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‘Advent Children’ and the Romanticization of ‘Final Fantasy VII’

Keeping in mind Advent Children released 8 years after Final Fantasy VII, characters like Zack and Aerith were able to garner their own legacies.

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“I am your living legacy.”

There’s a poignancy to Red XIII and his brood howling over an overgrown Midgar at the end of Final Fantasy VII. Meteor succeeded in wiping out everything deemed harmful to the planet, and mankind is nowhere in sight. Humanity’s fingerprint, Midgar, has even been claimed by nature. It’s a thought-provoking ending, but one ambiguous by design, neither confirming nor denying that humanity survived– and why should it? Much of Final Fantasy VII centers around depicting the reality of death. The end will come for all of us eventually, but it’s not our place to know when, how, or why. Death is an inevitability, one we cannot reasonably comprehend. 

There are two major deaths depicted in Final Fantasy VII: those of Aerith Gainsborough and Zack Fair, both of whom share a deep connection to protagonist Cloud Strife. Occurring roughly halfway through the game, Aerith’s death marks a major turning point. Cloud not only fails to save her from Sephiroth, he nearly kills Aerith himself. Cloud is the most affected by Aerith’s death, but every member of the party reflects on her sudden murder. Tifa in particular notes that Aerith constantly mentioned her plans for the future, squashing any notion that she would have wanted to die a martyr. Although Cloud himself abides by the idea that Aerith knew Sephiroth would kill her, Final Fantasy VII keeps it ambiguous as in keeping with the incomprehensibility of death. 

Chronologically, Zack Fair dies years prior to Aerith’s, serving as the catalyst for Cloud’s arc. Experimented on by the Shinra Electric Power Company, Zack Fair manages to free himself & Cloud, and go on the run. It’s implied Zack took care of a near catatonic Cloud for quite some time, keeping them both alive on their way to Midgar. Before they can ever reach the city, however, Shinra soldiers unceremoniously gun Zack down in the rain. Cloud is left to die, and suffers a mental breakdown over the death of his best friend. The two do not get to say goodbye, and Zack’s death is contextualized as nothing more than a painful moment in Final Fantasy VII– one that psychologically damages Cloud beyond belief. There isn’t anything romanticized about either of their deaths.

Applicable to both characters albeit specifically in reference to Aerith Gainsborough’s death, game director Yoshinori Kitase stated, “In the real world things are very different. You just need to look around you. Nobody wants to die that way. People die of disease and accident. Death comes suddenly and there is no notion of good or bad. It leaves, not a dramatic feeling but great emptiness. When you lose someone you loved very much, you feel this big empty space and think, ‘If I had known this was coming I would have done things differently.’ These are the feelings I wanted to arouse in the players with Aerith’s death relatively early in the game. Feelings of reality and not Hollywood.”

Naturally, one would hope that any sequel to Final Fantasy VII– should there even be a sequel to a game that ended with a 500 year fast forward– would carry over that same tact in depicting death. Set two years after the end of the game, humanity did survive Meteor’s impact, but they’re in dire straits. “It looks like the Planet is a lot madder than we thought,” so spoke Marlene. With an incurable disease, Geostigma, serving as a death sentence for anyone who contracts it, Advent Children opens with the implication that the situation has only deteriorated for mankind. 

It’s a strong enough premise for a sequel, admittedly. How does mankind persist after the end? As Cloud himself is suffering from Geostigma, Advent Children has an opportunity to explore death on an even more intimate level. Cloud quite literally begins the film marked for death. With Cloud abandoning the Buster Sword overlooking Midgar where Red XIII will someday stand, the bones are there for Advent Children to serve as a sensible enough sequel. Unfortunately, there’s a disconnect between what actually happened in Final Fantasy VII and how Advent Children remembers the past. 

