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.

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Posted on January 29, 2012, in Anime/Manga/Games. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What a hilarious post. Somehow thelifestream posting a translation that says Cloud and Tifa share mutual romantic love is them “duping” people? But then you post you are a clerith and suddenly it all begins to make sense. (while at the same time claiming to be neutral..ha)

    But I am a bit confused on the mechanics of one of the gals “stepping back” if Cloud chooses the other. Considering Aerith inhabits the lifestream.

    • When I like a franchise or a game, I research everything. For this game alone, I have an entire encyclopedia sitting in my head. Whenever the party splits up in the first disk, Aerith and Tifa are always together. It’s a fair assumption to think that they were close friends. I was saying that if Aerith hadn’t died, and Cloud had to choose one of them, the other would gladly step back for the sake of their friendship. It’s a fair assumption to make based on their interaction. That’s how I perceive them. Neither is selfish and they care about each other. True friends who like the same guy/girl would value their friendship more than who gets the love interest. It’s like the CecilxRosaxKain LT from FF4: Kain loved Rosa but she and Cecil loved each other. Kain never admitted his feelings because he valued his friendship with them more. Even under mind control, Kain never gave a hint to his real feelings, which were twisted around because of Zemus via Golbez.

      Personally, yes, I’m Clerith but I don’t go around saying that Clerith is canon. It’s not canon. Cloti also isn’t canon. I don’t like Cleriths and Clotis saying either pairing is canon. That’s how I can be a neutral Clerith; I support the pairing as my personal ship but I’m not so stuck on the idea that it has to be canon based on game events. That’s the beauty of ambiguity. The entire Love Triangle is completely ambiguous and up to player interpretation. This is one the few times where I’m glad there is no canon pairing, aside from side characters like CidxShera.

      Lifestream.net is a Cloti fan site. It’s not endorsed by Square nor does it speak for Square. Word of God (which is Square) specifically said that the pairing of Cloud with either girl is strictly up to each individual player’s interpretation. Lifestream.net, however, took certain sections from the FF7 Ultimania and used them as “proof” of the Cloti pairing being canon. HOWEVER, they left out other sections on the same issue, namely the fact that the entire thing was always meant to be ambiguous. They duped me because they made it sound like Word of God. Other people had to correct me on that. Ergo, LS.net lied. Why? Because they’re die-hard, idiotic Cloti fans who would Die for Their Ship (to use TV Tropes). I would say the same thing if they had been Clerith fans instead. If Square didn’t say it, then it’s not true.

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