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Aerith Gainsborough, also known as Aeris Gainsborough, is one of the female protagonists in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. She uses a staff as her weapon and wears a pink ribbon in her hair. Having lived in the slums of Midgar for years, she has become street-smart, and has had to evade the Shinra many times. She is portrayed as a independent, outgoing and kind young woman who displays an intuitive understanding of others at times.

In the original Japanese version of Final Fantasy VII, her name is Aerith, but it was translated as Aeris in the English version by SCEA. This is because the Japanese language doesn't have the "th" sound, and the closest thing is "su," the equivalent of the English-language "s" sound. The translators were mistaken when they spelled her name in English, and took the "su" sound in her Japanese name to mean an "s." However, since Kingdom Hearts, her name has been translated as Aerith in her appearances such as Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, meaning that the Aeris name has been retconned.

Aerith's speaking debut came in Kingdom Hearts, with her voice actress pop star Mandy Moore. For Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Mena Suvari took over with her performances being heavily criticized. In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Aerith was voiced by Andrea Bowen, whose performance has been better received. {|summary="Contents" class="toc" id="toc" |

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In Final Fantasy VII, Aerith wears an ankle-length pink dress with a slit up the front that buttons up. She also wears a red bolero jacket over this with metal bracers. She has brown boots and carries a staff as her weapon. Aerith's hair, in all her appearances, is drawn back in a thick plait with a large pink ribbon tied around it. Her bangs are segmented and frame her face on the sides, and she has bright green eyes. Aerith roughly keeps this appearance in Kingdom Hearts, but her jacket is absent. She also retains this appearance in Advent Children.

Co-Director Nozue has said that Aerith's appearance in Advent Children was designed with particular detail, as although she didn't appear much, it was believed that fans would pay close attention to her when she did appear. Nomura stated that they knew from the beginning they wouldn't show her face until the final scenes, and when her face was finally revealed, he thought she looked "cuter than ever".

In Crisis Core, Aerith wears a blue and white dress with a red cami underneath and pink wedge sandals. It is in this game that her trademark pink ribbon is bought for her by Zack. In Kingdom Hearts II, Aerith wears a more elaborate outfit, with a red and white dress held by a single strap around her neck, and a frilly white and pink skirt. She wears a similar outfit in Before Crisis, simply with more green colorings. In Final Fantasy Tactics, the Flower Girl wears a blue and black dress with a hood.

Aerith is highly upbeat and cheerful, and several times in Final Fantasy VII cheers up the other party members. She is a bit of a damsel in distress, and in several appearances Cloud rescues her from whomever is troubling her. As she was raised in the slums Aerith still maintains that she can take care of herself, and is capable of fighting off Shinra troops and goes out of her way to help Cloud rescue Tifa from Don Corneo. Aerith and Tifa can also be found spending time together when the party splits up on occasion. As a child, Aerith was reluctant to accept her Cetra powers, and in Final Fantasy VII she later admits to Cloud that she considers herself alone, as she is the only remaining Cetra.http://

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Aerith's backstory is given in Final Fantasy VII. Aerith was born from one of the last remaining Cetra, Ifalna, and her father was Professor Gast Faremis in Icicle Inn on February 7th, 1985. However, when she was barely twenty days old on the 27th, Professor Hojo tracked down Gast, killed him and captured Ifalna and Aerith. The two became subject to numerous experiments by Hojo and ShinRa. Seven years later in 1992, Ifalna and Aerith escaped, but Ifalna was greatly wounded and only made it as far as Midgar. Dying on the train tracks within the Slums, Ifalna gave the young Aerith to Elmyra Gainsborough just before she died.

Elmyra raised Aerith through the years, and eventually Shinra relocated her. Though Shinra continues to try to capture her, they never succeed. Tseng of the Turks, who considers her a friend and has a crush upon her, attempts to persuade her to join Shinra instead of kidnapping her. As Aerith grows, she continues to hear voices of the Planet speaking to her, and along with Tseng's visits is aware of her heritage as the last Cetra, although when she is younger she is reluctant to accept this.

