Tifa Lockhart artwork by Tetsuya Nomura
Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
|First game||Final Fantasy VII|
|Designed by||Tetsuya Nomura|
|Voiced by (English)||Rachael Leigh Cook|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Ayumi Ito|
Tifa Lockhart (ティファ・ロックハート Tifa Rokkuhāto ) is a player character in Square Enix's role playing game Final Fantasy VII. Created by character designer Tetsuya Nomura, she has since appeared in the fighting game Ehrgeiz and cameo appearances in other titles, as well as the CGI film sequel to Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children and related games and media as part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series. As of Advent Children, Tifa is voiced by Ayumi Ito in Japanese, and by Rachael Leigh Cook in English.
A member of the terrorist group AVALANCHE and owner of the 7th Heaven bar, Tifa is the childhood friend of Cloud Strife, the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII. Convincing him to join the group to keep him close and safe, she later assists him in saving the planet from the game's villain, Sephiroth. Elements of The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII later touched upon her character further, such as the film Advent Children in which she attempts to convince Cloud to let go of his self-imposed guilt and move on with his life after Sephiroth's defeat.
Named the pinup girl of the "cyber generation" by the New York Times, Tifa has been compared to Lara Croft as an example of a strong, independent and attractive female character in video games. Sources such as IGN and UGO.com have both repeatedly praised both the character's appearance and strength as well as one of the best female characters in gaming, while Play named her the "most adored" of the Final Fantasy series' female characters. In 2007, Dengeki PlayStation named her the eighth best fictional character all time to appear in games for the Sony PlayStation.
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, Tifa was not present in early versions of Final Fantasy VII, and instead only three characters were intended to be playable: protagonist Cloud Strife, heroine Aerith Gainsborough, and Barret Wallace. However during a phone call to project director Yoshinori Kitase, the idea was suggested at some point within the game to permanently kill one of the characters, and after heavy discussion it was decided to have Aerith die. Nomura later joked that this was his idea to introduce Tifa into the game. Regardless, the notion of having two concurrent heroines and the protagonist torn between them was something Kitase liked, describing it as something new not present in past Final Fantasy games.
Tifa was developed to use the "Martial Artist" character class that appears in previous games in the series. She has long, black hair in a style resembling a dolphin's tail at the tip, and garments described as simple and monotone consisting of a white tank top and black mini-skirt. In addition, red boots and gloves cover her hands, sleeves extend up her arms from her wrists to her elbows, suspenders connect her skirt to her shoulders, and a large metal guard covers her left elbow. She stands about 5 feet 5 inches (167 cm) tall, and has three sizes of 36-24-35" (92-60-88 cm).
Initially Nomura had difficulty deciding whether to give her design the mini-skirt or long pants. Seeking input, he passed his sketches around Square's offices, and the majority of the staff members approved of the mini-skirt design. This additionally served as a contrast to Aerith, whose "Long Skirt" was her trademark. The attire was explained in respect to the game as giving her freedom of movement due to her affinity of weaponless fighting, and the skirt, noted as "quite short [...] giving a considerable degree of exposure", kept as a staple of her alternate costumes. The developers additionally noted that due to her figure, her otherwise plain garments took on a pleasant appearance.
When developing Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, director Takeshi Nozue had difficulty developing a framework for Tifa's body that was "balanced, yet showed off her feminine qualities". Her outfit was also redesigned at this point, with emphasis on expressing those qualities while being pleasing to the eye. A white tank top with black zipped up vest covers her front, a red ribbon wraps around her left biceps, and boots cover her feet. A black buttoned-up skirt covers her thighs with shorts beneath, with a piece of cloth similar to a coat tail ending at her ankles extending from the back of the skirt's waistband. While her gloves remain, they are worn only during the film's fight scenes, her hands otherwise being bare. Her hairstyle was changed to end at the middle of her back, additionally removing the dolphin tail tip from her original design. This last alteration was done due to the difficulty of animating her original length of hair, as well as problems that arose due to its black color and lighting.
Nomura described Tifa's character as having several dimensions, calling her "like a mother, a sweetheart, and a close ally in battle" and "remarkably strong, not only emotionally, but physically as well". He noted he liked Ayumi Ito as an actress, and wished to work with her on the project. With Aerith's voice actor decided already, Nomura requested Ito take on the role of Tifa for the film, feeling her "husky voice" would offer a good contrast to Aerith. Nomura additionally noted that after completing the Tifa's updated design they debated on her finalized details, but once Ito had been cast for the role they chose to blend many traits from the voice actress into the character's completed appearance.
