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Aerith Gainsborough

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Aerith Gainsborough
Aerith Gainsborough's artwork from Final Fantasy VII.
Universe Final Fantasy
Debut Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Smash Bros. appearances Ultimate
Most recent non-Smash appearance Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis (2023)
Console/platform of origin PlayStation
Species Cetra/Human hybrid
Gender Female
Place of origin Icicle Inn (birthplace)
Midgar (hometown)
Created by Yoshinori Kitase
Hironobu Sakaguchi
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura
Article on Wikipedia Aerith Gainsborough

Aerith Gainsborough (エアリス・ゲインズブール, Aerith Gainsborough; formerly translated as Aeris prior to Kingdom Hearts) is a character from the video game Final Fantasy VII.


Aerith first appears in Final Fantasy VII as a girl selling flowers in the slums of Midgar. Initially encountering Cloud after his first mission with AVALANCHE, Aerith offers him a flower before he goes on his way. Cloud next meets Aerith when he falls through the roof of the church where she gets her flowers from. When he learns that she is menaced by Reno, a Turk hired by the Shinra Electric Power Company, Cloud becomes Aerith's "bodyguard" with the offer of a date as payment. From then on, Aerith and Cloud flee Shinra's pursuit, and ultimately leave Midgar to pursue Sephiroth.

The reason that Shinra is hunting Aerith is that she is the last known descendant of the Cetra, a race of ancient humanoids that had the ability to interact directly with the planet's Lifestream. Aerith is shown "talking to the planet" like this several times. During her early childhood, Aerith and her birth mother Ifalna were subject to various experiments by Shinra to test what a Cetra was capable of. Both eventually escaped, but Ifalna did not make it far. Before her death, she asked a bystander named Elmyra Gainsborough to take care of Aerith, to which she agreed.

Years before meeting Cloud, Aerith met Zack Fair, who also fell through the roof of the church. Initially brushed off after asking to go on a date, Zack buys Aerith her signature hair ribbon from a vendor. She disclosed to Zack that she feared members of SOLDIER for being blood thirsty experiments, only to apologize profusely when Zack revealed he was a member himself. They soon parted ways and kept in touch until reuniting two years later after the death of Angeal, Zack's mentor and friend. Zack suggested Aerith sell the flowers growing in the church, as they are sought after commodities in Midgar. He even built a cart for vending, though the venture was a flop. That would be the last time the two would see each other, as Zack was assigned to Nibelheim soon after and never returned before his death. In the five years between last meeting Zack and first meeting Cloud, Aerith's flower business steadily grew into a success. She also overcame her fear of venturing outside her slums and started exploring more of Midgar, with a newfound desire to see the world. Aerith also had a run-in with members of Avalanche, which ended in a scuffle with them and the Turks trying to protect Aerith. She had also written 98 letters to Zack, all of which he never received.

After a failed attempt to foil Sephiroth's theft of the Black Materia, Aerith ventures alone into the Forgotten City in order to summon Holy, the only force capable of repelling the ultimate destructive magic, Meteor, which has been summoned by Sephiroth. Cloud and his companions give chase, eventually finding her. As Aerith looks up to smile at Cloud, Sephiroth appears and kills her by impaling her through the torso. Cloud carries Aerith's body out into a lake in the Forgotten City. Although Aerith successfully cast Holy before her death, it is held back by the power of Sephiroth's will. When Sephiroth is finally defeated, Holy is released, though Meteor had fallen too close and Holy's energy was unfocused by its gravity. Within the lifestream, Aerith commanded the lifestream itself to emerge from the planet and push Meteor back, allowing Holy to focus its energy and finally destroy the meteor. Cloud pays tribute to Aerith in later installments by tying her hair ribbon around his left arm.

Aerith's role is largely the same in the remake. However, Aerith appears to have deeper knowledge of unfolding events. She was the first to see the Whispers, invisible forces which appear to influence fate to their desire, and she can pass her perception onto others through physical contact. She emphasizes a wish to live in the moment and cherish the present.

