A former top-ranking member of Shinra's elite paramilitary unit, SOLDIER. Now working as a mercenary-for-hire, Cloud takes a job with the anti-Shinra organization AVALANCHE to bring down his old employers. It's revealed during the game that he isn't what he seems: Cloud failed to qualify for SOLDIER and instead took a job as an infantryman. During a mission to Nibelheim with Sephiroth and his best friend and SOLDIER 1st Class Zack Fair died, Cloud was wounded and used as a lab experiment for Hojo. Zack broke them out years later but died in the escape, and Cloud, suffering from a great deal of physical and psychological trauma, impressed Zack's memories on his own, creating a false past and a false personality to match it. After the truth is revealed he suffers a Heroic BSOD, but thanks to a Journey to the Center of the Mind, he comes to terms with who he is and rebuilds his persona from the ground up.
Adorkable: At times. He says things like "let's mosey" and has never been on a date before.
Always Save the Girl: No matter the circumstance, Cloud drops everything to save Tifa and/or Aerith if they're in danger.
Angst: Boatloads of it. Most of it's justified too — if you came to the realization that the life you thought you had lived was a lie and you had spent the last four-five years comatose due to lab experiments after your hero and idol burned your hometown to the ground and left you for dead, you'd probably have some issues to work through too.
Animal Motifs: Wolves, specifically Fenrir, the name of the wolf that follows him in Advent Children and of his Cool Bike, which debuted in the same movie. However, this only applies to that movie.
Anime Hair: Cloud's infamous hair in Final Fantasy VII consists of several sharp spikes jutting into the air. Advent Children and related Compilation materials toned down the spikes to something more realistic.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Downplayed but present, Sephiroth is implied to be subtlety influencing him throughout the game to make Cloud do what he wants.
Break the Haughty: As a child, Cloud avoided the other village children because he thought of himself as superior to them and like most boys his age, tried to become a hero like his idol Sephiroth by joining SOLDIER and was promptly rejected. However, it seemed like his claims of superiority was more a case of him trying to justify his own loneliness.
Catch Phrase: "Not interested", repeated several times in the original game, usually as a choice in dialogue trees. In the expanded universe it's used much less often, but still pops up enough to count. Bartz lampshades it in Dissidia when he mimics Cloud's voice in a match with him.
Courier: His career after the events of the main game; he became a deliveryman that traveled the planet.
Crash into Hello: Granted it was a roof, not a person, but it's how Cloud and Aerith got formally acquainted; he crashed through the roof of her church and woke up on the flowerbed with her standing over him.
Deadpan Snarker: Cloud has a very dry wit and tends to make small quips completely straightfaced. Under his false persona in VII wasn't as deadpan as later, but more snarky.
Rufus: Cloud, you're an ex-SOLDIER, aren't you? Cloud: In my head.
He promises such to Tifa, and later becomes Aerith's bodyguard.
In Advent Children, he feels this way towards his entire family, which causes problems as his track record of success isn't very impressive.
Depending on the Writer: Cloud ranges from self-doubting and insecure Anti-Hero to a cocky and confident Badass, sometimes in the same appearance. Justified due to the two or three personas he's adopted and come to terms with, an entirely consistent personality is probably not going to result from this.
Determinator: Cloud never gives up, even when all the odds are against him. Take the Nibelheim Incident; even with no powers or procedures yet performed to make him stronger, Cloud charges Sephiroth, widely considered the most powerful man on the planet, head-on. And even when impaled on his sword and hoisted into the air, he finds the strength to overpower him and turn the tables. Badass indeed.
Doomed Hometown: In the backstory, Nibelheim was destroyed several years ago.
Fake Memories: Though it's something of a journey to figure out how and why he has them.
Flanderization: If you haven't played the original game, you'll be surprised at how non angsty Cloud was. He did angst and express hesitation and insecurities, but only at key points and for good reasons, and at the end of the game seemed perfectly fine. In his appearances since, he has been an angsty brooding loner. Square Enix states outright in The Reunion Files (basically the Ultimania for Advent Children) that they regressed his personality back to a mindset they thought fans would be more familiar with, making this a case of Pandering to the Base. In all fairness, it'd be downright absurd to think he'd just be emotionally fixed by the end of the game. Anyone who might go through what Cloud went through might need a few years to fully reconcile. Like 30 of them.
Ill Girl: Well, Ill Guy. In Advent Children, Cloud is suffering from Geostigma which also causes some ugly seizures. He was also afflicted with Mako Poisoning in the game.
Jack of All Stats: Cloud has all around good stats and can fight with magic or weapons as needed.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Subverted. Cloud isn't actually a jerk, his personality created after the events leading up to Zack's death is.
Lightning Bruiser: Cloud moves fast and has enough HP and stamina to take a good hit, and when he hits back it hurts a lot. Spin-offs like Dissidia and Kingdom Hearts instead depict him as a Mighty Glacier, moving and attacking slowly but doing a lot of damage.
Loners Are Freaks: As a child he was anti-social and constantly got into fights because other kids picked on him.
Meaningful Name: Cloud Strife, reflecting his inner turmoil and troubled life.
The Mentally Disturbed: Cloud's an emotionally fragile young man who remembers things that never happened, suffers from bouts of depression, has a history of shutting down when life becomes too much to handle, and has serious problems with acknowledging his own self-worth. In spite of this, he soldiers on, and manages to overcome or mitigate many of these issues.
Momma's Boy: Her death at the hands of Sephiroth is one of his (many) grudges against him.
Mook: In his backstory he was just another one of the Shinra guards the party guns down the entire game.
Right Handed Mirror: To Sephiroth. Both are the result of experimentation with Mako and Jenova cells, but while right-handed Cloud regains his sanity and becomes a hero, Sephiroth descends into an Omnicidal Maniac.
Super Soldier: SOLDIER was comprised of humans who were exposed to large amounts of raw Mako (giving them their distinctive Glowing Eyes) and, in some cases, injected with Jenova cells, granting them superhuman strength, speed, and agility. While Cloud was never in SOLDIER, Hojo's experiments were similar, if not identical, to the process of creating a SOLDIER.
Troll: Through dialogue options, it's very possible to make Cloud give some pretty dickish responses purely for the lulz of it all. He even appears to be this canonically, as shown from his frequent teasing of Barret during the Midgar section of the game. It gets dropped for the most part after he undergoes his Heroic BSOD, which indicates that it may well have been another element he picked up from Zack.
Troubled, but Cute: He wears all black and copes with a lot of mental issues, but is very good-looking and has a good heart.
Unknown Rival: Hojo doesn't remember who he is when they have their last battle.
Cloud: At least remember my name!
Weapon Twirling: As part of his victory animation, his spins his sword in the air before shoulder it over his back.
What the Hell, Hero? He beats up Aerith in the Temple of the Ancients, causing her to leave the party. Granted, he was being controlled, but still...
The boisterous leader of AVALANCHE, a group of eco-terrorists trying to prevent Shinra from draining the planet's life energy in the name of profit. His cause is actually a cover for a personal vendetta against Shinra. He later comes to terms with his grudge and accepts responsibility for the damage AVALANCHE caused, vowing to save the planet the right way. He lost his right hand in a Shinra attack and had it replaced with a variable prosthetic
Badass: He's a muscular black man who walks around shirtless and fights with an Arm Cannon. His ultimate weapon can hit the damage cap the easiest out of the game's weapons.
Big Good: From his perspective in the beginning of the game, given that he's leading AVALANCHE and giving orders to Cloud & co. He gradually comes to realize that maybe he wasn't quite as noble as he thought.
Kill Sat: Satellite Beam brings down a laser strike from above.
Mighty Glacier: He's slow and not very good with magic, but he can take a tremendous amount of punishment and is very good at blowing things up with his gun weapons.
Morality Pet: His daughter, Marlene, is the only thing keeping him from going off the deep end. Barret is aware of this trope and notes if he didn't have Marlene motivating him to be a good dad for her, he may have become something worse a long time ago.
Moral Myopia: Initially, he doesn't care about the lives of many people besides Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie (who all die really early on) and Marlene and Tifa. He fights Shinra primarily out of revenge and his self-righteous Saving the World claims are just his self-justification. This would count as Moral Dissonance, if Cait Sith didn't call him out for it later on, and later his acknowledgement that it was wrong.
More Dakka: Angermax fires 18 attacks from his gun-arm at random enemies. Numerous strategies rely on maximizing his power for 18 hits of 9,999 damage, making it the most powerful attack in the game against single foes.
One-Hit KO: Hammer Blow has a chance to instantly kill the target.
Papa Wolf: You do not hurt Marlene, unless you want the full fury of his rage brought down on you.
Scary Black Man: He's large and intimidating in addition to having a gun attached to his arm.
Shoot The Television: An NPC mentions that he once did this using his gun arm with a Sector 7 television monitor that was displaying a broadcast by President Shinra. He didn't win any fans that day, as the only other television in Sector 7 was in AVALANCHE headquarters.
Sir Swears-a-Lot: Alongside Cid, most of the cursing in the game comes from him.
The Southpaw: Necessary, his right hand is an assault weapon.
Walking the Earth: Novellas set after the game say that he grew restless living in Edge and set out into the world to find a way to atone for his actions in AVALANCHE. He seems to have settled on "help fix the mess he created" as of Advent Children.
Wave Motion Gun: His final Limit Break Catastrophe has him leap into the air and fire a massive laser at opponents.
A member of AVALANCHE and Cloud's childhood friend. She also owns a bar called "7th Heaven" in Sector 7 of Midgar. Though she realizes something is wrong with Cloud's memories she doesn't speak up until it's too light. After helping reform Cloud's true self she tries to support him and encourage him to find his own path that he wants.
Silk Hiding Steel: More like 'Steel Hiding Silk' as she looks like a Biker Babe, runs a bar, and fights with her bare hands, but inside she's more feminine than Aerith with her Distressed Damsel fantasy with Cloud, her domestic skills, and role as Team Mom in the main group and AVALANCHE.
Unwanted Harem: Gender inverted version. Tifa was very popular with the guys, Cloud included, in Nibelheim, but she wasn't romantically interested in any of them.
Wolverine Claws: Several of her weapons have three claws attached to the back.
Woman in Black: She's got the outfit in Advent Children, but (as with everything involving Tifa and appearance-based personality cues) subverted to hell and back. She's not scary and menacing, she's kindhearted and sweet.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Let's see here, devotion to the man she loves, check. Good domestic skill, check. Team Mom, check. Iron heart that is strong enough to snap The Hero out of his Heroic BSOD, check please. She has everything except a connection to Wutai/Japan and the attached cultural trappings.
Aerith (Aeris) Gainsborough
"Just hang in there. Someday we'll look back at these hard times and laugh."
A young woman who sells flowers for a living in the slums of Midgar. Her years on the streets have given her a outgoing, street-smart but caring attitude. She is the last living Cetra, a precursor race who were driven to extinction by JENOVA. Having dated Zack Fair for a number of months, she finds herself attracted to his shadow in Cloud. Her independent nature leads to disaster when she decides to take the burden of defeating Sephiroth all by herself, abandoning the party and traveling to the Forgotten Capital alone. This leaves her vulnerable to attack, and she is killed by Sephiroth.
Big Good: She arguably evolves into this role posthumously near the end of the original game, and definitely plays this in Advent Children. Being so powerful she can command the Lifestream to help protect the planet, the other heroes view her as watching over them and helping them from afar.
The Chick: Shares this role with Tifa, she's similarly kind and caring and at times gives the party the strength to keep fighting.
Death of the Hypotenuse: The game's somewhat infamous love triangle comes to a crashing close when one of the two ladies involved gets a sword through the gut.
