Cloud Strife


Cloud Strife
Cloud Strife
Cloud Strife art.jpg
Design for character Cloud Strife
Series Final Fantasy and Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
First game Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura
Voiced by (English) Steve Burton
Voiced by (Japanese) Takahiro Sakurai
Fictional profile
Weapon Broadsword
Home Nibelheim

Cloud Strife (クラウド・ストライフ Kuraudo Sutoraifu?) is a fictional character and the main protagonist in Square's (now Square Enix's) role-playing game Final Fantasy VII and several of its sequels and spin-offs. His original design was created by Final Fantasy VII character designer Tetsuya Nomura. Cloud's appearance is marked by spikey blond hair, striking blue eyes, dark clothing and his Buster Sword (バスターソード Basutā Sōdo?),[1] which previously belonged to his friend Zack Fair. Cloud is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai in Japanese,[2] and in English by Steve Burton.[3]

In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is a mercenary and self-proclaimed ex-member of SOLDIER, a select, genetically augmented military unit operating under the defacto world government and megacorporation Shinra Electric Power Company. Fighting against Shinra in the resistance group 'AVALANCHE' and driven by a feud with the primary antagonist, Sephiroth,[4] Cloud learns to accept his troubled past and adapts to his role as a leader. Cloud has also appeared in several other titles outside the Final Fantasy VII continuity such as Itadaki Street Special, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Ehrgeiz and the Kingdom Hearts series.

Cloud has garnered a primarily positive reception by critics. Described as "iconic," the character has been ranked highly in various published character lists. Cloud remains popular among fans, and continues to place highly in popularity polls. Cloud has also become the basis for a variety of merchandise, such as action figures and jewellery.

Contents

Appearances

Final Fantasy VII

In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is introduced as a mercenary and former member of SOLDIER, 1st Class, an elite military unit operating under the Shinra Company. Presented at the game's start as apathetic to anything unrelated to his job, Cloud's blasé attitude towards the goals of AVALANCHE, a resistance group fighting against Shinra, and the threat posed to the planet causes conflict with the other characters,[5][6][7] and his background produces misgivings as to Cloud's motivations and trustworthiness.[8][9] Cloud, meanwhile, takes pride in his past, confident in his abilities as a "former member of SOLDIER."[10][11] Despite appearing detached to members of AVALANCHE in the game's introductory sequence,[6][12][13] Cloud does display moments of camaraderie, some depending on the player's choices.[14][15] When confronted by his childhood friend and AVALANCHE member, Tifa, Cloud agrees to keep his boyhood promise to protect her,[16] continuing his AVALANCHE membership despite never having become a famous hero.[17][18] Following the player's departure from Midgar, Cloud is appointed group leader by the other members of the party, upsetting Barret, AVALANCHE's original leader.[19]

In interacting with Aerith, a flower girl wanted by Shinra and sole survivor of an ancient race known as the Cetra,[20][21] Cloud's character is further expanded upon. He shows increased signs of good-natured humor[22][23][24] and protectiveness,[25][26][27] as opposed to his antagonistic use of sarcasm with Barret[13] or comparative coolness to everyone other than Tifa that he has previously spoken with. Aerith, in turn, reciprocates this attitude, offering her assistance to lead Cloud back to Sector 7 and to rescue Tifa in Sector 6, despite Cloud being her bodyguard and the danger present.[24][26] Aerith also inquires about Cloud's romantic life,[28] and, depending on the player's dialogue choices and actions, could be one of several characters to take Cloud on a "date" at the Golden Saucer, an enormous amusement park, along with Tifa, and less seriously, Barret and optional character Yuffie. This love triangle aspect between Cloud, Tifa and Aerith is primarily focused on in the first disc, and at times is used to humorous effect.[29]

When the player arrives at the inn in the town of Kalm, Cloud narrates to the group his history with Sephiroth, a legendary member of SOLDIER and the game's primary antagonist. According to Cloud, the two were "war buddies," having worked together on previous missions prior to the one in Nibelheim.[30] Having joined SOLDIER to emulate Sephiroth,[16][30] Cloud states in the flashback that he signs up for "big missions" whenever they become available, as the war had already ended and thus his chances for fame.[31] When Sephiroth, upon discovering documents surrounding the nature of Jenova and his birth, mistakes himself to be a Cetra[32] and razes Nibelheim, Cloud chases after him. Finding Tifa wounded by Sephiroth at the Mt. Nibel Mako Reactor, Cloud discovers Sephiroth releasing Jenova, an extraterrestrial life-form and Sephiroth's "mother," from imprisonment. Cloud relates to the group that he then confronted Sephiroth, but he is unable to remember the events directly following.[33]

