[Administrative note: For more recent articles with further research and additional perspectives on the subject of the FFVII Love Triangle Debate, please see the following:
—“This just in: A private apology to Clerith fans (in public),” by Squall_of_SeeD (posted as a retraction to and apology for elements of “This just in: The Love Triangle Debate- over”)
—”Dilly Dally, Shilly Shally — An LTD Analysis,” by Squall_of_SeeD
—Reflections on the LTD, by June]
Final Fantasy Seven’s love triangle debate has been raging for the better part of twelve years now, and caused no end of interfandom tensions. For those of you unfamiliar with the whole debacle, I first congratulate you on your luck in remaining free, and I next explain that it is the debate over which of Tifa or Aerith Cloud Strife loves. Many a year, and countless hypotheses have been spent trying to argue that Cloud and Tifa are not a couple despite all the best evidence, and that Cloud and Aerith have a relationship despite the latter’s unfortunate condition. For some time, the love triangle debate has been in what could aptly be described as its death throes. Today, hopefully, we can perform a mercy killing.
Just this morning, our translator Tres dias, who is translating the FFVIII keywords and character profiles, who co-wrote the Dissidia FAQ with Mako Eyes, and who has written a comprehensive FAQ on this subject, received the Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania Scenario in the mail. He wanted me to be the one to make this post, and it is my honor to now provide you with his scans, and translations, of page 394 of the guidebook, on ‘For the one I love.’
The header to this section reads
Of direct interest to we fans of Final Fantasy Seven, however, are two images and their associated text, which we have provided, zoomed in on, so those playing at home can check our work.
At the Gold Saucer, Cloud receives an invitation from one of his companions. Who comes around with the invitation is dependent on Cloud’s behavior.
Nothing so amazing, no, all it tells us is that the date itself is up to player control, so no one version is ‘official,’ but the next section is not only what hopefully will make for a swift end to the LTD, but also confirms a scenario I have been arguing in favor of for quite a number of years.
As you can see, the image is of Cloud and Tifa’s night under the Highwind. That on a page entitled ‘for the one I love’ is very conclusive in its own right. The text, however, takes it a step further, and reads
The night before the final battle
Thanks to Tifa, Cloud regains himself, and before the final battle with Sephiroth, without using words, he confirms with her that their feelings match.
Read that again. ‘without using words, [Cloud] confirms with [Tifa] that their feelings match.’ So, not only can we unequivocally state that these matching feelings are those of love, but that these feelings of love are confirmed without words. In other words, physically. So, yes, there was almost certainly sex under the Highwind that night. I do not wish to bore everyone with a regurgitation of all the related materials, but this does confirm that yes, Cloud and Tifa’s relationship past this point are that of lovers. And that, my friends, settles the Love Triangle. Even if you don’t want to believe it.
Also of note is that this page shows all the other ‘canon’ couples in the main parties, Ingus and Sara, Cecil and Rosa, Locke and Celes, Squall and Rinoa, Steiner and Beatrix, Zidane and Garnet, and Tidus and Yuna in their moments of revelation. So Cloud and Tifa are certainly in good company, hugging together underneath the Highwind along all the other canon couples of Final Fantasy.
One last thing, before I go. I have one thought, from Tres himself, that he asked me to relate to everyone. That thought is, “All that’s left to say is: Abandon ‘ship!” Wise words indeed, since that ship has been undeniably sunk, if you’ll pardon the pun, by canon.
UPDATE: If you wish to see the translation of the page as a whole, please follow this link to Tres’s translations of what the rest of this page says about revelation of romantic feelings in other games, and what the box in the lower right says about displays of non-romantic feelings.