Final Fantasy VII
|Name:||Final Fantasy VII (ファイナルファンタジーVII)|
|Creator:||Square (now Square-Enix)|
|Date(s):||1997 (first release)|
|Medium:||video game, with the series extending into anime, CGI film, and short stories|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
|External Links:||Square Enix (EN)|
Advent Childern at Square Enix (JP)
Crisis Core at Square Enix (JP)
Dirge of Cerberus at Square Enix (JP)
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Final Fantasy VII is the seventh game in the Final Fantasy series by Square-Enix. It was first released in 1997 for the Sony PlayStation system; it was re-released for PCs in 1998 and for the Sony PSP in 2009. It is one of the most popular games of all time and retains an active fandom.
The main game follows the adventures of Cloud Strife, a solider turned mercenary, and his teammates as they attempt to save the world by stopping the destructive plans of Sephiroth and the Shinra Corporation. There are various other games, movies, and short stories set in the FF7 universe, known collectively as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII (see below).
The game's cast includes some of the best known video game characters of all time, such as Sephiroth, who became somewhat of an archetype for anime and video game villains. Because of their popularity some of the characters also appeared in other Square-Enix game titles. For example Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart, Sephiroth, Yuffie Kisaragi, Vincent Valentine and Zack Fair are playable character in Playstation fighting game Ehrgeiz (also the boss Django resembles Red XIII), Cloud, Aerith Gainsborough, Tifa, Yuffie, Sephiroth, Cid Highwind and Zack also appear in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, and Cloud, Tifa and Aerith appear in the Dissida: Final Fantasy game series.
Het, slash, and femslash ships can all be found within the FF7 fandom. One event in the original game allows for Cloud to go on a date with a party member: either Aerith or Tifa (which are the two easiest to date), or Yuffie or Barret.
- Cloud Strife/Aerith Gainsborough
- Cloud Strife/Tifa Lockhart
- Cloud Strife/Zack Fair
- Cloud Strife/Sephiroth
- Cloud Strife/Yuffie Kisaragi
- Cloud Strife/Barret Wallace
- Cloud Strife/Rufus Shinra
- Cloud Strife/Reno
- Aerith Gainsborough/Zack Fair
- Aerith Gainsborough/Tifa Lockhart
- Aerith Gainsborough/Sephiroth
- Aerith Gainsborough/Yuffie Kisaragi
- Aerith Gainsborough/Red XIII
- Aerith Gainsborough/Tseng
- Tifa Lockhart/Vincent Valentine
- Tifa Lockhart/Barret Wallace
- Tifa Lockhart/Zack Fair
- Tifa Lockhart/Rude
- Yuffie Kisaragi/Vincent Valentine
- Cid Highwind/Vincent Valentine
- Cid Highwind/Shera
- Vincent Valentine/Sephiroth
- Vincent Valentine/Lucrecia Crescent
The relationships between Aerith, Tifa and Cloud have been the subject of a long-standing debate, generally called the Love Triangle Debate or LTD. The main members of the debate are Cloud/Aerith shippers and Cloud/Tifa shippers, while other relationships involving the three (including Aerith/Tifa) play a much smaller role. Lively debates about which of the two pairings are considered to be "canon" are common and seen as entertaining. Flaming and personal attacks are discouraged, but not uncommon, particularly in anonymous settings (i.e. anon comments on tumblr or LJ/DW.) Callouts of people who send personal attacks are common, even on the same "side."
In addition, poly relationships are popular in the fandom as well, particularly OT3s. Examples include:
- Cloud Strife/Aerith Gainsborough/Tifa Lockhart
- Cloud Strife/Aerith Gainsborough/Zack Fair
- Cloud Strife/Aerith Gainsborough/Sephiroth
- Cloud Strife/Sephiroth/Zack Fair
- Cloud Strife/Tifa Lockhart/Barret Wallace
Furthermore, Final Fantasy VII is regularly subject to crossover shipping. Typically with other Final Fantasy titles and mostly commonly pairing Cloud Strife with the protagonists of the other games.
There is some tension among fans regarding Aeris/Aerith's name; in Japanese her name is given as エアリス earisu, with the su ending intending to substitute a th sound. In the first English release of the game, her name was transliterated as Aeris which stuck with fans. But in later releases, such as in Crisis Core, it was changed to Aerith. Many fans still favor the original "Aeris" version of her name, and both versions are used frequently in fandom.
Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII refers to the extended universe of FF7 in its many mediums. There is a strong debate in regards to what should and should not be recognized due to who was involved with production and writing as the Compilation is fraught with what many see as retcons and poor characterization. The compilation includes, in order of in-story chronology (not release date):
- Before Crisis - Mobile phone video game featuring The Turks.
- Crisis Core - Video game featuring Zack Fair, released 2007.
- Last Order - Short animated film about the events of Nibelheim with Zack, Cloud, Tifa, and Sephiroth.
- Final Fantasy VII - Original game, released 1997.
- On the Way to a Smile - A series of short stories intended as a prologue to Advent Children.
- Advent Children - Full-length CGI-animated film.
- Dirge of Cerberus - Video game featuring Vincent Valentine, released in 2006.
