FF7 Love Triangle Debate
Please think about the following post if you’re a fan of FF7 and either of the two ships in the TxCxA Love Triangle. I’ll even bake a cake for you if you do. Let’s get started.
It’s recently come to my attention that other people were duped, as I was, by Lifestream.net’s false claims that Square said that CloudxTifa (known as Cloti) was the canon pairing based on inconsequential events in the game. Such events are ambiguous at best and all scenes between Cloud and Tifa or Cloud and Aerith can be interpreted either romantically or just as friends. There is a trope for this sort of thing. It’s called Shrug of God. Square has neither confirmed nor denied Cloti or Clerith (CloudxAerith) as canon. Their stance has been, since the game’s release nearly fifteen years ago, that it’s up to player interpretation. Therefore both Clotis and Cleriths are neither wrong nor right in their ship.
I personally am a Clerith shipper. There was something about Cloud’s interaction with Aerith that nailed me hard. That said, I’m a Clerith fan who adores Tifa as well. I named my cat after her. The thing I hate most in the shipping war are fans on both sides who have it in their head canons that the two girls hated each other. It proves they weren’t paying attention. I should tell you that FF7 was a test in paying attention to detail. Anyone can play the game and see no evidence of animosity between them where Cloud was concerned. Anyone who plays through the game and is still convinced of that fails the test.
Another thing I hate is people claiming either girl is a horrible person. I had to correct someone’s image of Tifa on dA because she associated her with the wrong image, based on clothing and misinterpreting her personality. It was on a journal entry I wrote when I duped into thinking Square torpedoed my ship by declaring Cloti as canon so no one can accuse me of starting a fight on someone’s deviation. When I say correct, I mean my Berserk Button was pushed and I read her the riot act of how wrong she was. Fortunately, we were able to resolve the issue when I explained to her who Tifa really was. I have yet to come across anyone badmouthing Aerith.
Now, the Shrug of God business. As long as Square doesn’t meddle in the fans’ shipping choice in a game where it was always ambiguous, I think we can all agree that neither pairing is canon and that the war is rather pointless. Clotis and Cleriths are neither wrong nor right. But Jana, it’s so obvious Cloud loves Aerith. Is it? Cloud’s actions can be interpreted anyway you want. Shrug of God dictates it is what you personally make of it. But Aerith’s death practically makes Clerith impossible. True from a certain point of view. Aerith’s death torpedoes the ship pretty well but there’s also the fact that just because someone dies doesn’t mean you stop being in love with them. Therefore, I only call it partially sunk. Word of God would be the only the thing that would sink it completely. Aerith being Doomed By Canon means nothing in how a Clerith interprets the interaction between our beloved flower girl and Cloud.
Tifa was a good friend to Cloud and Aerith and I don’t deny she also had feelings for him. But I also know that when they were kids growing up in Nibelheim, Cloud was antisocial and Tifa didn’t really pay attention to him until he left home to join SOLIDER. As the two girls were always interacting with each other whenever the party split up, it’s canon that they were friends, best friends even. In the end, it was Tifa who helped Cloud put his mind back together. It’s easy to influence the outcome of the dating subplot but again, it’s all up to fan interpretation. Even the Dating Scenario is pretty ambiguous and doesn’t prove anything at all. Friends of the opposite gender can do the same thing.
Here’s my humble opinion: if it had ever come down to Cloud canonically choosing the girl he loves without a doubt, I know the girl who lost out would be take the loss gracefully and step back, happy for her best friend. I know both Tifa and Aerith well enough to know that they would be willing to sacrifice their own happiness for each other if it came down to Cloud choosing between them. They both come off as selfless to me and that is something more people in the shipping war need to realize. They both have their strengths and their weaknesses. We should embrace them as they are and embrace the triangle the way it was meant to be portrayed: completely ambiguous and encouraged by its Shrug of God status. Cloud opened up to both of them in different ways and it’s plain that deep down, he cares about them both.
BTW: about the precursor at the top. The cake is a lie. GLaDOS has invaded my head and I wrote this whole thing with her voice in mind. It probably helped with my neutral standpoint on the subject.