Kupo! Whether we were visiting the Gold Saucer or seeing the sites in Bhujerba, we’ve all heard it. But what exactly does kupo mean, and where did it come from?
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The Origins of Kupo
The word Kupo is the typical utterance of the Moogle race in the Final Fantasy video game series. It didn’t actually appear in a Final Fantasy game well until the series’ fifth installment, though the Moogles that often say it showed up much earlier. Kupo appeared as a simple expletive spoken by the adorable and friendly moogles that populate most of the worlds of Final Fantasy.
Moogles first appeared in Final Fantasy III and were an intelligent race wielding great magical power. They served as bodyguards for Doga the Sage and uttered the phrase nya, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound that cats make. In the remastered version of the game, all Moogle utterances of the word nya were replaced by Kupo, cementing the word’s association with the Moogle race, which many believe implies that both nya, and kupo are words in the Moogle language.
Fun fact: Moogles were actually slated to appear in Final Fantasy II as some kind of snow creature, but was scrapped. The visuals and some other elements for the Moogle were used to create the Beaver creatures in that game.
Which Final Fantasy Games Does Kupo Appear?
Kupo has become such an intrinsic part of the Final Fantasy experience over the years that it’s probably easier to pick out which titles didn’t have a mention of Kupo in it. If we don’t count the original Final Fantasy III, the only main series games that don’t have Kupo spoken in them are also the ones where Moogles kinda don’t appear either. That is to say, Final Fantasy I, II, IV, VIII, X, and XV. It’s true that these games do feature Moogles in some way, even if only as weapons or creatures of folklore themselves, but there’s no mention of the word Kupo in them.
There are also a plethora of spin-off Final Fantasy games that feature both Moogles and their trademark exclamation. Not the least of these being Final Fantasy Tactics, an absolute fan favorite that features Moogles that say Kupo prominently in just about every version of that game—of which there are four. They are even a playable race in Tactics Advance.
So… a lot. Kupo appears in a lot of Final Fantasy games.
What Does Kupo Mean?
Officially? Not a thing, really. Square Enix has never actually revealed the meaning of the word Kupo and even though it’s often used to express emphasis in a sentence, it’s just as often used to express being relaxed, surprised, or even sad by a Moogle. So it could simply be a noise that all moogles make. This is supported by the fact that while there are some Moogles that can speak the human language of whatever game they’re in, almost all moogles can say Kupo.
People often associate the word Kupo with Kupo Nuts, a food often enjoyed by moogles, but this is slightly misleading, as Kupo appeared in Final Fantasy first, and it’s the nuts themselves that derive their name from the Moogle utterance, not the other way around. It’s a shame too, because that would have been a great explanation.
As it stands, the short, and unequivocal answer for what the word Kupo means is quite simply…