When we talked about fandoms, we show our appreciation and support by buying merchandise, cosplaying, writing fanfiction and etc. In fact, our appreciation can end up looking like a sign of religious worship. For this month, we will be talking about how certain characters express devotion to others, objects, and values. We will also be discussing how devotion can turn into an unhealthy form of passion and obsession and the implications of that.
*Spoilers for anyone new to Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, but I will try to spoil the entire story.
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Show your love through dedication
In any fandom, regardless in which group you fit in, there are many people who wants to show off how much they care for something or someone. In sports, we see people showing off jerseys in dedication to the loss of profession basketball player Kobe Bryant. In the anime community, even in troubling times, fans can share their appreciation for someone with a common interest. It has been a whole year since the Vic Mignogna controversy began and it is still going on. To those who don’t know what is this controversy, it all began in later January of 2019 during when Funimation released the theatrical movie of Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Fans went crazy as they saw the return of Vic being the voice of the iconic character Broly. Even the movie was a best seller, a dark storm was coming and it wanted to get rid of Vic. In February, news broke out that people were accusing Vic for harassing fans for hugging and kissing. To make matters worse, his so-called “friends” such as Monica Rial and Jamie Marchi made things worse and stated that he harassed them. Surprisingly, throughout the past months, there hasn’t been solid evidence showing and the fans of Vic stood with Vic and supported him. Here we are in 2020 and fans are eagerly wanting to see Vic. These fans believe Vic is innocent and they will do anything to show how much Vic means to them.
Overall, dedication is also like showing how much you care about the person and how far will you go in order to show it. In a positive way, it shows that you have the upmost respect for them. In this post, I am going to be a talking a young man who wanted to be a hero like his other heroes.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – The Prequel
Way before we had Final Fantasy VII Remake, we had other Final Fantasy VII media. We had the original PS1 game, the movie Advent Children and the PS2 spin-off called Dirge of Cerberus featuring Vincent Valentine. In 2008 (in Japan it was 2007), Square Enix released a video game called Crisis Core, a game focusing on the life of Cloud’s best friend Zack Fair and what happened to him before the epic tale of FFVII began.
In Crisis Core, we see through the eyes of the young man Zack Fair and his life in Shinra set seven years before FFVII. Zack wants to be a 1st class SOLDIER just like his mentor Angeal and be a hero like Sephiroth. During his life, he meets characters that will appear in the main story of FFVII such as the Turks like Tseng, his girlfriend Aerith (or also called Aeris) and his friend Cloud Strife. However, Zack learns the hardships when his dream of becoming a hero is challenged. Zack learns about betrayal, love and sacrifice and all these things would later affect his friends in Final Fantasy VII.
(There is going two sections in which they are optional. You can read one or the other or even both. The first section is going to be a detailed explanation about Zack and Crisis Core. Section 2 is going to be a quick overview synopsis if you don’t want to spend time on the details. Section 2 is the quick to the point.)
Future Hero in training
When jumping into Crisis Core, players first meet the young trainee, the second class SOLDIER Zack Fair and his mentor Angeal Hewley who is a first class SOLDIER. Zack is a young man who wishes to be a be a hero just like the other first class SOLDIER members such as Angeal, Genesis and Sephiroth. However, despite having a childish dream, his mentor Angeal gives him an important piece of advice as he grows: “embrace your dreams. If you want to be a hero, you need to have dreams and honor.”As Zack trains and learns from Angeal, he notices that his mentor hardly uses his Buster Sword. The iconic weapon which would later be used by Cloud in the FFVII game was originally a gift for Angeal from his parents as a gift for joining Shinra. Going back to the topic about Zack and the sword, Angeal tells him that the reason why he doesn’t use his sword is because it would “wear, tear, and rust.” However, despite his reasons, he would use his sword to save Zack. To Angeal, this sword is a family honor. In the eyes of Zack, Angeal was more than a teacher, he was a hero of Shinra and he wanted to be like him.
Death of a Veteran Hero pt.1
If you know about Final Fantasy stories, you know there will be troubling times. During a mission to find the missing 1st SOLDIER Genesis, Zack and Angeal works together to try and find him; however, Angeal disappears with Angeal. According to Sephiroth, Angela has deserted Shinra and betrayed his comrades. Zack doesn’t believe him and he goes on a mission to pay a visit to Angeal’s hometown and find his family and hopefully find these two SOLDIER. Unfortunately, Zack was not prepared to see his beloved hero turn against the company in which he once served. As the story progresses, he finally confronts his mentor and Angeal, feeling exhausted with running away, he decides to have a final fight with his student. Zack successfully defeated Angeal, but his teacher succumbs to degradation. It turns out him and along with Genesis was part of an experiment project that gave them superhuman abilities. With his dying breathe, Angeal gives Zack his trusted Buster Blade.
