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Kefka: really a "clown?"

 
Do you really think Kefka is supposed to be a clown?
No way! I really dig your 17th century nobility idea! [ 15 ]  [39.47%]
Damn straight! That circus performer needs less makeup and a giant sword! [ 9 ]  [23.68%]
Eh, I think he is something else. [ 13 ]  [34.21%]
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Posted: 28th January 2004 21:12

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Hello all. I began to explore this question in the thread about the game's shortcomings (hah!) and figured that it would best be its own topic of discussion.

Now, does it bother anyone else that Kefka is commonly referred to as and considered to be a "clown?" Now, while I can see the similarities and traits that would cause someone to assume that he is a clown.... but do you really believe that he is dressing / modeled after a clown?

I hardly believe that to be anywhere near conceivable. I always figured that Kefka was modelled to be a self-centered, borderline narcisisstic, and flamboyant villain. His makeup and gaudy clothing style, in my mind, are more similar to those of the spanish/french nobility of the 17th century than to those of a circus performer. After all, it was not uncommon for said nobles to wear makeup, and much of the period's fashion was very showy and colorful ESPECIALLY compared to their english counterparts.

Here is an image of french fashion from the 17th century:

user posted image

If that didn't work, here is a link: http://www.mayflowerfamilies.com/enquirer/...s/PLATE63BX.JPG

Look at this image: the bright colors, the PLUMES (one of Kefka's defining features in his clothing), etc. are all somewhat similar to Kefka's own style.

Sorry, it just bothered me that so many people say he is just a "clown." While he may share some traits with clowns, i.e. his makeup and bright clothing, I think that the gaudy, flamboyant styles of past nobility are far more evident within his character.

What do you all think? Is Kefka really a clown? Is he modeled after 17th century french/spanish nobility? Are the 14 year old Sephiroth fans who love him for his gothic flair and disproportionately large sword who make fun of Kefka for being a "clown" oblivious to what the world's greatest villain is modeled after?

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Posted: 28th January 2004 21:23

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I don't think you understand all the definitions of a clown, which are:
  1. A buffoon or jester who entertains by jokes, antics, and tricks in a circus, play, or other presentation.
  2. One who jokes and plays tricks.
  3. A coarse, rude, vulgar person; a boor.
  4. A peasant; a rustic.

© Dictionary.com

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Posted: 28th January 2004 22:07

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I'm sorry, but most of the people I have spoken to about this topic refer to him as a clown due to his appearance. If you recall, I was talking about what he was MODELLED after appearance-wise. Most people make the connections between make-up / colorful clothing with the physical appearance of a circus clown, which is what I am disputing. If I were arguing about his character, I think I would have spoken about his persona and not just his appearance. But anyway, in response to your post:

Kefka is not a buffoon / jester who entertains by jokes, antics, or tricks in a circus, play, or other presentation. Sure, he may be the source of comic relief in the game at times, but he is FAR from holding the role of a 'buffoon' / 'jester.' Besides, clowns purposefully do thinks to entertain while Kefka's are for his own enjoyment....

Kefka does joke at times, though maliciously. Furthermore, he doesn't really play tricks in the entertainment sense. His "tricks" are purely full of deception / hatred (the poisoning of Doma, anyone?).

Finally, as people don't really use the word "clown" to refer to a vulgar person anymore nor as a rude person, I hardly see why you would expect me the concede in this argument due to the third definition.... The fourth doesn't even apply.

Now, let's look at the "clown" as far as its role in Shakespearean drama. To quote article about the role of clowns in this type of drama, scenes with "clowns" (the word being used for its dramatic definition, not appearance) are present "to provide an alternate viewpoint by interrupting the main action of the play and playing specifically to that 'mingle mangle.'" These figures "used the oral/ physical tradition to create diversity and to provide a more complete understanding of the theme by employing a 'mingle mangle' of their own." (Lori M Culwell: "The Role of the Clown in Shakespeare's Theatre")

Now, as the main antagonist of the game for the entire second half of the game and right hand man to the main antagonist throughout the entire first half, it is a little difficult to say that you could consider him a clown in the traditional, dramatic sense.

So, basically, the only definition of clown that pertains to a counterargument would be your third. Even that, though, is not effective. It says that a clown is "coarse, rude" and "vulgar;" it also says that this definition is can be simplified as a "boor."

Now, a Boor is: 1) A person with rude, clumsy manners and little refinement. 2) A peasant.