When Advent Children was released in 2005, it drew fire from branches of the fandom who disliked the differences in characterization between AC and the original game. The most common complaint was that AC had undone much of the character growth that Cloud - and to a lesser extent, Vincent - had undergone. Many fans saw changes that seemed almost like the creators responding to the commentary of the original game with a sort of pandering. For example, the character Tifa Lockhart had regularly been criticized for her over-sexualized appearance. Her updated look for AC seemed to be a response to that. These complaints continued as other compilation titles were released and translated, either officially or by fans; Before Crisis, for instance, was not officially translated and released for Western audiences, and fans have been forced to rely on fan translations and videos. A significant portion of fans refuse to recognize the Compilation releases as canon, and often release their fanworks under the tag OGC, or Original Game Canon.
This has been met with strong pushback in regards to Crisis Core and Advent Children which have become flagships for recognizing the Compilation due to much of the post-2005 fan-based entering the fandom through these titles without playing the original game at all. Fans of the Compilation titles frequently feel like their experience is undermined because of their enjoyment of titles that fans of the original game malign as unnecessary garbage.
This has led to many fanworks contrasting and comparing Cloud Strife (the original game protagonist) and Zack Fair (the protagonist of Crisis Core) through pitting them in fights to examining their personalities. While it is only a fringe of the original fans that have an active dislike of Zack, Cloud is seen as oversaturating in both promotional and fanworks. This oversaturation is not helped by the fact that Cloud Strife has been frequently listed as the archetypical base for many heroes to come since his debut.
The theorist community is active and positive. Before AC the fandom was taking great joy and deciphering the mystery behind the ending of the game as well as addressing plot holes. Even after the Compilation though, fans still love to speculate on things like Youtube shows like Game Theory and forums alike.
The yaoi/yuri community is active with this fandom and has been embraced with little resistance. In part due to moments of levity in the game involving getting Cloud to go on a date with Barret or the reaction of Tifa and Aerith seeing Cloud dress as a woman. In another part due to the fandom recoiling from its own toxicity involving the LTD.
Shipping within the LTD had formally been the most toxic branch of the fandom, however, over the years most fans have developed a "Ship and Let Ship" attitude towards rivalries and forum moderators have developed rules involving where and how debates should be handled.
In recent years, the fandom has not had the same pleasant response in regards to other social issues and criticism in general. Having already felt burned by the sort of market response attitude Square-Enix had to its audience fans used the game as a response to modern social critique like Feminist Frequency. This branch of the fandom has replaced the LTD as the most toxic aspect of the game's fandom. Particularly since Square-Enix teased a re-mastered version for the PlayStation 3, this branch on the fandom has worried that modern critique of gaming will lead to more changes and retcons. This fear has been compounded upon due to the official announcement of an episodic remake for the newest console generation as well as announcements confirming that changes will be made beyond graphics updates.
On the end of toxic fans responding to developers, the fandom has been active in condemning the negative behavior. In dealing with the harassment of other gaming critics though, the fandom has been oddly silent. It is to the point that many critics will not do retroactive reviews of the game to provide new insight so they can avoid the nostalgia-driven vitriol of the fandom.
In English-speaking fandom, fanfiction is extremely popular. Many epic-length fic were released in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Starting with the release of Advent Children in 2005, more fans have started writing FFVII Fanfiction that incorporates the canon of Compilation titles. As a result, FF7 fandom is very fractured, with many fans grouping together around a particular pairing or Compilation title.
The fandom is also home to some of the more notorious Badfic titles such as Cloud Mows The Lawn, Chocobo Nights, and Yuffie's Chocobo.
In Japan, doujinshi based on Final Fantasy VII has been popular since its release in 1997. The release of various Compilation titles has helped keep the fandom popular.
Fanart of Final Fantasy VII has always been popular, produced by fanartists around the world.
Audiobooks of On The Way To A Smile, a series of novellas written by Kasushige Nojima, have been created by fans from TheLifestream.net. This series follows some of our favourite characters as they come to terms with the events of Final Fantasy VII. Featuring an impressive cast of voice actors and beautiful musical compositions, this is a mandatory listen for anyone who is a fan of FFVII.
- Final Fantasy VII fanfiction on FanFiction.net
- Final Fantasy VII and Compilation of Final Fantasy VII fanworks on AO3
- Final Fantasy VII fanworks on DeviantArt
- Rocket Town
- Final Fantasy VII fanfiction on RPGamer
- Revolving Refraction
- ShinRa Electric Co Fic Archive
- Dead Fantasy features FF7 characters, particularly Tifa and later Cloud.
- A Long, Hard Road by Twig, an early Sephiroth/Cloud Strife longfic set five years after the end of the original game.
- Frank Vederosa's OH NO! NOT ANOTHER FINAL FANTASY VII WEB PAGE! including his multi-part Final Fantasy VII Internet Series, Balance of Power, Shards, etc.
- The Poetry in Blood by GlassShard
- I Know What's Beneath the Snow Fields by Zahra, Aerith Gainsborough/Vincent Valentine
- Sink to the Bottom With You by Catalina, Yuffie Kisaragi/Vincent Valentine
- The Conscience of the King by Rahaeli
See List of Final Fantasy Lists and Communities for an extended list of FF7-related communities.
- TheLifestream.net Your No.1 source for FF7 news and info
- Final Fantasy Newbieguide for LiveJournal fandom
- The Final Fantasy VII Citadel
- Sean's Final Fantasy7 site
- Final Fantasy VII entry on the Final Fantasy wiki
- Compilation of Final Fantasy VII entry on the Final Fantasy wiki
- Final Fantasy VII entry on TVTropes.org
- Final Fantasy VII entry on Wikipedia