Aerith lived with Elmyra in Sector 5 in the Midgar Slums for the rest of her life up until the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. Even though people claimed nothing could grow in the slums, because the Mako Reactors drained all the life out of Midgar's surrounding areas, she managed to grow her own flowers in the Sector 5 Church due to the presence of the Lifestream there. Aerith tended to the flowers on a regular basis, selling them about Midgar to help Elmyra make ends meet. So great was her connection to the church, that even after her death, when children play there, a spectre of Aerith can be seen there tending to the flowers, though this specter can also be seen before her death under the right circumstances, calling into question whether the appearance of the specter is intentional or merely a glitch.http://

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In 2000, a fifteen-year-old Aerith first meets Zack when he 'falls from the sky' into her church. When he awakens, Zack at first mistakes himself as being in heaven and Aerith as an angel, but Aerith quickly corrects him. As a repayment for saving him, Zack suggests a date, but Aerith brushes him off. All the same, she shows him around, and Zack buys Aerith her trademark pink hair ribbon.

The two go to the park afterwards. During this time, Aerith says that she is afraid of SOLDIER members, as they are not normal, and that they frighten her for being experiments who love to fight. Zack then says he is from SOLDIER and she apologizes. To break the awkward silence, Aerith says that his eyes are beautiful. Zack lets her have a closer look, and as they draw nearer, Aerith becomes aware of their close proximity and pushes him for teasing her. He then comments that his Mako eyes are like the sky. Aerith smiles and says that they're "not scary at all". After this, Tseng calls Zack back to the Shinra Headquarters, but he promises Aerith she will see him again. Aerith and Zack continue to speak frequently over his cellphone, and after Angeal's death, Zack returns to see her and she holds him as he cries. She first shows up in Before Crisis Episode 6, selling flowers to Rude when he goes on his date with Chelsea, although she is not called by name. In Episode 11, on August 9th, 2002, her role is the same as it would be later on in the series; as the last Cetra, she is caught between AVALANCHE and Shinra, both parties attempting to capture her. A Turk in the area tries to protect Aerith from the AVALANCHE forces and helps her flee. Aerith tells the Turk she had been out late because the wind was calling her, and she wants to go on a journey to see the planet but knows nothing of the outside world. Eventually, she is captured by Sears.

Aerith is taken to her church to meet Elfé, who gives her a proposition. Elfé tells Aerith that AVALANCHE wants to bring down Shinra and protect the Promised Land from them, and thus it is in her best interests to ally with them. Aerith notices an "old voice" coming from Elfé, and this inadvertently leads to the discovery of a Turk spying on them. They attack the Turk, but Aerith intervenes to delay them. Elfé is then stricken by a sudden weakness, and AVALANCHE retreats. Tseng arrives, and the Turk allows Aerith to flee while they distract him.

Sometime in September, Zack returns to meet Aerith one last time. He helps Aerith build a wagon to carry flowers around to sell to people. Aerith then asks Zack for "a few tiny wishes", and Zack has her write them down for him. The two later head out to the slums to sell flowers, although it doesn't go well. It is shortly after this that Zack is sent to Nibelheim.

In the game's final sequences, it is revealed that Aerith has been doing well selling flowers in Midgar, and during the five years of his disappearance she has written Zack 89 letters though he never receives 88 of them. In the ending scenes of Crisis Core, Aerith is seen tending the flowers, then turning and looking towards the sky and clasping her hands. It is at this time, outside Midgar, that Zack is gunned down by Shinra forces. Although Final Fantasy VII makes it clear that Aerith is unaware of Zack's fate, it has been interpreted by some that Crisis Core's last scenes have retconned this to her sensing his demise and is simply denying this fact during the original game.http://

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Aeris is first seen in the opening FMV, where she is seen observing a leaking pipe with Mako overflowing it. She continues to sell flowers on the street for one gil after Zack's death, when she meets Cloud Strife on December 9th, 2007, who bears a striking resemblance to Zack. Cloud warns her to get to safety after the destruction of the Sector 1 Mako Reactor, but Aeris doesn't heed his words. Later on, Cloud falls into her church on a failed attack on the Sector 5 Reactor, and wakes up on the flower bed. Reno of the Turks comes to apprehend Aeris shortly after, and Aeris asks him to become her bodyguard, he tells her it will cost her and she offers him a date as payment. He does not respond, instead turning to talk to Reno before helping Aeris to escape. Cloud takes her home, but sneaks out during the night to return to Sector 7 alone. Aeris heads him off and Cloud agrees to bring her along to Sector 7.

