I’ve already discussed religion before in Final Fantasy VII. To be sure, there are a lot of religious themes in VII, especially when it comes to Aerith’s character, who I think is a female Christ figure. Even the background of her people—who are referred to as the Planet’s chosen people—plays off a lot of Judeo-Christian themes, such as the search for the Promised Land. Not everything involving her people, the Cetra, are Judeo-Christian in nature, though. The Temple of the Ancients, for instance, is shaped much like a ziggurat, and the one room inside it has what looks like hieroglyphics.
I’m not about to launch into another post about Aerith, however, even if I left out a lot of things in my other post. What I plan to talk about is how religion in VII affects the culture of the world, by which I mean, not very much, if at all.
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.
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.