Sephiroth was born approximately 30 years before the start of the game (Exact year left unknown) to Professor Hojo and Lucrecia Crescent. Sephiroth's exact birthplace is unknown, but is widely speculated to be Nibelheim - this is where the Jenova Project began, and Sephiroth later remarks during a mission to the town that it seems familiar to him. Before Sephiroth's birth, Hojo and Lucrecia were working as assistants to Professor Gast, Shinra's top scientist, on the Jenova Project. The project studied the remains of an extra-terrestrial entity known as Jenova, which was mistakenly thought to be one of the Cetra, an ancient people of the world that the game takes place in. Hojo injected cell samples from Jenova into the pregnant Lucrecia. Lucrecia then carried Sephiroth to term, his fetal form merging with the cells of Jenova as it developed.
After his birth, Shinra raised Sephiroth to be a super soldier, the very first SOLDIER. They told him nothing of his mother except that her name was "Jenova." He was not aware his father was the mad scientist Professor Hojo, whom he referred to as "inexperienced" and "a walking mass of complexes" - however, he respected Professor Gast, until he left Shinra under the guidance of Ifalna. Sephiroth proved to be an incredibly strong and effective member of SOLDIER, gaining worldwide fame for his exploits such as his role in Shinra's victory against Wutai in 2000.
President Shinra comes to rely on Sephiroth during the events of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, calling Sephiroth in whenever the situation personally threatens the President's life, like during the first AVALANCHE attack on Junon, on February 30th, 2001. Sephiroth engages the AVALANCHE leader, Elfé, but she blocks his strikes, impressing him. While the two are fighting, Elfé questions why Sephiroth is fighting. She asks whether if he ever wants to "fight for a reason", which seems to have a profound effect on the SOLDIER. The results of Sephiroth choosing to fight for a reason would one day threaten the entire Planet's existence. He is later sent in on June 18th, 2002 to "rescue" Professor Hojo who had almost defected with the AVALANCHE forces attacking the Shinra Building.
In SOLDIER Sephiroth had two friends, Angeal Hewley and Genesis Rhapsodos. Though all three were rival SOLDIERs First Class, they each saw each other as close friends. When Genesis and Sephiroth duel in the virtual reality Junon, Sephiroth seems to be the stronger, but it ends inconclusively. Angeal stops the fight before either hurt each other too badly. The small wound Genesis takes does not heal. Sephiroth offers his blood as a transfusion, but is told that his blood is not compatible. Genesis eventually defects from Shinra, making Sephiroth very uneasy about his missions against him. Just before his final mission, Sephiroth hints that he may leave Shinra altogether.
In what would become his final mission, Sephiroth was ordered to inspect the Mako Reactor outside the town of Nibelheim on September 22nd, 2002. He enters with a small entourage, consisting of one other member of SOLDIER and a few Shinra MPs. Among this group was SOLDIER 1st Class member Zack and his friend, a 16-year-old Shinra trooper named Cloud Strife. At the reactor, Sephiroth found several pod-like chambers containing monstrous creatures, apparently former humans, possibly mutated by injection with Jenova cells and exposure to Mako. Deeper inside, he found a larger chamber labeled "JENOVA", which contained a very strange feminine-looking creature. When Zack suggests a connection between SOLDIER and the creatures in the tanks, Sephiroth flies into a rage.
Crisis Core shows an expanded version of events at the Nibelheim Incident, and Genesis plays a large part in Sephiroth's madness. During this time, Genesis tells Sephiroth that he was born from the Jenova Project, which was used to produce a 'monster'. Going in more depth about Jenova, and the Jenova Project, Genesis states more facts, but Sephiroth himself does not understand all of what Genesis tries to tells him.
Deeply disturbed by the fact that the creature had the same name as his "mother" and by the idea that he himself might have been created in an experiment similar to the one that created the monsters in the pods, Sephiroth made his way to the mansion that had been occupied by Shinra researchers and began reading the research notes that were located in the basement library. As a result of what he learned, Sephiroth became enraged and psychotic. Based on the Shinra reports, he came to believe that Jenova was a Cetra, and therefore that he himself, Jenova's "son", was the last survivor of the Cetra. He also believed that the human race had betrayed the Cetra 2,000 years earlier, leaving them alone to defend the Planet from a calamity it had faced (eventually revealed to have been Jenova itself), and resolved to take vengeance for his "ancestors".
On October 1st, Sephiroth proceeded to destroy Nibelheim, setting the town to the flame, before returning to the reactor to claim Jenova's remains. He is followed by Tifa, Zack, and Cloud. At the reactor, Tifa takes up Sephiroth's Masamune from her father's corpse and attacks him, but he disarms her and cuts her down. Shortly after entering Jenova's chamber, Zack arrives and attacks him. In Final Fantasy VII he is easily defeated, but Crisis Core retcons this into a full battle where Zack fight Sephiroth in a pair fight. Either way, Zack is defeated and tossed out of the chamber. Cloud enters the reactor and picks up Zack's Buster Sword, rushing after Sephiroth. Caught off-guard, Sephiroth is impaled through the abdomen.
