Today we look at a few of the more iconic female characters in the Final Fantasy series, and, if your any bit a fan of the game, you know who I’m leading off with and why!
Aerith Gainsborough (Aeris – FF7)
IF YOUR NOT INTO SPOILERS LOOK NO FURTHER! PROCEED TO THE NEXT CHARACTER!
Aerith is so well known that her name even makes a cameo in the Disney movie “Wreck it Ralph”. Sometimes her name is spelled as Aeris.
A kind hearted girl whom Cloud finds selling flowers in the slums of Midgar, Aerith is the last of an ancient race known as the Cetra. Upbeat and kind hearted she is a powerful magick user and is well versed with using a staff as a weapon. Cute and feminine, she often does her best to keep the rest of the party in good cheer as they face the challenges of battling Sephiroth and Jenova.
During the game we find out that Aerith has a familiar tie to Cloud in the form of Zack Fair, another SOLDIER in the ShinRa army who recently died. Throughout the course of the game she and Cloud start to form a romantic relationship which is cut short at the hand of Sephiroth, who murders her as she attempts to summon the white magic, Holy, in an effort to stave off the arrival of Meteor.
Now, unfortunately for me, using the power of the internet, I viewed every cut scene from the game FF7 before it actually got to US shores, so the death of Aerith didn’t hit me as hard as it did others. I can tell you, however, that the event is probably one of the most well known and shocking events in all of gaming history. No one really saw it coming and the act itself, on behalf of Squaresoft, was brutal! Understand that by the time she dies players are quite emotionally invested in her as a character. If everything plays out right they have already sent Cloud on a date with her in the Gold Saucer (a giant carnival) and are well aware of the love triangle she helps form along with Tifa. We are treated to her hopes and fears, her loneliness at being the last living remnant of her race of peoples. She is not simply some quick character or NPC, but, by this time, a loved member of the party. Suddenly – death. It was an event heard round the gaming world and, for years and years, and maybe to this day, people swear there is an in-game item or event that can be activated to bring her back, hence the graffiti in the Disney movie!
The image of Cloud allowing her body to slowly sink into the depths of the Forgotten City is etched in the mind of every player who had a heart. The event is listed in the annuls of gaming history as one of the most shocking and sad moments ever.
Aerith makes appearances in Final Fantasy 7, FF7: Advent Children, Crisis Core: FF7, Kingdom Hearts and Dissidia 012.
Tifa Lockheart (FF7)
I know this post might seem a little FF7-centric, but if I’m going to post Aerith then I feel like I should post Tifa as well, just to get her out of the way. Clouds childhood friend and love interest, Tifa is probably just as well known, or even better known, than Aerith, if only because of her….well….larger assets. Aw heck, who am I kidding – she is known mostly for her massive boobs. There, I said it! Searching for the name Tifa Lockheart, in any search engine, without some kind of filter will most assuredly result in a lot of not-safe-for-work images, as she is the focus of many a fanboys wet dream.
Though friends during their childhood growing up in Nibelheim, she loses touch with Cloud after he joins ShinRa, but they become reacquainted after she convinces him to join her and the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE in an attempt to prevent ShinRa from sucking energy from the planet. She owns a bar, named Seventh Heaven in the lower slums of Midgar and is quite the skilled hand-to-hand fighter. She cares deeply for Cloud and is often found trying to cheer him up. In Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children she and Cloud appear to be married. Despite her combat ability Cloud is very protective of her.
Tifa makes appearances in Final Fantasy 7; FF7: Advent Children; Crisis Core: FF7; Kingdom Hearts and Dissidia 012, she also makes her first appearance outside of the original FF7 in Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring.
Lightning (FF13 series)
Real name Claire Farron, she also goes by the shortened ‘Light’.
I have to be up front, to me her name describes the complete opposite of her personality. ‘Light’ she is not, as Lightning is brooding, irritated and pretty much a downer for the entire original FF13. Of all the female characters in the series, she is the one I dislike the most. Despite this fact, we meet Lightning in the most interesting of situations.
Lightning lives in the world of Cocoon, a kind of floating world within a world. Cocoon is protected from the lower world, Pulse, by fal’cie (fal-see), giant beings of immense power. The fal’cie have the innate ability to turn any of the denizens of Pulse or Cocoon into l’cie (la-see), their appointed, magic flinging guardians, though typically this process requires some type of catalyst, such as the fal’cie being in danger. When we meet Lightning she, and several other citizens of her home town, are being loaded into a train to be ‘purged’ for coming into contact with a Pulse fal’cie that has been previously captured by the military. Unfortunately her sister also came in contact with it and has been changed in l’cie and sucked up into the armored body of the Pulse fal’cie. Already in the military (under a different unit) and trained in fast combat, Lightning allows herself to be captured and taken aboard the train, which is headed in the same direction as her sister, in an attempt to rescue her.
You might think that her love for her sister would offset the hardness of her attitude, but unfortunately it does not. Lightning is very self-centered and gruff, always trying to prove that she can take care of herself, often denigrating her fellow party members for being ‘babies’ or ‘slowing her down’. I don’t know if this is how the game creators originally created her, but she comes off as very difficult to like for a protagonist.
Lightning makes appearances in Final Fantasy 13, FF13-2, FF13-3, a short cameo in FF14 and Dissidia 012. She is one of the few FF characters to use a gunblade weapon. Unlike other gunblades in the series, hers can actually shift between sword/firearm modes, and actually functions as a ranged weapon.
Final Fantasy 13 is the only FF game in the series to have two direct sequels, which I have not played. As I have stated before in previous posts I am having a hard time getting through the original FF13. This, unfortunately, puts me at the disadvantage of not fully knowing Lightnings development as a character, though I have heard she softens up quite a bit in 13-2. Perhaps I will revisit this post after finishing all three games.
An odd bit of trivia: Lightning is currently one of the models for the clothing designer Loius Vuittion. Yep, a digital model. You can see some of her modelling in the following Bing search.
That’s it for today! Check back again next Friday when we explore something new and different from the Final Fantasy world!