JENOVA's identity as a female organism...

ChipNoir

Pro Adventurer
#1
Y'know, I kinda wonder now why the writers decided to code JENOVA as a female. I mean, yes, there's the 2 minute deception of her being Sephiroth's mother, but physically the creature that can be anything it wants to still seems to want to create overtly biologically female elements. The damn thing has breasts and motherly hips. The new Mobious art cards make this very apparent.

Why do you reckon the developers went in this direction? Why would a destroyer of worlds that has virtual immortality choose a female guise, even in it's most monstrous sub-forms?
 

CrashOuch

Wide and Slow
AKA
Sara
#2
I feel like from a purely design and story view, women have for a long time been easily made into villains. There's countless fairytales etc. with evil gnarled witches and old croons and stuff like that and they always have the same like ... pure evil + kinda gross/horrifying appearance as Jenova? So having her be female coded kinda works from that point of view, like she slips into a sort of age-old trope a bit and you immediately recognise her as the Maleficent of this story idk :lol:
 

Roger

Triple Slash Enthusiast
AKA
Minato
#3
I think it simply still had the features of some Cetra woman it was impersonating when it got stuck under the rocklayer and Jenova Birth/Death/Life aren't supposed to have gender exclusive features, not originally anyway.
 

ChipNoir

Pro Adventurer
#5
I think it simply still had the features of some Cetra woman it was impersonating when it got stuck under the rocklayer and Jenova Birth/Death/Life aren't supposed to have gender exclusive features, not originally anyway.
The battle model definetly has a set of breasts, and a hyper-stylized hour glass figure where it's lower body emulates a puffed out gown/dress motife. The only thing the new art adds is defined leg-like parts before the 'skirt' element begins, particularly for the JENOVA Life art in Mobius.

So it's still coded pretty hard as female in it's boss form.

Now more than ever I'm curious to see if JENOVA might make an appearance in Cloud's mindscape as a false mother figuring, holding Cloud captive in her 'loving' embrace ala The Madonna in art, and Tifa would have to lay a smackdown on her.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#6
When Ilfana is talking about Jenova in the interview, she's actually calling her "it". For better or worse, English has no gender neutral pronouns while Japanese does and Jenova clearly "reproduces" itself somehow (asexual division most likely). So that's more in-line with calling it a female then a male in English anyway.

However, her role as a "mother" is more tied to her relationship with Sephiroth then anything else. All the JENOVA bosses we fight are really manifestations of Sephiroth's will that is controlling parts of JENOVA's body.

So I think the question really should be, "Why does Sephiroth keep casting JENOVA as a female when he certainly knows she isn't one?
 

ChipNoir

Pro Adventurer
#7
When Ilfana is talking about Jenova in the interview, she's actually calling her "it". For better or worse, English has no gender neutral pronouns while Japanese does and Jenova clearly "reproduces" itself somehow (asexual division most likely). So that's more in-line with calling it a female then a male in English anyway.

However, her role as a "mother" is more tied to her relationship with Sephiroth then anything else. All the JENOVA bosses we fight are really manifestations of Sephiroth's will that is controlling parts of JENOVA's body.

So I think the question really should be, "Why does Sephiroth keep casting JENOVA as a female when he certainly knows she isn't one?

Sephiroth has oddball issues. I mean, in his bizzaro form he wears a JENOVA figure as a hat...
 
AKA
Mr. Ite
#8
I think it simply still had the features of some Cetra woman it was impersonating when it got stuck under the rocklayer and Jenova Birth/Death/Life aren't supposed to have gender exclusive features, not originally anyway.
Awesome. Now my fanon.

Although... it might just be misremembering, but I thought my old black-label NA release had Ifalna saying "that's.... when he appeared!"
 
AKA
The Engineer
#9
Although... it might just be misremembering, but I thought my old black-label NA release had Ifalna saying "that's.... when he appeared!"
From what I remember reading, that "he" is gender-neutral in Japanese. She's really saying, "that's... when it appeared!" only "it" isn't an object but a living thing.
 

