Character Profile: Aerith Gainsborough

There are many video game characters, colorful or dramatic; playful or Adam Jensen. Contained within this article is a detailed description of one of those characters. This classified information is dubbed Character Profile. Please use with only the highest discretion. 

There’s a young lady known to many as a simple flower seller. She may have started out as nothing but a cute love interest to Cloud Strife but she became much more than arm candy. Aerith Gainsborough became a vital member to the team as well as the story of Final Fantasy VII. 

character profile copyAerith’s life began in the midst of chaos. At only a few days old her father was killed. She was kidnapped by the murderer and was then experimented on for years before managing to escape at the age of seven. Aerith did not let these hardships affect the way she carried herself into adulthood. She was a gentle, caring person who would help others whenever possible. In Final Fantasy VII, Aerith made her first appearance. She joins Cloud’s team and contributes much to battles especially by healing. As a White Mage she specializes in using health restoration and curing status ailments. Everything is going well for her. She’s got friends and is experiencing the journey of a lifetime. How could it get any better? Well, the joy is short-lived. While praying alone at an altar she was ambushed and killed by Sephiroth, the main antagonist of the game. It is the most remembered moment of the game, even the series up to that point. And it’s still considered one of the most shocking events of any video game. Even in her last moments she was still able to help her new friends; Aerith cast a spell to destroy a Meteor spell summoned by Sephiroth. Her will, strength and determination allowed her final spell to grow even more powerful to save the planet.

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So, that was all during her first appearance, game-wise. Aerith’s actual first appearance came years earlier. Chronologically, Aerith appeared in the storyline way before Final Fantasy VII. A prequel to the game was made in 2004. Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII focuses on supporting characters from the previous title. In this game, Aerith is being targeted by AVALANCHE, a militia group trying to capture the last of her kind. Luckily, she was protected by the Turks allowing her to appear in the Final Fantasy VII storyline. Years later, with all the popularity and success of Final Fantasy VII still running rampant, there were rumors and wishful thinking for a remake of the game. Well, that hasn’t happened yet but a fully animated movie was released in 2005. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children takes place after Aerith’s death but she still shows up and is referenced to. Cloud is severely injured and has a vision of her. She tells him everything will be alright after being fully healed in a church. It’s obvious her death has had an affect on him. Aerith was his spiritual guide throughout the film and assisted in attacks, lending her power to him.

Over time, Aerith’s popularity grew and she began appearing in various spin-offs of the the Final Fantasy franchise. Since she died in Final Fantasy VII she can’t do much now besides being playable characters in games unrelated to the story or just appearing in a cameo role. She’s been in Fortune Street/Itadaki Street Special which features Nintendo and Square Enix characters. In a music and rhythm game, Theatrhythem Final Fantasy, she represents the Final Fantasy VII gameThe Final Fantasy series is not the only games she’s been a part of. Her popularity led her to be included in a few other series. She appears in Kingdom Hearts II and as a downloadable character in LittleBigPlanet 2. Aerith continues to be popular nearly twenty years after her first appearance. Her contribution to the narrative allows for numerous media platforms to delve into her character. The sweet flower peddler we all met became a more important character than many of her companions. Although she is dead, to us — Aerith lives.