Egregiously, Zack’s death has been recontextualized. For the most part, Advent Children actually adapts Cloud and Zack’s backstory as is, but it pivots at the very end. Zack is still shot down in the rain, but the Shinra soldiers don’t finish him off. Instead, Zack is left to die alongside Cloud. This may seem like an inconsequential change, but it creates one incredibly important difference: Zack has last words now. With his dying breath, Zack begs Cloud to become his living legacy. Ignoring how this closure flies in the face of how FFVII depicted death, it’s completely tone-deaf that Zack asks Cloud to be his literal living legacy when Cloud’s entire arc in Final Fantasy VII centered on him shedding his resemblances to Zack to become his own man. 

Cloud is now haunted by his failure to live up to Zack’s memory, tortured by the idea that he may have failed to honor Zack’s final wish. Zack’s death is supposed to be Cloud’s breaking point, one of the worst moments of his life. Cloud’s psyche twists itself into mirroring that of another’s. For Advent Children to reframe the scene as a ceremonial passing of the torch is frankly a bit twisted. Worse yet, however, is Zack speaking to Cloud from beyond the grave alongside Aerith. Now a part of the Lifestream, the lines between life and death no longer matter as the dead can simply interact with the living. 

It’s implied Aerith is helping via the Lifestream at the end of Final Fantasy VII, but she does not speak to the party. She is not seen. She is not a tangible presence. For her to appear at the climax or interact with anyone at all would spit in the face of everything her death stood for. Advent Children fails to see the value in a realistic approach to death, mythologizing the Lifestream and Aerith in the process. Worse than the Lifestream, is the romanticizing of death altogether. Zack’s death can’t be hollow, and Aerith’s can’t be the end for her.

Keeping in mind Advent Children released 8 years after Final Fantasy VII, characters like Zack and Aerith were able to garner their own legacies. Zack as an important aspect of Cloud’s backstory tucked away primarily in secret scenes, and Aerith whose death stands out as one of the most important narrative moments in the history of the medium. As a long anticipated sequel to Final Fantasy VIIAdvent Children aims to capitalize on everything that made the RPG’s story so beloved, but it overindulges to extremes. One of the film’s earliest slaps to the face being the sudden reveal that Rufus Shinra is alive. A core villain in FFVII, Rufus is clearly seen dying in a cutscene. Advent Children realizes how ridiculous this is and even has Cloud cutting off Rufus explaining his survival as a joke– which really says it all. 

An important character who dies on-screen comes back to life and the explanation for how they survived is brushed off for a joke. It’s not funny, nor is it endearing. Rufus’ revival is fan service at the expense of thematic cohesion. Worse yet, even Sephiroth has to get in on the action. Like Zack and Aerith, Sephiroth quickly earned his status as one of gaming’s all time great villains. Through Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo– the titular Advent Children– Sephiroth has three successors desperate to literally become him. The film naturally concludes with Cloud defeating Sephiroth yet again, but it isn’t the derivative nature of the finale that muddles things, nor the lack of weight. Rather, it’s the fact Advent Children went out of its way to cure Cloud’s Geostigma. 

Aerith playing an active role in the film post-death and Zack passing on his will to Cloud fail to understand what made Final Fantasy VII so compelling. Similarly, Rufus and Sephiroth’s revivals show that death as depicted for the audience is losing meaning in the universe. As frustrating as these elements are, they’re not nearly as bad as Cloud never needing to face death in any meaningful capacity. He runs away from Geostigma, fails to properly confront his emotions as a now fully developed character, and is then magically cured courtesy of Aerith & the Lifestream. Zack and Aerith even reject Cloud’s death from the afterlife. There are no feelings of reality here, just Hollywood. 

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is simply not a coherent sequel for a game that took such an intimate, respectful, human approach to death. The film is desperate to not only give death meaning but to ensure that it has no permanence. Death in Advent Children is not relatable, and there is little human about it. No matter how entertaining the film’s action may be, or how visually impressive it was for its time, nothing can change the fact that Advent Children misrepresents Final Fantasy VII where it matters most. 