Mage

Return of the Dead-eye
AKA
Mage
#10
FFWiki said:
Jenova's genetic structure is a two-way conduit: it can both take in the traits of its prey, and insert its own genes to turn other organisms into violent monsters. Once Jenova lands upon a planet it will destroy every form of life it finds. Jenova can absorb its prey's memories and form, hiding as their loved ones to destroy them.

As stated in Professor Hojo's Jenova Reunion Theory, once Jenova's cells have been separated from the main body they will seek to reunite. If they are inside a host body they can influence its mind and body to join the Reunion—sometimes so severely the host organism is killed. For an unknown reason organisms affected by Jenova often grow a single wing capable of flight and the pupils of the affected can change into a feline slit, though the rest of the eye remains unchanged.
I think the most worrying thing here is that Geralt is clearly infected with Jenova cells. :monster:

Sauce: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Jenova
 
#11
Okay, so...first off, great question/thread. I have always loved Jenova's concept and design, and when I finally saw "The Thing", which was only a few years ago (I know people are probably tired of hearing this), my appreciation only deepened...it was like suddenly a bunch of luminescent neon signs blaring 'INSPIRATION/HOMAGE' appeared, with giant arrows pointing back to my FF7-saturated pubescent years.

In any case, I may be misremembering/missing something here, but while Jenova is obviously a shape-shifter extraordinaire, I was under the impression that what Sephiroth comes across in the Nibelheim reactor is something of a 'true' form, rather than just a 'preferred creepy shape'. After that lone sight of her/it whole, the head and body are almost immediately separated (which is something that still confuses me), with the former tricklin' on down to the Lifestream with Seph. So, besides being channeled via Sephiroth, the forms we encounter along the way are mutations spawned from pieces of the whole...if that makes sense? This may be off topic, but the Ultimania has a lot of asides about how, originally, the 'Pieces of Jenova' aspect was a much more detailed and explicitly clear subplot, with even the hooded 'minions' being revealed to actually be individual bodyparts 'floating' underneath, but most of it was scrapped. As a result, I've always kind of considered what we see left in the game of this the remaining 'leftovers' of an unfinished plot element, which as a result becomes kind of confusing/potentially contradictory.

As for gender, you guys have pretty much said it...Jenova is an "it": besides the fact that it's not human, nor an animal, its not even OF Earth, so any attempt to literally define it by either human gender categories OR animal ones is a futile endeavor. BUT, I still think the whole having it referred to as "Mother", and "she"/"her" as opposed to "he" (when not using "it") is significant, even if its just to add layers to the Oedipal/creepy factor of the narrative. The ultimate "Women as Symbols of Evil" fairytale is the Bible, and you could make quite a long list of the female figures of absolute villainy and evil contained in that one, not to mention literature in general. Jenova deserves a spot in that list. I've heard people make the case that the fact that it/she has recognizably female breasts on an otherwise monstrous body is a tiring example of (esp. Japanese) gaming/comics etc throwing in excess sexuality that, given the nature of this specific 'monster', is even more inappropriate. I disagree, and feel like that aspect as part of the whole fucked-up, blue (?) package is one of (Nomura's?) the series' best designs, CERTAINLY the villain designs. She's disturbing, impressive, grotesque, human-esque and utterly inhuman at the same time, and especially when you're about 12, almost attractive for a brief second.

I have a bunch more to say, but this has already been a long, unnecessary rant. Damn I love this series.
 
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ChipNoir

Pro Adventurer
#12
I think at this point the remake needs to do what the compilation has strangely avoided: Give JENOVA some agency and a voice. Advent Children reduces her down to a McGuffin, and the other games barely acknowledge her existence as anything except a device to explain why everything's going on.

So I'm REALLY crossing my fingers for JENOVA to have a presence in Cloud's mindscape. It baffles me that it's Sephiroth that invades that and acts as the agent to try to destroy his sanity, when it's actually JENOVA's cells running amuk in his system the whole time.