In fact, these events did not occur as Cloud describes; rather, they are an amalgamation of Cloud's actual past (as a member of the Shinra army who failed to enter SOLDIER) along with his friend Zack's own past, mixed with memories gleaned from Tifa's mind, created out of a combination of shame, Jenova cells and manipulation by Sephiroth.[34][35] The effects of this self-fabrication are made noticeable to the player prior to Cloud's discovery of the truth—Cloud, at mention of names from the past or moments related thereto, will experience a brief flashback and collapse momentarily, suffering from apparent physical pain,[36][37] and visual and audio cues are given to indicate discrepancies.[38][39] It is not until after he and Tifa fall into the Lifestream that he, with her encouragement, can piece his past back together, and restore his own personality from underneath the amalgam where he had subconsciously hidden it, and dismisses Sephiroth's deceit that he is an artificially-constructed Sephiroth-clone.[40]

Compilation of Final Fantasy VII

Cloud's design in Final Fantasy VII Advent Children was one of the most difficult to make by the staff as they wanted it to look realistic.[41]

In the cell phone game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, Cloud appears in a minor role. During the course of the game, which takes place over the six years leading into Final Fantasy VII, the player encounters Cloud while he works in Shinra to be a SOLDIER, assisting Shinra's group Turks in one of their missions and repraising the events from Nibelheim's rise.[42]

In the CGI film Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, Cloud, two years following the conclusion of Final Fantasy VII,[43] lives with Tifa in the city of Edge, working as a delivery boy for the "Strife Delivery Service" that Tifa set up in her new bar, having given up his life as a mercenary.[44] Staying with them is Marlene, Barret's adopted daughter, and Denzel, an orphan with a rampant and deadly disease called Geostigma. When confronted by Tifa following the disappearance of Denzel and Marlene, it is revealed that Cloud suffers from the effects of Geostigma, and he responds that he is unfit to protect his new family and other friends.[45] However, when urged by Tifa to let go of the past,[46] Cloud sets out for the Forgotten City in search for the children, and confronts Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, genetic remnants of Sephiroth left behind before he could diffuse into the Lifestream completely.[47] In confronting Kadaj, the battle takes them back to Aerith's church, where the Lifestream-influenced water cures Cloud of his Geostigma. Kadaj later merges with the remnants of Jenova, causing Sephiroth to be reborn. When Sephiroth is once again defeated, he dissipates, leaving a dying Kadaj in his place.[48] At the movie's end, Cloud reunites with his friends, sees Aerith and Zack and assures them that he will be fine.

Cloud is also featured in the novella On the Way to a Smile, in which set between Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children. The chapter "Case of Tifa" shows his life alongside Tifa, Marlene and Denzel.[49] Cloud is also one of the main characters in the original video animation Last Order: Final Fantasy VII. It depicts Cloud in two events that were shown in flashbacks in Final Fantasy VII; one at Nibelheim when he fights Sephiroth, and the other while escaping from Shinra with Zack.[50]

Cloud appears in a supporting role in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. A year after the events of Advent Children,[51] Cloud, working alongside Barrett and Tifa, lends his support to the ground forces of the World Regenesis Organization and Vincent Valentine in their siege of Midgar and counterattack against the rogue Shinra military unit, Deepground.[52] In the prequel Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Cloud is presented as a young Shinra infantryman who befriends Zack.[53] During the game's conclusion, a dying Zack gives Cloud his Buster Sword, telling him that he is his legacy,[54] as he goes to Midgar reprising the start of Final Fantasy VII.[55]

Other

In Kingdom Hearts, Cloud is meant to have a "demon-like" appearance.[56]

Cloud's character has also appeared in games outside of the Final Fantasy VII continuity. He is one of several playable Final Fantasy VII characters in Itadaki Street Special for the PlayStation 2 and Itadaki Street Portable for the PlayStation Portable. In Chocobo Racing, Cloud is a hidden character that rides a motorcycle.[57] Cloud is a playable character in the PlayStation version of Ehrgeiz, but like the other Final Fantasy VII characters present in the game, he has no storyline. Cloud and Tifa are the only Final Fantasy VII characters with a third costume or a story mode title; Cloud's depicts him in his Shinra infantryman attire, and his title is 'Guardian'.[58] Cloud is the representing Final Fantasy VII in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, a fighting game that uses characters from the Final Fantasy games.[59] His fight against Sephiroth in such game was based on their fights from Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children.[60] Along with the entire cast, Cloud reappears in the prequel Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a Warrior of Chaos. Concerned for Tifa who is one the opposite side, Cloud tries to defeat Chaos alone but is nearly killed. He is later saved by the goddess Cosmos to become one of her warriors. Cloud's main outfit is based on Yoshitaka Amano's original artwork concept,[61] while his Kingdom Hearts outfit serves as a downloadable content.[62] In LittleBigPlanet 2, Cloud is featured as a downloadable character model.[63]

