Seifer Almasy (Cifer in the German version) is a temporary playable character and one of the main antagonists in Final Fantasy VIII. He is the rival of the main character Squall Leonhart and is the mirror image of him in many ways.
He wields a gunblade, a weapon original to the Final Fantasy franchise.
Seifer has short blond hair, blue-green eyes, and a scar across his forehead and nose received from Squall as retaliation during a duel. Seifer wears a blue vest, with a cross-like design lined in white, a gray coat with an emblem resembling the symbol of the Cross of Saint James on the sleeves, as well as black gloves and boots. The cross is Seifer's symbol as much as the angel wings are Rinoa's and the lion is Squall's. He also wears a silver chain with a tag around his neck.
As Squall's rival throughout the game, his appearance is directly opposite in many ways. His hair color is light, as opposed to Squall's brown. His chin is square whereas Squall's is more oval. The color scheme of their clothing is opposite, as well as their coat lengths. Even though they both use a gunblade, their fighting styles are also very different, with Squall wielding his with two hands, whereas Seifer uses his with one. Even their personalities are in direct opposition; Seifer's friends, Raijin and Fujin call themselves a "posse," where Squall is more of a loner.
Seifer is quite famous around Balamb Garden, and is known for having great skills in battle, but his stubborn, arrogant, reckless, and unpredictable nature has kept him from completing the SeeD exam multiple times. Along with Squall, Seifer is the only gunblade specialist in the Garden. At the beginning of the game, Seifer once again fails the SeeD field exam after his impatient behavior makes him disobey direct orders. The other members in his squad, Squall Leonhart and Zell Dincht, pass. When they are announced as the only ones who passed the field exam, Seifer is the first amongst the other students to applaud them.
There are many parallels between Seifer and Squall. Even though they are rivals, always battling to prove their superiority, they have an unspoken mutual respect for each others prowess in battle. As aforementioned, both Seifer and Squall have a facial scar inflicted during their duel in the opening sequence. The scars are mirror images of each other, with Seifer's pointing up-left (from his point of view) while Squall's points up-right (from his point of view). Seifer is a stubborn, arrogant, loud and outspoken rebel, while Squall is a silent, strict follower of duty. Both men are nigh-equally skilled in using the gunblade; however, Seifer's temper and impatience often leaves him losing to Squall. Seifer's Triple Triad card is also a mirror of Squall's, both having the same numbers, only mirrored.
Ironically, despite his reckless and arrogant nature, Seifer is the head of Balamb Garden's Disciplinary Committee. The other committee members are Fujin and Raijin, both of whom are loyal to Seifer and consider themselves a "posse". Other members of Balamb Garden consider them a gang more interested in exercising their "disciplinary" powers than actually keeping students in line.
It should be noted that, in spite of Seifer's actions throughout the game, he is not really evil, and is shown to actually care for the party. The most obvious example of this is when he storms out of the detention room at Balamb Garden upon hearing that Squall and company were sent on a mission in which they could end up fighting the whole Galbadian Force, possibly with intentions of aiding them. Seifer is then twisted by the Sorceress' power, and pursues a warped version of his dream: to be a Sorceress Knight. It could also be argued that he remembers who Edea actually is, as he refers to her as "Matron" right before the second fight against him at the end of disc 2. In the end, Seifer watches the Balamb Garden fly by with a proud smile on his face, hinting he has repented his actions.
Seifer was born 18 years prior to the events of Final Fantasy VIII. He was orphaned after his parents were killed in the Sorceress War and sent to Edea's Orphanage. From a young age he bullied the other children in the orphanage, especially Zell. As he grew up, he became a student at Balamb Garden, where he studied to become a SeeD. Seifer would later forget his past in the orphanage due to the memory loss that using Guardian Forces causes. When Seifer was a child, a popular movie was released about a Sorceress who stood to defend her country, and her knight who protected her. The film was Seifer's favorite, and inspired his dream to become a Sorceress Knight himself. He even copied the battle pose of the actor who played the Knight in the film.
At Balamb Garden, Seifer found friendship in Fujin and Raijin, and their posse was rarely seen apart. The friends later became the Balamb Garden Disciplinary Committee, abusing their power to give fellow students punishment and detention. Even though he forgot his past, he became a rival to another student at Balamb Garden, Squall Leonhart, who had coincidentally grown up in Edea's Orphanage. Of all the students at the Garden, only Seifer and Squall chose a gunblade as their specialized weapon, and they would often duel to hone their skills.
Even though Seifer had great potential to become a SeeD, his behavior made him fail the exams needed to become one and he was labeled a "problem child". Seifer also develops a "romantic dream" about becoming a Sorceress Knight and borrows several books from the Balamb Garden related to the subject. About a year before the events of Final Fantasy VIII, Seifer started a romantic relationship with Rinoa Heartilly, a girl working in a resistance group to free the occupied nation of Timber.
At the beginning of Final Fantasy VIII, Seifer and Squall are shown having a fierce duel in a rocky field near Balamb Garden. Neither one seems to be giving an inch, but Seifer casts a Fire spell during the duel, sending Squall to the ground. Seifer strikes at Squall's face, giving him a bloody scar; however, as Seifer lets his guard down Squall strikes back, leaving a mirrored scar on Seifer's face.
Afterward, for the SeeD field examination, Squall and Zell Dincht with Seifer as their leader, are put into one group to form a squadron of SeeD for a military operation against the Galbadian Army. Selphie Tilmitt later joins the group because of his disobedience during the engagement, Seifer fails his SeeD exam once more. He grudgingly applauds Squall, Zell and Selphie, all of whom pass.
