Young, beautiful, and somewhat mysterious, Aeris met Cloud while selling flowers on the streets of Midgar...
Aerith Gainsborough, alternately known with the first name Aeris, is a playable character in Final Fantasy VII and a major character in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII; appearing in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- and Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-
Aerith is the last of the Cetra, an ancient race with powerful magical abilities, and so the Shinra Electric Power Company hunts her throughout her life, seeking to exploit her powers. She meets Cloud Strife in Midgar, and the two become close, leading her to join his quest to fight Shinra and hunt down Sephiroth. Aerith is upbeat, carefree and joyful, being flirtatious towards Cloud and also compassionate towards others.
Aerith wields staves in battle, and is in the back row by default, as she primarily uses magic from equipped Materia in battle. Her Limit abilities are entirely defensive, either providing restorative abilities, healing other party members, or granting them positive status enhancements.
- 1 Profile
- 2 Story
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Creation and development
- 5 Musical themes
- 6 Other appearances
- 7 Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
- 8 Other media
- 9 Merchandise
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Etymology and symbolism
- 12 Trivia
- 13 External links
- 14 References
In Final Fantasy VII, Aerith wears a shin-length pink dress that buttons up the front and a red bolero jacket. She wears brown boots and metal bracers on her wrists and around the edges of her jacket sleeves. In Final Fantasy VII Remake she wears a flower necklace with a pearl in the center on a leather ribbon. In all her appearances Aerith's long light brown hair is plaited with a large pink ribbon; within the ribbon she keeps the White Materia orb given to her by her mother. Segmented bangs frame Aerith's face and she has emerald green eyes.
During a Wall Market quest she wears a red spaghetti-strapped formal gown with frill designs and red heels. Her long light brown wavy hair is let loose but retains her large pink ribbon.
As a child, she wears a dark blue denim jumper dress with a light teal turtleneck, white socks and brown shoes. Her ribbon is light teal.
After her adoption, she wears a burnt orange loose collar shirt with a yellow collar, brown shorts and a matching short boots. Her ribbon is yellow.
Aerith wears the same basic attire in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children with new details to her jacket, giving her two pockets on the breast and replacing the metal bands on the sleeves with leather belts. This is how Aerith appears in most of her spin-off appearances.
In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Aerith wears a blue and white dress with a red camisole underneath and white wedge sandals with pink straps. During their first date Zack Fair buys her the iconic pink hair ribbon, and later suggests Aerith continue to wear pink, likely prompting her wardrobe change to what is seen in Final Fantasy VII. In Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- Aerith wears a pink, white and red top tied around the neck with buttons up the front, and a frilly white and green skirt. In Kingdom Hearts, Aerith wears a variation of her original Final Fantasy VII attire, abandoning the jacket and bracers, instead wearing a series of metal bracelets on one arm. She also wears a thick bright blue belt. Her outfit in Kingdom Hearts II is based on her Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- outfit, but her skirt is pink.
Aerith is upbeat and joyful, and several times in Final Fantasy VII attempts to cheer up her fellow party members. As she was raised in the Midgar Slums, Aerith maintains that she can take care of herself and can fight off Shinra troops, as well as demonstrating more subtle forms of savvy. Aerith is flirtatious with Cloud and possesses a carefree and naive nature, expressing a desire to fly on an airship when the party sails out of Junon.
When Aerith has made up her mind about something she will not listen to anyone who tells her otherwise. Though she means well, Aerith can be insensitive to other people's problems, like when Barret is troubled in the Gold Saucer. Aerith and Tifa often spend time together when the party splits up and are good friends, though both also appear slightly jealous of the other's closeness to Cloud.
As a child, Aerith was reluctant to accept her Cetra heritage, and in Final Fantasy VII she admits to Cloud she considers herself lonely, as she is the only remaining Cetra. She exhibits personality quirks at times, such as being afraid of the sky in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, and claiming she can "hear the wind calling her" in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-. These traits may be influenced by her Cetra heritage allowing her to communicate with the Planet.
Aerith has a strong sense of forgiveness, displayed in occasions such as with Cloud after the events at the Temple of the Ancients. She even shows compassion to people who might not deserve the gesture, like Tseng. Aerith is portrayed as an independent, outgoing, motherly, and kind young woman who displays an intuitive understanding of others and is deeply in-tune with nature. Her extrovert personality is a contrast to Tifa's more withdrawn guarded mindset. In Aerith's later portrayals in Before Crisis, Crisis Core and Kingdoms Hearts her outgoing, playful nature is not as apparent, and instead shows a more prayerful and dreamy demeanor.
