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A member of the anti-Shinra militant group Avalanche. Tifa manages Seventh Heaven, a bar located in the Sector 7 slums. A student of Zangan-style martial arts, she can clobber opponents with her fleet-footed combat techniques.

Tifa Lockhart is a playable character in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII Remake. She is the main protagonist of the novel Final Fantasy VII Remake Trace of Two Pasts, and also plays a supportive role in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, and Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-. She is a friend of Cloud Strife, and a member of the resistance group Avalanche.

Tifa grew up with Cloud in Nibelheim, but lost contact with him years ago. When she meets him again, she convinces him to join Avalanche to fight the Shinra Electric Power Company, whom she bears hatred for due to the destruction of their hometown. She supports Cloud as his comrade and helps him and his allies fight Sephiroth. Tifa is reserved and empathic, acting as a motherly figure towards her allies when providing encouragement and emotional support. She also serves as the voice of reason grounding them to think things through and do the right thing.

In contrast to her shy personality, Tifa has a vigorous combat style, fighting with her fists. Trained by Zangan, she uses martial arts skills to fight opponents up close, and equips knuckles as her weapons. In the original Final Fantasy VII, unlike other characters, her Limit abilities, each a different martial arts technique, are not selected from a list, rather, each ability can be used consecutively if the slots land on the "Yeah!" reel for the ability. Tifa has a similar role in Final Fantasy VII Remake as an agile close combat fighter making use of powerful techniques in battle, with a unique ability based on her Unbridled Strength chi level.

History

Before Final Fantasy VII

Early life

Tifa as a child talking to Cloud (top) and making him promise to her (bottom) in Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Tifa was born May 3,[4] 1987,[6] in Nibelheim to Brian Lockhart and his wife Thea.[10] As a child, she was outgoing, and played with friends named Emilio, Lester, and Tyler, each around the same age as her. Though Cloud was separated by only a year in age, the two were not close.[10][11]

Thea died when Tifa was eight years old in 1995, leaving Tifa upset and confused, and causing her to grow apart from her friends. Coping with her trauma, Tifa came to believe her mother had gone to Mt. Nibel, and that she could meet her again if she crossed the mountain. Tifa headed off to Mt. Nibel with a group of friends, and Cloud followed to protect her. Instead, her friends turned back, and Tifa took a misstep on a rickety bridge; Cloud tried to catch her, but they both fell. Her father found her severely injured, in a coma for seven days, and blamed Cloud for leading her to Mt. Nibel.[11]

In their pre-teens, Tifa's friends began to view her differently, seeing her as a potential partner in life, though she would politely decline spending time with them alone. Instead, Tifa grew a connection to a white cat she owned named named Mal, gifted to her by the village chief. After spraining her ankle when Mal leapt from her arms and coming down with a fever, the entire village chased after the cat to no avail. Later, Claudia Strife brought the cat to Tifa's house, as Cloud had found it in the mountains, but was too embarassed to bring it himself. Tifa had developed an admiration for Cloud, believing him to be something unreachable.[10]

As years passed, Emilio, Lester, and Tyler had a picnic with Tifa under the water tower, where they mentioned their desire to leave for Midgar for a better life, leading her to resent the city.[10] In 0000, five years after Thea's death, Cloud decided to join SOLDIER like his idol Sephiroth, in part to impress Tifa. He too called Tifa out to the water tower to tell her of his plans, which Tifa found reminiscent of the others' desire to leave. Tifa made Cloud promise to protect her if she was ever trapped or in trouble.[12][13] After that night, Tifa's admiration for Cloud evolved into a love for him.[10]

When Cloud left to join SOLDIER the following spring (becoming a Shinra Public Security Division infantryman), Tifa kept checking the newspaper looking for some mention of him, and asking Shinra personnel if they knew him when they came to Nibelheim.[14][15] Meanwhile, the rest of the boys left the town one-by-one, though despite what they had promised, did not write to her, causing her to feel lonely.[10] Tifa then began to take martial arts lessons from Zangan, and became his most prized student.[16]

Nibelheim Incident

Tifa training under Zangan in Last Order: Final Fantasy VII.

Two years later, on September 21, 0002, a 15-year-old Tifa worked as a tour guide in Mt. Nibel (the same mountain where she had her injury).[11] She was hired by the Turks to lead a Shinra expedition to investigate a faulty mako reactor.[14] The expedition included Sephiroth and a SOLDIER named Zack. During their stay she dropped hints to Zack of dreaming of a blond-haired SOLDIER protecting her.[15]

Unbeknown to her, Cloud was one of the two Shinra guards accompanying Zack and Sephiroth, but concealed his identity due to his shame of failing to enter SOLDIER. He prevented her entry to the reactor, and unsuccessfully attempted to protect her from a monster attack shortly after (trying to anonymously keep his promise). She protected him instead, and helped him down the mountain. Afterward, Tifa messaged Zack, expressing her worry for the soldier who helped her.[15]

Photograph of Zack Fair, Tifa, and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII.

Later, Sephiroth went berserk when he learned of his origins and who "his mother" is, and on October 1st set Nibelheim ablaze before setting off to the reactor. Brian Lockhart and others followed, but Sephiroth slew them. Tifa found her father dead at the Nibel Reactor with Sephiroth's Masamune. Declaring her hatred of Sephiroth and Shinra, she attacked him, but Sephiroth disarmed her and cut her down. Tifa fell down the steps and slumped to the ground.[17][15][18]

Zack found Tifa injured, but she did not trust him and refused his help.[18][11] Zack then engaged Sephiroth, but was defeated.[15] Cloud arrived and carried Tifa aside before confronting Sephiroth himself, believing Tifa's wounds were fatal.[11] Zangan arrived and found Tifa, carrying her away to safety, unable to save all three (Cloud, Zack and Tifa) from the reactor. He cast Cure on her and was barely able to keep her alive.[18][16]

Midgar and Avalanche

Zangan took Tifa away to Midgar for medical treatment.[18] Wishing to avoid Shirna-affiliated clinics, Tifa ended up in the hands of quack doctors, who patched her up but stole money so she would owe them, and against her will, took a topless photograph of her. Tifa stayed at Stargazer Heights, an apartment complex in the Sector 7 slums, owned by the landlady Marle. When Marle needed surgery and saw the photo from Tifa's surgery at the quack doctor's, she became protective of Tifa. Much later, Tifa found and beat up the son of one the quack doctor who stole money.[10]

To pay for her treatment, Tifa worked at a bun stall in the Sector 7 slums. There, she met Barret Wallace and Marlene Wallace at the bar and restaurant Seventh Heaven, which she bought and became the owner and proprietor of, to give them a place to stay. Tifa joined Avalanche, an anti-Shinra resistance group led by Barret, including Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie Rasberry. Jessie took a liking to Tifa, giving her encouragement that she was grateful for.[10]

In addition to running the bar that held their headquarters, Tifa handled the cell's finances,[19] and helped look after Marlene while Barret was away. The bar became famous around Sector 7 for Tifa's food and drinks.[20][21][22] At some point, the cell also worked with an intel guy named Al who stole codes, and at one point hit on Tifa with a flower trick that he attempted on many women, though she rejected him.[23] Eventually, Barret's group split from Avalanche HQ over disagreements.[note 2]

When Cloud returned to Midgar as a mercenary in late 0006, he met Tifa. Unaware Cloud was in Nibelheim during its destruction, but suspecting something was off about his behavior, Tifa recruited him to work for Barret to examine him further. Realizing Cloud knew several things he should not and had forgotten things he should know, and also initially doubting her own recollections when faced with Cloud's, Tifa concealed this information while trying to figure out the reason behind Cloud's different character and inconsistent memories.[11]

Original continuity

Avalanche operations

Tifa asking Cloud to help Avalanche.

In Final Fantasy VII, during "At the Hideout in the Slums" on December 9th,[6] Cloud returned to Tifa's bar following a successful mission to destroy mako reactor 1. Cloud attempted to quit Avalanche following an argument with Barret, though Tifa diffused the situation. She pleaded for Cloud to stay and reminded him of the promise they made as children, while reminding Barret the group was in need of help.[12]

In "To the No. 5 Reactor", Tifa then accompanied Cloud and Barret to mako reactor 5. Their ID cards failed the security check while onboard a train, and they were forced to jump out and trek the rest of the way on foot. While at the reactor, they spoke to President Shinra, who mocked them before unleashing Air Buster against them. After destroying it, Cloud was separated when he fell into the slums below.[24] Barret and Tifa returned to the hideout and found someone spying on them, who after interrogation, revealed he worked for the crime boss Don Corneo, also a Shinra informant. Against Barret's advice, Tifa headed to Don Corneo's mansion undercover by posing as one of his chosen "brides" for the day, traveling to Sector 6 by chocobo carriage.[25] Cloud caught Tifa being taken to Don's, and infiltrated Corneo's mansion with a girl he met at the Midgar slums, Aerith.

