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Of Materia and Men
The world of Final Fantasy VII is filled with iconic characters and epic battles, and among them are Sephiroth, Zack, and Cloud. These three individuals have left an indelible mark on fans’ hearts and continue to be subjects of intense debate regarding their strength and abilities. In this blog post, we will delve into their respective journeys, examine their strongest forms, and determine who truly stands as the strongest.
The Growth Factor
In Crisis Core, Sephiroth is portrayed as a formidable antagonist, but it is important to note that during this time, both Zack and Cloud were still teenagers. It is reasonable to believe that as they matured and faced various trials, their strength increased exponentially. Cloud’s exposure to Mako and Jenova’s cells, along with his plunge into the Lifestream, undoubtedly affected his abilities, making him stronger in Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children.
Zack’s Triumph over Genesis
Genesis, a character as strong as Sephiroth, showcases incredible combat prowess augmented by his mastery of magic. Despite Sephiroth’s superiority as a swordsman, Genesis bridges the gap with his magical abilities. Zack’s victory over Genesis at the end of Crisis Core implies that Zack was even stronger during this encounter than when he initially confronted Sephiroth in the game. This places Zack in a formidable position among these three characters.
The Two Faces of Sephiroth
Sephiroth exists in two distinct forms: the “human” Sephiroth defeated by Cloud when thrown into the Lifestream in the Nibelheim reactor, and the “post-life” Sephiroth, who has absorbed the power of the Lifestream and acquired god-like abilities. On paper, the latter version appears to be the strongest. However, Cloud, in his most potent form, surpasses even the god-like Sephiroth due to his unique ability to tap into his limit breaks. Cloud’s innate strength, triggered in dire situations, enabled him to overpower Sephiroth when he was just an infantry soldier in his teens.
Evaluating Strength Rankings
Considering these factors, we can establish a ranking of strength. At his peak, Cloud, with his limit breaks and immense power derived from the Lifestream, stands as the strongest among the three. Following closely is the god-like Sephiroth, who, despite his incredible abilities, is surpassed by Cloud’s unique limit break potential. In third place, we have Zack in his strongest form, bolstered by his triumph over Genesis. Finally, human form Sephiroth, while undoubtedly formidable, falls slightly behind due to his defeat at the hands of Cloud in the Nibelheim reactor.
While some detractors may argue that Cloud never officially became a member of SOLDIER, the physical abilities he possesses, combined with his immense growth throughout the game, set him apart from the average infantry soldier. Cloud’s journey from a simple country boy to a powerful force capable of defeating the most formidable SOLDIER and his former hero epitomizes the allure of Final Fantasy VII—a tale of ordinary people achieving extraordinary feats. Ultimately, Cloud’s strength, Zack’s triumphs, and the power of the two Sephiroth forms create an enthralling dynamic that continues to captivate fans and inspire debates about who truly reigns supreme.