It just doesn't settle well with me that she's just a conduit for Sephiroth's psychic attacks. I want more from her as a villain.

I find it interesting btw that in Dissidia Duodecim, they pick one of the only two female villains as Tifa's defacto nemesis, that being Ultimecia. I think that may be where I even go this idea of a Tifa vs JENOVA stand off.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#13
^That flies in the face of the fact that JENOVA is dead for the entire game. ACC didn't make JENOVA into a MCGuffin, the OG treated her as one the entire time. Except maybe for the little bit in the Reactor with Sephiroth (after which he kills her.)

As it is, the reason why Cloud is being messed with is not because he has a bunch of JENOVA cells in him. Everyone in SOLDIER has that going for them. Cloud is being messed with becasue Hojo put Sephiroth's cells in him after Cloud defeated Sephiroth in the Reacotor. Sephiroth is the one obsessed with Cloud.

I'll personally be very disappointed if JENOVA is a force in the Remake as opposed to Sephiroth. It cheapens the victory the Cetra/Planet had over her when she first arrived.

She's also a lot more boring then Sephiroth is. All she wants is to kill things so she can travel to the next Planet and do it all over again. Sephrioth wants to get back at everyone he thinks betrayed him with a dose of obsession mixed in with it. Which is still boring as far as villains go, but at least it beats The Thing...
 

Roger

Triple Slash Enthusiast
AKA
Minato
#14
Crisis Core introduces the idea that Cloud has Sephiroth's cells rather then Jenova but nevertheless Obsidian Fire is right, Cloud having Jenova cells meaning it should be Jenova who appears in his mind doesn't hold up, Sephiroth is appearing through Jenova's cells the entire time, he kills the President, is encountered on the ship, at Nibelheim, in the Temple, when he kills Aerith, ect. Either Sephiroth ought to be a complete non-entity through the entire game or Jenova is. Obviously it is and shouild be the latter. Jenova doesn't know or care about Shinra or Cloud.
 
#15
I think that in most of us, including heterosexual females, there is a deeply embedded reverence for the female form. Ergo, any corruption of it brings forth a greater shock compared to corruptions of the male form. This is useful for when designing aliens. By incorporating female shapes into something monstrous, you create an uncanny "other". An amalgamation that is not supposed to exist.

Add to that FFVII's theme of birth and rebirth and it makes sense to have a female villain, a "reproductive" villain, stand in contrast to the planet's natural reproductive cycles: The Lifestream.

Although... it might just be misremembering, but I thought my old black-label NA release had Ifalna saying "that's.... when he appeared!"
You are remembering (sorta) correctly. The English script in the PS1 version at first refers to the calamity as an "it" but then switches to "he". In the English PC translation, all "he" references were changed to "it".

PS1 vs PC
  


As has already been stated, the Japanese script uses a genderless pronoun so the PC version is thus the most faithful to the original game script.


EDIT: Thanks to Ite bringing up this classical difference between the PS and PC versions, I realized that my FFVII Version Guide did not include this example when "he/him" was changed to "it". Added it now to the Script Comparison: PS English <-> PC English page.
 
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#16
I always took Jenova's shape as a female to just be reflective of the last human/cetra form infected by "the virus".

With Jenova being tied to The Thing in terms of how it was conceived, I always imagned Jenova was basically just a bunch of cells in the first place - like a virus - whose property is to infect other organisms. The whole shape-shifting/mind-reading thing is just a automatic mechanism that activates as a self-defense/propagation tool once the virus has sufficiently altered its host.

I imagine the first meteor striking, and some poor Cetra sod heading over to investigate, only to get into contact with the virus, and then begin to mutate.
The thing then heads back into town and starts killing/infecting others.

Jenova as we see her in the game, is just the last remaining cell-cluster/infected Cetra.
The reason this form is retained when you fight Jenova, is because whatever else it is, its still the primary cell-cluster.
Sure, Sephiroth can command it to change shapes, which he does, but ultimately, once he/it releases the guise, it still reverts to its original form, the last thing it infected and whatever appearance resulted from the mutation at that time - which just happens to have been a Cetra woman.

