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Tifa Lockhart

Tifa Lockheart
Tifa from Kingdom Hearts II

Information
Game Series Final Fantasy series, Kingdom Hearts series
First Appearance Final Fantasy VII
Alias: Tifa Lockheart
Status: Alive
Affiliation: Avalanche
Occupation: Barmaid
Gender: Female
Fighting Style: Zangan-Ryu martial arts
Weapon(s): Fists
Special Skill(s): Final Heaven
Creator(s): Tetsuya Nomura
Voice Actor(s): Yuko Minaguchi (Ehrgeiz), Ayumi Ito (Japanese versions of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and Kingdom Hearts II), Rachael Leigh Cook (English versions)


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.

Creation

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.

Appearances

Final Fantasy VII

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.

Related Final Fantasy VII Appearances

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.

Other Appearances

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.

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