This just in: A private apology to Clerith fans (in public)

by January 25, 2014 4 comments

Almost three months ago, on Halloween night, I posted what I said would be my final article on the Love Triangle Debate of FFVII. That is still the case. This article is not about the LTD. It’s about people. Myself and people who I offended just over four years ago.

In an article entitled “This just in: The Love Triangle Debate- over,” TLS staff member Ryushikaze posted some Ultimania translations by me, along with some analysis of their significance for the LTD. He also posted a comment I made with regard to these translations:

“All that’s left to say is: Abandon ‘ship!”

I have recently come to understand that the past hostilities and accusations from certain parties toward myself and TLS in general (referred to in my post from Halloween) have been fueled at least in part by grievance with this article and this comment in particular.

After finally understanding this and accepting my role in it all, I initially thought to ask Ryu to add a note to his posting expressing that my opinions about this material shifted in line with the fact that since the LTD is about who Cloud loves and not merely who he has expressed love for, this material does not discount the legitimacy of the CloudxAerith (Clerith) pairing. As those who have read my latest LTD article, “Dilly Dally, Shilly Shally” will be aware, the canon material makes it more than clear that Cloud’s affections lie with both women, regardless of certain unfortunate circumstances that meant he could only express his feelings to and be with one of them.

In other words, if the question at the heart of the LTD wasn’t “Who did Cloud express love to?” then these translations did not, in fact, entail an end to it. The question, of course, is actually “Who did Cloud love?”

While my other postings on the matter have clearly answered that question, it is understandable that confusion — resentment even — prevails among those who feel this bygone comment should be redressed.

In that spirit, I was also going to ask Ryu to remove the “Abandon ‘ship!” comment. Then I changed my mind. My loathing for anything even remotely resembling revisionist history told me no.

That loathing told me that the comment needs to remain because it was made to begin with and because it’s important mistakes are remembered. A publishing made in error should be addressed, but not erased.

It also occurred to me that it’s not Ryu’s place to take account of my mistake. That was his article, and the conclusions drawn therein are his to hold. Perhaps his opinion and understanding of the material has also changed. Perhaps not. Either way, it’s up to him to edit or not edit things there, and it’s up to me to address or not address my own behavior here.

Sure, he could add a note clarifying my position and remove the offending words. He could even add an apology on my behalf.

However, it would all be in an article buried in our archives that no one is ever going to look at again except for the people whose sensibilities and feelings were already trespassed. I went to school for journalism and that background informed me that only one course of action would suffice: A retraction and apology that are as visible as the original comment. Thus, this front page posting.

While perhaps a witty play on words (it was, wasn’t it?), “Abandon ‘ship!” was also a smug, snide, somewhat immature and simply unpleasant remark. Today, I am apologizing for it. I’m sorry.


  1. BlankBeat
    #1 BlankBeat 25 January, 2014, 07:06

    Thank you for this heartfelt apology, Tres. I think both the Clerith and Cloti communities can agree that Cloud Strife loved both Aerith Gainsborough and Tifa Lockhart romantically. Both ships have validity and a place in the Final Fantasy VII community. I truly believe the “LTD Over” article is what has fueled unnecessary animosity and bitterness between the Clerith and Cloti communities, and your retraction will help mend feelings between the two communities. You’ve played a large role in this debate for many years, and your voice carries a lot of weight. So… Thank You. I sincerely mean that.

    This quote really says everything that needs to be said about the LTD: “And having two heroines, Aerith and Tifa, and having the hero waver between them, at the time that was something new.” ~Interview with the creators, pg. 8-13, 10th Anniversary Ultimania

    The Cloud x Aerith date, Cloud telling Marlene he “hopes” Aerith likes him, and the high affection Highwind scene make it clear Cloud had romantic feelings for both Aerith and Tifa. This is further confirmed by the “For the One I Love” page (Cloud is pictured with both Aerith and Tifa), and the fact that SE has given us these two quotes:

    “There are many dimensions to Tifa’s character. She’s like a mother, a koibito (lover in Japanese), and a close ally in battle.” ~Nomura, Reunion Files, Square Enix

    “Cloud was her friend, her koibito (love in Japanese) — a symbol of what was important to her, and someone to be protected.” ~Case of Lifestream: White, Square Enix

    Cloud Strife loved both Aerith Gainsborugh and Tifa Lockhart. Period. End of discussion.

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  2. Quexinos
    #2 Quexinos 25 January, 2014, 07:34

    HOORAY! Thanks for posting this Tres! I think this was a good idea. Tbh that ‘This just in” article was funny for a while, but… it was up for too long and it upset too many people. I know I’ve campaign for it to be removed but this is better.