While Seifer is sent to be disciplined for his actions during the exam, Squall, Zell and Selphie are assigned a new mission, their first as SeeD mercenaries: to aid a resistance faction known as the Forest Owls in their mission to free the occupied nation of Timber. In this resistance faction, Rinoa, Seifer's former love interest, is a member. Having heard of this Seifer breaks out of the discipline room, injuring many people in the process, and embarks to assist them by holding the President of Galbadia hostage during a broadcast from the Timber TV Station. Backed into a corner and watched on by Squall, Zell, Selphie and Quistis Trepe; who had been sent to retrieve him, Seifer attempts to retreat and is saved by Ultimecia who appears in the body of Edea Kramer. Appealing to Seifer's darker side, Ultimecia successfully convinces him to follow her. Seifer is officially announced executed by the Galbadian government and a saddened Rinoa reveals her past with Seifer to Squall.
Seifer is believed dead until he suddenly shows up in Deling City, standing at the side of Ultimecia. He has become the Sorceress's protective Knight. Squall, with their new ally Irvine Kinneas, had been assigned to assassinate the Sorceress by shooting her, but Irvine, remembering his past at the orphanage (he had not forgotten his memories due to the fact he had never used Guardian Forces, though at the time he was unaware of Ultimecia's possession of Edea), refuses to shoot Edea and disguises it as merely nerves.
Squall convinces Irvine to shoot, but Ultimecia blocks the shot with a spell. Squall is forced to break into the Sorceress's parade and fight her one-on-one; Seifer stops him and, claiming his new status as hero and Knight of the Sorceress, fights Squall. After Seifer's defeat, Squall fights Ultimecia, but is defeated when Ultimecia casts Edea's Limit Break, Ice Strike, which pierces Squall's shoulder.
When Squall comes to in Galbadia's D-District Prison he is quickly transported to the torture room by none other than Seifer who tortures Squall for the truth about SeeD. Squall, who does not understand the question, only further enrages Seifer who turns the electrical torture instrument to full, which leaves Squall unconscious and incapacitated. While Squall later escapes with his friends, Seifer, now head of the Galbadian Army, invades and takes over control of Galbadia Garden under Ultimecia's orders. Enabling the Garden to be airborne he embarks on the search for a girl named Ellone whom his Sorceress wishes to find. Eventually, whether the encounter was accidental during the search or intentional is unknown, he manages to intercept a similarly airborne Balamb Garden over the Centra continent near the ruins of Edea's Orphanage.
With Seifer as commanding officer the Galbadia Garden launches a full assault on Balamb Garden. The Balamb students and SeeDs turn the battle and make their way inside Galbadia Garden, where Squall and his party encounter Seifer. He is defeated once again, and is left unconscious and disgraced on the floor. Despite Seifer's determined efforts Squall's party defeats Ultimecia inside Edea's body, which results in Ultimecia leaving Edea's body for Rinoa's body and ordering Seifer to raise the Lunatic Pandora from the sea.
Under the orders of Ultimecia, Seifer embarks on a new quest to resurrect the Esthar weapon Lunatic Pandora from the depths of the ocean. Restoring the device to active status he directs the pillar to be placed upon Tears' Point, starting the Lunar Cry and bringing into motion Ultimecia's plan for Time Compression. However, Squall and his party once again move to prevent this, invading the construct with an Estharian airship and battling their way deeper into the Lunatic Pandora. The many toils had begun to take their toll on Seifer, as his hair is unkempt and his coat is blackened and falling apart. Fujin and Raijin, who up until now had followed Seifer loyally, beg him to stop following this path and go back to being their friend.
Seifer claims it is too late to go back, and wishes them a good life, before he fights Squall one last time. During this fight, if the player has obtained Odin, Seifer manages to bisect him when he is summoned in battle, and Gilgamesh takes his place, and knocks Seifer down. Despite his defeat, Seifer manages to capture Rinoa and offer her to Ultimecia in the body of her new host, Sorceress Adel, whom she had just resurrected. After Ultimecia is bested inside Adel's body by Squall's group, she casts Time Compression, allowing Squall to reach her era. After Squall and his party reach the future era and defeat Ultimecia, Seifer is seen in the ending as an entirely different person. He is fishing together with Fujin and Raijin, and smiles toward Balamb Garden as it flies by through the sky.
Seifer uses a power similar to magic, though in-game information confirms he does not use real magic, but chi-based attacks.
The red cross usually worn by Seifer, is a variant of the Cruz de Santiago (Cross of Saint James), the emblem of an ancient Spanish order designated to protect the European pilgrims from the Muslims of the Iberian Peninsula.
Seifer is the second-oldest character from the "orphanage gang", the oldest being Quistis.
Although Seifer forms a mighty posse with Fujin and Raijin, the player never gets to actually fight all three of them in the same battle.
Several references to Seifer exist in Dissidia Final Fantasy. Squall fights with a faster, one-handed style similar to Seifer, and begins his EX Burst by striking his opponent in an upside down cross, similar to Seifer's Bloodfest Limit Break. In the Museum's summon files, Seifer's reversal of Odin's Zantetsuken is mentioned under Odin's entry. Seifer also appears as the name of a Ghost card, a Level 100 Ultimecia bearing the Green Gem and GF Eden Battlegen items.
Seifer uses the more traditional meaning of "romantic", which can cause some confusion over the meaning of his "romantic dream".
During the parade, Seifer is usually seen on the float with Edea during the FMVs, however, he appears to have momentarily vanished for one scene.