As a general for the Emperor Gesthal, one can hardly say Kefka is unrefined or a peasant. He is clearly a member of upper social tier.... just look at how he barks at the soldiers to clean sand off of his boots. So, the whole lack of delicacy or refinement suggested by "coarse" (I would say his plan to play along with, then eventually deceive and usurp power from Gesthal was pretty precise as he even knew about the protective aura of the statues when Gesthal tried to defend himself) and peasantry suggested by "boor" are hardly applicable. In fact, he scoffs at those who are below him, status-wise.

Now, after all this, I would hope that one would think twice before calling my favorite video game villain of all time a "clown." He is far too large a role to have such a lame label. What started out as a mere defense over his appearance has now turned into an actual debate over his role in the story.... I suppose I welcome this.

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Posted: 28th January 2004 22:31

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he looks like a clown. Most people dont know what people looked like in the 17th century . So, to many, hes a clown...

And my veiw? why its a plot. Many people are afraid of clowns, so, to instill fear, Kefka is dressed like one...
Hes smarter and more sinister than he looks...

This post has been edited by Del S on 28th January 2004 22:33

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Posted: 28th January 2004 22:42

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I'd lean more towards the "modeled after 17th century french nobility" theory. Someone was inspired by that, and warped it a bit in making Kefka.

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Posted: 28th January 2004 22:52

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he looks like a clown. Most people dont know what people looked like in the 17th century . So, to many, hes a clown...
Sadly, this is true, but this topic is hopefully going to educate some of those people which is why I provided a picture. Still, though, I must say that I am pretty surprised that many people do not know what type of clothing nobility wore in the past. I mean, even if they aren't completely accurate, most movies about that time period at least give you an IDEA of what people looked like back then. I suppose I can't expect everyone to be knowledgeable about this topic, though.

And besides, using incorrect terminology because you don't know the correct terminology is still incorrect, regardless of whether or not you have been educated about it or not.

Just because you do not know the exact origin/model of his appearance, or even his persona, doesn't mean you can just find a simple term that you know and apply it. ESPECIALLY if the term embodies traits and aspects of character that aren't even facets of said character. Thus, I am very opposed to people calling Kefka a "clown" as far as appearance, and even moreso to people calling him a "clown" as far as his demeanor / dramatic position within the story.

I mean, if anyone in the game is a clown, wouldn't you consider it to be Gogo? With his colorful clothing and a skill of mimicry, I always saw him as more of a clown figure as he really has no place in the story. Eh, Gogo isn't pertinent to this discussion really, so we shall leave him/her out of this.

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Posted: 28th January 2004 22:52

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Is it ok to call him a nut? Even one of the characters said he's missing a few screws. Kefka is an experiment gone bad. If he was refined, he would act more mature and reserved like Emperor Gesthal or even Sephiroth. Kefka may know how to get what he wants, but that hardly qualifies him as being refined. You may have never heard the word clown being used in the sense of someone being nutty, but it is used.

Just for future reference, here's the original artwork for Kefka:
user posted image

Edit: I think people tend to think "he looks kinda like a clown and acts like one, so that must be the idea behind Kefka, that he's a clown." No I wouldn't call him a clown solely on the way he acts because it's not a word I use much, but you could certainly make the connection.

This post has been edited by i90east on 28th January 2004 23:12

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Posted: 28th January 2004 23:13

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I myself think there is just as much evidence that he was modeled after a clown or jester as he was a noble. It's a matter of opinion - I can see where you're coming from, but I think he works better as a madman who chooses to dress like a clown.

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Posted: 28th January 2004 23:17

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user posted image
It is perfectly acceptable to label him as insane, which has more than enough supporting evidence. I know he is vulgar and malicious in his interaction with others, but his plan to acquire more power / employment of this plan through manipulation and deception is pretty meticulous and precise, so at least we can say his thinking is somewhat refined. Plus, his whole "I'm superior to you so I don't need to bother myself with giving you respect" disposition is more comparable to that of a 17th century noble than to a clown.

To me, his character has always been a mixture between an over-exaggerated figure of past nobility with a touch of cupidity, an egocentric and self-serving narcissist, and a cold-hearted maniac.

By the way, here are some more pieces of Kefka character artwork by Amano:
user posted imageuser posted image

To me, these pictures always just reminded me of overly exaggerated noble clothing... the one on the right a bit less exaggerated than the one on the left.