Introduced in Final Fantasy VII, Tifa is the childhood friend of protagonist Cloud Strife, owner of the 7th Heaven bar and member of the terrorist organization AVALANCHE, who oppose the city of Midgar's Shinra corporation and their use of "Mako" energy from the planet as a power source. She convinces Cloud to join the group to keep a closer eye on him after noticing his personality had changed, and follows him in pursuit of the game's antagonist, Sephiroth. Unable to keep him from being influenced by Sephiroth's control, she helps him recover after his mind becomes fractured, and they realise their mutual feelings for each other and work together to help defeat Sephiroth.
In flashback cutscenes detailing events prior to the game, it is revealed that as children Tifa and Cloud had decided to follow a path to a mountain near her home town of Nibelheim only for both to be injured, with Tifa in a coma for a week and her father holding Cloud responsible for the incident. Cloud eventually left to join Shinra's "SOLDIER" program in order to become stronger, later revealed to be done in order to earn her attention. In response, she requested if she was ever in danger, he would return to save her. Years later he rescued her from a berserk Sephiroth after he had destroyed the town of Nibelheim on an expedition for Shinra, beating him to a stalemate but with both Cloud and Tifa critical injured. Surviving the incident, Tifa is taken elsewhere by the martial artist instructor Zangan, eventually arriving in Midgar and meeting AVALANCHE's leader, Barret Wallace, and joins his group in order to get revenge for the destruction of her home town. She eventually encounters an incoherent Cloud at the city's train station, and convinces him to work for Barret to keep him close and safe.
In early drafts of Final Fantasy VII, Tifa was to be a background character, her role in AVALANCHE was to support behind the scenes, and to cheer everyone up after missions, as well as a particular fondness for Cloud. She was additionally mentioned to have a large scar on her back caused by Cloud, and partial amnesia from when she had received it. A scene intended to imply her and Cloud having sex was proposed by Katou, the event planner, but was replaced with a toned down version by Kitase in which a risqué line is followed by a fade to black. In an interview Nojima stated that none of them thought it would be something so important at the time.
In 2005, she appeared in the CGI film Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, set after the events of Final Fantasy VII. In it, she tries to give emotional support to Cloud, and urging him to come to terms with the unwarranted guilt he places upon himself. In addition she takes care of Barret's adopted daughter Marlene and another child, Denzel. She fights against one of the film's antagonists, Loz, and later helps battle the summoned dragon Bahamut SIN. Script writer Kazushige Nojima described her role in the film as "very much like any woman who's been left behind like a man", stating that while they didn't want her to appear clingy, they also wanted to portray her hurt emotionally. In the film's initial draft, she was intended to have a more central role in the then-short film, which only featured herself, Cloud, and several children, with the story revolving around a note being delivered to him.
Tifa is also freatured in the games Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, as well as the OVA Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, in each appearing in events related to Nibelheim's destruction. The novella On the Way to a Smile: Case of Tifa is a story set in her point of view, telling the events between the end of Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children. In it, she creates a new 7th Heaven bar and attempts to hold onto the concept of a normal family with herself and Cloud as he begins isolating himself from others. She also appears in the game Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, set after the events of Advent Children in which she helps protagonist Vincent Valentine, later appearing in the game's epilogue discussing his apparent disappearance.
Outside of the Final Fantasy series, Tifa appears in the fighting game Ehrgeiz as an unlockable character and an optional boss. She later appears in the electronic board games Itadaki Street Special and Itadaki Street Portable. In Kingdom Hearts II, she appears in her Advent Children attire, searching for Cloud and later fighting various Heartless, the series' monsters. She was originally planned to appear in the Final Mix version of the original Kingdom Hearts, but due to time constraints the staff members chose to incorporate Sephiroth instead.
Since her introduction Tifa has received much positive reception, and has been cited as an example of a strong female character in video games in the wake of Lara Croft's introduction, and in 2010 was named in a poll by Famitsu the nineteenth most popular video game character by Japanese audiences. GameSpot readers named her one of the ten best female characters in video games, with the site's editors noting they agreed. IGN listed Tifa as the thirteenth best Final Fantasy character of all time, describing it as an attempt by Square to "give Final Fantasy characters real sex appeal", and one that "could take care of herself in a pinch"; in a follow-up Reader's Choice edition of the list, Tifa placed first, with the staff repeating their previous comments while attributing her placement on the list to her breasts. In a later article focusing solely on Final Fantasy VII characters she placed fourth, adding that while her sex appeal contributes to her popularity, "Tifa helped drive a tradition of tough, independent RPG heroines." They later named Tifa one of the ten best heroines in gaming, describing her as "without a doubt, a legendary heroine of the Final Fantasy universe". Mania Entertainment placed her tenth in their article of the "13 Video Game Women That Kick Ass", stating that while subsequent games in the Final Fantasy series introduced other memorable female characters, "Tifa is our first Final Fantasy girl and holds a special place in our hearts."