Taking a break in the playground, Aeris mentions Zack to Cloud, although not by name. Then they see Tifa Lockhart on a chocobo cart, and assume she has been kidnapped by Don Corneo. Through an idea of Aeris, she and a cross dressed Cloud infiltrate the Don's mansion and try to rescue Tifa, who reveals she did not need rescuing in the first place, and was trying to get information on ShinRa from the Don. Don Corneo told them that ShinRa has learned where AVALANCHE's base of operations is, and is planning to drop the plate covering the sector to destroy the entire area. The party's attempts to stop ShinRa fail, and Aeris is captured while taking Barret Wallace's daughter Marlene to safety. Cloud, Tifa and Barret attempt to rescue her from Shinra Headquarters, but are eventually captured themselves. After this time, Aeris' heritage and Shinra's interest in her are fully revealed through a variety of sources and events. Traveling with Cloud and his friends as they pursue the renegade Sephiroth, Aeris becomes increasingly close to them, and following a visit to Cosmo Canyon, fully comes to terms with her powers and duties as the last Cetra.

Eventually, the party tracks Sephiroth to the Temple of the Ancients, and Aeris accompanies then, using her innate powers to help decipher the temple's mysteries and enter the inner chamber. Here, Sephiroth reveals his plan to use the Black Materia to call Meteor, the ultimate black magic. The temple itself becomes the Black Materia, but Sephiroth manipulates Cloud into giving it to him. When Aeris attempts to stop Cloud, he attacks her and passes out. While he is unconscious, Aeris contacts Cloud in a dream, and tells him that she can stop Sephiroth. When Cloud awakens, he is told Aeris is gone and, after being motivated into going after her by Tifa, follows the clues she has given him in the dream to find her.http://

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The party arrives at the Forgotten Capital, where Aeris is praying. Sephiroth takes control over Cloud again, and instructs him to kill Aeris. Cloud is stopped by his friends, but then Sephiroth falls from the ceiling, and impales Aeris through the back, killing her seconds later. Enraged, Cloud turns on Sephiroth, who flees and leaves Jenova LIFE to fight them. After Jenova is dispatched, and the party pays their respect to Aeris, Cloud carries her to the pool of water in the center of the city and puts her corpse to rest beneath the water.

Later in the game, it is revealed that Aeris was using her White Materia to communicate with the planet and call forth Holy, the ultimate white magic that can defend against Meteor. The party learns that Aeris had succeeded in calling it just prior to her demise, but that Sephiroth is blocking its power from working. After Sephiroth is defeated at the end of the game, Holy is able to begin to move, and after being pushed to a safe distance away from the planet by the Lifestream under Aeris' control, Holy is able to destroy Meteor with its full power, ending the threat to the Planet in later January 2008.

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Aerith's role in the Lifestream fending off Meteor is expanded in the novella Hoshi wo Meguru Otome, which depicts Aerith in the Lifestream immediately after her death helping to fight Sephiroth's influence over it as well as consoling other dead characters from the game. She also meets with Zack again, and helps Tifa and Cloud when they fall into the Lifestream. When Holy fails to defeat Meteor, Aerith commands the Lifestream to push it back and help Holy destroy it.