This post has been edited by Stephen the Third on 28th January 2004 23:23

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Posted: 29th January 2004 00:05
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If you've seen the movie Amadeus, you know about the absurd laugh that Mozart makes. That laugh reminds me almost exactly of Kefka's laugh. Seeing as this movie came out in 1984 and is based on Renaissance-type crap, I think that Square based Kefka's laugh on that laugh in the movie. I think this gives some support to the Renaissance-nobleman idea.
I've never seen Kefka as a clown.

Edit: I found this sound clip of the Mozart laugh:
http://www.moviesounds.com/amadeus/laughing.mp3

This post has been edited by Aminomin on 29th January 2004 00:11
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Posted: 29th January 2004 00:16

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wacko.gif How strange! I myself have noticed the similarities between Kefka's laugh and Mozart's in the movie "Amadeus" as well! One of my all time favorite movies, by far.

Anyway, yeah, I see Kefka as a mix between--for those of you who have seen the movie--as half Mozart and half Salieri in that he has the whole "I'm better than everyone else" attitude of Mozart and, of course, his laugh while he also has the dark, self-serving and manipulative features of Salieri.

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Posted: 29th January 2004 00:31

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never thought about it that way. your pointz all make sense tho, amigo. i guess he isnt a clown after all.

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Posted: 29th January 2004 01:54

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Hmm.... your point is well made, Stephen, but I still like the idea of him being a demented clown. And he's an enemy that doesn't really need a huge sword either. His magical powers are intimidationg enough. For more future reference, this just kinda reminds me of clown make-up gone bad:

user posted image

But come to think of it, he does kinda look like 17th century French, as his last name, Palazzo, would imply.

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Posted: 29th January 2004 03:28

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GNAAAARLY pic, figz. by trhe way how do you get more stars by your name?

kefka was the only bad guy in all of the final fantasiez that i actually despised... whoever designed him was genius.

so much more of a badass than sephiroth from ff7. he was too busy being all mysterious and busy making sure his silver hair looked all pretty to be much of a TRU VILLAIN like my boy kefka!

but i have to disgree with you figz, that picture is way more in the style of an olden noble dude than a demented clown with bad makeup.

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Posted: 29th January 2004 03:40

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But come to think of it, he does kinda look like 17th century French, as his last name, Palazzo, would imply.


I actually think that "Palazzo" is an italian name, Figaro. I could be wrong, of course, but I believe that "palazzo" is italian for "palace."

Anyway, conquistador, I actually had the same problem with old sephie, heh. While I thought that he looked pretty nifty, he just didn't scream "villain" like Kefka did.

While I wouldn't say I despised Kefka (he is my favorite character in the series, heh), I will say that the first time playing through he surprised me by just how heartless he could be.

Seeing him poison Doma when I was younger really struck me as a purely evil, sadistic act on Kefka's part. It was really the first villain I had experienced within the series to truly be that malevolent and amoral. Same goes for when he kills Leo, uses the light of judgement, etc.

His character is consistent throughout the game, and is purely despicable and evil... I love it.

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Posted: 29th January 2004 04:29

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I loved Figaro's FMV snap of Kefka, if anyone has seen Rugrats, it reminds me of Angelica's Cynthia doll. laugh.gif That'll bring me to my input, French noblemen and court jesters aside, I think Kefka is based on a doll from a kids' cartoon.

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Posted: 29th January 2004 16:57

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Hey, this is my first post on CoN.

But about the whole Kefka thing, the word "eccentric springs to mind. The fact that sometimes he can be extremely evil, (I also agree he's the best villian in the whole series by far) and sometimes a kind of maniacal clown, (as he laughs often and makes snide little jokes, mostly for his own amusement), kind of brings across the fact that he's so fickle. So sometimes you kind of think of Kefka as a clown, and sometimes as an eccentric noble. Whatever he is, he's still nifty.

And although Gogo looks slightly like a clown, he doesn't wear makeup and pretty pictures all over his face. dry.gif
Also, the nobles from the 1700s or whenever it was you said, wore those clothes because they were the style at the time. Kefka is the only character from FF6 I know who wears makeup so it's certainly not the style. Maybe he IS just a clown, but if he is then he's a ruthless clown. wacko.gif

Moderator Edit
Did you really mean the Kefka prefers men to women? If so, sorry for the edit, but I'd like to see proof of that. Anyway, please look over the forum rules.


I was going with the 17th century idea. I meant ecstatic since he always seems to be laughing in a maniacal way. I can see how it was confusing, sorry. I'll shut up.

This post has been edited by Iggy on 30th January 2004 13:44

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Posted: 29th January 2004 18:52

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Also, the nobles from the 1700s or whenever it was you said, wore those clothes because they were the style at the time. Kefka is the only character from FF6 I know who wears makeup so it's certainly not the style.


