I’ve talked in the past about how I’m confident that Aerith Gainsborough is a chaotic bisexual. Her personality fits the bill perfectly, but she has always been played as the heteronarmative romantic partner for Cloud and Zach in all iterations of Final Fantasy 7 we’ve seen. Well – until she is shanked by Sephiroth and spends the remaining runtime as an equally bubbly ghost. The best kind of spirit I’ll have you know.
But in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, her playful relationship with Tifa is more pronounced than ever. They poke and tease at Cloud whenever and wherever they can, noting exactly what makes the twink mercenary uncomfortable even when he’s fully capable of defeating giant monsters with a single slice of his sword. It’s adorable, but the game clearly wants you to think that both girls have eyes for Cloud, but I want to turn that assumption right on its head.
Sorry Cloud and Zach, the only thing you’re getting once this remake is over is a cold shower. Or an early grave – honestly anything could happen with how many twisted ingredients Tetsuya Nomura is throwing into the cauldron right now. But to capitalise on the adorable chemistry between Aerith and Tifa in the first chapter of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, I’d love to see this relationship taken to the next level.
Now I know it isn’t going to happen, but it’s fascinating to dream about what JRPGs and mainstream games could be capable of if they tore off the shackles of heteronormativity and gave fans exactly what they wanted. I’ve seen enough fanart and fanfiction (don’t judge me) to know the demand is there, and in terms of personalities, Aerith and Tifa gel together in a way that would feel perfectly natural if it became canonical doctrine.
Unless I required Barrett for finicky ranged battles, my party in Remake almost always consisted of Aerith, Tifa, and Cloud. I wanted to experience the banter between the two girls as much as possible, even if much of it came at Cloud’s expense as a silent, mopey warrior with an undeniable heart of gold. The poor guy takes everything on the chin, fostering friendships that slowly but surely display his soft, likeable centre. But he’s not the focus here, that’s for another article, what I really want to talk about is the chemistry between Aerith and Tifa, and how such dueling personalities would genuinely work in a romantic context.
Aerith is outwardly carefree and courageous, yet beneath all of the flower girl mannerisms sits a young woman with doubts digging away at her heart. Her past as a young orphan with but a passing knowledge of her true origins eats away at her, a backstory that is only told in fleeting glimpses until the true circumstances behind The Ancients comes to light. Both in the original and the remake, Aerith is a light in the darkness, her optimism a flame that keeps on burning even when the harshest of winters threatens to snuff it out. The winter in this analogy is Sephiroth’s big ass sword.
Tifa is a far more hardened woman with her own past hardships. Loved ones have been killed at the hands of Shinra and Sephiroth, leading her to be immediately sympathetic to Aerith’s plight. Both have suffered at the hands of this evil corporation, whether it be through a life lived under duress or the presence of family taken away at a moment’s notice. Cheery exteriors are chipped away to unveil darker innards, which is the case with many JRPG characters.
But in Remake, this is explored to greater effect than ever before. These characters are given voices and movements that bring their motivations to life, expressing a level of friendship and love that simply wasn’t possible back in 1997. Remake also takes the narrative in a vastly different direction towards the end, with one moment between Aerith and Tifa really sticking out to me.
When the Whispers threaten to swallow Aerith up in Shinra Headquarters, Tifa jumps forward and takes her hand, pulling her away from a destined fate and into a new one – a future where she will play a very important role. The conclusion of Remake changes the playing field in a way I’m still trying to comprehend. We now exist in a future where Aerith could survive, where Zach is alive, and where Sephiroth’s ultimate goal could be something completely different. It’s wild, and I think new relationships and character dynamics will play a part in this stark change in direction.
Like I said before, it probably won’t go gay, but you never know. Listen, all I want is for Aerith and Tifa to be the most powerful lesbians in the world with Cloud standing by as their emotional support himbo. It’s a supremely powerful dynamic, and one that would sprint away from the heteronormative romances that have long dominated the JRPG genre. Zach’s return also opens up the possibility for a love triangle between him, Cloud and Aerith, and I’m already nodding off at the thought of such straight exhaustion.
Just do what Final Fantasy X-2 did. Yuna’s boyfriend died so she said screw all of this summoner nonsense, I’m off on a lesbian roadtrip to become a popstar and hunt down treasure. It’s a power move of epic proportions, and one this medium needs more of.
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Jade King is one of the Features Editors for TheGamer. Previously head of gaming content over at Trusted Reviews, she can be found talking about games, anime and retweeting Catradora fanart @KonaYMA6.
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