In the original English release of Final Fantasy VII, Aerith's name was transliterated as "Aeris" by SCEA. This stems from the nature of the katakana alphabet and how it is used to represent loan words. The name in kana is エアリス, "e-a-ri-su." Because the Japanese alphabet lacks a true "th" sound, ス (su) is often used as a best-fit substitute for the sound when spelling out loan words. If a work is being translated with relatively minimal context, however, it can be difficult to spot these cases if the intended word is not immediately obvious. As the translator of Final Fantasy VII likely lacked much or all of the context discussed in the Etymology section, "Aeris" is the most logical transliteration of エアリス when the word is given with no other context, as ス is also commonly used to represent a "solo S" in addition to a "th."
Since Kingdom Hearts and in all related appearances since, the official English spelling of her name has been retconned to "Aerith".
An article in GameFan magazine (volume 4 issue 5, from May 1996) shows the characters that were known at the time. In the issue Aerith's name was written as "Aerith," as opposed to "Aeris" found in the game. The magazine also translated Barret's name as "Bullet."
Although she was never seen referred to as Aerith in-game prior to Kingdom Hearts, in the original Final Fantasy VII, before being given the opportunity to name the character she is named "Aerith" by default within the game's code. This is never seen by the player since the first time her name is seen is after the name select screen, where the name selection screen defaults to Aeris. This means that if the name selection screen could be bypassed, her name would natively display as Aerith. This also applies for Cloud, who is called Ex-SOLDIER in the game, but this is changed when the player gets to the name selection screen where the default on the name selection is "Cloud." The same also applies for Red XIII, who is called "Red" before naming him, but unlike the latter two, this is seen at the top of a dialogue box during the player's first interactions with him, and changes to "Red XIII" in the name selection screen.
The official English website for the 2012 PC re-release of Final Fantasy VII refers to her as "Aerith Gainsborough." Despite this, the translation of the game remains unchanged from the original 1998 PC release and the default name is still Aeris.
Japanese publications referring to the character with a Latin-text name have always used the name "Aerith", including the game manual with the Japanese edition of the game, and in the Final Fantasy VII Official Establishment File prior to its release.
In early concept artwork, Nomura wrote her name closer to a straight romanization as "Earith".
Aerith was born to Ifalna and Professor Gast Faremis in Icicle Inn on February 7th, 1985, making her half-human and half-Cetra. When she was barely twenty days old, Professor Hojo tracked Gast down, killed him, and captured Ifalna and Aerith. The two became subject to numerous experiments at the hands of Hojo and Shinra as they researched the Cetra.
Seven years later, in 1992, Ifalna and Aerith escaped the Shinra Headquarters, but Ifalna was wounded and only made it as far as the train platform in the slums under Sector 7 before collapsing. Elmyra Gainsborough was there to wait for her husband's return from the Wutai War, and before passing, Ifalna asked her to keep Aerith safe and so Elmyra brought Aerith home with her.
For years, Elmyra raised Aerith alone as her adopted daughter in the slums of Sector 5. Shinra relocated her, and Tseng of the Turks, who considered Aerith a friend, attempted to persuade her to join Shinra willingly instead of capturing her, but Aerith refused. At the time, the Wutai War ate up most of Shinra's resources, postponing the Neo Midgar project—the project Shinra primarily wanted Aerith for. As Aerith grew up, she continued to hear the Planet, and although she was reluctant to admit it, was aware of her Cetra heritage and tried hard to hide it.
Aerith spent time in the Sector 5 Church. Due to the Mako Reactors draining the life out of Midgar and the surrounding areas, little could grow around the metropolis. Regardless, Aerith cultivated a flower patch out of the dirt under the church's floorboards.
Relationship with Zack
I have twenty-three tiny wishes, but you probably won't remember them all, so I put them all together into one... I'd like to spend more time with you.
Aerith's note to Zack
In 0001, a sixteen-year-old Aerith meets Zack Fair when he falls into the church from the Sector 5 Reactor. When he awakens, Zack mistakes being in heaven and Aerith as an angel, but she corrects him. Zack suggests a date, but Aerith brushes him off. She shows him around, and Zack buys Aerith her trademark pink hair ribbon. The two visit the Sector 6 park and Aerith tells Zack she fears SOLDIER members for being experiments who love to fight. Zack reveals being in SOLDIER, and she apologizes. Tseng calls Zack back to the Shinra Headquarters, but he promises to see Aerith again.
Aerith and Zack continue to keep in contact for the next two years. After Angeal's death, Zack visits Aerith, who holds him as he cries. Angeal's will lingers in the form of a canine copy that settles at the church and defends Aerith from rogue Shinra security robots.