In the PlayStation game Final Fantasy Tactics, Cloud is a playable secret character the player is able to recruit. He is accidentally pulled into the world of Ivalice by an ancient machine called "the Celestial Globe," which was activated by Ramza Beoulve in Goug Machine City.[64] Cloud is disoriented after arriving in Ramza's world, and after a short exchange with Ramza and the others, he leaves.[64] He wanders into Zarghidas Trade City, where he encounters a flower girl named Aerith, and it is implied that she reminds Cloud of the Aerith in the original game, including his grief of her death.[65] As Cloud is leaving the area, Aerith is accosted by a man demanding payment.[66] Cloud returns to help Aerith escape as Ramza and his party catch up to him.[67] After the battle, he joins Ramza's party as a playable character, although he cannot perform any of his signature attacks until the player tracks down his sword.[68]

In Kingdom Hearts, Cloud appears in the Olympus Coliseum world. He is depicted with a claw and a crimson cape, and the blade of his sword is wrapped in bandages. Nomura has stated that Cloud's left arm was inspired by Vincent Valentine, noting that, in this game, the character was supposed to illustrate a "demon-like" appearance due to his ties to the "dark side."[56] He has been hired by Hades to kill Hercules, but must fight Sora as a prerequisite.[69] After the fight, Hades sends Cerberus to attack Cloud and Sora, who are then saved by Hercules. Cloud meets with Sora afterward and explains that he is searching for someone.[70] During the credit roll at the end of the game, Cloud is shown reuniting residents of Hollow Bastion although Nomura stated that the answer to the person Cloud was looking for was up to the players.[56] A memory-based version of Cloud continued his role in the series in the Game Boy Advance sequel Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a boss in the Olympus Coliseum[71] and later as a summon card for Sora.[72] Cloud appears again in Kingdom Hearts II, depicted in his Advent Children attire. He is searching for Sephiroth,[73] and is himself being sought out by Tifa.[74] Cloud later fights alongside Leon's team during the Heartless invasion of Hollow Bastion. Should the player choose to engage Sephiroth and win the battle, Cloud returns and engages Sephiroth which ends with both of them disappearing in a flash of light after Tifa gives Cloud her support. Sora concludes that Cloud is still fighting with Sephiroth, and will not stop until he is defeated.[75] A digital replica of Cloud also appears in Kingdom Hearts coded once again in Olympus Coliseum, but helping data versions of Sora and Hercules to battle the data Hades.[76]

Concept and creation

Cloud was one of the first two characters designed for Final Fantasy VII by Tetsuya Nomura with influences from Yoshinori Kitase, Kazushige Nojima and Hironobu Sakaguchi.[77] Originally conceptualized by Sakaguchi as one of only three playable characters in early planning stages for Final Fantasy VII, Cloud's character saw greater oversight by Nomura than with other characters in previous Final Fantasy projects.[78] Nomura was called upon to supervise Cloud's various lines and personality traits.[79] Kitase and Nojima, meanwhile, were in charge of developing Cloud's background and his relationship with the character of Sephiroth.[80] When being appointed to write the scenario, Cloud's false persona was already determined, with Nojima inspired by the character's first appearance in the story. As the story continued, Nojima focused in making Cloud more mature hoping it could be noticed by the players. Nojima incorporated the character of Zack Fair to the game to expand the mysteries behind Cloud's background which still were not decided. In expanding Cloud's character individuality, the staff wanted him to be interesting to players, and focused in working in all his manners and his phrase "Not interested" which is repeated various times in the game. When first reading Nojima's scenario, Kitase was surprised by Cloud's persona as he was not simple-minded, feeling him fresh. The love triangle between Cloud, Tifa Lockhart and Aerith Gainsborough was also an aspect the staff found new in the series. Nojima deceived such aspect based on the "high school romance comedy" concept he thought was simple.[77]

In early drafts, Cloud was meant to act as an alter ego for Sephiroth when he is influenced to believe he was not the real Cloud, but a creation born from Sephiroth's will. As in Final Fantasy VII, Cloud would later realize he is the real Cloud, and the reason why Sephiroth could control his mind and body were because of Shinra's experiments and a weakening within his will.[81] Additionally, he was meant to have scarred Tifa prior to the game's events though the reasons for such an action were unknown.[82] Another scene, implying both of them having sex, was proposed by Masato Kato, one of the event planners, but was replaced with a toned down version by Kitase in which a risqué line is followed by a fade to black. In an interview Nojima stated none of them thought it would be something so important at the time.[77]

Nomura has said the original parameters of Cloud's character design called for slicked-back, black hair with no spikes. This depiction was to serve as a contrast to the long, flowing silver hair of the game's lead antagonist, Sephiroth. However, to make Cloud stand out more and emphasize his role in the game as the lead protagonist, Nomura altered Cloud's design to give him spiky, bright, blonde hair.[83] Cloud's appearance is also marked in Final Fantasy VII with his dark blue SOLDIER outfit, blue eyes and standing 5 feet 8 inches (173 cms).[42] Cloud's weapon, the Buster Sword, was originally smaller from its final form in the game, but its height increased as Nomura redesigned Cloud.[84] Nomura nicknamed it "the Giant Kitchen Knife" because how he originally envisioned it.[85] The sword was also meant to be held on his back with the use of magnets and have a small chain.[82] Kitase said of the character:

There wasn't really much controversy or criticism about having him as the hero from within Square, but he is definitely a mysterious character. That's one of the game's main themes, the fact that the protagonist has all these secrets to unravel. He isn't a straightforward hero like Superman; rather, he has many mysteries, self-doubts, and a real dark side. Mr. Nomura was also very good at designing a character like that.
—Yoshinori Kitase, Electronic Gaming Monthly, October 2005[78]

Nojima has expressed the dynamic of the relationship between the player and the main character in a Final Fantasy title is something he always puts thought into, and with Final Fantasy VII, Cloud's subdued nature led him to write scenes with the character in such a way the players would be placed in the position of deciding for themselves what the character was thinking.[86] Nomura believes the reason why Cloud has become popular within gamers is due to the impact from his personality made in Nojima's scenario.[84]

Development for related games

For Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, Nomura agreed to direct the project, largely in part because of his attachment to the character of Cloud.[79] Although Nomura stated Cloud was a more upbeat character in Final Fantasy VII, he chose a Cloud whose personality would be more familiar to gamers, and the script was written to explain the reasons for Cloud's state.[85] Nomura, on explaining Cloud's situation in the film, said "Cloud tried to lead his life positively after the end of FF7 but he cracked... The sin which Cloud thinks he owns is not anyone's fault in particular. It is something Cloud has to overcome by himself." Nojima said the theme of the story is one of redemption. "If you want to be forgiven, you have to take the hard path in life." Cloud, in choosing to fight against Sephiroth once again, is finally "given healing and forgiveness."[87] Nomura concluded, "Cloud seems to be a weak guy. Generally, heroes are strong, cool and don't have any weaknesses... Although Cloud is a jerk sometimes, he is really human-like. It's through redemption from his friends and having children to protect that he becomes stronger."[87] Cloud's feelings of guilt and regret for not being able to save his friends Zack and Aerith which are symbolized through a grey wolf that appears in scenes in which Cloud thinks about them. The wolf disappears in the film's end as Cloud comes in terms with his feelings.[88] One of the staff's favorite scenes was the one in which Cloud smiles in an embarrassing way towards a group of children. Nomura liked it as there was almost no dialogue, and the expression in his face already gave viewers his feeling. Composer Nobuo Uematsu commented "It sounds cool!" considering the fact that gamers who have finished Final Fantasy VII would find it hard to imagine how Cloud smiles and that by reading the script to such a scene, he was inspired to write the score.[87]

Cloud's design in the film is a combination of a total of eight designs the staff made which were from deformed to realistic designs. In contrast to his hair, Cloud's clothes were difficult to make in the film.[41] Cloud's new weaponry in the film was created based on jokes by fans who commented that because Cloud's weapon in the original game had an enormous height, in the sequel, he goes with sheer numbers. Although it does not have an official name, the staff named it the Fusion Swords during the film's development. The concept was to have Cloud hold six swords totally that he would carry on his back, but it then changed to six interlocking swords. Although the film's staff thought doing sequences with the Fusion Swords was impossible, they decided to make it as they then found as an interesting twist to the battles.[85] Cloud's new motorcycle, Fenrir, was designed by Takayuki Takeya who was asked by the staff to have an upgraded version of Cloud's "Hardy-Daytona" motorcycle from Final Fantasy VII. As development continued, the bike got bigger with Takeya feeling its heaviness gave an impact that worked well within the movie.[87]

Cloud's Japanese voice actor, Takahiro Sakurai, first voiced his character in Kingdom Hearts with the idea Cloud was a different character from the one of Final Fantasy VII game, which he was a fan of.[89] For Advent Children Nomura wanted Cloud and Vincent's voices to contrast with each other because of their similarities.[90] Sakurai expressed pressure for voicing Cloud as it was the sequel from the Final Fantasy VII. Although he did not mind whether critical response regarding his work was positive or not, Sakurai claims he only received praise. When voicing him, Sakurai has in mind that his silence is more expressive than his dialogues and that because of his burdens, he notes Cloud is shown to be a weak person. For Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Cloud was noted by Sakurai to be more normal and more expressive. The final scene in which Cloud screams over Zack's death was the one in which Sakurai worked the most on, as it left the biggest impression on him. Sakurai has come to regard Cloud as a very important character in the series as it reminds him of his own past, and he is still impressed he was able to contribute as his voice actor because he considers himself to be a Final Fantasy VII fan.[89] In the English adaptations, Cloud has been voiced by Steve Burton who enjoyed dubbing the character and was surprised by how fans recognized him for his work. He also commented on Cloud's character calling him "[one of the] coolest characters there is" and considers himself lucky for having voiced him.[91]