Tifa threatening Don Corneo.

Later, in "To Corneo Hall", Cloud and Aerith caught up with Tifa in Corneo's mansion. In the ensuing confrontation, Corneo revealed Shinra planned to drop the Sector 7 plate to crush the slums, before ejecting the group through a trap door. In "Prevent the Fall of the Plate", Tifa, Cloud, and Aerith passed through the sewer system and crossed the Train Graveyard to reach Sector 7. Tifa requested Aerith find Marlene and keep her safe, while heading up the Sector 7 support pillar with Cloud.[26] The two found Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie in critical condition, before reaching Barret at the top. After a brief battle against the Turks, the pillar was destroyed, and while Tifa, Cloud, and Barret escaped, Shinra captured Aerith. In "Aeris's Secret", Tifa and the others visited Elmyra Gainsborough's house where they found Marlene, and learned that Shinra wanted Aerith for her heritage as an Ancient.[27]

In "Storming the Shinra Building", Tifa, Barret, and Cloud infiltrated the Shinra Building to save Aerith. Barret wished to storm the building head-on, but Tifa strongly objected and urged them to take the stairs.[28] They rescued Aerith from Professor Hojo, along with another research experiment named Red XIII, who joined the group. They were caught by the Turks on the way out and brought before President Shinra, who mocked their efforts of stopping Shinra hegemony. The group was locked in cells, commencing "The Nightmare Beginning Anew". Tifa was locked with Cloud, but they could still hear and converse with the others in the adjacent cells: Aerith to their left, and Barret and Red XIII to the right. When Cloud talked to Aerith through the cell wall, she reminded him that their deal was to be her bodyguard in exchange for one date. Tifa seemed upset before changing the subject to ask what Aerith knew about the promised land, the legendary land of the Ancients.

The next day, the group awoke to find Sephiroth had attacked the building and killed President Shinra. When the President's son, Rufus Shinra, arrived, Cloud stayed behind to buy the group time to escape, though Tifa stayed back to help him. When Cloud escaped, she stole a light blue pick-up truck from the Shinra exhibition rooms, and escaped the building with Aerith in the passenger seat, Barret and Red XIII riding in the back, while Cloud supported them from a stolen motorcycle. Leaving Midgar behind, Tifa agreed to follow the group's journey to find Sephiroth, remarking that she had nowhere else to go.[29]

Pursuit of Sephiroth

In Kalm, Cloud told the group how he was deployed to Nibelheim with Sephiroth and how the latter destroyed the town. His version of events was faulty, but the confused Tifa did not confront him, doubting her own recollection of events and wishing to protect him.[17] Thereafter, the group traveled the world tracking Sephiroth, with Tifa supporting the party. They recruited new members, including Cait Sith and Yuffie Kisaragi. At the Corel Prison, with Barret struggling to deal with his own past, Tifa remarked that the two of them were not so different, both being driven towards Avalanche after their hometowns were destroyed by Shinra.[30]

In Gongaga, the group met Zack's parents, who had not heard from their son in years. Knowing Zack was the member of SOLDIER who had come to Nibelheim with Sephiroth instead of Cloud as he had recounted, Tifa was upset, but lied to Cloud when he asked if she knew Zack.[31] When the group arrived at Nibelheim they found the town rebuilt, populated by Shinra employees hired to cover up the incident,[16] who denied Cloud or Tifa had ever lived there. The group met Vincent Valentine, who joined the group, along with Cid Highwind who joined them later in Rocket Town.

When the group stayed in Gold Saucer while the ropeway was under repair, Tifa was one of the possible date options for Cloud. During the date, she lamented being insecure with her feelings, and how she wished she could tell Cloud something (likely referring to the inconsistency in his memories).[32] At the Temple of the Ancients, Sephiroth manipulated Cloud into relinquishing the Black Materia, a powerful Materia that would allow Sephiroth to summon Meteor to hurt the planet itself. Aerith absconded to the Forgotten City alone, and when Cloud doubted he should continue on the quest, Tifa and Barret pushed him into going, promising to support him. They witnessed Sephiroth murder Aerith and Tifa knelt by her body before running away in tears.[33]

Barret with Tifa after Meteor is summoned.

When the group tracked Sephiroth down to the Whirlwind Maze, he showed Cloud the true events of Nibelheim's razing. Sephiroth's manipulations took their toll and Cloud came to believe he was not a real person, but someone made by Professor Hojo of Shinra with false memories.[34] This led Tifa to doubt her own memories as well.[11] Cloud submitted to Sephiroth and handed over the Black Materia, before apologizing to Tifa as the North Crater shook and ancient beasts called Weapons awakened. Tifa and Barret fled on the Shinra airship, Highwind, as the crater collapsed with the rest of Avalanche escaping another way. Tifa and Barret were brought to Junon where they were to be executed as scapegoats to show Shinra is still in control as Meteor loomed in the sky.[34]

Meteorfall

At their public execution, Tifa was thrown into a gas chamber while the other party members hidden in the crowd saved Barret. Tifa broke out of her restraints and Sapphire Weapon blasted a hole into the gas chamber, allowing her to escape. She climbed out onto the Mako Cannon before the Shinra executive Scarlet confronted her. The two descended into a slap fight, with Tifa winning, before the Highwind appeared, now commanded by the rest of the party. Tifa leaped onto the airship and was elected the party's temporary leader in Cloud's absence.[35]

Beset by the trauma of recent events, including her near-death experience, Tifa was unable to provide answers. Unsure of how true her own memories were after Hojo implied Cloud was not a real person, Tifa wished to find Cloud to learn the truth. Though Barret urged her to be the "tough girl I used to know", the party agreed to find him. Eventually, Tifa found Cloud in Mideel, suffering from a mako overdose. She remained to watch over him, with Cloud showing no signs of improvement.[36]

Tifa tries to push Cloud to safety when the Lifestream surges.

While the rest of the party were away hunting Huge Materia, Ultimate Weapon attacked Mideel and lifestream swallowed up the village. Tifa tried to push the unresponsive Cloud to safety on a wheelchair, but both fall into the lifestream, the wellspring of the planet's life energy.[11][note 3] Submerged in the lifestream, Tifa was able to enter Cloud's Subconscious, uncover the truth behind the Nibelheim incident, and help Cloud restore his memories and motivations. In addition to finally being sure of her memories, Tifa learned Cloud admired her when he was young, and had joined SOLDIER to impress her, and also that Cloud had helped her during the incident though she had not known it was him.[11] After Cloud's memories were restored, the two washed ashore near Mideel where the others found them and brought them aboard the Highwind.

In the aftermath of Midgar's siege by Diamond Weapon and the impending chaos of Shinra's destruction, Cloud dismissed the party instructing them to find a reason to fight. Tifa stayed behind with him much to his surprise, remarking she had no one else left, having lost everyone else in her life. The two spent the night under the Highwind.[note 4]

Tifa in the ending.

The next day, in January 21, 0008,[6] the party descended to the bottom of the Northern Cave and defeated Sephiroth to release the power of Holy, the Ultimate White Magic Aerith had summoned before her death. After the battle, Cloud felt Sephiroth was not fully vanquished, and Tifa stayed behind as he descended into the lifestream for a final battle. As he returned to his body, the cavern fell apart and Cloud saved Tifa from falling. The party returned to the Highwind where they watched the lifestream surge from the planet to help Holy destroy the Meteor.

Post-crisis

Tifa in the On the Way to a Smile OVA.

In Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile "Episode Tifa", Tifa, Cloud, and Barret's daughter Marlene became a family in the newly built city of Edge, constructed early spring of the same year Sephiroth was defeated.[6] At Barret's suggestion, Tifa ran a bar called 7th Heaven while Cloud ran a delivery service. Her life with Cloud was initially happy, but she became concerned with Cloud's secrecy and growing depression, which strained the family's unity. Cloud brought Denzel, a boy he found from the Midgar ruins, to the bar, and he joined the family. However, Cloud left 7th Heaven with no explanation, despite showing signs of happiness again.[39]

In Final Fantasy VII The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story, Tifa was approached by Kyrie Canaan, a friend of the Evan Townshend in Midgar, who asked her for the route to Nibelheim. Later on, she was approached by Leslie Kyle, a friend of Kyrie, and let him know she had told Kyrie of his plans to travel to Nibelheim. When Evan Townsend destroyed Don Corneo's mansion, Tifa was seen in one of the many pictures found there.

Geostigma crisis

Tifa and Cloud in Sector 5 slums church.

In 0010,[6] during the events of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Tifa had called Cloud's cellphone several times and received no answer, still running the bar and caring for Marlene and Denzel, and handling the business side of Cloud's delivery service.

While taking Marlene to the Sector 5 slums church to find Cloud, she discovered he had Geostigma, a terminal illness, and was frustrated he did not tell her. Loz, one of the remnants of Sephiroth, arrived hoping to find Jenova's head under Cloud's care. Tifa dueled him, and though she put up a good fight, Loz used his superhuman speed and pile bunker to incapacitate her and take Marlene. Cloud found her unconscious and prepared to hunt down Marlene, but a bout of pain from his Geostigma stopped him. They were discovered by Reno and Rude, who brought them back to the 7th Heaven. Cloud first turned down Tifa's request to go to the Forgotten City to retrieve Marlene and Denzel, fearing he would be unable to help them, but Tifa lectured about his apathy and self-loathing, talking him into going.

Tifa fights a Shadow Creeper.

The next day, when Loz and Yazoo mind-controlled the children with Geostigma into going to the memorial in the center of Edge, Tifa attempted to save Denzel from them, but Bahamut SIN knocked her back. She was backed up by Barret, Red XIII, Cait Sith, Cid, Yuffie, and Vincent, and was the last person to physically help Cloud—with Aerith providing support from the lifestream—into the air to deliver the final blow to the dragon. She joined them on the Shera, Cid's new airship, with the Avalanche members while Cloud fought Kadaj and Sephiroth. After the battle, she arrived in the church with Denzel to heal his Geostigma, and shared a shy smile with Cloud as he relaxed with the children in the pool of lifestream-purified water.

Deepground conflict

One year later, during Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, Tifa participated in the ground assault on Midgar, leading the tanks with Barret and Cloud in the battle against a group known as Deepground. She appeared when the gang cheered on Vincent at the end. When Yuffie entered 7th Heaven to inquire about Vincent, Tifa was still running the bar, and let Shelke live with them.

Remake continuity

Tifa on the steps to her bar.

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Tifa met Cloud and Barret during "Home Sweet Slum", when they returned from the successful bombing of mako reactor 1. Cloud gave Tifa a flower, much to her surprise. She showed him to a room she had booked for him in Stargazer Heights, an apartment complex in the Sector 7 undercity owned by the landlady Marle, who had taken Tifa under her wing. Cloud asked to be paid, leading Tifa to apologize for the lack of funds, but she promised he would be paid the next day if he helped her collect money for the water filters they sold.[19]

The next day, Cloud helped Tifa collect the funds with her giving life lessons on living in the slums along the way, while Barret was still out making his rounds. Tifa suggested Cloud help out the slums as a mercenary, taking on small jobs to make connections.[40] The two helped the neighborhood watch defeat monsters in Scrap Boulevard, and assisted other residents at the direction of Wymer. Afterward, Cloud returned to Tifa's apartment, where she asked him directly what had happened after he left Nibelheim. Cloud gave ambiguous answers and appeared uncomfortable. Tifa changed the topic and encouraged they celebrate in fancy dress.[41] Later, the two found a slum dweller named Johnny harassed by Shinra's Public Security. Tifa wished to help him for fear he may leak information about Avalanche. She wanted to go alone, but Cloud insisted he also come. Tifa had to stop him from killing Johnny after they dealt with the soldiers, scared of how callous he has become.[42]

Tifa bartending.

After returning to the bar, Tifa made Cloud a drink. Though he was tight-lipped on the first cocktail she gave him, he complimented the Cosmo Canyon house special she gave him next. Tifa left Cloud to join the meeting with Barret, declining to join the mako reactor 5 attack due to differences of opinion, and Barret declined to rehire Cloud. After the meeting Cloud asked Tifa about having second thoughts, after hearing Jessie suggest so. Tifa felt trapped, hesitant to support the bombing though knowing the group had to think big to make a difference. She still drank and celebrated with the rest.[21] The next morning, in "Mad Dash", Tifa awoke Cloud when the town was attacked by the Whispers. The two fought through them, but the Whispers dispersed after Jessie was hurt. Barret rehired Cloud to replace her, and asked Tifa to come instead of Wedge, who was to stay behind to look after Jessie and Marlene.[43]

In "Dogged Pursuit", Tifa, Barret, and Cloud headed out to the next bombing mission, Biggs having already gone ahead of them. Their IDs failed the ID scan while onboard the train. Tifa helped the passengers leave the locked down car and told the Shinra Middle Manager, who was confused about her actions, that she did not care he worked for Shinra, and was only concerned with saving lives.[44] Tifa was forced to jump into the Corkscrew Tunnel from the moving train, Cloud cushioning her landing, with her thanking him after.[45][note 5] The two regrouped with Barret as they navigated through the tunnel to reach the Sector 4 plate, commencing "Light the Way". Tifa was hesitant to deactivate the sun lamps to allow the group to cross, knowing it would cut off the undercity's closest equivalent to sunlight. She agreed when thinking about the immense amounts of mako they consumed, and because they would stop working once the reactor was destroyed anyway.[46] Tifa worried about Jessie's injury, but Barret reminded her the best way to help was to fight in her stead.[47]

Reaching out to Cloud outside mako reactor 5.

Arriving at mako reactor 5, in "A Trap Is Sprung", Tifa planted the bomb with the others. The Shinra executive Heidegger appeared on hologram to boast they were being broadcast live on TV to build Avalanche up as a public enemy and boost Shinra's popularity, and how they would be executed by a mech named Airbuster. Tifa appeared defeated, but Barret encouraged the three to give Shinra the spectacle they deserved.[48] While attempting to sabotage the mech, Tifa advised Cloud remove the AI programming cores to slow it down.[49] After reaching the end of the reactor, Tifa coordinated the group as they disabled an emergency lock, at Cloud's insistence.[50] After reaching Airbuster, President Shinra appeared on hologram to reveal Shinra could detonate the reactor whenever, and that the company would smear Avalanche as a proxy group funded by Wutai. Tifa destroyed Shinra's holographic drones in frustration before fighting Airbuster. The Airbuster exploded when destroyed, separating Cloud from the group. Tifa tried to reach out to him in desperation but he fell, and Barret carried her away.[51]

Upon returning to the slums, Tifa found a group of hoodlums asking questions, and learned they were working for Don Corneo. Unable to figure out why, she decided to track Corneo down and learn herself.[52] She would enter Corneo's mansion by auditioning for the role of one of Corneo's girls, getting the recommendation from Chocobo Sam, who believed she was certain to be selected.[53] Arriving by chocobo carriage, during "The Town That Never Sleeps", she was spotted by Cloud along the way, and was relieved. She asked him not to worry about her, reminding that he has "seen how much ass I can kick", and Cloud appeared to stay behind.[54]

Tifa before Corneo.

