Kurosaki Ranmaru - I’ll rock you hard

Kurosaki Ranmaru - I’ll rock you hard

Mikoto and Totsuka

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Quartet Night

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// Cloud’s Undying Feelings for Aerith - Is it just guilt?//

We have been informed that one of our quotes is apparently wrong, that being the one about Cloud’s undying feelings for Aerith. Of course, we tried to find out what exactly made it wrong, and here it is:

Our version:

Nomura: I believe, for those who formerly traveled with her as comrades and for the viewers, each carries their own feelings and loves for Aerith. In this story, Cloud also carries his own undying feeling for Aerith even to this very day.

~Nomura interview; Dengeki Playstation 2007

TLS Version:

"I think that for all those players with whom Aerith traveled as a comrade, each carries their own feelings and love for Aerith. In this story, Cloud also carries his own undying feeling for Aerith, even now…. Its relation to the church scene is…. Yeah. I’ll leave this to everyone’s imagination. (Laughs)"
~Nomura, Famitsu PS2 2003

 

Aside from the fact that the statement is worded differently in these two quotes, plus an additional sentence, I still believe that the meaning is the same. It talks about Aerith’s former travelling companions feelings of friendship and love for her, giving an emphasis on Cloud’s own undying feelings for Aerith.

 

The biggest difference is that it was missing Nomura’s reference to the Church scene and suggesting making a connection between the undying feelings and the said scene, plus the date of it being released plus what scene was being talked about here. For reference, here is the said video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueAaATUs5dM]AC TGS Trailer 2003 - Day 3

 

It has been claimed in TLS that this quote is talking about Cloud’s guilt towards Aerith. Now, why was it claimed that the undying feeling in this quote was guilt? It was because this quote was said by Nomura during the release of the AC trailer in 2003 wherein the trailer shows Cloud walking in Aerith’s Church. Plus, the last part of his statement had mentioned connecting Cloud’s undying feelings for Aerith to the church scene, which he also said is up for interpretation of the viewers. Plus, Cloud talks about wanting forgiveness in the said scene.

It was also argued that undying does not necessarily mean it could not be vanquished, but the comparison was made this way: “undying feelings = undying people”. It has been said that vampires and elves, races said to be immortal or undying, can be killed given the right means. 

 

I would like, and will find it absolutely highly entertaining, to contest this notion about the feelings talked about here being that only of “guilt”. But before all of that, let me enumerate certain points.

 

What is established beyond reasonable doubt?

1. Aerith’s comrades have their own feelings of friendship and love for her

2. Cloud carries his own undying feelings for Aerith

3. There is a connection between Cloud’s undying feelings for Aerith and the said Church Scene

4. The connection between Cloud’s undying feelings for Aerith and the Church scene is up to our imagination

What I agree with the TLS explanation:

1. The Church scene contains a dialogue about Cloud’s desire for forgiveness

2. There is a connection between Cloud’s undying feelings for Aerith and the said Church Scene

3. Cloud feels guilty about Aerith’s death

What I disagree with:

1. Cloud’s undying feelings for Aerith is about his guilt, and only about his guilt

2. Undying feelings are like undying races (i.e. elves, vampires, FF bosses) wherein they can be killed/vanquished/beaten/overcome

And now, to the explaining…

Let us take a look at the quote TresDias/Hawkeye so carefully translated and explained with quite excruciating detail.

"I think that for all those players with whom Aerith traveled as a comrade, each carries their own feelings and love for Aerith. In this story, Cloud also carries his own undying feeling for Aerith, even now…. Its relation to the church scene is…. Yeah. I’ll leave this to everyone’s imagination. (Laughs)"
~Nomura, Famitsu PS2 2003

Firstly, do note that the first sentence talks about feelings of friendship and love. It states that every person who had traveled with Aerith each carry their own feelings and love for the flower girl who was not with them physically anymore. We can safely assume that those feelings pertain to friendship or companionship as they are, in fact, companions. The statement goes on to single out Cloud’s own undying feeling for Aerith even to the present day (at the time the statement was released). Then Nomura goes on to tell us that he is leaving the connection between the Church scene and Cloud’s undying feelings for Aerith to our imagination. And take note that he laughs at the end.