Cultural impact

Critical reception

The character of Cloud has been overall well received by critics. IGN stated the character set a trend for role-playing game heroes.[92] "The spiky blond hair and the gigantic Buster Sword have become instantly identifiable icons, recognized by gamers around the world."[93] GameDaily concurred, listing Cloud as an example of the "spiky-haired hero with a strange weapon", though stating that they have no problem with Cloud's spiky hair in particular.[94] He was named best character of all time in Dengeki PlayStation's retrospective awards feature about the original PlayStation.[95] Electronic Gaming Monthly placed him seventh in their "Top Ten: List of Videogame Characters."[96] UGO placed him at the top on their list of "Top 25 Japanese RPG Characters".[97] IGN placed him third in its "Top 25 Final Fantasy Characters" feature.[93] He had the same rank in IGN's "Final Fantasy VII: Top 10 Characters".[98] GamesRadar listed Cloud as the second best Final Fantasy hero of all the time stating "he’s one of the most well-rounded and thought-out characters in the series".[99] He was also the second best Final Fantasy character in an article by Videogamer.com who labelled him as a "poster boy for the entire JRPG genre."[100] GameSpot also made a video titled "Greatest Game Hero: Cloud Strife" featuring scenes based on his character.[101] Publishing an article focused on his past and his personality, RPGamer editor Aujang Abadi called Cloud "one of the most complex characters Square has created" as well as "the first truly complicated main character."[102] Kurt Kalata of Gamasutra praises certain aspects of Cloud's characterization, noting that he is "neither hero nor anti-hero" but rather "somewhat of a weakling" with grandiose delusions and psychological issues, and one of the first unreliable narrators in a role-playing video game.[103] Unicorn Lynx of MobyGames described him as "one of the most complex characters ever seen in a game" due to how he has to deal with "his own deep psychological problems" and "the truth about his very existence" while taking responsibility as a leader.[104]

GameCritics leveled some criticism against the character, stating that, while Final Fantasy VII had "some of the most complex characters ever created, by video game standards," some of them were "paper-thin" and Cloud had "childish motivations" compared to the characters in "Citizen Kane or the complexities of characters exhibited in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver."[105] Cloud's and Aerith's relationship was also third in GamesRadar's "Top 10 Square Enix Couples" with its writer stating "It's a classic love story",[106] while IGN ranked it ninth in their "Best Videogames Couples".[107] 1UP.com featured him in their article "Top 5 Final Fantasy Character Types" in which Cloud was in the second category, "The Sullen Asshole", alongside with Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII and Cecil from Final Fantasy IV.[108] On the other hand, Edge described Cloud as an example of "excellent design and characterization."[109] They also commented that his design "inspired many a Japanese teen to adopt his exact spiky, yellow hairstyle."[110] GameDaily ranked him fifth on their list of the "Top 25 Gaming Hunks", with praise on his design and weapon.[111] Famitsu issue #1103 featured Cloud on its cover and gave him a seven-page tribute, showing his many appearances through the years.[84] During February 2010, Famitsu readers voted Cloud as the third best video game character.[112] In the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition from 2011, he was voted as the fifth best video game character.[113] In an ASCII Media Works poll in which fans voted selected whose video game or manga character would like to name their children after, Cloud's name was third in the male category.[114]

Reception among fans has been predominately positive. According to IGN, "he is probably the most famous hero in the history of the Final Fantasy series," and that, although "his star has faded somewhat over the last decade and change, maybe it's just a consequence of overexposure," and "he'll probably still be an icon ten years from now."[93] IGN listed him as a possible character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl,[115] though he was not chosen as the "reader's choice."[116] In one of IGN's 2007 "Hero Showdowns," Cloud was pitted against Link, though Link was voted the favorite.[117] The character was placed in similar contests by GameFAQs, winning the "Character Battle II" (2003) and finishing second in the "Character Battle III" (2004) and the "Battle Royale" (2006).[118][119][120] GameSpot featured him in their poll "All Time Greatest Game Hero".[121] GamesRadar featured him in "RPG Emo-Off", in which they stated Cloud became "most emo character of all JRPGs" until he was defeated by Genesis Rhapsodos.[122] In an Oricon poll from 2008, Cloud was voted as the second most popular video game character. He was also second in "men's category" and third in "women's category".[123] Cloud has also been included in some unorthodox lists; these include IGN's "Worst Videogame Haircuts", "Top Videogame Sword Masters" and ScrewAttack's "Top Ten Coolest Characters".[124][125][126] GamesRadar featured Cloud's disguising scene as a woman in "Gaming's most piss poor disguises", citing how feminine he looks.[127]

