Whether you love it or hate it, Final Fantasy X is a prequel to Final Fantasy VII. Thankfully, for everyone who dislikes this connection, the two games don’t actually impact each other in terms of plot or characterization. However, for the rest of us, it’s always fun speculating about all the different ways the two games are alike and figuring out the history of both their worlds. This connection is something the game creators have been adding to for some time, and considering that Auron shows up in the new FFVII remake trailer, I imagine that we’re going to have a few more hints and Easter eggs in our future. And yet, somehow, I found myself surprised when Kingdom Hearts turned Sephiroth into an Aeon.
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.
So I’ve already given an overall review on the plot of this game, but for any of you who either didn’t read that or didn’t play the game, here’s what the plot boils down to in its simplest form: some asshole’s mother tells said asshole to summon a meteor to murder the Planet, so he does it without question. Of course, that doesn’t really do the plot justice, because as I said last time, Final Fantasy VII can become really complex, especially when we take into account the setting and character backstories.
Furthermore, VII did something completely unexpected and shocking: It killed off a main character.
This is not something that often happened in games at this point in time. The death of Aerith has to be one of the most memorable moments in video game-dom. Unfortunately, though FFVII did succeed in giving Aerith’s death meaning, her passing is still surrounded by plot holes.
I probably shouldn’t be 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.
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.
So let’s talk about Aerith as a female Christ figure.