|Game Series||Final Fantasy series|
|First Appearance||Final Fantasy IX|
|Skill(s):||Black & White Magic|
Kuja (クジャ) was the primary antagonist for the Squaresoft PlayStation game, Final Fantasy IX. A sorcerer obsessed with the concept of power, Kuja had a temperament of unprecedented ambition, cruelty, and ruthlessness. Most distinguishable for his exterior magnificence, Kuja wore an attire of effeminate nature to reflect his deeply narcissistic personality.
Exceptionally sophisticated, he possessed extensive knowledge of the world’s magic, and had a great fondness for such classical works as Lord Avon's play "I Want To Be Your Canary". Always a lover of theatricality, Kuja was well known for his bombastic demeanor and extravagant dress and was fond of playing out conflicts in the manner of a traditional stage villain.
|This section contains spoilers! Content within this section may reveal significant parts of a game(s) story.|
For the origins of his name click here then go to library.
Upon the decaying world of Terra, Kuja was created as a Genome by its ruler, Garland. However unlike the other soulless inhabitants of this realm, Kuja was to be the first "Angel of Death". Under his lordship, Garland had intended to create a vast legion of these new beings in preparation for Gaia's assimilation (a healthy world that would restore Terra’s stability). However there was an unexpected flaw, because since Kuja had been granted a soul he had begun to develop independent thoughts and opinions, which conflicted with those of his creator.
Observing the empty race of Genomes that surrounded him, Kuja refused to believe his linage was tied to theirs’ and disguised his tail, a common trait of the Genome race, in disgust. Abhorrence was also fuelled by the realisation his creator had built him for but one purpose alone. Kuja's ego demanded that the life he led held more worth than it was given. It was because of such defiance against fate that Garland had considered discarding his creation. However he found a new purpose for Kuja, and twisted the situation to his advantage.
Angel of Death
He did so by offering Kuja freedom, but on the condition that he disrupted the flow of souls on Gaia (a role Kuja was originally meant to play in its assimilation). Kuja desperately yearned for the opportunity to be in control of his own life above all else, so thus agreed to the terms. Still, Garland viewed Kuja as a failure, and created another "Angel of Death" dubbed Zidane Tribal. Designed so that once fully matured Zidane would be even more powerful than Kuja, Garland maliciously intended to render the predecessor obsolete.
With the knowledge that another was destined to become superior to him, the sorcerer flew into a rage of jealousy and cast Zidane unto Gaia. From that moment onwards, Kuja vowed to plunge the kingdoms of Gaia into a dark period of warfare, thus creating an irregular influx of souls just as Garland had demanded. Kuja believed that this would not only justify his right to exist with more than one purpose, but also prove to the sources of his hatred, Zidane and Garland, the superiority of the "failure".
To ignite a campaign of brutal conflict throughout Gaia, Kuja began by creating a series of magical weapons. Through the siphoning of a mysterious fog called "Mist" (stagnant Gaian souls from the Iifa Tree), his instruments of destruction took on the guise of Black Mages. All possessing incredibly potent magic, an entire army was soon assembled through various underground production plants (such as in Dali). The only matter left unresolved was the discovery of one power-thirsty enough to use them. Kuja found such a quality in the recently widowed monarch, Queen Brahne of Alexandria.
Intrigued by Kuja's proposal, Queen Brahne set about the complete mobilisation of her kingdom's military and employed the service of Kuja’s Black Mages, led by the legendary General Beatrix. Through her leadership, the Black Mage armies stormed three neighboring kingdoms. Many innocent lives were lost during these battles and many more as the Mist Continent slowly fell under cold Alexandrian occupation.
Observing events secretly, Kuja watched as Gaia began to slip into despair. The task set before him was progressing well, but Kuja realised Garland had no intention of granting him freedom as promised. Resolving to press on with his quest, Kuja vied for a new source of untapped power to topple his enemies, and he found it in Queen Brahne’s adopted daughter, Princess Garnet.
Having already acquired the service of select Eidolons from her conquests, Queen Brahne eventually conquered the entire Mist Continent. Upon achieving this, she determined Kuja had no more use and thus sought to dispose of him. Kuja had, however, anticipated such a betrayal, since in actuality she was his pawn. Summoning Bahamut at the Iifa Tree, she ordered the Eidolon to destroy the power-mad sorcerer.
Unharmed by Bahamut's assault, Kuja summoned the powerful airship, Invincible, and used it to seize control of the Eidolon. He then observed the total destruction of Queen Brahne's armies. With Brahne eliminated, Kuja now realized that the time had come to engage his plans completely. He prepared to enslave the most powerful Eidolon of all, Alexander, and thus take charge of his life. So appearing once more as the city of Alexandria was adjusting to its new queen, Garnet, he ordered Bahamut to attack.
Kuja knew that in the country's weakened state such a direct assault would draw out the hidden temple of the castle, where Garnet and Eiko met. In unison they then both summoned Alexander. His goal within grasp, Kuja relished this final stage. However, Garland realised what his creation sought to accomplish. Retaking control of the Invincible, Garland destroyed Alexander and released Bahamut from Kuja’s control. He then commanded the airship to deal a ruinous attack upon Alexandria.