A man with simultaneously too much spare time on his hands and no time at all, Renan loves nothing more than writing about video games. He's always thinking about what re(n)trospective he's going to write next, looking for new series to celebrate.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Making Sense

    April 25, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    The most nonsensical piece of reading in my 50 years of life.
    If you don’t understand something, don’t write about it.

    • Renan Fontes

      April 25, 2020 at 8:59 pm

      By all means, I’d love to read what you and your 50 years of life thought I didn’t understand.

      • Bluesun

        April 26, 2020 at 5:51 am

        For one trying to hard to sound insightful. This was just drivel. Stick to writing in your sad diary

        • Mr. J

          April 26, 2020 at 3:30 pm

          You are really bad at criticism. Stick to crossword puzzles and worrying about your early onset dementia.

  2. ?

    April 25, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    Ghosts are all over FFVII. You fight both middling enemies and also plot pertinent ghosts, listen to Aerith talking to spirits and even talk to ghosts from Sector 7 yourself.

    • Renan Fontes

      April 25, 2020 at 9:07 pm

      There are fundamental differences between ghost enemies, the spirits Aerith communes with, and the depiction of the afterlife via the Lifestream in Advent Children. More important than anything, even in a world with ghost enemies and spirits, the original Final Fantasy VII has the sense not to make Aerith an interactable presence after her death.

      • Jon Fields

        April 26, 2020 at 12:42 am

        What about when you find Aerith in the sector 5 slums church during disc 3?

        What about lucrecia being unable to die at all?

        What about the members of the secret club in junon that are literally the ghosts from sector 7?

        Aerith literally talks about meeting Elmyra’s dead husband.

        Or Seto crying when meeting his son? You know, while he was a dead statue.

        Or just the entire cavern of gi which is full of the dead spirits, the boss is a canon vengeful spirit, as bugenhagen refers to his presence, he’s not just an enemy.

        Your worst gripe, however, is ‘Worse yet, even Sephiroth has to get in on the action’

        Like did you not play ff7? Jenova’s cells let’s someone take on the form of someone else, that is sephiroth/jenovas taunt to cloud which sets him into existential crisis. He tried to say the real cloud was dead and current cloud just took on his appearance and used Tifa and Zack to form the fragmented Cloud idea. That’s why it was so important that cloud remember something Tifa did not, which was Tifas bday when she ended up in a coma.

        This is how you meet sephiroth so often, it is never actually him. The only real sephiroth you fight in ff7 is the very last fight when he calls cloud into the life stream. Every other sephiroth is just Jenova cells pretending to be him.

        So when Kadaj ingests the jenova cells, the use his body to make sephiroth again, as they did every other time during ff7 proper.

        Please actually learn about the lore before you write anything.

    • Taylor Disney

      April 26, 2020 at 12:05 am

      Final Fantasy as a whole has magic. Revive spells have been a thing since 1988 on NES. Phoenix Downs were used to one shot ghost/dead enemies in past games because they were “dead”, you can even one shot the ghost train boss in FF6 with either aformentioned method. I think the only romanticism is people who try to get on bandwagons for unnecessary things. Cloud was experimented on ALOT, is effectively a clone, his eyes are the color they are because of mako, literally stands in a pool of mako/lifestream to give Aerith’s body to the planet/ancients and followed this by receiving mako poisoning. This is the funtime where you get to ride around with cloud in a wheelchair not speaking in veg state.

      Soooooo, long story short, death isn’t something to fear nor is it permanent or tangible. If chaos and cosmos will it, it happens. It’s almost like world religions have tried to express this for centuries. But you know, the present state of OUR Gaia has geostigma onfections running rampant… is this really what you want to write an article about? I’m a fan of the franchise my friend, has changed my life as a whole… but i think some of the fan base just complains to complain.

