Friday, March 2, 2012

Personality of Cloud

In Final Fantasy VII, due to the combined effect of Mako poisoning and the influence of Jenova's cells in his body, Cloud unknowingly holds a fake persona created by the Jenova cells mixing his memories of Zack's personality with the somewhat cocky and selfish attitude he believes a SOLDIER 1st Class would have. However, during the game events he eventually restores his original personality, and shows genuine concern for The Planet's fate, a sharp contrast to his persona at the start of the game where he claimed he did not care about the Planet and only agreed to help AVALANCHE for the right price.
However, during the film Cloud faces his past both metaphorically and literally, with Sephiroth's rebirth, his visions of Aerith and shows of loyalty from the friends he tried so hard to let go. These events allow him to forgive himself for the deaths of Zack and Aerith and move on, although it is unclear what this ultimately means in terms of his personality and lifestyle. However, the mere fact that he is present to aid his old allies (and even cracks a slight joke), shows that he has indeed moved on in his life.In Advent Children and many related appearances, Cloud is a much more somber and dark character, tormented by guilt over what he perceives as his past failings; being unable to prevent the deaths of Aerith Gainsborough and Zack Fair. The final straw was when he contracted the terminal Geostigma plague, which added to his feelings of helplessness. Deciding to distance himself from his friends and live alone, he tries to keep his affliction secret so as not to cause further grief.
In Crisis Core, Cloud is depicted as a rather shy, but more upbeat person who idolizes both Zack and Sephiroth. However, when Sephiroth burned down Nibelheim and badly wounded his friends Zack and Tifa Lockhart, Cloud does not hesitate to avenge them by hurling the madman to his apparent death whilst himself being impaled with the Masamune.
Despite the feelings he may have, Cloud remains steadfastly loyal and true to those he cares about and is always driven to protect them, even going as far as to hide his pain and emotions so he could not worry them. Ultimately, it is his selfless and kind nature that gives him the ability to overcome Sephiroth time and again. His compassion is explored further when he brings Denzel back to 7th Heaven and shares with Tifa an obligation to take care of the boy because of the guilt they felt for Sector 7's destruction. Because Cloud saved him, Denzel looks up to Cloud as an idol and both share a strong bond.
Cloud also has a lighter side, willingly crossdressing as a woman in order to save Tifa Lockhart from Don Corneo's mansion. He also has a dry, ironic wit in Dirge of Cerberus, when he cracks a joke with some of his allies. Overall, while he has a rather moody demeanor, his personality is not as brooding as that of Vincent Valentine. Like Yuffie Kisaragi, Cloud also suffers from motion sickness, and has even given her advice on how to handle it while aboard the Highwind. It is seemingly cured during the period when Cloud upholds his fake SOLDIER persona, but returns when his true self is restored, although his ability to ride the Fenrir on delivery business suggests his motion sickness has somewhat improved.
In The Reunion Files for Advent Children, Tetsuya Nomura explained that while Cloud was initially depicted as a more upbeat character at the end of Final Fantasy VII, he chose to have Cloud be a character that fans would find more familiar, and the script was written to explain why Cloud had returned to such a frame of mind. Nomura also said that a great deal of care was taken to animate Cloud's face and expressions, and over thirty different models of his face were made. His face was modeled to keep "a stiff upper lip", with his emotions and thoughts being expressed through his eyes.

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