Now, I would like to point out the grammar in which the statement has been arranged. I said that the first part of the quote talked about generality at first, and then singled out one person, in this case, Cloud. When using the conjunction “as for”, it means pointing out to one specific aspect thing, or person that is connected with the preceding sentence in a certain sense – similar yet different, and not for contradiction. But may I also raise the fact that feelings of friendship and love is in contrast to the feeling of guilt. I do find it quite confusing as to why “as” was used if the quote had been talking about contrasting feelings, since it would be more grammatically correct to use the conjunction "but" or "however".

Another thing, it is quite worthy to take note that in specifying Cloud, the feelings and love that Aerith’s former comrades have, are now described as undying for Cloud. Cloud’s feeling/s for Aerith seemed to be greater than her former comrades, so great that it reached the point where it was described as undying, even at that moment. And the said feeling/s are his own, different from the ‘companions’.

Also, notice the phrase "even now" which expresses that whatever Cloud was feeling at that point in time had carried on from previous events - events of the game. It perfectly goes with the use of the word undying, as it meant that whatever Cloud is feeling here continues on.

Going back to the use of the word undying in this quote, let us take a look at the definition of ‘undying’:

Merriam-Webster: not dying, perpetual, immortal

Dictionary.com: deathless, unending

Since there are those who argued that that the adjective undying had been used before to refer to people, like elves, vampires and FF bosses, it is assumed that whatever Cloud’s undying feeling for Aerith is, it can be vanquished.

But look again at the word undying. The explanation presented to us was based on the notion that it was living beings that were undying, something that is unnatural, that is, going against the natural order of living things. I would like to point out that living things are said to be immortal, and not undying. Though they are synonymous, using the right word means a lot in a sentence.

While I do agree that these immortal ones can live forever, they are not invincible. They are undying because they will not die due to natural means, and certainly not by the hands of those which can easily kill any normal human. It takes a special means to be able to kill/vanquish/beat or overcome one who is undying/immortal.

And frankly, it is quite far-fetched to think that Nomura had used the term undying for the feelings that Cloud has with the connotation of the undying FF bosses in his mind. That would be insinuating that Nomura always had the thought ‘I describe kill-able bosses as undying, therefore anything I describe undying means that it can be beaten’ uppermost in his mind. That is downright absurd people.

The question now is: Does this premise that “undying bosses/people are kill-able” apply to feelings? Feelings are intangible, subjective, and certainly cannot be slashed with swords, staked through the heart, or attacked with a limit break, thus they are not vanquished or killed. While there are literary pieces which use the phrase “kill the emotions”, this means shutting off or denying one’s feelings and being numb or unfeeling. Therefore, it is quite weird to assume that undying feelings can be vanquished or overcome.

I take myself for an example. I have undying feelings for my late grandmother, feelings of admiration and love. But can those feelings be vanquished? No, they cannot. So it is rather irrational, yet amusing as well, to think that standards for undying people are applied to undying feelings. And as a writer, I would never use the adjective ‘undying’ to describe feelings as negative as guilt. Like the example Merriam-Webster graciously gave us:

He swore his undying devotion to her.

His undying devotion to his terminally ill wife is inspiring.

Now, how did you figure connecting undying to something negative such as guilt? Undying is obviously an adjective used to describe feelings, feelings which are positive and can inspire people.

Now, to humor those who believe that the undying feeling Cloud has for Aerith is guilt, then it was like saying, “The people who have traveled with Aerith have their own feelings of friendship and love for her. As for Cloud, he feels undying guilt, even now.”

Friendship/love and guilt are contrasting feelings. If we follow this line of thought, it’s irrational to mention feelings of friendship/love in the first place when the person wanted to talk about guilt. It would have made more sense to talk about feelings of loss or sadness at the beginning, and not friendship or love for the late flower girl. It’s like making an “about face” from your original thought. And as it turns out, this guilt was overcome at the end of the movie. This guilt was not undying.