Distressed Damsel: A bit pluckier than the norm, although there's still a whole level dedicated to rescuing her. Not to mention at the beginning of the game, when you have to save her from Shinra soldiers by crushing them with barrels (although you do have the option of making her fight them herself).
Doomed by Canon: Contrary to all rumors of ways to save her or revive her, when the credits roll at the original game's end, Aerith will not be there to see it.
Doomed Moral Victor: She succeeded in calling Holy and giving the planet the chance to save itself from Meteor, but it attracted Sephiroth's notice and cost her her life.
Flanderization: In her original game, Aerith was pure hearted, spiritual and caring, but was also stubborn, flirty, independent and witty. However, SE has ramped up the Incorruptible Pure Pureness, emphasizing her connection to the planet and de-emphasizing her more headstrong character traits in favor of generic sweetness and innocence. Her Dissidia 012 Ultimania profile describes her as having "the innocence of a little girl". This is the same woman that threatened to rip off a mafia don's balls.
Green Eyes: Emphasizing her spiritual nature and powerful bond with the planet.
Healing Hands: Her Healing Wind, Pulse of Life and Great Gospel Limit Breaks all restore HP to the party.
Her Heart Will Go On: Following Zack's disappearance she remained loyal to his memory for a time, but eventually moved on with her life.
Iconic Item: In every appearance, even in concept art, Aerith has her hair ribbon. Crisis Core takes time to specifically show where she got it and why she continues to wear one years later. The White Materia also serves as one to a lesser degree.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Compared to other party members, Aerith doesn't have many character flaws, being good-hearted and noble from start to finish. All that change is she comes to terms with her heritage and embraces the legacy she's been left.
Innocent Flower Girl: But not too innocent. In the Wall Market section, she selects what is implied to be an incredibly provocative red dress for herself, and it's her idea in the first place to have Cloud dress in drag to get into Don Corneo's mansion. She seems to actually want Don Corneo to pick her as his girl, complimenting him on his taste if he does. In contrast to Tifa and Cloud who are just doing it for the mission, Aerith has no qualms at all and evidently finds the whole thing fun, irrespective of the threat.
I Will Wait for You: Subverted, she told this to Zack in their last phone conversation, but not knowing what happened to him after four years with no word, she said she was moving on in her last letter.
Kill the Cutie: The sweetest and most loving party member is the one among them who dies.
The Lancer: Early on, her selfless and spiritual nature contrasts Cloud's Jerk with a Heart of Gold ex-SOLDIER. Later on her growing acceptance of her Cetra heritage make her a foil to Cloud's rising doubts over his identity.
Loving a Shadow: Initially interested in Cloud because of his resemblance to Zack, her first boyfriend. And that they both fell through the church roof while she was tending the flowers and wearing the same uniform. However, getting her on the date scene will have her admit that she would like for Cloud to open up to her so she can know the real him.
Magical Native American/Space Jews: A fantasy themed combination of the two. For the former, her Cetra heritage gives her an innate connection to the planet and makes her more inclined to use magic than normal humans. For the latter, the Cetra were wandering nomads seeking "the Promised Land". Note also Aerith's curly hair.
Sneaky Departure: She leaves the party to head to the Forgotten City while Cloud is unconscious. Early in the game she defies it; when Cloud tries to pull this trope on her while staying at her home, she slips out herself and intercepts him, demanding to come along.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Looks the part well, but is more rebellious and flirty than the standard. Nor does she have the cultural baggage assiociated with Wutai/Japan. OTOH, she plays the trope straighter in Advent Children.
Red XIII (real name: Nanaki)
"What a fascinating story..."
Voiced by: Masachika Ichimura (Japanese), Liam O Brien (English)
A strange creature who joins Cloud's group after being rescued from the Shinra HQ. Red XIII was the name he received as a specimen designation while held captive and experimented upon by Professor Hojo. Even though he is 48 in human years, his age is comparable to around 15 to 16 years old by his own species' standards and is very wise. He fights alongside Cloud and his allies to fulfill his duty to the Planet to defend it as a warrior.
Cartoon Creature: The series never assigns a name to Red's species, which combines various feline and canine traits. Characters occasionally refer to him as lion-like, but his association with the moon and howling to express himself is more like a wolf.
Red Herring: When the group notes the Sephiroth Clones have numbers tattooed on them, Red begins to worry if his number "XIII" means he's one as well and if he'll also begin to lose his mind. But he doesn't, and Word of God says he wasn't a member of the Sephiroth Clone project, the number was assigned to him for a different reason.
Status Buff: Lunatic High and Howling Moon grant status buffs on him and/or his allies.
Talking Animal: His ability to talk stands out to the party and freaks them out when he reveals it.
Teen Genius: Despite being a teenager by his species' standards, he's the wisest and most intelligent member of the party.
You Are Number Six: Hojo tattooed "XIII" on his leg to mark him as one of his experiments. Red tells the party when he joins them that "Red XIII" is a name that holds no meaning to him, and they can call him that or anything else as they wish.
"There's plenty of stuffed toys like my body around, but there's only one me!"
A cat riding a giant stuffed toy Moogle, working as a fortune-teller in the Gold Saucer. He is really a puppet controlled from far away by Reeve, Shinra's head of Urban Development. Even though Reeve works with the evil Shinra, he develops a keen interest in saving the planet. He is useful to the party, as he knows all about the Shinra's plans. Despite his playful and carefree persona in the form of Cait Sith, Reeve is actually a sombre and serious man, though he does harbor a good heart with a natural worry for others.
The Mole: Cait Sith is actually controlled by Reeve of Shinra, but still decides to remain with you once discovered. The trope is later inverted when he essentially becomes a spy for AVALANCHE within Shinra, despite starting the other way around.
No Pronunciation Guide: His name seems easy to pronounce, but it's actually the name of a Gaellic mythological creature pronounced 'Kett Shee'.
One-Hit KO: Game Over kills all enemies, bypassing death protection.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: This was how Reeve is exposed in the Japanese version of the game. Reeve speaks with a Kanto dialect and Cait Sith with a Kansai dialect. When stressed due to Hojo taking over the Mako Cannon, Reeve inadvertently speaks to Scarlet and Heidegger in Kansai, then Cait Sith speaks to Cloud and the others in Kanto. Thus they realize that he's Reeve.
Reverse Mole: He spies on AVALANCHE for Shinra, but comes to sympathize them and then starts feeding them Shinra info instead.
Total Party Kill: Death Joker, often the result of a failed attempt at Game Over. Bypasses death protection too.
Welcome Back, Traitor: When they initially find out what he really is, they initially keep him around because Reeve is holding Marlene hostage. Shortly after he performs a Heroic Sacrifice at the Temple of the Ancients to get them the Black Materia, earning their trust for real.
What the Hell, Hero?: Calls out Barret for his bombing missions from earlier in the game. It comes off as somewhat hypocritical, however, since he's... y'know, with the Shinra, but Reeve was never crazy about the killing of innocents to begin with.
"Sit your ass down in that chair and drink your goddamn TEA!"
Voiced by: Kazuyuki Yama (Japanese), Chris Edgerly (English)
A gruff airship pilot with dreams of going into space. He is the most uncouth of the protagonists; he constantly swears and loses his temper, and chain-smokes cigarettes. Despite this, he has a good heart, and is even voted temporary leader of the party at one point. He fits into the archetype of a father type character.
Badass: He's the game's Dragoon character, so it comes with the territory. In Advent Children, he made Bahamut SIN flinch by stabbing it on the head!
Badass Bookworm: He doesn't show too much of it, but it requires a lot of patience, technical knowledge, and general intelligence to fly and maintain any aircraft. Cid's seen to be competent with light aircraft, a zepellin-like airship, and a jet-type one, and was he hand picked to be the world's first astronaut and man in space.
Badass Normal: One of the most prominent examples. He doesn't have innate magical powers, an assault weapon for a hand, combat training, or genetic enhancements. He's got a home made spear and dynamite.
Berserk Button: Cid's pretty protective of his toys, such as the Tiny Bronco and the Highwind. He's also extremely upset about Shinra's decision to cancel its space program.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He swears, smokes, is verbally abusive to pretty much everybody, but he gave up his dream to save Shera, genuinely tries to make amends to her, fights tooth and nail for the planet, joins the WRO, and gives a passionate speech about the need to protect the planet.
Leeroy Jenkins: He certainly has this attitude, even if he doesn't actually ruin any plans for the party, as shown by his gung-ho attitude about fighting Shinra.
Life Drain: Dragon drains HP from enemies to heal him.
Macross Missile Massacre: His ultimate Limit Break Highwind has him call in his airship of the same name to fire missiles at the enemy party.
Science Hero: Openly puts his faith in science, and his piloting skills are vital to the party.
Senior Sleep Cycle: Depicted as having one in-game, apparently as part of his grumpy old man portrayal. When the party is forced to stay at the Ghost Hotel in the Gold Saucer, Cloud's speech apparently puts him to sleep. Later, he is seen napping on the bridge of the Highwind just before Barret declares him to be the new leader. Finally, if the player chooses him to accompany Cloud on a gondola ride at Gold Saucer's Round Square, he will doze throughout the entire ride.
Sir Swears-a-Lot: Whatever cussing doesn't come from Barret likely comes from Cid.
Spam Attack: Big Brawl is a series of rapid slash attacks.
Smoking Is Cool: Except when it's censored out... and yet still clearly visible.
Team Dad: He's the oldest of the party and is gruff and rude, but cares for them in his own way.
Gun Fu: The spin-offs have established him utilizing this with his handguns.
Guns Are Worthless: Subverted in the original game. His guns aren't very useful when he uses them to shoot enemies thanks to his low attack, but when he uses them to focus his magic they're very handy indeed, since his magic stat is much better.
The Gunslinger: In Dirge Of Cerberus, he fights with a variety of firearms and is a crack shot with all of them.
Love Hurts: He fell in love with Lucrecia, who happened to be in a relationship with Hojo. When Vincent protested Hojo using their child in his experiments, it got him a bullet in the gut for his trouble, and he became an experiment himself.
Shadow Archetype: A heroic version but nonetheless he fits. A brooding loner haunted by the loss of a woman he loved at the hands of his arch-enemy? Vincent is what Cloud might become if he doesn't learn to cope with his issues. Word of God shares this viewpoint.
The Undead: Vincent is, to all intents and purposes, a walking corpse animated only by Chaos. The resemblance to a vampire is purely intentional (although he's actually closer to a zombie when you get right down to it).
An outlandishly-dressed ninja girl from the Japanese-lookalike town of Wutai. As a rebellious and cocky tomboy, Yuffie desires to restore her homeland Wutai to the glorious nation it was before being conquered by Shinra. Despite her sometimes obnoxious personality, she is friendly, helpful, and willingly helps the party in their battles.
Action Girl: Not quite as much as Tifa, but she can still kick some serious ass.
Anti-Hero: She's cheerful and helps the party save the world, but initially joins them for selfish reasons and is overall can be quite a brat at times.
Badass: She may not look the traditional part, but she is indeed a ninja and as powerful as demanded. Her personal sidequest has her taking on five Duel Bosses, ending with her own father, the ruler of Wutai and implied to be one of their strongest ninja. She kicks his ass.
Badass Adorable: She's a skilled ninja and can fight monsters many times her sizes, and looks so cute while doing it.
Diagonal Cut: Greased Lightning slashes the enemy diagonally and it takes a few seconds before they notice and take damage. They don't actually slide apart though, since it may not always be a fatal attack.
Dishing Out Dirt: Landscaper manifests as her sending a shockwave through the dirt to make the ground underneath the enemy party erupt.