Arnold Katayev from PSXextreme praised Cloud's redesign from Kingdom Hearts as one of best ones from the game, noting how it is a "hybrid" of his and Vincent Valentine's designs.[128] AnimeFringe stated Cloud's appearance in Kingdom Hearts was one of the things that excited the Final Fantasy VII fans the most. Despite finding his boss battle as one of the most challenging of Olympus Coliseum, they still referred to it as "nothing when compared to Sephiroth['s]."[129] His development in Advent Children was praised by Todd Douglass Jr. from DVD Talk as one of the best parts from the film.[130] 1UP commented that Cloud's guilt about Aerith's death was effective to move viewers, yet he thought such scenes were "manipulative". His redesign also received positive comments, with focus on his "unbreakably perfect hair."[131] Joystiq's Andrew Yoon stated that the director's cut version of the film is better than the original in giving more depth to Cloud's development to the point of "humanizing [him]."[132] On the other hand, Mania Entertainment writer Briana Lawerence listed Cloud second in the article "10 Male Headaches of Anime" criticizing his feeling of guilt about Aerith's death seen in the film.[133] RPGamer referred to Cloud's overcoming Aerith's death as one of the primary parts of the film and called his fight sequences as "the most creative and impressive scenes."[134] A GamesRadar article of "Classic game characters" featured, Cloud's redesigns across his appearances was analysed with comments on how each of his designs bear various similarities, yet they are sightly different.[135]

Merchandise

Cloud has served extensively as a basis for a variety of merchandise, including figurines and jewelry.[136][137] Kanji Tashiro, Square Enix's manager of merchandise, said at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con that Cloud's likeness has produced some of the company's best-selling items, and said that fans could look forward to further adaptations of the character in the future.[138] Popular models include Cloud's Advent Children figurine and Hardy Daytona Bike set, having sold particularly well in European and North American markets.[138] Square has also released two promotional books primarily focusing on Cloud's character: Cloud Vol 1, which was released in 2007 and Cloud message, in late 2008.[139][140]

