The necromancy class appears in only one main line Final Fantasy game: Final Fantasy V. They’re absent in the latter games, but the following two actually indirectly use this class. First, a necromancer can:
summon the Undead, or change living creatures into undead, to attack as well as using various other offensive dark magical arts. Often, they don’t just create or summon the undead, but are undead themselves as well.
Our characters aren’t undead themselves, but do they summon the undead? According to the lore of their respective games, yes.
The undead are beings in mythology, legend, or fiction that are deceased but behave as if they were alive.
First, take a look at Magicite from Final Fantasy VI:
Magicite is the leftover remains of an esper. For the esper’s magical power to be fully drained, it must transform into magicite. The esper’s soul remains anchored to the magicite, and can communicate and be temporarily summoned back into their living incarnation. Characters can equip them in the menu, where they can teach magic, summon the Esper, and grant stat boosts.
Pretty straightforward. In order for your characters to use Magicite, an Esper has to die. Then they turn into a crystalline object for your characters to equip. One such Magicite is Maduin, Terra’s father. The team, including Terra, can take turns equipping the remains of this Esper to learn Fira, Blizzara, and Thundara.
When they summon him, among other Espers, his soul can take the shape of his former self. But they’re nothing but a husk, former shells of themselves. What we see of Maduin is what appears to be a quality of the living. But make no mistake, Maduin’s body is a corpse. He can communicate as he did with Terra at the end of the game but he’s still dead in order for his body to take shape as magicite.
In this sense espers aren’t quite alive, even though they’re different from regular zombies. And ironically, in order to defeat God Kefka, you have to equip the undead.
Now, take a look at Materia from Final Fantasy VII:
Materia is crystallized Mako. Metaphysically, Materia calls upon the wisdom of the Lifestream to manipulate nature manifesting as the phenomenon of magic for most Materia, although other Materia enhance the user’s abilities. Unless one is descended from the Cetra, Materia is the only way humans can use magic. When explaining how Materia is created to Zack and Tifa on Mt. Nibel, Sephiroth mentions that he and Professor Hojo debated the nature of Materia. Hojo objected to the term “magic” being applied to powers from Materia, but could offer no better explanation.
What is Mako?
Mako(魔晄, Makō?, lit. magic light) is the liquid form of the Planet’sLifestream in Final Fantasy VII. It is the world’s primary energy source except for Wutai and rural areas. The Lifestream can condense into Materia or Mako Stones.
What is the Lifestream?
The Lifestream contains the essence of the Planet and the memories, emotions, and knowledge of all who have lived on it.
Lifestream acts as an afterlife for the conscious spirits of the Planet’s inhabitants. Certain souls remain sentient after having returned to the Planet, and gain control of the Lifestream, becoming able to affect the physical plane from within it, and even able to communicate with those still living. Those who die and hold a resilient will and attachment to the living world in a place of negative disposition can return as ghosts and evil spirits.
But the Lifestream is more than just memories, emotions and knowledge. It’s also the physical remains of once living things. According to Bugenhagen:
Eventually… all humans die. What happens to them after they die? The body decomposes and returns to the Planet. That much everyone knows.
And apparently this goes for monsters and deities as well. So when Cloud and his team can summon or use the power of the collective world-spirit. But what condenses as Mako happens to be the physical remains of once living things.
We could think of it as summons’ animation repeats each time we conjure them.What we’re summoning isn’t them. We’re summoning the memory of them which is on a constant loop of their characteristics. It appears as if they were living, but the summons are actually dead. But have Cloud and his friends hold in their hands are crystalline decompose.
In Final Fantasy VI, your characters have set job classes and limit breaks but can learn magic. In Final Fantasy VII, your characters have character specific weapons and limit breaks. Yet you could combine materia to have certain characters simulation other job classes. But as soon as they equip Magicite or Materia, they become necromancers.