With the release of Final Fantasy Remake Intergrade — our review of which you can see here — I, as the FFVII simp that I am, went back and replayed the main game of Final Fantasy VII Remake. It was here that I was reminded of my ever-growing love for a certain character: Aerith.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I am 1000% a Tifa man, and I have been ever since my first playthrough of the original Final Fantasy VII. Even removing any additional points that Tifa gains through being the best waifu in existence, she was my favourite character regardless.
Tifa isn’t who we’re talking about today though; it’s the wonderful, bright, and adorable Ancient we know to be Aerith. Throughout my numerous playthroughs of the original game, I never became as attached to Aerith as I did other characters; she felt like something of a one-note character to me and while I still think she was fine, I never fell for her. In Remake, however, Aerith isn’t the type of girl who needs protecting; she is a girl who grew up in the slums of Midgar — and it shows in the best possible ways.
Who is Aerith?
Aerith is one of the main characters in Final Fantasy VII, and she is also the last living Ancient (or Cetra) on the planet. Ancients were the original stewards of Gaia, the planet on which Final Fantasy VII is set. To understand the Ancients and their importance, you need to consider the planet as one big living organism which hosts bountiful life upon its surface.
Similar to the way that blood flows through our veins as people, the Lifestream is the blood of the planet. When people die, their spirits return to the planet’s Lifestream to once again begin the cycle of life over again.
Ancients are considered responsible for making the world inhabitable by communicating with the planet and allowing the Lifestream to pour out, creating fertile land. I don’t want to get into too many details of the Ancients right now — just know that Aerith is the last one of these incredibly special people at the time of Final Fantasy VII’s story.
When she isn’t chatting it up with the planet, Aerith is a florist and all-around helpful person who is known all throughout the Sector 5 slums, where she lives. She frequents the church on the outskirts of Sector 5 where a small patch of flowers is blooming — this is where Aerith and Final Fantasy VII’s protagonist Cloud are reunited after their first brief meeting in the introduction.
Why do we love Aerith?
Within the world of Final Fantasy VII, antagonist Sephiroth embodies everything that is dark, and Aerith embodies everything that is good and bright. Every moment you spend with Aerith is wonderful and filled with a lighthearted tone; even upon your first meeting with her, even though there is panic after the Mako reactor explosion, she is trying to spread happiness through selling her flowers.
Aerith’s positive outlook becomes even more amazing when you find out about her past. Being the last of her kind meant that she suffered a life of captivity and experimentation as Shinra scientists tried to find out more and more about the Ancients. Aerith and her mother managed to break away from this life as lab rats, but after finally getting away from Shinra, her mother passed away, leaving Aerith all alone.
Even with all of this tragedy in her earlier life, Aerith is still a ball of light that brightens up the mood of everyone she encounters. To add to the way Remake made her character even better than in the original PlayStation game, Aerith feels like a girl who grew up in the slums and learned how to survive — she can kick ass, she knows her way around, and she even blurts out the occasional expletive.
Why you’ll love Aerith
Final Fantasy VII is a serious story that reflects the real world — continuing to guzzle down Mako (an obvious allegory for fossil fuels) will lead to the inevitable downfall of not just humanity, but potentially the planet. But something even darker lurks beneath the surface of this story — that being Sephiroth and his role throughout the story.
Despite all of this darkness, from the moment you meet her, Aerith brings forth a commanding presence that fills you with joy and belief that there is a way to win, and that there is a way to save the planet. Even in the darkest corners of Final Fantasy VII’s story, she is a constant beacon of hope that spurs the party, and the player, forward.
Final Fantasy VII Remake was always going to be an uphill battle for Square Enix — they were never going to please everyone no matter what they did, even if it was a 1:1 remake. But if there is a single area in which Remake did an indisputably remarkable job, it’s in its faithful portrayal of characters that people all over the world fell in love with 20+ years ago. Not only did they make fans fall in love with these characters again, but they also made them fall harder — Aerith is a standout example of this.
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