      I’ll end off with, i appreciate 7R so far for what it is and in its own light. I look forward to getting about 200hrs of FF7 story that touches on all of these fleshed out scenarios. (Crisis core, advent children, dirge of cerberus, before crisis…) OH WAIT, since we’re talking about death and stuff, isn’t Vincent another Shinra experiment that is effectively lack of better phrasal a vampire? Where is this Death you mention, we’ve all maxxed out our revive materias and phoenix down stash. Aerith was given back to the lifestream, so no, she was not able to be resurrected in the basic sense. 😉

      If you appreciate the series and call yourself a fan, be a fan. Constructive critique, but do not judge. Just enjoy. 🙂

  3. John Milton

    April 26, 2020 at 3:06 am

    Bloody hell they pay you to write these type of pulp paragraphs loosely based on selected topics?

  4. Elspeth

    April 26, 2020 at 4:27 am

    I really appreciate this essay; you’re bang on and the other idiotic replies are missing the thematic point. IMO, Star Wars has developed the same problem where death for Force-sensitive characters is no longer appropriately framed as a meaningful end of life because they go on to exist as luminous beings forever in the Force. This introduces several thematic problems for a nararative. It means that in clumsy hands, death can be re-framed as a positive or even aspirational thing even when the circumstances of the death aren’t (as in the case of Ben Solo, who’s death is described as ‘coming home’ in the novel adaptions, even though he is only thirty years old and had only just returned to the light side after a lifetime of pain). It makes death less relatable to audiences and obscures the harsh reality that death is an ending, not a beginning. And, worst of all, it also destroys the value of LIFE. If a character dies tragically and they go on to exist happily in the Lifestream/the Force, while also popping in frequently to chat with their old friends on the mortal plane, why should we care that they are no longer corporeal? They’re still around and apparently not bothered by their deadness. Life is no longer something to be cherished, valued, treasured, fought for and mourned when ‘dead’ characters behave this way. In order for the life of a character to be meaningful, death must be equally meaningful – and devastatingly final.

    Final Fantasy VII understood this. I pray Final Fantasy VII Remake does too.

    • Renan Fontes

      April 26, 2020 at 9:56 am

      This is a very insight comment, thank you for posting this. For as beloved as FF7’s plot is, it’s a shame a good chunk of fans are content with its core themes being stepped on by the Compilation.

      • Elspeth

        April 27, 2020 at 4:43 am

        It’s the potential erasure of the story’s thematic fabric that has me bracing for what is going to happen in the next part of Final Fantasy VII Remake. A lot of people are speculating that, based on elements the first Remake game has introduced, Aerith will somehow be saved from her fate. As much as I love Aerith (she is my favourite character in Final Fantasy), her death is the pillar of one of the original game’s central themes: the brutality of losing people we love and how to live on despite it. To erase that theme in order to offer the player a chance to save Aerith feels, to me, like a thematic betrayal of everything the story of Final Fantasy VII was trying to communicate. I think it says something about fan entitlement and maturity that people happily sacrifice the thematic depth of a story in order to cling to a character they love. Like, I understand the impulse, but to me the integrity of the narrative is more important, and the characters themselves are not more important than the story context in which they exist.

  5. Bluesun

    April 26, 2020 at 5:46 am

    This is what you get when you have someone that wants to be a writer but instead bites everyone to death, which is why no one else would hire him.

  6. Matt

    April 26, 2020 at 8:09 am

    At the beginning of Advent Children we are introduced to Cloud as being someone who is emotionally distant and is still running from his emotional problems. But this is the Cloud we are left with at the end of 7’s story anyway. And at the end of Advent Children Cloud does “confront his emotions” and does become a more developed person… Seeing Zach and Aerith leave together was a metaphor. He is finally able to let them go and realizes his real home is with Tifa and that he no longer has to chase his ghosts. I kind of felt like that was the point of the movie. We didn’t get to see Cloud go through that developmental arc at the end of 7 so they told another story wherein they could wrap that stuff up. I do agree with you about the geostigma, Rufus, and Sephiroth’s revival, though I like to think that Sephiroth was just an illusion… More ghosts of the past made manifest by technology, magic, and spirituality, all far different from our own.

