There are some fictional characters whose death within the story is more famous than anything else they accomplished on their journey. Characters like Cedric Diggory and Ned Stark died in ways that affected the story hugely, which is why the rest of their lives became a footnote to their endings.
Aerith Gainsborough is the queen of characters who died. Her death is so famous that it isn't even a spoiler, due to how well-known it is. Aerith's murder was meant to be one of the most shocking moments in gaming history, yet it only remained a surprise for a short time before it was spoiled forever by the Internet.
However, there is a lot more to Aerith Gainsborough than the manner of her passing. Her role in the story changed on numerous occasions throughout the production of Final Fantasy VII. There are also secrets concerning her role in the game that many players have missed.
We are here today to look at creation and mystery behind the girl who went from selling flowers to saving the world.
From the secret of turning her into a physical power house to the other Squaresoft game that can help you keep her alive, here are the 15 Things You Didn't Know About Final Fantasy's Aerith.
15 It Was Almost Barret Who Died Instead
Aerith wasn't the first Final Fantasy character to die. That honor goes to Josef in Final Fantasy II, who gets crushed by a boulder. There were other notable deaths in the series which also had an emotional impact on fans, like the loss of General Leo in Final Fantasy VI.
The creators of Final Fantasy VII knew that they wanted to include a powerful death scene in the story that would help set the game apart from its predecessors. When development on the game began, there were only three characters to choose from: Aerith, Barret, and Cloud.
Cloud was the main character of the game, which meant that either Aerith or Barret had to die. The reason that Barret wasn't picked was due to the fact that the other Final Fantasy characters who had died up to that point (Josef, Ricard, Minwu, Tellah, Fusoya, Galuf, General Leo) all shared similar traits.
They were all older men and accomplished warriors who laid down their lives for the rest of the party. Aerith was chosen due to the fact that her death would have more impact, as she was a young and kind individual who had her whole life ahead of her.
14 Aerith Was Originally Going To Be Sephiroth's Lover & Sister
Final Fantasy VII underwent a lot of different changes during its development. This was due to the fact that it represented several different shifts in terms of direction for the series, which meant that Squaresoft couldn't screw it up. They were making the first 3D Final Fantasy title which was going to feature a darker tone and was going to appear on a brand new system that was still finding its audience.
The exact relationship between Aerith and Sephiroth changed throughout the course of development. At the beginning, they were originally intended to be brother and sister, which likely meant that Sephiroth was meant to be a true descendant of the Cetra. This is the reason why Sephiroth and Aerith have similar hairstyles.
The relationship between Aerith and Sephiroth was later changed to that of them being former lovers. This was likely still during the point of development before Zack had been created. These relationships were all dropped and the two of them don't interact much before Sephiroth kills her.
13 It's Possible To Make Her The Most Powerful Fighter In The Party
It should be obvious to most RPG players that Aerith is a magic user, rather than a physical fighter. This is because she fights with a staff and her limit breaks are all based on magical effects. Her dress and jacket combo even sort of resembles traditional wizard robes, so her role in the group should be pretty easy to work out. Aerith's stats also support this, as her abilities are focused towards improving the power of spells.
Aerith doesn't have to be relegated to the role of party healer, though, as the player can steal an awesome weapon for her that you wouldn't normally be able to acquire until later in the game.
When the party reaches the Train Graveyard in Midgar, it is possible to encounter a monster called Eligor. It's possible to successfully steal a weapon called the Striking Staff from Eligor, which will give Aerith the highest attack score in the party. She will remain your heaviest hitter until you leave Midgar and gain access to new weapons.
12 You Can See Her Ghost (Due To A Glitch)
Final Fantasy VII was released around the same time as personal computers with Internet access started to appear across America. It shares a distinction with the Pokémon franchise in that it was one of the earliest series to have entire websites dedicated to false secrets and urban legends about how to unlock things within the game. The most popular fake secret involves a legitimate way to bring Aerith back to life.
While it is impossible to bring Aerith back through a purposely designed manner, you can still see her ghost. After you save Cloud in Mideel, you can return to Midgar and visit the Church in the slums. If you do this, then you can see a brief glimpse of Aerith's ghost tending to the flowers.
Aerith's ghost is a programming error that is caused due to issues with loading characters into a specific position. You can also see Reno during this scene. The appearance of Aerith's ghost became a key factor in a lot of the false methods to revive her when it was discovered by the Final Fantasy VII fan base.
11 She Has Unique Dialogue After Her Death Scene
One of the most prominent Final Fantasy VII fan theories states that Aerith was meant to die at a later point in the game. This is actually a feasible theory that has several pieces of evidence backing it up.