Aerith is also the central character in the On the Way to a Smile novella "Case of the Lifestream - White". As Sephiroth avoids dissolution and spreads Geostigma using the Lifestream tainted with his memories, Aerith tries to help heal the spirits of the dead he has caused and contain the damage being done to the Lifestream. Despite the help of the spirits of other Ancients, those infected with Geostigma eventually begin to die faster than Aerith can heal their spirits, so she resolves to try and contact Cloud and stop the infection on the planet itself.http://

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Aerith appears in the CGI-movie, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children which takes place one year later in 2009. She appears at a few points of the movie, to Cloud in a vast space of light, usually without background (presumably the Lifestream), and to others such as the children of Edge and Kadaj, though the viewer does not see her when she appears to these people. Cloud, blaming himself for her death, views her as the symbol of all those that he feels he has failed, and asks her for forgiveness. Aerith, however, tells him that it's time he did the forgiving. She, along with Tifa, Vincent, and Marlene, eventually convinces Cloud to forgive himself via these meetings - she even manages to leave a message on his cell phone telling him that his coming for her was all that really mattered, and that she never once blamed him for her death. Throughout these meetings the audience can only see the bottom half of her face. It is only in Cloud's fight against Bahamut SIN that her face is finally seen, though very briefly and distorted due to the curvature of Cloud's eye. In this scene, each member of the original game party helps Cloud in his final attack. The last to appear is Aerith - she is reflected in Cloud's eyes as a bright light shines. He takes her outstretched hand, which bestows life energy into him, which he uses to perform a limit break in order to defeat Bahamut SIN.

Aerith encourages Cloud on in his fight against Kadaj, and images of her, Zack, Tifa, Marlene, and Denzel are seen, when Sephiroth asks Cloud what the thing most precious to him is, so that he may take it away. After Sephiroth's defeat, rain begins to pour and heal the people of Geostigma and Marlene wonders if it's the 'flower girl'. Tifa thanks Aerith for her help, addressing a water droplet and implying that she too can see Aerith. Kadaj hears her voice in his dying moments, mistaking her for the Mother he was seeking, and presumably reaches out to take her hand as he dies. Cloud, too, calls her Mother, when he floating in a blank space after being caught in an explosion. This makes Aerith comically wonder why everyone's calling her that. Zack's voice tells her that it's probably because everyone is so fond of her. After saying that she doesn't need such a large child, Aerith heals Cloud's wounds, with Zack telling him that, unfortunately, there is no place for Cloud 'here' yet.After waking up in Aerith's church and healing Denzel's Geostigma, Cloud sees Aerith and Zack in the church; she beside some children, and he leaning against the doorway. Aerith heads towards the door, and just before exiting, turns to give the first extended shot of her entire face, and asks Cloud if everything will be all right from the on. Aerith then turns and leaves, walking into bright light along with Zack. Cloud affirms that he'll be okay, because he's not alone anymore. Aerith is seen in the ending credits, standing in a huge field of flowers, watching over Cloud as he drives by. She is represented by yellow flowers placed in front of a picture of AVALANCHE and Cloud's family on Cloud's desk after the ending.

In Advent Children Complete, during the new ending, phones around Edge ring, and the unheard voice of Aerith tells the children who answer to go to the church to be healed, confirming what was implied in the original release (that it was Aerith who directed the children there). Later, in the place where Zack died, white and yellow follows similar to those in Aerith's church have bloomed. Cloud tells Denzel this is where "a hero began his journey". An image is then shown of the Buster Sword, restored to its original state, and laid to rest next to Aerith's flowerbed in the church. As well, in the scene in the church where Aerith's face is revealed, her facial structure is redesigned from its Advent Children appearance, in addition to the sharper graphics from the different format of the film. http://

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Using a variety of poles and staves in battle, Aeris is severely lacking in the physical stats but makes up for it with her high magic stats and is thus more suitable for wielding Magic and Summon Materia. As well, her weapons tend to boost her Magic, again making her suitable as a Mage-type character. One of her weapons, the Fairy Tale, can be acquired in Gongaga Village and has seven Materia slots, the most of any weapon up to that point, and for some time after. However, as Aeris cannot be used after Disk 1, her combat abilities are thus highly limited in comparison to the other party members who can acquire stronger weapons later in the game. http://

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As a White Mage-like character, most of Aeris' Limit Breaks revolve around healing the party, and a few buff the party up. Of particular note is Fury Brand, which instantly fills the Limit bars of the other two party members; the strategies that could be formulated with this should be obvious. Aeris' ultimate Limit Break requires a bit of work to find and teach, but fully heals the party and makes them invincible, making it the most powerful healing technique in the entire game, even above the Megalixir, which only heals the party to maximum HP and MP.http://

