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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Are Biggs' Famous Last Words an attempt to tell Jessie his genuine opinion of her voice, or are they something he chose to say on the off chance Jessie would Go Out with a Smile and Die Laughing?
    • At the end of Episode 9, Cloud's laughter at the sentence of having sex with Tifa. Is he genuinely amused and views it as Unishment, or is he Laughing Mad because he genuinely fears the notion?
    • Cloud himself posits a very likely one in the season 1 finale. The reason Tifa is such a horrible Adaptational Jerkass is because the trauma of witnessing her father's gruesomely murdered corpse caused her emotions to become stunted and her refusal to move on has caused her to stagnate into the horrid bitch we now know. The fact that her advice to Cloud having a panic attack was to "repress" lends credence to this theory.
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    • Cloud letting Yuffie in the party. Was it just because she was a possible lead on Sephiroth, or did he let her tag along because he knew how much she was annoying Tifa and relished in it? Evidence supports the latter, as the convincing line was Yuffie saying "I'll do you a solid if you do me a solid!"
    • Fans are divided on Tifa's statement that Cloud and her didn't have sex during the Nibelheim incident in episode 14. Some think Tifa was just awkwardly trying to end the conversation while others think something happened and Tifa just used Suspiciously Specific Denial. Given Tifa's penchant for lying from time to time, she may be pulling it out of her ass instead of straight-up telling him that he wasn't the person he thought he was back then.
    • Speaking of which: Is Tifa going along with Cloud's supposed memories and is rolling with it despite knowing the truth, or is she trying to protect Cloud and Aerith out of consideration for Zack, whom she knew and knows exactly what happened to him? Plus, when Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith were in Gongaga, Tifa understandably realizes that they were speaking to Zack's parents. But her reaction to Cloud's comments to his parents speaks volumes, since she knows who Zack is, what happened, and realizes that Zack and Aerith were a couple before his passing.
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    • Cloud's insensitive comments throughout season 2. Did he take a level in jerkass after spending so much of season 1 getting shit on by his peers, did he always have a Lack of Empathy that didn't show until recently, or was he just being Innocently Insensitive? The third point seems more likely since his tone doesn't hint at any malice, and Barret claims that he is too socially unaware to see how hurtful his comments get. He outright admits to Aerith during their date when he apologizes to her about his insensitivity back at Gongaga that he really was trying to play the cool, unattached badass that he admired, which is both canon and an Author's Saving Throw.
    • Red's talk to Cloud in episode 19 about his daddy issues has a line where Red sounded like he was insulting Cloud. But it can be interpreted as Red saying how he felt his own father abandoned his family due to Red being born. Poor guy.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
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    • Red XIII seems very peppy despite all his years of experimentation by Hojo, though he does note that he'll actually miss Shinra due to having so much sex there. Though it's implied by his Anything That Moves personality in Season 2 onward that it may have turned him into a sex-addict and he's just too ditzy to realize it's an issue.
    • Apart from his overtly stated desire to make Hojo's death as painful and horrible as humanly possible, Vincent seems to take the fact that he's an immortal abomination of science with spiders living inside him quite well.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • For anybody who found the Prison Rape gag from episode 2 uncomfortable, Cloud gives Tifa a "Reason You Suck" Speech in episode 10, with her colorful rape threat being one of the things he calls her out on.
    • Many took issue with Cloud being Flanderized into a whiny Extreme Doormat in season 1. Season 2 moves away from Cloud being a generic, wimpy Loser Protagonist that he was in Season 1, and fully into his game characterization (or rather, a parody of it): a brash, self-absorbed egotist who's projecting the image of a badass in order to make up for his insecurity.
    • Likewise, Season 4 actually gives a Cloud closer to his flanderized self, but is actually given good reason to be like that, namely being murderously vengeful for Aerith's death and in the process shutting down his other emotions.
    • Tifa is relatively nicer in the second season. While still abrasive to Cloud, her put downs have be reined back to only being dished out when he actually does something deserving of it, and her treatment of Barret and Yuffie highlight her nicer aspects.
      • Similarly, some have criticized Aerith for acting like a borderline saint, almost as if Tifa was derailed to make her look better. In season 2, her more negative traits, like her clinginess towards Cloud, are given more focus to flesh her out more.
      • While Tifa's behavior was reprehensible, Cloud's behavior at times could be just as bad. He was often acting very spiteful towards Tifa, even after she had Took a Level in Kindness. The most notable instance was when Cloud ignored Tifa trying to spill her guts to him right after she convinced Aerith to hear him out for his insensitive comments towards Zack. Season 4 has Tifa realizing how much she fucked up with keeping the truth of Nibelheim from him and staying by his side while he was in a Mako coma. When Cloud finally comes to, he thanks Tifa for standing by him and they now start acting like friends.
