Titles: The Dragon King, Conqueror of the Skies, Hallowed Father of Dragonkind
Featured in: Virtually Every Final Fantasy Game
Voiced By: Non-Applicable
Seeing as there is not one but two distinctive dragons under the name of Bahamut, I shall discuss them both via two separate reviews with the first one being dedicated to the most recognizeable one of the pair from the popular video game series Final Fantasy. While each and every game has been distinct both in its overall storylines, combative format, and even summons, there are still plenty of common elements in every game and Bahamut has plenty for himself. First and foremost he is almost always a dragon of great size and even greater power, oftentimes being second only to the summon Odin whose primary attack is an instant kill for most enemies. That’s not to say that Bahamut’s own signature attack, Mega Flare, is something to scoff at. In many of the games, a single blast of this attack was enough to level whole cities and, in one particular case, brought a whole new era into being…
Aside from being an immensely powerful force whose very being represents both incredible power, oftentimes being the element of the void or simply sheer destruction, and of dragonkind, Bahamut has also been something of a leader amongst his respected groups of summons. He holds this position either because of his advanced age compared to others, including those who are literally old men like Ramuh, or because of his power surpassing all others. Bahamut has even had the esteemed honor of being a part of the integral storylines of many Final Fantasy games, most recently, and predominately, in numbers IX, X, and XIV with smaller but no lesser roles in VII and VIII.
Bahamut’s character is different depending on which game you consult but there’s no denying that he is a force of absolute destruction no matter if he’s on your side or standing against you. When I sought his defeat in Final Fantasy VIII it took no less than ten tries before I managed to defeat him. Heck, I had an easier time defeating the final boss of the game than I did facing Bahamut. Admittedly, it might be because I had the Dragon King working with me rather than against me in that fight but my point still stands.
In his more direct roles, he was responsible for the near destruction of a capital city in FFIX, which resulted in the first actual cutscene battle between two summon monsters with the other being a palace sized Alexander. In FFX, is directly responsible for Tidus’ appearance in Spira to help defeat the monstrosity known as Sin once and for all. As to FFXIV, if you’ve taken a glance at the link above, it’s rather obvious as to what Bahamut had done there…
Yet, in VII, there was not one but four different beings named Bahamut each being far more powerful than the last with one using the moon as a freaking focusing lens for an orbital laser attack. In VIII, he’s an optional side-quest but one with an actual storyline of Bahamut not only having been captured by scientists, but having been experimented on to such a degree that he doesn’t even remember who he is anymore.
All in all, Bahamut as a character goes back and forth between being (in)directly involved to having nothing to do with the plot at all save perhaps as a means of obliterating even the most extremely difficult of foes. For the most part, he sides with the good guys fairly easily after demonstrations of strength and resolve, those of course being the rare and illustrious feat of defeating the Dragon King, and those few times where he’s a villain… Well, in one case it was by the will of his summoner so he was simply following the commands he was given and in the other, he is a literally embodiment of destruction given form.
Now while this Bahamut wasn’t the first of the two to appear, it was this incarnation that popularized the concept of a dragon god bearing the same name as the whale from Arabic mythology. In point of fact, I dare say that it was because of this and so many other incarnations of Bahamut that such instances have started appearing outside the Final Fantasy game series. Most notable the popular card battle game, Rage of Bahamut, which I hear is due for an anime series within the next year or so.
Still, if ever there’s a greater example of character diversity than Bahamut of Final Fantasy, I’d sincerely like to see it.