    Hopefully this can help both sides again. It’s nice to see you do this. I hope this keeps the peace.. until the next shitstorm hits :monster:

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  3. Angelalex242
    #3 Angelalex242 26 January, 2014, 15:17

    There is honor to be found in admitting a mistake. Few men have the strength of character to do so. I take my hat off to you, sir.

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  4. Anastar
    #4 Anastar 17 June, 2016, 03:20

    Thank you for the apology, Tres, as well as for your admission that Clerith is canon along with Cloti. I disagree with you slightly, but I am glad to see that you now recognize and acknowledge Cloud’s love for Aerith. I wish this statement of yours had been as well publicized as the “This Just In: The Love Triangle is Over” article since the “This Just In..” article declares that ONLY Clloti is canon and that Clerith is not. If your opinion has changed, then Clerith people would appreciate the recognition that Clerith is indeed canon, too.

    As I said earlier, I do disagree with you slightly because you state that Cloud loves both women, but is only able to be with one. That may be true if the principles of life and death were the same on Planet Gaia as they are on Earth, but that is not the case. FFVII takes place in a magical world where the principles of life and death are quite different than on Earth, largely because of the Lifestream.

    Nomura says in the Distance interview that Cloud and Aerith have been reunited in spirit:

    quote: The words “memetic legacy” are used a lot in the film…but in Advent Children, rather than focusing on memories we wanted to show that consciousness is what lives on. We took the ending of the game and expanded on that idea. Even if they’re dead, their consciousness is still with us. As for Cloud…he sees Aerith several times throughout the film. It’s not that he sees her because he feels her presence. HE SEES HER BECAUSE HER CONSCIOUSNESS…LIVES ON INSIDE HIM.
    ~Nomura; Distance Interview

    If Aerith’s consciousness lives on INSIDE OF CLOUD, then he’s saying that Aerith’s spirit and consciousness have become part of the Lifestream/Mako inside of Cloud’s body. In other words, instead of Aerith’s spirit and consciousness living on within the actual Lifesream, her spirit and consciousness live on inside of the Lifestream and Mako inside of Cloud’s body. We know that there is an excess amount of Mako injected into Cloud during Hojo’s experiments and that Cloud drifted in the Lifestream for over a week before he was found in Mideel. The doctor in Mideel told Barret that an “immense amount of Mako-drenched knowledge was put into [Cloud’s] brain all at once.” As a result, there’s enough Lifestream in Cloud’s body for Aerith’s spirit and consciousness to exist there in the same way she can continue to exist in the Lifestream.

    I think that’s what Nomura meant when he said that “Aerith’s consciousness LIVES ON INSIDE OF CLOUD.” Essentially, Nomura’s saying that the two have been reunited in spirit and consciousness for eternity in the same way that Dyne and Eleanor were untied in spirit after Aerith heals Dyne’s guilt in the novella Maiden Who Travels the Planet.

    I also disagree with you that BOTH Clerith and Cloti HAVE to happen. IMO, both are optional to the player. I think that is stated quite clearly on the FTOIL page. Below the Clerith date picture, it says that who shows up for the date is dependent on Cloud’s behavior, which is saying that the scene is optional to the player. I think the same is said about the Cloti HW scene for two reasons: 1) the page number 232 is referenced at the top of the HW scene picture, and page 232 clearly says that there are two versions of the HW scene and that the contents of Cloud and Tifa’s conversation “depend on the Tifa’s affection.” That is saying right there that which version a player gets is dependent on Tifa’s affection and therefore optional to the player. 2) The picture of the HW scene used on the FTOIL page is actually from Scene 137 (Last Morning) NOT from Scene 136 (Understanding). I believe the HW scene as shown on the FTOIL page is actually where Tifa asks Cloud to let her rest her head on his shoulder for a little longer. If that is indeed the scene shown, then that part of the HW scene is the same in both versions.l

    If the picture of the HW scene is where Tifa asks Cloud if she can rest her head on his shoulder for a little longer then the scene is the same in both versions, and therefore both the LA and HA versions of the scene are shown on the FTOIL page. In that case, the picture is portraying the HW scene’s optionality.

    If the FTOIL page states that both the Clerith and Cloti scenes are optional to the player, then it is not necessary for Clloud to love boh women. Depending on the Date Mechanism, it is indeed possible for Cloud to love only one of he two women – either Aerith or Tifa or both. However, who Cloud loves is actually dependent on the Date Mechanism and therefore optional to the player.

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