Now, connecting the Church scene with the feelings being talked about here by Nomura, as Cloud had said “I want to be forgiven” in the said scene, it would be easy to conclude that the feelings talk about guilt.

But do take note of what I had pointed out earlier.

1) The first part of the quote talked about of friendship and love

2) Undying feelings cannot be equated to undying races

3) The quote was talking about positive feelings

4) Nomura proceeded to connect the undying feelings to the Church scene

As this quote was said during the release of AC Trailer in 2003, it would be safe to assume that Nomura is talking about the AC Trailer and the single Church scene presented there. Now, the question is, what did the said church scene contain?

1) A top view of the Church, showing the flower bed

2) Cloud walking towards the flower bed

3) Cloud’s voice over: “I want to be forgiven”

Let me establish one thing first: the symbolism of the Church. The scene happens in the Church where Aerith and Cloud first met, where Aerith’s flowers are growing, and where Cloud is seen alone without any of the other companions Aerith had traveled with. Somehow, the scene just screams out that Cloud is alone at the place which reminds him, and us, so much of Aerith. And we are later on rewarded with the fact that Cloud has been living there up to the events of AC.

Now, following the train of thought that Cloud feels guilty for Aerith’s death and wants forgiveness from her, as we find out later on, the question would be why did Nomura talk about Cloud’s guilt after talking about feelings of love and friendship that Aerith’s past companions had for her? He then later on says that the connection to the Church scene is up to our imagination. If he was talking about Cloud feeling guilty over Aerith’s death, surely every person knows that Cloud feels guilty for Aerith’s death. There is nothing about it that needs varying interpretations from the viewers. And also take note that after saying this, Nomura laughs.

Now, now, where have we seen this pattern before? Oh, yes, whenever the topic leads to the romance in FF7, more specifically, the LTD, wherein SE is witty enough not to say too much that could confirm one couple or the other. Maybe Nomura had an inkling that his statement will be used in debates that will follow, which turned out to be true.

"Episode Tifa" [Case of Tifa] - first off, there’s the premise that things won’t go well between Tifa and Cloud, and that even without Geostigma or Sephiroth this might be the same. I don’t really intend to go about my views on love or marriage or family (laughs). After ACC, I guess Denzel and Marlene could help them work it out. Maybe things would have gone well with Aerith, but I think there is a great burden from Aerith. Oh, I just remembered. I wanted to write Cloud as a person, seen through Tifa’s eyes. But he really isn’t the type to open up (laughs).
~Nojima interview about On the Way to a Smile at the Square-Enix website

What then was Nomura leaving up to the imagination of the viewers? Well, there is only one issue I know of which has FF7 fans divided, the LTD, the canon pairing of FF7. What, then, is to say that Nomura was leaving other aspects of FF7 to our imagination?

For those who would watch that AC Trailer, the natural questions would be: “Who does Cloud want forgiveness from? Why does Cloud want to be forgiven by that person? Where is Cloud going? What is he doing in Aerith’s Church?”

Now, let me reiterate, the Church is a place associated with Aerith and Cloud. It’s where they first met, where her flowers are, and where Cloud is alone, living there as we find out in the final production. The voice over is present as we see Cloud walking in Aerith’s Church. The connection is quite simple, yet deeper. How so? Here.

If Nomura’s statement was:

"In this story, Cloud also carries his own undying feeling for Aerith, even now…. Its relation to the church scene is…. Yeah. I’ll leave this to everyone’s imagination. (Laughs)"
~Nomura; Famitsu PS2 2003

It does seem to say that the feeling is guilt. But then again, why describe a negative feeling with an adjective that usually mean something positive?

Now, Nomura’s statement is, in truth, stated this way:

"I think that for all those players with whom Aerith traveled as a comrade, each carries their own feelings and love for Aerith. In this story, Cloud also carries his own undying feeling for Aerith, even now…. Its relation to the church scene is…. Yeah. I’ll leave this to everyone’s imagination. (Laughs)"
~Nomura; Famitsu PS2 2003

Taking in the context that the feelings of companionship and love were being talked about in the beginning, it is plausible to assume that when Nomura was talking about Cloud’s own, undying feeling for Aerith, it is quite similar, yet greater compared to companionship and love. It seems as though Cloud is not just a companion here. But we all know that, he was Aerith’s bodyguard, and love interest.

