Fear not, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is still unbearably thirsty
There is an exchange between Cloud and Sephiroth in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth that made me stare at the screen like a lustful little goblin. During the ...
There is an exchange between Cloud and Sephiroth in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth that made me stare at the screen like a lustful little goblin. During the flashback at Mount Nibel, the spirited soldiers face off against the Materia Demon in an intense boss battle. Cloud is a cheeky boy who wants nothing more than to prove himself to his seductive, silver-haired idol. This means that he admires him at every opportunity, even if it means putting them in danger or diving into fights for which he is not quite ready. It's cute, cringe-worthy, and a perfect recreation of their dynamic.
Cloud's personality is somewhat harder to decipher in the original Nibelheim. During his time with Avalanche, he is often cold, withdrawn, and indifferent to the people and events around him. However, this slowly fades away as he recognizes his feelings for Aerith and becomes clear about what he is fighting for. Nibelheim takes place before he is altered by traumas and loses so many things. Here, there is only optimism and the opportunity to chase his dreams. Naturally, he is thrilled to be part of such a mission.
However, this is not an article about Cloud's turbulent emotional journey. It is rather about how the universe he lives in is constantly thrilling in an excited manner. I will not provide any further context information - the following dialogue takes place during a battle when Cloud and Sephiroth are giving it their all.
Sephiroth: You’re practically panting...
Cloud: I’m excited!
Sephiroth: Tch. Such a puppy.
Come on! How is a cheerful girl like me supposed to read an exchange like this when I know just how much the fandom ships these two characters and how much the remake has emphasized its own expressive femininity, queer world, and party members? Square Enix has created the equivalent of bisexual kryptonite with its beautiful blend of men, women, and everything in between. It was glorious, and as expected, it has spawned a passionate subculture of fanfictions, fan art, and headcanons that only grows more loving with the release of Rebirth. What's even better is that the creators are now actively supporting our indulgences. They allow us to view this exchange in a certain way without consequences. I won't say no, but goodness gracious, it doesn't have the right to be so intense so early on. What could the full game offer?
I suppose it will go even further. Why not? The Honey Bee Inn in the Remake presented an unexpected twist from the original that none of us would have expected. It took a vaguely homophobic part of the classic, which wasn't even available in localized versions of the game, and transformed it into a confident, exuberant dance number that celebrates queerness and fashion while contributing so much to deconstructing masculinity. Cloud's cross-dressing to infiltrate Don Corneo's mansion is portrayed in a similar way, with Aerith and Tifa emphasizing how beautiful he looks instead of viewing the disguise as something strange or fetishistic to marvel at. It was accepted and encouraged fans, both old and new, to celebrate this exuberance along with the characters.
With its open world and the events of the previous game as part of its overall identity, Rebirth should have more opportunities to tell diverse stories with new and existing characters. Time will tell if it explicitly addresses its queerness rather than making vague hints, but after Final Fantasy 16 took new paths and Remake had no fear in presenting itself unapologetically, I have hope. Apart from the tantalizing interactions between Cloud and Sephiroth, I'm excited that Remake and Rebirth can effectively represent the person I am, and I can't wait to see how much further it goes to create a queer, inclusive world that embraces both melodrama and intimacy. Now, let's all please go on dates with our party members at the Golden Saucer.