I Thought Aerith Had Big Goat Ears For Decades

I Thought Aerith Had Big Goat Ears For Decades

Let me be clear: I have never played a Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth may be out very soon, and the series may be one of the most influential in the history of video games, but I have never touched one. Aside from tangential knowledge gleaned against my will via the internet and coworkers, and what I’ve learned after editing stories like one describing how to get FF7 Rebirth’s bonus materia from an old save, or another lauding a new fan blog whose entire raison d’etre is arguing that FF8 is the best, I am the Jon Snow of Final Fantasy. I know nothing.

The closest I’ve gotten to the world of Final Fantasy is through Kingdom Hearts, which is also the first time I saw this character, plainly Aerith, who I immediately identified in my child brain as some type of goat lady:

Screenshot: Square Enix

To be fair to me, I played Kingdom Hearts on a PlayStation 2 and, because of the layout of my childhood basement, sat more than the recommended distance away from my television based on its screen size. I also, at the time, needed glasses and did not yet know it. But if you’re being honest, don’t those kinda look like big ol’ goat ears? Couldn’t she, realistically, in this world where Disney characters collide with people who have impossibly voluminous hair, be a satyr? Or a weird elf? It’s not not possible!

It took close to two decades before I realized that this woman (who I later learned was called Aerith) did not have goat ears. That this was, in fact, a bow. I’m not the only person who has misread an FF sprite (I’m told that you all thought this dude was a dog), so is my mistake all that hard to believe?

Most of the Kotaku staff thinks my error is one caused by a mix of intentional ignorance and, as Ethan Gach puts it, “Halo brain.” They are guffawing in our work Slack about my slight, pointing fingers and laughing at my innocent claim. But they are wrong. There are others like me out there. Others who thought, at one point, that this brunette woman had big-ass ears flanking her pigtails.

Once I grew up and stopped playing Kingdom Hearts, before I entered this industry and became exposed to all manner of games and gamers, Final Fantasy’s updated graphics were never on my radar. Aerith’s red bow is far more clear in the remake trilogy, with their high-definition graphics and gravity-defying tits, than it is in Kingdom Hearts—and in the original Final Fantasy 7, when the characters were still chunky polygonal models. But for a long time, I only knew her back when it looked like the damn thing was a pair of ears. So, naturally, I thought that one of Final Fantasy VII’s lead characters was some type of human-goat hybrid lady. This is a game franchise that has rideable ducks, for fuck’s sake, why can’t Aerith be a goat?

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