Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroth’s Supernova, Explained (How He Keeps Blowing Up The World)

Final Fantasy VII was known for the lengthy animations that played whenever a summon monster spell was cast, with the most notable example being the Knights of the Round spell.

But the lengthiest animation for an ability actually belongs to an enemy. Once the player reaches the battle against Safer Sephiroth, it’s possible for them to endure the wrath of Sephiroth’s mightiest attack. Sephiroth blows up a good chunk of the solar system in an attempt to wipe Cloud and his buddies from the face of the planet.

Related: Was Square Enix Setting Up Another Final Fantasy VII Sequel Before The Remake Was Announced?

Supernova is one of the abilities that Safer Sephiroth can use in battle. He can potentially use it several times over the course of the fight. There are two versions of the ability and they have mechanical differences.

The version of Supernova that appeared in the original Japanese release of Final Fantasy VII is a spell that deals damage to the player. The version of Supernova that appears in the international versions of Final Fantasy VII (and the later Japanese revisions) will reduce the player’s health by 15/16th’s of its current amount, which means that it cannot actually kill the party. This version of Supernova does have the added capacity to inflict status effects, including confuse, silence, and sleep. If the player has acquired several Ribbons and has a megalixir prepped, then this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as this is one of the last battles of the game and this is the time to spam all the best healing items.

The Visual Differences Between The Versions

Final Fantasy VII was released in Japan on January 31, 1997, while it was released in North America in September and Europe in November of the same year. One of the benefits of having to wait longer for the game was that the western fans received a much better version of Final Fantasy VII. The English version of Final Fantasy VII had a number of bug fixes and encounter rate tweaks, as well as Diamond, Emerald, and Ruby Weapon added as boss encounters.

The Safer Sephiroth encounter was also tweaked, with the Supernova attack looking completely different. In the original Japanese version of Final Fantasy VII, the Supernova animation showed a still image of the solar system, followed by a blue flash of light that destroys three planetary bodies and hits the party for direct damage.

The updated version of Supernova that appeared in later games was a lot more complex. The animation opens up with a diagram of the celestial spheres and includes a number of equations relating to the attractive forces of different planetary bodies and stellar objects. A massive blue light is seen shooting into the milky way, where it proceeds to disintegrate Pluto, blow up the rings of Saturn, and annihilate Jupiter, before striking the sun. This sends out a shockwave that destroys Mercury and Venus, before washing over Sephiroth… and then hitting the party for 15/16ths of their full health.

Dissidia, Crisis Core, & The Limit Break

So, does Sephiroth actually blow up the universe each time he uses Supernova? Surely the Earth (and at least the party) would be consumed by intergalactic flames?

There is a question as to how much of the final battle against Sephiroth actually takes place, as the entire conflict takes place in a dreamlike reality within the center of the planet. The later games resolved the issue in a different way, by claiming that Supernova was actually Sephiroth’s Limit Break.

In Crisis Core, one of Sephiroth’s fans refers to Supernova as Sephiroth’s Limit Break. Supernova is also Sephiroth’s EX Burst in the Dissidia games. The EX Burst is the ultimate attack used by every character that is tied to a meter that fills up over the course of the battle. Almost every character who uses Limit Breaks has their final one as their EX Burst, so Sephiroth using Supernova as his EX Burst further supports the Limit Break idea.

Not all of the attacks in Final Fantasy VII are meant to be literal, with summons like Titan and Bahamut Zero causing less damage to the surrounding area than they should. These are just limitations of the hardware of the time. There are some Limit Breaks that work in a similar manner, like Cid ordering the Highwind crew to fire missiles at the enemy… even when they are indoors. As such, the Supernova animation isn’t meant to be taken literally and is just another side effect of the dreamlike realm where the battle against Safer Sephiroth takes place. This is why Sephiroth can blow up the galaxy several times in the same battle while still not actually killing the party in the process.

Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released for PlayStation 4 on April 10, 2020.

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