I am an avid video game player, and the "Final Fantasy" series is one of my all-time favorites.
A Franchise of Big Swords
Swords have been a staple of Final Fantasy since the first game. Whether the setting is a medieval fantasy world or a dystopic future with robots and laser beams, playable characters wield ginormous swords that they magically pull out of thin air when enemies attack.
Below are my picks for the top ten blades in the Final Fantasy series. Don't like my selections? Voice your opinion in the comments or nominate your pick for the ultimate weapon!
1. Mythril Sword
This is your basic starter weapon.
Mythril Swords, Blades, Axes, Hair Clips: they're not glamorous, but they're Final Fantasy mainstays. They also begin FF's tradition of, "If you misspell it, it's not a copyright violation." (See also: Malboros.) Here are a few notable appearances:
In Final Fantasy II, the party sets out to find Mythril for Princess Hilda's brave band of rebels. After the mission's success, master smith Tobul switches from token Grumpy Old Man to Loopy Inventor and hammers out Mythril weapons for our heroes for the rest of the game—even after he's killed! Yet another not-quite-dead-guy.
In Final Fantasy IV, toads and pigs (what?) mine and forge Mythril weapons in the creatively-named Mythril Village on a remote island.
In Final Fantasy XII, the Sword of the Old Order is a Mythril Blade. Basch and most of the Knights of Dalmasca wield them during the opening mission to save King Raminas. Oops. Later in the game, Old Dalan (above) has Vaan deliver Basch a new one. Reks, Vaan's brother, carries a weaker Mythril Sword which he apparently bequeaths to Vaan.
Choose Your Weapon
Though Tournesol (French for "Sunflower") is the most powerful sword in Ivalice, it does not have the long pedigree of the other Final Fantasy swords. Even so, I have to include it as the most difficult weapon to acquire in any Final Fantasy game (save possibly Ragnarok in XI).
Also, it kicks butt. Of course, by the time you've spent umpty hours trying to get it, your party is so overleveled that one more ultimate weapon is probably overkill.
Tournesol first appears in Final Fantasy XII as the second-most powerful weapon after the Zodiac Spear and reappears in Final Fantasy Tactics A2.
Poll: The Quest for the Tournesol
3. Save the Queen
General Beatrix rules!
Save the Queen is a newer entry into the honor roll of Final Fantasy swords, first appearing in Final Fantasy Tactics and making the jump to the main-numbered games in VIII as Quistis' whip crafted from Marlboro Tentacles!
Save the Queen fully establishes itself in FFIX as the weapon of General Beatrix, right-hand-woman to Queen Brahne and later to Garnet. Beatrix is last seen holding aloft Save the Queen with Steiner in a triumphant salute to the new Queen.
In a remake of FFVI, Save the Queen is Cecil's ultimate weapon—said to be the blade of a renowned general. It has subsequently appeared in a remake of III and in X through XIII (my favorite: FFXII's greatsword). It also puts in an embarrassing appearance as a staff of Donald Duck in Kingdom Hearts II.
P.S.: You have to see this fantastic Beatrix Cosplayer, complete with Save the Queen.
Zantetsuken is the "Iron Cutting Sword" (sometimes shortened to "Zantetsu"). It was mistranslated as "Steel Bladed" in FFVII. It is both the sword and the move of Odin, appearing in nearly every Final Fantasy since III. It is probably named after the sword of Ishakawa Goemon XIII, an anime samurai who practices the Japanese art of iado, efficiently drawing, striking, and re-sheathing a katana.
Odin's sword is a blueish scimitar-like weapon. In FFVIII, the Japanese kanji "Zan-tetsu-su" (cut-iron-sword) appears during the move. It epitomizes the classic samurai ideal of "one strike, one kill."
Variations: At the end of FFVIII, in a dramatic reversal, Seifer Zantetsukens Odin. Then Gilgamesh appears, seizes Odin's sword, spanks Seifer, and provides a new, improved Zantetsuken for the remainder of the game. In Final Fantasy XII, the "Mystery Man" (Gilgamesh) has Odin's sword among several other famous Final Fantasy swords (Buster Sword, Gunblade, Brotherhood). In Final Fantasy X, Yojimbo performs a similar move, Zanmato, named after a Chinese "horse cutting sword" that could supposedly slice through horse and rider in one stroke.
I'm gonna sing the doom song!