UGO.com ranked her twenty-fourth in their "Top 50 Videogame Hotties" article, stating "We can't get over how much better she looks in each subsequent game release." They later listed her as one of the "Top 11" girls of gaming at number five, stating a preference for her over Aerith in Final Fantasy VII and adding "Tifa's outfit is a marvel of understatement – but it's her natural assets and unforgettable personality that earn her a spot on this list." GameDaily ranked her thirty-first on their "Top 50 Hottest Game Babes" list, sharing UGO.com's preference for her and praising both her appearance and combat abilities. Tom's Games listed her as one of the "Top 50 Greatest Female Characters in Video Game History," describing her as "one of the more richly drawn and intricate female characters around." Joystiq named her their top pick out of twenty characters from the Final Fantasy franchise they wished to see in Square Enix's crossover fighting game Dissidia, describing her as one of the series' "greatest heroines".
In June 1998, the New York Times Sunday Magazine featured her as the pinup of the "cyber generation". That same year, Electronic Gaming Monthly named her the "Hottest Game Babe" of 1998, describing her as "well-proportioned as they come" and praising her as a viable alternative to Lara Croft. In 2004, Play featured Tifa in the first issue of their Girls of Gaming annual periodical, describing her as "the most adored female in recent [Final Fantasy] history". In 2007, she was named the eighth best character of all time in Dengeki PlayStation's retrospective awards feature about the original PlayStation, one of six characters from Final Fantasy VII to appear on the list and the third highest ranked character from the game. In 2007 Korean singer Ivy portrayed the character in a music video for the song "유혹의 소나타" ("Sonata of Temptation"). Recreating a fight scene from Advent Children, the video was banned from airing on Korean television after a copyright lawsuit by Square Enix citing plagiarism.
Tifa Lockhart is a female protagonist from Square's (now Square Enix) role-playing game, Final Fantasy VII. She was designed by Tetsuya Nomura. She is an expert in Zangan-Ryu martial arts and uses her fists and feet as her weapons. Tifa has long dark brown hair with the ends parted like a dolphin's tail and brown eyes. She is voiced by Yuko Minaguchi in Ehrgeiz and by Ayumi Ito in the Japanese versions of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and Kingdom Hearts II. She is voiced by Rachael Leigh Cook in the English versions.
Tetsuya Nomura has revealed that he had difficulties deciding between giving her a mini-skirt or pants, but in the end—with input from other members of the game's development staff—finally decided on the mini-skirt that is now an iconic aspect of the character's design. In contrast, the design of Aerith Gainsborough bears a dress.
Before Tifa made an appearance in games with voice actors, many English-speaking players were confused on the pronunciation of her name. They were caught between /ˈtɪfə/ (as in Tiffany) and /ˈtiːfə/ (with the first vowel corresponding more closely to Japanese pronunciation). Once Advent Children was released, the name was pronounced consistently with its Japanese spelling as /tiɸa/ by the Japanese voice actors, which sounds to an English-speaker more like /ˈtiːfə/ than /ˈtɪfə/, yet some still speculated that the English release would change the name to sound more like "Tiffany". After all, the unlengthened Japanese vowel "i" (as found in the Japanese version of Tifa's name) is often used to represent /ɪ/ (the English "short i" sound, which isn't found in Japanese phonology) and its long counterpart "ī" is typically used for /iː/ (the English "long e" sound). The name's pronunciation was confirmed as /ˈtiːfə/ in an interview with Rachael Leigh Cook, who described Tifa's character in Kingdom Hearts II. Tifa's last name is "Lockhart" in Squaresoft's official Japanese materials, but appears as "Lockheart" (with an additional "e") in the English version of Final Fantasy VII's instruction booklet, as translated by Sony Computer Entertainment. This inaccurate version also appears in a number of other second-party materials.
Tifa Lockhart was born in Nibelheim and grew up next door to Cloud Strife. Though they knew each other since childhood, circumstances prevented them from getting close, and Cloud was left to admire Tifa from afar.