Zack suggests Aerith sell flowers to make money, as flowers are a luxury item in Midgar, and constructs flower carts for her. The two head out to the slums to open her business, but it does not go well. Aerith asks Zack for "a few tiny wishes," and Zack has her write them down for him. This is the last time the two would see each other, as later that day Zack is dispatched to Nibelheim with Sephiroth and never returns. In the coming years, Aerith overcomes her fears and ventures above the plate to sell flowers, although she uses a basket instead of her flower wagon due to it losing a wheel. She hopes Zack will return to fix it.
In Episode 6 of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, Aerith sells flowers to Rude when he goes on his date with Chelsea. In Episode 11, on August 9th, 0002, the player Turk meets Aerith leaving her house, surprised by the blooming flowers. Aerith tells the Turk she wishes to leave Midgar to see the world, as she can hear the wind calling to her. AVALANCHE arrives searching for her, and the player Turk helps Aerith evade them.
Shears defeats the player Turk and Aerith is taken to the church to meet the leader of AVALANCHE, Elfé. Elfé tells Aerith AVALANCHE wants to bring down Shinra and protect the Promised Land, and it would be in her best interests to ally with them. Aerith hears an "old voice" emanating from Elfé, inadvertently leading to the discovery of the Turk spying on them from the rafters. After the Turk battles Shears and Fuhito, Elfé is stricken by a sudden weakness, and AVALANCHE retreats. Tseng arrives, and the Turk allows Aerith to flee while they distract him.
When Zack escapes Shinra custody years later, the final Angeal copy who was left watching over Aerith when Zack left Midgar seeks him out, but soon dies, leaving behind a letter from Aerith as it fades. As Zack reads it, he discovers Aerith has been doing well selling flowers in Midgar, and during the four years he has been gone she has written Zack eighty-nine letters, though he never receives the rest of them. Tseng has the letters and sends the Turks to locate Zack before the Shinra army so they can save him and deliver the correspondence, but the Turks ultimately fail.
Aerith tends the flowers in the church while, outside Midgar, Zack is gunned down by Shinra forces. She looks up and clasps her hands.
Meeting Cloud and AVALANCHE
On December 9, 0007, at the beginning of Final Fantasy VII, Aeris meets Cloud as he flees from the bombing of the Sector 1 Reactor. Cloud has the option to warn her to get to safety, buy a flower from her, or blow her off. Later, after a failed attack on the Sector 5 Reactor, Cloud falls into the church and awakes on the flower bed.
Reno of the Turks comes to apprehend Aeris, who asks Cloud to become her bodyguard, offering him a date as payment. Cloud helps Aeris escape and takes her home, and Aeris tells Cloud of her Materia heirloom that "does nothing." Cloud sneaks out early in the morning to return to Sector 7 alone, but Aeris confronts him and Cloud agrees to bring her along. Taking a break in the Sector 6 playground, the pair spots Tifa on a chocobo cart, and assumes Don Corneo has kidnapped her.
Through an idea of Aeris, she and a crossdressed Cloud infiltrate the Don's mansion to rescue Tifa, who reveals she did not need rescuing as she was trying to get information on Shinra from Corneo. Corneo divulges Shinra has learned the location of the base of operations of the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE Tifa and Cloud are members of, and is planning to drop the plate covering the sector to destroy the entire area. The party's attempts to stop Shinra fail. Aeris is captured by Tseng while taking Marlene, the daughter of Barret—the leader of this incarnation of AVALANCHE—to safety.
The only surviving members of AVALANCHE, Cloud, Tifa and Barret, attempt to rescue her from the Shinra Headquarters. Aeris has been brought to Professor Hojo's lab, and during an executive meeting, Hojo explains to the top echelons of Shinra he plans to breed her to produce a test subject with extraordinary longevity. As Hojo places Red XIII and Aeris in the same containment tank, Red XIII feigns aggression toward her. AVALANCHE storms the lab, and Red XIII and Aeris are released. Red XIII joins Cloud to defeat Hojo's experimental monsters while the other members of AVALANCHE safeguard her, but the group is captured by the Turks.
Instead of returning Aeris to Hojo's lab, she is imprisoned in the cells with the others. Her heritage is made known to them. During their captivity, Sephiroth manifests through Jenova's remains that were stored in Hojo's lab to attack Shinra, and the group is freed from their cells. They discover President Shinra murdered, and Aeris leads the others out while Cloud and Tifa remain behind as Cloud confronts the new president of the company, Rufus Shinra.