She is one of the characters who Cloud can date on the Romance Sidequest, and while not as tender as Tifa or Aerith is rather sweet, and is the only one of the three to kiss him. She also lays into Cait Sith a lot more than the other women when she finds out he's holding Marlene hostage.
The reason she's obsessed with Materia? She wants the power it holds because she's disgusted with how Wutai went from a respected ninja civilization to a tourist attraction after Shinra conquered it, and wants Materia in the hopes of changing things and maybe restoring some dignity to the town.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As bratty as Yuffie acts, she has a good sense of morals deep down and wants to do the right thing.
Light 'em Up: Gauntlet blasts enemies with a column of light from below.
Loveable Rogue: She's out to steal the party's Materia, but has sympathetic reasons for it and manages to be likable in the meantime.
Ninja: Raised in a society of them and is one herself.
Ninja Brat: She's only 16 during the original game.
Optional Party Member: You can skip recruiting her, but she still has a lot to do in the storyline. This is because the character designers liked her and salvaged a lot of the planned content for her when she and Vincent were moved from mandatory to optional due to time constraints.
Plucky Girl: Energetic and spirited and always ready to fight for Wutai.
The Prankster: She's constantly scheming ways to trick the party out of their Materia, and then to evade them when they chase her to Wutai.
Rebellious Princess: Her dad's the lord of Wutai, and he's not at all happy that she ran away from home.
Running Gag: Her motion sickness is brought up whenever you're on a vehicle.
Out of all the characters you can choose to take on a date to the Gold Saucer, she is the only character who kisses Cloud.
With Vincent in Dirge of Cerberus, especially when Vincent seemingly dies taking out Omega. Whether it's because she likes him or is simply concerned because he's a comrade is still open to debate.
Small Name, Big Ego: She's prone to giving herself grandiose titles and treating herself like a legendary ninja hero. She may be skilled but she's not as great or famed as she pretends.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: "Wutai Theft" is the former Trope Namer, though she doesn't fit the actual trope definition. At one point Yuffie swipes all the party's Materia and takes off with it, and you have to track her down and get it back.
Spam Attack: Bloodfest and Doom of the Living consist of her rapidly hitting enemies with her weapon over and over.
Sticky Fingers: She is absolutely obsessed with getting her hands on Materia, no matter the cost.
The Three Faces of Eve: Unlike Aerith and Tifa, who looks like one but acts the opposite, Yuffie both looks and acts like the Child.
An energetic SOLDIER that was Cloud's best friend, he accompanied Sephiroth on the Nibelheim mission, where he was critically wounded and turned into a lab experiment for Hojo. Though he escaped several years later and took Cloud with him, he was caught and gunned down by Shinra. The dying Zack entrusted his Buster Sword to Cloud, who inadvertently also assumed a fake identity based on Zack's life and personality. Crisis Core explores his adventures prior to Nibelheim as he deals with the conspiracies that infested SOLDIER during its glory days.
Spinoff appearances/other series appearances: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as the most adorable hero-in-training ever, Ehrgeiz
The Ace: He's handsome, friendly, and a flirty ladies man, in addition to being a powerful and respected SOLDIER. Justified, in that this was intentional to have him contrast sharply with Cloud's Classical Anti-Hero.
Adorkable: Zack can be very endearingly awkward at times.
All Your Powers Combined/Mega Manning: According to the Ultimania guide, this is how Zack learns his Limit Breaks — he meets someone, and upon doing so, learns how to copy their Limit Break and modify it to create his own, such as Meteorain->Meteor Shots and Healing Wind->Healing Wave.
Anime Hair: Zack has a lock of sharply spiked black hair. It changes styles during Crisis Core to show his growing maturity and aging, but it's still spiky.
Been There, Shaped History: Besides his influence on Cloud's past, Zack was the guy who named the 7th Heaven bar, bought Aerith her iconic hair ribbon and suggested she sell flowers, and is partly responsible for sparking Yuffie's obsession with Materia.
BFS: He fights using the Buster Sword. He wields a standard Cool Sword before he inherits it.
Blade Spam: His Chain Slash and Octaslash DMW attacks are rapid slash combos.
Breakout Character: Arguably bigger than Vincent. Both got their own spinoff, but not only is Zack's better received, but Zack got the honor even though he only appeared in an optional flashback, as opposed to being a former playable character.
Chick Magnet: Almost as much as Cloud. Case in point: Aerith and Cissnei in the same game. Way to go Zack.
Genki Guy: He's very energetic and excitable; Angeal has nicknamed him "the puppy" for it. His Character Development has him temper it into a more mature and focused type of character without losing his lightheartedness.
Instant Runes: Apocalypse creates a red rune of energy below enemies that shocks them.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold / Troll: Implied in the original game and then retconned with Crisis Core. Cloud in the original game could give some pretty dickish responses in the dialogue trees. The game's Reveal, where it's learned that he based his Badass persona on Zack's, seems to indicate that he picked this up from Mr. Fair. Crisis Core, however does away with all of this and writes Zack as a heroic and energetic Nice Guy. Word of God and creation materials have given a Hand Wave that Cloud's fake persona was based on his image of a SOLDIER rather than specifically Zack.
Jumped at the Call: Zack is always eager to prove himself and fight to do the right thing.
Last Stand: At the end of Crisis Core he finds himself standing alone against dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Shinra infantry. He recites Angeal's Arc Words and charges in swinging, bringing down all but three before he's too weak to keep standing.
Manly Tears: After Angeal's death, he breaks down in the church and sobs while Aerith holds him.
Meaningful Name: He didn't have a last name until Crisis Core, when he was given the last name "Fair" to invoke the imagery of "fair weather", contrasting Cloud's name.
Mr. Fanservice: He's handsome and well-built, and has a scene where he walks around on the beach in swim trunks.
Nice Guy: Zack is everyone's friend and this trope is the reason why, he's just very pleasant and friendly.
One-Man Army: Being the sole playable character in an Action RPG, Zack racks up a body count in the multiple thousands. Highlighted at the very first mission of the game, where Zack's objective is to storm and capture a Wutai fort by himself. He does it with ease; keep in mind he's still "just" Second Class at this time. A series of missions pits Zack against swarms of Shinra infantryman, culminating in a battle with 1000 soldiers.
Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Rush Assault is a barrage of lightning-fast punches ending with an explosive diving tackle.
Right Handed Mirror: As Cloud is, he is this to Sephiroth. Their backstories and origins are even more similar, but Zack becomes a hero while Sephiroth descends further and further into madness and villainy.
Scars Are Forever: The X-shaped scar on the lower part of his cheek. Angeal gave it to him in pushing Zack to kill him.
Son of the president of the Shinra Corporation, he seizes control of the company when his father is killed by Sephiroth and uses its resources to try and track down the rogue soldier. He's apparently killed by Diamond Weapon near the end of VII, but is revealed in Advent Children to have survived.
Appears in: FFVII, Advent Children.
Affably Evil: He's quite polite and well-spoken for a villain.
All In The Manual: How he survived is left up to the "On The Way To A Smile" novellas to explain. He attempts to tell Cloud directly in Advent Children, but an annoyed Cloud cuts him off and doesn't care.
The Atoner: A comparatively selfish version. After VII he wants to help rebuild the world, but only because he still wants Shinra to be on top and recognizes that the company's reputation needs to rebuild its image, so diverting the company's resources to helping others is a win-win. Dirge of Cerberus implies he's backing Reeve and the World Regenesis Organization to help rebuild the planet.
Badass Longcoat: His artwork implies he wears one under the jacket of his suit. His Compilation redesigns retcon it to just a normal suit.
Bastardly Speech: His introduction, where he states that his plans are to turn the Planet into a police state. Thankfully, he's not that serious about it.
Bastard Understudy: To his father; he's content being the vice-president for now and is loyal as such, but is scheming to make his own plays for power.
Big Bad Wannabe: He gives a grandiose speech about how he's going to rule the world through fear moments after Sephiroth has murdered every last person in his building. Rufus' ambitions have to be put on hold since the world being destroyed is not in his business plans, and once Sephiroth is stopped being a villain just isn't pragmatic for him anyway.
Blond Guys Are Evil: He's a secondary antagonist in VII and throughout the series demonstrates himself as an ambitious schemer.
The Chessmaster: In Advent Children. He manages to spend a great deal of time manipulating Kadaj and his brothers, and possibly Cloud as well.
Duel Boss: Played with. Cloud stays behind alone to fight him one-on-one, but Rufus' dog Dark Nation accompanies him into battle. However Dark Nation dies easily, so it does boil down to just Cloud vs Rufus.
Five-Bad Band: The expanded Compilation turns the Turks into one with Rufus as their benefactor and leader. In this dynamic, Rufus is the Big Bad, Tseng is The Dragon as their leader that answers to Rufus, Reno is The Smart Guy as the one who handles technological matters, Rude is The Brute that acts as the physical muscle, and Elena is the Dark Chick as their sole female member.
Heel-Face Turn: He toys with it in the first game but remains a firm heel. It takes being blown up by Diamond Weapon to make him do it right.
Man in White: Representing his power, influence, and morally unscrupulous nature.
Man of Wealth and Taste: He's a main antagonist and wears an immaculate white suit at all times with well-groomed hair to boot.
Nominal Hero: He's a good guy post-VII, but only insomuch that he helps the heroes because the destruction of the world is something he's not keen on letting happen. In the meantime he's still shifty and untrustworthy, and sat back and let Kadaj summon Bahamut SIN to attack Edge while the item Kadaj is looking for in the city is sitting in his lap.
Reassigned to Antarctica: He is put on an "extended assignment overseas" at Junon (in actuality, put under house arrest in Junon) after it became apparent that he aided AVALANCHE in their efforts to eliminate Shinra so as to remove his father from power. Considering the alternatives (ie, being sacked or executed), this punishment was actually very light.
The Sociopath: Set up as one in the original game, feeling little empathy and wanting to control people using fear to keep them in line. The expanded universe considerably tones it down.
Troll: To Kadaj in Advent Children. He spends the entire film feigning like he has no idea what Kadaj is doing and who he is, when he knows exactly what's going on. He further keeps the box with Jenova's remains concealed under his cloak the entire film knowing it's what Kadaj is looking for, and when he stands up and casts the cloak off to reveal the box he takes a moment to let Kadaj realize what it is before taunting him and tossing it over the side of a building. When Rufus says "I've never had this much fun", he's being serious; this is all a big joke to him.
The Unfettered: Nobody has ever seen him cry and he is never shown to have much fear for his own safety, much less those of his subordinates or anyone else. Case of Shinra shows his Heel-Face Turn as a calculated method of patiently getting back on top of the world and rebuilding the corporation (which he had done, by the time of Advent Children) after Mako ceased to be a viable power source. Word of God laughs about his scene in Advent Children, "Only someone like Rufus, a big shot president, would be able to jump off a building without hesitation and expect his Turks to take care of everything".
The Unreveal: When he and Cloud meet in Advent Children, Rufus begins to explain how he escaped his office before Diamond Weapon killed him but Cloud doesn't care and interrupts him before he finishes. The side novellas later explain it.
Left to right: Rude, Reno, Tseng, and Elena.
"A pro isn't someone who sacrifices themselves for a job. That's just a fool."
The Department of Administrative Research, unofficially known as the Turks, are Shinra's Black Ops unit. They carry out assassinations, blackmail, and the forced recruiting of potential SOLDIER candidates. The group acts as general information experts in the expanded universe, and Before Crisis focuses on the history of their group, introducing more members that serve as the playable cast.
All of them appear in: Before Crisis, Crisis Core, FFVII, Advent Children.