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Level Name Obtaining Action Image
1 Healing Wind 癒しの風
Iyashi no Kaze
Already known Cures entire party for half of maximum HP. [27]
Seal Evil 邪気封印 Jakifūin Use Healing Wind 7 times Casts a spell that places the Stop and Silence status on all weak enemies. [28]
2 Breath of the Earth 大地の息吹
Daichi no Ibuki
Kill ~80 enemies with Aeris. Cures all negative Status effects. [29]
Fury Brand 怒りの烙印
Ikari no Rakuin
Use Breath of the Earth 6 times. Fills the two ally Limit Break bars to maximum and gives the Fury status. [30]
3 Planet Protector 星の守護
Hoshi no Shugo
Kill ~80 enemies with Aeris after learning Breath of the Earth. Gives all party members temporary invincible status. [31]
Pulse of Life 生命の波動
Seimei no Hadō
Use Planet Protector 5 times. Fully restores HP and MP and cures all negative Status effects. [32]
4 Great Gospel 大いなる福音 Ōinaru Fukuin After acquiring the buggy, ride it to Costa del Sol and board the Cargo Ship to Junon. Leave Junon and you will discover the buggy has been brought along with you. Drive it north over the river to find a cave with a sleeping man inside. If the last two numbers in the total number of battles you have fought are the same and those numbers are odd (33, 155, etc), he will give you Mythril. Later in the game after acquiring the Tiny Bronco, between the Gold Saucer and Gongaga Village is a house. Inside, a man will offer to trade you the Mythril. Agree to do so, then open the hatch on the left side of the overhead walkway. It will contain the Great Gospel manual. This can be done at any time, but must be done on Disk 1 to actually teach the Limit Break to Aeris. Completely restores the HP and MP of the party, and makes the party temporarily invincible to all physical and magical attacks. [33]

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Zack's Digital Mind Wave technique activates various powers based on the character portraits that appear. When three of Aerith's portrait appears, Zack performs a technique called "Healing Wave", similar to Great Gospel, involving praying in a field of flowers.{|cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2" border="1" !bgcolor="#234432"|Name !bgcolor="#234432"|Japanese !bgcolor="#234432"|Obtaining !bgcolor="#234432"|Action !bgcolor="#234432"|Image |- !bgcolor="#7fffd4"|Healing Wave |癒しの波動, Iyashi no Hadō |After meeting Aerith in her church. |Removes negative status effects and grants Invincibility for a short amount of time. It also restores a large amount of AP, MP, and HP, surpassing the limit of 9999 if an accessory that allows Break Damage is equipped. |[34] |} http://

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In Advent Children, Aerith is symbolically connected to water. In a battle between Cloud and Kadaj, a spring of water bursts forth from the flowerbed of the Sector 5 Church, and heals Cloud's Geostigma. After Cloud defeats Sephiroth, Aerith calls down healing rain to heal the people of Edge of their Geostigma as well. Tetsuya Nomura has stated that the healing rain is meant to be a reference to Great Gospel.http://

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Aerith was, along with Cloud and Barret, one of the first three playable characters designed for Final Fantasy VII before more were added. In the original development materials, it is stated the DNA of her mother Ifalna, not Jenova, would have been used to create SOLDIERs, and Aerith herself would have been cheerful but a bit naive regarding men, having never been in a relationship.

In a subplot that was cut from the final product, Aerith would tell Cloud stories about a nameless SOLDIER who used to buy flowers from her years ago. She eventually fell in love with him, though her feelings were unrequited. Cloud would have eventually deduced from these stories that the SOLDIER was Sephiroth, and would have gone out of his way to hide evidence of his true character from Aerith to avoid shattering her idealized vision of him. At one time, it was also considered that Sephiroth and Aerith would be brother and sister, and for Tifa to tell Aerith the truth about Cloud and the Nibelheim Incident.