Pursuit of Sephiroth
They escape Midgar, and Aeris decides to accompany the others on their quest to hunt down Sephiroth. She wants to find out more about her heritage, having heard Sephiroth is seeking the Cetra's Promised Land. They keep running into the Turks, with Tseng ensuring she is alright upon their meeting in the Mythril Mine. They pass through Junon and stow away on a cargo ship. During the voyage, Aeris tells Cloud she had glimpsed Shinra's Highwind back in Junon airport and wishes she could fly on it one day.
In Costa del Sol, they run into Professor Hojo, who asks Aeris about her late mother. She retreats to the hotel and mulls over the possibility of being the last Cetra in the world. In Gold Saucer, she attempts to cheer up the frustrated Barret by telling him they are going to play, causing him to run off alone. In Gongaga, the party runs into Zack's parents, who haven't heard of him for years, and Aeris reveals she used to be his girlfriend. Following a visit to Cosmo Canyon and speaking with the village elders, she comes to terms with her powers and duties as the last Cetra, although the knowledge of her task makes her feel more alone. Back in Gold Saucer, Aeris is a date option for Cloud, and if the two go out, she talks how much Cloud resembles Zack, but also realizes he's different and expresses a desire to meet the "real him."
The party tracks Sephiroth to the Temple of the Ancients, and Aeris uses her Cetra powers to help decipher the temple's mysteries and find the inner chamber. Sephiroth reveals his plan to use the Black Materia to call Meteor, the ultimate Black Magic. The temple itself transforms into the Black Materia, but Sephiroth takes control of Cloud, forcing him into relinquishing it. When Aeris attempts to stop Cloud, he attacks her and is knocked out by a party member. While he is unconscious, Aeris contacts Cloud in a dream and tells him that, as the last Cetra, only she can stop Sephiroth. When Cloud awakens, Tifa and Barret tell him Aeris is gone. Cloud follows the clues she had given him in the dream to the Forgotten City.
Return to the Lifestream
In a temple underneath the city, the party finds Aeris praying on an altar. As Cloud approaches her, Sephiroth attempts to take control of him to make him kill her, but Cloud resists. As Aeris finishes praying and lifts her head to see Cloud, Sephiroth—still using Jenova's body as a vessel transformed into his likeness—descends from the ceiling and impales her with the Masamune. Aeris collapses into Cloud's arms as her hair ribbon unravels, the White Materia that had been concealed in her hair bouncing off the altar into the water below.
Enraged, Cloud turns on Sephiroth, who detaches a part of Jenova's body to fight Cloud, transforming it into Jenova∙LIFE. After Jenova∙LIFE is dispatched, the party pays their respects to Aeris, and Cloud rests her body to the pool of water in the center of the city. Reeve, a Shinra executive sympathetic to their cause traveling with the party in the guise of Cait Sith, later brings the news of her death to Elmyra Gainsborough and consoles her.
Aeris was praying for Holy, the ultimate White Magic to defend against Meteor, called by the White Materia she had worn in her hair. The party later learns Aeris had succeeded in calling it prior to her demise, but Sephiroth is blocking its power. Cloud's party descends to the center of the Planet to defeat him, and after the battle, Cloud has an out-of-body experience, during which he faces off against Sephiroth's spirit alone. Vanquishing his nemesis, Cloud finds himself among the Lifestream with Aeris extending her hand to him. As Cloud tries to grasp it, he returns to his body and saves Tifa as the cave begins to crumble. He tells her he can meet Aeris again in the Promised Land. Sephiroth's defeat releases Holy, but by this time the Meteor has fallen too close, and Holy's energy is unfocused by its gravity. Within the Lifestream, Aeris's spirit commands the Lifestream to emerge from the Planet and push Meteor back, allowing Holy to fully focus its energy, and in January of 0008, Holy and the Lifestream destroy Meteor and save the Planet.
Aerith's role in the Lifestream fending off Meteor is expanded in the novella Hoshi wo Meguru Otome, which depicts Aerith in the Lifestream immediately after her death helping to fight Sephiroth's influence over it as well as meeting other dead characters from the game, including Barret's childhood friend Dyne, fallen AVALANCHE members Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie, President Shinra, Hojo, and Zack, whom she is surprised to learn is dead. She helps Tifa and Cloud when they fall into the Lifestream and into Cloud's Subconscious, and when Holy fails to defeat Meteor, Aerith commands the Lifestream to push it back and help Holy destroy it.