Due to Sephiroth's enhanced anatomy, however, he survived Cloud's assault, though wounded greatly. As Cloud left him to tend to Tifa, Sephiroth sliced off Jenova's head and stumbled from the room. Cloud attacks him again with rage, but Sephiroth stabs him with the Masamune. Cloud summons unknown strength and uses the sword as a lever, hurling Sephiroth into a pool of Mako below the reactor. In Last Order, it was retconed that Cloud only managed to fling Sephiroth into the wall, and that Sephiroth jumped into the Mako pool as a means of escape, stunned by Cloud's strength. No other version of the Nibelheim incident shows events going this way.
Following this, Shinra sealed the records on Sephiroth and rebuilt Nibelheim in order to cover up the incident, populating it with Shinra employees paid to act as the town's citizens. However, the renegade SOLDIER survived the plunge, and spent the next few years traveling the Lifestream, learning the secrets of the Ancients. In particular, Sephiroth learned of the Black Materia, which could call the ultimate black magic, Meteor. Sephiroth eventually came to rest in the Northern Crater, the site of Jenova's landing 2000 years ago. Crystallized in Mako to increase his powers, Sephiroth would remain in hibernation for some time, using his newfound influence over Jenova to act through her.
Hojo meanwhile decided to make use of the surviving residents of Nibelheim, and so commissioned them against their wills to take part in an experiment that would hopefully prove his Jenova Reunion Theory, a theory that states that when Jenova's cells are separated, they will seek to rejoin each other. Hojo injected the survivors with Mako and Jenova cells, dubbing them "Sephiroth Clones". Cloud and Zack were two of Hojo's subjects for this experiment, and they would spend the next four years as his prisoners in the Shinra Mansion of Nibelheim. Shortly before the main events of Final Fantasy VII begin, Zack broke free and took the semi-comatose Cloud with him. At some time in 2007, the call of the Reunion began to go out, and the Sephiroth clones began making their way toward the Northern Crater to join with Sephiroth.
Approximately five years after his supposed death, in December 2007, Sephiroth enacted his plan to find the Black Materia. Jenova's remains, which had been moved to Shinra Headquarters, took on Sephiroth's form and broke out of containment. Jenova/Sephiroth then released Cloud and the members of AVALANCHE, who were being held prisoner, and killed President Shinra. Sephiroth subsequently began searching for clues to the location of the Black Materia. Cloud, seeing Sephiroth's Masamune left at the scene of President Shinra's death, suspects he may be alive and sets out with AVALANCHE to find him and settle the score for what happened to Nibelheim.
The party first sees Sephiroth on the Cargo Ship, where he alludes to the Jenova Reunion. He also appears some time later in Nibelheim, where he again mentions the Reunion. When Cloud and his allies discover that Sephiroth is tracking down the Black Materia, they go to the Temple of the Ancients to acquire it first. There they again find Sephiroth, who tells them the full extent of his plans - the Planet relies on the Lifestream to heal itself when wounded. Using the Black Materia, Sephiroth plans to use it to call Meteor to strike the Planet, causing another large wound. Sephiroth would then place himself at the center of this wound, merging with the Lifestream and taking control of it, becoming a God ruling over the Planet.
Cloud succeeds in acquiring the Black Materia, but Sephiroth exerts his influence over Jenova's cells and takes control of Cloud, who hands the Materia over to Jenova. At this time Aeris Gainsborough, the true last survivor of the Cetra, tried to use the White Materia given to her by her mother to summon the force called Holy, the only power able to counter Meteor. During her attempt to call forth this Ultimate White Magic, Sephiroth fell from above and impaled her with his sword, killing the flower girl. Though Aeris had successfully called Holy, it was now being held back within the Planet by Sephiroth, preventing it from moving with his will as augmented by Jenova's power. Cloud and his allies continued tracking Sephiroth to the Northern Crater.
At the crater, Cloud kills Jenova in Sephiroth's form and reclaims the Black Materia. Shortly after, Sephiroth's true body is seen in its Mako cocoon, and Sephiroth's mental manipulations of Cloud's weakened mind take their toll. Believing himself nothing more than a cluster of Jenova cells who had taken on the memories of a boy named "Cloud" and the deceased Zack, Cloud delivers the Black Materia to Sephiroth, who uses it. The crater collapses, and Cloud's allies are forced to flee with Rufus Shinra to escape. Sephiroth unleashes the Weapons from their sleep and erects an energy barrier over the crater to keep them from detecting him.