      • Also similarly, some people feel Cloud's mistreatment in season 1 was unjustified at best and horribly mean-spirited at worst. By season 2, Cloud is given more Idiot and Jerkass Balls to justify this treatment.
    • Cid being into BDSM with Shera as his Dominatrix manages to be one for their horribly one-sided and uncomfortable relationship in the original game, as it allows Cid to vent his otherwise legit frustrations with Shera without being the domestic abuser the original was. And when you factor in how BDSM is actually supposed to work, consent and communication-wise, it actually makes their relationship far healthier and more equal as a result, and arguably will make their reconciliation and later marriage more palpable for those who didn't like the idea of a domestic abused woman marrying her abuser, even if he stopped with the abuse.
    • For many, the Sissy Fight between Tifa and Scarlet in the original is a source of mockery, on top of being an annoyingly hard minigame with the only reward being the satisfaction of beating Scarlet's arrogant face to a pulp and nothing else, as well as the fact that Tifa doesn't need to simply resort to slapping Scarlet when she could just punch the arrogant bitch like the super-strong martial artist that she is. Here, though, she does just that when Scarlet demeans and slaps her one too many times, and off the cannon, no less.
    • Even if using the Huge Materia to blow up Meteor would have failed, shown by the failure to retrieve the piece in the rocket, there's very little justification for the party in the game to interfere with an idea that seemed like a pretty good at the time. Here, the idea is portrayed as the equivalent to detonating a nuke in the atmosphere, with all the horrific aftereffects implied to come with it, justifying the argument to take the materia before they can be used as magical nukes.
    • Some people think Yuffie was too much of a Karma Houdini for her actions during the Wutai sidequest and it was implied that she would have stolen the Materia again if she had the chance. While Yuffie doesn't get punished here, Tifa has a pep talk with her that actually sticks and Yuffie makes a genuine effort to make amends.
    • The people of Corel were generally viewed as hypocrites, blaming the reactor on Barret alone when they had supported it as well. When Barret saves the town in Episode 28, they actually acknowledge their hypocrisy and apologize.
    • The heavy uses of "Don't Fuck Up" and its many variants in season one, especially early on, were criticized for coming off as a Forced Meme. Starting with season two, it was used much more`sparingly.
  • Awesome Music: While Final Fantasy VII's music is already awesome enough, AinTunez' officially-endorsed arrangements of the music are gems in their own right, usually due to little details, and taking examples of other versions from existing media. Some of the standout examples include:
    • "Those Chosen By The Planet" is far less bombastic and more eerie, accentuating Sephiroth's evil.
    • "Cid's Theme" has a subtle male choir that exudes the awesome of the man himself.
    • "Aerith's Theme" mixes piano and a music box, highlighting Aerith's increased innocence in this version while still being an appropriately sad piece for its most infamous use.
    • "Mako Reactor" has a slightly western twang mixed with a heavier base that sells the rustic yet dystopian nature the structure symbolizes.
    • "Tifa's Theme" is notable because it is the most radically different, being a hard metal piece that fits her meaner characterization. It is also notable, because there's a second version that plays during the flashback of her mother's death, being a softer piano piece akin to the arrangement from Advent Children, hallmarking her evolved disposition.
    • "The Nightmare Begins" has a heavier violin that is less creepy, ironically enough, and more of tragic. Like Tifa, he has an alternate version, a grander Ominous Pipe Organ version that plays in his first scene while voiced by Takahata101, and then again when he transforms into Chaos to kill Helletic Hojo.
    • "Red XIII's Theme", like Tifa's, is radically different in feel. It's still tribal in nature, but now definitely a completely different sounding piece from "Cosmo Canyon", and ties with Red's more cheerful (and loopier) disposition.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Cloud. Some took issue with him being a whiny Adaptational Wimp and an Extreme Doormat. Some defend this characterization since Cloud was never a badass soldier, but others point out that despite the revelation, Cloud was still a competent fighter and leader in his own right in canon, and was perfectly willing to bite back whenever Barret (or really, anybody) busted his chops.
    • Tifa. Some see her Adaptational Jerkassery as a huge assassination of her character, while others see it as a clever deconstruction of her character from canon and regard her as probably the best developed character in the series. Some Take a Third Option and think that while Team Four Star had good intentions that paid off in the end, they went a little too far with making her unlikable (particularly with the infamous Prison Rape ultimatum) and that they placed a lot of faith in their viewers to put up with her behavior before her Character Development took place.
