uhhhh so yeah im practicing on drawing faces (even tho i suck at bodies but i can at least work on faces lol) but yeah so i decided to draw my FFXIV character Xantara and just im so proud of myself! like i dont think you guys understand how happy i am with this! <3
Zalera is one of my favorite Espers in Ivalice history. Referred to as the Death Seraph, he represents the zodiac sign Gemini.
Like Mateus, Zalera is a male demon who uses a woman’s body as a physical shield. In Zalera’s description, his thrall is referred to as a shamaness.
Heretic scion who wrapped the world in dark energies, seeking to take the souls of all living things unto himself. Created in opposition to Emet-Selch, Angel of Truth, and scion of light. Originally tasked with the judging of men upon their deaths, his soul was tainted by the curses of those who raged against the heavens, and seizing one of the gods’ servants, a shamaness, as a hostage, he rebelled against his creators. Even now, in defeat, he clutches the shamaness to him in his right arm, and with the aid of her death-wail does he summon the soul of darkness to do his bidding.
Even though the literal female objectification is problematic at best, I absolutely love analyzing Zalera’s design because it contains so many connections to previous Final Fantasy games and characters. Zalera first appeared in Final Fantasy Tactics as one of the Lucavi, and he looked very different at that time. He got a fancy redesign for XII, presumably so he could better blend in with the other Espers. Because many of the Espers added into XII were given designs based on classic Final Fantasy antagonists, the same treatment was given to Zalera. Zalera’s redesign was influenced by none other than Sephiroth. (Someone on the art team clearly had a great sense of humor. Zalera’s host in Tactics, Marquis Messam Elmdore de Limberry, has been referred to as a Sephiroth lookalike on many an occasion.)
The one wing and sleek dark coat are obvious visual comparisons to Sephiroth, but it’s taken me years to realize that the shamaness is a reference to Jenova. The mask she wears is the biggest hint; although Jenova’s eyes are not obscured, the headpiece she wears is highly reminiscent of the shamaness’s mask.
What’s more, Zalera using the shamaness as a vessel for dark magicks does sound very much like Sephiroth using Jenova’s body throughout VII.
I also believe, however, that the shamaness is another reference to Tactics. There’s a chilling scene in Limberry in which Divine Knight Meliadoul Tengille confronts the fully transformed Zalera about her father’s possession. Zalera refers to her as “heir of father’s numen unpossess’d” and “a vessel without flaw”, indicating that perhaps Meliadoul might have made a suitable Lucavi host as well. As a lady of the Glabados Church, Meliadoul bears some unsettling similarities to this unnamed shamaness bound to Zalera.
Like many of the other Espers, Zalera is based not only on zodiacal tradition but also on Abrahamic lore. The name “Zalera” is an anagram of “Azrael”, who is a widely known angel of death and retribution.
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