Of course, that statement assumes that all of the characters and cities within FFVI were inspired by the same source when this is CLEARLY not the case at all. I mean, look at the heterogenous group of characters and towns within the game.

For example, you have not only medieval type weaponry, towns, and characters (like Cyan, who dons a full suit of armor while his opponents can be found in suits of magitek mechanical battle armor) but also futuristic and industrial characters (like Cid, the empire's futuristic engineer) and regions. For example, compare Vector to say, Figaro or Narshe. It's a very diverse realm that square has created, eh?

Each character and region in this game clearly has different sources of origin as far as where the inspiration for their creation came from. Thus, it is perfectly feasible for Kefka to be modelled after something that no one else is.

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Posted: 29th January 2004 20:38

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Interesting topic.

Personally, I never saw Kefka as a clown. Not even the first time I played FFVI, and I knew nothing of that noble stuff back then. I just simply got the picture of an insane man who has a weird clothes style. The makeup and the clothes made me think of how people looked long ago in French (sorry if I insult anyone or have the information incorrect. My historical memory isn't the best, if I'm wrong, please correct me). So no, Kefka was never and will never be a clown in my eyes. But other people might think so if they want to.

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Posted: 29th January 2004 20:45

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Interesting topic.


i agree shirrow. this has been for me the most interestic c.o.n. topic to read so far in the little time since i signed up. steve's points are made very well... it would suck for me if i disagreed with him ever, i dont think i can handel debating at this level LOL laugh.gif

i never saw kefka as clowny either i just didnt know what to think of him. steve really cleared this up 4 me with this post. ¡excellente, esteban! thumbup.gif

i just noticed these smiliez, haha. they rock the partay. tongue.gif biggrin.gif wub.gif

This post has been edited by conquistador on 29th January 2004 20:52

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Posted: 29th January 2004 21:19

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Cool topic. I definitely agree that he doesn't seem like a clown to me. He does have the evil, creepy jester qualities though.

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Posted: 30th January 2004 01:02

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I would have voted option #2 if you hadn't included the part about the sword.
There are more than two villains in the series that includes almost 20 games. While similarities exist, they are all distinct. Leave it that way.

This post has been edited by Dark Paladin on 30th January 2004 01:03

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Posted: 30th January 2004 01:20

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Oh wow. Quite a well-thought-out argument you've got here, Stephen. smile.gif

I wasn't sure what to think of Kefka until I reached the battle where he first gets a "monster" sprite. At that point, I started getting an image of some kind of foppish, fawning, supercilious courtier--which is sort of what he was, but of course with much, MUCH more depth to him. Once the "clown" appellation came to my awareness, I went, "Well, okay, I can see why people think he is. He's definitely got a sense of humor, all right, even if it is an incredibly sick one."

The thought also occurred to me that maybe he either was or wanted to appear to be the archetypical "wise fool" figure. Such a person is more or less exempt from the law, but more importantly, may speak his mind without fear of retribution; he may go where he wants when he wants, he is often considered the voice of truth (see the earlier mention of the Shakespearean clown), and it is a heinous crime for anybody to harm him. Maybe Kefka took this idea and corrupted it for his own purposes.

Oh, and no argument from me that he's a nut...tongue.gif
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Posted: 30th January 2004 02:03

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would have voted option #2 if you hadn't included the part about the sword.
There are more than two villains in the series that includes almost 20 games. While similarities exist, they are all distinct. Leave it that way.


LOLZ laugh.gif @ that comment. duuude, dark palapoopa, i think the whole "he needz less makeup and a sword" part of the clown option was meant to be a funny joke. in my experienze, all that say they h8 kefka and looove sephiroth say that kefka looks like a darn clown and that seph is cool because he looks mysterious in his black long coat and has a 'cool sword.' puh-leeeeease realize when some1 is being sarcastic / j0king, partay poopa. tongue.gif

stevie was just arguing against the clown association that peepz have been makin with kefka because of how he lookz. i don't see how he is making kefka less distinct in this argument. blink.gif

Edit
sorry, i thoughtz that syndarr made that post @ first... sorry 4 n e confusion


This post has been edited by conquistador on 30th January 2004 02:05

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Posted: 30th January 2004 02:16

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Quote (conquistador)
in my experienze, all that say they h8 kefka and looove sephiroth say that kefka looks like a darn clown and that seph is cool because he looks mysterious in his black long coat and has a 'cool sword.' puh-leeeeease realize when some1 is being sarcastic / j0king, partay poopa.