Aerith is also the central character in the On the Way to a Smile novella "Case of the Lifestream - White." As Sephiroth avoids dissolution and spreads Geostigma using the Lifestream tainted with his memories, Aerith tries to help heal the spirits of the dead and contain the damage being done to the Lifestream. Despite the help of the spirits of other Cetra, those infected with Geostigma die faster than Aerith can heal their spirits, so she resolves to try and contact Cloud and stop the infection on the Planet itself. Aerith considers creating avatars similar to Sephiroth, but decides against this as she would rather meet Cloud as he remembers her.
I never blamed you. Not once. You came for me... that's all that matters.
When Cloud and Tifa collapse wounded on the flowers of the Sector 5 Church in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, they later awaken healed, implying Aerith's presence. Aerith appears to Cloud in a vision as he rides to the Forgotten City to save the children of Edge from Kadaj. Standing behind him, she questions his reasons for coming, and Cloud says he wants to be forgiven. When Aerith asks, "By who?" Cloud turns to see her, and the vision ends.
When he loses his cellphone during his fight with Kadaj and his brothers, Aerith leaves a message on it as it descends into a pool of water, assuring Cloud she never blamed him for her death. During the battle against Bahamut SIN, Cloud is consumed in its attack, and amid the fireball sees a vision of Aerith, who takes his outstretched hand and transfers enough energy to him to cut through Bahamut's attack and destroy it.
In the battle's aftermath, Cloud pursues Kadaj and his brothers on motorcycle, eventually confronting Kadaj in the Sector 5 Church. Kadaj attacks Cloud with a blast of energy, destroying the flowerbed. Water full of energy from the Lifestream erupts in a geyser from the hole, healing Cloud of his Geostigma and sending Kadaj fleeing. Cloud follows him, and during their battle, Kadaj absorbs Jenova's cells he had obtained from Rufus earlier to become Sephiroth. Sephiroth covers Midgar in the corrupted Lifestream, and as Marlene and Denzel watch it descend over the city, she senses Aerith's presence.
When Cloud defeats Sephiroth he is transformed back into Kadaj. Aerith calls down healing rain over the city, curing most of the inhabitants of Geostigma. Hearing Aerith's voice and mistaking her as his mother, Kadaj dissolves into the Lifestream. His brothers attack Cloud, and the three are consumed in an explosion.
Floating in a void, Cloud senses Aerith's presence and also mistakes her as his mother. She and Zack joke about it, and Zack informs him that his place isn't with them yet. Cloud awakens in the water of the Sector 5 Church, and the Moogle Girl tells him "she" said to wait there and he would be back. Cloud uses the water to heal Denzel—a boy suffering from Geostigma he and Tifa had adopted—and the remaining children, and the group celebrates. As Cloud surveys his friends, he spots Aerith speaking to children near the church entrance before walking to the light-filled doorway where Zack waits. Aerith turns and smiles, assuring Cloud that "everything's alright." As she and Zack walk into the light, Cloud smiles as they fade. Later, as Cloud rides his motorcycle through the countryside, Aerith stands among the fields of flowers, watching him whiz by.
In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, as Tifa is about to get crushed by falling foundation during the battle against Bahamut SIN, an image of Aerith about to meet her death at the hands of Sephiroth is superimposed over Tifa in Cloud's right eye. During the new ending, phones around Edge ring, and Aerith's unheard voice tells the children who answer to go to her church to be healed. Aerith is no longer seen on the field in the ending when Cloud rides his motorcycle.
Aeris is a playable party member in Final Fantasy VII. She is focused towards casting magic with high magical stats and low physical stats, and wields several staves, which often contain many Materia slots and boost her Magic. Her Limits are healing abilities and buffs. Her ultimate weapon, Princess Guard, is the only ultimate weapon with standard Materia growth, and increases in attack power proportional to killed allies. Aeris is a date option for Cloud in the Gold Saucer and she is the easiest option to date.
She is fought as a boss in the Training Mode of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-.
In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Healing Wave is a Limit Break used by Zack when Aerith's portrait lines up in the Digital Mind Wave during a modulating phase. It acts similar to Great Gospel, healing Zack of all negative status ailments, granting him invincibility and restoring a large amount of AP, MP and HP, also increasing them beyond their max amounts if enough is healed. Zack can use Healing Wave after meeting with Aerith, since the beginning of chapter 5.
Creation and development
Aerith was designed by Tetsuya Nomura with influence from director and scenario writer Yoshinori Kitase and Hironobu Sakaguchi. Yoshitaka Amano created conceptual artwork of Aerith for Final Fantasy VII, which also influenced her design. Her long dress was designed to appear ladylike and as a contrast to Tifa Lockhart's miniskirt. Making Aerith's dress with polygons was difficult at the time, but Nomura believed that thinking about how to make it move naturally would lead to improvement of skills and rendering. Her green eyes were meant to symbolize nature and also served as another contrast to Tifa's.
