood, although he seems more angry than hurt.
Following his taking control over the Warring Triad, Kefka becomes the God of Magic itself and his strength increases exponentially. Now knowing the most powerful magical attacks in the game, including Ultima, Kefka levitates debris from around the world to form his tower, a bizarre patchwork of terrain and rooms. He also uses his “Light of Judgment” to smite those who do not acknowledge his ruling of the world, and at least half a dozen towns are hit by the Light and devastated. Kefka creates various new monsters to guard his tower, including the revived, but weakened, Warring Triad themselves. Kefka also creates a new magical spell called “Forsaken”, (known as “Goner” in the original U.S. SNES release) his signature attack with 220 magic power, the highest in the game; Ultima, the strongest spell the player can learn, only has 150 magic power by comparison. However, Forsaken does not ignore defense like Ultima does, limiting its potential power.Kefka fights the party a total of five times during the course of the game, including the final battle. In all of these fights except for the final one, Kefka flees or uses an illusion of himself to fight. Of the first four fights, only the second is actually winnable – Kefka flees from the first fight after any attack and the third and fourth battles end in cinematic scenes and have no conclusion.