Revisiting Final Fantasy VII (Part 16)

I think this would be an appropriate time to play “Rocket Man” by Elton John.  Not because the song has any major thematic significance in relation to our last party member, but because it has ‘rocket’ in the title, and that’s good enough to tie it to Rocket Town, where we meet Cid.

Cid has worn many hats in the history of Final Fantasy.  He’s almost always a technological genius of some sort when he pops up in the series, and in Final Fantasy VII that still holds true.  This version’s called Cid Highwind, and he’s a foul-mouthed aviator who I never really paid much attention to when I was younger.  It may be because he’s more or less just a regular guy in a party full of super unique people (when you can have a talking cat-wolf-thing and a vampire in your party, why would you need to bother with this guy?).

CidHighwind-FFVIIArt

Don’t believe that dashing smile. (Image credit: finalfantasy.wikia.com)

Now that I’m older, I feel like I can appreciate some of the characterization a bit more in this game, which has led me to this conclusion about Cid:

He’s a misogynistic jerk.

It’s a funny thing to point out, but Cid really does have a weird problem with women.  Well, I suppose it might just be one woman, but when your introduction to a character involves him yelling at his housekeeper/assistant/girlfriend to “Make some @#$%$!@ tea!” that suggests there might be some deep-seated psychological issues.

See, in Cid’s tragic-backstory-that-explains-why-he-has-a-beef-with-Shinra (TM), he was going to be the pilot for the first manned mission to space.

Okay, that’s pretty cool.

Then his assistant Shera forced him to abort the launch because she was worried about a problem with one of the oxygen tanks that might have been disastrous.  Now, here in the real world we understand that when it comes to rocket science, you want to be really confident that you know what’s going to happen so that bad things don’t happen.  People get killed when engineering problems go unchecked in these situations.  Given that information, a rational person might say to Shera, “You know what, I could have died if you hadn’t been so diligent in double-checking that tank.  I know the mission’s been delayed, but that’s a small price to pay considering you may have just saved my life.”

Cid does not react like this.

No, his reaction is more like, “Damn it, Shera, you’ve ruined my space dreams forever by forcing me not to inadvertently kill you by proceeding with the launch!  I hate you!  Now make some @#$%&*)& TEA!”

Cid’s a little foul-mouthed.  It’s his defining verbal tic.

Anyhow, Cid’s all pouty because he did the right thing and aborted the launch so Shera wouldn’t be burnt to a crisp when the rocket took off (she was so worried about the tank’s integrity that she was checking on it during the final countdown; if that doesn’t scream “potential safety hazard” I don’t know what does).  After the aborted mission, Shinra cut funding from their space program because all the money was in Mako energy, so Cid never got a chance to try again.

Clearly this is all Shera’s fault.

It doesn’t help that when we’re receiving this information, Cid’s theme, which is quite dashing and purposeful, plays in the background, highlighting the tragic fate of this man who was forced to choose to save a life instead of achieving his personal glory.  The only problem is that he openly resents the woman he saved, and despite this, she remains loyal to him and apologizes for his gruff behavior behind his back.

That’s not a charming relationship dynamic, folks; that’s a sign of abuse.

On the bright side, the party sweeps into town and steals Cid’s personal biplane (while simultaneously making more trouble for Shinra) with Cid in tow, which we can now use as shallow-water transport (it’s complicated).  Maybe Shera will have some peace while he’s away getting his revenge on corporate robber barons, and maybe we’ll get a chance to forget how repugnant his treatment of that poor woman is.

“I think it’s going to be a long, long time.”

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