    • Liam Rose

      April 26, 2020 at 9:46 pm

      Well said Matt, I agree.

  7. Eric

    April 26, 2020 at 11:18 am

    My God, so many salty fans. I wonder why everyone wants to attack this author for criticizing a cheezy fan service sequel that released fifteen years ago. Could it be that we didn’t like a certain part of much more recent FFVII material and now we have to lash out at anything that even remotely sounds like criticism of that in order to safeguard our pathetic egos?

    All this author wants to do with this piece is to illustrate one of the unique qualities that made our beloved FFVII great in the first place. I have often heard journalists and gaming critics extol FFVII for being the first RPG brave enough to deal with death. Of course, this is not true if you are simply looking at games that kill off characters. Death and sacrifice happened many times over in Phantasy Star, Dragon’s Quest and in earlier mainline Final Fantasy games as well. FFVII was unique in how it presented the deaths of characters. This is something that Kitase, the director of the original FFVII and producer of the Remake, has repeatedly said was a point of emphasis.

    Advent Children was a fun film that managed to fill that desire we all had to see our beloved cast of characters one more time, but it should not be seen as an artistic accomplishment on equal footing with FFVII. It is really just fan service. The plot is there just to put as much of the original cast back together as possible. It doesn’t attempt to add anything to this world, it just extends it… because money.

    Why is any of this worth talking about? If you have played the Remake and you bothered to pay any attention at all, you would have noticed that death is “romanticized” a lot more there than in the classic final fantasy. In the original, the plate drops, end of story. The only exposition you ever get for all of those victims is Barrett’s screams of anger as Cloud and Tifa look on shell shocked. That is not the case in the remake.

    I loved the Remake. I really did, but it wasn’t perfect. Nothing ever is. I think this piece is here to help us understand what parts of the original need to be in the DNA of anything that attempts to reimagine it. If you ignore the original director’s desire to treat death (the literal theme of the game according to Kitase) with a degree of maturity and gravity, then all you really have is more cheesy fan service.

  8. Liam Rose

    April 26, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    I like the article but I disagree with the analysis.
    Cloud is a character who has struggled with PTSD from the tramatic events in his life. He was so shaken at the point of Zack’s death that he adopted Zack’s identity to cope with it. In his mind Zack didn’t die because he is Zack.

    We follow Cloud through the story of Advent Children, we see the world through his perspective. So much time has past since Zack’s death. What if Cloud is misremembering or even fabricating his own memory of the moment Zack died in order to justify his actions, in order to keep people, (even his closest friends), at a distance. Cloud returns to being a loner after FFVII. He avoids everyone out of a sense of failure. He still feels responsible for Zack and Aerith’s death even after defeating Sephiroth.

    The visions of Zack and Aerith could easily be hallucinations that Cloud experiences during times of great stress. For that matter Sephiroth could very well be a hallucination when he returns. The entire final battle could have played out inside Cloud’s mind.

    Cloud still hasn’t come to terms with himself and this is the reason that Advent Children is the conclusion that needed to be told. It finally found Cloud accepting himself for who he is, failures and all. He finally, finally realizes that he isn’t alone and thus with this realization, the hallucinations of Zack and Aerith leave him and his remaining friends are shown to be right there in front of him. His final words being; “I’m not alone, not anymore.” This is a direct contrast to his last words in FFVII when he talks about going to the promised land to meet Aerith. Cloud’s story isn’t over at that point, he’s not fully developed until the conclusion of Advent Children.