Tifa later found herself joined by Cloud, who had dressed as a woman to infiltrate the mansion, along with Aerith, a friend Cloud had met in the slums. Taken aback Tifa told them of her plan, and said she was in no danger, but was concerned that she was only one of three audition candidates and there was a chance she would not be picked. With Cloud and Aerith as the other candidates, the three would be able to secure information from Corneo. He initially took interest in Tifa, who appeared very uncomfortable in contrast with the stoic Cloud and the calmer Aerith, until Cloud's derisive remarks led him being picked instead. Tifa and Aerith were sent to Corneo's lackeys, and beat them up together. Corneo's henchman Leslie Kyle provided their equipment as gifts from Andrea Rhodea, and the group hurried to Cloud's rescue. The three interrogated Corneo, Tifa threatening him with castration, until he revealed Shinra's plan to drop the Sector 7 plate, horrifying her. Corneo then dropped them into the sewer system through a trap door.[52]

In "Rough Waters", Tifa, Aerith, and Cloud defeated Corneo's "pet" Abzu and resolved to return to Sector 7 as quickly as possible. Tifa was agitated by Corneo's words, hoping he was lying. Drawing on her time with Avalanche, she navigated a path out for the group, knowing the Sector 6 and 7 tunnels would be connected.[55] She remained distressed, and Aerith attempted to cheer her up by making her think of what they would do after stopping the pillar, Tifa wanting to go shopping topside with Aerith to buy things for the bar, with Cloud carrying their things. When getting to know her, Tifa seemed to notice Aerith knew something they didn't.[56] In "Haunted", the group passed through the haunted Train Graveyard, unnerving Tifa due to her fear of ghosts; she took Cloud's arm (after Aerith took his other) to seek his support.[57] At the end of a maintenance facility, Tifa remembered Marlene telling her stories of the graveyard's ghosts while she had been babysitting.[58]

Tifa in shock below the pillar (top) and fleeing it following its destruction (bottom).

In "Fight for Survival", Tifa was mortified to see the pillar under attack from Shinra. When she ran towards it, Whispers appeared to show her down. They saw Wedge plummet off the pillar, but survive with a grappling hook cushioning his fall. Tifa and Aerith looked after him while Cloud climbed the pillar. After they were sure Wedge would be fine, Tifa asked Aerith to get Marlene to safety (though Aerith knew Tifa's request before she even asked it), and with Aerith's encouragement, followed Cloud up the pillar.[59] Tifa found Cloud attacked by the Turks' helicopter until Rude diverted the gunfire away when she appeared. The two found a dying Jessie, with Tifa shedding tears.[60] They rejoined Barret, and fought off Rude and Reno, but could not to stop the plate from separating, and were forced to evacuate.

In "A Broken World", Tifa joined a grieving Barret, feeling the plate's fall was their fault. Barret urged her not to think like this, reminding her it was Shinra who separated the plate, regardless of what happened before. Cloud mostly stayed back, but then chimed in that Marlene would be okay if Aerith had helped her, and Tifa agreed.[61] After reaching Elmyra Gainsborough's house with Cloud's direction, they found Marlene, and Elmyra told them of Aerith's heritage as a Cetra. Cloud wished to go rescue her but Elmyra strongly objected, and Tifa agreed, encouraging Cloud to wait a little first, hoping that Shinra would treat her well and soon release her.[62]

Cloud comforts Tifa over everything they have lost.

Barret, Tifa, and Cloud returned to the ruins of Sector 7. Through a cave-in, they found a secret Shinra testing facility hidden underground, as well as Wedge, whom they took to Aerith's place to recuperate, commencing "In Search of Hope". That night, Tifa had a chance to meet Cloud in Aerith's garden, where she revealed she learned that his flower, having come from here, symbolized reunion, and that she had tried to keep it alive as long as possible. She lamented having lost everything again because of Shinra, and burst into tears, with Cloud embracing her.[23] The following morning, Cloud and Tifa convinced Elmyra to let them chase after Aerith, Tifa feeling obligated to as Aerith was their friend.[23]

Needing a way to return topside as the trains had stopped, Tifa's only suggestion was to chase after Corneo once more. Seeing an undercity resident named Kyrie Canaan spread Shinra propaganda in the hopes of being paid, Barret angrily wished to storm the stage, but Tifa held him back as there was no point, they would not be listened to with everyone so on edge. At her suggestion, they helped out several undercity residents with various tasks,[63] including Johnny, whose wallet Kyrie had stolen. Johnny declared he was leaving Midgar unless Tifa begged him to stay; she simply wished him the best of luck.[64] Tifa also met Andrea Rhodea who had helped Cloud and Aerith get into Corneo's mansion before, and competed with him in a pull-up contest, Andrea showing interest in her for her "slender, yet toned" physique and "perfectly balanced symmetry". After beating him, Andrea thanked her for pushing him to his limits, and she thanked him for the challenge.[65]

The group met Leslie Kyle again at Corneo's palace, who agreed to help them topside if they helped him settle a score with Corneo. Tifa reminded him that Cloud would kill him if he betrayed them,[63] though was otherwise not hostile, remembering he had helped them before. When the group were unable to capture Corneo, Tifa encouraged Leslie, telling him his fiancée was still out there and that the pendant she had given him symbolized reunion.[66] Leslie gave them powerful grappling guns to cross the rubble and reach topside. On their way up, Tifa told Cloud he was nice deep down, and she had never seen that as kids. She agreed with Barret that being a mercenary suited him.[67] In "The Day Midgar Stood Still", Tifa and the others crossed the ruins, uneasy at the sight of them. At the top Tifa and Barret planned on starting a new bar, wishing Cloud could join them.[68]

In "The Belly of the Beast", the group infiltrated the Shinra Building through the garage, and Tifa used her acrobatic skills to procure them a keycard to enter the facility. They were surreptitiously helped by Mayor Domino who sabotaged the security.[69] Depending on Cloud's choice, they either climbed the emergency stairwell or used the elevator. In the latter, they encountered soldiers as well as scared, normal employees. Tifa remarked how easy it was to forget that ordinary people, who are just trying to provide for themselves, work for Shinra, but Barret thought they were not without sin.[70] Entering the building disguised as tourists, Tifa suspected things were until that point too easy, but was disgusted at President Shinra's self-aggrandizing exhibition. After seeing frantic employees at the Urban Planning Administration following the fall of the plate, Tifa felt a little better.[71] Tifa and Cloud eavesdropped on a Shinra executive meeting, and they rescued Aerith from Professor Hojo along with the research experiment named Red XIII, who joined the group.

Aerith and Tifa working together in the Drum.

In "Deliverance from Chaos", in Aerith's room within Hojo's lab, she told them of her Cetra heritage, and of the Whispers' role as the stewards of a fate the planet itself wanted to come to pass. She was attacked by Whispers when she tried to warn them of a threat greater than Shinra. Tifa again suspected Aerith had more to say, and pulled her away from the Whispers, promising to help her figure it out.[72] Domino and Wedge contacted them with news that Avalanche HQ would come extract them through a helipad. On their way to the roof Hojo dropped them into the Drum where Tifa worked with Aerith, separated from the other three, to figure a way through the maze of research experiments. After regrouping they followed a trail of black liquid up to President Shinra's office where they found the president hanging on for dear life on the side of the skyscraper. Tifa asked Barret not to murder him, but Sephiroth suddenly appeared and impaled both the president and Barret before transforming. Following a battle with Jenova Dreamweaver, Barret was healed by the Whispers, and the group attempted to leave until their helicopter was shot down by Rufus Shinra. Cloud urged the others to leave, fighting Rufus alone until he fled the scene and Cloud was shot at and nearly fell to his death. Tifa rescued him, scolding Cloud for playing the hero,[73] and the two stole Shinra vehicles to help the others escape.

Tifa drove a pick-up truck on the Midgar Expressway in "Destiny's Crossroads", with Aerith as the passenger while Barret and Red XIII sat in the back, Cloud supporting them on the stolen Hardy-Daytona. Sephiroth awaited for them at the end of the unfinished expressway, opening a portal to the Singularity. Tifa followed the group and they defeated the Whispers, then helped Cloud fight Sephiroth, who disappeared at the end. Afterward, Tifa agreed to follow Cloud and the others in pursuit of him.[74]

Characteristics

Appearance

Original art by Tetsuya Nomura (top) and render of original attire for Advent Children (bottom).

Tifa has dark brown hair, occasionally appearing black, which typically falls below her waist and is tied at the tips to form a dolphin-tail split. In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and some other appearances, her hair is mid-back length. Tifa has red eyes, though they have been depicted as a brown in some appearances. She has an athletic build, with a slender but toned physique, and visible abdominals. Her bust-waist-hip measures are 92-60-88 cm (37-24-35 inches),[75] and her bust size is Japanese G70 (American 32 DDD).[76]

Tifa's typical attire throughout all her appearances is some variation of a sleeveless shirt that exposes her midriff, a miniskirt, and a white teardrop earring on her left ear. The three main variants of this attire are her default Final Fantasy VII outfit (slightly modified in Remake), her tour guide cowgirl outfit, and her Leather Suit outfit. In Final Fantasy VII, Tifa wears a white tank top and black miniskirt with a belt and suspenders. She dons red and black gloves that extend to her elbows, red boots, black socks, and a metal guard on her left elbow. In Remake, her skirt has pleated segments (similar to a tennis skirt) to make it easier for her to perform her martial arts, she wears black shorts underneath, and a black sports bra under her white tank top. She wears black leather gloves with metal plates on the back and knuckles, while the elbow pad on her left arm has been supplemented by a red-and-black leather vambrace that has Norse runes on the edging Tifa Lockhart from FFVII Remake bust render. The red sections of her vambrace and the larger metal plates on the back of her gloves have runes engraved on them. She wears a pair of black and red boots with black leg protectors (similar to a gymnast's outfit).