I think it's important for Jenova to not take center-stage as a villain in "her own right", because it conflicts with the larger theme of FFVII as a story.
FFVII is man VS nature, technnology VS naturalism.
This is the core theme that the entire game shapes itself around.
Introducing Jenova as a separate villain detracts from that, and takes what is otherwise a very grounded story thematically(keyword, I'm not saying FFVII's story is grounded in general), and makes it unrelatable to any real world topic or issue, which is completely uncharacteristic of FFVII in almost every other regard (hence why I don't think Jenova being in control, or even being a central agent are particularly good theories).

Getting specific though, sure, Sephiroth's psyche is damaged in a sense by having been born under the influence of the Jenova virus, but the entire point of the final scene in the game, where Cloud confronts Sephiroth within the lifestream post the destruction of Jenova is, I think, meant to symbolize the existence of mankind's darkness as an inherent part of Sephiroth as a person whether he'd been injected with Jenova or not - which is consistent with the theme of the game.
EDIT :
I think it's important to remember that Sephiroth's statement that he thought he was special, in many ways echoes/mirrors the ego displayed by his father Hojo, a person who is not infected with Jenova cells (but then actually injects himself with them). Sephiroth is, I think, probably meant to be a flawed character, Jenova cells or not.

Mankind is the planet's biggest potential enemy (hence the ending with the ambiguity surrounding whether holy wiped out mankind etc) and all people have some character faults in them (this is apparent in main cast itself as well). The more you shift the plot towards Jenova as a separate and influential entity, the more this is lost in favor of a completely abstract and unrelatable man/planet VS Alien conflict.
Not only is it a worse theme for that reason, it's a theme that isn't consistent with the rest of FFVII's story-telling as a whole, with its heavy focus on situations running analogous to real world socio-political issues that were on the forefront of discourse in the 90's (ex. natural gass discussion raging at the time) and other more personal issues like identity and character flaws like conceit and inferiority complexes.

EDIT :
Having structured my thoughts around it some more, I think I'd argue that Jenova serves no thematic purpose, and that trying to make it/her serve one inevitably leads to a bumping of heads with the other primary theme.

The purpose of Jenova is purely instrumental, or utilitarian. She is the catalyst for the plot, not a thematic set-piece.
You need a Jenova in FFVII to make anything happen, unless you just want it to be a plot about fighting a greedy global corporation.
Jenova is an instrument for the purpose of demonstrating the unscrupulous nature of man - where, when discovered, she/it becomes a tool for the Shinra military-industrial complex which is what generates Sephiroth, Cloud, and their entire conflict. She/it is basically the puzzle-piece that ties all the plot elements together and gives a natural-feeling reason for why things unfold the way they do.

If you suppose Jenova is symbolic of something, this just begs the questions, what, and for what purpose?
What room, or use, is there for an iteration on the biblical scheming woman-figure in this story? And what sense does that "analogy" even make when Jenova isn't even human in the first place?
Human women are bad because alien is bad? Alien is bad because human women are bad? Just, alien is bad? Do we even think that's a message the writer of FFVII would want to propagate?
How does this fit in with the rest of FFVII's narrative? What purpose would that symbolism serve?
Non at all in my opinion.

As I already said though - why would you make a symbol for alien dangers/evil/corruption in a story so deeply rooted in, and intent on showing the concept of danger/evil/corruption coming from within humans themselves?

I don't buy it. Jenova is just a catalyst - A plot convencience for the sake of putting everything else into motion in a justifiable manner. And, that's all she can ever be as far as I'm concerned without taking away from the theme of the game.


EDIT 2: (lol so many edits)

Totally as an aside, and almost certainly me reading way too much into the writing of the game - I've always liked to think of the 4 ending fights as being a condensed symbolic run-down of the basis arch of the game as it pertains to Cloud and Sephiroth's relationship.