Affably Evil: Collectively they seem a decent bunch to hang out with, unless you're their target.
Ambiguously Brown: Rude, though described by Word of God as somewhat resembling a person of South American descent rather than African descent.
Childhood Friend Romance: Tseng for Aerith, sort of. They were never friends and he's older than her by several years, but he was one of the few people Aerith knew when she was a child, and he's had an unrequited thing for her all the time since.
Cool Shades: Rude is always shown with his sunglasses. In Advent Children we briefly see his eyes when they fall off and Reno steps on them; after a look of horror from Rude, he stands up and pulls a spare pair from his pocket.
Dark Chick: Elena is the female of the four. Adverted with the Compilation establishing there were more female Turks in the past.
Determinator: In Advent Children, Rude and Reno are clearly out of their league against Kadaj's gang. They don't care. They just keep fighting.
The Dragon: Collectively the entire group is this trope to Rufus, acting as his personal enforcers. Before Crisis establishes backstory that while the Turks are part of the larger Shinra hierarchy, their final loyalty is to Rufus.
Goldfish Poop Gang: Reno and Rude quickly devolve into this in the original game, showing up repeatedly to get their butts handed to them and then running off. They only become dangerous again in their last battle when accompanied by (previously thought to be incompetent) Elena.
Hello, Insert Name Here: The Before Crisis Turks all have names assigned by the player and have no canon names. The exception is "Shuriken (Female)", who was named Cissnei for her Before Crisis role.
Hero of Another Story: Before Crisis serves to reveal the Turks saved the world from a threat never before spoken of — Zirconiade.
I Owe You My Life: Before Crisis reveals that after Veld and the player Turks betrayed the company and went rogue, Scarlet ordered the last three members loyal to Shinra — Tseng, Reno and Rude — exterminated and the Turks shut down. Rufus intervened to keep the group alive, demanding their absolute loyalty to him in exchange.
A Million Is a Statistic: The effect of Reno and the Turks following through with the command to drop the Sector 7 plate, killing hundreds or perhaps thousands of people, has noticeably less impact on the characters (and the fans) than Sephiroth impaling Aerith.
Minion with an F in Evil: Elena. Even if she manages to punch Cloud unconscious in Icicle Inn, her immediate response is feeling regretful about it and just leaving him behind to recover rather than apprehending him.
Tseng. Its proper pronunciation rhymes with "sung", but that's not how you're likely to say the first time. Lampshaded in Crisis Core when Zack finds a camera with Tseng's name on it, and thanks to the odd spelling doesn't realize who it belongs to; he then wonders how one pronounces the name.
"Reno" is derived from the romaji "Reno," and should therefore rhyme with Leno, rather than the city in Nevada.
Punch Clock Villains: To the point that they even agree to help the heroes when they are found off-duty in Wutai. They'll still commit atrocities when ordered to by their boss, but hey.
Put on a Bus: The Before Crisis Turks including former commander Veld all leave the company and go their separate ways after the game's end. The group returns for a brief cameo in On The Way to a Smile, with Veld getting a supporting role, but otherwise they've not been heard from again.
Quirky Mini Boss Squad: They're comic relief, usually too silly to be a real threat, all wear the same uniform, and are lower-ranking members of Shinra.
Ship Tease: Between Tseng and Elena, Zack and Cissnei. You could also mention how Tseng likes Aerith and Rude likes Tifa, but in that case it's kind of one-sided.
Sibling Rivalry: Before Crisis reveals that Elena's older sister was a Turk, and Elena resented her for outperforming her; she refused to join the Turks while her sister was a member. She joined after her sister retired along with many other Turks from that game, following their defeat of Zirconiade and decision to follow Veld's lead.
Simple Staff: Reno and Rod (Male) fight with short metal rods.
Skippable Boss: The only times they have to be fought is the first Reno fight and the fight with Rude at Rocket Town. All others can be skipped or those areas passed over. Even the final confrontation is skippable, if you've completed the Wutai quest.
The Southpaw: Reno is always seen wielding his weapon in his left hand, and rarely uses his right hand in any depictions of him.
Spell My Name with an "S": The official Romanizations [in Japan] of Elena's and Reno's names were, once upon a time, "Yrena" and "Leno" [specifically in the Official Establishment File artbook].
Stalker with a Crush: Rude towards Tifa, so much that Rude will refuse to attack Tifa during boss fights.
Abusive Parent: He injected Jenova cells into his own son and took him away at birth without letting his mother even hold him.
A God Am I: Dirge of Cerberus retcons he injected Jenova cells into himself in VII to try and make his body strong enough to be a vessel for Omega, and his plan in Dirge of Cerberus is to use Weiss' body for the same. His goal is to become a cosmic being that will travel the stars.
Bigger Bad: Along with Jenova, his experiments under Shinra are responsible for the existence of almost every single other antagonist of the Compilation. However, he's rarely the instigator of the central conflict.
Card-Carrying Villain/Obviously Evil: Hojo is very open with being an amoral bastard only interested in science, and it's obvious as soon as you meet him from his appearance and his behavior.
Deadpan Snarker: He is particularly snarky with Cloud whenever they meet. In Crisis Core he gets very sarcastic when discussing Hollander, snapping to Genesis "a second-rate hack like Hollander couldn't cure a cold."
Evil Genius: He may be a monster, but Hojo is very intelligent and perceptive. However, even he admits he's not as smart as he likes to think when it becomes apparent he's underestimated Cloud and Sephiroth.
Evil Is Sexy: In-universe. When you find him at Costa del Sol he's surrounded by girls in bikinis.
Evilutionary Biologist: A textbook example, he believes humanity is useless except for a few promising specimens, and is obsessed with the potential of science to advance society.
For Science!/For the Evulz: This is his goal in tandem with the above; he just wants to do science for the sake of science. When Cloud calls him out on this behavior at the end of the game, Hojo admits outright his only desire is to see his path in life vindicated by proving he was right.
Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He's one of only two characters in the original game to wear glasses, and is one of the most downright evil characters in the setting.
The Friend Nobody Likes: Well, "friend" may be a stretch, but he fills his dynamic in Shinra; everyone in the company is fully aware of how amoral and creepy Hojo is and wants as little to do with him as they can get away with.
Grand Theft Me: He takes over the body of Weiss the Immaculate prior to Dirge of Cerberus.
Heel-Face Turn: Played with in Before Crisis, he plays with the idea of leaving Shinra to join AVALANCHE, but changes his mind. The initial reason for his consideration is he's impressed with Fuhito's experiments, but later decides they aren't good enough to be worth leaving Shinra's facilities to work on.
Hijacked by Ganon: He hijacks Dirge of Ceberus, being the real villain manipulating things.
"It" Is Dehumanizing: Hojo rarely uses names when speaking to people, usually referring to them as "subjects" or "specimens". He comments in Crisis Core that unless they prove exceptional enough to warrant the effort, he doesn't care to learn the names of those he experiments on.
Kavorka Man: He somehow attracts women to him despite looking unremarkable and acting repulsive. This is first seen in Costa del Sol, and we later find out that a love triangle between him, Lucrecia, and Vincent, had him as the victor.
Lack of Empathy: When his lover gave birth to their son, Hojo took him away without even letting her hold him and only saw the child as an experiment.
Laughing Mad: He is fairly restrained in the original game, until the final confrontation, during which he falls into hysterical laughter. In Dirge of Cerberus, however, he gives Kefka a run for his money.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Near the end of the first game he reveals he is Sephiroth's father, something even Sephiroth himself doesn't know.
Mad Scientist: One of the most infamous examples in the series, he is completely amoral and insane and lives to do science no matter the consequence. It really sets the tone for his character when his first scene has him attempting to breed Aerith and Red XIII, rationalizing it as saving two endangered species from extinction and referring to the two as specimens.
The Man Behind The Monsters/The Man Behind the Man: Aside from Genesis, all of the antagonists of the FF7 universe can be traced back to his experiments on Jenova. And even then, it could easily be argued Genesis never would have become evil if Hojo hadn't shown up Hollander with his own experiments.
Omnicidal Maniac: Two of the experiments he was involved in nearly resulted in the end of the world, and it is heavily implied that the planet's destruction was exactly what he was hoping for, to prove the superiority of science over nature.
One-Winged Angel: When the party finally fights him, they discover he's injected Jenova cells into himself, causing him to mutate as the fight wears on.
Only One Name: He's only ever called "Hojo". Given that Hojo could be a given or family name in Japanese, we can't even say which it is.
Papa Wolf: A rather strange example, he is very proud of his son and does his best to help him. He planned to fire the Sister Ray at the Northern Crater to power Sephiroth up even further with its energy, and proudly proclaims that "Sephiroth surpasses science."
The Villain Makes the Plot: Probably the best example in the franchise. 90% of everything bad that happens in the game happens because Hojo was being a complete bastard without any rhyme or reason beyond wanting to do science. Sure, he eventually gets out-evilled by Sephiroth, but that doesn't change the fact that basically everything happened because of him. Aside from Shinra's discovery of Mako, which he had nothing to do with, a strong case could be made that if Hojo had never lived, the planet would have turned out a much safer place for lack of his influence.
Villainous Breakdown: By the time the party faces him, he's completely lost what sanity he ever had and raves that he's an idiot for not realizing the full potential of his experiments and writing them off. Dirge of Cerberus takes it even further.
Cloud: "What are you doing...?" Hojo: "It should be obvious. I'm getting a tan."
You Killed My Father: He killed Professor Gast, Aerith's father. He also places Aerith and her mother into seven years' worth of inhumane experiments, which eventually resulted in her mother's death while escaping Shinra.
"These days, all it takes for your dreams to come true is money and power."
Previously the president of the Shinra Arms Manufacturing Company. The discovery of Mako energy catapulted him to the position of de-facto world dictator. However, once Sephiroth appeared on the scene, he was killed to be replaced by Rufus.
Asshole Victim: Is murdered by Sephiroth to the despair of no one. Even his own son Rufus, who appears on the scene shortly after the fact, cares more about taking his father's place than his actual death, and no one else in Shinra seems to miss him either.
Bad Boss: Implied in Denzel's segment in the OVA On the Way to a Smile, since Denzel's parents, both of whom worked in Shinra, were killed when he dropped Sector 7 onto the Slums.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: He's constantly using military force and media manipulation to control people and lead Shinra to domination of the world.
Faux Affably Evil: He feigns politeness while obviously talking down to the members of AVALANCHE.
Manipulative Bastard: To the citizens of Midgar. Drop part of upper Midgar onto the Sector 7 slums, blame it on AVALANCHE terrorists, and then send in Shinra to clean up and help the survivors. He always preferred to take the route that would get him what he wanted and would make Shinra look good to the general public.
One Nation Under Copyright: Midgar was built and financed with Shinra resources, and their monopoly of the Mako the city needs to run makes him the ruler in all but name.
President Evil: In practice, he's the real ruler of Midgar. You meet the actual Mayor in VII, and he readily admits to this.
Villain with Good Publicity: He aspires to this, but it gets zigzagged. It seems those living below the plate know better, and those above the plate fall for it because they don't realize how awful conditions in the slums are, or don't think Shinra is at fault.
Wicked Cultured: Listens to classical music while watching Sector 7's plate collapse and kill off most of the inhabitants of the sector.
"Ghaa haah hah hah!"
Heidegger manages the Shinra Public Safety department, and bungles it up nicely too. Contrary to the name of his department, in practice Heidegger commands Shinra's military forces.
Irony: He's the head of the Public Safety division, yet as the de facto head of Shinra's infantry and SOLDIER, his department causes rampant death and destruction.
Out-of-Character Moment: Despite his normally buffoonish nature, during the Sapphire Weapon attacks Heidegger performs his duties with an unwonted cool professionalism.