When Tifa was eight, her mother died, and soon after, believing that her mother's spirit may have passed through the mountains, she decided to follow the path leading up the nearby Mt. Nibel. Her three closest friends, who were afraid to follow her up the mountain, abandoned her one by one. Cloud, however, who had been following them unnoticed, continued on after Tifa. When Tifa missed her footing on a rope bridge leading into the mountain, he ran to save her but was too late, and both of them fell into the gorge below.
Cloud survived the accident while suffering no more than scraped knees, but Tifa was in a coma for a week. Tifa's father held Cloud responsible for the incident, and his relationship with Tifa remained distant. Cloud blamed himself for the accident as well and felt that he had been unable to save Tifa because of his own weakness. His self-reproach led to anger toward himself, which then led to him into fights with others. Later, he would hear of Sephiroth, a legendary soldier admired by many young men, and he would conceive a plan to prove to himself and to everyone else that he was just as strong as the other children.
At the age of fourteen, Cloud asked Tifa to meet him one evening at the well in the center of town. Cloud then told her of his plans to leave for Midgar and join SOLDIER. It is later revealed that this decision was largely influenced by a desire not only to become strong enough to protect Tifa, but also to impress her as well. Tifa was both surprised and disappointed at Cloud's news; she asked him to promise that if he achieved his dream and that if she were ever in danger, he would come to her rescue.
Springtime came and Cloud left for Midgar. Despite never really being close with Cloud, Tifa found his departure harder than she had expected. She began to think about him frequently, wondering whether he was well and whether he had achieved his dream. She began to read the newspapers, thinking there might be an article about him, but it would be years before she heard any news of him.
When she was fifteen, Tifa acted as a Nibelheim guide for a group of SOLDIER personnel inspecting the mako reactor on Mt. Nibel. The group consisted of the first-class SOLDIERs Sephiroth and Zack Fair, as well as two MPs, one of which, unbeknownst to Tifa, was Cloud. After the inspection, the group returned to town, and Sephiroth stayed in the basement of the Shin-Ra Mansion to read through the research notes left by Professors Gast and Hojo. What he discovered brought about a gruesome change in him. Without warning, he set fire to Nibelheim in the night and slaughtered the townspeople.
With her hometown in ruins and most of her loved ones dead, Tifa pursued Sephiroth as he returned to the reactor, only to find that Sephiroth had murdered her father as well. In a blind rage, she attempted to kill Sephiroth with his own sword. However, he proved too strong for her, and with terrifying ease he disarmed and inflicted critical injury to Tifa, very nearly killing her. As Cloud made his way into the reactor, he found Zack lying against some machinery with critical injuries, as well as Tifa's severely wounded and unconscious body at the bottom of the stairs leading into Jenova's chamber. Enraged, Cloud took up Zack's sword and ran it through Sephiroth's back before picking Tifa up and moving her to a safer area and more comfortable position. Cloud, taking up Zack's sword again, then confronted Sephiroth a second time, this time to kill him completely. Sephiroth stabbed him through the stomach, but with a final burst of strength Cloud lifted Sephiroth whilst still impaled, and threw him off the edge into the Lifestream below. In the aftermath of the incident, Zangan appeared on the scene and took the grievously injured Tifa to safety.
Due to the severity of her injuries, Zangan carried Tifa to Midgar for medical attention, where he left her in the care of a doctor before returning to his travels. Upon recovering, Tifa set up a bar called "7th Heaven" in Midgar's Sector 7. There she met Barret Wallace, the leader of the Shinra resistance group AVALANCHE. Tifa joined his resistance faction, as she wanted revenge on Shinra for the events that had occurred in Nibelheim.
One day, Tifa found a barely-coherent Cloud sitting at the Sector 7 train station and took him back to AVALANCHE's base to recover. It was the first time she had seen him in seven years, though he would later say that it had only been five. Tifa soon realized that Cloud knew many things he should not have known, while apparently unaware of other things that he should have known. These abnormalities caused her great concern for his mental welfare, and she persuaded him to join AVALANCHE so she could be with him and watch over him.
Tifa was not originally present in the early drafts of Final Fantasy VII's story.
