Life Stuff / Photography / Play Time

Sephiroth’s Journey Through Fukuoka

One time for my 30th birthday my friends and I stepped out from dinner at the Fukuoka Hard Rock Café, which back then was across from Yahoo! Dome and next to Zepp Fukuoka and Hawks Town Mall, and saw a balloon artist with a sign that said he could make anything. A friend suggested I get a Sephiroth.

On the one had, the thought of being an Old Person walking around a major city with a balloon animal felt absurd. On the other hand, my friends had just conspired to have them sing “Happy Birthday” to me at the Hard Rock, surprise cake with custom message and sparkler candle and all.

Apple cobbler with ice cream on top and a candle, with the message "Gackt's #1" written in frosting on the lip of the bowl.

Might as well keep making an ass of myself!

So we approached the balloon artist and I asked if he could make Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII. He said he wasn’t too familiar with the character, but if I had any reference for him to look at he could do it. I had a Kingdom Hearts Seph strap on my phone, and the FFVII Compilation Wallpaper app on my iPod. He studied these for a few minutes and got to work, occasionally checking the references again. Balloon Sephiroth was thus twisted and breathed into existence in about 10 to 15 minutes.

Photo of the balloon artist and I posing with Balloon Seph between us. The artist chose to depict Seph with his One Wing and Masamune.

Birth of a God

By this point we had a attracted a small crowd of onlookers. The balloon artist asked if he could take a photo for himself, as he had never made Sephiroth before. I said of course he could. After doing so, he asked if this character could fly. I said yes. So he made a couple of additions before handing Balloon Seph back.

Photo shows Balloon Seph with added spirals of balloons at the bottom to give a sense of upward motion, as well as a star at his back.

Safer Balloon Sephiroth

Side note 1: I don’t know if it’s quite necessary to cover the faces of the people in this photo since we were outside in public, but…guess I’m old fashioned; it feels weird to post people’s faces publicly without their explicit permission. (Though I kinda didn’t want to cover the face of the person to the left of Sephiroth’s wing because their expression was like (°o° ) and I thought that was awesome.) Masks were fairly common in Japan by then but the current situation did give me the idea to cover their faces this particular way.

Side note 2: There is one spoiler from the original FFVII at the very end, so just skip the last bit after the drawing at the bottom if you haven’t played it already. There are no spoilers for Remake.

Anyway…

And so, Balloon Sephiroth in our midst, we set out for our next destination, going through the mall to get to the nearest mass transit stop.

Balloon Seph with a large theatrical poster for the first Avengers movie

The Unknown Avenger

The Avengers was still in theaters in Japan at this time. I find it funny now that Seph is right “after” where the Japanese tag line says “Can they save the world, or…” How ominous!

We proceeded further into the mall, going through an arcade/amusement center. (Is that what they’re called? I don’t remember…)

Balloon Seph in a "truck" in an amusement center.

The Chase of Highway

 

Balloon Seph next to a Hello Kitty figure

Gold Saucer Date

 

Balloon Seph next to a purikura (photobooth) that says "Rumors are rampant!" and shows three glamorous blonde girls

Rumors are rampant…in SOLDIER!

It occurs to me seeing this that there absolutely needs to be a photo booth in the Gold Saucer in the Remake, whenever it is that we get to that part. It would work with the screenshot feature. And if you do something special maybe you can unlock Sephiroth, Angeal, Genesis, and Zack to have them take pictures in the booth and doodle on the “photos.”
☆♡(≧ ∇ ≦)♡☆

If I remember correctly, and judging from these photos, after the amusement center we left the mall and took the subway to Hakata Station, then took the subway to Tenjin and walked around the underground shopping arcade there.

Balloon Seph next to an AKB48 poster

AU where Seph is secretly one of those idol fans who buys multiple copies of the same release to get more ballots for elections and whatever else it is they get by doing that

 

Balloon Seph next to a poster for the Softbank Hawks, Fukuoka's baseball team

玄界灘の潮風に/鍛えし翼たくましく

Fukuoka’s baseball team, the Softbank Hawks, must’ve been in the running for the Japan Series around this time, as this poster says “Let’s go! Get it! ABSOLUTELY! Victory (x6)” (to translate hastily and ungracefully). The team’s song begins with the lyrics “Train your wings to be strong / in the salty wind of the Genkai Sea,” which seemed a bit fitting for Seph.

Balloon Seph hanging on to a strap on the train

The Straphanger

 

Balloon Seph going through the gates to pay his fare

Paying the Fare (with an invisible Nimoca)

It was a bit difficult to get this shot. The stationmaster started giving us dirty looks and we shuffled away (giggling) before he said anything.