You Are in Command Now: Spin-offs establish he took over SOLDIER when Director Lazard went AWOL. Before Crisis toys with the idea of him taking over the Turks as Veld's leadership comes into question, but ultimately it's Tseng to takes the reins.
"Kya ha ha!"
Responsible for the Shinra Corporation's Weapons Development department, Scarlet specializes in creating Glass Cannons. She's also the one who carried out the Corel Massacre, badly injuring Barret in the process and leading him to hate Shinra.
A-Team Firing: Lampshades it when her guards open fire on Barret and Dyne and can't hit anything. Scarlet mocks their poor aim, then knocks one of them aside and takes his gun to show them how it's done.
Dark Chick: She stands out from the male executives for her pride in her destructive weapons and willingness to take care of business personally.
Designated Girl Fight: During the attempted execution of AVALANCHE on Disc 2, she suddenly hates Tifa, referring to her as stuck-up and pursuing her when she flees, leading to a minigame where the two have a slapfight.
"Rate hike! Rate hike! Tra, la, la! And please include our Space Program in the budget!"
The director of the Shinra Space Program. Unlike the other executives, he is almost totally useless, since his department has long been abandoned and Palmer himself is a total buffoon.
Butt Monkey: He seems to be this for Shinra; he gets no respect at all from anyone. Not that he deserves it.
Demoted to Extra: He was the least important of the Shinra executives in the original game and is the only one not to appear in the Compilation. This also means it's entirely unknown what happened to him after the original game; he's still alive out there somewhere but no one even mentions him.
Disney Death: Apparently being hit by a truck was not enough to actually kill him.
Fat Idiot: He's so pathetic that he's left alive by the end of the game; not even worth killing. He's the only Shinra executive to survive, other than Reeve, who turned good, and Rufus, who got caught in a massive explosion and was thought to have died.
Harmless Villain: Palmer is a joke and everyone knows it. He's ironically the only Shinra executive who fights you directly, and all he has is a weak mako gun.
Hot-Blooded: He's extremely hyper, to the point where his idle combat pose looks like he's tap dancing.
Shout-Out: You know how he narrowly managed to avoid being chopped to bits by the Tiny Bronco after the party's fight against him? Well, aside from the aftermath, that was taken word for word from the demise of that German Mechanic that Indiana Jones was fighting in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The head of Shinra's Urban Development bureau, Reeve is the one who discovered how to refine Mako from the Lifestream and designed the Mako Reactors. He is also the pilot of Cait Sith. Following the events of VII, Reeve founds the World Regenesis Organization, dedicated to helping rebuild the planet.
Anti-Villain: He's the only Shinra executive with a sense of morals or righteousness. The only truly villainous thing he does is kidnap Marlene to use as leverage so AVALANCHE will let Cait Sith tag along after being outed as The Mole; considering what we know of Reeve already and looking at his role in the expanded universe though, she was really in no danger at all.
The Atoner: Late into VII and into the Compilation, he's trying to make up for the harm he did to the world helping to build Shinra's power base.
Big Good: After VII, Reeve is the head of the World Renegsis Organization that's rebuilding the planet after Meteorfall.
Heel-Face Turn: After playing as a triple agent between AVALANCHE and Shinra for much of the game, he eventually settles on AVALANCHE.
Non-Action Guy: He prefers to operate things behind the scenes and send Cait Sith in to do field operations.
Redemption Earns Life: The only Shinra executive to repent, and the only good one among them in the first place, is the only one to survive the events of VII.
Token Good Teammate: Among Shinra's executives, even before he defected to AVALANCHE he was pretty much the only one of them with a conscience.
Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Reeve is the one who designed the Mako Reactors and the Mako refining process, making him the Bigger Bad to the entire franchise. If he had never made his discovery then Shinra wouldn't have risen to power, probably wouldn't have found Jenova, and the many world-ending events the planet experiences over the next two decades wouldn't have happened.
Voiced by: Shinya Ohwada (Japanese), Sterling Young (English)
A Shinra scientist working on the Jenova Project years ago, he and Hojo competed to have the superior specimen in order to receive funding to continue their respective research. When Hojo's results were superior, Hollander was quietly forgotten by Shinra's executives and faded into the background, until Genesis was wounded and he seized a change for vengeance against Hojo.
Dirty Coward: He always flees from danger and is visibly intimidated by Shinra's forces. He only fights Zack near the end of the game because he's cornered, and is so degraded that he has no choice but to fight for the one hope he has of saving his own life.
Evil Genius: Though outdone by Hojo in both regards, he's still a brilliant scientist and is absolutely devoid of morals. His one advantage is that he's relatively sane compared to Hojo.
Evil Is Not a Toy: His attempts to make Genesis his Unwitting Pawn backfire when Genesis gets tired of his failure to produce a cure and attempts to kill him. He later does so again off-screen, forcing Hollander to inject himself with Genesis's cells to save his own life, and he experiences the same debilitating health as Genesis does for it.
Evil Is Petty: He convinces Genesis to rebel against Shinra and take a large part of SOLDIER with them, and has Genesis wage war on Shinra by promising him a cure for his genetic degradation. Why? To show up Hojo and SOLDIER and prove his specimens are superior.
Evil Sounds Deep: Compared to Hojo's high-pitched voice, Hollander is deep and gravelly.
Expy: Of Hojo. Like Hojo, Hollander is the mastermind behind the genetic experiments that created the main antagonist, is a Shinra scientist that worked on the Jenova Project, and eventually turns himself into a test subject by injecting himself with Genesis's cells. He's also just as amoral and proud of his unethical experiments as Hojo is of his own.
The former head of Shinra's science department, he led the expedition that unearthed Jenova. Believing her to be the remains of a Cetra, he began the Jenova Project to try and imbue a normal human with her abilities. When he realized what Jenova really was though, he left Shinra to continue studying the Cetra with Ifalna.
Always Someone Better: He's this to Hojo; most in Shinra are open in their consideration that as brilliant as Hojo is, he's nothing compared to Gast.
For Science!: His goal seemed to be genuine understanding of the Cetra.
Mad Scientist: Edged towards it studying Jenova; when he realized what she was he backed off.
A Shinra scientist working on the Jenova Project, she was Hojo's lover and consented to use their unborn child as an experiment for the Project. Horrified by visions of what her child would become, she sealed herself in a cave, ashamed of her role in Shinra's rise to power.
Abusive Parents: Dirge of Cerberus makes it completely clear that she fully consented to injecting Jenova cells into her unborn child. However, she did at least regret the action afterwards.
All Love Is Unrequited: Played with. Vincent fell in love with her and she cared for him too, but Lucrecia was guilty over being involved with the experiment that killed his father and pushed herself away from him and into Hojo's arms.
And I Must Scream: She's currently sealed in a cocoon of crystallized Mako, and is unable to die.
Apologises a Lot: In Dirge of Cerberus, nearly every flashback Vincent has of her involves her apologizing for for something. Considering what she's done it's not hard to understand why.
Death Seeker: She wants to die, but thanks to Hojo's experiments cannot.
No Accounting for Taste: Seriously, what did she ever see in Hojo? It's not as though he was a nice person who later went nuts, flashbacks in Dirge of Cerberus show he was always this way, and the times we see the two of them interact he shows no hint of actually caring for her.
A famous war hero and SOLDIER 1st Class, Sephiroth is a living legend within Shinra, and considered the strongest SOLDIER ever produced. Years ago on an infamous assignment to Nibelheim, he discovered the truth of his origins; he was a Super Prototype created by infusing a fetus in the womb with Jenova's cells. Misinterpreting the scientist's own misinformed research, he believed he was Jenova's biological son and that Jenova was the last of the Cetra, the precursor race that ruled the world before humans rose to power. Sephiroth put Nibelheim to the torch and set out to reclaim his legacy, but was defeated by Cloud and thrown into the Lifestream. There his spirit endured, and years later he took control of Jenova's body in the physical world to enact a plan: he would claim the Black Materia and use it to summon Meteor to strike the planet. He would place himself in the impact crater when the Lifestream emerged to heal the planet, absorbing it to become a god and reign over mankind.See also his Self-Demonstrating page
All There in the Manual: You really do need to get into the side materials if you want to fill in the blanks this guy's story has.
And Then What?: Until the Compilation, it wasn't explicit as to what Sephiroth was actually going to do with his godlike power after obtaining it, with interpretations ranging from Take Over the World to Omnicidal Maniac. According to Advent Children, the ultimate result was the Planet's destruction, it's hinted that he intended to use the Planet as a vessel similar to Jenova, and basically lead him towards a new planet (his "Promised Land") and rule it as a god.
Audience Surrogate: In a comedic way during Crisis Core, for those who don't like Genesis or LOVELESS. After Genesis recites a verse and is impressed Sephiroth knows which act it's from, Sephiroth snarks he can't help but recognize it "after [you've] beaten it into my head".
Back from the Dead: Technically speaking, Cloud killed him before the game began, but he persisted within the Lifestream. Then he came back again in Advent Children.
Badass: He's consistently referred to as the most powerful man on the planet even before he entered the Lifestream and absorbed Jenova, and he lives up to that reputation. Aside from Cloud few are able to fight him without being overwhelmed, and none aside from Cloud have won.
Badass Longcoat: Sephiroth's iconic attire is a long black coat. While most other characters get a change of outfit sometime in the series, Sephiroth's outfit is consistent, only featuring minor changes due to Art Evolution.
BFS: His Masamune is depicted from anywhere between six and twelve feet long. You'd think something that long would be impossible to wield, but he somehow manages.
Big Bad: Of the original game and Advent Children.
Big Damn Heroes: In Crisis Core he arrives out of nowhere and saves Zack from Ifrit.
Bishōnen: Sephiroth is fair-skinned with soft features and long, flowing silver hair.
Bishonen Line: His Bizarro Sephiroth form is a mutated mash-up of wings, horns and Sephiroth's face over a deformed body. His Safer Sephiroth form on the other hand is essentially Sephiroth himself with his limbs replaced by wings. The battle afterward restores him to full human form, but is a mental battle and not his actual body.
Blade Spam: Spin-offs establish him as so fast he's able to swing faster than the human eye can see, letting him hit you multiple times while you only see him swing once or twice. His signature technique Octaslash is a quick barrage of eight sword blows, usually only taking two or three seconds to land all eight hits.
The Chessmaster/The Pawn: There are conflicting statements over the nature of his relationship with Jenova. Mostly it's implied Sephiroth assumed complete control of her, but it's also heavily implied that some of her nature and instincts began influencing him too, and some creation materials say that it was Jenova controlling him and not the other way around.
Cold Ham: He always keeps his voice calm and controlled, even when delivering hammy threats such as "on your knees, I want you to beg for forgiveness".
Colony Drop: His plan is to summon Meteor to impact the planet.
Defector from Decadence: He was considering leaving from Shinra due to growing distrust from the organization. Unfortunately, he ended up doing more than that.
Depending on the Writer: His characterization varies wildly after his initial appearance. Advent Children has invoked Flanderization as described below, Crisis Core explores his pre-madness Sugar and Ice personality, Kingdom Hearts retools him as Cloud's Enemy Without existing only to Troll him, and Dissidia sees him as a Punch Clock Villain interested only in recovering his memories. Also subject to this trope are his power levels, ranging from just a master swordsman to a Flash SteppingMagic Knight, and his relationship with Jenova regarding which of them is really in control of the other.
Disney Villain Death: His first defeat at Cloud's hands involved Cloud lifting him into the air with the Masamune and hurling him off the reactor catwalk into the mako pool below.