Tifa, along with Cloud, is one of the main characters of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. Her role in the film sequel is mainly that of emotional support for Cloud, urging him to come to terms with the unwarranted guilt he places on himself. She also displays a great deal of concern for the children in her care, Marlene and Denzel. Tifa takes part in a one-on-one battle with the new villain, Loz, and later joins in the fight against Bahamut SIN. Tifa's original length of hair in Advent Children was cut shorter due to the difficulty of animating its sheer length and color. (Lighting effects proved difficult while working with black hair.)
Tifa also makes an appearance in the OVA Last Order: Final Fantasy VII. Last Order retells the actual events of Nibelheim's destruction based on flashbacks in Final Fantasy VII. Though she has relatively little screen time, she stars as one of the main characters in the anime and appears in her mountain guide costume from the flashback in Final Fantasy VII. Tifa's superhuman strength is evident when she takes Sephiroth's sword and attempts to strike him with it. Realistically, a weapon of such length made of metal would be difficult to lift and swing with both hands; however she manages to heft and swing it with one hand, although it is possible that this strength was the result of the adrenaline rush produced from her rage and hatred towards Sephiroth.
On the Way to a Smile: Case of Tifa is a story from Tifa's point of view, set after Sephiroth was defeated, and before the events of Advent Children. Cloud and Barret move to Edge, a new town being constructed just outside of Midgar, and set up a new 7th Heaven as they attempt to build a family life for themselves. After Barret leaves to settle his past, Cloud and Tifa tend to the orphan Denzel and Barret's adopted daughter, Marlene Wallace. During the story, Tifa tries hard to maintain a sense of family unity and the concept of a "normal family" itself. She particularly concerns herself with Cloud, as he begins isolating himself from her and the others as time goes on.
Tifa has a small role in Dirge of Cerberus, appearing most notably during the World Restoration Organization's full scale conflict with the Deep Ground organization. She goes into the battle with Barret and the WRO ground forces, sends Vincent the map of the Shinra building, and later throttles an enemy soldier helping to clear the way to Omega Weapon. She is seen at 7th Heaven in the final FMV, where she and Yuffie talk briefly about Vincent's apparent disappearance.
Tifa's first cameo appearance is as a playable character in the fighting game Ehrgeiz. She is one of the last bosses in the arcade version, and her theme song was switched from her original theme from Final Fantasy VII to the "Final Fantasy Prelude". Players can also unlock additional costumes for Tifa in the game, which happen to be her mountain guide costume and a red version of her original costume, similar to art by Yoshitaka Amano. Tifa was originally illustrated in red clothing, which was later used as her alternate outfit in Ehrgeiz. Tifa also appears in the electronic board games Itadaki Street Special for PlayStation 2 and Itadaki Street Portable for PlayStation Portable. She is shown in her Final Fantasy VII costume. A poster depicting Tifa appears in a room in the city Etrenank in the PlayStation RPG Xenogears.
Tifa makes a cameo appearance in Kingdom Hearts II, seen in her Advent Children attire. She appears in Radiant Garden, but when Sora, Donald and Goofy meet her, they learn that she is searching for someone. In the Heartless war later in the game, she is seen to have spotted Cloud, who meets with Sephiroth briefly, to find that he has left, leaving her to fight the Heartless that quickly gathers. During the war, Sora fights alongside her in Radiant Garden, as well as against her later, in the Olympus Coliseum. In battle, she uses her famous "Final Heaven" Limit Break, as well as several other of her Limit skills from Final Fantasy VII, such as "Beat Rush" and "Water Kick". Tifa also gives Sora the Fenrir Keychain if he defeats Sephiroth in an optional boss battle. Despite appearing with them in her original game, Tifa has no interactions with her fellow Final Fantasy VII characters (Cid, Yuffie or Aerith) with the exception of Cloud, who was off searching for Sephiroth.
Tifa, along with Sephiroth, was originally intended to be an enemy in the Final Mix version of the original Kingdom Hearts. Because of time constraints, the staff members chose to incorporate Sephiroth and leave out Tifa.
|Final Fantasy 7|
|Final Fantasy VII | Before Crisis | Crisis Core | Snowboarding
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII | Dirge of Cerberus Lost Episode
|Characters & Locations|
|Cloud Strife | Barret Wallace | Tifa Lockhart | Aerith Gainsborough | Red XIII | Cait Sith | Cid Highwind | Vincent Valentine | Sephiroth | Zack Fair | Rufus Shinra | Jenova
Turks - Shinra Electric Power Company - Characters
Gaia (Final Fantasy VII)
|Literature, Music, and Films|
|Last Order - Advent Children
Maiden who Travels the Planet - On the Way to a Smile
|Final Fantasy series|