References

  1. ^ Teresa Dun, "Complete Final Fantasy VII Character Guide," PlayStation the Official Magazine 3 (February 2008): 60.
  2. ^ SoftBank, ed (2006) (in Japanese/English). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children: Reunion Files. Square-Enix. p. 12. ISBN 4-7973-3498-3. 
  3. ^ Square Enix. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation Portable. (August 17, 2009)
  4. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: For me, this is a personal feud. I want to beat Sephiroth. And settle my past. Saving the planet just happens to be a part of that. I've been thinking."
  5. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Barret: Little by little the reactors'll drain out all the life. And that'll be that. / Cloud: It's not my problem. / Barret: The planet's dyin', Cloud! / Cloud: The only thing I care about is finishin' this job before security and the Roboguards come."
  6. ^ a b Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Barret: Tifa! Let him go! Looks like he still misses the Shinra! / Cloud: Shut up! I don't care about either Shinra or SOLDIER! But don't get me wrong! I don't care about AVALANCHE or the Planet for that matter!"
  7. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Tifa: The Planet is dying. Slowly but surely it's dying. Someone has to do something. / Cloud: So let Barret and his buddies do something about it. It's got nothin' to do with me."
  8. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Jessie: Aren't they the enemy? What's he doing us in AVALANCHE? / Biggs: Hold it Jessie. He WAS in SOLDIER. He quit them and now is one of us."
  9. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Barret: EX-SOLDIER, huh? Don't trust ya!"
  10. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Barret: Yo. Cloud! There's somethin' I wanna ask ya. Was there anyone from SOLDIER fighting us today? / Cloud: None. I'm positive. / Barret: You sound pretty sure. / Cloud: If there was anyone from SOLDIER you wouldn't be standing here now. / Barret: Don't go thinkin' you so bad jes cuz you was in SOLDIER."
  11. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: Don't mess with me. I used to be in SOLDIER. I'll tell you how much I know.... an' for free too!""
  12. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: I don't care what your names are. Once this job's over... I'm outta here."
  13. ^ a b Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: Looks like I'm a little late. / Barret: You damn right, you're late!! Come waltzin' in here makin' a big scene!"
  14. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Biggs: What!? you tellin' me you're too good to drink with me? Don't act big-headed jus' because you were in SOLDIER! / Yeah, why not?/ Biggs: Oh!! That's more like it! Even if you were with SOLDIER, you're still a rookie here."
  15. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: Wedge!! You all right!? / Wedge: .......Cloud...... You remembered..... my name. Barret's up top. ...help him....... An' Cloud.... Sorry, I wasn't any help. / Cloud: I'm going up! Aeris, you look after Wedge."
  16. ^ a b Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: But I'm different from all of them. I'm not just going to find a job. I want to join SOLDIER. I'm going to be the best there is, just like Sephiroth. / ... / Tifa: Hey, why don't we make a promise? Umm, if you get really famous and I'm ever in a bind... You came save me, all right? / Cloud: What? / Tifa: Whenever I'm in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me. I want to at least experience that once. / Cloud: What? / Tifa: Come on--! Promise me----! / Cloud: All right... I promise."
  17. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: I'm not a hero and I'm not famous. I can't keep... the promise."
  18. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: This is my pay? Don't make me laugh. \ Tifa: What? Then you'll...!! / Cloud: You got the next mission lined up? I'll do it for 3000. / Tifa: Thanks, Cloud."
  19. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Barret: We need a group leader for our journey. 'Course only me could be the leader. / Tifa: You think so...? / Aeris: It would have to be Cloud. / Barret: ^#$^%....... awright. Go Northeast to a town called Kalm. If something happens, we'll meet up there."
  20. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Red XIII: Cetra... That girl, is she a survivor of the Cetra? / President Shinra: Cetra, or the Ancients will show us the way to the 'Promised Land.' I'm expecting a lot out of her."
  21. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aerith: I know. I know, but... I am the only...... Cetra."
  22. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aerith: Then, get me out of here. Take me home. / Cloud: OK, I'll do it... but it'll cost you. / Aerith: Well then, let's see...... How about if I go out with you once? / [Cloud makes an affirmative nod.]"
  23. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aerith: Puff... wheeze... Slow.... down.... Don't leave me.... / Cloud: Funny... I thought you were cut out to be in SOLDIER? Aerith: Oh! You're terrible!"
  24. ^ a b Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: You gotta be kidding. Why do you want to put yourself in danger again? / Aerith: I'm used to it. / Cloud: Used to it!? ....Well, don't know... getting help from a girl... / Aeris: A girl!! What do you mean by that!?"
  25. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aeris: You're up bright and early. / Cloud: How could I ask you to go along when I knew it would be dangerous?"
  26. ^ a b Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aeris: That girl in the cart was Tifa? Where was she going? She looked kind of odd... / Cloud: Wait! I'll go on alone! You go home!"
  27. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aeris: Hey, this looks like the Don's mansion. I'll go take a look. I'll tell Tifa about you. / Cloud: No!! You can't!! / Aeris: Why? / Cloud: You DO know... what kind of... place this is, don't you?"
  28. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aeris: Is Tifa...... a girl? / Cloud: Yeah. / Aeris: A girl... friend? / Cloud: Girlfriend?"
  29. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aeris: I knew that Cloud would come for me. / Cloud: Hey, I'm your bodyguard, right? / Aeris: The deal was for one date, right? / Tifa: ............oh, I get it. / Aeris: ...!? Tifa! Tifa, you're there too! / Tifa: EXCUSE me."
  30. ^ a b Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: ......I used to want to be like Sephiroth, so I joined SOLDIER. After working with Sephiroth on several missions, we became friends. / Barret: You call that a friend? / Cloud: Yeah, well....... He's older than me, and he hardly ever talked about himself. / Tifa: ............ / Cloud: So I guess you'd call him a war buddy..... We trusted each other. Until one day......"
  31. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: I joined SOLDIER so I could be like you. But by the time I made First Class, the war was already over. My big hopes of becoming a hero like you ended with the war. That's why I always sign up whenever there's a big mission. Kind of a way to prove myself."
