Keisar Ephes (ケイサル・エフェス Keisaru Efuesu) is a fictional character in the Super Robot Wars series. He has appeared as a non-playable enemy character in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3: To the End of the Galaxy only. In canon, he pilots the mobile weapon of the same name, Keisar Ephes.
Like many Balmarian names, Keisar Ephes' is Hebrew in origin: Keisar is a localization of the Roman word caesar, and is generally used to mean "Emperor", but it can also be a derivative of the word kaiser, meaning "Emperor" in German. Ephes is Hebrew for "Zero".
Keisar Ephes has appeared in the following games:
- Super Robot Wars Alpha 3: To the End of the Galaxy - Non-playable enemy character
- Ginga no Shūen e (To the End of the Galaxy) - Default theme
- Gong Ver. Alpha 3 - Used after a specific event
Keisar Ephes appears to be a bearded old man, wearing a heavy black robe with plates of polished black armor attached to the shoulders. He wears a tall headdress that seems to resemble the turbans ancient Jewish priests are often depicted wearing, although Keisar Ephes' headdress is black, instead of white. Both the armor plates and the headdress have red and a few gold highlights. He carries a harsh, malevolent visage and never seems to show sadness or happiness.
His other form, practically faceless, appears decidedly more demonic. Here, he has a jet-black body with three red eyes. He has two long, upward-curving horns and apart from these, his head and face are featureless. He has three pairs of arms and two legs, giving him an appearance that would have been similar to Hindu deities.
In both forms, he speaks with a distorted, echoing voice. It is not known which of these two appearances is Keisar Ephes' "true" form, although he seems to assume the latter form only when about to use his most powerful attack. Keisar Ephes seems to be able to switch between both forms at will.
Keisar Ephes is the true ruler of the Ze Balmary Empire, the major antagonistic body in some of the Super Robot Wars games. The Ze Balmary Empire played its most important role in the Alpha series.
The Ze Balmary Empire is ruled by the Spirit Emperor (霊帝 Reitei), a deified figure who served as the representation of Zfylud, the supreme Balmarian deity. In the Alpha universe, the apparent Spirit Emperor is Ruach Ganeden, a boy who had been ruling for 500 years, already at the time of the story's beginning. However, Ruach is merely a puppet chosen by Keisar Ephes, altered physically to live much longer than a regular Balmarian. Ruach knew that he was only a puppet, but no other Balmarian (save for Shiva Gozzo) knew this, until the planet Balmar was destroyed by a cataclysmic meteor shower, towards the end of Alpha 3.
At various points throughout the game, a mysterious, seductive voice speaks to the protagonists telepathically, usually bringing messages of despair and offers of infinite power. It is only during the intermission before the final stage that the protagonist discovers the true nature of the voice he/she has been hearing.
Keisar Ephes was not always a brooding tyrant. He was originally known as the Psychodriver Augustus, a member of an ancestor race which sired both humans and Balmarians in the Alpha universe. Augustus was the biological core of the immense Gebel Ganeden, a mobile weapon meant to defend the ancestor race from the STMC (Space Terrible Monster Crowd) of Gunbuster (note that SRW is a crossover game and takes elements from various anime as part of its story). The masculine Gebel Ganeden had a feminine counterpart, the Nashim Ganeden, piloted by another Psychodriver, Irui Ganeden.
Augustus, Irui and the two Ganedens departed for the planet Balmar in the ancient past to escape the STMC, along with a vast majority of the ancestor race (the remnants left on Earth became humans). The Nashim Ganeden and its pilot grew nostalgic and returned to Earth to become its guardians. For millennia, Augustus ruled the fledgeling race, deified as the god Zfylud and as the Spirit Emperor. During his reign, Augustus began to change. The story of Alpha 3 explains that Augustus felt left out of the circle of death and rebirth by the Ide, a supernatural force of seemingly infinite power from the Ideon. In order to surpass the Ide, Augustus left the throne and the Gebel Ganeden to his chosen puppet, Ruach, and began to devour the souls of the sacrifices made in his name. By the time the protagonists of Alpha 3 meet him, Augustus had festered into a tyrannical demon lord, who had an innumerable legion of corrupt spirits called the Neshamah at his beck and call (in Hebrew lore, Neshamah is meant to represent the innermost level of the human spirit, and is not necessarily designated as evil). His ultimate goal: the recreation of the entire universe as an eternal hell filled with wretched spirits. Augustus's fall from grace (and thus, his original role as an angelic protector) and his subsequent assumption of an evil-sounding name and a tyrannical role make him rather similar to Satan as depicted in Christianity.