1. You fight Jenova first - because she's the catalyst for everything that happened. This is the beginning.

2. You fight Bizarro Sephiroth, which symbolizes pre-nibelheim/Nibelheim Sephiroth. His monstrous form runs analogous to Sephiroth's own characterization of himself as a monster during the incident, and the small Jenova shape on his head symbolizes how the Jenova cells has tampered with his psyche.

3. You fight Safer Sephiroth, which symbolizes post-Nibelheim Sephiroth after he's travelled through the lifestream and attained the knowledge of the ancients. This is Sephiroth having transcended the Jenova cell's influence.

4. You fight the real Sephiroth, which is the core of his persona - a symbol of his ego, and the worst aspect of humans. He smirks at Cloud as he descends to him because, deep down, this is what he really cares about.
Sephiroth's ego is what drives him, a feeling of being special and better than everyone else, which Cloud denied and broke when Cloud overcame him in a match of brute strength within the reactor despite by all reasonable accounts should not have been able to do so (something Sephiroth expressed complete incredulity over).
This is why, despite having stated his goal is to become a god and travel the cosmos, everthing Sephiroth does throughout the game results in leading Cloud on back to him despite how it plays out through entirely unnecessary contrivances.
This also compliments the consistent thread throughout FFVII about unreliable narrators.

Everyone in FFVII are unrealiable narrators - even Sephiroth.
In the end we see Sephiroth's pure ego facing off against Cloud, the person who irrepairably bruised it - making the encounter a symbol for the better nature of man (Cloud representing compassion and care for his fellow man/planet) and Sephiroth being a symbol for man's worse aspects (Narcissism, delusions of grandeur, lack of empathy, solipsistic thinking).
 
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ChipNoir

Pro Adventurer
#17
Crisis Core introduces the idea that Cloud has Sephiroth's cells rather then Jenova but nevertheless Obsidian Fire is right, Cloud having Jenova cells meaning it should be Jenova who appears in his mind doesn't hold up, Sephiroth is appearing through Jenova's cells the entire time, he kills the President, is encountered on the ship, at Nibelheim, in the Temple, when he kills Aerith, ect. Either Sephiroth ought to be a complete non-entity through the entire game or Jenova is. Obviously it is and shouild be the latter. Jenova doesn't know or care about Shinra or Cloud.
Or JENOVA can be a subtle influence? I find it interesting, and IIRC I broached this before, that JENOVA arrived on a falling meteor or space ship or SOMETHING that did a massive amount of damage.

And what does Sephiroth do? Attempt to summon something else to hurt the planet in what sounds like a bid for godhood, except that really it'd just destroy the planet, and leave Sephiroth with nothing to rule over.

It sounds to me like it's a perfect opportunity to make JENOVA this subtle puppet master offering everyone around her something they want, be it scientific success, lost loved ones, strength, a mother figure, or a purpose. There's plenty of room for Sephiroth to be the main villain, but have JENOVA act as a machinatior similar to Xemus, only with a far more defined personality.
 

Roger

Triple Slash Enthusiast
AKA
Minato
#20
Crisis Core introduces the idea that Cloud has Sephiroth's cells rather then Jenova but nevertheless Obsidian Fire is right, Cloud having Jenova cells meaning it should be Jenova who appears in his mind doesn't hold up, Sephiroth is appearing through Jenova's cells the entire time, he kills the President, is encountered on the ship, at Nibelheim, in the Temple, when he kills Aerith, ect. Either Sephiroth ought to be a complete non-entity through the entire game or Jenova is. Obviously it is and shouild be the latter. Jenova doesn't know or care about Shinra or Cloud.
Or JENOVA can be a subtle influence? I find it interesting, and IIRC I broached this before, that JENOVA arrived on a falling meteor or space ship or SOMETHING that did a massive amount of damage.

And what does Sephiroth do? Attempt to summon something else to hurt the planet in what sounds like a bid for godhood, except that really it'd just destroy the planet, and leave Sephiroth with nothing to rule over.