Dissonant Serenity: With the notable exception of the Nibelheim incident, Sephiroth is eternally calm and collected even when chaos is sprouting around him by his own doing.
Evil Counterpart: He's initially presented as one to Cloud, being his former partner and an ex-SOLDIER who went rogue. However he's actually this trope to Aerith, once Cloud's real history is revealed and more of Aerith's comes to light. Both Sephiroth and Aerith are children of Shinra scientists involved in the Jenova Project, both use angelic symbolism, both survive dissolution in the Lifestream, and both are linked to one of the Ultimate Magics, the Black and White Materia. Sephiroth believed that his mother was an Ancient whereas Aerith's mother actually was one. The novella "Case of the Lifestream" notes that in the events leading up to Advent Children, Aerith considered creating her own avatars on the surface to help fight Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, but decided it was more important to contact Cloud herself and let him handle it. During development of VII, the developers even considered making them siblings or lovers, driving their connection deeper.
Fallen Angel: Invoked by his Safer Sephiroth form, where he has six white wings and one black wing. The black wing has become another iconic trait of his to tie into this symbolism.
Fallen Hero: He was once a decorated war veteran and the most respected man on the planet. Then came the Nibelheim mission, and he transformed into the greatest threat the planet has known since Jenova.
Fantastic Racism: For the entire Nibelheim burning scene, he preaches about how he will retake the world from the inferior race for the sake of the Cetra, and boasts he is the chosen one. After Nibelheim this trait is dropped for general hatred/contempt of everyone with no racism attached.
Faux Affably Evil: Sephiroth is very well-spoken and polite, even as he tells Cloud he's going to conquer the planet and destroy everything and everyone he holds dear. He clearly does this because he enjoys taunting him.
Flanderization: Invoked in-universe. After his second death at the end of VII, he survives dissolution in the Lifestream by focusing on his hatred of Cloud and his desire for vengeance, giving him a strong enough emotional core to maintain his sense of self at the cost of letting less-focused traits be stripped away. This is why come Advent Children he's completely absorbed in rubbing his revival in Cloud's face.
Flash Step: One of his trademark techniques is to rapidly dash past or teleport behind an opponent, either striking them on the way or swinging at their back once he's passed.
Freudian Excuse: He was raised as Shinra's greatest hero and served them loyally, then they tried to pressure him into hunting down and killing the two closest friends he ever had. Then he discovers the company has been lying to him all his life and that he's a genetic experiment created by them.
Freudian Trio: Forms one with Angeal and Genesis in Crisis Core, as the Superego; collected, calm, and rational.
In-Series Nickname: Throughout the series he's variably known as The Nightmare, The Abomination, and The Man in the Black Cape.
It's All About Me: His goal to absorb the Lifestream to control the planet would more than likely kill off every living thing on the planet, and for sure would destroy a lot of the planet's spiritual energy that it uses to heal itself and grow its planets. If this is a concern to him he hides it well.
Japanese Pronouns: Before Sephiroth went insane, he used the arrogant term of "Ore", but after after the Niebelheim Incident, he always uses the formal and polite term "Watashi," alluding to the fact that he has devoted himself to his "mother's" cause.
Lack of Empathy: Averted pre-madness, though he appeared cold and impersonal to outsiders, those that got to know him found Sephiroth to be personable and considerate. After his madness this is in full effect, he cares for nothing and no-one but himself and Jenova.
Laughing Mad: In Cloud's flashback, Cloud/Zack goes down to the basement of Shinra's mansion at Nibelheim and locates Sephiroth a few days after the incident at the reactor, only to hear Sephiroth chuckling dementedly. This is the first sign that Sephiroth is not handling what he's read well.
Left-Handed Mirror: To both Cloud and Zack. While they are all three the result of inhumane experimentation, Cloud and Zack become more and more heroic, while Sephiroth becomes more and more villainous and insane.
Lightning Bruiser: He moves faster than can be seen even when he isn't teleporting, has inhuman endurance and reflexes, and can swing his sword fast and had enough to cut apart buildings.
Manipulative Bastard: He strings Cloud along to the Temple of the Ancients and lets him retrieve the Black Materia for him just to screw with his mind. In spin-offs he repeatedly demonstrates he knows precisely how to push Cloud's buttons to make him do what he wants; it helps that Cloud's biggest button is Sephiroth's very existence.
The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: It's implied that when he took over Jenova's body, even if he was the one controlling her, he remained influenced by her instincts. Advent Children has him state outright his new plan is to repeat Jenova's behavior of using the planet as a vessel to travel the cosmos looking for a new planet to conquer.
Mr. Fanservice: He wears all leather, his outfit bears his chest, he's very tall, very handsome, and has a smooth voice.
My Death Is Only The Beginning: After falling into the mako reactor, he ends up becoming far more dangerous than before. His statement in Advent Children, "I will never be a memory" is confirmed by Word of God to imply that Sephiroth will always return no matter how often he dies.
The Needless: In Advent Children Sephiroth neither breathes nor blinks, deliberately invoked by Kazushige Nojima to emphasize how inhuman and otherworldly he had become.
Our Angels Are Different: His Safer Sephiroth form is clearly intended to resemble one of the Seraphim, with a single black wing in place of one of his arms. Later appearances feature him with that same wing on one of his shoulders, channelling Fallen Angel for all it's worth.
Out of the Inferno: His iconic scene from the Nibelheim Incident inverts it; Sephiroth stands before the fires of the destroyed town and turns to walk into the flames unfazed.
The Paragon Always Rebels: He was Shinra's greatest warrior, the planet's greatest hero, and one of the most powerful and respected men in the world. He fell to the dark side with the force of a meteor.
Posthumous Character: Strictly speaking, he died at Nibelheim, in that his physical body was destroyed. But thanks to the way the Lifestream works, his spirit can exert control over Jenova's cells and form a new body to act through like his own. This is why his plan in Advent Children is to get his hands on genuine Jenova cells, so he can complete his revival.
Post Mortem Comeback: Though he was destroyed again in VII, he was able to use the Lifestream's emergence in the world to his advantage by spreading Jenova's cells through it to infect humanity, creating the plague Geostigma. Advent Children reveals that some actual fragments of Jenova's cells would let him create a new body for himself, which is his plan in the film.
The Power of Hate: How he survives between VII and Advent Children; he concentrates on maintaining and building up his hatred of Cloud so he can maintain his own identity in the Lifestream and resist being absorbed into the collective.
Psychotic Smirk: Gives a very nasty one after he's killed Aerith. And after the Nibelheim incident, though Crisis Core retcons this to a slightly sorrowful/rageful expression).
Retirony: Acording to Crisis Core, he was considering retiring from Shinra and SOLDIER after the Nibelheim mission due to growing distrust of the organization and guilt from his friends' deaths. Instead he gets his Start of Darkness while there and goes totally off the deep end.
Start of Darkness: Sephiroth was once a relatively normal man. Then he went to Nibelheim.
Sugar and Ice Personality: Crisis Core gives him this personality pre-madness — he's composed, aloof, and professional, but he's also capable of being loyal and worried about his friends. He can also be pretty considerate, as evidenced by Zack once the two start to become friends. Comes complete with several Pet the Dog moments, such as the end of Chapter 7, when Sephiroth informs Zack that Genesis copies have been sighted in Midgar, particularly noting their presence in the slums, and gives him permission to return to the city because he knows Zack is worried about Aerith and wants to see her.
Super Prototype: As the very first SOLDIER, Sephiroth was created with a different procedure than the rest: he wasn't just injected with Jenova cells, he was injected while in the womb and grew and merged with them as he developed.
Trauma Conga Line: Crisis Core explains his Start of Darkness was the result of this. His two closest friends go rogue and rebel against the company, he's the one usually sent out to fight their forces, he finds out about the genetic experiments that created the two as Super SoldierHumanoid Abominations, and Shinra is implied to never show any concern for his feelings about the chaos unfolding around him. Before Nibleheim it's so bad he's planning to retire after that mission... and then one of those rogue friends appears and pushes him to discovering he's a genetic experiment just like them.
Tykebomb: He was genetically altered in the womb and raised pretty much from birth to be Shinra's perfect warrior.
The Virus: Is the cause of Geostigma in Advent Children; the virus was created through his tainting of the Lifestream from within. After he first noticed he could do it, he kept doing it for the sheer enjoyment of tarnishing everything. There are even hints he had been further breaking Cloud's psyche via Cloud's Geostigma infection. Once he was infected, he let Sephiroth into his mind again.
Walking Shirtless Scene: The front of his jacket is always open, exposing his chest. During his Final Boss battle with Cloud he sheds the trenchcoat, and attacks him wearing only his pants and boots. Heads straight into Fan Disservice when Cloud beats him and we see him like this again now covered in blood.
Where I Was Born and Razed: Although Sephiroth himself doesn't seem to realize it (he mentions that he "has no hometown"), it is implied in the games, and confirmed via Word of God and creation materials, that Sephiroth was born in Nibelheim, the very same place he ended up burning to the ground.
Would Hit a Girl: At Nibelheim he doesn't hesitate to disarm Tifa and slash aside. There's also the whole "impaling Aerith" thing.
Zero-Effort Boss: The Sephiroth vs. Cloud final boss fight was infamous as impossible to lose. However, it's essentially an interactive cinematic to demonstrate Cloud's mind is too strong for Sephiroth to overpower now.
"My soul, corrupted by vengeance, hath endured torment to find the end of the journey, in my own salvation and your eternal slumber."
A former SOLDIER 1st Class who had a friendly rivalry with Angeal and Sephiroth and is slightly obsessed with LOVELESS, a mysterious book of poems. When he's wounded by Sephiroth and falls mysteriously ill as a result, he defects from Shinra to wage war on them seeking a cure for his conditions.
Expy: Of Sephiroth. Besides the obvious similarities in appearance as seen in the accompanying image, Genesis is also a 1st Class SOLDIER and a spawn of the Jenova Project, he eventually sprouts a black wing over his shoulder, he was seemingly killed via Disney Villain Death in a Mako Reactor but turned out to be Not Quite Dead... you get the picture. It's likely an Invoked Trope in-universe; Genesis idolized Sephiroth as a child and wanted to be a hero just like him. Emulating Sephiroth's appearance and giving it his own personal flair was likely a conscious decision.
Idiosyncrazy: As far as Genesis is concerned, everything can be drawn back to LOVELESS. At first he just quotes it as a Madness Mantra and to draw parallels to its plot and what's happening in the game. Later he becomes convinced it is some sort of holy prophecy or legend that he must fulfill.
Ink-Suit Actor: His appearance is heavily based on his voice actor, Gackt. In Dirge of Cerberus, they didn't even bother with the ink suit; Gackt got into costume and performed in front of a green screen to be put into the game's secret ending.
Karma Houdini: He instigated a war, killed his own parents, basically wiped out his hometown's population, subjected an immense amount of innocent people to Hollander's experments, and his presence helped drive Sephiroth over the edge at Nibelheim. Yet he not only survives, he got exactly what he wanted from it all.
Large Ham: He tends to be pretty even-toned and doesn't raise his voice a lot, but he still puts a lot of weight and drama into his sentences, especially if he's quoting LOVELESS.
Magic Knight: He fights with sword combos and magic in equal turn, and powers magic into his sword to strengthen it.
Meaningful Name: "Genesis" of course parallels Sephiroth's name in Biblical symbolism, but it also means "birth" or "origin". Combined with the origin of his last name, he is "the original epic poem", referring both to his obsession with LOVELESS, and the idea that in-universe he was the original rebel SOLDIER and committed acts that Sephiroth would later repeat.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: His appearance is based on Gackt Camui; he's also voiced by Gackt, Gackt had a hand in the design of his outfit, and Gackt portrayed him live action in the secret ending for Dirge of Cerberus.
