I haven’t heard too much about the Final Fantasy VII remake—and to be fair, there isn’t that much information about the game out right now. What I do know is that the game is meant to be released in increments, with the first one originally scheduled for later this year before it was moved back to March of 2017. This is probably for the best, as rushed games tend to be glitchy and not a whole lot of fun. Part of me is even shocked that March isn’t too soon, considering that the game makers have to completely re-render the entire world of Final Fantasy VII, and since the game opens up in Midgar, it means they need to create a whole city from the ground up, let alone all the other places the characters are going to visit.
So far, it looks pretty good, and I am more than excited to get right back into this world. Story spoilers up ahead.
Advent Children takes place two years after the events in Final Fantasy VII, and it introduces three new villains to our cast, as well as a few other characters. The world is being overrun with a disease called Geostigma, and many people are dying. Geostigma turns out to be connected to Jenova and her son Sephiroth—the main villains of the game—and the three new characters also consider Jenova their mother and plan to use some of her remains to revive Sephiroth.
Cloud returns as our main character and works as a delivery boy. He doesn’t really want to be caught up in anything else that’s going on, because he’s still coming to terms with Aerith’s death and being unable to save her. But when the three new villains kidnap a bunch of children suffering from Geostigma and with the threat of Sephiroth on the rise, Cloud eventually decides to stop moping around long enough to do the right thing and stop our new villains in epic, physic-defying battles.
Most reviews for this movie have been mixed. On the one hand, it had amazing CGI for its time. On the other, most people who hadn’t played the original game would have had trouble following its plot. I feel mixed about this movie for a different reason. I like it simply for existing and delving deeper into the world of Final Fantasy VII. However, this movie is completely pandering and clearly only exists as a cash cow for Square Enix.
Last time, I talked about Aerith, Tifa, and a little bit about Shera. Now I’m going to talk about Yuffie and Elena. Yuffie is much the same as Tifa and Aerith. She has a lot of good qualities about her. She also has a very interesting past. But in a lot of other ways, she falls flat. Elena is a little bit different. She is more like Shera, in that I have relatively nothing positive to say about her.
A game certainly would have a hard time becoming as popular as Final Fantasy VII if it didn’t have some decent characters. On the whole, I think the game did a really good job with its characterization—but like just about all video games, it is not excused from sexism. Unfortunately, when it comes to VII, the sexism seems almost worse than it is in the other games because of how much more successful this one became.
Tifa and Aerith are the two most prominent female characters. In some ways, however, that’s not because of their personalities, but more because of their relationship to Cloud. Both of them are relegated into a love triangle with him. Fortunately, this does not cause any catfights or petty backstabbing. However, that’s all the more I can positively say about it. Not so positively, both of their motivations and their reasons for existing in VII are there to further Cloud’s storyline, when Tifa and Aerith could have been well-written characters otherwise. Much like Barret still displaying some racist qualities despite otherwise being a really good character, the same can be said of Tifa, Aerith, and sexism.
Many stories struggle with showing over telling. While I can think of a few notable exceptions, I’ve noticed that it’s not very easy to make the supposed heroes of a story actually heroic when they’re terrorists. There’s nothing that grinds my gears more when characters are presented to me as self-righteous heroes before doing some pretty unheroic things. Final Fantasy VII struggles with this a bit.
Our playable party consists of people belonging to the terrorist organization AVALANCHE—which is apparently not an acronym, so I don’t know why it’s written like that—and their goal is to save the Planet from the evil corporation Shinra. As mentioned in a previous post, Shinra is an electric company, and it gathers power from something called Mako, which comes from the Lifestream. The Lifestream is essentially the Planet’s blood, so by sucking it out of the ground, Shinra is subjecting the Planet to a slow and painful death.
Once again, I feel the need to repeat that, yes, the world is actually called the Planet.
I probably shouldn’tbe starting another series for this game, but I gave X a series, and VII is a much more well-known story. Not only that, it’s much more loved, and between the two, I think it’s the better game. It certainly has less ginormous gaping plot holes, and it didn’t dedicate one-third of its story to something that has entirely nothing to do with the plot. I do, however, still think there are some problems with the way the story is told.
When I first played, I always wondered things like: how does Cloud not lose this battle instantly? He brought a sword to a gun fight! Plot hole?
Other than X, I’ve already reviewed IX, XII, X-2, and XIII-2, but VII is my favorite Final Fantasy game. I’m going to warn all the hardcore fans right now that the downside of this being my favorite in the franchise means that I’m going to be a lot more critical of it. And like X, there’s a lot to talk about. But first, let’s begin with the plot.
Well, this was not the post that I had been planning on doing since I started reviewing X, but after some sound rebukes on Tumblr from my last post, Ace plays Final Fantasy X: The Sexism, I decided to not delay. And oddly enough, though I also knew what I wanted to say for my next post, which is also about sexism in Final Fantasy, some of the comments I received just really put into perspective to me how much people let Final Fantasy, or rather that they don’t notice it, get away with certain things.
It also made me realize that I certainly didn’t make my points as well as I should have. And so, before I get into the sequel and sexism, which was what I originally had planned, I’m going to address some of the things that people pointed out, because they are things that need to be addressed. And after the reactions of the last post, I also feel the need to add a disclaimer to this.
If you are under the delusion that Final Fantasy can do no wrong and is perfectly amazing in its representation of female characters, you are not going to like anything that is after the jump.
So one thing that I’ve noticed is that cross-dressing tends to be both handled and looked at differently for the different genders. No one really thinks too much of a girl putting on pants, though I can think of a few movies or comics where the issue was brought up, but a guy putting on women’s clothes? That’s a whole different story. In fact, if movies, games, books, everything ever, is to be believed, men dressing up as women is funny.
One person, windupviolin, theorizes that this may also be because women are seen as less important than men, from society’s point of view. And because women are less important, our clothing choices are less important. But society has placed so much on the male role that it tends to stick out to us more. If you click the link at the start of this paragraph, you’ll find a bunch of pictures of men and women sharing each other’s clothes. Notice that your eye will more than likely be drawn to the man.
Whatever the case may be, however, it is still common for people to portray male characters dressing up in women’s clothes as humorous.
It’s not often that we find Christian themes in media straight from Japan, except for when we do, because it happens all the time. Japanese culture seems to be very fascinated with Christianity as a whole, and so it comes as no surprise that we may find some Christian themes in the Final Fantasy franchise as well. When I first sat down to outline what I was going to say for this post, I initially planned to discuss Aerith as a Virgin Mary figure, but I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. Aerith has more in common with Jesus than she does Mary. While it’s true that she does share some traits that we would find with a Mary figure—purity of heart, (more than likely) virginal, etc.—these are also traits that Jesus had. And really, the main reason I first thought of Mary and not Jesus is because Aerith is a woman.