Tifa Lockhart

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Tifa Lockhart
Final Fantasy character
Tifa Lockhart art.png
Tifa Lockhart in Final Fantasy VII
First game Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Created by Tetsuya Nomura
Kazushige Nojima
Designed byTetsuya Nomura
Voiced by
In-universe information

Tifa Lockhart (Japanese: ティファ・ロックハート, Hepburn: Tifa Rokkuhāto) is a character who debuted in Square's (now Square Enix) 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII . She was created as a foil to her teammate Aerith Gainsborough by members of the development team including director Yoshinori Kitase and writers Kazushige Nojima and Tetsuya Nomura; Nomura additionally contributed her visual design. She has since appeared as a playable fighter in Ehrgeiz and the Dissidia Final Fantasy series and made cameo appearances in several other titles, such as Kingdom Hearts II and Itadaki Street . Beginning in 2005, she has featured in sequels and spin-offs as part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series, including the computer-animated film Advent Children and the Final Fantasy VII Remake project.


Tifa is the childhood friend of Cloud Strife, the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII. She is owner of the 7th Heaven bar in the slums of Midgar and a member of the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE. She convinces Cloud Strife to join the group to keep him close and safe, and later assists him in saving the Planet from the game's villain, Sephiroth. Titles in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII later expanded upon her character, such as in Advent Children, where 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 pin-up 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. Media have repeatedly praised both the character's strength and appearance and described her as one of the best female characters in gaming.

Conception and design

Although the character's attire has varied, a miniskirt has usually been kept as a staple of her design. Tifa Lockhart.png
Although the character's attire has varied, a miniskirt has usually been kept as a staple of her design.

Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, Tifa was not present in early versions of Final Fantasy VII, as initially, the game was to have only three playable characters; the protagonist Cloud Strife, Aerith Gainsborough and Barret Wallace. However, during a phone call to project director Yoshinori Kitase, it was suggested that at some point in the game, one of the main characters should die and after much discussion as to whether it should be Barret or Aerith, the producers chose Aerith. [3] Nomura later joked that this was his idea, so as to enable him to introduce Tifa into the game. [4] The notion of having two concurrent heroines and having the hero waver between them was something Kitase liked, describing it as something new in the Final Fantasy series. [5]

Tifa was designed to use the "monk" 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 [6] and simple and monotone garments, consisting of a white crop top and black miniskirt. She also wears red boots and gloves, with black sleeves extending from wrist to elbow; her skirt is held up by a pair of narrow black suspenders and a large metal guard covers her left elbow. She stands about 5 feet 6 inches (167 cm) tall [2] [7] and has measurements of 36-24-35" (92-60-88 cm). [8] Internally in the game, the development team jokingly referred to her as "Boing-chan," an allusion to her large breasts. [9]

Initially, Nomura had difficulty deciding whether to go with a miniskirt or long pants. Seeking input, he passed his sketches around Square's offices and the majority of the staff members approved of the miniskirt design. [4] This additionally served as a contrast to Aerith, whose "long skirt" was her trademark. [10] The attire was explained as giving her freedom of movement, due to her hand-to-hand combat specialty and the skirt, referred to as "quite short [...] giving a considerable degree of exposure", [2] was kept as a staple of her alternate costumes. [11] The developers noted that due to her figure, her otherwise plain garments took on a pleasant appearance. [2]

Post-Final Fantasy VII

When producing Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children , co-director Takeshi Nozue had difficulty developing a framework for Tifa's body that was "balanced, yet showed off her feminine qualities". Her outfit was redesigned at this point, with emphasis on expressing those qualities, while still being pleasing to the eye. [12] Nomura describes Tifa's character in Advent Children 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". [13] A white tank top with black zipped up vest covers her front, a pink ribbon wraps around her left biceps and boots cover her feet. A black buttoned-up skirt covers her thighs and she wears shorts beneath, with a piece of cloth similar to a coattail extending from the back of the skirt's waistband and ending at her ankles. She no longer uses suspenders to hold up her skirt and she wears her gloves only during the film's fight scenes. Her hairstyle was changed to end at the middle of her back, with the removal of the dolphin tail from her original design. [14] This alteration was because of the difficulty of animating her original length of hair, as well as problems that arose due to its black color and lighting. [6]