Ragnarok, named after doomsday in Norse mythology, first appears in Final Fantasy III (it's in I and II, but only the remakes). Ragnarok is often the most powerful or second most powerful sword.
It is Cecil's ultimate weapon in IV, the ultimate weapon in FFV, Cloud's second most powerful weapon (six materia slots!), Steiner's ultimate weapon, and the best greatsword in Dissidia. In FFVI, the Ragnarok sword is itself a summons.
In FFXI, Ragnarok is a "relic" Great Sword which has received some criticism for not being as powerful as one would expect. In VIII, the Ragnarok is the ultimate airship, a dragon-shaped vehicle that Selphie enjoys flying at high speeds.
6. Excalibur and Its Bastard Cousin, Excalipur
Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur, shows up in nearly every Final Fantasy as a paladin sword or powerful weapon. It often inflicts Holy damage. It often requires a few odd key items or ingredients to unlock: Adamantite and a Rat Tail (what?)
In a few games, Excalibur is tucked away in some of the most powerful summons. The lengthy Knights of the Round summons culminate with Arthur giving a vertical slice with the greatsword. In FFVIII, Gilgamesh performs Zantetsuken with one of four swords at random: one is Excalibur.
In fact, Gilgamesh's obsession with Excalibur is a running gag throughout the series. He first appears as a hilariously campy villain in FFV, but his wimpy sword Excalipur is no match for Our Heroes. In FFVI, he challenges the party for "Excalipoor," losing as usual. In Final Fantasy VIII, one of the four versions of his Zantetsuken is Excalipoor, doing a mere 1HP damage. In IX, he is the "Four-Armed Man," a treasure-hunter. When you find Excalibur, there's a note on it from "Enkido" saying he'd found the sword "Gil" was looking for, but since Excalibur looked flashy and gaudy, he would bring back the sword next to it, Excalipur, instead. Excalipoor is probably one of Gilgamesh's fake swords in FFXII.
The Multi-Armed Sword Collector
Did he steal a few limbs from Odin's horse, or what?
In real life, Gilgamesh is a Babylonian hero much like Hercules, with a sidekick named Enkidu. Enkidu sometimes shows up with Gilgamesh in Final Fantasy as well, but they seem to have ditched their monster-slaying heroics for sword collecting.
If you've played the PS1 Anthology version of Final Fantasy V, read the FFV Game Boy Advance translation which is more accurate, more amusing, and more faithful to the zaniness that is Gilgamesh. (E.g., "But enough of this expository banter! Now, let us fight like men! And like ladies! And like ladies that dress like men!")
7. Auron's Katana
Katana?! It looks like it could seat six for dinner!
Auron's big, black katana is a unique BFS that looks awesome. Mostly that's because Auron's holding it, but his other swords aren't half as impressive-looking, in my biased opinion.
This katana may be a starter weapon, but its piercing edge works suspiciously like an iron-cutting-sword. It figures dramatically in Auron's moment to shine, "The Legend Returns." Its blade is much broader than that of modern katanas, but in fact, it resembles some medieval Japanese swords made by none other than Masamune!
Auron also takes his katana into the hellish nightmare of a Disney crossover where he is stripped of his sunglasses and sake and forced to wear big floppy shoes. Poor guy. One of Sora's keyblades, Guardian's Soul, is modeled after Auron's sword and has a teensy tiny replica of his sake jug dangling from the pommel, which Disney's censors missed.
8. Lion Heart Gunblade
Not quite as famous as a lightsabre, but still a great idea . . .
Squall Leonhart's gunblade is the best thing to come out of Final Fantasy VIII. His original gunblade, the Revolver, is decorated with Squall's cranky personal GF, Griever, while his ultimate weapon, Lionheart, has a classic fantasy glowing blue blade.
Seifer also wields the gunblade, Hyperion. It is not as well-known but popular with collectors. Squall's gunblades have traveled with him to Dissidia and Kingdom Hearts. Incompetent sword collector Gilgamesh of FFXII has a counterfeit Revolver with a Chocobo stamped on it in place of Griever.
Gunblades appear in the sequels and prequels to FFVII (Crisis Core, Dirge of Cerberus, Advent Children). Notable are the elegant Velvet Nightmares of Loz and Yazoo, which, however, Cloud slices through with his BFS. Gunswords returns with a vengeance as the versatile weapon of Lightning, the main character of FFXIII. Most of these gunblades function as ranged weapons, unlike Squall's, which delivers a point-blank shot during a sword strike.
