Now I lurve me some FFVII, if you haven’t guessed yet, but what caused me to love FFVII was the early, SNES version of FFIV. The game seemed to lock in a lot of tropes for the series. Rydia was a summoner; Edward “Edge” Geraldine was a ninja, much like Yuffie, but the skill “throw” was so good, it was almost broken; Palom and Porom, twins who were black and white mages, respectively; and (my favorite) Cid Pollendina, a fifty-year-old master engineer of airships with an unusually youthful exuberance.

The Final Fantasy wiki summarizes his character neatly:

He is a master engineer, and he designs the airships that make up the Red Wings in Baron. He is thus an old acquaintance of Cecil Harvey, and is adventurous and fun-loving, despite the fact that he is over fifty years old. He has a firm belief in right and wrong as well. He has a daughter who lives with him in the town of Baron, and she often scolds him when he comes home late from work. He is also very hard-working, frequently pushing himself to work on his machines well past his breaking point, and has a tendency to snore very loudly.

His theme music, the same music used while flying the airship he gave you, matched both his whimsy and work ethic.

So, you might imagine my excitement the first time I made my way to Rocket Town and met Cid. I was expecting a happy-go-lucky fellow and an airship, but instead got this.


A broken airplane and a surly old man who smokes and swears too much His surl (that is not a real word, incidentally), of course, is quickly explained by swapping the Pollendin’s daughter with a woman who destroyed Highwinds’s dreams:

Cid [Highwind] is well known among fans for his foul mouth, and he curses a blue streak at several points in the game. Several of his lines are even “bleeped”, appearing as a jumble of symbols like “#*$&#!”. As shown in a flashback, Cid was always a bit crude, but not to the same extent. Thus, it seems his attitude and foul language are an effect of him losing his dream of spaceflight. However, Cid does not always mean his insults in a negative way: he refers to Cloud and his allies as “numbskulls” for opposing Shinra, but admits he likes the idea.

Despite his attitude, Cid is not cruel and is actually rather kind-hearted. He is angry over losing out on his dream, but sacrificed it deliberately to save Shera’s life. Although he verbally abuses her afterwards, once her concerns about a faulty oxygen tank prove founded, he apologizes. In fact, later on Cid names an airship after her.

Now my opinion of Cid Highwind has shifted over the years and I like the “new” Cid, and less and less. Don’t get me wrong, he is a strong melee character and Daniel’s right when he says his limit breaks hit hard, but with such an emo-y cast of characters it would have been nice to see good counterpoint to Cloud’s existential crisis. Barrett definitely provides us with comic relief, but he lacks the sort of abiding joy that only an old, well-lived man can have.

Then again, without men like Cid Highwind, we wouldn’t get songs like this.

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4 Responses to “FFVII: Cid”
  1. Daniel says:

    Before our FFVII project, I began playing FFIV for the first time ever (the DS remake). Being used to, and a fan of, the FFVII Cid, the FFIV incarnaton took some getting used to–but, I grew to like the character.

    But, I agree that a counter-point to the rest of the emo cast would have been nice–like if the FFVII Cid had been more of a charming swashbuckler, pulp/serial hero type, but one who was past his glory years and refusing to own up to it. “Chin up, Cloud! It’s time for adventure! …To the Airship!”

  2. Scott says:

    For an emo counter-point, I submit Auron from FFX.

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