For Final Fantasy VII Remake , they worked heavily with Nomura to refine her design, adding details like little charms around her wrists and going through twenty different hair colors before settling on ashen brown. [15] The development team wanted to avoid the appearance of favoring either Tifa or Aerith so they deliberately tried to match their screen time, as they wanted both to be positioned as heroines, [16] and emphasized Eastern aesthetics and the cuteness of her face to contrast with Aerith's Western aesthetics. [17] In an interview with Weekly Famitsu Square revealed they modified Tifa's outfit at the request of their Ethics Department, giving her a black sports bra and shorts underneath her regular attire, mainly "tightening" her chest so "as not to get unnatural during all the intense action", [18] with Main character modeler Dan Suzuki considering the shorts an improvement to her design. [19] This information led to North American fans to voice concern that her breast size had been reduced, but sources such as gameindustry.biz confirmed through multiple translators this was not the case, [20] and later the book Final Fantasy VII Remake Material Ultimania detailed how they referenced a padded Japanese G70 cup size (95 cm) bra on a real-life model to portray her bust accurately. [21] Additionally they wanted to emphasize her athletic physique, so they gave her character model visibly defined abdominal muscles. [22] She was given multiple dress outfit options for the game as well, with multiple ideas thrown around during development including a maid outfit and chocobo-themed bikini. They finally settled on a black cheongsam with her hair in pigtail buns exposed legs with stockings, and a black kimono that similarly exposed her legs and stockings. Character designer Roberto Ferrari recalled the latter being particularly difficult, as a large number of his design submissions were rejected during the process. [23]


Nomura noted that he liked Ayumi Ito as an actress and wished to work with her on Advent Children. With Aerith's voice actor already decided, Nomura asked Ito to voice Tifa, feeling her "husky voice" would offer a good contrast to Maaya Sakamoto's soft-spoken Aerith. [24] Although Tifa's updated design had already been finalized, Ito's casting motivated them to blend many traits from the voice actress into the character's appearance. [25] Cloud's voice actor Takahiro Sakurai said that while he recorded most of his work individually, he performed alongside Ito for a few scenes. These recordings left him feeling "deflated", as the "exchanges he has with Tifa [could] be pretty painful". [26] Ayaka Mitsumoto voiced Tifa in the flashback from the remake where a teenage Tifa interacts with Cloud. [27] Finding a voice suitable for the young Tifa made Nomura and the staff worried in the recording of the title. [28]

English voice actress Rachael Leigh Cook has stated in an interview for Kingdom Hearts II that she enjoys playing Tifa and described her as "very strong physical and emotionally, but also very sensitive" and "very multi-dimensional". [29] In voicing the character, Cook listened to Ito's recording as a guide to how the character sounds. Following Advent Children, Cook thanked Nomura for the film he created as she enjoyed it. [30] Britt Baron voiced Tifa in Final Fantasy VII Remake, [31] while the child portrayal of Tifa is voiced by Glory Curda. [32]


Final Fantasy VII

Introduced in Final Fantasy VII, Tifa is the childhood friend of Cloud Strife and owner of the 7th Heaven bar in the slums of Midgar, a technologically advanced metropolis owned by the Shinra Electric Power Company. She is also a member of the eco-terrorist organization AVALANCHE, who oppose Shinra's extraction and use of Mako, the planet's spiritual energy, as a power source. She convinces Cloud to join the group to keep a closer eye on him after noticing his personality has changed, and she follows him in pursuit of the game's antagonist, Sephiroth. Unable to keep him from being manipulated by Sephiroth, she helps him recover after his mind becomes fractured and they realize their mutual feelings for one another, working together to defeat Sephiroth. [11]