9. Buster Sword
First Tsurugi is cool, but Cloud's original sword is an icon.
Cloud has undergone so many story arc permutations that I think it's symbolic that he finally ditched the Buster Sword and picked up a blade made of spare parts from Advent Children. Making its debut as Cloud's weapon in Final Fantasy VII, the iconic Buster Sword set the video game standard for the BFS whose near-surfboard proportions are both impressive and amusing. Many FF heroes have attempted to match it for size, but only Sephiroth and Auron have managed to do so without dropping it on their feet.
Back in the original Final Fantasy VII, the Buster Sword was bequeathed to Cloud by his dying friend Zack. Not entirely felicitous was FFVII Crisis Core's expansion of the backstory, which had Zack receive it from Angeal, for whom it was a family heirloom. Cloud abandons it to the elements after FFVII to mark Zack's grave, but thankfully it was last seen cleaned up and left in a place of honor in Aerith's church.
Other permutations include the strangely bandaged version in Kingdom Hearts (the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot acid trip of many a FF character), and of course, its replacement the First Tsurugi, Cloud's mix-and-match fusion sword in Advent Children (Which, actually, I rather like, but the man needs to stop playing with his sword(s) and spend more time with Tifa).
A Long List of Appearances
The Buster Sword appears in a surprising number of games: FFVII, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, Dirge as a cameo, FFIX as an easter egg, X as a dummied object, XII as one of Gilgamesh's fake weapons, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, Erhgeiz, Chocobo Racing, Itadaki Street, Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, Dissidia Duodecim, Lightning Returns, Theatrhythm, and FFVII G-Bike.
How can a katana be so cool and so ridiculous?!
Masamune is the ultimate Final Fantasy sword. After all, it's been in every single numbered game in the franchise, and most of the spin-offs. It's named after Goro Nyudo Masamune, the greatest swordsmith in Japan, who worked in the 14th century to help the shoguns fend off the Mongols.
Its most famous incarnation is Sephiroth's "you have GOT to be kidding me!" six-foot-long katana (it may be as long as eight feet in some versions). Hats off to the animators of Advent Children for somehow managing to choreograph an indoor fight scene with this monster. The Masamune of FFXII appears to be a modest and real-world plausible version of this katana.
Auron's ultimate weapon is also the Masamune, a fearsome Goth snowboard broad blade with so many spikes and flanges that . . . um . . . well, I think it's hit the silly stage, but many people think it's the coolest-looking sword of all.
What Do You Think?
© 2010 auronlu
Guestbook - Your Turn: Which Is Your Favorite Final Fantasy Sword?
Jhon Mu on September 23, 2019:
Almost all of the sword from the Final Fantasy series is very much famous among its fans and every sword has its own special features. These features make them very lethal and powerful. But the Buster sword of Cloud Strife is the sword which I like the most.
Here is the platform from where you can get these swords.
Maki on July 25, 2018:
I voted on "OTHER" as my favorite sword is SWORD OF THE FATHER from Final Fantasy XV
Devan on August 30, 2017:
JohnGill on June 07, 2017:
I am a lover of video games swords and i reached a website page where i get a good range of final fantacy swords http://www.swordskingdom.com/final-fantasy-swords. It's a retail web site
Joe on July 30, 2015:
Bro, nice list, but you didn't mention the Onion Sword, destroyer of superbosses
Max Wong from Singapore on September 22, 2014:
Sephiroth's Maramasa's blade cut everything that floated past: leaves, fish, debris. Masamun's cut nothing, but instead things gathered around it: including fish, leaves, butterflies. Maramasa proceeded to gloat and claim victory until a Monk approached and said...
"The first of the swords was by all accounts a fine sword, however it is a blood thirsty, evil blade as it doesn't discriminate as to who or what it will cut. It may just as well be cutting down butterflies as severing heads. The second was by far the finer of the two, as it doesn't needlessly cut that which is innocent and undeserving."
auronlu (author) from Spira on March 05, 2013:
@anonymous: Ooh! Thanks. I still need to play all the Tactics games. (Just finished I and II and will be adding IV to my Life List in April to complete my playthrough of all the non-MMO numbered games.)
anonymous on March 05, 2013:
Save the Queen actually debuted in Final Fantasy Tactics, as Meliadoul's sword when you get her. A small discrepancy that I couldn't blame you for! Nice list.
n25an on December 16, 2012:
ahhh this brings back memories...