Tifa in her Leather Suit for Advent Children.

Tifa's Nibelheim tour guide outfit (depicted in Crisis Core, Before Crisis, and flashbacks throughout Final Fantasy VII and Remake) is a cowgirl outfit with a short leather skirt and vest with pockets, a button-up corset, a white shirt that reveals her belly, a belt around her hips, cowboy boots, and a hat. Her Leather Suit (introduced in Advent Children, seen in Kingdom Hearts, and in other appearances as an alternate outfit) is a white tank top under a black zip-up vest with black overhauled shorts that fold at the waist, forming an additional utility pocket at the front and a short duster at the back extending to her heels. She wears a pink ribbon around her left arm in remembrance of Aerith, and a Fenrir ring on her right hand. She wears short black gloves.

Tifa has a few other alternate outfits. During "To Corneo Hall" in Final Fantasy VII, Tifa wears an indigo minidress with matching heels. In Final Fantasy VII Remake, the equivalent "The Town That Never Sleeps" chapter sees Tifa wear one of three dresses based on player choices: her indigo minidress (with ankle-straps on the heels) by default or if the player selected a "refined" dress, a black leopard-print cheongsam with her hair up in "odango" buns if the player selects a "sporty" dress, or a short black kimono-style dress with pink flower hair accessories if the player selects an "exotic" dress. In her artwork by Yoshitaka Amano, Tifa has white hair, and wears a red miniskirt with a white top and red gloves. This attire is an alternate outfit in her other appearances, but is not worn in the Final Fantasy VII series.

Personality

I know we have to think big if we're going to make a difference. But not like this. I just... I feel trapped.

Tifa attempting to talk to Cloud.

Tifa is empathic, motherly, and reserved, both out of being observant and for being emotionally shy. Tifa identifies the feelings of others, offering sanctuary and protection for her teammates.[note 6][note 7] While looking out for others, Tifa rarely discusses her own feelings: whenever she is asked, she will either express surprise,[79] or quickly change the subject.[80] Tifa prefers to consider all options and take in all information before acting, such as when she does not speak up about Cloud's confused past until she is certain of her own recollection of events.[11] She also encourages others to practice restraint and think things through first.[note 8] Tifa can and does fight to defend herself, often preferring to so as not to get others involved.[note 9] While normally reserved, Tifa still shows aggression at times, particularly when interrogating Don Corneo[52] and standing up to Scarlet.[35] Tifa has low self-confidence and is self-critical of her faults, always pushing herself to do better.[81]

Tifa is defined by her grief and loss throughout her life, manifesting in her conflicted nature, low self-esteem, and her reserved tendencies. As a child, she was more outgoing and extroverted, but the trauma of losing her mother at eight years old made her withdrawn at the time, and introverted later in life.[11] As a teenager she lost her father and hometown in the Nibelheim incident,[11] and as an adult experienced the fall of the Sector 7 plate. As a result, Tifa feels grief and anger towards both Shinra and Sephiroth, driving her desire for revenge. This, as well as her coping mechanism for pain being to withstand it rather than run from it,[note 10] leads her to join Avalanche to get back at Shinra. While she acknowledges they have to be bold to make a change, she is ill at ease about the bombings and feels trapped,[21] expressing guilt at many of their actions.[note 11] Her conflicted nature allows her to resolve an argument between Cait Sith and Barret, able to understand both sides.[38] Ultimately, when alone with Cloud to talk about her feelings of loss, she is overwhelmed and simply bursts into tears, showing her fragile emotional state which she tries to conceal.[23]

Tifa encourages and advises Leslie after hearing his story.

As a supportive but troubled figure, Tifa shares mutual dependence with her friends. In her friendship with Barret, he depends on her as his moral compass, grounding him to do the right thing,[83][84][84] whereas she depends on him to push her forward when she is indecisive.[85][61] Tifa is protective of Aerith, while depending on her to remain optimistic and upbeat.[note 7] The clearest example of her nature is with Cloud. Tifa depends on him as the only remnant of their hometown of Nibelheim following its destruction, and thus of her old identity. She is therefore protective of him, though this is mutual.[note 12] Later, the two realize they were there for one another in times of need, but never knew it.[11] Tifa's has implied romantic feelings for Cloud, growing jealous when seeing him grow close to Aerith,[89][90] though her actions could also be interpreted as platonic. Aside from Cloud, Tifa shows little romantic interest in others, ignoring the advances of her three childhood friends,[10] Johnny,[64] Rude,[31] and an Avalanche member who attempted to win her over with flowers.[23]

Following the defeat of Sephiroth, Tifa attempts to put together a normal family, building a new bar and raising a family with Cloud, Barret, Marlene, and later Denzel.[39] She tries to keep the family unit together when Cloud falls into depression, acting like a parental figure towards the children in her care, defending them in battle and supporting them emotionally. She appears hurt by Cloud's distantness, and in the Geostigma crisis, pushes him to take action and stop brooding over his past failures.[91]

Abilities

Tifa's combat style in Final Fantasy VII Remake (top) and Advent Children (bottom).

Tifa is a martial artist who was taught by Zangan, and in contrast with her reserved personality, is deceptively strong. Her fighting style involves primarily punches and kicks, and she uses knuckles and claws as her weapons. Her skills put her on par with the rest of the party — including Cloud, an enhanced supersoldier; and Barret, a battle-hardened leader wielding a cybernetic gun-arm — despite not having the same advantages. Her training with Zangan is also made apparent by her physique, others commenting on her "tight muscles".[65]

Tifa's techniques are showcased in her limit breaks. Among the most powerful are Dolphin Blow, an uppercut punch that summons a dolphin to attack with her, and Meteor Strike, where she lifts the enemy (of any size, including a giant mech or one of the planet's colossal Weapon monsters) over her head with a single arm and leaps into the air before throwing it to the floor. However, neither technique appears outside of gameplay, suggesting her true strength is not as supernatural. Tifa also draws strength from her chi, as seen with her Unbridled Strength mechanic in Final Fantasy VII Remake, and can materialize her chi in the form of an orb that damages any foe in contact.

Tifa mixing cocktails.

Tifa also handles the finances for Barret's Avalanche cell[19] and runs the Seventh Heaven bar; both her food and cocktails made the bar famous in the slums.[12][21][92] When preparing cocktails, she performs tricks with the shaker, her showmanship used to garners higher tips from patrons.[93]

Gameplay

Final Fantasy VII

Battle render.

Tifa is a playable party member, who relies on her martial arts techniques in battle seen in her unique Limits, and wields claws and glove weapons. Her stats in Final Fantasy VII are designed around the Monk character class, meaning her physical stats are stronger than her magical stats. She has lower HP growth than other characters, but her Strength growth gives her the third highest potential Strength of any character (behind only Cloud and Barret).

Tifa's Limit Break Somersault.

Tifa's weapons, high Strength stat, and her Limits gear her towards using physical damage. In particular, her unique Limits being performed in a combo selected by a slot reel allow her to string together great amounts of physical damage to enemies, making her a good choice for Counter Attack Materia and other choices that rely on her damage output. Her ultimate weapon is the Premium Heart which capitalizes on this further, dealing more damage based on how full her Limit gauge is. In addition, two of her weapons, the Powersoul and Master Fist, have mechanics that stack multiplicatively based on if Tifa is under negative statuses; this allows them to outclass several ultimate weapons in damage output.

In addition to being a playable party member, Tifa is a temporary replacement for Cloud as party leader at certain points in the story. This can have an impact on dialogue in various sidequests. It also allows her to participate in Chocobo racing and Snowboarding, although she has a chance to participate in these minigames in Cloud's stead when she is present in the party and Cloud is the leader.

