Classic LTD — Just the original game, no substitutes

Enthralled

Pro Adventurer
AKA
a dude
#3
Oh man, I still remember my early innocent days in this fandom when I stumbled into a LTD discussion with no idea of what I'd got myself into, and said, "But Aerith is dead. You can't condemn Cloud to loving a dead woman for the rest of his life."

Yeah that was brutal.
My response would be, that the spirit of the discussion is who better embodied the love interest role or something headier than just who happens to be alive. Because anyone can tell who that would be. And I'd argue that Cloud and Aerith are the more consistent through-line for the game, with Tifa existing to resolve his own character conflicts and be someone who spares him from loneliness. Which I'd be very interested in hear objections to since I just rephrased popular arguments for that relationship into a role-based structure.
 
#4
OK, I'll bite. Two important jobs of a life partner are

- to help their other half resolve inner conflicts
- to provide companionship

Tifa doesn't exist solely for these reasons, of course. She has concerns and agency outside of Cloud. When we first meet her, she is giving his life direction and purpose by providing him with both employment and a cause in Avalanche. She is fighting for the survival of the Planet even before Cloud comes back into her life. Continuing in this fight with him to the end isn't merely a case of Tifa blindly following wherever Cloud leads, but of consistently remaining committed to a goal she chose and that she believes in. She takes over the leadership of Avalanche when Cloud is lost. If they had never found him, she would have continued to lead the fight against both Shinra and Sephiroth. She is strong, compassionate, loyal, intelligent, and beautiful, and very independent.

Tifa loves Cloud and she believes in him. However, when she loses him, she doesn't turn into a helpless puddle of grief; she takes action, she fights, she goes looking for him. She's possibly the least neediest character in the game. She can survive and have a live worth living without him. But she loves him, and she believes in him. Out of the abundance of her strength she consistently gives him the support he needs. He is lucky to have her.

These all seem like good qualifications for a love interest.

However, I'm open to your arguments as to why Aerith is better qualified to be a love interest.
 

Enthralled

Pro Adventurer
AKA
a dude
#5
OK, I'll bite. Two important jobs of a life partner are

- to help their other half resolve inner conflicts
- to provide companionship

Tifa doesn't exist solely for these reasons, of course. She has concerns and agency outside of Cloud. When we first meet her, she is giving his life direction and purpose by providing him with both employment and a cause in Avalanche. She is fighting for the survival of the Planet even before Cloud comes back into her life. Continuing in this fight with him to the end isn't merely a case of Tifa blindly following wherever Cloud leads, but of consistently remaining committed to a goal she chose and that she believes in. She takes over the leadership of Avalanche when Cloud is lost. If they had never found him, she would have continued to lead the fight against both Shinra and Sephiroth. She is strong, compassionate, loyal, intelligent, and beautiful, and very independent.

Tifa loves Cloud and she believes in him. However, when she loses him, she doesn't turn into a helpless puddle of grief; she takes action, she fights, she goes looking for him. She's possibly the least neediest character in the game. She can survive and have a live worth living without him. But she loves him, and she believes in him. Out of the abundance of her strength she consistently gives him the support he needs. He is lucky to have her.

These all seem like good qualifications for a love interest.

However, I'm open to your arguments as to why Aerith is better qualified to be a love interest.
Well simply put this is fiction and as such operates on different rules that just what might be pragmatic in real life. Love interest is more about motivation, development, affinity, and so on. And while Tifa doesn't lack these things they are more mechanical and due to specific circumstance. She can help him because she knows part of the real story, she played a role in his decision to join SOLDIER because well she was someone he wanted as a kid. So on and so forth. And of course I am not arguing Tifa is a bad love interest by any means, just that a lot of it is based in circumstances which feel contrived rather than a truly strong affinity for our boy. And admittedly I am biased against "backstories" because it's often very disconnected from the player's experience by informing us of what was before we participated.

Aerith on the other hand joins the story later on, but is arguably when the story really begins since everything prior with AVALANCHE was doomed to failure already. It was like a tutorial. And the bulk of Midgar, our establishing chapter, is spent fleshing out their dynamic and the clear fact that they're fond of each other. She propels Cloud's character development to where he needs to be to be the protagonist on a personal level, signposted by Barrett teasing Cloud for finding someone to fight for when they enter Shinra HQ. Knowing him very briefly she becomes integral to his character and who he is to us as the player, both propelling the story and our hero within it throughout the story. Even when she's dead the consequence of that is not simply "man pain" on his part but the recognition that she left him and everyone the hope they needed to continue.