  32. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: Traitor? / Sephiroth: You ignorant traitor. I'll tell you. This was an itinerant race. They would migrate in, settle the Planet, then move on… At the end of their harsh, hard journey, they would find the Promised Land and supreme happiness. But, those who stopped their migrations built shelters and elected to lead an easier life. They took that which the Cetra and the planet had made without giving back one whit in return! Those are your ancestors. / Cloud: Sephiroth… / Sephiroth: Long ago, disaster struck this planet. Your ancestors escaped… They survived because they hid. The Planet was saved by sacrificing the Cetra. After that, your ancestors continued to increase. Now all that's left of the Cetra is in these reports. / Cloud: What does that have to do with you? / Sephiroth: Don't you get it? An Ancient named Jenova was found in the geological stratum of 2000 years ago. The Jenova Project. The Jenova Project wanted to produce people with the powers of the Ancients……no, the Cetra! …I am the one that was produced."
  33. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aeris: What happened to Sephiroth? / Cloud: In terms of skill, I couldn't have killed him. / Tifa: Official records state Sephiroth is dead. I read it in the newspaper. / Aeris: Shinra, Inc. owns the newspaper, so you can't rely on that information. / Cloud: ......I want to know the truth. I want to know what happened then. I challenged Sephiroth and lived. Why didn't he kill me?"
  34. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: I never was in SOLDIER. I made up the stories about what happened to me five years ago, about being in SOLDIER. I left my village looking for glory, but never made it in to SOLDIER...... I was so ashamed of being so weak; then I heard this story from my friend Zack... And I greated an illusion of myself made up of what I had seen in my life..... And I continued to play the charade as if it were true."
  35. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: You see, someone in SOLDIER isn't simply exposed to Mako energy. Their bodies are actually injected with Jenova cells...... For better or for worse, only the strong can enter SOLDIER. It has nothing to do with the Jenova Reunion. But weak people...... like me, get lost in the whole thing. The combination of Jenova cells, Sephiroth's strong will, and my own weaknesses are what created me. Everyone knew that. I'm...... Cloud. ......the master of my own illusionary world. But I can't remain trapped in an illusion any more...... I'm going to live my life without pretending."
  36. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: Fine, be my guest. / Watch out! This isn't just a reactor!! / Barret: ...What's wrong? / Cloud: Huh? / Barret: What's wrong, Cloud? Hurry it up!"
  37. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: It's about the Ancients. / In my veins courses the blood of the Ancients. I am one of the rightful heirs to this planet! / Cloud: Sephiroth...? / [Cloud falls down. Tifa and Barret run to him.] Tifa: Are you all right? Barret: Pull it together, man!"
  38. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Cloud: I don't know who you are, but.... / You don't know me.....? ......I know you. / [The screen goes white, briefly.] Cloud: Oh yeah...... I know you. That uniform...."
  39. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Aeris: What rank were you? / Cloud: Rank? / Aeris: You know, in SOLDIER. / Cloud: Oh, I was... [The screen goes solid white, briefly.] First Class."
  40. ^ Square Co.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (September 7, 1997) "Sephiroth: Five years ago you were... ...constructed by Hojo, piece by piece, right after Nibelheim was burnt. A puppet made up of vibrant Jenova cells, her knowledge, and the power of Mako. An incomplete Sephiroth-clone. Not even given a number. ...That is your reality."
  41. ^ a b (in Japanese) Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Prologue. Square-Enix. 2005. ISBN 4087793397. 
  42. ^ a b (in Japanese) Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (Revised Edition). Square-Enix. 2009. pp. 36–41. ISBN 1019740597. 
  43. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (August 14, 2008). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Marlene: "Sadness was the price to see it end." It's been two years since they told me that." 
  44. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Reno: You're our buddy, aren't ya? / Rufus: Kadaj and his group are young and violent – as dangerous as they come. That's why we decided that it might be in our best to hire a little muscle. / Cloud: Too bad. I'm a delivery boy now." 
  45. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Tifa: You have Geostigma, don't you? You're going to give up and die, is that it? So it is. / Cloud: There's no cure. / Tifa: Yeah, but, that's not stopping Denzel, is it? Don't run! Let's fight it together! We can help each other, I know we can. I guess ... that only works for real families. / Cloud: Tifa ... I'm not fit to help anyone – not my family, not my friends. Nobody." 
  46. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Tifa: Dilly dally, shilly shally! / Reno: I think she wants you to move on, man." 
  47. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Kadaj: The stigma. But you know all about that, sir. Mother's memetic legacy lives on in the Lifestream and makes it happen. She does so much for us and we ... we don't even know where to find her. But what can we do? We're just remnants, really remnants of Mother's legacy. Until we find Mother and receive her cells, we can't be whole again! Geostigma and the Legacy aren't enough ... for a true reunion. / Rufus: What do you mean? / Kadaj: But, sir! Surely you've noticed ..." 
  48. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Aerith: Kadaj? / Kadaj: Huh? / Aerith: You don't have to hang on any longer. / Kadaj: Mother is that ... / Aerith: Everyone's waiting if you're ready." 
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  50. ^ Last Order: Final Fantasy VII (DVD). Square Enix. April 10, 2009. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0489134/. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  51. ^ Square Enix. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation 2. (August 15, 2006) "WRO Member: The WRO was originally established three years ago after Meteorfall."
  52. ^ Square Enix. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation 2. (August 15, 2006) "Vincent: Yeah. And what about you? / Cloud: What do you think? / Tifa: Right! You can count on us! / Barret: When I'm through, there won't be a single sucka standing! / Vincent: Right. / Cloud: And as for you... / Vincent: Don't worry. Leave Deepground to me."
  53. ^ Square Enix. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation Portable. (August 24, 2008) "Zack: Good news, Tseng! Me and... / Cloud: Cloud / Zack: Me and Cloud here are both backwater experts. Oh yeah!"
  54. ^ Square Enix. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation Portable. (August 24, 2008) "Zack: Continue living. You are proof that I existed. My dreams and pride, I give it all to you. / Cloud: I am proof that you existed."
  55. ^ Square Enix. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation Portable. (August 24, 2008) "Cloud: My name is Cloud. SOLDIER 1st Class."
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  66. ^ Square. Final Fantasy Tactics. (Square Co.). PlayStation. (June 20, 1997) "Town Knave: I've been looking for you, Aeris... Selling flowers for your mom? Good for you... / Flower Girl: Then more days.... No, just wait a week, please. / Knave: Don't mess with me! It's overdue! I'm gonna get my 30000 gil, one way or another!"
  67. ^ Square. Final Fantasy Tactics. (Square Co.). PlayStation. (June 20, 1997) "Knave: Hmm, pretty good looking! Oughta try sellin' your body instead of flowers. Hee, hee. / Cloud: Get your hand off her! / Knave: What did you say!? / Cloud: Didn't you hear me? Get your dirty hand off her! / Knave: Who the hell are you? Dressed in funny clothes! / Cloud: Go [Aeris]...now..."
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