Despite Zack gaining Angeal’s sword and wisdom, Zack learned the hardship of becoming a hero.
Death of a Veteran Hero pt.2
After the events with Angeal and the attacks towards Shinra, Zack continued his best to serve Shinra and show support to his friends. He also made friends with a Shinra infantry named Cloud Strife and he is working close with the hero of Shinra, Sephiroth. However, even with the guidance of Angeal, Zack would later face another tragedy. During a mission at Cloud’s hometown, Nibelheim, Sephiroth discovers about his birth and his powers. Sephiroth would then cause a massacre at Nibelheim believing he is a Cetra, a special human who were close to nature and the planet. In shocking turn of events, the champion of Shinra was defeated by an infantry troop which was Cloud and made this insane man disappear. He was gone, but not permanent. Cloud’s dedication to protecting Zack and Tifa gave him the power to protect and win.
Zack – The True Hero of Shinra
After the events with Sephiroth, Zack’s goal of being a hero proves that some dreams must be paid with a price. After the incident, Zack and Cloud are experimented for four years by Shinra, but thankfully, Zack manages to get both him and Cloud out. Unfortunately, due to Zack’s actions, Shinra would later brand him and Cloud as traitors and criminals. Zack’s own people that he used to serve are now trying to kill him. As Zack and Cloud try to race back home to Midgar, they get surrounded by an army of Shinra troops. Realizing that this may be a final battle, Zack hides Cloud away and he decides to fight the army alone. In his dying breath, Zack gives the Buster Blade, the same sword Angeal gave him, to Cloud and tells him that he is his living legacy. Seeing his best friend killed, Cloud accepts the sword and carries it all the way to Midgar. Even in death, Zack continues to smile because he was able to protect his honor
Zack dedication to SOLDIER is heavier than the blade
The reason why I chose Zack as my main focus because he has the strongest dedication. In the beginning, Zack was just a simple young man who wanted to be one of the greatest among his friends. Zack trained everyday with a smile on his face and was always ready to serve. He dedicated his life to follow his heroes and that is what gives him the drive. However, Zack learns that his dream of becoming a hero would be tested when his closest friends would betray him, including his master. Despite the betrayal, Zack would still try to attain his attitude and dedication in hoping to protect his friends and honor. However, after dealing with tragedy, Zack learned the painful way of following his dreams. Even though Zack became a SOLDIER, his fun of wanting to be the best became bittersweet and he learned that the Buster Blade wasn’t the one weighing him down, it was actually the heavy weight of responsibility and burden of carrying Angeal honor. He warns his friend Cloud, a young man who wants to be SOLDIER, that becoming SOLDIER is very dangerous and he would have to be spending his time fighting.
However, in a surprisingly, Cloud does help Zack remember the importance of dedicating the honor and pride of SOLDIER. When Cloud tells Zack he never sees him use the sword, Zack remembers his time with Angeal and he sees Cloud has his younger self and he remembered how much he wanted to be like his master.
Even when his story was coming to a close, Zack still wanted to hold on his dedication of his pride and protect the people he loved. He fought his battles to protect people like Cloud, who would later carry on his legacy on the sword. Even if Zack was killed and no one was there to recognize him, he Zack was able to be someone greater than the heroes he looked up too. He died with the pride he protected and his legacy lives on with Cloud. In Final Fantasy VII, CLoud would later fight like SOLDIER and he and his friends would fight Shinra and protect the planet and even slay down the former champion of Shinra, Sephiroth.
Conclusion – Dedication is heavy
It’s easy to say you dedicate your life for someone or something, but it is actually hard. Making dedication is like making a commitment. Back then, Zack thought that dedicating his life to someone like Angeal would make things easier for him reach his goals. Unfortunately, his his dedication to his dream got hard when his trusted peers would shed light to his reality. Despite the harsh realization, Zack dedication to his pride would give him strength to wield the tools he needed to create the future. As long his legacy lived on, he can’t be dead. His spirit, his honor and dedication lies within the sword in which would later be with Cloud. Zack’s dedication is preventing the sword from wear, tear, and rust.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Keep an eye on Hazelyn’s post which will be on March 20th at Archi-Anime.
Embrace your dreams.