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In-game appearance from Final Fantasy VII
Bugenhagen is an eccentric old man who lives in a three-story building in Cosmo Canyon in Final Fantasy VII. He is the adoptive grandfather of Red XIII, whom he calls "Nanaki," and the elder of the Bugah Tribe. Bugenhagen always moves around on a levitating green ball. Bugenhagen's main role is providing the party with key information on their journey to stop the Meteor from crashing into the Planet.
Final Fantasy VII
In disc 1 of Final Fantasy VII, when the party first visits Cosmo Canyon, they meet Bugenhagen and learn from him about some of Red XIII's past. In his planetarium, Bugenhagen teaches the characters about the Planet and the Lifestream, and humanity's greater dependence on the survival of both.
Later, Bugenhagen overhears Red XIII call his father, Seto, a coward, so Bugenhagen leads him and the party into the Cave of the Gi, where Red XIII learns that Seto was actually a hero to the Gi Tribe.
Cait Sith reveals that Bugenhagen was once a Shinra employee, but left to pursue the Study of Planet Life, where he finds a peaceful harmony between technology and nature. It is also revealed that Professor Gast provided Cosmo Canyon with its technology, not Bugenhagen.
In disc 2, the party returns to Cosmo Canyon to seek Bugenhagen's help in preventing Meteor from crashing into the Planet. He accompanies the party to the Forgotten Capital to find answers about an ancient race named the Cetra. From a machine showing the moment of Aeris's death, Bugenhagen points out that Aeris's White Materia was glowing green, meaning that her prayer for Holy, which can destroy Meteor, was successful.
A while later if the party decides to return to Cosmo Canyon after defeating the Diamond Weapon, they learn that Bugenhagen has become fatally ill during the trip to the Forgotten Capital. They visit Bugenhagen's Room, and before dying, Bugenhagen gives Red XIII the Limited Moon, a valuable possession that once belonged to Seto. This is the only time when Bugenhagen is not sitting on his green orb. At one point, Bugenhagen mentions that he will turn 130 years old on his next birthday.