Aerith is a joyful, caring person who is quick to make friends and is naturally pacifistic. Living in the slums of Midgar her whole life, she has a stubborn, street-smart attitude and rarely shows fear. While always looking for the good in people, Aerith will still acknowledge absolute evil like Shinra and Sephiroth. She can also be flirtatious, especially around Cloud, who reminds Aerith of her previous boyfriend Zack, who coincidentally was Cloud's best friend during the events of Crisis Core.

Aerith focuses on casting magic with her high magical stats, as well as having healing abilities and buffs as her Limits. She wields various rods and staves in battle.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

As a Mii Costume[edit]

The Aerith Mii costume in Ultimate.

Aerith serves as the basis of the Aerith's Outfit DLC Mii costume for the Mii Swordfighter. Aerith's Outfit uses both Aerith's design and her weapon from Final Fantasy VII, wielding her initial weapon, the Guard Stick. She was revealed during the Mr. Sakurai Presents "Sephiroth" presentation on December 17, 2020.

During the reveal trailer, the Mii Swordfighter representing Aerith is first seen holding a Fire Flower next to a green-glowing R.O.B. on the Fourside stage, referencing the intro of Final Fantasy VII, where Aerith is seen staring into the glow of Lifestream while out selling flowers in the slums of Midgar. The Mii Swordfighter is next seen escaping Roy, who is hit by a Barrel dropped by Cloud on the Temple stage, referencing Cloud and Aerith's escape from Reno in the Sector 5 church. The ending image features the Mii Swordfighter in the Garreg Mach Monastery stage's Reception Hall layout referencing the church as well.

Aerith was released alongside the other Round 8 Mii Fighter costumes on December 22nd, 2020.


Aerith also appears as an Ace-class support spirit in the Final Fantasy DLC Spirit Board.

Aerith uses a Zelda puppet fighter and is fought on the Fountain of Dreams stage. If the player has already purchased the Aerith DLC costume, Aerith will use a Mii Swordfighter puppet fighter wearing Aerith's Outfit instead. She is fought along with a Cloud puppet fighter. During the battle, the player must defeat Aerith to win, referencing how Cloud acted as Aerith's bodyguard early in Final Fantasy VII. Also, the puppet fighter is healed after a little while, referencing Aerith's Healing Wing and Pulse of Life Limit Breaks.

Aerith's spirit battle is also notable for having the Mii Swordfighter resemble Aerith, as opposed to the standard Mii Swordfighter.

No. Image Name Type Class Cost Ability Series
SSBU spirit Aerith.png
★★★ 2 Autoheal FINAL FANTASY Series

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name
Japan Japanese エアリス, Aerith
UK English Aerith
France French Aerith
Germany German Aerith
Spain Spanish (PAL) Aeris
Mexico Spanish (NTSC) Aerith
Italy Italian Aerith
China Chinese (Simplified) 爱丽丝, Aerith
Taiwan Chinese (Traditional) 艾莉絲, Aerith
South Korea Korean 에어리스, Aerith
Netherlands Dutch Aerith
Russia Russian Аэрис


  • There is a running gag in promotional footage featured between Smash 4 and Ultimate involving Zelda standing in for Aerith. This first occurs in Cloud's reveal trailer, where Zelda is featured holding a Lip's Stick on Kalos Pokémon League next to Cloud laying down, in reference to Cloud crashing into the Sector 5 slums church. One of the Challenge images in Ultimate features Cloud appearing to hold Zelda in the water on Tortimer Island, in reference to the events right after her death. Finally, Sephiroth's reveal trailer features a scene where he performs his down aerial next to Zelda on Fountain of Dreams, narrowly missing, similarly referencing her death. The use of Zelda in Aerith's Spirit battle if her Mii costume is not purchased furthers this connection.

External links[edit]