Tifa is a date option for Cloud in the Gold Saucer, determined by a hidden stat in the game. She starts with the second highest value, at 30, which is 20 behind the highest, Aerith.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Battle render.

Tifa is once again a playable party member who uses her martial arts techniques in battle, with a fast, close-range fighting style. She is the fastest character in both movement speed and ATB recharge rate. Her Triangle ability is to use a different martial arts technique depending on her chi level, Tifa being able to charge more chi with Unbridled Strength by expending ATB. Her abilities are martial arts techniques that are best performed in combos, and grant her the ability to both quickly build an enemy's stagger gauge and also increase stagger bonus damage. Her movement speed makes her a quick dodger.

Tifa using her Dolphin Flurry limit break.

Tifa has the best natural Speed Speed attribute, the second-highest Strength Strength attribute, and her knuckles provide the biggest physical damage bonuses of any party. Her natural HP is fairly low, and her survivability depends more on her ability to quickly dodge out of and avoid damage than to sustain it. Though Tifa's Magic Magic attribute is naturally low, equipping weapons that improve it can take advantage of her high speed, and still make her a fast spellcaster used as a battlemage. Although Tifa's damage-per-second potential is high, she is focused more on single-target melee damage, as opposed to Cloud or Barret with a melee weapon, whose melee damage is area-of-effect.

Tifa joins the party in Chapter 3, "Home Sweet Slum", and completing sidequests with her improves Cloud's affection mechanics score with her. This makes her an option for a scene in the quest "Resolve", along with Barret and Aerith. In addition, player choices can allow her to wear one of three dresses in Chapter 9, "The Town That Never Sleeps". Tifa is also the player-controlled party leader during the quest "Acquiring the Keycard" in Chapter 16, "The Belly of the Beast", and later in Chapter 17, "Deliverance from Chaos", leads a party with Aerith in the quest series "Find the Others".

Musical themes

"Tifa's Theme" from Final Fantasy VII
Music

In Final Fantasy VII, "Tifa's Theme" (ティファのテーマ, Tifa no Tēma?) plays during Tifa's flashback of Cloud's promise, and as the background music for the Seventh Heaven bar during "At the Hideout in the Slums", after which it switches to "Barret's Theme". In Final Fantasy VII Remake, an orchestrated version of her theme plays when she is first introduced during "Home Sweet Slum". The motif is interpolated in numerous tracks throughout the soundtrack, including in an electronic mix named "Smash 'Em, Rip 'Em" as Aerith and Tifa confront Don Corneo.

Tifa's Theme has been remixed for Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- as "Brief Reunion", for the On the Way to a Smile -Episode: Denzel- Final Fantasy VII as "Connected Heart", and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as "Tifa's Theme" (which serves as her world map theme). A piano version of her theme appears on the Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VII album, and in Advent Children at the Sector 5 slums church.

Other appearances

Guest appearances

Tifa's appearance in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.

Tifa is a frequent guest character who has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:

Tifa is depicted in the Monk job, and makes use of her limit breaks from the original game. Her most notable appearance is as a playable character in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series, in which she first appeared in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. Aside from this, Tifa appears in a number of other crossover titles throughout Final Fantasy, second only to Cloud as the most frequently represented character from Final Fantasy VII.

Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances

Tifa's appearance in Kingdom Hearts II.

Tifa has also made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:

Tifa's most notable guest appearance is in Kingdom Hearts II, in which she has a minor role. Tifa is depicted in her Leather Suit attire, and both has a minor role in the story, as well as appear as a boss battle. Aside from this, Tifa is a playable character in the fighting game Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring, with the title "Summoner".

Outside of video games, Tifa has appeared in many episodes of Monty Oum's Dead Fantasy web series as a combatant against characters from the Dead or Alive video game series. She has also appeared in the two music videos Monty Oum created for the show. Tifa also appears in an episode of another web series, ScrewAttack's DEATH BATTLE!, against Yang Xiao Long from RWBY. In the episode, Tifa performs her usual techniques against Yang, and begins the episode works as barmaid, alluding to her occupation.


Mentions and cameos

Throughout Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, the player can find posters for LOVELESS, which appear to depict Tifa. As an allusion to Tifa's eventual role as the 7th Heaven's barmaid, in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Zack can speak to a man building a bar, who asks Zack what to name it. When Zack suggests "7th Heaven," the man loves the name and suggests getting "a young girl with a big bosom and long legs" to work the bar. Tifa Lockhart is among the names used in example sentences for the chat log filtering configuration in Final Fantasy XIV.

In Xenogears, a science-fiction JRPG also by Square on PlayStation, a poster of Tifa can be found hanging on the wall in a house in the upper-class Solaris community. Tifa's "Dilly dally, shilly shally" line from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was referenced in The World Ends With You, a game made by Square Enix.

Tifa has appeared as an outfit in other video games. This includes in the online game Mainichi Issho (now discontinued) as well as the arcade game Gunslinger Stratos 2. More notably, Tifa's costume is available as DLC in the LittleBigPlanet series; first made for LittleBigPlanet 2. It was part of a Final Fantasy VII costume pack also featuring Cloud, Aerith, Vincent and Sephiroth.

Tifa makes a minor appearance in Cartoon Network's MAD TV show. She appears in season 1, episode 16, "Gaming's Next Top Princess". She also makes an appearance on Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. She appears in season 2, episode 8, in the skit "Final Fantasy Burger Chain", where she plays an unspecified co-worker to Cloud.

The fight sequence between Tifa and Loz from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was duplicated for Korean pop singer Ivy MV's "Temptation of Sonata" music video, albeit with minor changes, such as small parts of the fighting choreography being altered due to the absence of Loz's Dual Hound, and Tifa's victory by snapping Loz's neck at the end. The music video was never aired on Korean television again and singer Ivy was sued by Square Enix for copyright infringement.[94]

Merchandise

Tifa has appeared in numerous merchandise for Play Arts and others, including action figures and statues, key chains, Coca-Cola bottle cap figurines, and even a Potion can and a Zippo lighter.

Behind the scenes

Concept and design

Concept art by Tetsuya Nomura.

Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, the concept of Tifa was first created when the idea was suggested that, at some point within the game, a character would be permanently killed off. When it was decided to have Aerith die, attention went into developing her character and her relationships with the other characters; this resulted in the idea to introduce Tifa as a rival for Cloud's affections. The notion of having two concurrent heroines and the protagonist torn between them was something director Yoshinori Kitase liked, describing it as something new in the Final Fantasy games.[95]

Tifa's attire was designed to give her freedom of movement due to her affinity to weaponless fighting. Her miniskirt, was noted as being "quite short" to give her "a considerable degree of exposure".[7] Nomura initially could not decide between pants or a miniskirt, so he passed sketches around the office, with the majority preferring the miniskirt.[96] It was kept as a stable for her alternate costumes in later entries.[95]

Tifa's page in Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega.

For Advent Children, Takeshi Nozue had difficulty developing a framework for Tifa's body that was "balanced, yet showed off her 'feminine qualities'". Her outfit was redesigned with emphasis on expressing her physical qualities while being pleasing to the eye. Her hair was cropped due to the difficulty of animating her original length of hair, as well as problems that arose due to its dark color and lighting.[97]

For Remake, Tifa was designed with an eastern-styled look as opposed to Aerith's western-styled look. The developers wanted Tifa to have an athletic body type. The ethics department at Square Enix told the developers to "tighten her chest as not to get unnatural during all the intense action." Thus, she was given black underwear and a fitted tank top.[98] Though Tifa's body silhouette did not change from the original design, the team aimed to improve visual details, giving her an athletic body type with visually defined abdominal muscles. Her costume was designed to be realistic visually, taking real designs of clothes and accessories for reference. Her suspenders were inspired by military suspenders, while her gloves were inspired by those used for riding bikes and fighting.[99] Nomura made the modeling team revise Tifa's model through trial and error until it was perfect; her hair in particular has has an ash tint, which was chosen from over 20 color options.[100] Tifa's appearance comes in contrast to her shy personality and lack of self-confidence, a subversion of expectations given her athletic appearance and her sporty outfit that gives her a lot of exposure.[99]

For Tifa's alternate Wall Market dresses, the developers chose the Chinese-style and kimono dress to provide a cultural flair. Other ideas included a dancer outfit, maid outfit, police uniform, or a chocobo bikini.[101]

Character development

Key art of Tifa for the original release (top) and Final Fantasy VII Remake (bottom).