After the destruction of Balmar, Keisar Ephes pursues the protagonists in order to add their souls to his collection of Neshamah, their souls being the most powerful in the galaxy. This is no easy task, since his arch-rival, the Ide, resides in the Ideon, which is one of the robots available to the player character. At the climax of the battle, Fire Bomber vocalist Basara Nekki of Macross 7, attempts to turn the tide by playing a new song, entitled "GONG". The sheer vastness of Keisar Ephes's power, however, silences the song outright. The outcome of the battle is decided when the song is blasted out by a fleet of ships (which ships play the song changes depending on the ending). Many of the Neshamah react negatively to the sound energy and desert their master, greatly weakening him. The death of Keisar Ephes, the Spirit Emperor, follows quickly
The ending that follows changes depending on the status of the game, but he only survives in the Ideon ending, in which he takes the souls of his opponents (and, presumably, everyone else) and creates his ideal world, but it is unknown if this ending is canon for the Alpha series.
The Mobile Weapon
Keisar Ephes does not dwell in a palace, but rather inside a giant robotic machine that serves as an extension of his physical body. This machine is also known as "Keisar Ephes", but to avoid confusion, it will be simply referred to as "the machine". The Balmarian High Priestess, Etzira Torah, referred to the machine as a "black archdemon".
The exact size of this machine is unknown, but it can be simply said that it dwarfs any other artificial structure on Balmar, save perhaps for the Gebel Ganeden. It is almost entirely jet-black, with a lanky, awkward body and strange articulated wings that spew a shimmering gray substance. It also has an "egg" configuration in which the shimmering wing substance condenses into a protective sphere that surrounds the body entirely, at the expense of not being able to use its long-range weaponry. The machine is visible in its "egg" configuration at the very beginning of the game, after the opening FMV. In the final stage of the game, the "egg" must be destroyed, in order to reveal its true form.
Keisar Ephes' attacks use the names of background music in the final scenarios of the Alpha series. His egg form's attack, The Banquet Of Despair, is the name of the theme played in the last stage of Super Robot Wars Alpha, Gospel Of the Spirit Emperor is the song when the player begins the final scenario of Alpha 3, and The End Of The Galaxy is the music played when the player engages Keisar Ephes.
Model Number: N/A
- Zetsubou no Utage (絶望の宴)
This is a wide-area attack that damages anything within its range. When in egg mode, the machine is still capable of using this attack.
- Reitei no Fukuin (霊帝の福音)
The head changes configuration to expose an enormous cannon concealed in the mouth. It spews a pinkish-red ray of light capable of extreme-range fire.
- Shūen no Ginga (終焉の銀河)
Keisar Ephes begins by saying ”生命ある者よ、原初に還る時が来た”; "Inochi aru mono yo, gensho ni kaeru toki ga kita" (All who live, the time for thee to return to your beginning has come). He exits the machine to reveal his six-armed demonic form, while saying ”古の白き祭壇、今ここに”; "Inishie no shiroki saidan, ima koko ni" (The white altar of old is nowhere). He then opens a portal to a hellish dimension and in a terrible commanding voice, shouts, "天よ聞け！ 地よ耳を傾けよ！"; "Ten yo kike! Chi yo mimi wo katamuke yo!" (O Heavens, take heed! O Earth, incline thy ears!). Billions of the Neshamah burst forth from the portal, swarming the enemy, smothering it in freakish visions of death, pain and annihilation. Psychotic screams and agonized moans create an even more unnerving audio backdrop to the macabre visual display. Planets are simultaneously destroyed, which ends with an image of the Earth being cut in half, as Keisar Ephes laughs hysterically. Also, if the attack is a Dynamic Kill, the player's unit is dragged into hell by the Neshamah and are killed in an explosion of blood. Many players agree this attack is the most disturbing attack animation ever depicted in the franchise.
- Keisar Ephes is voiced by Ichirou Mizuki (水木一郎), a veteran Japanese singer sometimes affectionally referred to as "Aniki" (Big Brother). While his voice is barely recognizable, due to the distortion effects that have been mixed in, although one familiar with it might recognize it in Keisar Ephes' laugh, his role in the creation of the game means a lot to mecha fans, as he had been singing mecha anime music since the mid '70s. In addition, he also mentioned in an interview that if the player attacks Keisar Ephes with a mecha whose theme song he has sung in the past, there is a chance that Keisar will quote from said song.