And as for her personal qualities, like the ones you listed for Tifa, she did resolve Clouds stubborn determination to be a prick or any sense of defeat he had in Disc 2. She can easily provide companionship to him, her flower business is going great so any issues he might find looking for work can be easily resolved, part of her section in Midgar is Cloud regaining a taste of a normal life which is personified within her and her surroundings, or could if she had lived. She had an arc outside of him, while frankly kinda did not and kinda-sorta gave up when finding him the wheelchair. While this proves temporary for her it's contrasted with how Aerith was willing to leave Cloud to do what needed to be done. And I recall reading somewhere he was the dominant thought on her mind while praying but I'd have to look for it. As Hamaguchi said, she's arguably the real hero of the story. Not just because she is strong, smart, beautiful, or a Cetra, etc but because of her essential decent character. Everyone else in the cast is much more compromised than she is, while she is pretty much blameless for anything. Red XIII is too but he's minor ;_;

And there's a subjective element to this all. I don't really think Cloud and Tifa have a strong dynamic. And I feel this is intentional when it's revealed they never knew each other that well. Cloud and Aerith's dynamic might be cliche but it works and it served to communicate a lot about them very easily so it was a good use of cliche.
 

looneymoon

hedgehog pandacat
AKA
Rishi
#6
tbf Cloud (and Tifa?) could easily be dead at the end of FF7 too.

Their last shared dialog is expressing desire of meeting Aerith in the Promised Land, which is a loosely defined concept. The literal last time we see Cloud and Tifa, they are talking about thr possibility of seeing Aerith again. We don't get concrete insight into why that is, or what that means, because the meteor hits shortly after. Prior to this, I don't believe we really get an idea of what the character's understanding of the Promised Land is either.

I think the ambiguity of that line is what spurred the great Final Fantasy waifu wars. If we are confining the discussion to just the OG, we lack a lot of closure.
 
#8
The question nobody ever asks is this - would Aerith want to be a long-term relationship with Cloud?

Yes, she expresses a wish to get to know him - the real him - better. And I mean yes, you could interpret that as a declaration of love if you felt so inclined. But it's hardly an unambiguous one. If you are, like Aerith, someone who takes an interest in people generally, of course you'd want to get to know Cloud better. As a friend? As a lover? These questions are left unanswered - or rather, the individual player is free to answer them in accordance with his or her own preferences.

Aerith owes Cloud a great deal. She is also aware that he has major issues and is seriously disturbed. She knows that she doesn't truly know him. I would argue that you cannot love someone you don't know, and Aerith understands this. Fond as she is of Cloud, and conscious as she is that he is fond of her, her primary goal is to sort out her own identity issues and to fulfil her duty to the Planet as a Cetra.
 

billy22

Pro Adventurer
#9
tbf Cloud (and Tifa?) could easily be dead at the end of FF7 too.

Their last shared dialog is expressing desire of meeting Aerith in the Promised Land, which is a loosely defined concept. The literal last time we see Cloud and Tifa, they are talking about thr possibility of seeing Aerith again. We don't get concrete insight into why that is, or what that means, because the meteor hits shortly after. Prior to this, I don't believe we really get an idea of what the character's understanding of the Promised Land is either.

I think the ambiguity of that line is what spurred the great Final Fantasy waifu wars. If we are confining the discussion to just the OG, we lack a lot of closure.
I have always doubted that Cloud and the rest of the party died after Meteor, due to seeing Red XIII alive 500 years later. He was on the same ship. They should have all survived the impact.

The '500 years later and here is a ruined Midgar' epilogue always indicated to me that humanity never learns. They made the same mistakes long after Cloud & company passed and destroyed themselves. That could still hold true even after all of the compilation material.

But obviously, Cloud and Tifa are dead after 500 years anyway.

My response would be, that the spirit of the discussion is who better embodied the love interest role or something headier than just who happens to be alive. Because anyone can tell who that would be. And I'd argue that Cloud and Aerith are the more consistent through-line for the game, with Tifa existing to resolve his own character conflicts and be someone who spares him from loneliness. Which I'd be very interested in hear objections to since I just rephrased popular arguments for that relationship into a role-based structure.
I'm not sure what you mean by 'consistent through-line?' After Aerith dies, she's mentioned like twice, then gets a sort of homage in the form of her hand in the final cutscene and finally a brief 2 second shot of her as the credits roll.

She is by far more prevalent in the first half and more important to the plot overall. Whereas Tifa is important for Cloud's arc. But if we're talking consistency throughout the entire game? I am not sure your meaning.
 
#10
I have always doubted that Cloud and the rest of the party died after Meteor, due to seeing Red XIII alive 500 years later. He was on the same ship. They should have all survived the impact.

