Katayoku no Tenshi' s Interpretation
Throughout the analysis of the song three different points of view will be considered, the two bound to the particular Final Fantasy VII characters, Cloud and Sephiroth, and the one, more general, related to the entire humanity and to the world which Katayoku no Tenshi can be referred to.
Not mentioning the main roles, the good and the evil, the hero and the villain, that Cloud and Sephiroth play, they aren’ t mere figures inserted in a story like Final Fantasy VII. In fact, both of them symbolise general concepts that the authors didn’ t want to neglect, and that I’ m going to explain shortly. Cloud symbolises the human kind, the men occupying this planet, with all their worries and problems. Cloud shows a tough and strong exterior, as many people use to do: but just inside he reveals his true feelings. Cloud feels love, compassion, and at the same time he struggles, suffers for the pain in the body and for the oppression of the spirit. The existence he leads is difficult, his battle reaches the limits of desperation, and he has an evil soul by his side, Sephiroth. Sephiroth is nothing else than the embodiment of human negative feelings, that dark side from which no person is able to set himself free with own strength. Cloud, also, until the end, is oppressed by his unavoidable presence, and I’ m not talking about the concrete materiality of his enemy. Within his mind, within his heart Sephiroth has taken shape, and is continuing to torment Cloud starting from the meanders of his subconscious. Therefore, all Cloud’ s life, until the final match against Sephiroth, has headed to the assertion of positive feelings against the evil, through a road where the boy wanted to show himself and the others his ability to defeat even his most terrible opponent, thanks to the power of will, freeing himself this way from the demon hidden in his body.
ESTUANS INTERIUS IRA VEHEMENTI
Burning inside with violent anger
Who burns inside with violent anger? First we have Sephiroth, angry for what the men, the" traitors " have done to his mother Jenova and to Cetra’ s race which he thought to belong to. His hate is so turned to all humanity, in his opinion worthless to live on the Planet which he wants to catch in his hands at any cost. However, at the same time, Cloud bears Sephiroth a grudge for what he did to his hometown, to his family, friends, to himself, and he cannot forgive that man who now dares to rule the entire universe, and doesn’ t hesitate to take down anyone hindering his plans. Also Aeris has suffered the consequences of his projects, and this - with everything remaining - Cloud cannot absolutely forget. Besides, his anger together with Sephiroth’ s is also turned to Shinra and the ill it has originated to them, infesting their bodies with the cells belonged to a monstrous alien, and scrambling their lives forever. It must be noticed how Nibelheim is recalled in this lyrics as a major scenery for all the reasons above. Nevertheless, enlarging the visual horizon, we can think about this violent anger as one of the ugliest but also more usual feelings of humans as living beings, creatures that since the dawn of time couldn’ t hold themselves to declare their bestiality and fight each others. The uncountable wars broken out throughout history, the civil battles or fights among politic sides have shown how hate against similars has only caused damage to our race, nowadays still unable to realize the errors it made and that’ s going on making.
SORS IMMANIS ET INANIS
Fate, monstrous and emny
Sephiroth’ s fate fully corresponds to this conception. It’ s monstrous because even from his birth the curse for being a genetic experiment graved upon him, a human being with inside a diabolical monster of 2000 years ago, coming from unknown places over the endless space. It has been monstrous even what Sephiroth did, his actions, his murders, to fulfil a similar monstrous objective: the total annihilation of the human race and the planet. And yet, all of above has been in vain. Sephiroth wasn’t destined to succeed with his projects, for a tragic end was waiting for him, through the hands of a boy hurt for sure by his suffering. Cloud’ s fate, then, is monstrous too if we consider Shinra’ s, Sephiroth’ s actions against him, pulling him towards a life who was in fact a great chase for himself and his foe. But, despite that, he would have succeeded in his mission, he would have defeated the menace haunting humanity, and at last he would have found his real self, giving a meaning to his existence so far. Sephiroth’ s destiny turned out to be mere empty, for Cloud has interfered to stop his foolishness, to deny him the ascent to godhood making emny even his birth. From a pessimistic point of view, we can say that mankind’ s fate is also monstrous and emny, because our race revealed itself unable to understand the meaning of life and to overtake physical boundaries. So, we could think as men are destined to spend their days with monstrosity and to end with the death deleting life-time deeds. However, I leave the last word to the reader.
VENI VENI VENIAS NE ME MORI FACIAS
I came, I came, so you will come: don’ t make me die
( Come, come, oh come: do not make me die )
This is the most controversial and doubtful tense of the entire song. Problem is: who is talking in first person now? Let’ s try to solve the mystery once and for all. Let’ s start examining Cloud. The boy came to Sephiroth in two critical moments of the story, excluding the final part: to the reactor in Mt. Nibel, when he threw away Sephiroth into the Lifestream, and to the Reunion, meeting since a long time the real Sephiroth who had summoned him there. That " so you will come " could therefore be intended as what Cloud expects, that someday Sephiroth will come to torment him up to the limit of tolerance, to derange his mind as he did through all his " crises " up to that point, and because of this his deepest ego asks him to be spared, to spare his soul. More proper is, however, the confront with Sephiroth. Changing the point of view, it has been Sephiroth the one who came twice to break Cloud’ s life, to Nibelheim letting it burn in flames, and five years later, re-summoning Cloud to the Reunion and totally confusing him with lies about his past. Here’ s a strong confession made by Sephiroth: he knows that Cloud will come to him one day, not as he came in the past, but fully aware of himself and of his real talents, ready to engage the definitive battle. And when so will happen, Sephiroth will be afraid of Cloud, of the boy grown up thanks to his hard experiences, and he will implore him not to kill him with the power who Cloud will have acquired and won’ t hesitate to declare. Moreover, we can interpretate this lyric through the image of a man’ s prayer, who every day faces his life path and, turning to God, tells him his request while waiting for the moment when he will have to leave his material form. What man asks is to be saved from death, not body’ s, but soul’ s death, far more terrible and dangerous, relentless towards the light of eternity.
Glorious, noble (feminine case)
Glorious, noble are two adjectives that, reasonably enough, can be addressed to Aeris, for her sacrifice to save the world couldn' t be described otherwise. It is she who gives away her life and allows Holy and the Lifestream to help the wounded Planet contrast Meteor in the end. By the way, this is a song that mainly speaks about Sephiroth, so I believe an alternate, rather inverted meaning can be associated to these words if they' re referred to Jenova. In fact, everything Jenova has done since the Ancient era isn' t glorious and noble at all, since "she" brought a deadly disease to the Planet' s inhabitants ( all but a noble action ) and she, already being a monstrous alien, ended up buried for two millennia and reappeared in her horrific form to aid Sephiroth in his foolishness, certainly not a glorious fate at all.
This name is repeated several times during the song, emphasized by the singer’ s voice and tone. Truly, it’ s him Katayoku no Tenshi’ s real main character, the one-winged angel that Cloud and his friends must face through a terrifying match. It’ s him the last opponent to defeat, the evil figure who originated the story and who completely crosses it, and it’ s always him the extreme tragic character, to whom, leaving aside his foolishness, can be turned an enormous feeling of mercy.