One of them involves the fact that the Northern Crater map (where Cloud gives Sephiroth the Black Materia) has a large piece that is never seen by the player. This area also has "Aerith's Theme" playing in the background. These facts combined have led fans to suspect that Aerith was meant to die here instead. This is also supported by numerous inconsistencies in the FMV that shows Aerith's death.
The biggest piece of supporting evidence for this theory is the fact that Aerith has unique dialogue that plays after her death. If you hack Aerith into your party and continue the game, she will have unique lines that do not belong to any other character.
These include interactions with the soldiers in Fort Condor, trying to start a fight in the Battle Square, falling down Gaea's Cliff, and talking to people in Rocket Town.
10 Zack Was Never Her Boyfriend
It's always an awesome feat when someone discovers something new in a classic game. There are titles that have been played and dissected to death, like Super Mario Bros. and Pokémon Red & Blue, which have no secrets left to tell. We do occasionally still find secrets in old games, though, like the mysterious background figure that was recently discovered in Resident Evil 4.
Final Fantasy VII had a notoriously terrible English localization, which was riddled with errors and lines that didn't properly reflect the creator's intent. One instance of this was recently discovered in relation to Aerith's relationship with Zack Fair.
In Final Fantasy VII, Aerith refers to Zack as her first boyfriend when she talks about him with Cloud. However, in the original Japanese version of the game, she simply refers to him as the first person that she ever liked, which suggests that she never had the chance to share these feelings with him.
9 She Can Manifest In The World (In The Same Way That Sephiroth Can)
The ending of Final Fantasy VII left the player with a lot of unanswered questions. It is not revealed whether the cast (except for Red XIII) survived the struggle between Holy and Meteor. The later games and animated features would fill in the gaps, though, and we would eventually learn the truth of what happened at the end of Final Fantasy VII.
In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the antagonists are revealed to be three embodiments of Sephiroth's will, who are trying to find pieces of Jenova, which will allow Sephiroth to manifest in the real world once more. Sephiroth is not the only person who can do this, as one of the short stories reveals that Aerith could also manifest in the real world if she wanted to.
On the Way to a Smile is a series of short stories that appeared on the official Advent Children website. These were later bundled onto the home releases of the film. In the Lifestream White chapters, it is revealed that Aerith could perform the same trick as Sephiroth and could thus create life forms in the real world.
She chooses not to do this, however, as she eventually wants to reunite with Cloud in her original image.
8 Aerith Is The Easier Character To Date
Final Fantasy VII offers the player numerous dialogue choices that are related to which character Cloud likes the most. This will eventually lead to a date sequence in the Gold Saucer that involves Cloud taking his favorite girl on a ride around the theme park.
The game has a set of mechanics that calculate which person Cloud takes on the date. Aerith is by far the easiest character to win favor with, as she starts out with twenty more "date points" than Tifa. You basically have to favor Tifa in every dialogue line in order to take her on the date instead.
If you go out of your way to annoy both Tifa and Aerith, then it is possible to take either Barret or Yuffie on the date instead. These are very difficult to pull off and you really need to follow a guide the whole way in order to take Barret out on a romantic evening.
7 She Exists In Ivalice & Azeroth
Final Fantasy VII wasn't the only game that featured Cloud Strife on the PlayStation. He also appeared as a playable character in games like Ehrgeiz and Chocobo Racing.
Cloud Strife was lucky enough to be playable in the best game on the original PlayStation: Final Fantasy Tactics. If you kept Mustadio in your party and completed all of the side quests involving the Zodiac Stones, then you could use a device to summon Cloud Strife into the world of Ivalice.
While traveling through Ivalice, Cloud will encounter another flower girl who also happens to be named Aerith (or Aeris in the original version of the game). Cloud is able to save the Ivalice version of Aerith from a gang of loan sharks.
A tribute to Aerith also appears in World of Warcraft. You can encounter a flower girl named Aerith Primrose in the city of Dalaran. She is hanging out with an NPC named Koraud, who looks like Cloud Strife.
6 A Monster That Looks Like Aerith Can Be Fought In Final Fantasy V
Tetsuya Nomura is one of the most important people associated with Final Fantasy VII. He was the man who designed almost all of the visuals for the game. Nomura designed all of the characters and monsters in Final Fantasy VII, and also came up with scenario concepts for the game.
It took a while for Nomura's work to become celebrated. He started out as a debugger on Final Fantasy IV, before working on designs for Final Fantasy V and VI. Nomura shared many of these duties with Yoshitaka Amano, who is more closely associated with the older games in the series.