Aerith was, along with Cloud and Barret, one of the first three playable characters designed for Final Fantasy VII before more were added. An early demo of Final Fantasy VII includes Aeris in the attack on the Sector 5 Reactor with Cloud and Barret, but she does not appear outside of battle and does not speak. During early plans for the game Aerith was to have the Geomancer job class. Though the final product has no job system, Aerith's Limit Breaks manifest as her drawing power from the earth, a typical trait of Geomancers.
In the original development materials it is stated the DNA of her mother Ifalna, not Jenova, would have been used to create SOLDIER members, and Aerith herself would have been cheerful but naive regarding men, having never been in a relationship.Lua error in Module:Cite at line 46: Could not find an entry in Module:Codename/data or Module:Sources matching this input. In a subplot that was cut from the final game, Aerith would tell Cloud stories about a nameless SOLDIER who used to buy flowers from her years ago whom she fell in love with, but her feelings were unrequited. Cloud would have deduced the unnamed SOLDIER was Sephiroth, and would have gone out of his way to hide evidence of Sephiroth's true character from Aerith to avoid shattering her idealized vision of him.Lua error in Module:Cite at line 46: Could not find an entry in Module:Codename/data or Module:Sources matching this input. At an earlier point in development, it was considered that Sephiroth and Aerith would be brother and sister, a connection that was intended to be hinted at through their similar hairstyles. This was changed to Sephiroth being Aerith's former love, and then dropped. Tifa would also have told Aerith the truth about Cloud and the Nibelheim Incident, including Zack's presence there when the village was destroyed.
Though he has made humorous remarks to the contrary, Tetsuya Nomura has stated that Aerith's death was always planned to be part of the plot, even when she, Cloud and Barret were the only planned characters. In an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly, Nomura stated the following:
We knew even in the early concept stage that one character would have to die. But we only had three to choose from. I mean, Cloud's the main character, so you can't really kill him. And Barret... well, that's maybe too obvious. But we had to pick between Aerith and Barret. We debated this for a long time, but in the end decided to sacrifice Aerith... In the previous FF games, it became almost a signature theme for one character to sacrifice him or herself, and often it was a similar character type from game to game, kind of a brave, last-man-standing, Barret-type character. So everyone expected that. And I think that death should be something sudden and unexpected, and Aerith's death seemed more natural and realistic. Now, when I reflect on Final Fantasy VII, the fact that fans were so offended by her sudden death probably means that we were successful with her character. If fans had simply accepted her death, that would have meant she wasn't an effective character.
When discussing the making of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, co-director Takeshi Nozue has said that Aerith's appearance was designed with particular detail, as it was believed fans would pay close attention to her when she appeared. Tetsuya Nomura stated they knew from the beginning they would not show her face until the final scenes, and when her face was finally revealed, he thought she looked "cuter than ever." In the final scenes where Aerith turns to face Cloud in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, her facial structure is redesigned from its previous appearance, in addition to having sharper graphics from the film's different format.
The members of AVALANCHE wearing pink ribbons in memory of her was an added detail when it was noticed no one mentioned Aerith's name in the film, and that if she was not going to be mentioned in dialogue there should be visual indication that AVALANCHE remembers her.
In original concepts for Aerith's appearance to Cloud in a vision at the Forgotten City, the plan was for Aerith to appear on the back of Cloud's motorcycle and ride with him as they spoke. Motion capture for the sequence was done, but the scene was discarded when the development staff felt it would look too much like a ghost looming over Cloud's shoulder.
Aerith was first voiced in Kingdom Hearts, and has had a number of different voice actresses in English. In Kingdom Hearts she was voiced by Mandy Moore; later she was voiced by Mena Suvari for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Kingdom Hearts II; and she was voiced by Andrea Bowen for Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
Aerith is is voiced by Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese. She shares her voice actress with Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII and Diva from Final Fantasy Type-0. Her voice actress, Maaya Sakamoto, is married to Zack's voice actor, Kenichi Suzumura.
In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Aerith is voiced by Briana White, who runs a YouTube channel named Strange Rebel Gaming in which she streams videogames. Briana auditioned not expecting to be cast, as Aerith is her first real voice acting role, and prior to playing the game, her only experience with the Final Fantasy series was with Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XV, which she had enjoyed. A few months following the reveal of Aerith in Final Fantasy VII Remake in 2019, Briana published a video on her YouTube channel, publicly addressing her audience and saying she is extremely excited for the game.
