In order to be reborn, one must die

This page exists mainly because I call this place Renaissance and I have this fear that nobody knows why that is. When people think of renaissance, they think of The Renaissance, or puffy sleeves and historical reinactments. But, like any second year French student can tell you, renaissance is just another word for rebirth.

Final Fantasy VI has a few major themes: love, friendship, poorly applied clown makeup gone horribly wrong...the list goes on. I'm no big fan of his, but Kefka's the villain of Final Fantasy VI for a reason. While the playable cast is full of vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and humanity, Kefka is a superhuman larger-than-life presence. They don't give him an elaborate backstory to make him more sympathetic, because sympathy for Kefka is a contradiction in terms. He is a true nihilist, and he represents the shadow that death casts over life.

"Why do you yearn to live, knowing that all things must die?" The team doesn't have an answer for Kefka besides a well-timed Ultima Weapon to the throat, but the question he asks is the one the game is trying to answer. What Final Fantasy VI comes up with is as cheesy as the opera lyrics, chapters in self-help booklets, and all of that, but clichés get that way for a reason.

Locke's past with Rachel and his determination to bring her back from the dead is probably the most obvious way the idea of rebirth enters the game. Eventually Locke finds the esper Phoenix, which is cracked but still able to bring his lost love back for a few minutes. Here is the secret of that story: Locke's the one who is resurrected.

It doesn't stop there. Celes throws herself off a cliff, only to find a renewed sense of purpose. The Falcon flies triumphantly over Daryl's tomb, Figaro castle lives again and rises from the sands. Being knocked down is the only way to get back up. If Final Fantasy VI were an episode of Friends, it would be The One Where the World Ends. But it'd also be The One Where the World Begins Anew. Final Fantasy VI isn't my favorite game for the villainy or the heroics, or for the music or the romance or the improbable opera sequences or the His Royal Highness the Pimp King of Figaro, it's my favorite because after all these years it still makes that hope thing stick more than just about anything I know.