In a formative memory of their time as children, Tifa and Cloud had decided to follow a path to a mountain near their hometown of Nibelheim. However, they were both injured and Tifa was in a coma for a week, with her father holding Cloud responsible for the incident. [3] Cloud eventually left to join Shinra's SOLDIER program in order to become stronger, but it is later revealed that he did it primarily to attract her attention. [33] In response, she requested if she were ever in danger, he would return to save her. [34] Years later, during Sephiroth's rampage in Nibelheim, Cloud rescued Tifa after she was wounded by Sephiroth. Tifa was taken to safety by her martial arts instructor and eventually arrived in Midgar, meeting AVALANCHE's leader, Barret Wallace. She joined AVALANCHE to get revenge for the destruction of her home. Shortly before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII, she encountered an incoherent Cloud at the city's train station and convinced him to work for Barret, to keep him close and watch over him. [35]

In early drafts of Final Fantasy VII, Tifa was a background character. Her role in AVALANCHE was to add support behind the scenes and to cheer everyone up after missions, as well as having a particular fondness for Cloud. She was supposed to have a large scar on her back caused by Cloud, and partial amnesia from the incident when she had received it. [36] A scene intended to imply herself and Cloud having sex was proposed by Masato Kato, one of the event planners, but it 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 the staff thought the scene would become such an issue at the time. [5]

Compilation of Final Fantasy VII

The Advent Children version of Tifa, as portrayed by gravure idol Mizuki Hoshina promoting Sony Xperia at TGS 2014. Cosplay of Tifa Lockhart by Miduki Hoshina at Tokyo Game Show 20140918.jpg
The Advent Children version of Tifa, as portrayed by gravure idol Mizuki Hoshina promoting Sony Xperia at TGS 2014.

In 2005, she appeared in the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children , set two years after the events of the game. She tries to give emotional support to Cloud, urging him to come to terms with the unwarranted guilt he places upon himself. She also takes care of Barret's adopted daughter Marlene and an orphan, Denzel. During the film, she duels against one of the antagonists, Loz, and later she battles the summoned creature Bahamut SIN with the team. Script writer Kazushige Nojima described her role in the film as "very much like any woman who's been left behind by a man", stating that while they did not want her to appear clingy, they wanted to portray that she was emotionally hurt by Cloud's departure. [13] 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. [38]

Tifa features in the prequel games Before Crisis and Crisis Core , as well as the OVA Last Order . Each of these appearances show different perspectives on the destruction of Nibelheim. [11] The novella "Case of Tifa", written as part of the On the Way to a Smile series, is a story set between the original game and Advent Children. Told from her point of view, the story details how she creates a new 7th Heaven bar in the city of Edge and attempts to hold onto the concept of a normal family with herself and Cloud, despite him beginning to isolate himself from others. [38] Tifa also appears briefly in the game Dirge of Cerberus , set one year after the events of Advent Children in which she helps the protagonist Vincent Valentine defend the planet against the monster Omega WEAPON; in the game's epilogue, she discuss Vincent's disappearance. [11]

Tifa features prominently as a playable character in Final Fantasy VII Remake , which covers only the Midgar portion of the original game. By focusing solely on Midgar, the development team was able to include additional scenes that developed the relationship between Tifa and Aerith. [39] Trace of Two Pasts, a tie-in novel to the remake, depicts the childhoods of Tifa and Aerith. [40] Tifa's section details her upbringing in Nibelheim, her meeting and tutelage under her martial arts master, and her life in the slums of Midgar following her near-death experience during the Nibelheim incident. [41]

Other appearances

Outside of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Tifa features in the fighting game Ehrgeiz as an unlockable character and an optional boss. [42] She is a playable character in the electronic board games Itadaki Street Special and Itadaki Street Portable . [43] [44] In Kingdom Hearts II , she appears in her Advent Children attire, searching for Cloud and later fighting various Heartless, the series' monsters. [45] 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. [46] Whereas in the game Cloud goes missing after a battle with Sephiroth, in the manga adaptation, Tifa successfully finds him in Hollow Bastion. [47] In 2015, she was added to the mobile game Final Fantasy: Record Keeper as a playable character. [48]