Aerith's musical theme is called "Aerith's Theme." Two other pieces focusing on Aerith, "Flowers Blooming in the Church" and "Water," are derived from this central piece. In addition, the background theme of the final dungeon, "The Great Northern Cave," contains a motif from her theme.
A cover of "Aerith's Theme" with lyrics and the alternate title, "Pure Heart," was sung by Ritsuko Nakano (AKA Rikki) the singer of the vocal theme of Final Fantasy X, "Suteki da ne," as an additional song on the theme's album. Later versions, including versions with lyrics and orchestrated by Nobuo Uematsu, use the original title.
In 2016, during a special event titled "Awakening Cloud" for Final Fantasy Record Keeper, players were treated with a special theme, a heavy metal cover of "Fight On!" (also known as "Those Who Fight Further") that would play in the main menu screen. The theme featured a moment where the "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII" and "Aerith's Theme" became a medley.
Aerith has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-.
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII as a garb.
- Final Fantasy Tactics as a cameo.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as an Assist only character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy series as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy All the Bravest as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Mobius Final Fantasy on selected battle cards and as a manifestation of Echo. Also, as a job for Meia.
- Final Fantasy Explorers as a Trance.
- Final Fantasy World Wide Words.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a card.
- Final Fantasy VII technical demo in a cutscene.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
Aerith has had key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:
Aerith is referenced by Cloud towards Yuna in the introduction of Dead Fantasy IV as a person he said goodbye to a long time ago. Cloud's rival, Helena Douglas from Dead or Alive, resembles Aerith. Both share the same hairstyle of a ponytail adorned with a ribbon, but her role in the series is an antagonist.
An NPC in the Miner quests in 1.0 version of Final Fantasy XIV mistakenly called players by the wrong name. He would call a Midlander Hyur "Cloud", and a Miqo'te "Aerith". Aerith Gainsborough is also among the names used in example sentences for the chat log filtering configuration.
In Blizzard's World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, there is an NPC flower vendor in the city of Dalaran is named Aerith Primrose, wearing clothing nearly identical to Aerith's Final Fantasy VII design.
Aerith's outfit appears as a costume for Lyudmila N Ignatova in the third-person shooter arcade game Gunslinger Stratos 2. Announced during a Tokyo Game Show, the costume was released as part of a Final Fantasy-themed collaboration event for the game in November, 2014.
A costume themed around Aerith's outfit is available as the 3P costume for Mirage Koas in the game Star Ocean: Till the End of Time.
Yoshitaka Amano's "Tranquility" artwork of Cloud and Aerith is shown on a wall in a scene in Parasite Eve I. The picture was created by Amano to be used as a cover for the original Final Fantasy VII soundtrack.
In Parasite Eve II, there is a laboratory where Aya Brea tries to use a computer infected with a virus called "Fatekeeper". The anti-virus, "Cloud", is found inside the September issue of a magazine called "Aeris".
Aerith has been alluded to in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. fighting games. In Cloud's reveal trailer for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, his first meeting with Aerith is recreated with an unconscious Cloud next to a kneeling Princess Zelda holding a flower. In the next game in the franchise, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the player can unlock an Advent Children Cloud Fighter Spirit by performing a Cross Slash with a fully charged Limit Break. To commemorate the achievement, a picture is shown of Cloud holding Princess Zelda in water similarly to when he was laying Aerith's body to the lake in Forgotten City.
In Disney's movie Wreck-it Ralph, there is a message written in graffiti outside of Game Central Station that reads "Aerith Lives". "Aerith Lives" is also a password in the Deus Ex: Black Light novel.
Aerith, or more specifically, her funeral, was referenced in one of the challenge images where Cloud is carrying Zelda in a body of water as her face is contorted in agony.
Aerith has appeared in numerous merchandise. Her Remake flower necklace is also released as official jewelry.
Etymology and symbolism
Aerith's name is meant to sound similar to "earth" due to her connection to the Planet. In the September 1997 issue of the Famitsu magazine, it is said "Aeris" is the transliteration of the word into katakana: "earth" turned into "earisu," Aerith's Japanese name.
Additionally, the Hebrew word עירית, ʻīrīṯ (the ṯ was pronounced th), refers to the asphodel flower. It is also a modern Hebrew girls' name, Irit. This might have been appropriate, considering Aerith's association with flowers. Because of the inexact way Hebrew treats vowels in writing, an alternate reading ʻērīṯ is also conceivable from an intuitive reading of the letters.
