Sunday, July 6, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Nibelheim Part 1 - Rebuilding and Sephiroth's Conception

My notes on Final Fantasy 7 are piling up faster than I can write them out. There's a lot more here to talk about than I remembered.

This time I want to talk about Nibelheim in the present day.

First, I don't think it's really explained why and how the town was rebuilt and repopulated, so we can only theorize. Presumably, Shinra just really wanted to cover up the incident that happened five years ago and deny it ever happened. However, when people show up who were clearly familiar with the town, do they expect the visitors to just accept that, yes, maybe I just imagined being born and raised here, or knowing the people who lived in that house, or whatever.

In fact, later on when you go to get Tifa's final Limit Break you actually find a letter from Tifa's martial arts instructor, Zangan, in which he recalls saving Tifa from the Nibelheim reactor just before Shinra locked the place down, then reflects on how odd the town is now that it's been rebuilt and repopulated. At the very least, Zangan's account corroborates Tifa and Cloud's memories of Nibelheim burning.

I wonder if the people living there are just former (or current) Shinra employees getting paid well to maintain the illusion of the town, or if they're people who were brainwashed into thinking they had always been there?

Regardless, going there casts yet more doubt onto Cloud's story, though it also seems to contradict Tifa's past as well. Nobody there recognizes either of them, making it a very surreal experience.

The Shinra Mansion is clearly a common focal point of the story, being the place where Sephiroth was born (or, at least, conceived), as well a the place that Cloud was kept for the five years between the Sephiroth incident and the start of the game.

Given that, it's kind of funny that when they arrive in Nibelheim Sephiroth comments about not having a hometown, not realizing that this place most likely is his hometown, or at least as close to one as he's got.

Speaking of which, I don't recall if they ever explicitly say who Sephiroth's father was. I couldn't make out if Vincent was spurned by Lucrecia in favor of Hojo or Gast. Hojo certainly speaks of himself as Sephiroth's father, though I assume that's because he was instrumental in the experiment that made Sephiroth special. It's hard to imagine him actually procreating.

Alternately, if the father is Gast then that would account for his apparent fatherly affection for Sephiroth as a child, before he ran off to Icicle for whatever reason. If that's the case, though, then Sephiroth and Aeris are half-siblings, which would be an interesting twist.

I'm going to break this Nibelheim discussion into two parts, because there's a lot more to note.


  1. Several narrative elements suggest Hojo isn't exaggerating. Young Vincent having to deal with Lucrecia running into Hojo's arms. Maybe he was really charming when he was younger, who knows? At the very least they seemed to have similar passions.

    Also, I think there's a letter in modern day Shinra mansion that confirms that the people are actors. I think it's right inside the door on the left, and was written by Hojo if my memory has not deserted me.

    I could probably check my memory against the Internet, but I've chosen not to.

    1. You're probably right. I suspect that if Sephiroth and Aeris were related it would have been pointed out by now.

      I wonder if the fact that Lucrecia ran away had anything to do with Hojo's eventual coldness and instability? He seemed distraught when he shot Vincent in the heat of the moment, but just a few years later he orders the death of Gast in cold blood.

      Also, I checked Shinra Mansion, but didn't find anything like that. The only note I found there was the one that hints to the safe's combination.

  2. Oh yeah, and if you take Vincent up to fight Hojo at the end of disc 2, he seems to be really surprised and outraged that Hojo is Sephiroth's father. But why would that be a surprise to Vincent exactly? Hmm.