    Final Fantasy VII is a story about war, politics, ecoterrorism, human scientific experimentation, commradiery, hope and loss but first and foremost it’s the human story of Cloud. Every other character, event or thing can be considered a plot device in Cloud’s story moving him through his arc. That’s not to say that others aren’t important but this is Cloud’s story. It wasn’t complete when Cloud was left believing he could find Aerith again. It’s not complete until he comes to terms with her death and his failures at the end of Advent Children.

  9. papow

    April 26, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Nice write up, definitely agree. For me, there’s been a huge shift in Final Fantasy from substance to flash. It’s always had these soap opera levels of drama, but it still respected the plot and the characters. Feels like a lot of their recent work has moved the series from being an epic poem towards being a pop song. It’s more about cramming a ton of emotional content into a cool moment than developing these harder questions over time. And it’s frustrating to see it repeatedly come up short of being something better.

  10. Brian

    April 26, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Very good article. I’ve felt this way for years, but I could never articulate it so well. I’ve never been a fan of what Square Enix did with the world of FF7 after the original game. Death is never meaningful, and it rarely happens anymore if you include the remake. I’m honestly shocked that more fans aren’t more critical of Advent Children, the lore of Crisis Core, and the direction of the remake. I see an outpouring of support for the fact that Zack supposedly lives. If they’d the case, that change so much of the story that it’s unrecognizable. The future of FF7 is that of superheroes who don’t really need anymore growth. They’re already strong to destroy fate itself. How can Shinra or a big snake possibly scare them? I’ve even seen people say that the game could skip Kalm… That boggles my mind. Without that retelling of the past, how will we later see how Cloud’s memory is wrong? They’ve already shown Zack with Cloud in game… There goes any of the audience even partially believing Sephiroth when he tries to manipulate Cloud. And if Zack’s alive? Cloud’s mako poisoning and trauma will be pretty easily explain away. I just don’t have any faith in Square Enix’s handling of the Final Fantasy, let alone Final Fantasy VII. They’ve pretty much gotten rid of everything that made the original special with literally no good guys dying and revealing and rewriting the major plot points.

    • Jorath

      April 26, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      Completely agreed.
      I’m not surprised the way Nomura made things go, but still hate it, and… still play it. But I won’t be buying the merchandise SE, because I can’t get emotionally I invested in AC or Remake. It’s become very KH, little consequence to be spoken of.
      No more Nomura, please.

  11. Jorath

    April 26, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    Many thanks for this article, I also did not have the words to express my matched opinion.
    My parent was killed in auto accident while in middle school. Media which had unexpected deaths of significant characters such as FF7 and Alien 3 helped convince me this shit happens to more than just me and you don’t always get to share peace with that person.
    ‘it’s okay, you’ll see them later if you like them enough’
    Death seems to hold no permanence in Nomuras story telling, it’s insulting to those who are experienced with traumatic loss and have seen their reflection in relative escapism.

    Barrett’s death and resurrection in remake, it’s like a kid playing with light switch.

  12. Rosario Rodriguez

    April 26, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    I disagree with how Square Enix is involved with the remake. I THINK THEY DID IT JUSTICE!!! Don’t you know who that Yoshitaka Amano got him involved personally to help him Remake FF7 REMAKE FROM THE START!!! DON’T JUDGE A MASTERPIECE!!! And don’t criticize the angels that created Final Fantasy 7 Origional Game Designer!!! and the highly respected Game Designer of Kingdom Hearts games, those two coming together for the continuation of FF7!!! That is absolutely Genius!!!! I highly admire them, and the game stayed true for the fans! Tetsuya’s kept the respect of the FF7 original storyline and a little something extra special that is the MASTERPIECE that FF7 fans love. And the humorous catty remarks in the game is milk out of the nose kinda humor that is the best way I can put it. And so what if Zack might possibly be alive? It’s a weight off of Floyd’s shoulders!!! His best friend could be alive!!!! He’s a bonehead idea? Go with that idea! I would day! How about Cloud realizing this and goes into detective mode and on a personal journey to find him!!!!!!! With finding Red on the way to help him!!! And throw in Tifa for fun!!!!