One-Winged Angel: Empowers himself with the Goddess Materia to transform into Genesis Avatar.
The Paragon Always Rebels: While not as revered or powerful as Sephiroth, Genesis was still one of Shinra's greatest warriors before he turns on them, and when he defects he takes a large number of other SOLDIER members with him.
Playing with Fire: He prefers fire and fire-like attacks, such as Flash, Homing, and Dark Energy.
Power Degeneration: The procedure that granted him his powers is also what's going to kill him if he doesn't find a cure.
Psycho Prototype: He's the original Project G SOLDIER. Finding out about it is what helped drive him to evil.
Remember the New Guy: Played with. No other version of the Nibelheim Incident has any mention or appearance by Genesis. However, the way he appears in Crisis Core allows him to be there without actually retconning the event's other depictions — he appears when Zack and Sephiroth enter the reactor, and the only version of that specific scene that has been shown across the series is the one where Cloud is in Zack's place, so Genesis's absence could be given a Hand Wave as one of many inconsistencies in Cloud's memories.
Self-Made Orphan: He killed his own parents. Played with in that they were his step-parents; we never find out who his biological parents are.
Sissy Villain: His English voice actor goes down this route, and the Bishoneny appearance, flamboyant hand gestures and constant recital of LOVELESS just add to it.
Zack's superior in SOLDIER, he's a First Class member and is respected and admired as a symbol of heroism and strength in the company. When Genesis declares war on Shinra, Angeal goes rogue, torn between loyalties to his friends and his career.
Anti-Villain: He's not a villain at all, he's just trying to do the right thing and sometimes is on the side of Shinra's enemies. The few times Angeal acts outright antagonistic to Zack is when he's in a Then Let Me Be Evil mood.
Eldritch Abomination: As Angeal Penance, he's a bipedal chimera-entity formed from several Angeal Copies, with Angeal's face and chest on the torso.
Foil: To Genesis. While Genesis rebels against Shinra to heal himself, Angeal does it because he's torn between loyalty to Shinra and loyalty to his oldest and best friend. As well, while they're both experiments of Project G, Angeal is the "perfect" result of Hollander's efforts and has a different set of abilities than Genesis does.
Freudian Trio: Forms one with Sephiroth and Genesis in Crisis Core, as the Ego; the level-headed mediator between the two. Fully demonstrated in the duel between the two when Angeal has to intervene to stop them from taking it too far.
Good Wings, Evil Wings: In contrast to Genesis and Sephiroth's black wings, Angeal's wings are white and pure.
Humanoid Abomination: He's a SOLDIER, so he's been infused with Jenova cells and Mako energy to create this. As a Project G experiment though he's even more on the "abomination" side than normal SOLDIER members.
Meaningful Name: Angeal = Angel. Lampshaded when Zack says his wings are those of an angel, not a monster. Also Angeal Penance, representing Angeal's desire to invoke Death Equals Redemption by forcing Zack to kill him and take up his legacy.
Meaningless Meaningful Words: He uses the words "dream" and "honor" a lot. As in pretty much every other sentence. Usually when they're in improper context. Sephiroth lampshades it when he tells Zack about receiving "one of Angeal's famous lectures".
Voiced by: Junpei Morita (Japanese), Stefan Marks (English)
The director of SOLDIER, he was born in the slums and has worked his way up through Shinra's ranks through hard work and determination. He advises Zack on furthering his dreams in the company and provides him missions and assignments. However, he acts behind the scenes on a secret agenda.
Appears in: Crisis Core
Affably Evil: He's very friendly and polite, but he's working with Hollander and Genesis.
Anti-Villain: He's aiding Hollander and Genesis, but his motivations are much more sympathetic, and he eventually realizes the error of his ways and aids Zack.
Big Good: Inasmuch as he can be considering the Grey and Gray Morality of Shinra, but he is the director of SOLDIER and is known and respected among the company's military branch for being a good leader.
To Hollander. They both have been snubbed by Shinra and are using Genesis for revenge, but Lazard undergoes a Heel-Face Turn to help Zack while Hollander continues to aid Genesis. And while Hollander becomes a Genesis Copy, Lazard becomes an Angeal Copy.
Also one to Rufus Shinra once you find out his full backstory. While Rufus was born into his power and position, Lazard had to work his way up from the slums, and is a much better person than Rufus.
Heroic Sacrifice: He is mortally wounded protecting Cloud from Shinra forces while Zack is fighting Genesis beneath Banora.
Humanoid Abomination: He eventually becomes an Angeal Copy. By the time he finds Zack at the end of the game, he's fully taken on Angeal's face and hairstyle, save for his hair going white due to his degradation.
Informed Attribute: He's said to have not forgotten his roots and has sympathy for others living in the slums, but it doesn't come into play much.
Luke, I Am Your Father: He is President Shinra's illegitimate son with a slum woman. This also makes him Rufus's older brother and thus rightful heir to the company if his lineage were to be revealed. His discovery of this is why he helps Hollander and Genesis wage war on the company.
Put on a Bus: He goes missing sometime between Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, presumably because Cissnei tells Zack in Chapter 7 that Shinra was beginning to suspect he was the one funding Hollander and Genesis. He reappears near the end of the game to aid Zack in the final chapter.
Reasonable Authority Figure: He's polite, friendly and sociable with his subordinates, and recognizes Zack's exceptional performance for a Second Class and decides to call on him more often for future assignments.
Self-Made Man: He came from a single mother in the slums and has worked his way through Shinra to become one of the most powerful men in the company.
"The pure will be "spared" for the cause, while the tainted will be hunted down and exterminated. They shall be slashed, strangled, and slaughtered. Beaten, stabbed, and crushed. Garroted and impaled. Shot and executed without mercy. The time has come to cleanse this world."
Meaningful Name: "Weiss" means "white" in German, and his subtitle, Immaculate, refers to the Roman Catholic belief of the Immaculate Conception where someone is born completely without the stain of original sin. This both reflects his outfit and that Hojo needs a "pure" body to serve as Omega's vessel.
Omnicidal Maniac: His plan is to take control of Omega and use it to gather all the Lifestream to him. Making sure the Lifestream is as potent and pure as possible demands the death of the planet's citizens.
One-Winged Angel: Merges with Omega to become Omega Weiss for the final boss battle.
Pure Is Not Good: He was originally created to not be made of tainted Lifestream, which is why Hojo possessed him and planned to use him to fuse with Omega. Even when he regained control of himself, he was still not a nice guy.
Evil Redhead: Her red hair ties into the red of her color scheme.
Freudian Excuse: It is heavily implied that the very reason why she even takes enjoyment in doing her assignments in similar ways to a psychopath is because she was raised that way by Shinra.
Happy Rain: In a twisted way. Rosso, while standing in the rain in Edge, muses that it was the first time she had ever felt rain on her skin. She seemed happy, but she's a Tsviet, so happy could just as easily mean "on the brink of murder."
Meaningful Name: "Shelke" is urdu for "orange", while her title refers to her power to turn invisible. Her title in Japanese in a pun; it can be read as both "Expressionless", referring to her stoic nature, or "Colorless", foreshadowing her leaving the Tsviets.
Medium Awareness: In the game's online mode, she tells the player character that her special attack uses "a lot of MP".
Power Degeneration: The experiments performed on her force her to have daily baths in Mako to sustain her life.
The Stoic: For the most of the time. Only at the near ending does she begin to show off her more emotional sides.
This Thing You Call Love: After she had spent ten years with Deepground, it ain't no wonder that she hasn't learnt what love is. So when Shalua sacrifices herself for her and Vincent tries to be her friend, she first reacts with coldness and surprise, and then with curiosity. She eventually learns what love is by the end.
Jenova descended on Gaia 2,000 years before the events of FFVII. She single-handedly devastated the Cetra, and nearly destroyed the planet, before being sealed in a geological stratum in the Northern Crater. Unearthed by Shinra scientist Gast Faremis, she indirectly played a huge role in Shinra's rise to power as the source of the genetic material they use to create members of SOLDIER, their elite super-soldiers with which they conquered the world.
Bigger Bad: Jenova's not completely in charge of Sephiroth or his actions, and due to the nature of her being cannot be directly confronted. In fact, whether she's even alive is up for debate. But the facts remain that if she hadn't come down to earth two thousand years ago, most of the events of the game wouldn't have happened.
Body Horror: Among other things. She has an eyeball on her breast, and her innards float in the tank outside her body.
Dead All Along: Died well before the events of the game. May have been resurrected by Sephiroth. It's hard to tell.
Death from Above: Personified; she struck the planet in a meteor and caused massive death. In the Cetra language, her name literally translates as "Calamity From The Sky".
Diabolus Ex Nihilo: Fell from the sky two thousand years before the game began. No one knows where it came from, but it's speculated that it may have landed on & devastated other worlds in the past.
Eldritch Abomination: She came from the heavens in a meteor to destroy humanity, can shapeshift, bestows a variety of incredible powers on those exposed to her cells, and is stated to have no gender.
Evil Matriarch: In a way. Kadaj, Yazoo, Loz, and Sephiroth all address her as "Mother" anyway.
Expy: Jenova is basically Lavos as a woman, and eating the world from the outside in rather than the other way around.
From a Single Cell: Jenova has powerful regenerative and shapeshifting abilities, making it difficult to permanently destroy her.
Fusion Dance: With Sephiroth, to the point that he's taken her originaly instinctive destructive goals Up to Eleven and infused them with his own conscious intelligence.
Humanoid Abomination: Resembles a deathly pale woman with eyes and veins in places where they should not be.
In-Series Nickname: "Heaven's Dark Harbinger" and "The Calamity from the Sky" to the Cetra, "Mother" to Sephiroth.
Obliviously Evil: It's been suggested that Jenova, while wicked and cruel, was originally just a creature that instinctively sought to destroy. Her fusion with Sephiroth combined her instincts with his powerful will and intelligence.
The Plague: The Geostigma of Advent's Children is the result of the human body's immune system trying to cure itself of her cells and overcompensating, causing pain and weakness.
Rule of Symbolism: Her name is a combination of "nova" and "Jehovah", and thus approximately means "New God".
Shapeshifting: Jenova would shapeshift into the loved ones of her victims to get close to them. In the modern day Sephiroth uses this power of hers to form new bodies in his own image to act through.
Silent Antagonist: She has exactly one line of dialogue attributed to her, providing her quote above. All other times it's Sephiroth speaking through her.
A mafia don in the slums of Midgar, he abducts Tifa as a candidate for his "special lady" for the evening. Cloud and Aerith infiltrate his mansion to rescue Tifa and find out what the Don knows about Shinra's schemes.
Asshole Victim: The novella "Lateral Biography Turks -The Kids Are Alright-" reveals he survived his fall in Wutai, but is now confined to a wheelchair due to the injuries he sustained. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
Dirty Old Man: He's an aging crime boss who kidnaps women looking for someone to spend the night with. When presented with Aerith, Tifa, and the crossdressed Cloud, he's ecstatic at the idea of having a choice, and gives the two he doesn't choose to his men to enjoy.
Disney Death: Though Reno drops him off a mountain in Wutai, "Lateral Biography Turks -The Kids Are Alright-" reveal he's still alive by the time of Advent Children.
Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo are physical manifestations of Sephiroth's will. Each of them represents a different aspect of Sephiroth's personality, but they share a fanatical obsession with Jenova.All three
Artificial Human: They're formed out of pure tainted Lifestream energy by Sephiroth's will.
Berserk Button: Some handle it better than others, but they all get annoyed whenever someone brings up Jenova in a flippant manner.