Projectlazy on October 26, 2012:
jecht just badass all the time
anonymous on September 26, 2012:
@anonymous: Yep, of course it is. Iven when you touch it, it says there is no more the power of the leggendary blade.
auronlu (author) from Spira on September 09, 2012:
@anonymous: It's pretty cool, isn't it?
anonymous on September 09, 2012:
I think that Jechts dissidia sword is the most badass final fantasy sword out there.
auronlu (author) from Spira on August 20, 2012:
anonymous on August 20, 2012:
Lol I realized I actually wielded all of these swords at some point in my FF gaming life. Feel free to visit theswordlibrary.com as well for more video game swords.
anonymous on August 18, 2012:
how about the slowest wyrm hero blade of ff12? is one gilgamesh holds in ff12 is a fake one?
anonymous on August 04, 2012:
Ancient Sword all the way! Rusty and Cursed, how coo is that?
auronlu (author) from Spira on July 13, 2012:
@anonymous: Eeek! I'm not sure. I think when I created this page, I was trying to represent "old school" as well as "new school" Final Fantasy, and I'm always afraid of being too biased towards FFX, since it's my favorite. So I only included Masamune. But since Brotherhood shows up in Dissidia as well, it's probably the more popular weapon, isn't it? Sorry!
anonymous on July 11, 2012:
how is he brotherhood not there ?????
anonymous on April 26, 2012:
awesome lens! huge Final Fantasy fan here! great job!
Willow Wood on April 05, 2012:
@auronlu: Huh, I just double checked the page and can't see it too. I know it WAS there. I had to copy-paste 'Zantetsuken Video' to make sure I spelt it write and remembered to mention it. Maybe it was a glitch!
auronlu (author) from Spira on April 05, 2012:
@Willow Wood: Glad you enjoyed!
You know, I've scanned this page 3 times and can't see where I put a Zantetsuken video. I will come back later when I have a brain, thanks for alerting me!
Willow Wood on April 05, 2012:
This was really well written and informative. Your personal comments made me giggle at times. I love the Tournesol and Gunblade (although I prefer Lightning's over Squall's).
I'm not sure if you know this but your Zantetsuken Video is unavailable. It could be my browser not loading the module but it seems as if your chosen video is no longer on YouTube. I just thought I'd point it out in case it needs updating. :)
anonymous on March 25, 2012:
theeoriginal1 on February 26, 2012:
I agree....awesome FF lens....big props for this.
JamesJGibson on January 22, 2012:
Awesome lens, I'm a huge fan of Final Fantasy. Good to see a lens like this.
anonymous on December 19, 2011:
I personally LOVE the Buster sword. It has holes in it. It's freaking humungoid. It's a sword. It can kill stuff. Oh yeah, and did I mention it's huge? Haha, of course I did. Because it's huge.
Max Wong from Singapore on December 09, 2011:
I love this list of Final Fantasy swords! Tweeted! Keep up the good work! :)
auronlu (author) from Spira on August 21, 2011:
@anonymous: I wish I'd grown up with all the Final Fantasy games -- I started with 8 and have been playing backwards and forwards. I need to buy the retro compilations and play ALL of them, sometime, so I can see what I've missed! That does sound cool. :)
anonymous on August 21, 2011:
I've always been partial to the Blood Sword. Particularly Frioniel's in FFII, that thing just looks epic and can really hurt. Healing the user is just a bonus.
Amagai-Shuusuke on August 07, 2011:
Brilliant lens, gotta say that the gunblades have been one of my favourites (if not the most), then cloud's buster sword imply after I played Crisis Core and almost cried at the end (No spoiler there).
noland1977 on July 11, 2011:
I've always liked the gunblades. I didn't much like the title they came from, but they were the coolest thing I had seen in a game.
greenreviews on April 13, 2011:
Auron's Katana has to be my favorite, but that because I am a huge FFX fan
ravi551854 on April 13, 2011:
nice topic and nice lens
anonymous on March 30, 2011:
Tournesol is my most favorite out of all. Maybe because it's the hardest to have.
george185 lm on February 13, 2011:
Nice. This lens really brought me back.
jvsper63 on February 12, 2011:
Good idea, nice lens
anonymous on December 06, 2010:
Looks fantastic - haven't heard of final fantasy though. Interesting reading.