wAug 20, 2009

Meta on Tifa from Final Fantasy VII

I might write some FF7 fanfiction at some point, so I will start with meta. [Of course, I have written FF7 fanfiction before.....IN THIS JOURNAL! Don't look for it, it will make you cry.]

Final Fantasy VII was released for the PlayStation console in 1997. I really hope that it's okay for me to be spoilery about this game. It's been out for 12 years, and if you play video games at all, you've already played it. If you haven't played it, you probably never will.

But since it's best to be unspoiled if you ever DO play the game, I'm using an LJ-cut anyway. If you're never going to play it, though, read my post! My posts are terribly interesting! You always feeling better for having read them!

FF7 is your basic RPG: Cloud Strife is a loner protagonist who slowly assembles a team of people with varying abilities who band together to defeat the Big Bads and save the world (from: an evil corporation that destroys the Earth's lifeforce in order to make money, a giant meteor, an alien who fell from the sky and infused people with her cells to make them crazy, and a psychopathic murderer who used to be Cloud's personal hero). Also, you begin the game as a member of the terrorist organization, and then end up leading it! You plant bombs and run from the military! So awesome.

More than halfway through the game, you the player discover that Cloud's memories and perception of reality are totally flawed, fabricated, and basically deeply fucked. He has spent the entire game projecting someone else's persona on to himself due to a combination of low self esteem and his living inside a glass tube for two years and being experimented on by the lunatic Professor Hojo inside the Shinra Mansion.

And almost more interesting (to me), you figure out that the two women who are/were in love with him (one is killed halfway through the game) both had reason to believe that he was really messed up - Aeris, because Cloud acts exactly like Zack, down to mannerisms, clothing and hairstyle; Tifa, because Cloud has memories of events for which she was present.....but she knows that he was not. And despite this knowledge and probably sense of foreboding, they love him anyway.

One of the things I find most fascinating about Final Fantasy VII fanfiction is that in the stories I've read, writers treat Cloud's myth as reality, and go from there. Nobody ever deals with the fact that the protagonist in the game was a pathological liar who believed the lies he told himself, or the fact that Tifa spends the entire game KNOWING that he is lying, thinking that the memories she has of him are made up, etc.

It could be that I'm simply looking in the wrong places for fanfiction, but it really seems like even beyond the death of Aeris, this game should be a minefield for angst and psychological trauma. But most of the fanfiction is littered with AU stories in which Aeris is resurrected post-game and everyone fights a new Big Bad, or Cloud has Sephiroth-related angst.

Even in-canon stories from Tifa's perspective would be so much more interesting. Imagine visiting Nibelheim and meeting all of the Shinra employees there who claim to have always lived there - how much Tifa must have questioned her own sanity/perception of reality, if all that had changed, and Cloud had, too. Cloud's memories are the only ones that confirm her own - that everyone was murdered and everything burned to the ground - but she knows that Cloud was never in Nibelheim during that time - so are her memories real, or not? Can she even trust Cloud, who's leading their group in their fight against evil?

Anyway, those are some preliminary thoughts on Tifa, which don't even include everything else (her love for Cloud, complicated by his former unrequited love for HER, her bad-assery, her scar from Sephiroth, her blind rage, etc.)

Aside from Tifa, the characters who I find the most potential in for fic are:

Professor Hojo
Rufus Shinra
...and probably more

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scribbled mystickeeper at 6:33 PM

Something sad....

I've never played FFVII. Right. But I AM going to. I just didn't start playing video games until I was in grad school, and I started with FFIV for the PS1 (the Japanese remake port not the SNES port) because Brian told me it "had an awesome ending" and it's FREAKING HARD and I still can't beat it even when I cheat and use the gameFAQ. But I'm going to play FFVII when I'm done!!!!!!!!

By Blogger Sari, at 9:00 AM, August 24, 2009  

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