    • Barret. Some think he gets some of the best lines in the series, but others hate him for being a huge Jerkass to Cloud, and unlike Tifa, he never seems to see the error of his ways, even when the plot called for it, like with the visits to Coral. Also, is "Don't Fuck Up" meme worthy, or is it a Forced Meme?
    • In contrast to Tifa, Aerith has been given this treatment for the opposite reason. Some people like her for how nice she is, especially to Cloud. However, others believe that she's too nice. Some also accuse her of being a Creator's Pet, since she's shown multiple times to be perfect for Cloud in stark contrast to the more toxic Tifa, which gives a serious Die for Our Ship vibe. Whenever she does something legitimately malicious, like breaking the Shiva Materia or letting Tifa suffer with poison, she never gets called out on it. Barret, who looks for any excuse to dump on Cloud for every mistake he makes, is uncharacteristically reasonable with her when she heals an enemy robot. The only character who outright hates her is Tifa, but it's more out of jealousy rather than a grudge or maliciousness, and Aerith will always get the last word whenever they argue. Even then, Tifa eventually warms up to her and leaves flowers for her on her grave.
    • Vincent got this in his debut. The season 2 trailer made it seem like Takahata101 would be playing him using his Alucard voice, only for it to be revealed to be a 10-second Bait-and-Switch; instead, he's played by Faulerro doing a take on Richmond. Some fans were disappointed they wouldn't be getting Taka, while others liked Faulerro's performance fine and were happy they went in a more original direction with Vincent's character and felt using the Alucard voice would have been too obvious of a punchline. That said, TFS even acknowledges in-universe that Alucard comparisons are kind of unavoidable. Another point of contention is the lack of focus he gets compared to the rest of the characters, even during the confrontation with Hojo despite the episode getting built up as his limelight episode.
  • Better Than Canon: This series does wonders for Reeve as a character. He's greatly fleshed out compared to his game counterpart, giving him several sympathetic moments and playing up his earnest attempts at trying to do good, even if most of them end in failure. This also applies to Cait Sith as he acts much more like an extension of Reeve's personality, as apposed to the disjointed robot reveal.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Episode 28 ends with the end-card being interrupted by an actual episode of Tankceratops and the Vehicularsaurs, which has nothing to do with the episode, sans for the brief mention of the series in the cold open of Episode 28. This trope is further applied to the Season 4 compilation, which comes out of nowhere in-between the dramatic ending of Episode 28 and the entirety of Episode 29, which is considered the most serious and least comedic episodes of the season.
  • Broken Base:
  • Cliché Storm: Before the show grew its beard, the early episodes were criticized for carrying tropes that were common in most third-rate Abridged Series. The characters were either heavily Flanderized (Cloud's wimpiness, Barret's Angry Black Man persona, and Aerith's naivete) from canon at best and In Name Only (Tifa's adaptational jerkassery) at worst, Catchphrases getting spouted ad nauseam like as if they were trying to be memes ("Don't Fuck Up" and "Do Me A Solid"), and humor that's either mean-spirited (Cloud's Designated Monkey status) or trying way too hard to be edgy (the infamous Prison Rape joke).
  • Crazy Awesome: Cid smokes cigars, curses a lot, and is single-minded in his obsession with going to space, but he's the best damn pilot the group has encountered so far in spite of his insane vices. And that's not even getting into the true nature of his and Shera's relationship.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Hojo's confession to his fetish. On the one hand, forcing people to mate with each other or with animals is a grim and horrifying form of torture. In such excess, and with such a hammy performance, it suddenly becomes hysterical.
    • A woman grieving her dead son? Not funny. Revealing it was because she unknowingly fed him food with a high amount of lead? Also not funny. Revealing it was Tankceratops cereal and then having said Tankceratops roll by advertising the cereal? Fucking hilarious.
    • Red XIII rejoining the party by following a trail of corpses? Grim. Red happily revealing he's full from eating the corpses? Hilarious.
    • Cid being verbally abusive to Shera as in canon? Not terribly funny at all. Cid and Shera's relationship being Sadomasochistic with him abusing her verbally during the day and her dominating him sexually during the night? Hilarious!
  • Designated Hero: Aerith is supposed to be The Heart and the Token Good Teammate of a team of Jerkasses, but there were times, particularly in season 2, where she acted just as mean-spirited as Tifa, if not worse. The most notable examples include breaking the Shiva Materia after everybody admired her beauty and refusing to heal Tifa after she got bit by the Midgar Zolom just to get back at her for her mean comments towards her combined with her possessiveness over Cloud. It makes her come off as a self-righteous hypocrite when she ends up being the one who compares Yuffie's behavior to Tifa's. You could argue it was to give her more flaws, but she never faces karma for her actions, and she's given way too much lenience for her other flaws (like her tendency to either try to befriend or heal enemy monsters) when Cloud and Tifa were often punished more severely for less.
