What did Cloud mean when he said this?

OK I know this topic has probably been discussed to death, but today I realised that after so many years in the fandom, I still don't know what Cloud meant when he delivered his famous last lines:

An answer from the Planet...
the Promised Land...
I think I can meet her...there.

"Her" is Aerith, obviously. Is he referring to the lifestream when he mentions the Promised Land? Does he think he can meet her again in the lifestream, i.e. after death? And why exactly is the planet offering an answer? What question did he ask?

I know these lines have been discussed many times over and lots of people here will have some well-informed insights to offer, so please, chime in.
Mr. Ite
Tifa’s response is equally vague: “Yeah, let’s go meet her.”

I don’t have the original Japanese on hand. But I think you’re on track. Aeris’ hand reaching for him was the Planet telling him that death is the Promised Land, and the reunion he longs for.


Holy, Personified
Katie; Seta.
Tifa's words and expression/body language makes me think that she's really in love with Cloud, but realizes at that moment that he had feelings for Aerith, she had a rival, and for the moment, has given up, realizing this. She's willing to let him have what he wants out of love, even if that means losing him - if she hasn't already...


Holy, Personified
Katie; Seta.
Is this gonna be an LTD thread, folks?


(I don't think Lic necessarily means for it to be, but the topic at hand has almost exclusively been discussed within that context for 22 years. Arianna's comments, for example, are commonly seen from fans of Cloud and Aerith as a pairing making their case for why that is the canon/intended pairing.)
Oh! But I'm actively Cloud x Tifa!!! Still, it's what I read in Tifa's words and body language...
I really hope it doesn't become an LTD thread. That's the one interpretation of those lines with which I'm already very familiar. I'm more interested in why Cloud would think the Lifestream is a promise from the planet that we can meet one another after death, or at least that he can meet Aerith there (if, indeed, that's what the lines mean). And why Tifa would therefore effectively say, "Yeah, let's go die." Most of the rest of the expanded world Square Enix has given us for FFVII suggests that we don't meet our loved ones in the Lifestream. Once we die our consciousness and individuality is quickly lost (for good) as our spirit energy merges back into the Lifestream. Aerith of course is an almost unique entity in that she hangs on to her sense of self in the Lifestream because she's a protector of the planet... But how does Cloud know all this? Did the Lifestream tell him?


Kaiju Member
I think maybe you’re taking the lines a little too literally. It’s basically a round about way of Cloud and Tifa saying they should go live their lives to the fullest, because I seriously doubt the game’s intended takeaway is that the main characters’ finale lesson is that they are super looking forward to dying. That going out and living complete and fulfilling lives is the way to reach each individual’s “promised land”, i.e. self actualization upon the completion of life. And once that fully lived life is done, one can pass into the Lifestream satisfied. Even if individuality is lost upon joining with The Lifestream, it can still be seen as a form of reunification with loved ones and “meeting” them.
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The Engineer
I think he's also saying that he now knows where Aerith is. And that Aerith is okay and at peace with herself as opposed to not being that way.

One of Cloud's major plot elements is if he actually exists or not and how when he's consciously "not there", he's a puppet for Sephiroth. So for him, "death" wouldn't really be "death" since his body would still be walking around and doing things for Sephiroth. At least not until Sephiroth dies.

But Aerith isn't like that. She's dead, but Sephrioth can't hurt her anymore and he can't get control of her either. So Cloud can stop worrying about if Aerith will be okay. When Sephiroth was in the Lifestream, and had taken control of it, that was something to worry about. But now it's not.
Before the battle: Come, Planet! Show us your answer!

The Planet showed its answer through their victory and holy, and he thinks they're about to die due to everything collapsing. I read it as 'it looks like we're going to die. That's not so bad, though, since we did save the planet, and it helped us, showing it and Aeris' goodwill. If we're going to die, we did ourselves proud.' Then they don't die.
Hmmm, maybe. Though I don’t think the tonal framing of the scene, particularly the music, supports a reading that Cloud and Tifa are expecting to die soon. Like they climb up over the ledge immediately afterwards to meet up with everyone, it’s framed as pretty triumphant.
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Though if it was a Toy Story 3 scenario, would that make Cid’s Highwind crew the little green aliens?

Actually that makes me wonder, will Cid’s Highwind crew get their own unique names/designs and expanded character in the Remake? Like Jessie, Biggs and Wedge are getting? Was it ever specified who they were in the OG, were they just random former Shinra employees who defected, or were they originally from Rocket Town and used to work for Cid before Shinra confiscated the airship from Cid?
I think that one of the elements of answer that the planet gives to Cloud is the yellow orb that he sees during his last reverie.
It looks like a virgin planet in my opinion, perhaps the next destined to be colonized. The promised land or the next step in its direction. What's the purpose of this orb otherwise... There would be no point in showing the White Materia (which never has been stated to to be able to change to yellow color) here because the player has already clearly been made aware that Holy has already been summoned and that it was a prisoner of the red gangue (Sephiroth's hand).
It works if one believes that the Cetra (Lifestream) are a people who migrate from planet to planet, which seems to be the case if one believes the discourse of Sephiroth in the Shinra Mansion. It works less well if one thinks that the dialogue has been badly translated.
There is apparently a doubt about the "星" character that would mean more "land" than "planet", but the translation I receive from google or other translators gives me "star", which would have a more intergalactic connotation than a pastoral one, IMHO.
Maybe Cloud thinks he has a chance to join Aerith on this planet.
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