Taking that into account, of course he would feel guilty because he feels that he failed to protect Aerith. But, why the guilt? What drove him to go as far as to leave move into Aerith’s Church, not check into a hotel, to look for her forgiveness? Isn’t it because of the underlying undying feeling that he has for Aerith?

Is it far-fetched, then, to conclude that Cloud’s guilt stems from his feelings for Aerith, for failing her? Connect this and that, what is that undying feeling that Cloud has for Aerith which is similar yet different from Aerith’s former travelling companions?

My conclusion: Cloud feels guilty for failing Aerith because he carries his own undying love for her, as shown in the Church scene. Thus, he wants to obtain forgiveness from the woman he believes he had failed.

Now, maybe the question that will be raised for me is that: Why specifically romantic love and not just friendship? Aerith is Cloud’s love interest, or if you prefer, one of the women who the hero wavers from. The statement first talks about companions, then singles out Cloud and states that he has his own feelings for Aerith, somewhat different from her companions. What other role does Cloud have with regard to Aerith? Oh, that of her love interest and her bodyguard. So, is it not downplaying it to assume that Cloud feels guilty because they were just friends?

I am quite aware of the fact that AC is not a romance story in its entirety. It is about Cloud moving on from his guilt over Aerith’s death. But also, remember that guilt is not a feeling that sprouts from nothing. It stems from an underlying feeling of failing someone important. So when you talk about guilt, you also consider the reason why that feeling is there in the first place.

Lastly, I can’t believe there are those who would say that the Church scene is leading to the scene in the final movie wherein Cloud finds Tifa. The scene showed the flower bed, where Tifa was supposedly unconscious, but alas, I couldn’t see anything remotely close to someone wearing an all-black entourage in that same flower bed. So where had that came from?

Now…

 

What I want to call attention to:

1. The context of the quote in the beginning is about positive feelings of friendship and love. Thus, isn’t it weird to assume that Nomura would change his line of thought from positive feelings to a negative one?

2. Undying feelings are undying. Undying feelings does not equal Immortals which can be killed with special methods

3. The Church scene is not just about guilt. It’s about Cloud’s desire to attain forgiveness from Aerith, someone who he has undying feelings for.

4. The Church is connected to Aerith, and it is where her presence is most remembered.

5. While Cloud does feel guilty about Aerith’s death, it is the “why” of his guilt which is important to take not of

6. Cloud’s guilt stems from his love for Aerith, not just friendship, as he is her love interest and the bodyguard she promised to date, and had that date with him.

7. Nomura’s statement is another bait for those so involved in the LTD.

8. The Church scene is nowhere near anything about Cloud and Tifa.

What I would very much appreciate not to be thrown at me over and over again:

1. The quote talks only about guilt. 

2. The context is not about friendship and love, but about guilt. Guilt. GUILT, dammit!

3. Undying feelings can be vanquished, same as those undying vamps, elves and FF bosses.

4. It’s about Cloud’s guilt for his friend.

5. The Church scene is about Cloud and Tifa.

TIRADE

I am quite frustrated that while we were accused of wanting to be spoonfed by SE with exact words, the conclusion that Cloud was feeling undying guilt for Aerith just because his dialogue talked about wanting forgiveness was immediately drawn without much thought into the context. It was drawn because Cloud stated his desire for forgiveness, but was not analyzed further as to why he wanted that forgiveness. Plus the fact that feelings were compared to people, it was quite annoying to have the implication that even if I were to feel undying love for my late grandmother, that love can be vanquished. Plus undying feelings must be something negative, like guilt for not being able to be there when my grandmother had died. Seriously people, it’s like taking something romantic and twisting and downplaying it just to prove that it is anything BUT romantic.

And if Cloud was feeling guilty out of his friendship with Aerith, just because they were friends, why is it that it is Aerith’s death which has the greatest impact on him? He feels guilty about Zack’s death too, but hey, Zack isn’t the one consoling Cloud is he? Cloud didn’t set up shop over at the cliff where Zack died, and Cloud can easily go over to that cliff while he vehemently avoids the place where Aerith died. Take note that even though it has been 2 years since Aerith had died, Cloud’s still that depressed about it.