During early plans for the game, Aerith was to have the Geomancer Job Class.http://

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Aerith's leitmotif is simply called "Aerith's Theme". Two other pieces focusing on Aerith, Flowers Blooming in the Church and Water, are derived from this central piece. http://

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Aerith is fought as a boss in the Training Mode of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-.http://

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A poster of Aerith can be seen hanging in multiple places around the main square in Edge, such as at points J-9, H-6, and G-5.http://

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Aerith made her cameo appearance in Final Fantasy Tactics, where she is initially referred to as a Flower Girl and later as Aerith by the ruffians that Ramza and Cloud fight off. Apparently, Aerith and her mother owe a 30,000 gil debt with the ruffians. The criminals go so far as to suggest Aerith could make the money by selling her body - but it is at this point that the player intervenes with Cloud.

In the PlayStation Portable release of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, she was referred to first as the Flower Peddler and then retranslated as Aerith by the ruffians that harass her.

It is unknown if she is supposed to be the same incarnation as the one in Final Fantasy VII (like Cloud), or if her similar look and name are just coincidences.http://

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Aerith appears in the Kingdom Hearts series with Leon and Yuffie. The three of them, along with Cid, Cloud and Tifa, all lived in Radiant Garden before it was taken over by the Heartless and re-named Hollow Bastion. She, along with Leon and Yuffie, assists the player throughout the series and is skilled in healing and defensive spells, giving Sora the Curaga spell in the first game. Aerith is close to Leon and is frequently seen traveling alongside him. She is knowledgeable of Cloud's feud with Sephiroth, telling Sora that Cloud is seeking Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix and encouraging Cloud to settle his feud with Sephiroth, certain that Cloud can find the light to combat his darkness in Kingdom Hearts II. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Aerith seems to be the only person in Traverse Town made from Sora's mind who knows that she is just a memory and that she should know who Sora is, unlike most other characters Sora meets including the other Final Fantasy characters. http://

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Aerith appears in Itadaki Street Special along with Cloud, Sephiroth, and Tifa. She also made an appearance in Itadaki Street Portable as a playable character. http://

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Aerith's name is intended to sound similar to the word "earth", though it is not a literal transliteration of the word.

In the English translation, Aeris is intended to be an anagram of "raise".

Incidentally, Aeris is a blanagram of Eris, the Greek goddess of strife and discord. In Latin, it is also the genitive form of aer, meaning air. Aeris can therefore be translated as "of air", something seemingly relating to her desire to see the sky and ride the Highwind and also represented in her Limit Break Healing Wind.http://

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  • An early demo of Final Fantasy VII includes her in the attack on the Sector 5 Reactor, although she does not appear outside of battle and does not speak to anyone during the attack.
  • Aerith, along with Cloud, appeared in the PS3 demo which recreated the opening sequence of Final Fantasy VII. As in Advent Children, her face is never fully shown; although she is shown from the side early in the video, her hair blocks the viewer from seeing her clearly.
  • Aerith is the only character in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII to bear more than two different English voice actors.
  • Aeris, which was Aerith's name in the original Final Fantasy VII, is also the name of one of the characters in the online comic VG Cats.
  • Aeris's final on-screen appearance in Final Fantasy VII outside of her appearance in the game's ending is as an Easter Egg. On disc three it is possible to return to the church in Midgar in the Sector 5 slums. If the player fulfills the requirements to do so and revisits the church, a silhouette of Aeris (or her "ghost" as some fans will say) will appear near the flower patch for a brief moment, then disappears when the player moves towards it. The children sitting around will also comment on Aeris's absence; asking where the Flower Girl has gone. It is possible to see this appearance as early as disc one, however, after her capture by Tseng, making it uncertain if the "ghost" is an intentional event or merely a glitch in the game.
  • Homage was paid to Aerith in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, in the city of Dalaran there is a flower vendor named Aerith Primrose who wears a pink and red outfit, similar to Aerith's iconic attire.
  • In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- it is revealed that Aerith was afraid of the sky, because she felt that it was pulling her in, which may be a sign of her relation with the Lifestream.
  • Even though her name is never mentioned, there are references of Aerith in Dissidia Final Fantasy; the field of flowers in which Cloud stands in the ending of the game similar to those in the Sector 5 Church, and Cloud's Crystal resembles the White Materia.http://

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