I don’t know if this makes things better or worse, but I must mention that we were all sober for the entirety of these escapades. Well, at least I was, as I don’t generally drink, but I suppose I don’t remember what all everyone ordered with dinner.

Balloon Seph in a British style red phone booth

PHS Terminal

One of my favorite moments in Crisis Core was when Seph had to jerk his phone away from his ear because Zack was yelling on the other end. It was just such a human thing to do. I loved all the pre-breakdown Seph we got to see in CC. T^T

Side note 3: I just finished reading the fanfic The Fifth Act for the first time so I’m still a bit in my feelings about all the SOLDIER boys…

Balloon Seph looking at a body wash in The Body Shop

Shall I give you this pear and lemongrass biodegradable body wash?

 

Balloon Seph seen from behind as he studies a Fukuoka Bank ATM

Getting some gil from the ATM

Finally, we went back above ground in Tenjin…

Balloon Seph in the arms of a statue of Colonel Sanders outside of a KFC

Kalm Fried… No, I can’t say it

…and soon after reached our Promised Land, Big Echo Karaoke. We got our room and took the elevator up.

Balloon Seph pushes the button in the elevator for the right floor in the Karaoke kan. Or was it...

We didn’t take the stairs

Before we got to our floor, the elevator doors opened to a pair of Japanese customers. Without thinking one looked at us and said 「おっ、ハロウィンみたい!」(“Oh, it’s like Halloween!”) We all laughed, at which point the customers realized we’d understood them and apologized sheepishly. We waved it away and one friend apologized for not having candy to give. LOL

Balloon Seph in front of a TV screen in the karaoke room with the lyrics to "Zessei Bijin" from the anime "Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei," which includes the word "despair" (zetsubou) in the lyrics.

Singing about despair

After singing lots of GACKT and other things, our time was up and we decided to call it a night. But we would be passing by one place in Fukuoka Tenjin Station that I absolutely had to get a photo at.

Balloon Sephiroth in front of a store window for "Life Stream by Ohga Pharmacy"

Lifestream

This pharmacy had done a little bit of rebranding the previous year and remodeled its store. I wonder why they chose this name?

While we were getting this shot, a young man nearby said to his friends, 「セフィロスやん」(“That’s Sephiroth, ain’t it?”) and our two groups laughed. I was glad that at least one more person had for sure recognized and enjoyed Balloon Seph.

At this station my friends and I headed to our respective train lines to head home. When I got to my apartment, I added Balloon Seph to my little Seph collection. I had brought my Play Arts Seph figure with me to Japan, but the others I bought while I was there.

Balloon Seph indoors, sitting atop a bookcase with all my GACKT DVDs, other Sephiroth figures, and a black feather I had picked up (probably dropped by a crow).

Home Sweet Home

Balloon Seph lasted at least two months. I had updated my Facebook album at that point but apparently didn’t note when I finally had to let Balloon Seph return to the Lifestream through assisted deflation. Whatever the case may be, he was a nice bit of silliness while he lasted.

Side note 4: This was years ago but I never got around to posting about it on my blogs, mainly because dealing with this many photos is so time consuming. Now, with the Remake, I figured it would be a fitting time to share with the wider world.

おまけ!〜Bonus〜

Today is July 23rd, which is My Chemical Romance Day. Enjoy this silly Sephiroth/MCR mash-up, which I had previously posted to the Fanart section of this blog, and originally posted on North American Square-Enix Members.

The result of a deep, philosophical debate about what musical instrument Sephiroth would play. Of course, I said “sousaphone,” and it just happened to be My Chemical Romance Day. (July 23, 2012)

♪ When I was a fetus
My father injected me with Mako
So I’d be really strong
He said, “Son, when you grow up would you be the Savior of the whole world,
the beaten and the damned?”
He said, “Will you defeat them, that Cloud Strife, and all his weird little friends, the plans that they have made?”
“Because one day, I’ll leave you, a consciousness, deep inside a computer, to join the Reunion.” ♪

6 thoughts on “Sephiroth’s Journey Through Fukuoka

  1. Ahhh! Finally I was able to log in! ;_; I’ve been trying to ever since you finished The Air Moon! Belated congratulations for the completion of such a long work!