  13. Rosario Rodriguez

    April 26, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    I disagree with how Square Enix is involved with the remake. I THINK THEY DID IT JUSTICE!!! Don’t you know who that Yoshitaka Amano got him involved personally to help him Remake FF7 REMAKE FROM THE START!!! DON’T JUDGE A MASTERPIECE!!! And don’t criticize the angel that created Final Fantasy 7 Origional Game Designer!!! and the highly respected Game Designer of Kingdom Hearts games, those two coming together for the continuation of FF7!!! That is absolutely Genius!!!! I highly admire them, and the game stayed true for the fans! Tetsuya’s kept the respect of the FF7 original storyline and a little something extra special that is the MASTERPIECE that FF7 fans love. And the humorous catty remarks in the game is milk out of the nose kinda humor that is the best way I can put it. And so what if Zack might possibly be alive? It’s a weight off of Cloud’s shoulders!!! His best friend could be alive!!!! He’s a bonehead idea? Go with that idea! I would say! How about Cloud realizing this and goes into detective mode and on a personal journey to find him!!!!!!! With finding Red on the way to help him!!! And throw in Tifa for fun!!!!

  14. Rosario Rodriguez

    April 26, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    I agree about what you said about what happened in Advent Children in the end after he saw Aeirath and Zack he accepted and can tell he is finally at peace after being the only one to see her. He can live his life anew with his friends and the ones that care deeply for him. It’s Cloud’ s new START. A fresh start of real life. I am so very happy for him. I may be a cheesy fan but I am dedicated to FF7 and Kingdom Hearts. That game in the fuel that bonds me and my kids together, and encouraging them that video games are a healthy lifestyle and fully support A Toys R’ US kid never gives in to the system. Video Gaming is and always be my driving force for a better world to escape.

  15. Seth Balmore

    April 27, 2020 at 8:36 am

    I love that you seem to be the only video game journalist on the web right now who actually PLAYED the original FFVII to the end and loved it. You actually understand what that game is about and why it’s so beloved. These articles are really top notch. Most writers on the internet are too young and fondly remember watching their brother play FFVII. They remember the game only as idealized nostalgia – they don’t remember it for what it actually was. These are the people who’s mental picture of cloud is the depressed jerk from KH and Advent Children instead of the confident hero who said things like “Let’s mosey”. Thank you for knowing what you’re talking about.

  16. Licoriceallsorts

    May 15, 2020 at 10:13 am

    You are right

  17. Jim

    December 26, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    It’s a nitpick, but Zack’s death doesn’t occur years before Aerith’s. It occurs literally a day or two before the game begins.
    Zack goes down in a last stand just outside midgar, and Cloud takes his sword and wanders aimlessly into the city.
    When Tifa runs into him, his Zackesque SOLDIER persona forms and the game kicks off.
    So Zack and Aerith’s deaths were realistically only a few weeks apart.

  18. Adem Hupp

    May 23, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    A quick google search would’ve told you the order in which to play the games, read the books, and watch the movies. Crisis Core takes place before Final Fantasy 7 and you play as Zack Fair. On The Way to a Smile, is a book which picks up after Final Fantasy 7 and before Advent Child. The book talks about peoples lives not only in Midgar, but other important characters that we played along side and fought against in Final Fantasy 7. They explain situations of Rufus and how he survived the attack. They give you a lot of insight in every characters life and really fleshes them out more to show their human side. They show you that it wasn’t just a happy ending just because the meteor was destroyed and mako energy as well. I like your article, but on the other hand most of your nit picks of the movie Advent Child could be understood by playing Crisis Core and reading On The Way to a Smile. Trying to understand Final Fantasy 7 and Advent Child without the playing the games or reading the book can make trying to connect the dots a lot harder than you tried to make it here.

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