With the Weapons causing chaos and keeping his enemies from rallying against him, Sephiroth began shapeshifting his body into a form befitting a God, awaiting the arrival of Meteor. Cloud was eventually recovered by his allies, and they received unlikely assistance from Shinra. In later January 2008, they fired the massive Mako cannon known as the Sister Ray at the Northern Crater, piercing Sephiroth's barrier and allowing Cloud and his allies to enter the crater and find Sephiroth.
Descending into the crater, they eventually find Sephiroth at the Planet's core, blocking Holy from stopping Meteor as it began its impact. After they dispatched Sephiroth's larva-like "Bizarro Sephiroth" form, Sephiroth emerged from it, almost entirely transformed into his ultimate form, an angelic being with seven wings. Cloud and his allies destroyed Sephiroth, but his mind endured. Pulling Cloud into the Lifestream for a final mental battle, Sephiroth attempted to take control of his mind again, but Cloud's mental defenses had grown, and he defeated Sephiroth. Battered and bloody, Sephiroth dissolved into the Lifestream, seemingly destroyed.
Sephiroth is mentioned frequently in Hoshi wo Meguru Otome, as Aerith observes the effects Sephiroth's actions are having on the Lifestream and the Planet.
Sephiroth is also the focus of the On the Way to a Smile novella "Case of the Lifestream - Black". Here, Sephiroth uses the emergence of the Lifestream to fight Meteor to infect the planet with Geostigma, dispersing his own memories among the Lifestream to spread the disease. He eventually uses memories from the Lifestream of others to craft his avatars in his own image and send them to find Jenova so he can reclaim a true body. As Sephiroth is faced with dissolution into the Lifestream, he manages to avoid this by focusing on his hatred of Cloud, which allows him to maintain a core sense of being and remain separate from the other spirits.
During the events of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, in 2009, Sephiroth again plays the role of the destroyer. It has been two years following the defeat of Sephiroth, and a fatal plague called Geostigma has spread throughout the world, afflicting many with extreme fatigue and open sores on the skin. This plague is revealed to be caused by Jenova's remaining consciousness in the Lifestream, and primarily affects children due to their weaker immune systems. This disease has also affected Cloud, who experiences visions of Sephiroth numerous times during the film.
The now-reclusive Cloud finds himself confronted by a strange trio of silver-haired men who are the physical manifestations of Sephiroth's will and spiritual energy, his powerful will having allowed him to pull out of the Lifestream before being fully diluted. However, without a great abundance of Jenova's cells, Sephiroth cannot be fully reborn. These three, Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo all believe themselves to guided by their "mother" Jenova, but rather it is Sephiroth himself who forces their actions. The leader, Kadaj becomes the vessel of Sephiroth after absorbing the contents of a case containing remains of Jenova, transforming into the man himself. Sephiroth reveals his new plan is to use Jenova's influence over those infected with Geostigma to control the planet - once they die, their tainted spirits will join the Lifestream and further infect it with Jenova, until Sephiroth can control it. Then, he will use the planet to travel the universe, and find another planet to rule over.
Sephiroth and Cloud then fight in the ruins of Midgar. Though Cloud is exhausted by the effort, Sephiroth does not break a sweat. He is merely toying with his old foe, hoping to crush his spirit before killing Cloud. Sephiroth is defeated by Cloud's Omnislash Version 5 move, utilizing his new sword First Tsurugi. Sephiroth remains floating in the air as his single black, feathered wing then appears. His final words are "I will...never be a memory," and his single wing wraps around him. The wing fades away, revealing what is left of Kadaj's body as he falls to the ground. The weakened Kadaj is then accepted into the Lifestream as his body and soul "evaporate" into the falling rain, Aerith's Great Gospel.
In The Reunion Files, Nojima had stated that Sephiroth's only true goal in the film is taking revenge on Cloud, who he saw as a rookie SOLDIER. His revival had been decided to occur early on in the project, but not the exact reasons or means of how he would be revived, and these details were decided at later dates. Sephiroth's dialogue was also made to sound profound, as "he thinks on a level higher than humans", and his hair and eyes were exceptionally difficult to animate. Various minor details were made to emphasize Sephiroth's other-worldly character; he was never made to blink, almost never grunted or breathed, and even in the heat of battle kept his voice calm and controlled. Nomura says that when creating Sephiroth, his appearance was set but he had trouble deciding what kind of voice he should have; once Toshiyuki Morikawa auditioned, Nomura knew he was exactly what he wanted. Morikawa also noted that, with Sephiroth's on-screen presence, he knew his final lines had to be done properly, and with input from the director, gave Sephiroth's iconic final words a sense that "he's not done yet".
Thanks to http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Sephiroth
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