Since some of the earliest days of the Final Fantasy franchise, lightning streaks in the sky have often heralded the summoning of the most iconic Thunder-elemental creature, Ramuh. Bearded and wise, Ramuh tends to take the form of an older human male whose robed visage suggests fierce wisdom.

Related: Final Fantasy: Summons And Summoners, Explained

With Final Fantasy 16 right around the corner, we’re looking back at Ramuh’s major appearances throughout the series and casting our very own ‘Judgment Bolt’ on them all. Who’s our favorite Ramuh? You might be in for a shocker. (That’s a little pun. We apologize for nothing.)

What about the games we didn’t list? For starters, there aren’t any summoned monsters yet in Final Fantasy or Final Fantasy 2. Ramuh’s status as the God of Lightning is supplanted twice – first in Final Fantasy 8 with Quezacotl, and then again in Final Fantasy 10 with Ixion. He also skips FF12 and FF13, the former by virtue of all the regular summons being replaced by a separate pantheon, and the latter because his appearance is confined to a single cutscene.



10 Final Fantasy 3

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF3

Thank you, Final Fantasy 3, for introducing summoned monsters. Thank you as well for giving us our initial looks at the classic elemental trio of Ifrit, Shiva, and – indeed – bearded old Ramuh. He’s already here in familiar form in FF3, and his Judgment Bolt ability is along for the ride.

That’s cool and all, but nothing about him really stands out here; Ramuh isn’t tied to the story in any way, and his summon spell isn’t even Ramuh, it’s Spark. A bit odd, but origin stories often are.

9 Final Fantasy 5

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF5

Not as much tends to separate the Ramuhs of Final Fantasy compared with, say, Shiva and Ifrit, who tout greater design variation per entry. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true; the more recent FF installments have gone harder on giving Ramuh a new lease on design life. Still, he’s always going to be an old dude, and in most of the 2D entries, that’s a bit limiting.

As such, it’s not so much what Final Fantasy 5 Ramuh brings to the table that gives it second-to-last place – it has more to do with what the next game on our list does by contrast. Stay tuned…

8 Final Fantasy 4

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF4

So, here it is. Final Fantasy 4’s Ifrit is Final Fantasy 5’s, but a step above in every way we reckon counts. First, it’s got a slightly flashier attack animation. Those multiple spherical sparks add character. Then there’s the matter of how Ramuh’s acquired – there’s nothing fancy about young Summoner Rydia coming equipped with him upon rejoining the party, but it’s less random than ‘find me in a forest because I don’t know, I like forests’ a la FF5.

Related: How Many Final Fantasy Games Are There?

Last but not least? There’s the staff. FF5’s Ramuh staff is kind of cool, with its almost serpentine vibe when lighting pulses around it, but FF4’s has this thicker, wiser appeal that fits the bill better.

7 FInal Fantasy 7

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF7

The thing about Final Fantasy 7’s Ramuh is, while he was no doubt amazing for his time what with the transfer to 3D and all, he always stood out to us as looking less like a sagely lightning-tossing god and more like a 15th-century Christian monk who woke up terrified when he found himself standing atop a small ledge.

That is a very… specific mental image, but it’s what springs to mind here. He’s fine, but nothing revelatory.

6 Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF15

Ramuh’s sheer size in Final Fantasy 15 is hard to forget, though we think he’s among the lesser-written Astrals within the story at-large. The trial for Noctis to receive his aid involves finding several check points, which is better than nothing, though hardly engaging.

Worse, poor Ramuh’s main plot beat involves what is possibly FF15’s silliest point – the party’s fancy sports car has been stolen, and Ramuh’s thunderbolts help them to reclaim it.

Still. He’s big. Really honkin’ big. Lifting Noctis into the palm of his hand before he strikes is a heck of a thing. We just wish he was more reliable; the chances of Ramuh and other Astrals showing up when needed is never quite as high as it ought to be.

5 Final Fantasy 14

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF14

This man’s beard has a beard. His beard’s beard has a beard. Straight-up, Final Fantasy 14’s Ramuh’s beard has a beard has a beard has a beard. This is kind of like that ‘Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffal is technically a correct sentence’ thing, but better.

As with all FF14 Primals, there’s some solid lore to Ramuh. The sacred protector of a beautiful stretch of Eorzea and its people, and an all-around nice dude even when many of his fellow summons are notably less so, we think he’s pretty neat but not quite so memorable as what follows.

4 Final Fantasy 11

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF11

Meanwhile, there’s this guy. FF14 went back to the traditionalism well with Ramuh’s design, whereas its predecessor MMO decided he needed to evolve with the times. If 2002 was the big year for aging vampire types, at least, which we’re 99 percent sure it wasn’t. But still.

Related: Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster: Where To Find The Legendary Dragons

Ramuh had a hard life in the world of Vana’diel. He supplied a nation with the technology to prosper, but they got complacent and decided not to believe him when his machine warned that a natural disaster could cause catastrophe. He exiled himself, but then bad guys attacked the nation, and the people begged him to return. So he did, but then they were afraid of his abilities, so they exiled him all over again.

Sometimes, people just suck.

3 Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF7 Remake

FF7 Remake’s Ramuh is the reigning monarch of flat-out awesomeness in this batch. His attacks are simply mesmerizing. From the way he twirls his staff and sometimes wields it like a sword, to the pretty purple blasts he’ll leave trailing on the battlefield, to the feast for the eyes that is his final attack, this one’s got everything we need.

When Remake Ramuh rises to the top of that ledge we mentioned in the original FF7 write-up, he looks like he belongs there. No more funk, just pure titanic terror.

2 Final Fantasy 6

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF6

Earlier, we probably made it seem like none of Ramuh’s most vintage appearances particularly wowed us. It’s almost true. Final Fantasy 6 is a different story, and that’s the key word here – story. Ramuh is the party’s representative doorway into the history of the Espers, the game’s spin on summons and a race of beings central to the plot (as well as one of the core protagonists’ narrative arcs).

Ramuh doesn’t stick around for long, and then he willingly dies to become magicite which lets the team summon him in the traditional sense. His Judgment Bolt looks decent here, but even so, his scene at the top of the tower in Zozo is just so vital to FF6. It’s the first time the old bloke gets to do something pivotal, rather than merely having his powers evoked through talented people.

1 Final Fantasy 9

Final Fantasy Ramuh Summon FF9

Final Fantasy 9 was an ode to the old-school, the series as fans knew it before FF7 and FF8 went more modern and sci-fi with stuff. (It’s funny, and more than a little frightening, to think that this big love letter to the classics came when the franchise was 13 years old, and it’s now almost 36.)

Due to the developers’ adoration, Ramuh took on an especially medieval visage. He looks both wise and angry, with a swerving beard and intricate staff. The man means business. He also gets to shine similar to his role in FF6; he aids heroine Garnet in embracing her destiny as a Summoner through issuing her a task to assemble the pieces of a certain story for thematic impact.

That story just so happens to be a chunk of the tale from Final Fantasy 2, by the way, further cementing FF9’s unflinching dedication to the formative entries of the series. This is Ramuh’s culmination, the last word on sacred wisdom and benevolent insight, and we can’t get enough of him.

Next: Final Fantasy: Cool Places We Never Get To See, Ranked

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