Beta Test Baddie: They're each incomplete copies of Sephiroth, and their drive to find Jenova is out of a need to reunite with her so Sephiroth can be reborn properly.
Cain and Abel: They consider Cloud their "brother" through Jenova, and fight and try to kill him several times since they view him as a traitor to her.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In a very twisted way. They actually think Jenova is their mother and want to find her and be with her again. Kadaj goes so far as to consider children infected with Geostigma, which is a result of them being infected with Jenova cells, as his "brothers", which makes them all a family.
Expy: They're designed to invoke the idea of Sephiroth in their behavior and appearance. This is entirely the point in-universe since Sephiroth created them in his own image but had to do it with fragmented memories of how other people saw him in life.
Flanderization: They're the result of Sephiroth undergoing in-universe Flanderization as described under his profile. Allowing his own memories to fragment and be stripped away, Sephiroth had to rely on memories how other people saw him to create the remnants, resulting in each of them being an exaggerated depiction of a different aspect of his true character.
Freudian Trio: Loz is the Id, being a Man Child with simplistic emotions, Kadaj is the Ego, being the comparatively level-headed leader but prone to fits of rage and anger, and Yazoo is the Superego, being always calm and collected.
Hell-Bent for Leather: Each wears a black leather outfit that, in different ways, mimic Sephiroth's iconic attire.
Literal Split Personality: They each embody a different aspect of Sephiroth. Kadaj has his cruelty and insanity, as well as his preference for katanas, Loz has his physical strength and obsession with Jenova, and Yazoo has his charisma and aloofness.
Oedipus Complex: They practically worship Jenova, speaking of "mother" in almost reverence and devoting their entire existence to finding and reuniting with her.
Psychopathic Manchild: While Kadaj is the most blatant example, all three are fiercely devoted to their "mother" and are more than a bit unstable and destructive in their search to find her.
Siblings in Crime: They're all brothers, and occasionally bicker or banter with each other during the film.
Summon Magic: They can summon monsters from tainted Lifestream called "Shadow Creepers".
Terrible Trio: Kadaj is the leader and the one with the most knowledge of Sephiroth's plans, while Loz and Yazoo carry out efforts to find Jenova and do most of the fighting as Kadaj watches.
Unwitting Pawn/The Pawn: They're just incarnations of Sephiroth's will meant to find Jenova so he can be reborn. Loz and Yazoo have no idea of this while Kadaj has some measure of understanding but is still unaware of his true purpose.
And Then What?: Kadaj isn't sure what to do once he has his hands on Jenova's head. Cloud lampshades this is because he's just a remnant, he's driven by instinct with no understanding of what he's doing.
Dark Messiah: Presents himself as one to the children with Geostigma, declaring they are a family chosen by the stigma, and that he can heal them and take them to their mother to take back the planet together.
Disc One Final Boss: He's The Heavy of the film and the leader of the remnants, but is defeated by Cloud just before he triggers Sephiroth's rebirth. The CompleteUpdated Re-release makes it clearer that he's just Sephiroth's pawn long before this is revealed at the climax.
Enfante Terrible: Word of God is that he was made the youngest remnant as their leader to give viewers the sense of an insane, unstoppable child.
Fragile Speedster: While he's very powerful in hand-to-hand combat, Kadaj's smaller weapon and weaker physical strength at outmatched by Cloud, in comparison to Loz's Lightning Bruiser and Yazoo's sharpshooting from a distance.
Fusion Dance: Merges with Jenova's cells, allowing Sephiroth to shapeshift Kadaj's body into his own and be reborn for real.
Redemption in the Rain: The most sympathetic and tragic remnant dissolves into rain calling for his mother as he lays in Cloud's arms dying.
The Unfavorite: Considers himself such, sensing that his "mother" Jenova loves Sephiroth more than him. It's unclear how much of this is actually Jenova's will and how much is Kadaj interpreting Sephiroth's control of Jenova.
Villainous Breakdown: Lets out an anguished wail and then quiets into sobs when he sees the "mother" he's been pursuing is a puddle of genetic goo. After this Cloud arrives and he attacks him furiously.
The Brute: The most physically dominating of the remnants and easily the most powerful.
Dumb Muscle: He's very stupid and childish, making sound effects when he rides his motorcycle and crying over Jenova at times. Word of God says they intended him more as a Man Child rather than plain stupid, but admit he ended up being this trope too.
Lightning Bruiser: His physical strength is immense, allowing him to punch apart trees, and he moves so fast he appears to Flash Step in a blur of white light.
Man Child: His defining trait is his childish behavior. His movements and emotional states are deliberately exaggerated to emphasize this.
Super Speed: Can move so fast his body is covered in white energy. A special animation tool was even designed by the staff that let them slow down the movie for the other characters while Loz moved normally, resulting in this trope when the film played normally.
Gun Fu: While they're used much more often for shooting, the Velvet Nightmares have blades running along their length and are study in design, and they're used as melee weapons when needed.
Guns Akimbo: Occasionally uses both his own and Loz's Velvet Nightmares at once.
The Gunslinger: Wields a gunblade called Velvet Nightmare. Loz has one as well, but Yazoo uses his much more often while Loz relies on his fists.
Not Quite Dead: Three times in fact. Veld assumes Felicia dead when their hometown is attacked, but she's retrieved and used as an experiment by Hojo. He decides she's a failure and orders her disposed of, but Fuhito takes her to safety. And then at the end of Before Crisis, she's assumed dead due to the Zirconiade Materia finally taking its toll, but she and Veld are taken care of in secret and eventually go into hiding together.
Unwitting Pawn: Fuhito was just using her and AVALANCHE for his own schemes.
Elfé's right-hand man in AVALANCHE, he led an anti-Shinra group of his own until Elfé defeated him and compressed his group into AVALANCHE. He's in love with her and entirely devoted to her and her cause.
Omnicidal Maniac: Believes that the Planet is too weakened thanks to Shinra's actions and wants to kill all human life so their energy will return to the Lifestream and the Planet can heal without their interference. This is why he wants to summon Zirconiade, because it will be his tool to do the job.
A legendary "Ultimate Summon" also known as "The World Burner". Zirconiade is said to be strong enough to destroy all life on the planet, but the energy needed to summon it is so great that the base Summon Materia cannot muster the energy, four support Materia are also needed.
Artifact of Doom: The Materia to summon it can end the world in the wrong hands.
Dismantled MacGuffin: A variant; the Zirconiade Materia itself is intact, but its support Materia are scattered around the planet.
Evil Counterpart: To the Weapons. While Zirconiade is a Summon Materia that will destroy the planet, the Weapons exist to protect it. Zirconiade's name parallels the Weapons; while they're named after precious stones, Zirconiade takes its name from Zirconia, as in "cubic zirconia", fake diamonds.
Barret's young daughter. Her biological father was his old friend Dyne, who supposedly died when their hometown Corel was massacred by Shinra. Barret found Marlene in the rubble and took her in as his own. After the events of the game, Barret leaves her in the care of Cloud and Tifa in Edge.
Adult Fear: A good dose of this when she is taken by the Silver Haired Men.
Cheerful Child: She is very well-adjusted and happy considering what she's been through.
Children Are Innocent: Due to her age she doesn't fully understand what goes on around her. The intro to Advent Children has her explain Sephiroth's plan to kill all life and become a god as "Sephiroth hated the planet so much, he wanted to make it go away."
Daddy's Girl: She adores Barret as much as a biological dad.
Marlene: You've been trying so hard to find a cure for Denzel. Cloud: You knew about that? Marlene: Cloud, you should clean up your desk once in a while.
Generation Xerox: Despite no family resemblance, she looks a lot like Aerith, and even has her iconic hairstyle with a ribbon in Advent Children. Word of God says she's picking up Tifa's stubbornness too, making her a combination of the two women.
What the Hell, Hero?: She calls out Cloud on his angst in Advent Children Complete, imitating Barret for good measure. "How are you supposed to look after your family if you can't even look after yourself?"
A young boy living with Cloud and Tifa in Advent Children, he's an orphan from Midgar that Cloud found in the Sector 5 Church and took in. When he caught Geostigma, Cloud left to try and find a cure to save him.
Appears in: Advent Children
Action Survivor: Living in the ruins of Midgar turned him from a normal kid to a resourceful scavenger.
Adult Fear: He and other children with Geostigma are kidnapped by the Silver Haired Men and brainwashed by them.
Flat Character: He doesn't get a lot of personality to build on in Advent Children; justified since he's fatally ill for much of it and not fully coherent for it. His novella expands on his character more.
The last pureblood Cetra, she was studied by Shinra as part of their research on the group until she escaped with Professor Gast. She fathered a child with him, Aerith, but days after the birth Hojo tracked them down, killed Gast, and took the two captive. Ifalna and Aerith escaped Shinra years later, but Ifalna was injured in the attack and entrusted the care of her daughter to the passing Elmyra Gainsborough.
Voiced by: Yuu Asakawa (Japanese), Kim Mai Guest (English)
A scientist working with the WRO, she is searching for a reason to live after her sister was captured by Shinra years ago.
Appears in: Dirge of Cerberus
Artificial Limbs: She has a robotic left arm as a prosthetic. Backstory also establishes she was the one who gave Barret his gun-arm.
Coat Cape: She wears a lap coat slung over shoulders like a cloak.
Disney Death: Possibly. Her body is recovered and put in a medical capsule, but Yuffie says she has too much head trauma and will never wake up, and come the end of the game her broken capsule is left in Midgar's ruins as Omega is destroyed and the Lifestream rains down on her, so there's a chance she'll return. Word of God says they purposefully left her survival open to interpretation to look at in future games.
Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see precisely what Azul does to her behind the door, but when she's being cared for afterwards it's mentioned she has head trauma.
Stripperiffic: It's a mystery where she buys clothes that look like that.
Appears in: Final Fantasy VII, Before Crisis, Dirge of Cerberus, Crisis Core
Ancient bio-mechanical superweapons created by the planet 2000 years ago to fight Jenova, they were put to rest in the North Crater after she was sealed. The events of the series that throw the planet into crisis again cause them to awaken. Five Weapons appeared in the original game, the expanded Compilation added two more.
Beam Spam: Most of them attack with an assortment of rays and lasers. Emerald Weapon's four Eyes that accompany it only have one attack, Emerald Laser, so you'll be seeing a lot of it.
Bonus Boss: All of them except Diamond Weapon are optional encounters. Ultimate Weapon has to be fought once but survives, and can be fought and killed at the player's choosing.
Boom, Headshot: Sapphire Weapon gets a point-blank blast from Junon's Mako Cannon, obliterating its head.
Bragging Rights Reward: The rewards for defeating Ruby and Emerald are rewards that can be traded for a set of unique Master Materia, and a Gold Chocobo. But if you're strong enough to beat them, you've defeated the game's most powerful enemies, so you don't need those items now.
Breath Weapon: Sapphire Weapon's attack is a blast of energy from its mouth. Ruby Weapon and Ultimate Weapon also fire projectiles from their mouths.
Duel Boss: Ruby Weapon kills off two party members to make the fight one-on-one.
Get Back Here Boss: Ultimate Weapon fights a few rounds, then flies away to be chased down and fought again until you whittle it down to nothing.
Godzilla Threshold: They are the Godzilla in the trope name — when the planet is in dire danger or some threat appears that could cause mass destruction, the Weapons awaken to fight it off. Omega is the final one of these — when the other Weapons are gone and the planet is in danger still, it awakens to gather the Lifestream and take it to another planet to escape the threat, leaving the old planet to wither and die.
Knight Templar: They exist to protect the planet from threats, but their only method for doing so is to destroy those threats.