In early drafts of Final Fantasy VII, Tifa was a background character, with her role in Avalanche being to support everyone behind the scenes and cheer them up after missions. She would also have had a large scar on her back caused by Cloud, and partial amnesia from the incident when she had received it.[102] Nomura joked that the idea of killing off Aerith was his, as a way of allowing him to introduce Tifa to the game.[103]

The original depiction of Cloud and Tifa's "moment" under the Highwind in Final Fantasy VII was more suggestive: following a fade-out scene, Cloud was to walk out of the airship's chocobo stable followed shortly by Tifa who would check around as she left, implying the two had spent the night together. This idea was rejected by Yoshinori Kitase for being too "extreme" and was replaced by the less risqué conversation scene.[95]

In Advent Children, Tetsuya Nomura and Kazushige Nojima focused on developing the emotional backbone her character is to the cast. They ensured to portray her as a modern woman who can function without a man. Nojima described her character "very much like any woman who's been left behind by a man", while Nomura described her as multidimensional, calling her "like a mother, a sweetheart, and a close ally in battle" and "remarkably strong, not only emotionally, but physically as well".[104]

For Remake, Aerith and Tifa were written and presented as double heroines, as the team wished to avoid playing favorites.[105] One sub scenario that was planned as part of development but which did not make it to the final game was Marle helping Tifa pick a dress for her Don Corneo infiltration mission, and how Tifa prepared for the mission before getting on Sam's chocobo carriage. The scenario was in the game until the latter half of development, but was cut due to time constraints.[106]

Voice

Rachael Leigh Cook as Tifa in Advent Children
Music

With Aerith's Japanese Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children voice actress already decided, Nomura requested Ayumi Ito take on the role of Tifa for the film; feeling her "husky voice" would offer a good contrast to Maaya Sakamoto, who played Aerith. Nomura additionally noted that after completing Tifa's updated design they debated on her finalized details, but once Ito had been cast for the role, they chose to blend many traits from the voice actress into the character's completed appearance.

Tifa is voiced by Rachael Leigh Cook in appearances from the English releases of Kingdom Hearts II to Dissidia NT. In an interview for Kingdom Hearts II, Cook described Tifa as a "very cool character, both very strong physically and emotionally, but also very sensitive", and "really multi-dimensional".[107]

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Britt Baron takes over as Tifa. When learning about the character, Baron watched Advent Children and many YouTube videos to honor Tifa's essence.[108] She felt her goal was to walk the line between honoring the character and also bring herself into the role, and though she had listened to the work by Rachael Leigh Cook, she did not study it so as to provide her own interpretation instead of an imitation.[109] Baron had similar views to Cook about Tifa. She described Tifa as a goal for who she wants to be due to her physical traits and personality,[110] while also calling her a "more realistic picture" of what women are to her compared to other video game characters, saying Tifa shows that there is "more to being a woman than just who do you have a crush on".[108]

Reception

Celebrity cosplayer Katyuska MoonFox as Tifa.

Tifa has received an extremely positive reaction from critics and the fanbase, ranking among the best characters in gaming. She was voted as the fifth-best female character in video games among GameSpot readers in 2000,[111] ranked as the 19th-best video game character of all time by Famitsu readers in 2010,[112] and the ninth-best Final Fantasy character in the All Final Fantasy Big Vote in 2020.[113] Among critics, Japanese outlet Dengeki PlayStation placed Tifa as the eighth-best character of all time for the PlayStation brand in 2007,[114] IGN listed her as the fifth-best heroine in gaming in 2009,[115] and Complex listed her as the 13th-best gaming heroine in 2013.[116] In a 2020 Famitsu poll for Final Fantasy VII Remake, Tifa ranked as the second most popular character,[117] and in an official survey conducted by Square Enix, Tifa's resolution scene was seen by most players at 56%, compared to Aerith's 42% and Barret's 2%.[118]

Tifa has received praise as a strong female character, due to her physical strength and layered writing. Writing for Complex, Gus Turner called her "one of gaming's most independent and empowered females ever" next to Lara Croft and Samus Aran.[116] Writing for Tom's Hardware in 2007, Rob Wright called her a "fearsome fighter who is at times emotionally insecure", praising her as "one of the more richly drawn and intricate female characters around".[119] Stuart Hoggan, writing for RPGamer, praised her and Aerith for breaking the mould in terms of personality among female characters, describing Tifa as having "dignity and realism that most were drawn to sympathize with".[120] IGN's staff also praised her "awe-inspiring strength, complex background", and "strong will" when listing her as one of gaming's greatest heroines.[115]

Tifa's popularity has also stemmed from her sex appeal. She was named the pinup girl of the "cyber generation" by The New York Times in 1998, described as an example of a strong, independent, and attractive female character.[121] In 2009, MSN.com ranked her as the sixth in "gaming's hottest babes" and described her as a "loving, caring, super-sexy gal" who can "really kick some a$$",[122] and in 2010, AfterEllen readers voted her the ninth-hottest female character in gaming,[123] Tifa's popularity has also caused her to be a popular cosplay choice among fans.[124]

Pat Holleman in his book Reverse Design: Final Fantasy VII stated that Tifa's story, as with the other characters in Final Fantasy VII, was about "desperately clinging to the last remaining fragment of their old identities". He continued that her story was easily overlooked by the game's audience as the story "reflects adult anxieties and concerns", questioning if students in junior high school would understand why she had to "keep a violent, unstable, compulsive liar in her life, because otherwise she has no tangible connection to the majority of her past experiences".[125]

Gallery

Etymology and symbolism

Tifa's name is pronounced with a long "e" (Tee-fa) rather than a short "i" (Tiff-a). "Tifa" may be a shortened version of the name Tiffany. Tiffany means "manifestation of God" or, in Greek, "Three, The Trinity". "Tifa" may also be derived from the Tifaret. Tiferet, 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.

Tifa's last name, Lockhart, might be a reference to Tifa's reserved nature and hiding away her feelings for Cloud, "locking" them within her heart, or to her role in unlocking Cloud's psyche later in the game.

Tifa's surname in the original English localization of Final Fantasy VII is "Lockheart", as seen in the manuals and official strategy guides for the game, though the surname is not found within the game itself. The only exception is the official website, which used "Lockhart".[9] Japanese material always had her surname as "Lockhart"[126]. Her surname in English localizations was changed to "Lockhart" just half a year later with Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring, which featured her surname in the Japanese and English versions. The PC version of Final Fantasy VII released later with a manual still using "Lockheart", however since Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, it has been "Lockhart".