  • Designated Monkey: Cloud was this in season 1, as he rarely, if ever, deserved his harsh treatment. By season 2, Cloud Took a Level in Jerkass, justifying his treatment more. In season 3 he Took a Level in Kindness and the rest of the party started picking on him less.
  • Die for Our Ship: Some people theorize this to be the reason for Tifa's cruel behavior in contrast to the much kinder Aerith in season 1. Over the course of the subsequent seasons, this is proven to be false due to a case of Character Development, among other things.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The minor characters Cloud and Aerith meet while gathering materials for his disguise to sneak into Don Corneo's mansion (Giuseppe, the "Drugs" Guy, Squatacles and the Church of Brodin) are loved by fans for their hilarious lines and being kind and supportive of Cloud crossdressing (even if he was just to save Tifa).
    • The Tankceratops, in-universe, and out. Its limited on-screen time does not hinder its popularity. Its Large Ham tendencies and its Merchandise-Driven dialogue essentially made it a Fountain of Memes.
  • Fountain of Memes: Red XIII and Yuffie are viewed as this.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Palmer tries to steal Cid's rocket so that he could prove the Earth is flat, and his efforts end with him getting decapitated by the Tiny Bronco. Over a year later, daredevil "Mad Mike" Hughes died attempting to prove the Earth was flat with a homemade rocket, with predictable results.
  • Growing the Beard: The initial reactions to the series were lukewarm at best, with many being uncomfortable with the incredibly profane dialogue and run-of-the-mill abridgement characterization (i.e Cloud is a wimp (though that one's actually not too far off from how he used to be), Barret is an Angry Black Man, Tifa is a psycho), etc. After a few episodes for the cast to settle into their roles and the introduction of Aerith, both the writing and the characterization gradually became better, with many viewing the last 4 episodes of the first season being of the same quality of Team Four Stars' other projects, and the majority of viewers now being just as excited for it as DBZ Abridged.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Barret telling Cloud not to f*ck up in the first episode? Yeah, not so funny anymore when Episode 15 rolls around and reveals that Barret's backstory involves him f*cking up in the worst way.
    • Some of what the Remake did as its minor Adaptation Expansion and character development is oddly in line with some of the darker moments Machinabridged added for drama.
      • Tifa belittling Cloud in episode 2 for wanting to leave Avalanche after the Sector 1 mission distressed him so much becomes this in the HD Remake where we get a scene where Tifa expresses her own anxieties about working with a terrorist organization.
      • In canon, Cloud's mother was just collateral of Sephiroth's rampage in Nibelheim. Machinabridged gave him some new Adaptational Villainy where he tells Cloud to his face he killed his mother to give them a kinship as motherless orphans. In Remake Sephiroth's first onscreen appearance ends with him taunting Cloud over his mother's last words and describing how she died, using his murder of her as the basis of kinship through which they are connected.
      • Hojo's depraved obsession with Interspecies Romance is kind of funny if not just because he Crosses the Line Twice every time he talks about it with how hammy he is about it. In Remake his obsession with Hybrid Power is really focused on with none of the charming ham, to the point where he suggests to the Shinra higher ups that they should let Aerith be raped by SOLDIER members to try to produce a SOLDIER/Cetra crossbreed. It makes the few minutes he's on-screen one of if not the darkest moment of the game.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Barret's reaction to Red XIII being a "talking dog" in Episode 9 becomes this when it is revealed in the next episode that Barret always wanted a talking dog as a best friend ever since he was little.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Cloud being subjected to Tifa's abuse despite being his friend becomes this when Justin Briner, Cloud's voice actor, would later go on to voice Izuku Midoriya, who had similar issues with Bakugou. Taken even further that much like Midoriya, Cloud wanted to be a hero, but ended up being a washout in SOLDIER, mirroring Midoriya's Quirklessness.
      • In an early episode, Cloud does a sarcastic laugh that was probably meant to be a nod / Take That! to the laughing scene from Final Fantasy X. In the first episode of My Hero Academia, Midoriya does a similar laugh. Like with Tidus, he did it as a way to help him stay optimistic.
