This just in: The Love Triangle Debate- over

by January 22, 2010 811 comments

[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

For the one I love
Through the long journeys, the love of the protagonists develop. Occasionally they become separated, but the two’s value to one another gives them the great strength to overcome whatever crisis may come.

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.

First, is a picture discussing the Gold Saucer date. The text describing it reads

Secret date

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.


  1. Anastar
    #1 Anastar 17 June, 2016, 05:02

    Hello, Vendel –

    1) – I’m going to quote what Tres Dias, aka Squall of SEED as most people know – said on this page:

    Quote: “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?” ~Squall of SEED

    Tres Dias himself states that the Clerith pairing is legitimate in that article, so let’s not turn this into argument about whether or not Clerith is a legitimate pairing. I’ll let you argue Tres Dias about that.

    If Tres considers the Clerith pairing to be legitimate and if Tres Dias says that Cloud did indeed love Aerith (as well as Tifa) then the Clerith date scene is on the FTOIL page because the Clerith date is romantic and because the Clerith pairing is as canon as Cloti. End of story.

    2) – I said nothing about the inclusion of the Platonic Love section with the Clerith date picture being a “conspiracy to delegitimize the “clerith date picture”. I merely said it was inaccurate because it made it appear that the Clerith date picture was actually included in the Platonic Love section instead of the FTOIL page section. Since it’s an inaccuracy, I felt it should be corrected.

    It was you who called it a conspiracy, not me.

    3, 4, and 5 – QUOTE Vendel: “The caption states that this mutual romantic conformation happened “without words”. Which you say is specifically about the scene after they spend the night together. WHERE THEY IN FACT EXCHANGE WORDS.”

    In the first place, Cloud and Tifa also exchange words in Scene 136 (Understanding); They are not actually shown doing anything during the blackout, so it’s pure assumption that they had sex or expressed feelings without words or whatever. On the other hand, Cloud and Tifa arre actually SHOWN in Scene 137 (Last Morning) exchanging feelings without words when Tifa asks to Cloud to let her rest her head on his shoulder a little longer.

    You can see that moment in video here:

    and here’s a screenshot of it:

    So yes, words get exchanged in both scenes 136 and 137, but it’s only in scene 137 that we actually SEE Cloud and Tifa exchanging feelings without words.

    All of the other pictures on the FTOIL page are specifically talked about in the captions under each picture. The FFX caption and picture are both about Macalania Spring. The FFVI picture and caption are both about Celes and Locke first meeting, The FFIX picture and caption are both about Zidane returning to “the place I’ll return to someday” and Garnet waiting for him there.

    The other pictures on the page all match the captions; So if the HW scene caption reads that Cloud and Tifa exchange feelings without words, then it’s talking about the scene shown – which is Scene 137 which actually SHOWS Cloud and Tifa exchanging feelings without words.

    6 – How important ANY scene is is purely a matter of opinion.

    Nojima even said himself in an interview ( ) that

    “But even with the line in question, maybe at that time none of us thought it would be something so important (laughs)”. ~FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania, from Creator Discussion pg. 8-13)”.

    From that, it’s easy to see that it’s merely fan interpretation rather than staff intention that the HW scene be “so important”. When Nojima said that, BTW, the “line in question” that he referred to was the line “Words aren’t the only thing that tell people what you’re thinking.”

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  2. Sxphiroths
    #2 Sxphiroths 29 January, 2018, 20:16

    This is what I’ve been waiting for. Okay I could never stand Cloud x Aerith. Aerith obviously loves zack (as she is with him in the livestream) and Cloud obviously loves Tifa…. THEY ARE LIVING TOGETHER. So not to bring down any clerith fans, but that ship is SHIT.

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