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Aerith Gainsborough (エアリス・ゲインズブール)Aerith Gainsborough is a character from the Final Fantasy VII series who is portrayed as kind and gentle, eager to help her friends to the best of her ability. She is typically seen wearing a pink ribbon in her hair, a pink dress with short brown coat, and brown boots. In the game Crisis Core, she wears a white sleeveless dress.
She is also one of Cloud's potential love interests. She was previously dating and in love with Zack Fair.
She is first introduced as a flower girl, and she briefly converses with Cloud Strife, a mercenary who is fleeing from the bombing of a Mako reactor by himself and AVALANCHE. The two later meet at the church in the Sector 5 slums, when he falls down from the plate and through the roof of the church. Later, when faced with the possibility of being captured by the Turks, the two join forces to escape. As he reminds her of Zack Fair, she asks him to be her bodyguard in return for one date.
She is eventually captured by Shinra and taken to the science lab, however Cloud and friends infiltrate the building and save her. She then joins them in the pursuit of Sephiroth, while embarking on a journey of self-discovery as well.
After a failed attempt to foil Sephiroths theft of the Black Materia, she ventures alone into the Forgotten City for as yet unknown reasons. Cloud and his companions follow after her, eventually finding her praying at an altar. As she looks up to smile at Cloud, however, Sephiroth appears and kills her by impaling her through the torso. The materia given to her by her mother, which she wore in her hair, falls from the altar into the water and was lost. After fighting an incarnation of Jenova, Cloud carries her body out into a lake in the Forgotten City, and releases her back to the Planet.
The party later learns the reason for her being in the Forgotten City; through her mothers materia, now known as the 'White Materia', she was able to summon Holy, the ultimate White Magic, and the only force capable of repelling the ultimate Black Magic, Meteor. Even though she successfully managed to cast Holy before her death, it was held back by the sheer force of Sephiroths will. When he was finally defeated and Holy was released, it appears that it was too late to function as effectively as it should, for Meteor - already summoned by Sephiroth and set on a collision course with the Planet - had come too near the Planet's surface.
While Holy clashes with Meteor, attempting to prevent its impact, the gravity of both Meteor and Holy pulling on the spell in opposite directions weakens it, leaving it with too little room to take effect. The Lifestream then flows forth from within the planet, intervening with Holy and Meteor, and acting as a battering ram while aiding in the destruction of Meteor. This scene is followed by a vision of Aerith within the Lifestreams energy.
She later makes several appearances in the CGI film, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. As Cloud's spiritual guide, she urges him to move on in life, to forgive himself for the tragedies that were beyond his control and to tell him that she never blamed him for her death. During several flashes, she speaks to Cloud in an open meadow laden with flowers, cheerfully and kindheartedly poking fun at how he needlessly burdens himself with the past, but also acknowledging his suffering and offering kind words of support.
Towards the end of the movie, somehow she causes it to rain, the water curing the victims of the Geostigma when they come into contact with it. She is also seen at the church at the very end, watching Cloud, alongside Zack Fair.