    • The casting of Justin Briner and Sarah Williams as Cloud and Tifa respectively become funnier when they are cast as another (soon-to-be) romantic couple in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Justin appears as high school-aged Gohan in a Flash Forward cameo in theSuper Android 13 Abridged movie, and then Sarah herself voices Videl in her quick Early-Bird Cameo in The Stinger of Episode 59, appropriately enough complimenting Super Saiyan Gohan's hair. Sadly, due to his work on My Hero Academia, Word of God states that he won't be reprising Buu Saga Gohan in Season 4. Not that it matters anymore since Season 4 was cancelled due to creative burnout.
    • Speaking of Tifa's early treatment of Cloud, during the Prison Rape threat, her comment about there being "so much to grab onto" with his hair becomes this when one remembers Crono, who arguably has more to grab onto. And unlike Cloud, he does end up in prison at one point.
    • Rufus's comment about how his father would likely kidnap someone Sephiroth cares about to lure him into a trap becomes this if you remember that the only person he cares about is Jenova, and Shinra did technically kidnap her by moving her from Nibelheim to Midgar. Also, Cloud questioning Rufus about how Sephiroth broke in to Shinra HQ is this if you realize he didn't break in; he broke out.
    • Cloud's fight with Rufus is this after the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Rufus is voiced by Xander Mobus, who is the current voice of the announcer, but it goes further when it was announced that Joker will be a DLC character, allowing a spiritual rematch between Cloud and Rufus. Adding to it, one of Joker's palette swaps is a white outfit made to resemble Goro Akechi's Crow outfit, with a white outfit and brown hair that helps him resemble Rufus more.
    • Some of the gags they made have proven oddly prescient given the release of the remake.
      • Remember that gag at the start of the first episode showing the three options of "New Game", "Continue", and "HD Remake"? Square Enix's E3 2019 presentation began with a new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake that began with almost exactly the same joke!
      • Tifa's comments on her legs being her best feature are a little funny in hindsight when her breasts are slightly toned down and her legs bringing more attention with her thigh highs in the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
      • The portrayal of Scarlet as a domineering "baroness" turns out to be more accurate than anyone expected, at least for the Remake, where the latest trailer shows her using a Shinra grunt as a footstool, and generally acting not that much different from her Machinabridged portrayal.
      • In episode 1, Cloud expresses bewilderment that the Guard Scorpion is weak to Lightning magic, much to Barret's annoyance. In the Remake, Cloud keeps advising to Barret to use Lightning magic on it, and when Barret uses it, he expresses surprise that it worked.
      • One Running Gag revolves around Cloud having a fear of heights. The Remake has Barret struggling to keep his cool when dealing with heights, showing that he has a fear of them.
      • Barret and Red XIII's Odd Friendship in Machinabridged became even more amusing because - with how Red is demoted to Guest-Star Party Member he ends up attached on the side to the other characters. Who does he spent the most time talking and having moments with? Barret. Even more amusingly is that their dynamic is reversed, with Red being a Deadpan Snarker throwing out quips to Barret, who can't understand them well enough to quip back.
      • The many kinds of Bahamut running gag became even funnier in Remake when for one phase of the penultimate boss, the enemies you're fighting do a Fusion Dance into a new form of Bahamut, adding another version of the dragon king to a continuity already overflowing with variants.
      • Cloud is obsessed that he was in SOLDIER to the point that all his attack names include soldier, in the Remake one of Cloud's catchphrases is that he's Ex-SOLDIER to make a point that he quit.
      • Reeve in this series points out how financially Shinra will be shooting itself in the foot by dropping a section of a city another section of the city. In the remake, the protagonists actually point this out after they hear the plan, and actually have some doubts Shinra would do such a thing because it would just be hurting them in the long term.
    • This won't be the last time Justin Briner voices a blonde-haired goofball who isn't as badass as he claims, gets pushed around by a busty fighter, and gets Dragged into Drag to infiltrate a lecherous tyrant's harem.
    • In this series, Barret and Red have a very friendly relationship. In the remake they have a few moments of antagonistic banter.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: The first three seasons take their time to tell all of Disc 1 in three parts, mining the material for all the comedy it's worth while still being an Abridged series, cutting away the chaff significantly. In comparison, Season 4 barrels through the entirety of Disc 2 as fast as it possibly can, which left most viewers with a significant sense of whiplash. This is likely because TFS is trying to end it sooner rather than later in order to avoid the burnout that killed Dragon Ball Z Abridged, so make of it what you will.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Practically everyone to some extent, but here are the standout examples:
    • Tifa is a Jerkass of galactic proportions, but she's also been emotionally crippled for years due to her mother's death and, later, her father's murder.
    • Barret, to a lesser extent. Sure he can be abrasive and at times verbally abusive towards Cloud. But he inadvertently caused his town to be destroyed, is a pariah among the survivors and former friends while having also lost his wife (Who, in this universe, he was caring for while she was ill until the destruction of his town). It's easy to see how he became the way he is, and why he's so hard on Cloud.