    Now, Balloon Sephiroth! I’ve been quite a bit into FFVII again lately. And I’ve been reading The Fifth Act. Again. For like the 3rd of 4th time. That’s basically the only FFVII fic I’ve ever read (ok, there are 2 others, but one it’s online yet, and the other is terribly unfinished). By the way, The Fifth Act is also on AO3, where you can download it and read offline if needed (I love that!). That fic has been around for years, I’m so glad you decided to read it, it’s so good! ^^

    The balloo is cute and I love the whole journey and ending on the LifeStream ahah, but I love your drawing even more! ❤

    Sorry it's been so long… I miss the back and forth We used to have every now and again.
    *hugs!*

    • Welcome back! ^o^/

      Thanks, I’m still kinda surprised I actually finished. Even if it did take six years. LOL

      Have you played FFVII Remake? It’s certainly caused me to go deep on an FFVII trip. I bought a replacement battery to revive my PSP so I could replay Crisis Core, and remembered some of the fics I had read back in the day. I don’t know how many I read, probably not too many, but all I remembered were the titles “I Know What’s Beneath the Snowfields” and “Faith, Hope, and Love: The Story of the One-Winged Angel.” All I remembered was that the latter was an OC Mary Sue. I found the former online and started to reread it but…eh, it didn’t quite capture my attention now. But searching for those was how I came across someone mentioning The Fifth Act. Kinda kicking myself now for not scrolling down the search results far enough to see the link on AO3 because the ads on Fanfiction dot net are ANNOYING. I’m gonna change the link on this post though, so thanks for the heads-up!

      The Fifth Act was so good! If there’s one AU that I would love to play as a game or see as a movie, released as an AU—the way Gundam has official AU’s—it’s the one in that story. The First Classes hanging out in Seph’s office? Sephiroth trying to make friends? SO. PRECIOUS. TT^TT I even liked the part about young Cloud becoming a Genesis fan, even though Genesis annoyed the crap outta me in Crisis Core. (I would’ve liked him more if I had played the Japanese version with GACKT’s voice acting, but alas.)

      I’ve wanted to redo that drawing ever since I drew it but it’s been on the backest of back burners, LOL. Though maybe the roughness of it adds to the comedy. Glad you like it!

      It’s nice to talk to you again too! I’m not a terribly consistent blogger but for what it’s worth I’ll always see comments left here even if I’m not posting new content. *Hugs back*

      • Yes, I did play the Remake! At first I was salty about it being just Part 1 (also Midgar is my least favorite place), and I didn’t want to play full price for a “partial” game. But then the hype wave caught me and I just went with it, and I don’t regret it. Even if the game ended up annoying me once I passed the point of no return (too damn long dungeons and too damn long bosses, and I was already playing on easy).

        Aww, I’ve always liked Genesis, he’s an asshole with a flare for the dramatic, and I can’t help it, I have a thing for the type. At least in fiction.
        His English voice sometimes seems to lack a soul, true, but I ended up getting used to it. I don’t like Gackt’s voice there either, so… Yeah.

        I’m such a sucker for the Sephiroth/Genesis/Angeal friendship! And for me, The Fifth Act is almost more canon than canon, silly as that might be.

        You know, it just occurred to me… I was complaining that I missed talking to you, but… I actually have your email. I could have just said hello or something. It’s weird how nowadays I find sending emails almost as intimidating as making a phone call. And yet, talking through public comments feels just fine. Why. lol

        • I thought you were gonna say you were annoyed at the end of Remake because of what happened. I was UPSET. I couldn’t even think it through on my own. I ended up watching & reading lots of fan theories and interpretations and discussing it with the few IRL friends I have who are as hardcore into FFVII as I am and only after hours of that, I gotta give SE the slow clap for what they’ve done. It’s like GACKT likes to say: always meeting expectations, but always defying expectations.

          But yeah, from Jenova Dreamweaver on it’s just boss fight after boss fight. It was tough because the game is relatively lax up to that point so I wasn’t expecting anything of the sort, I even got bored with the whole “playing tourist” in the Shinra Building bit, then boom! Endless bosses. And I hadn’t noticed the little square that comes up in the lower left corner during cut scenes before boss fights so you can access the menu before the fight, so I was going in with poor equipment & materia set-ups. Didn’t see it until my second play through. I noticed that there’s a shortcut for saving on the menu just last night on my third play through. (I played in English, then Japanese on normal mode, now I’m doing English again on hard mode…but I know I won’t get the platinum trophy because I can’t beat Jules at pull-ups. I think I tried for an hour. ^_^;)

          I agree with your “more canon than canon” feeling. I feel like in Crisis Core there are more instances of those three being jerks to each other (at least on Genesis’ and Sephiroth’s parts) than there are displays of friendships, even though we’re told that they’re friends. The Fifth Act makes it more believable that were bonds between them deeper than just professional courtesy. It’s hard for me to overlook Genesis shooting a fireball on Angeal’s face and Sephiroth telling Genesis “you will rot” *before* he goes completely insane reading everything in the Shinra Mansion library. Like geez, what kinda friends are those?

          Maybe public comments feel like a more relaxed conversation, especially since in theory anyone could join in? I was long a hold-out for email over other methods of communication but had to eventually fold and join social media once there were more people who thought email wasn’t as convenient as Facebook. ^o^;

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