Kuja's New Plans
Retreating to his secret stronghold the Desert Palace, Kuja was closely pursued by Zidane and his allies. Regardless of the circumstances and the seeming defeat of his designs, the power Kuja vied for had not yet been pried from his grasp. He could still win his freedom, provided he could acquire the Gulug Stone from Oeilvert. However there existed a unique magical barrier surrounding its holding place, thus making Kuja’s power ineffective.
He captured Zidane's party and threatened to kill them unless Zidane (who was "too stupid to use magic") retrieved what was desired. Zidane, without any choice in the matter, agreed to the terms. Upon leaving however, Kuja ruthlessly attempted to kill his friends anyway and presented a hesitant Zidane with false visions of his captured friends to fool him into providing the Gulug Stone.
Zidane’s party forced their way into the inner sanctum and confronted Kuja. The sorcerer, however, now possessed what he had wanted. He retreated, but not before capturing the summoner Eiko Carol. Upon reaching Mount Gulug, Kuja desperately attempted to extract an Eidolon from her body, one in his mind, even more powerful than Alexander. To save her life, Eiko’s guardian Moogle intervened and entered Trance to defend her. The sorcerer was surprised by the realization that even a weak Moogle could use Trance to reach obscene levels of power.
Understanding the possibilities of this, and accepting that the Eidolons were now out of reach, Kuja resolved to discover this power that could topple his enemies. Evading capture, Kuja closely followed Zidane and his allies to Terra. Determining that the power of Trance could be induced by an eruption of intense emotion, Kuja went to the fuel room of the Invincible and fused with all of the souls inside, particularly that of Queen Brahne.
Afterward, Kuja engaged Zidane's group in battle and was eventually overcome. Yet this had been a part of his plan. The rage and hatred of almost being defeated transformed Kuja into a being of absolute power, Trance Kuja using the power of the souls he had collected on board the Invincible from the numerous attacks made by the mighty airship. As Kuja himself says the power of his trance came from one soul, Dagger's Mother.
Showing his newfound powers with a single spell (Ultima, to be exact), he succeeded in bringing Zidane's entire party to its knees. Gloating over the power at his disposal, he then cast Garland from the top of a cliff. Tragically though, this sense of fulfillment was blighted when the voice of Garland informed Kuja that because Zidane had always been intended to replace him, there was a deliberate time limit on Kuja's life. This revelation pushed Kuja into insanity. He could not accept his imminent destruction or the idea that he would die without ever leaving his mark on the world. In sorrow and rage, Kuja used his powers to coldly destroy Terra, and reduced it to a state of utter ruin. The sorcerer then concluded that if his life was to end, so too would all existence.
On returning to Gaia, Kuja started a chain reaction within the Iifa Tree that would lead to the complete assimilation of Gaia by Terra. He then used his power to create Memoria, which granted him passage to the Crystal World. The sorcerer did this because the source of the universe and all of life itself, the Original Crystal, lay there. Believing that the world had no right to continue existing without him, Kuja resolved to destroy the Crystal and return the universe to nothingness.
However, just before Kuja could execute his plans, Zidane and his allies stood against him. Even with all the power Kuja had acquired he still could not withstand Zidane and his team. On the verge of defeat, he unleashed a desperate attack to destroy the Original Crystal. The powerful Ultima attack apparently killed Zidane and the party.
The souls of Zidane and the others went directly to Necron, a mechanism of the Iifa Tree, created by Garland, who administrates the cycle of souls, which had its own personality and held a desire to undo all of existence.
From Kuja's actions, it had judged that all life desired destruction and would thus grant such a wish. However, Zidane and his party defeated Necron, temporarily stopping the threat, and somehow causing the soul of Zidane and the others return to their bodies.
Kuja's Final Moments
Having lost his power and pride to Zidane, Kuja finally realised that the purpose of life was to help rather than destroy. So with the remainder of his magic he helped Zidane's party escape from Memoria as it exploded after the Necron's demise. He did so by teleporting them out of danger as the Iifa Tree began to collapse and telepathically leading rescuers to their location. Despite this, Zidane refused to leave his "brother" alone to die, and so went back inside to find Kuja.
Zidane, even after everything Kuja had done, sat with his "brother" and comforted him. Zidane knew that no matter how sinister and malicious his brother had become, Zidane may have done the same thing if circumstances were different. As Kuja’s life slowly came to an end, he spent his last few moments expressing regret to Zidane for not realising the true purpose of life sooner.
Mikoto, the prototypical third "Angel of Death" created by Garland, silently informed Kuja that though the actions he'd taken were wrong, he'd given all of the Genomes one thing: Hope.
- "The weak lose their freedom to the strong, and it is the providence of nature that only the strong survive."
- "I find this rain quite pleasant. It feels as though the raindrops are blessing our victory."
- "Oh how I have longed for this day, the day I might finally cast aside this mask to reveal my true self."
- "I will make the people of both Gaia and Terra realise who rules over all of them!"
- "Why should the world exist without me? That wouldn't be fair."
- "I single-handedly wrought chaos unto Gaia, but in the end I am nothing but a worthless doll."
- "Play a requiem for her, and all of Alexandria!"
- "Peace is but a shadow of death, desperate to forget its painful past... Though we hope for promising years. After shedding a thousand tears, yesterday's sorrow constantly nears. And while the moon still shines blue, by dawn it will turn to scarlet hue."