    • Yuffie becomes one when she briefly holds the Jerkass Ball during most of Episode 22. On the one hand, she steals everyone's materias and acts a lot more hostile to everybody, especially Tifa. But this is also the episode that shows that her family life is a wreck (his father is a deadbeat who asks her for money and her mother is in rehab); as well as the episode that reveals that Shinra crushing her home country during the war then turning it into a tourist attraction affected her a lot more than she initially let on. Shinra ruined her town and she wants revenge. When Tifa explains to her that her behaviour is destructive on the long run and tries to stop her before it's too late, while opening up to her about the deaths of her parents, Yuffie ends up in tears.
  • Les Yay: Tifa and Yuffie become very close friends over the course of the series. They regularly get pretty touchy around each other, which is notable given how hostile Tifa is when it comes to affection, physical or otherwise. It's also no coincidence that Tifa ultimately opens up to Yuffie about the death of her parents. And on Yuffie's end, her admiration for Tifa is the entire reason she joined in the first place, with the Materia seeming to be an added bonus.
  • Moe:
    • Yuffie in this version. She's pretty much a ninja-thief version of Pinkie Pie.
    • Also Aerith, even in spite of her Yandere tendencies. You'll miss her when she's gone...
    • Red XIII is generally seen as this by fans thanks to his cheerful and bouncy attitude and adorably derpy character portrait.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • President President Shinra crosses it not only by insisting on dropping a section of the city on top of another section of the city, but by taking way too much satisfaction in watching it happen. As creepy as it is to see him skewered to his desk with Sephiroth's sword, he had it coming.
    • Although Hojo probably crossed it a long time ago, attempting to force mating between Aerith and Red confirms it for the audience.
    • The fate of Nibelheim. It's almost entirely Played for Drama. In-Universe, in Cloud's memories, Sephiroth crossed it when he revealed to have killed his mother.
      • And if not that part, the part where he famously kills Aerith, then rubs her death in Cloud's face as Cloud cries over her body.
    • Scarlet led a massacre on Barret's village after their mako reactor was destroyed. This broke Barret into becoming the man he is now.
    • A more mundane version exists in Tifa's Dad screaming at Cloud, who was twelve years old at the time, for an accident that wasn't even his fault getting Tifa hurt. An adult man absolutely laying into a kid by affirming his fears that everyone in his hometown hates him and that he's weak and pathetic before cruelly forbidding him to go near the one person who's shown him kindness other than his mother and leaving him injured and alone a significant distance from home is nothing less than a piece of shit. That's not even getting into the years of psychological trauma he caused Cloud with that rant and the fact that doing so enabled Cloud's sense of self-worth to be eroded enough that Hojo could easily trick him into giving Sephiroth the Black Materia, damn near dooming countless lives and the planet itself to destruction.
  • Narm:
    • A lot of Sephiroth's exceptionally disturbing aura is undermined by the fact that his mouth always seems to be hanging open even when he's not talking, making it look like he's constantly trying to blow out a candle. This is especially jarring since everyone else with visible mouths can shut them just fine. There's also a notable moment when, while giving a completely serious monologue, the gesticulating character model stabs himself through the head with his own sword.
    • This series uses original animation at times, which makes sense since the original game didn't leave much to work with, but most of these scenes are just the character's profile pics talking to each other. That in itself isn't a problem, but it does get Narmy when this approach is used in serious scenes, like Aerith's death.
  • Never Live It Down: That whole Prison Rape joke from Episode 2 hung like an albatross around the neck of the show in general and Tifa in particular for a very long time. However, that seemed to be intentional. Viewers also seem to exclusively blame Tifa for the incident when it was implied that Barret gave her the idea.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Tifa got a lot of crap for generally treating Cloud like shit in episode 2. Subsequent episodes have revealed that she does genuinely care about him and wants what, in her own mind, is best for him, and that she's also a damaged wreck of a person because of her repressed memories of her disastrous childhood and has tremendous trouble emotionally relating to people. Season 2 in general seems to be dedicated to developing her in positive ways, making her more supportive of the other group members, and making her derision of Cloud apply mostly to moments where it's deserved. She even gets a Pet the Dog moment towards Aerith in episode 18.
  • Sophomore Slump: Downplayed in regards to the season 2 finale. While well received as an episode in it's own right, several felt that it lacked the tension and drama that the season 1 finale had prior, and the finales that seasons 3 and 4 would have after it. When it came out, some even questioned if it was actually the season finale due to how much it felt like any other episode.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Tifa is painted as a Jerkass for her hostility towards Aerith, but her reasons aren't unjustified, as her ditziness and tendency to befriend and heal enemy monsters has gotten Avalanche in trouble on more than one occasion.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Cloud giving Tifa an epic "Reason You Suck" Speech at the end of Episode 10.