Tetsuya Nomura is known for using names and designs that would become important in later games. One of the best examples of this is the Lemure enemy from Final Fantasy V, which shares many visual characteristics with Aerith. It is also possible to steal the Ribbon accessory from the Lemure, which is an item of clothing that would become associated with Aerith.
5 Aerith & Zack's Voice Actors Are Married In Real Life
Aerith has had several different English voice actresses. She was voiced by Mandy Moore in Kingdom Hearts, Mena Suvari in Kingdom Hearts II and Advent Children, and Andrea Bowen in Crisis Core and Dissidia 012. Aerith has only ever been voiced by Maaya Sakamoto in Japan.
Crisis Core ends with the most tragic death in the entire Final Fantasy series. We see Zack Fair trying to fight off the Shinra army, as his life literally flashes before his eyes. The last memory he sees is that of Aerith, who was the women he loved and was traveling to Midgar to see.
There is at least a happy ending for Aerith and Zack in real life, as their voice actors actually got married. Maaya Sakamoto is married to Zack's voice actor, Kenichi Suzumura. The two of them were wed in 2011, which means that it is possible that the two of them met while recording Crisis Core.
4 Both Aeris & Aerith Are Technically Correct Names
One question that has plagued the Final Fantasy VII fan base for years is which of the two names is correct: Aerith or Aeris.
When Final Fantasy VII was first released, the default name given for Aerith on her naming screen was Aeris. This is how the name was written in the manual and in most of the promotional material for the game.
It should be noted that some of the earliest adverts for Final Fantasy VII did have her name written as Aerith in screenshots. The Aerith name later became canon in Kingdom Hearts and it has remained that way ever since. So, which name is correct?
Technically they both are. Aerith's Japanese name is written as Earisu. The "su" in her name can be written as either "s" or "th" in English, as it can have both meanings in Japanese. The Aerith name is the one that was chosen because it sounds similar to the word "Earth."
3 She Tried To Help Several Dead Characters Pass On To The Afterlife
Bugenhagen explains to the cast of Final Fantasy VII that their planet is inhabited by a force known as the Lifestream. When a living creature dies, they return to the Lifestream and are later reincarnated.
We later learn that this isn't quite true, as Sephiroth is able to maintain his consciousness within the Lifestream and can still control living beings in the world above. Aerith is also able to maintain her original personality.
There was a novella released as part of the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania guide called Hoshi wo Meguru Otome, which follows Aerith within the Lifestream. She attempts to soothe the spirits of the departed in an effort to allow them to return to the Lifestream.
Aerith is able to help Dyne let go of his crimes and find peace. However, she is less successful with the others she encounters there. The other members of AVALANCHE (Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie) are still tormented by the crimes that they committed as part of the group. President Shinra is still unrepentant about the lives he destroyed in search of power, and Hojo allows himself to be absorbed into Sephiroth, at the cost of his own consciousness.
2 She Was Going To Be A Playable Fighter In Dissidia 012
The Dissidia series is basically the Final Fantasy equivalent of Super Smash Bros. The first game in the series featured a selection of Final Fantasy heroes and villains, who are dragged into an interdimensional struggle between Chaos and Cosmos. The sequel followed a group of different Final Fantasy characters who sacrificed their lives to allow the conflict to end.
Dissidia 012 was unusual in that you had to pay for the demo of the game. Those who did buy the demo would also unlock Aerith as a support character in the main game. You could briefly summon her to perform a special attack.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that Aerith was meant to be a proper playable character but was turned into a support at the last minute. A character model of her existed within the files of the original Dissidia and it can be hacked into the game.
There is also space within the game's files for specific outfits for Aerith, which are left blank. You can also select her in a Quick Battle, though this will cause the game to crash.
1 You Can Skip Her Death Sequence (With The Help Of Saga Frontier)
The creators of Final Fantasy VII have each defended the death of Aerith and have shot down the idea that she should be able to survive in any remake of the game. They have stated that the only reason Aerith's death worked is that it wasn't reversible.
Well, you can tell those guys where to stick it, as it's possible to stop Aerith from dying in the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy VII. All you need is the original console and a copy of Saga Frontier.
If you take the Final Fantasy VII disc out and replace it with Saga Frontier, it will cause the collision data on the water of the world map to stop working. This will allow you keep Aerith in your reserves (through the PHS) while you see her death scene. Once it is finished, you can put her back into the party when you reach disc two.
The developers always intended to Aerith to die and the fact that people wanted to bring her back is a testament to how much she was loved by the fan base. Even after all of these years, fans of the original are still hoping for a chance to save Aerith from her fate in the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Were you heartbroken when Aerith died? Can you think of any other interesting facts about Final Fantasy VII's beloved character? Let us know in the comment section!