Spoiler Warning for an 18 year old game…
I don’t understand the people calling for Aeris to be revived in the VERY recently announced Final Fantasy VII remake.
The argument is very commonly made that Cloud could have just shoved a phoenix down into the cavernous wound that went completely through her body. This ‘theory’ makes a number of assumptions.
1st assumption: Phoenix downs resurrect the dead.
It makes sense, right? Sort of… within the game the primary purpose of a phoenix down is to “revive a KO’D ally with 25% of max HP.” It also has a chance to kill an undead enemy instantly. Let that linger for a moment … revive a knocked out ally. I would postulate that being impaled by a 6 foot long sword takes that extra step beyond unconscious. But that’s just me… let’s move on.
So where’s the confusion? In Final Fantasy XII you can unlock the following snippet…
“the Undying phoenix is said to call back souls from the heavens, but to win the attention of such fabled bird, you must give up a feather as an offering. The best are the downy feathers of the tail... hence the term phoenix down, see? Mark well that not just any feather will do. Depending on quality and size, the blessing received varies greatly. Displeased? You get what you pay for- Kirrik, Pugilist, Aletap Rumors.”
For posterity’s sake, Final Fantasy 7 came out in 1997 and Final Fantasy XII came out in 2006. The worlds of each individual Final Fantasy aren’t known to overlap beyond tertiary games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Dissidia… ergo that which has been established in XII doesn’t really hold sway over VII.
But let’s take a moment and assume that phoenix downs CAN resurrect the dead in VII
2nd Assumption: Phoenix downs work easily and aren’t complicated in the least.
We assume that we just throw up a phoenix down and whoever was dead rises without issue… but why make that assumption? (Beyond that two second animation showing exactly that, I mean. Think about that for a second... toss a phoenix down in the air and you revive someone nearby. What happens if you toss the bag full of phoenix downs on the couch? poof, the local graveyard is emptied and you’re out 63 phoenix downs.) In your party whoever is ‘dead’ is simply knocked out by the visual information given. We don’t see gunshot wounds or bruises or a caved in skull anywhere. Assuming that they truly allow one to rise from the grave it could simply be that they just return the soul to the body with minor healing going on (1/4 health counts as minor healing in my book). Judging by the death scene still… Aeris would have had a gaping wound through her torso. Sephiroth likely severed her spine and perforated her liver, gall bladder, stomach and possible her spleen. Even if phoenix down could resurrect her and heal ¼ of her wounds she would still instantly die. But that’s a little more real than fantasy typically gets, so…
3rd assumption: Aeris wanted to come back.
Aeris’ goal was to use her special Holy material to protect the planet from Sephiroth’s Meteor spell. She successfully cast it before death, sure, but we’re lead to believe that her spirit also guides the spell at the end of the game. Assuming phoenix down’s can resurrect the dead and assuming that the undying phoenix felt obligated enough to bring her back I don’t think she would have willingly gone.
But that’s all a bit more specific than is necessary… we can instead focus on the fact that her death has meaning and adds an extra layer of reality and gravitas to a fantastic story. Bringing her back to life cheapens the story and the experience as a whole.