A Cid for All Seasons: A Definitive Ranking of Cids in Final Fantasy

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A Cid for All Seasons: A Definitive Ranking of Cids in Final Fantasy

Throughout the course of Final Fantasy’s history, Cid has been a mainstay. This titan of a man—often older, usually a technical genius, sometimes playable, and occasionally even evil— has been a part of this series since its inception, but no two Cids are identical. Each one brings their own unique feel and presence to the game they’re in. Cid’s role is typically to give you an airship, but the best Cids achieve so much more than that. They struggle, they rise, they fall, they typically make a mess of everything at least once. I’ve set out to rank them on a criteria of plot relevance, style, tinkering prowess, and just how messy their lives are.

17. Clive Rosfield (Final Fantasy XVI)

Clive is the worst Cid. After Cid’s death in Final Fantasy XVI, Clive takes on his name and his revolutionary attitude, but it never quite fits. It generally feels like a kid playing dress up in his dad’s clothes—which is what Clive is doing with his actual father’s clothes.. He has no style, he doesn’t make anything or tinker at all, and while he is quite plot relevant and certainly has a messy life it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Cid-dom I’m looking for. He’s lying about being a Cid and I won’t stand for it.

16. Cid (Final Fantasy XI)

I think there’s something lazy about taking an inventor character, tossing them in a blacksmith’s apron, and calling it a day. Cid XI feels like he’s there because Cid has to be there, and not because he has something to add besides making airships. He’s a fine character on his own, but in conversation with some of the truly spectacular Cid’s in this series he simply doesn’t have the staying power, and his design is completely unremarkable.

15. Cid Raines (Final Fantasy XIII)

I want my Cids to be gruff and gnarled, like the root of an old tree that also swears and can build ships. Cid Raines is simply too pretty for me. His age isn’t listed but he’s the youngest of the Cids in appearance. He performs his role of being a guy with an airship who worked for the wrong side and then rebels, but is fairly forgettable as a Cid from there.

14. Dr. Cidolfus Demen Bunansa (Final Fantasy XII)

Oh no! A villainous Cid! While Cid usually has some dealings with the evil empire that he’s trying to repent from, it’s rare to see one who continues working for the bad guys. Dr. Cid is party member Balthier’s estranged father and a mad scientist working towards world domination, so he’s certainly messy, a tinkerer, and very plot relevant. He lacks star power though, and being the only Cid who’s an antagonist pushed him back in my list.

13. Cid Del Norte Marguez (Final Fantasy VI)

This Cid is not technically a villain but boy does he do some villainous things. Working as a scientist for the evil empire, Cid performs experiments on people including his surrogate daughter, Celes, in order to give them magic powers. He creates the villain of Final Fantasy VI, and continues working for the empire well into the game until finally helping the party escape them. He saves Celes in the time skip section, but with Setzer being responsible for the airship in this game, Cid VI’s greatest impact on the plot is his own death (which, yes, you can prevent, and no, I do not think you should). 

12. Cid (Final Fantasy)

It feels wrong to put the very first Cid this far back on this list, but the truth is he’s just not in the game. Cid is referenced in remakes of the first game as the creator of the airship and an ancestor of the Lufenian people. You do need the airship to complete the game, so his impact is felt, but this is merely a whisper, a suggestion of Cids to come.

11. Cid Previa (Final Fantasy V)

No knock on the fairly resigned Cid Previa, but the best part about him is his excitable grandson Mid. You do need to respect a Cid who fails at a task so badly that he decides to bail on the game and just get drunk at the local bar. Once he’s overcome his depression he does manage to build a submarine, a first for any Cid! Cid V is constantly stopping due to guilt, which leads his optimistic grandson Mid to either get his grandpa going again or have to invent things himself. They’re a great pair, but it’s Mid who shines the most.

10. Cid Haze (Final Fantasy III)

I adore Cid Haze’s design. He’s a jolly and welcoming old man with a large white beard who dresses like a witch. He cares for his wife and gives the party a ship he later mods into an airship. He’d be higher on this list but he lacks the drama I love in a Cid. He’s not making amends for helping an evil empire, he’s not obsessed with tinkering to a fault. He’s simply too well adjusted. That doesn’t mean he’s not lovely though.

9. Cid Sophiar (Final Fantasy XV)

In a game where no vehicle can beat a convertible you drive around with your friends, you don’t need an airship engineer. You need an old grizzled mechanic. That’s where Cid Sophiar comes in. Initially a royal mechanic for the empire, Cid XV left to open his own shop after realizing he didn’t support the kingdom’s methods. When the party meets Cid XV, he’s kind enough to point them towards a life of bounty hunting monsters, because nothing is better for a young boy’s development than that. He loves his garage so much that, when the world essentially ends, rather than leaving it he converts it into a stronghold for the last of the monster hunters.