    • Yuffie's introduction is her getting punched in the face, no doubt something fans have wanted to do to her in canon since the Wutai sidequest.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • By season 4, the Turks have been Demoted to Extra, with most of their scenes getting cut, including the final encounter with Cloud and the gang during the return to Midgar.
    • Vincent doesn't really do much apart from spouting an occasional gloomy one-liner. The final confrontation with Hojo was built up as his limelight episode, but his backstory is only shown in quick flashback glimpses, and he anticlimactically kills Hojo as Chaos.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The visits to Coral were good opportunities for Barret to have a Jerkass Realization, since the locals treated him like a fuck up in the same way he does Cloud. However, the first visit gets ruined by Cloud making an insensitive comment, and the citizens of Coral forgive Barret during the second visit without any self-reflection.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • The reason why Cloud is considered a Designated Monkey for viewers. In season one, his worst crime was being rather cocky, but not to a Vegeta degree. Season two gives him more Jerkass Balls, like telling Barret to just get over Corel burning down and insensitively telling Zack's parents that he very likely died. However, as mentioned in Unintentionally Unsympathetic below, both incidents were at the expense of unrepentant Jerk Asses.
    • Tifa becomes a much bigger Butt-Monkey in season 2. The biggest example was when she's poisoned by the Midgar Zolom and Aerith deliberately lets her suffer. This seems to be presented as Laser-Guided Karma for her Jerkass behavior in season 1, but even the infamous Prison Rape ultimatum didn't warrant something as horrific as nearly getting poisoned to death.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Zack's parents' anger at Cloud's insensitive way of announcing their son's death is perfectly justified, but it also comes a minute after they laughed at the expense of a woman who lost her son because of lead poisoning, and the Moral Myopia can make it hard to sympathize with them.
    • Barret during the first visit to the Golden Saucer. While Cloud telling him to just get over what happened to Corel was a bit uncalled for, that doesn't really justify him snapping at everybody when Red XIII tried calming him down. He also had no room to get on a high horse with Cloud over his insensitivity when he had done nothing but insult Cloud, it was implied that he gave Tifa the idea to use the Prison Rape threat, and he was busy rambling on about the different types of Bahamut while Cloud was telling his backstory.
    • Tifa's real reason for being a jerk to Cloud. One of the initial reasons was because of her trauma over the death of her father, which was a pretty believable Freudian Excuse. However, season 4 reveals that she bullied Cloud because she assumed that was how he remembered her so that she wouldn't screw up his already faulty-memory. As good as her intentions were, it just makes her behavior in season 1 look worse in retrospect since it gives the impression that she knew full-well she was crossing the line, especially after all the times she seemed to enjoy making Cloud miserable.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: The main cast barely tolerates Yuffie's presence at first since she's an annoying and bratty teenager, but she's pretty popular with the show's fans specifically for that reason.
  • What an Idiot!: When Cloud is disguised in drag, what does he tell Don Corneo in attempt to get out of sleeping with him? "I'm a virgin!"
  • The Woobie:
    • In Season 2, Red XIII is very worried about his best friend Barret's sudden moodiness as they get close to his hometown. Then right after being confronted with his past mistakes, the especially touchy Barret explodes at Red and calls him a bad dog before storming off, while Red isn't mentally equipped at all to understand the emotional nuances going on and cries as he thinks it must be true.
    • Reeve is a man who longs for justice and genuinely wants to improve the lives of his citizens, but is stuck working for a company run by moronic Card Carrying Villains. He's regularly belittled by his coworkers, especially Scarlet, who went as far as to sleep with him just to mock his performance. He even cried about Sector 7's destruction and Cait Sith's dialogues give more insight into his lonely lifenote  and his feelings of Heroic Self-Deprecation. When Cid asks everyone to close their eyes and visualize their biggest dream and the type of world they want to see to calm them up, all he can see is the destruction of Sector 7.
    • Cloud. Hoo boy, where to begin with this guy?
      • To start off, as a child, he effectively grew up friendless. Not even Tifa wanted anything to do with him until after her mother died.
      • Was unable to save Tifa in an accident when she tried climbing Mount Nibel to find her mother, and was told off by her father. This inspired a damn near obsession in Cloud to become stronger.
