In the Land of the Study of Planet Life is the eighteenth chapter in Final Fantasy VII, and the ninth chapter of the second act, "Pursuit". After their buggy crashes, Cloud Strife and his companions arrive in Cosmo Canyon. Red XIII, previously the quiet group member, seems excited to return to his home, and the others learn his real name, "Nanaki". While there, they meet Bugenhagen and learn more about the lifestream and the natures of the planet.
Though listed as the ninth chapter as listed in Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, the chapter "Gongaga, the Village of Sadness" that proceeds it is entirely optional and can be done at any point between "The Desert Prison" and "Secret Date", meaning that "In the Land of the Study of Planet Life" is the next mandatory part of the story after The Desert Prison.
Traveling to Cosmo Canyon
Cosmo Canyon is located in Cosmo Area on the southwest of the continent. It can be reached by traveling west from Gongaga (or from Corel Prison if Gongaga was skipped), then crossing a river that appears on the southwest end of the continent, and then following a linear path over rocky cliffs to the top where the town is located. Attempting to drive the buggy further west past Cosmo Canyon will cause the buggy to breakdown, meaning visiting Cosmo Canyon is required to proceed. Additionally, letting the buggy break down means missing a Condor War battle, so the player must park the buggy east of Cosmo Canyon in order to fight in every Condor War battle or obtain the Superball as early as possible.
Along the way, the enemies fought are Gagighandis (often accompanied by Touch Mes), Skeeskees, and Griffins. The Long Range Materia can be equipped to help deal with Griffins, as they are capable of flight and can also reduce the MP of the party. Skeeskees are capable of inflicting Fury with their Rage Bomber counterattack; otherwise, they are straightforward enemies. Gagighandis can inflict Slow-numb on one party member, against which a Soft can be stolen from them should a party member become petrified; normally it is easier to simply defeat the Gagighandis before that point.
Upon entering Cosmo Canyon, Red XIII, whether he is a member of the party or not, will run off in excitement. Talking to the man at the front and selecting "No" when he asks if they are familiar with the land will allow the party to proceed, as Red XIII asks that they be allowed in. Talk to Red XIII again on the stairs to proceed, after which the party will split up around the town.
To the right from the bottom of the stairs, the first building located is Pub "Starlet", where one of the Turtle's Paradise posters can be found on its top floor, and an inn can be used (with an Elixir found by inspecting the couch). Taking the stairs up will lead first to a Weapon Shop, Tiger Lily's Arm Shop, with another Turtle's Paradise poster to the left of it. The weapons at the shop have four Materia slots, all linked in pairs, and are a slight upgrade in stats compared to previously-available weapons—depending on playstyle, but are costly and do not provide double Materia growth, meaning their value is dependent on the playstyle of each character. Silver Armlets, the best armor currently available, are also worthwhile purchases. Further up from here (after going up the stairs, left, up the stairs outside back inside) is a set of four rooms, of which the Materia Shop is the first from the right on the entrance. This shop sells HP Plus and MP Plus Materia.
Continue the plot by climbing to the observatory at the top and talking to Red XIII and Bugenhagen. After some dialogue, Bugenhagen will ask Cloud to bring two party members along, which can be chosen by speaking to any of the allies found anywhere below and forming a party; the easiest to find is Yuffie, if recruited, in the Materia Shop, or Cait Sith if not, in the kitchen to its right. The choice has no effect on date mechanics, only affecting dialogue that will play in the following cutscene. After choosing them, return to the observatory and talk to Bugenhagen again for the cutscene in question.
After the cutscene, return to Cosmo Candle, where the rest of the party will be gathered. Talk to the other party members, in any order, then talk to Red XIII. After some dialogue, Bugenhagen will then appear, saying he wants to show Red XIII something. Form a party (which must include Red XIII). Once the party is formed, the player can leave Cosmo Canyon and fight in a Condor War battle if the buggy did not break down. If the player does not want to fight in this battle or already finished it, they must follow Bugenhagen to the Cave of the Gi.
Cave of the Gi
The Cave of the Gi contains a Black M-phone, Ether, Added Effect Materia, X-Potion, Turbo Ether, Fairy Ring, and Gravity Materia. The Death Sentence skill can be learned from the Gi Spector and the Sneaky Step in this cave. Added Effect cannot be found anywhere else, so it will be permanently missed if the player does not pick it up before the cave gets resealed.
Gi Nattak boss
At the end of the cavern, Gi Nattak awaits the party, attacking them alongside two Soul Fires. As it is an undead monster, the easy way to kill it is to use an X-Potion, Elixir, or Megalixir on it (any of these three will kill it in one shot) or a Phoenix Down or Life (which each have a 25% chance of killing it instantly).
After defeating Gi Nattak, the party reaches the rear of Cosmo Canyon and a cutscene plays. Red XIII receives the Seraph Comb weapon, which has very strong stats compared to those of other weapons at this time, but no linked Materia slots.
After the cutscene ends, control of Cloud is regained, and Bugenhagen reseals the Cave of the Gi. Before leaving Cosmo Canyon, Red XIII catches up and rejoins the party, leaving them free to leave Cosmo Canyon. The next chapter, "Unnatural Hometown", takes place in Nibelheim, to the north.