The '500 years later and here is a ruined Midgar' epilogue always indicated to me that humanity never learns. They made the same mistakes long after Cloud & company passed and destroyed themselves. That could still hold true even after all of the compilation material.

But obviously, Cloud and Tifa are dead after 500 years anyway.
I always felt though that since the "ruined Midgar" in the OG ending which used to be surrounded by a wasteland, and is now covered in greenery and birds are flying around, plus the children laughing after the cut to black, that was all meant to indicate that humanity 500 years later had learned and were now living in harmony with the planet/nature like the Cetra used to.
 

looneymoon

hedgehog pandacat
AKA
Rishi
#12
^

I think there's plenty of in-game text to suggest the idea that Holy (not Meteor) would function similarly to WEAPON and wipe out humanity, for the good of the planet. I think that interpretation is legitimate, and the biggest narrative-break the Compilation did to the story.

Personally, I think the shot of Aerith's face in the end suggests that because it is her prayer, that she is the ultimate hero in the end, and that humanity will be OK. FF7 is cynical, but I don't think it's that cynical at the heart of it. Though, I suppose Aerith's appearance could also suggest that you (the player, party, whatever) are finally able to "meet her" again. That the flowers are a memory of humanity's last hope, and the children laughing are the whispers of the lifestream or something.

this is off topic, but I think this topic is a lot more interesting than the LTD, and not one the Compilation allows us to have anymore.
 
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ExampleZ

Pro Adventurer
#13
tbf Cloud (and Tifa?) could easily be dead at the end of FF7 too.

Their last shared dialog is expressing desire of meeting Aerith in the Promised Land, which is a loosely defined concept. The literal last time we see Cloud and Tifa, they are talking about thr possibility of seeing Aerith again. We don't get concrete insight into why that is, or what that means, because the meteor hits shortly after. Prior to this, I don't believe we really get an idea of what the character's understanding of the Promised Land is either.

I think the ambiguity of that line is what spurred the great Final Fantasy waifu wars. If we are confining the discussion to just the OG, we lack a lot of closure.
There's a character in Cosmo Canyon who explains what the term "Promised Land" is referring to:

Elder Hargo said:
...The Promised Land. So you want to know...? There is no one place called the Promised Land. That's what I believe. No no, it does exist. Hmmm...... you can say that too. In other words, it doesn't exist for us, but it did for the Ancients. The Promised Land is the resting place of the Ancients. The life of the Ancients is one continuous journey. A journey to grow trees and plants, produce animals, and to raise Mako energy. Their harsh journeys continued throughout their lives... The place they returned to after their long journey... Their burial land is the Promised Land. Huh? Supreme Happiness? I believe that, for the Ancients, it was the moment that they were able to return to their Planet. At that moment they were released from their fate, and gained their supreme happiness... At least that's what I believe. I really don't know whether or not it's the truth now.
The problem is it's so easily missable that many people today still have no idea what the "Promised Land" actually is, and for the longest time I was in that camp. The shitty translation certainly didn't help. Cloud saying he can meet Aeris in the promised land/lifestream/afterlife just means that he's accepting that she's gone, but he'll see her again some day when it's time for him to join the planet, to which Tifa smiles and agrees. That, or he and Tifa are gonna kill themselves just to see Aeris again, which I somehow doubt is the case, since neither of them showed any romantic interest in Aeris in the first place.
 

Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
#14
There's a character in Cosmo Canyon who explains what the term "Promised Land" is referring to:



The problem is it's so easily missable that many people today still have no idea what the "Promised Land" actually is, and for the longest time I was in that camp. The shitty translation certainly didn't help. Cloud saying he can meet Aeris in the promised land/lifestream/afterlife just means that he's accepting that she's gone, but he'll see her again some day when it's time for him to join the planet, to which Tifa smiles and agrees. That, or he and Tifa are gonna kill themselves just to see Aeris again, which I somehow doubt is the case, since neither of them showed any romantic interest in Aeris in the first place.
I figure it as a "There's a chance we're gonna die down here, but at least we can maybe see Aerith again." Then the highwind shows up and everyone gets on.
 

ExampleZ

Pro Adventurer
#15
I figure it as a "There's a chance we're gonna die down here, but at least we can maybe see Aerith again." Then the highwind shows up and everyone gets on.
Maybe, but the way he worded it ("I think I'm beginning to understand...an answer from the planet") gives it a different meaning.
 

Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
#16
Maybe, but the way he worded it ("I think I'm beginning to understand...an answer from the planet") gives it a different meaning.
How do you figure? He had just had an our of body experience in the lifestream, and was facing down imminent death. "There is a place for us" would fit perfectly well as an answer from the planet.
 
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