Tifa is one of the playable characters in the fighting game Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy , which features characters from various Final Fantasy games. [49] She is featured in her Final Fantasy VII outfit, but the player has access to her Advent Children form and a third costume that is shown during Tifa's appearances in Nibelheim. [50] [51] The first print run of the game features another form based on artwork by Yoshitaka Amano. [52] In LittleBigPlanet 2 , Tifa is featured as a downloadable character model, and as a Mii costume and spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate . [53] [54]


Since her introduction critics and fans reacted positively to Tifa, often appearing near the top of fan polls. [55] The New York Times featured her as the pin-up girl of for the "cyber generation", [56] while The Beaumont Enterprise cited Tifa as an example of a strong female character in video games in the wake of Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series. [57] Holly Bonson of Polygon described Tifa as defined by her "brittle confidence and supportiveness", further stating her belief that in the context of Final Fantasy VII she represents forcefulness and sexuality. [58] Den of Geek 's Matthew Byrd cited her popularity a result of her character's warmth, strength, and the ability to act both supportive and as a leader depending on when the situation called for it in VII's storyline, but also noted her vulnerability and how it made her a well-rounded character "who is more than worthy of her fan-favorite status". [59] Gus Turner of Complex described her as standing out as "one of gaming's most independent and empowered females ever", and further described her as a feminine foil to the more "girlish" Aerith, further praising her appearance. [60] Jenni Lada of Siliconera called her an iconic heroine, echoing the sentiments of the other critiques, while praising how future installments built upon her character, specifically Remake. [61] In a retrospective, journalist Leigh Alexander argued that Tifa is the heroine of VII's story, there since the beginning and being indispensable during the course of events, calling her "a partner for a grown-up player" and questioned how many of them didn't properly appreciate her on their first playthrough of the game may do so now. [62]

A significant part of Tifa's reception has focused on her sex appeal, [63] to this end having appeared on third party merchandise related to this aspect and cited as a frequent search topic on Pornhub. [64] [65] Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded her the "Hottest Game Babe" of 1997, calling her "as well-proportioned as they come" and heavily praising her sexual attributes, but also noting her physical and emotional strength as a character. [66] UGO.com shared similar sentiments, complimenting her outfit as well and describing her as a "bona-fide sex symbol", while further noting that she was a rarity among female characters in video games at the time of VII' release. [67] IGN 's Phil Pirrello attributed a significant part of her popularity to her large breasts, nothing that she was an example of how series tried to add real sex appeal with Final Fantasy VII, and while her model in the original game was primitive by today's standards, he suggested it had a significant impact on the teenage demographic at its time. [68] Fellow contributor Dave Smith suggested similar, stating it was hard to sing her praises "without sounding just a little teeny-weeny bit sexist", but further added that she helped define "tough, independent" roleplaying game heroines that came after her too due to her character. [69] In yet another article the staff noted that while her original design was meant to emphasize her physical beauty, they stated her "awe-inspiring strength, complex background, strong will and her attachment to Cloud" defined her as more than "just an eye-catching woman", further calling her a legendary heroine in the series. [70] The book The Legend of Final Fantasy VII noted that while Tifa has many attributes of a seductive woman, specifically emphasizing her large breasts, she "thwarts the stereotypes associated with her appearance", due to being an independent and strong character, further calling her often the most "leveled headed" and pragmatic character in the game's cast. [71]

In January 2022, a Zoom videoconference meeting done in the Italian Senate was interrupted by a user displaying fanmade 3D rendered pornography featuring Tifa engaging in sexual intercourse. The user was quickly removed, but due to the conference being televised, knowledge of the event quickly went viral. [72] While Tifa's use in it was coincidental, it led to a surge in the character's popularity. Jade King of TheGamer noted however that while much reaction to it revolved around fan art of a sexual nature, it also resulted in a large amount of what they saw as "wholesome" art celebrating the character and the humor of the situation, usually portraying her in an awkward or comedic manner in association with the event or the country itself. King attributed it in part to Remake's recent release, but also the enduring nature of the character, calling it wholesome and an "aspect of Tifa's character that will now be ingrained into her history, and there's something brilliant about that". [73]

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cloud Strife</span> Protagonist in Final Fantasy VII

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