      Tifa's Dad: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!? MY DAUGHTER COULD HAVE DIED! NO WONDER ALL THE KIDS IN TOWN HATE YOU! MAYBE, IF YOU WEREN'T A WEAK LITTLE SHIT, NONE OF THIS WOULD'VE HAPPENED! DO ME A SOLID, AND STAY THE F*CK AWAY FROM HER!
      • His inability to get into SOLDIER, and breaking his promise to Tifa clearly still weighs on him once he remembers. This is exemplified when, during his return, he masks himself and goes under another name just to make sure no one recognizes him out of shame. It takes a pep talk from her to seemingly get him out of that mindset.
      • Zack's general mistreatment of him during their time there. From yelling at him for his failures, whether it was actually his own fault or not, to making him bury his friend together with a Jenova experiment. Although the implication is that the real Zack was much nicer than the person Cloud projected himself as, and "his" abuse of "Ramirez" was just a subconscious projection of his own self-hatred, which is its own can of worms.
      • Sephiroth's is arguably even worse. While he usually just ignored him before he went off the deep end, after paints a terrifying image when he murders his mother, and burns Nibelheim to the ground to make Cloud just like him. Understandably, this also led into his lust for revenge against the man, along with the grief.
      • Though it remains unseen, his and Zack's experimentation and implantation of Jenova Cells, along with the Mako Poisoning afterwards that basically turned him partly comatose.
      • Something else left unseen was Zack's death. Along with said poisoning leaving him mentally unstable, everything he dealt with caused Cloud to form a new persona. One where Zack never existed to begin with, and Cloud himself was a First Class SOLDIER.
      • His subsequent reunion with Tifa. Not even a full two minutes goes by before his Butt Monkey card gets reinstated.
      • Then came the series proper, where Cloud is... Coerced, into helping a terrorist group, AVALANCHE, to Break into a reactor and blow it up. He is understandably troubled by this, and probably would have ran if the threats and blackmail he suffered just a couple of episodes later hadn't forced him to join up out of a fear for his own life.
      • What follows is his Butt Monkey card turning into a Gold Membership. The group, sans a few members, usually just tolerates his existence, Often insulting him, and generally forcing him to do the jobs no one else wants to, and gets blamed and insulted further when things go wrong while his achievements are left completely ignored. After the temple, the group was more worried about having to pass their insults onto Vincent rather than his own health. It's part of this that likely led to him becoming more of a jerk later on in the series, and seems to internalize their behavior as something normal.
      • While Aerith is still a sweetie to him, and generally acts as a sole crutch for Cloud in the group, validating his emotions and goals while genuinely caring about his mental health, and helping him to be a little kinder to others, her actions are kind of scary themselves. It leaves one wondering how things could have gone between them, were she able to survive...
      • Sephiroth takes control of Cloud's body on more than one occasion, forcing him to hand over the Black Materia, and nearly killing Aerith at one point.
      • Aerith's death. It weighs on him so much that most of his usual tendencies vanish entirely, leaving him just as closed up and brooding as his canon self. There's only a single scene in the following episode where he acts like normal, and even that is short-lived.
      • Cloud's realization of the Nibelheim incident. It forces him into an Identity Crisis so bad that it leaves him an Empty Shell. He doesn't even beg for a number from Hojo; just monotonously agreeing that he's a failure before being thrown up to casually hand Sephiroth the Black Materia.
      • And FINALLY, his renewed, and far more extreme, Mako Poisoning; to the point it leaves his mind shattered, and him a vegetable. The most he can do is just mumble incoherently while his body repeatedly flops around in his wheelchair.
    • Tifa, especially once she grows out of her Jerkass Woobie stage. Following her mother's death, she bottled up her emotions and badly coped with them, roping Cloud into doing a variety of dumb things. With (half of) the Awful Truth revealed, once he left, she effectively lost another of her emotional crutches and couldn't exactly hide her sadness that he wasn't among the SOLDIER retinue sent to the town (as far as she knew anyway). By the time she met up with him for real, her emotions had already exploded as a result of Sephiroth murdering her father before her very eyes, turning her into the snippy, unsympathetic bitch she was in Season 1. Her journey with the party mellows her out significantly, culminating in reconciliations with Cloud, Yuffie, and Aerith. All the while, however, she tries to hide the truth from Cloud, afraid of what would happen if he found out. While her reaction isn't as extreme as Cloud's, Aerith's death still significantly affects her, and with the Awful Truth laid bare and Cloud effectively having broken down completely and then being found a week later as a vegetable due to Mako poisoning, the poor girl's final line in Episode 27 just carries all of the weight of that guilt of hiding the truth, her mistreatment towards him, and flood of trauma and emotions she's been drowning in for almost a decade.
      Tifa: Cloud... I'm sorry.

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