In my experience all that say they dislike Kefka are very serious critics of FFVI. They prefer a darker, more serious looking villan. Some refer to Kefka as a clown in comparison to Sephiroth because of the vast difference in behavior.

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Posted: 30th January 2004 02:39

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Actually, I'm fairly sure, FAIRLY mind you(not positive), that clowns dressed as exaturated( I killed that word) nobles because the preformed for pesants. And pesants found nothing as funny as high and mighty noble make fools of themselves. I heard this from my English teacher. But she was wrong on several occasions, so if this isn't true, don't yell.

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Posted: 30th January 2004 03:00

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dark palapoopa

Words can't express the absolute brilliance of that nickname, conquistador..... classic.

But yeah, Dark Pal......adin (heh), when I put the 'needs less makeup' and 'needs a huge sword' part of option #2 down I wasn't being completely serious. In no way was I trying to imply that, by choosing that option, one would want to lessen or alter any of his distinguishing characteristics. I apologize if that was unclear to you.

In reality, however, conquistador was somewhat correct: I was making a jab at those who actually inspired me to make this topic. In a discussion, Kefka was brought up for whatever reason and, shockingly, the others in the argument all agreed that Kefka was not as cool as other villains like Sephiroth.

Upon inquiry, I found that the features many stressed against Kefka were his physical resemblance to, in their minds, a clown. They also said they couldn't stand his "hideous laugh." So basically, they didn't like kefka because he dressed in bright colors and laughed a lot, which obviously (note the sarcasm) makes him a clown. And we all know how much clowns suck, right? So by their reasoning, basically, kefka=clown and clown=lame, so kefka=lame.

I'm not saying that ALL those who dislike Kefka use this reasoning, nor am I insulting anyone's opinion of Kefka. I simply can't stand people who use such petty reasoning in an argument.

But yeah, I just found it funny that when asked what was so amazing about Sephiroth, the responses (and again, I'm not saying that EVERYONE who likes Sephiroth is like this) all basically revolved around his "badass" appearance and weaponry.

I don't know, it just seemed like a very fickle justification. "Sephiroth looks cooler, so he must be a bigger badass and more evil!" Reasoning like that is almost offensive, and the main reason I don't post on GameFAQs message boards anymore.

Once again, I am NOT saying that everyone who likes sephiroth more than kefka does so for the aforementioned reasons, NOR am I saying that they are wrong for liking Sephiroth more. I am actually quite a fan of old Sephie, but that is neither here nor there.

Basically, I was just using the last two parts of the second option to poke fun at the people who drove me to make this topic.... sorry if I confused you. wink.gif

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Je ne t'aime plus,
Mon amour...

Je ne t'aime plus,
Tous les jours...
Post #27741
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Posted: 30th January 2004 03:27

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Lucky <3
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He reminds me too much of Beetlejuice for me to consider him French nobility. wink.gif

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Hey, put the cellphone down for a while
In the night there is something wild
Can you hear it breathing?
And hey, put the laptop down for a while
In the night there is something wild
I feel it, it's leaving me
Post #27748
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Posted: 30th January 2004 03:30

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Treasure Hunter
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Quote (i90east @ 28th January 2004 14:52)
If he was refined, he would act more mature and reserved like Emperor Gesthal or even [zombified] like Sephiroth.

Fixed. wink.gif

Quote
Just because you do not know the exact origin/model of his appearance, or even his persona, doesn't mean you can just find a simple term that you know and apply it.


Really? If we don't know the correct term, what would you have us call him? "Kefka the I-don't-know-what"? How are we inherently supposed to determine whether or not we're using the correct terminology? Labeling is a subjective business and isn't inherantly wrong.

[/argumentative]

Kefka wasn't really anything for me except a nut. A really flamboyant nut with a penchant for killing people. Pretty simplistic (the description), but he's still my favorite FF villain.

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"N'GHAAA!
This is heavier than I thought! It'll take me 5 more minutes to drop it!" ~ Ultros
Post #27749
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Posted: 1st February 2004 07:46

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Chocobo Knight
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Personally, Kefka looks like a deranged Burghermeister in the green and red and whatnot with the red flower. Just swap lederhosen with that long green and red cloak and there ya go. Or he could just be a fop with a really bizzare taste in clothing.

And with a guy like Kefka, it's not generally a good idea to dig to deep into what he's wearing and why he's wearing it.

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Blood & Fire
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