I'm aware that there are people who just don't like characters. I, myself, do not like Squall, I do not like Selphie, I do not like Qu, I do not like a lot of characters. That, though, is the sign of good characterization, because you can actually like or dislike them based on their actions, their personalities. There's characters some people really like - I love Sephiroth, I love Kain, I like Zidane, I really like Cecil, I love Rydia, shit, there's a ton I like, too. What you all have to know that I know opinions are subjective, and not everyone thinks like me.
While that's true, you have to be open-minded, able to approach other ideas with a "well, shit, maybe they've got a point" or a "hmmm, that doesn't sound logical to me, but perhaps it's something I could ponder" attitude. Not everyone thinks like you, either, and not everyone should be expected to.
I might not be online for a long time, so I better get this out now, where people can see it:
Aeris Gainsborough. Okay, far as I'm concerned, any character that causes this much controversy is a stroke of genius. The scenarios surrounding her, the people involved with her, the effect she left on the entire cast, even some of the villains. She was a beautiful character, whether you like to see it as that or not. At least see the fact that the way she was written, and the impact she had, dead and alive, was pure genius.
Her part in this story was momentous; gargantuan, even. Let me explain to you my view on her part in the story; as far as I've seen, she made it her mission, with the party, to actually make use of the White Materia to cast Holy and stop Meteor. By the time she realized what the White Materia was for, she knew what Sephiroth wanted the Black Materia for, and wanted to cast Holy, because she knew Meteor was already well on the way with that in his position [although we both know that it traded possessors a couple times before Meteor actually hung in the sky], or at least she thought so, so I suppose she wanted to use Holy as a preventive measure. She didn't care if it meant giving her life - and this was a selfish measure, but I suppose it was one that had to be made.
Anyway, Sephiroth saw her and Holy's casting as a threat, so he went out and killed her. He knew, eventually, that he was too late, and that's why he holed up in the Northern Crater; to block Holy's passage, I think. Anyway, all the rest of this time, all this stuff on the Planet's surface is going on... though, I think, Aeris was doing something, behind the scenes. It's said that the power of a Cetran transcends those of human beings, so they would have to have some sort of way to direct people while in the LifeStream. I mean, they were able to hole up Jenova with the "Planet's Energy" while on the Planet's surface, so why couldn't they do it while part of the Lifestream themselves? So, with this in mind, I seriously think that Aeris actually rallied all those 'people', including her ancestors, to stop Meteor with one last blast, to give it everything it had, because it was either you waste the energy of a ton of people, or all planet energy ceases to be. An easy choice, right?
That's my opinion of her role, and I think it's a pretty accurate sense of how things went down; this causes me to highly appreciate her role, and how big it is. You also have to know that she had a high impact on Cloud, and she had a high impact on the party, too [perhaps Tifa and Yuffie more than anyone else]. Aeris, while her being the way she was was flawed, and ultimately, human, she helped Cloud find himself by not only making him want to question himself, but also giving him the determination, in death, to move forward every time things seemed bleak.
I don't care what you say, but she was a huge character, and I think she deserves a lot more credit than she's getting.
These anti-Aeris 'groups' sometimes get on my nerves with their "OMFG AERIS IS DED GET OVER IT KTHXBI" antics, and it really makes them look like asses. I can't stand it when someone won't open up to a separate opinion or ideal. Sure, Aeris did die. Sure, she was an embodiment of cute, probably only because she wore pink and was a bit of a puritan. Sure, she was selfish, and sure, she was not compassionate of some of the other party members, at times. I know all of this. She also, in essence, saved everyone's ass. I think that alone deserves praise.
Not to be outdone, though, the super 'Aeris-love' groups piss me off, too. I also can't stand the fact that they were, for years, hopped up on the rumor that Aeris could be revived, and some bought and imported every version of FFVII just to find this out. I have friends who have done this, and I've called them fuckin' nutbars to their faces. I disproved the theory with the American version of the game within a month, and moved on, until I owned the PC version, and then I made fun of it by modding the game to have Aeris in all sorts of weird places. These nuts, however, were fanatical about her death and how pure she was and how perfect she was... calling Tifa a slut, and stuff like that. This pisses me off, just as much.
I appreciate her character. She's more human than most characters, for she actually has more flaws than redeeming qualities, and yet she still manages to have the courage to fight and be, in essence, the savior of mankind. She started falling for Cloud, who, at the time, was more messed up than anything. She heard voices all the time. She took care of flowers in a busted down church. She was very naive, she was extremely demure.
Yet she still saved them all.
This is why she gets my respect. From a writer's standpoint, from the viewpoint as a human being, and from the player's standpoint; she remains, in my mind, as one of the most compelling characters ever in fiction, along with some others I can think of, mostly from Terry Goodkind novels.
Aeris' character is pure genius. Love her, hate her, that's a good characterization.
So stop super-praising her, stop super-bashing her, and learn to open your eyes a little to her.
And stop using your stereotype as a reason for either. That also pisses me off.
Oh, and not to miss anything - I appreciate Tifa's character, as well. Tifa just never really blossomed until the end of the game, and by then, everyone was so entranced with Aeris' character that she kind of got overlooked. She played an important part in revealing Cloud, and keeping him focused. It's a shame she couldn't do anything for herself when it mattered most, but... it can be admired that she did anything at all. I appreciate her. Don't think I'm taking sides. I appreciate all of the characters, and that is one of the main reasons I love FFVII. Every character was molded so perfectly... everyone had someone to relate to.
Anyway, now I'm rambling... so... I'm outta here. I hope I can make a return soon.