This past Memorial Day weekend, there was a flash event called “Local Sephiroth” on Twitter, started by users Kirie and Saku. The premise was to insert Sephiroth into famous places around the world, either where fans lived or had visited. If it hadn’t been for the three-day weekend (here in the States at least) I wouldn’t have been able to participate at all. Even so, I had more ideas than I could actually execute in my limited spare time, so I decided to try to do each image as a time attack, aiming for no more than 45 minutes on each piece.
Usually, I draw in pencil first, scan that, and ink & color digitally. But to save time, I drew directly in Photoshop. I made an extremely simple sketch over my photos then blocked in the main color shapes. I also kept layers to a minimum, sticking to one or two layers for painting max to keep myself in a more analogue frame of mind. To me, painting in a way that is closer to putting brush to canvas is less forgiving but ultimately faster than using many layers. I wasn’t aiming for perfection, so this was the best way to go about doing this. I’ve compiled the images & captions here. All photos were taken by me; notes on them for anyone interested in learning more about these places or the photos themselves are in notes at the end.
Sainte Anne de Détroit, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Did he go to look for Aeris?
Seph greets the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lake Guardian, docked in the Detroit River. Because he appreciates those who take care of his planet.
Is he going around to a bunch of churches?! Sakitsu Church, Amakusa, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan
Pear Pun Combo!
Besides the Advent Children pear pun (hearing “Shall I give you despair?” as “Shall I give you this pear?”), there’s a pun in Japanese on these pears from Kumamura in Kumamoto Prefecture. In Japanese, “hospitality” is おもてなし (omotenashi). “Pear” is 梨（なし, nashi). So the label says “The pears/hospitality of Kumamura.”
Dressing up even though he has no bride. (^o^;) Ooe Church, Amakusa, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan
Sephiroth sympathizes with the betrayed Sugawara no Michizane, who brought plague and pestilence upon his foes. He was deified as the god of weather and learning, Tenjin, to appease his wrath.
Seph checks the shots he took in Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station earlier while waiting to board the Futsukaichi-bound train in Dazaifu Station.
Using the power of Jenova cells, Sephiroth makes himself look like one of the statues at the Door of the Irons of Valencia Cathedral, Spain.
Ancient ruins of Copán, Honduras. Did he go to look for the Black Materia?
- Sainte Anne de Détroit: The first Europeans in what became Detroit were the French, hence why this church’s name (like the city’s!) is French. I took this on a previous Memorial Day weekend, either 2019 or 2020. The original file is on my old laptop, which I don’t feel like turning on right now.
- I took this photo of the EPA’s science research vessel Lake Guardian in August of 2017. The Great Lakes are a tremendously important natural resource, but I don’t know how common it is for such ships to be docked at Port Detroit.
- The photos of Ooe and Sakitsu churches were taken in July 2013, when a nice fellow member of the Konami Sports Club offered to drive me down to Amakusa when I expressed interest in the history of the “hidden Christians” in Japan. I wrote about it on my old JET Blog, at this post on Lucky Hill. Seph’s pose in the Sakitsu Church photo is a nod to two of his voice actors, George Newbern and Tyler Hoechlin, having voiced Superman.
- The pears, though also from a locale in Kumamoto Prefecture, are from an earlier trip I took on my own, namely to Hitoyoshi in 2010. I didn’t include a photo of the pears in the blog post for this trip, though I did mention that I bought them when the train I was on stopped at Isshouchi Station.
- The photo of Dazaifu Tenman Shrine (sometimes redundantly called “Tenmangu Shrine”—the “gu” literally means “shrine”)—is, I think, from the time I lived in Fukuoka, so sometime between 2009 and 2013. I have many photos taken on the grounds of this shrine and again with the originals on my old laptop this post will just have to be slightly lacking in thoroughness. But the photo of the Dazaifu Train “Tabito” is definitely from when I visited Japan in 2016; this train was introduced at some point after I was living in Fukuoka. When I posted this photo to Twitter, I mistakenly identified the station as Futsukaichi Station, because the sign on the train says it was bound for Dazaifu. I kept looking at it though and thinking something was off; the platform for Dazaifu wasn’t that dark. Then I noticed the lanterns and realized it was definitely Dazaifu Station. The conductor just hadn’t changed the signs on the train yet to say it was bound for Futsukaichi.
- The photo of Valencia Cathedral I took in 2012. Ironically, though I gifted my mother this trip to Spain so she could finally meet her long-time pen pal in person, my blog post about the trip ended up killing their friendship. Or rather, the machine-translated version of my post that the pen pal read, several assumptions, and drama all around did it in. It was entirely senseless. One more reason I hate machine translations! But I digress.
- I took this photo in the ruins of Copán in 2007, with the old (film!) family Kodak. Copán always fascinated me, and I had longed to visit there for many years. I felt a certain energy or chi there, especially at this location, which had been a residential area. The only place I’ve been to that has made me feel something similar is Dazaifu Tenman Shrine. These places exemplify the word 神秘的 (shinpiteki), which literally means “god mystery like” and thus is closest to the original meaning of the word “mystery.” Anyway, I thought the stepped pyramids resembled the exterior of the Temple of the Ancients—ancient Egyptian-style art on the interior notwithstanding. This one definitely ended up being my favorite! I think it’s the most well-done one of this set.