It sounds to me like it's a perfect opportunity to make JENOVA this subtle puppet master offering everyone around her something they want, be it scientific success, lost loved ones, strength, a mother figure, or a purpose. There's plenty of room for Sephiroth to be the main villain, but have JENOVA act as a machinatior similar to Xemus, only with a far more defined personality.
But it'd be Jenova puppetering Sephiroth into puppetering Jenova into killing itself, piece by piece. She's the one doing Sephiroth's legwork for him, being cut down by AVALANCHE, at every stage and in the case of the Jenova cells bearing Sephiroth copies, Sephiroth himself.
 

ChipNoir

Pro Adventurer
#21
Crisis Core introduces the idea that Cloud has Sephiroth's cells rather then Jenova but nevertheless Obsidian Fire is right, Cloud having Jenova cells meaning it should be Jenova who appears in his mind doesn't hold up, Sephiroth is appearing through Jenova's cells the entire time, he kills the President, is encountered on the ship, at Nibelheim, in the Temple, when he kills Aerith, ect. Either Sephiroth ought to be a complete non-entity through the entire game or Jenova is. Obviously it is and shouild be the latter. Jenova doesn't know or care about Shinra or Cloud.
Or JENOVA can be a subtle influence? I find it interesting, and IIRC I broached this before, that JENOVA arrived on a falling meteor or space ship or SOMETHING that did a massive amount of damage.

And what does Sephiroth do? Attempt to summon something else to hurt the planet in what sounds like a bid for godhood, except that really it'd just destroy the planet, and leave Sephiroth with nothing to rule over.

It sounds to me like it's a perfect opportunity to make JENOVA this subtle puppet master offering everyone around her something they want, be it scientific success, lost loved ones, strength, a mother figure, or a purpose. There's plenty of room for Sephiroth to be the main villain, but have JENOVA act as a machinatior similar to Xemus, only with a far more defined personality.
But it'd be Jenova puppetering Sephiroth into puppetering Jenova into killing itself, piece by piece. She's the one doing Sephiroth's legwork for him, being cut down by AVALANCHE, at every stage and in the case of the Jenova cells bearing Sephiroth copies, Sephiroth himself.
I don't think Jenova can ever be killed. Especially not with the extended universe implying she has virtual immortality because her cells cannot contribute to the lifestream, and anything she taints also cannot return, thus why Sephiroth has a way to return. You can cut her down to an atomic level, but it'll just continue to operate till enough pieces come back together to reform something.

So it doesn't really make sense to me to think of such a potent being also stupidly existing on auto-pilot unless someone like Sephiroth uses her. Just doesn't settle with me at all.

It becomes to convenient to me that Sephiroth basically continues her exact same plan, and goes insane over the course of what feels like 48 hours to do so. Having her whisper ideas in his ear is much more appealing to me. Her goal is to destroy the earth, and Sephiroth is just the latest tool she wants to use.
 

JBedford

Pro Adventurer
AKA
JBed
#22
Chip why do you write Jenova as "JENOVA"?
I think I used to write it that way too. FFVII's localisation has a thing with capitalisation that causes people to do it in cases where they originally didn't (like the people who believe that the creatures were called WEAPON in their game -- the BradyGames guide and also the internet probably helped fuel that Mandela effect).

With JENOVA, it might be influenced by an association due to Jenova's form-names using capital letters; but I think for me it was mainly because of the track titled J-E-N-O-V-A.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#23
Chip why do you write Jenova as "JENOVA"?
I have no idea. It's just something I've done for 20 years.
I used to do it, too. Probably because that's how it's written on the plate above her room in the reactor, on her helmet, in one of her themes, and because of all the other fully capitalized proper nouns that came out of FFVII being released in English (thanks to both the game and the strategy guide).

EDIT: JBedford beat me to it. :monster:

Or JENOVA can be a subtle influence? I find it interesting, and IIRC I broached this before, that JENOVA arrived on a falling meteor or space ship or SOMETHING that did a massive amount of damage.

And what does Sephiroth do? Attempt to summon something else to hurt the planet in what sounds like a bid for godhood, except that really it'd just destroy the planet, and leave Sephiroth with nothing to rule over.