8. Cidolfus Telamon (Final Fantasy XVI)

Cid XVI has many of the trappings of a classic Cid. Formerly the Lord Commander of Waloed’s army, he eventually rebels and becomes one of the only characters in the game who, at the start, seem to think there is something very wrong with the world. As the leader of Hideout, Cid takes in refugees and works to create a settlement that can exist without reliance on magic. He’s the one who points main character Clive in the direction of using his powers to help those in need. Cid has a messy past with Benedikta and as well as most others he knew before leaving Waloed. Not the best Cid, but a valiant effort at making a Cid who is absolutely central to the plot while still keeping him a Cid and not just a guy named Cid.

7. Cid Garlond (Final Fantasy XIV)

An undeniable Cid. Of course he has the advantage of being a part of Final Fantasy XIV, a game spanning hundreds of hours of play, but from the beginning Cid XIV embodies a lot of what is wonderful about most Cids. He rebels from the empire when he realizes their goals are quite evil, supports the rebels in defeating them, and looks great doing it. Absolutely absurd that he’s supposed to be 34 though.

6. Cid Fabool IX (Final Fantasy IX)

Cid Fabool IX is certainly leading a messy life. When Cid IX’s wife Hilda realizes he’s been cheating on her she steals his favorite airship, but not before using her magic to transform him into an Oglop (a weird tiny bug). He stays this way for years, but that doesn’t stop him from hiring a traveling theater troupe to kidnap Princess Garnet to save her from the evil queen. Cid IX learns a valuable lesson about making amends as his journey towards becoming a man without apologizing leads him to becoming a frog instead. It’s only when he reconciles with his wife that Cid gets his human body back, but honestly I prefer the Oglop.

5. Cid (Final Fantasy X/X-2)

Cid X is the leader of the Al Bhed, father to Riku, Uncle to Yuna, and the kind of crazy that chose to name his son “Brother.” He talks like an old-timey gold prospector, and has the good sense to say that a religion based around the ritual sacrifice of his niece may be, perhaps, bad. He’s harcore enough to blow up his own home if it means Yuna and his crew can escape safely. A classic old man (37 lol), Cid X is stuck in his ways enough that when Yuna scolds him he enters into a several chapter sulking arc. He even has the Al Bhed word for love tattooed on his skull. This is what Cids are made of. 

4. Cid Highwind (Final Fantasy VII)

The cast of Final Fantasy VII has been deservingly celebrated for a long time now, and that includes Cid Highwind. Our gruff, spear wielding, chain smoking airship pilot serves the important role of being more fed up with Shinra than anyone. The perfect angry murder grampa, Cid Highwind is the first Cid to join your party permanently and gets appointed temporary leader when Tifa and Cloud bail for a minute. He even makes it all the way to Kingdom Hearts (the only Cid to have done so). Cid has a simple dream: he really wants to send a rocket to space, and he hates all the suits who keep getting in his way.

3. Cid Pollendian (Final Fantasy IV)

I’ve gone on record saying this is the hottest Cid. Cid Pollendian is just short of being feral while still a brilliant inventor. Not only is Cid IV responsible for building or modding most of the many vehicles you use in this game, but he’s also the first Cid to be a playable character. To add to that, he tries to sacrifice himself for the party by jumping off the airship with a bomb strapped to him, caving in the tunnel they just escaped through. Of course he survives and gets to hang out with some dwarves while he recovers. Great design, lawless nature, absolute maniac. I love Cid Pollendian.

2. Cid (Final Fantasy II)

Cid II is the first time we see Cid in a game, and he makes a glorious show of it. This old curmudgeonly Cid may have at one point helped build the enemy’s warplane, The Dreadnaught, but now his only concern is modding his airship. He funds this by running a neutral air taxi service, and no one ever gets a free ride. I kept expecting him to offer me a discount the more we worked together, but he never did. Finally with his dying breath he lets you know you can “borrow” his airship, but makes sure you understand it’s just a loan. Iconic Cid.

1. Cid Kramer (Final Fantasy VIII)
Wow, now this is a fabulous Cid. I love Cid Kramer because he looks like Mr. Rogers but simply erupts with chaotic energy. He may not look like much at first, but beneath that burgundy vest beats a heart that lives for drama. He not only builds a school and curriculum around killing his beautiful goth wife, but also has his greedy business partner and financier, NORG, locked in the basement. He’ll eventually send his students to kill him too. About halfway through the game Cid reveals that he built the boarding school you’ve been staying at to also fly. He’s an unparalleled inventor, deeply plot relevant, and perhaps the messiest a Cid can be. His style is that he doesn’t need style. He’s Cid.

Dave Tomaine is a comic writer and musician from Philadelphia. You can find him at @cavedomain and @FFBedtime on Twitter.

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