Notes

Annotations

  1. Due to poor conversions from centimeters to feet in early English materials, Tifa's height has been listed as 5'4".[1] Her height is actually 5.58ft 5ft5.75in. The official North American website for the original launch of the game used the rounded down value of 5'5",[9] while the Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Signature Series Guide guide rounds up to 5'6".[8]
  2. Though the Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania timeline states the cell was formed in October of 0007,[6] Tifa states in Final Fantasy VII Remake that the cell had been independent for a year.[21]
  3. While in the lifestream, Tifa was kept alive by Aerith, who after learning from Zack's spirit that Cloud was not truly himself, protected Tifa's mind from the mako poisoning, believing she could restore Cloud's true persona.[37]
  4. Depending on the player's interactions with Tifa throughout Final Fantasy VII, the dialogue courses under the Highwind can play out differently. If the player was harsh to Tifa, Cloud responds more coldly to her, and the scene ends with him reminding her they had a big day ahead of them the next day. Otherwise, the scene ends with Cloud remarking he had a lot of things to tell Tifa but could not find the words for it, and her responding that feelings could be expressed through more than just words.[38]
  5. If the player failed to jump off the train before the lockdown timer expired, Tifa would instead rejoin Cloud later, having already jumped off the train alone.
  6. In Final Fantasy VII, when Red XIII runs off in Cosmo Canyon, Tifa is more struck by his change in behavior than by the land itself, in contrast to the rest of the party.[77] In Wutai, while Cloud and Cid scold Yuffie and show disinterest in her story when demanding their materia back, if Tifa is leader, she will instead show empathy and implore Yuffie to comply.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tifa's friendship with Aerith highlights her observant, empathic, and protective nature, but also her co-dependence with friends to overcome her anxieties. In Final Fantasy VII Remake when Aerith is attacked by Whispers, Tifa recognizes she knows more than she is letting on and pulls her away from them, promising to help figure it out with her.[72] Earlier, when Tifa fears the Sector 7 plate falling, Aerith helps ease her mind by making her focus on what would make her happy afterward; ultimately, the two agree to go shopping topside for things for her bar.[78]
  8. Tifa advises taking the stairs to climb the Shinra Building, opposing Barret's plan of charging through the front door.[28] In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Tifa initially sides with Elmyra against rushing to save Aerith from the Shinra Building[62] until it becomes clear that they have no other way to protect Aerith, which she feels she has an obligation to do.[23]
  9. Investigating Don Corneo, Tifa went alone, not asking for Barret's help, and assuring Cloud she would be fine on her own.[54] She later regretted Aerith's involvement thereafter, but accepted that Aerith would choose to be involved regardless.[52]
  10. After Tifa's mother passed, the 8-year-old Tifa crossed Mt. Nibel in the hopes of finding her to deal with her feelings of loss. She later became a tour guide for the same mountain where she had been injured.
  11. After the fall of the Sector 7 plate, Tifa wonders if Avalanche were at fault.[27][61] She also feels guilt when deactivating the sun lamps in Sector 4,[46] and when seeing scared employees in the Shinra Building, remarks how easy it is to forget that many of Shinra's staff are just ordinary people trying to make the best lives for themselves.[70] Much of her guilt stems both from her own trauma in the Nibelheim incident, wishing the same on no one, and her desire to protect the lives of innocents even if this includes low-level Shinra employees.[82]
  12. Tifa and Cloud were not close as children,[11] and after reuniting later, found discussing their past awkward,[41] with Tifa being scared by Cloud's violent nature.[86] Nonetheless, the two shared a mutual obligation to protect one another, with Cloud scolding himself if he cannot keep her safe,[81] while Tifa saved Cloud from falling to his death following his battle with Rufus Shinra, knowing he was trying to play the hero.[73] Ultimately, when Cloud goes missing and others look to her for answers, she is unable to provide any, beset by trauma of all recent events, and having become unsure of her own memories, between seeing a rebuilt Nibelheim where the residents deny her existence,[87] and Hojo implying Cloud is a Sephiroth clone and not a real person.[88]

Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Final Fantasy VII, game manual (PlayStation, NTSC-J), p. 08
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Final Fantasy VII, game manual (PlayStation, PAL), p. 04
  3. Official Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide, p. 012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Final Fantasy VII Remake Ultimania, p. 018
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Official Complete Guide, p. 020
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania Revised Edition, p. 32
  7. 7.0 7.1 Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, p. 026, (Scan)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Signature Series Guide, p. 007
  9. 9.0 9.1 Square Co., Ltd.. SQUARE SOFT Character Profiles "Tifa". Accessed October 16, 2020. Archived from the original on May 29, 1998.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Final Fantasy VII Remake Trace of Two Pasts, "Episode Tifa"
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 Final Fantasy VII script § "Searching for the You of That Day"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Final Fantasy VII script § "At the Hideout in the Slums"
  13. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Sector 7-6 Annex Infiltration"
  14. 14.0 14.1 Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Final Fantasy VII script § "Nibelheim optional dialogue"
  17. 17.0 17.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "The Tragedy of Five Years Ago"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Return to Base"
  20. Final Fantasy VII script § "At the Hideout in the Slums"
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Talking Strategy"
  22. Final Fantasy VII Remake loading screens § "Seventh Heaven"
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Resolve"
  24. Final Fantasy VII script § "To the No. 5 Reactor"
  25. Final Fantasy VII script § "To Corneo Hall"
  26. Final Fantasy VII script § "Prevent the Fall of the Plate"
  27. 27.0 27.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "Aeris's Secret"
  28. 28.0 28.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "Storming the Shinra Building"
  29. Final Fantasy VII script § "The Nightmare Beginning Anew"
  30. Final Fantasy VII script § "The Desert Prison"
  31. 31.0 31.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "Gongaga, the Village of Sadness"
  32. Final Fantasy VII script § "Secret Date"
  33. Final Fantasy VII script § "Parting with Aeris"
  34. 34.0 34.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "That Which Waits in the Northernmost Reaches"
  35. 35.0 35.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "In a World Approaching Its End"
  36. Final Fantasy VII script § "A Shocking Reunion"
  37. Hoshi o Meguru Otome
  38. 38.0 38.1 Final Fantasy VII script § "Mako Cannon Rampage"
  39. 39.0 39.1 Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile, "Episode: Tifa"
  40. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Life in the Slums"
  41. 41.0 41.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Alone at Last"
  42. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Shinra Reacts"
  43. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Sudden Attack"
  44. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Separate Ways"
  45. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Looking for a Friend"
  46. 46.0 46.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Secure a Power Source"
  47. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Three Sun Lamps Down"
  48. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Escape from the Reactor 2", Escape from the Reactor
  49. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Sentenced to Death (continued)"
  50. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Disable the Emergency Lock"
  51. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Storming the Gates (continued)"
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Showdown with Corneo"
  53. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Sam"
  54. 54.0 54.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Chasing Tifa"
  55. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Follow the Waterway"
  56. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Crossing the Trunk Line"
  57. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Pass Through the Maintenance Facility"
  58. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Head for the Exit"
  59. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "To the Top"
  60. 61.0 61.1 61.2 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Through the Rubble"
  61. 62.0 62.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Words of Hope"
  62. 63.0 63.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Intel Gathering"
  63. 64.0 64.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Johnny's Stolen Wallet"
  64. 65.0 65.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Wavering Heart"
  65. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "For the Reunion"
  66. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Over the Wall"
  67. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "To the Top of the Plate"
  68. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "A Helping Hand"
  69. 70.0 70.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Use the Elevator"
  70. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Playing the Tourist"
  71. 72.0 72.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "A Way Out"
  72. 73.0 73.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Showdown"
  73. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Turning Point"
  74. Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, p. 533
  75. Final Fantasy VII Remake Material Ultimania, p. 54
  76. Final Fantasy VII script § "In the Land of the Study of Planet Life"
  77. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Crossing the Trunk Line"
  78. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Research the 3rd Ward"
  79. Final Fantasy VII script § "A Shocking Reunion"
  80. 81.0 81.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake, battle dialogue
  81. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Separate Ways"
  82. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "All Aboard for Sector 4"
  83. 84.0 84.1 Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Ominous Trail"
  84. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Intel Gathering"
  85. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Shinra Reacts"
  86. Final Fantasy VII script § "Unnatural Hometown"
  87. Final Fantasy VII script § "That Which Waits in the Northernmost Reaches"
  88. Final Fantasy VII script § "The Nightmare Beginning Anew"
  89. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Escape to the Surface"
  90. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
  91. Final Fantasy VII Remake loading screens § "Seventh Heaven"
  92. Romano 2020
  93. Ashcraft 2007
  94. 95.0 95.1 95.2 Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania Revised Edition, p. 8-13
  95. Knight 2003
  96. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children -Reunion Files-, p. 18-24
  97. Romano 2019
  98. 99.0 99.1 Nelva 2019
  99. Final Fantasy VII Remake Material Ultimania, p. 31
  100. Final Fantasy VII Remake Material Ultimania, p. 75-76
  101. Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, p. 518
  102. Final Fantasy VII Kaitai Shinsho The Complete
  103. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children -Reunion Files-, p. 18-24
  104. Bailey 2020
  105. Final Fantasy VII Remake Material Ultimania, p. 260-263
  106. VGFreak8 (April 6, 2007). Rachael Leigh Cook Interview~Tifa. YouTube.
  107. 108.0 108.1 Bishop 2020
  108. West 2020
  109. Watts 2020
  110. GameSpot Staff 2000
  111. Gifford 2010
  112. NHK 2020
  113. Gantayat 2007
  114. 115.0 115.1 IGN PlayStation Team 2009
  115. 116.0 116.1 Rougeau 2013
  116. Famitsu July 2020, p. 19
  117. Square Enix 2020
  118. Wright 2007
  119. Hoggan 2007
  120. Steinberg, Kincheloe 2004, p. 265
  121. MSN 2009
  122. Warn 2010
  123. Kerzner 2015
  124. Holleman 2018
  125. Final Fantasy VII Official Establishment File, p.28

References

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