Whoo…. Tirade is done..

Thank you to GreyGardens, Hades’ Daughter, Calilily, Beatrix and revan for their insights on this thread which helped me to make an essay this long.

http://s8.zetaboards.com/Cloud_x_Aerith/topic/8409041/1/]Insights

// Cloud’s Promised Land: The End of the Journey//

We are all familiar with Cloud’s last words near the ending of Final Fantasy VII.

……I think I’m beginning to understand.
An answer from the Planet…
The Promised Land…
I think I can find her… there.
~Cloud, Reminisce; Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete

In here, Cloud tells Tifa that the Planet has given him some sort of hint, a clue if you would say. We know that the Promised Land is a place where one would find happiness. The Planet has indicated to Cloud that he could find Aerith again in the Promised Land.

We know how Cloud tried to be part of the 7th Heaven Family after the events of the game itself. This was narrated through Case of Tifa. But towards the end, Cloud went away. Where did he go? Aerith’s Church. I would like to believe that he did so because of two things. For one thing, Cloud wanted to find forgiveness from Aerith herself. Second, Cloud chose the Church because that is where he felt Aerith’s presence the most. I will elaborate on this on another essay. For now, let us move on.

One rather interesting quote that I would like to pay attention to after is this:

The place where he awakens—-
That is Cloud’s Promised Land


As he sleeps, Cloud hears two voices. The voices of two people very dear to him, who are no longer with him. Playfully and kindly, they give him a message: he doesn’t belong here yet.

When he awakes, there was his friends. There were the children, freed from their fatal illness. Tifa and Marlene, and Denzel asking for Cloud to heal his Geostigma— his family were waiting. Engulfed in celebration, he realises where he is meant to live. He realises that he was able to forgive himself.

And when he turns around—- “she” is starting to leave. Together with the friend who had given Cloud his life.Cloud no longer has to suffer in loneliness... And so they too go back to where they belong.

Back to the current of life flowing around the planet—-.

~FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania, AC Playback. (revised edition)

SE itself has confirmed that Cloud’s Promised Land is Aerith’s Church in the 10th Anniversary Ultimania. This passage in the Ultimania refers to the last scene in Advent Children: Complete. Being the nitpicker that I am, I want to study some statements in this passage.

Engulfed in celebration, he realises where he is meant to live. He realises that he was able to forgive himself.

I can say that AC/ACC is about Cloud’s journey for forgiveness, for him to be able to finally forgive himself for something that was never his fault, but still felt guilty for: the death of Aerith and Zack. He achieved this by the end of the movie.

And when he turns around—- “she” is starting to leave. Together with the friend who had given Cloud his life.

This statement acknowledges the presence of both Aerith and Zack in the Church. Cloud saw Aerith and Zack leave. But notice how Aerith was somehow emphasized with “she”. Both Aerith and Zack were not named in the passage, but Aerith was emphasized with the quotation marks. It reinforces the importance of Aerith’s presence in the scene, as well as to Cloud. 

Cloud no longer has to suffer in loneliness...

Cloud has finally forgiven himself, alleviating the loneliness that ate at him all those years. This is also evidenced by how the wolf, which represented Cloud’s guilt, fades away as he lay asleep in the Lifestream. Cloud was completely healed.

But, what else has he found in the end? Aerith.

Throughout the film, we see hints and glimpses of Aerith’s presence. SE has made sure to include Aerith even if she was not alive anymore. But notice how those instances were either cut short or incomplete. Aerith was only fully seen by Cloud and the viewers in the end of AC/ACC. In a way, the end of AC/ACC is the culmination of the first quote I have mentioned above. Cloud was able to find Aerith in her Church, his Promised Land. This was the end of his journey of searching for forgiveness, and for Aerith.


Any mistake found in this essay is solely my fault. If you wish, please correct me for any shortcomings. Thank you.


Next: Aerith’s Church: The Consciousness that Lives On

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