It sounds to me like it's a perfect opportunity to make JENOVA this subtle puppet master offering everyone around her something they want, be it scientific success, lost loved ones, strength, a mother figure, or a purpose. There's plenty of room for Sephiroth to be the main villain, but have JENOVA act as a machinatior similar to Xemus, only with a far more defined personality.
Regarding Sephiroth being left with nothing to rule over: not quite. His plan is to be at the center of that wound so he can absorb the rest of the Lifestream and take over the cycle of souls. If he succeeds, he becomes the Lifestream -- so he becomes the planet itself, and all the new organisms that will be birthed upon it under his guidance are part of him.

That still feeds into your larger idea, but in a different way. I don't know if I've brought this up on the forum or just in an article for the site, but it very much seems like Sephiroth becomes a new or evolved version of Jenova.

I do think he has Jenova's instincts (possibly without realizing it), and -- contrary to what many of us still think to this day -- Jenova was awake and acting with agency during the original game. In fact, during the years the Compilation titles were being released, numerous official materials from Square talked about Sephiroth and Jenova like they were the same entity (read a section of the above-linked article entitled "The roles of Jenova and Sephiroth: The Puppet Master Theorem" for more on this).

I don't know what direction the remake will take with this, and I hope they don't really change it in any meaningful ways. The unelaborated presentation of the relationship between the two is very fitting in my mind, particularly for pushing Sephiroth's ego and the conflicts it creates/symbolizes (as hian described so well) to the forefront.

And that, if nothing else -- though other good points have been raised as well (looking at you especially, Shademp) -- is probably good enough reason for Jenova to be depicted as a female and emphasized so much as a "mother." Some might say acting on an impulse to reproduce, which Jenova and Sephiroth attempt on a planetary scale, is the ultimate stroke of ego.
 
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Roger

Triple Slash Enthusiast
AKA
Minato
#24
I don't think Jenova can ever be killed. Especially not with the extended universe implying she has virtual immortality because her cells cannot contribute to the lifestream, and anything she taints also cannot return, thus why Sephiroth has a way to return. You can cut her down to an atomic level, but it'll just continue to operate till enough pieces come back together to reform something.

So it doesn't really make sense to me to think of such a potent being also stupidly existing on auto-pilot unless someone like Sephiroth uses her. Just doesn't settle with me at all.

It becomes to convenient to me that Sephiroth basically continues her exact same plan, and goes insane over the course of what feels like 48 hours to do so. Having her whisper ideas in his ear is much more appealing to me. Her goal is to destroy the earth, and Sephiroth is just the latest tool she wants to use.
Again, that's the Compilation talking, not what's established in the original game. SE has said they aren't gonna beholden to it going into this remake of the original game and I feel they are quite right. And Jenova has been out and about spreading on a cellular level throughout the Planet thanks to Shinra for decades, Clearly the fall of Sephiroth is what changed things, not Jenova.
 

looneymoon

hedgehog pandacat
AKA
Rishi
#25
I don't think talking about FF7 pseudo-science is particularly interesting, but I wanted to add some visual components to this thread.

I feel like Jenova is part of a visual and narrative trend that was happening a lot in Japanese media at the time. I think if you look at a lot of the popular imagery in anime/manga in the 80s-90s, it makes sense that Jenova is portrayed the way she is, at least aesthetically. FF7 came along around the same time as stuff like Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain, and Jenova a lot of visual similarities to a lot of imagery used in those series. I get the impression that this wave came on the coattails of highly influential anime/manga like the original Devilman, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Berserk, and whatever else I maybe missing.

A lot of these series feature a villainous or malevolent entity that is not wholly human, and feminine or gender-fucky in a way. The Satan character of Devilman especially stands out in similarity to Jenova/Sephiroth, as an evil, other-worldly, "hermaphroditic" entity. You can see this visual trend evolve into other works where female (or explicitly feminine male) characters are somehow godlike or powerful because they are other than human.
 
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