Her name could also be representative of Tiferet, also pronounced Tifereth, representative of the sixth Sefira in the Tree of Life symbolizing love, beauty and self-sacrifice. This would tie up with the larger theme Final Fantasy VII has with Jewish mysticism. Given how Tifa's concept was developed after the decision to have Aerith die and certain characteristic originally attributed to Aerith in earlier story-boards were transferred to Tifa's storyline, it would make sense their names would be derived from a split of "Tifereth."
Gainsborough is a town 15 miles north-west of Lincoln on the River Trent within the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. Many European surnames derive from locations.
Final Fantasy VII derives symbolism from Jewish mysticism, and Aerith's character may have been influenced by it as well. Sephirot are the ten attributes through which God appears, and Aerith may be tied to one such attribute, chesed, meaning kindness or love. It is a virtue which contributes to a concept translated as the healing of the world and the concept suggests man's responsibility to repair and transform the world. The Talmud says "the Torah begins with chesed and ends with chesed," and Aerith is the first and last character seen in the main events of Final Fantasy VII (excepting the epilogue). Those who embody chesed go "above and beyond that which is normally required," and chesed is the first of the sephirot of the attribute of action; in other words the initiation of action. This is similar to how Aerith ventures off alone to summon Holy. The gematria (a numerological system for assigning numbers to words) of chesed is 72; Aerith's birthday is the 7th of February.
- Aerith's Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- render appears within of the code for Dissidia Final Fantasy. This is believed to be because Dissidia Final Fantasy shares the same game engine as Crisis Core, so it is probably left over data. The image of a Crisis Core Tonberry also appears. Through hacking, this version of Aerith can be controlled. She cannot attack, only run around due to her lack of animations.
- When returning to the Sector 5 Church, two different images of Aeris may be seen. One appears for a split second in the center of screen before disappearing, while in the other Aeris is seen tending the flowers before Cloud moves closer. It has been speculated this is meant to be her "ghost". For more information see Aeris's ghost.
- A Final Fantasy VII promotional poster of Aerith shows her standing before the Highwind, but she dies before the player obtains the Highwind as the party's airship. The poster refers to Aerith's desire to have a ride on the Highwind after seeing it in Junon.
- Additionally, before the party's second visit to the Forgotten City, if the player talks to Cid while inside the Highwind, he will mention wanting to give her a ride in the airship.
- Aerith seemed to have a good relationship with Red XIII, often patting him on the nose; something he says he used to hate, feeling being treated like a child, however he also liked the attention. This is revealed if the player talks to Red XIII before the second visit to the Forgotten City.
- Aerith was #1 on Gametrailers' Top Ten Babes Who Are Out of Your League.
- The strawberry parfait sold in Square Enix's Artnia cafe comes with a pink ribbon reminiscent of Aerith.
- Aerith is one of the few Final Fantasy characters who are of mixed race, along with Cecil Harvey, Golbez, Yuna, Terra Branford, Seymour Guado, Hilda Ware, and Arenvald Lentinus.
- Aerith resembles the enemy Lemure from Final Fantasy V, both being flower girls with similar clothes and hairstyles. It also holds the Ribbon item, a signature part of Aerith's outfit.
- Aerith was voted #2 as Japan's favorite Final Fantasy female character.
- Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega p.32
- Tetsuya Nomura, Kingdom Hearts Character Reports vol.2
- GameFan magazine, Vol.4, Issue 5, p.18 (Accessed: August 05, 2019) at Glitterberri
- Final Fantasy VII (Accessed: August 05, 2019) at Final Fantasy VII on PC
- Final Fantasy VII (JP) manual, p.06
- Final Fantasy VII Official Establishment File, p.20[Scan]
- Concept artwork by Tetsuya Nomura
- Weekly Famitsu Issue no. 1224 Tetsuya Nomura Interview translated by TheLifestream.net (Accessed: August 05, 2019) at The Lifestream
- Weekly Famitsu Magazine no. 1224, May 31, 2012, p.36-41 (Chinese scanlations, Nomura interview translation, Kitase interview translation), (Nomura, Kitase and Nojima Discuss Final Fantasy VII's Development (dead) (Accessed: September 28, 2018) at Andriasang.com (dead))
- Interview with Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura from Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue #196, October 2005. (Accessed: August 05, 2019) at The Final Fantasy 7 Citadel
- I'm the Voice Actor for Aerith in Final Fantasy VII Remake! (0:00) (Error: No screenshot/audio evidence) by Strange Rebel Gaming at YouTube