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Shadow (Final Fantasy VI)

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Shadow
Shadow FFVI character art.jpg
Final Fantasy VI artwork of Shadow
シャドウ『クライド』
Shadō (Kuraido)
Game appearance(s) Final Fantasy VI
Age Unknown
Job class Assassin
Gender Male
Height 178 cm (5'10")
Weight 66 kg (145 lbs.)
Species Human
Weapon(s) Daggers
Occupation Mercenary

Shadow' (シャドウ, Shadō) is a paid assassin and mercenary, always accompanied by his faithful dog, Interceptor. His first and main appearance is in Final Fantasy VI, as a party member.

History[edit]

Final Fantasy VI[edit]

In Final Fantasy VI, during the World of Balance, Shadow operates only on a freelance basis, at times available to the player for a fee and at times appearing in the employ of the Gestahlian Empire. There are two instances Shadow is forced into the player's party: Crescent Island and the Floating Continent. Shadow's fate is determined entirely by player action on the latter area; should the player jump from the World of Balance attempting to escape the Continent's destruction sooner than 00:05 on the clock, Shadow is presumed to have perished during the collapse of the world (the player will be prompted if they want to jump or wait for Shadow). However, if the player waits until 00:05 on the clock, Shadow will accompany the party, jump aboard the Blackjack and be available for permanent recruitment in the World of Ruin.

In the World of Ruin, if Shadow is rescued, he is found injured within the Cave on the Veldt and is returned to Strago's home in Thamasa to heal. Later on, he may be acquired by betting an item he seeks at the Dragon's Neck Coliseum and winning the ensuing match. Whenever Shadow is placed in the party, his backstory is revealed through dreams and nightmare sequences by using a Tent or resting at an Inn. Shadow's actual name is Clyde and he once lived a life of crime with his partner, Baram. The pair are infamous in the pre-war period before the game begins as a duo of train robbers known as the Shadow Bandits, but Baram eventually suffers mortal wounds during a failed railway heist. Baram tasks Clyde to finish him off, but Clyde instead panics, fleeing his friend. An indeterminate span of time passes, seeing Clyde collapse from exhaustion upon reaching Thamasa, found by a young woman and her dog. It is heavily implied that Clyde fathers Relm (a fact that was later confirmed by the game's developers<ref>"The Memory Card .90: In her father's Shadow". Destructoid. Published May 12, 2011.</ref>), eventually departing Thamasa under the guise of Shadow to escape his guilt over abandoning Baram.

At the game's conclusion, Shadow remains within the crumbling ruin of Kefka's tower, quietly separating from the party and encouraging Interceptor to flee with the others. His final words are directed to Baram: "It looks like I can finally stop running... Come and find me all right?" (Japanese version: "I don't need to run away anymore. Embrace me warmly.") Interceptor is later seen with Relm in Strago's section of the ending. In Final Fantasy VI Advance it is implied that Shadow remained behind in Kefka's tower as it collapsed, allowing himself to die.

Abilities[edit]

Being a Ninja class character, Shadow has high speed and strength but low defense and average magic statistics. His weapons are various daggers and he can also use specialized throwing weapons to attack multiple enemies. If an enemy hits him with a physical attack, there is a chance that Interceptor will block it, absorbing all or most damage.

Dreams[edit]

If Shadow is in the party when they sleep (either at an inn, in a tent, or in a number of specific beds but most commonly at the inn in Jidoor), there is a chance that Shadow will "dream" of one of five specific events in his life before he became Shadow.

Shadow's dreams show the story of the train robbers Baram and Clyde (a clear reference to Bonnie and Clyde). After a successful robbery, Baram suggests the name Shadow for the duo. In another dream, Baram is apparently mortally wounded and asks Clyde to deliver his coup de grâce, but he runs away instead, not being able to go through with this. It is because of Clyde's inability to kill Baram upon her own request that Clyde later trains himself to be able to kill as an assassin without any emotional attachments. Clyde makes it to Thamasa, where an unknown woman invites him to stay. Along with a dog, he is seen leaving the house where Strago and Relm live. He later leaves that home saying he wants a girl, his daughter, to live in a happy place. Interceptor attempts to stop him, but the exact line is, "You've come to fetch me. But I won't be going back. I want you and the girl to live in peace." This suggests that Shadow is leaving because his wife or lover, the woman that found him once injured in Thamasa, has passed on.

Throw[edit]

Gameplay-wise, Shadow avoids engaging in close combat, instead opting to throw ninja weapons at distance. His special ability Throw enables him to throw unequipped weapons at an enemy. The battle power of a thrown weapon is doubled and it will ignore defense, and all attributes other than the elemental property will be ignored. In the case of shurikens, it simply ignores defense. In the case of Skeans, it is simply a multi-target attack that is roughly 5/6 the power of a level 3 spell.

Relationships with other characters[edit]

Relm Arrowny and Baram[edit]

Shadow shares three notable similarities with Relm: first, the two are the only characters who can equip the Memento Ring (which has the description "Departed mom's love protects against fatal magic attacks"). Second, they are the only two people that Interceptor likes. Third, they both can be found at the Veldt, in the World of Ruin, depending on whether or not Shadow was saved.

Strago Magus makes it very clear that Relm's mother passed on shortly after her birth. Furthermore, an NPC in Thamasa in the World of Balance says "Relm isn't really Strago's grandaughter. I heard she's the daughter of a friend of his". For Relm to have been alive while Clyde abandoned her, his wife and/or lover indeed had to have died prior to his leaving.

Strago later does not recognize Shadow's voice, which either may be due to Strago's old age, or to Shadow having only been in Thamasa for a short time. Another possibility is that both Shadow and Strago were simply keeping silent about this knowledge for Relm's protection (since she's only 10 years old after all). It is likely that the friend of Strago was Relm's mother, as Thamasa is a very secluded village with deep secrets in the community. Outsiders are rarely welcome. This may have been why Clyde left when his wife/lover died.

Further evidence can be heard if Shadow is among those taken to the top of Kefka's Tower. As the party shouts their cries of hope and love, Shadow says "I know what friendship is...and family". This implies he has met a family member over the course of the game.

Another hint lies in the Ending Credits, when the characters' themes each play for a short bit. Shadow's theme is in between Relm's and Strago's, indicating a possible mention. The contrast between his and Relm's themes in the end is very noticeable, as Relm's music consists of higher-pitched and soft piano music, and Shadow's theme uses an organ much louder and more prominent than hers (or anybody else's theme for that matter; decibel-wise Shadow has the loudest music in the Ending Theme. This is probably thanks to his suggested suicide at the end of his scene.)

Although not necessarily related, in the PlayStation version, there is a possible hint at this. During one of the videos, the camera pans up to Shadow, and before he opens his eyes, a flash of light happens for a split second. Using tools to play the video frame by frame, a sketch of Amano's Relm appears briefly right in the middle of the flash.

References[edit]

<references/>

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