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Zack Fair

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Zack Fair
Zack Fair
Zack Fair CCFFVII artwork.png
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII artwork
ザックス・フェア
Zakkusu Fea
Hometown Gongaga
Age 23
Gender Male
Height 6'3" (190 cm)
Species Human
Weapon(s) Katana (Crisis Core)
Broadsword
Buster Sword
Affiliation Shinra
Cloud Strife
Occupation 1st Class SOLDIER
English voice actor Rick Gomez
Caleb Pierce (Final Fantasy VII Remake)
Japanese voice actor Kenichi Suzumura
Nozomu Sasaki (Ehrgeiz)

Zack Fair is a character who first appears in Final Fantasy VII. In his debut appearance, Zack is a mysterious character who is only shown in flashbacks. Zack has appeared throughout the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, which greatly expands upon his character and backstory, to the extent of Zack being the main protagonist of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Zack is friends with Cloud Strife, whom Zack resembles in appearance, but his black hair is his most distinct trait. Originally, before Cloud, it was Zack who wielded the Buster Sword.

Concept and creation[edit]

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Zack was not originally a part of Final Fantasy VII's story during development. However, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima wanted to bring a sense of mystery to the title, and created the character to help complicate Cloud's backstory.[citation needed] Zack was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, and his last name is derived from "fair weather," to contrast with Cloud's last name, Strife.[citation needed] With Zack's conceptual backstory in place for Final Fantasy VII, the staff decided to use Compilation of Final Fantasy VII to expand upon his character.

History[edit]

Final Fantasy VII[edit]

In Final Fantasy VII, Zack has only a small role, although it is an important one. Zack is first mentioned by name in Gongaga, his hometown, where his parents are concerned that they have not heard from Zack for years, and they are also unaware of his death. Aerith proceeds to explain that Zack was her first love.

Cloud later realizes that he unknowingly confused some of his past and even aspects of his personality with Zack's. For instance, Cloud believed that he qualified for SOLDIER when it was actually Zack who did. The true flashbacks reveal that both Zack and Cloud battled Sephiroth after he burned down Nibelheim. After Cloud defeated Sephiroth, both Zack and Cloud were taken to be used in experiments by Shinra. Eventually, Zack woke up and was able to escape from imprisonment with a semi-conscious Cloud to Midgar. On the edge of the city, Zack was gunned down by Shinra troops, resulting in his death.

Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring[edit]

In Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring, Zack is an unlockable character who is playable in arcade, versus, and minigame events. Zack fights very similarly to Cloud, and is even capable of wielding a Buster Sword in battle. Several of Zack's moves are shared with Cloud's, albeit renamed.

Compilation of Final Fantasy VII[edit]

Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII[edit]

In Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, Zack supports Shinra in their fight against the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE. During the game, two of his SOLDIER acquaintances are captured and experimented upon, and though Zack is able to bring them back to their senses, he is unable to save them. Zack also makes an appearance during the chapter covering the Nibelheim incident, and later as a boss character when he and Cloud are fugitives from Shinra and are being pursued by the Turks.

Last Order: Final Fantasy VII[edit]

Zack in LOFF7.jpg

The OVA Last Order: Final Fantasy VII follows Zack and Cloud's journey to Midgar with flashbacks of the Nibelheim incident.

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Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children[edit]

In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Zack also has a small role, and most of his appearances are flashbacks from Cloud's perspective. Zack also appears in the ending, where he and the now deceased Aerith speak to Cloud.

In the director's cut, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, Zack's role has been expanded, and he makes an appearance during Cloud's battle with Sephiroth. His death is also shown in the film, where he gives Cloud the Buster Sword and tells him to become his "living legacy."

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII[edit]

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In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, which is a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, the story is centered around Zack's backstory. It starts with Zack being a SOLDIER second-class who is being trained by Angeal, a first-class SOLDIER who serves as Zack's mentor and friend. During this period, Zack is eager, energetic, cocky and sometimes rather easily distracted. Because he does not pay attention to enemies once he believes they are defeated/dead, several get up and attack him while his back is turned. Angeal warns him on a regular basis to pay attention and to "be serious" about his missions. Angeal also calls Zack "the Puppy" whenever he talks to others about him, though he does not say it in front of Zack.

Zack is also very idealistic about the SOLDIER program and what he is fighting for. He is very loyal to his friends, and for a long time cannot accept that Angeal betrays Shinra.

Two years later, Zack is a little more mature. He is not as liable to rush into fights, or to not pay attention, and his skills have improved as he has gained experience. Many respect him and he is a reliable SOLDIER, though this is when he begins to doubt the SOLDIER program and Shinra. When asked what his dream is, his response is always "to be a hero".

Even when Angeal goes rogue, Zack still insists they are friends. Throughout the game, Angeal refuses to seriously hurt Zack and protects him from monsters and Genesis, and Zack refuses to fight Angeal, even when ordered to. When Angeal dies, he gives Zack the Buster Sword (which represents hope, pride and dreams to both Angeal and Zack).

Zack meets his role model, Sephiroth, on the same night that Angeal is accused of deserting to join Genesis Rhapsodos. After becoming a SOLDIER first-class, Zack and Sephiroth are sent on various missions to uncover what Angeal and Genesis are up to and over time, his respect for Sephiroth grows, and the two become something like friends.

In a fight with Angeal, the floor breaks beneath Zack and he falls into the slums. When he wakes up, he sees Aerith, who he mistakes for an angel. He offers to take her on a date for "saving his life." When she refuses, he asks her to show him the way out of the slums. As they walk, he suggests she make a cart and sell flowers from her garden to rich people. When they pass a shop Aerith likes, he buys her a ribbon for her hair (because he still owes her for "saving his life"). During the course of the day, they end up at a park, where Aerith admits she is afraid of Shinra and SOLDIERs. Zack tells her he is a SOLDIER, and Aerith apologizes and tells him his eyes are beautiful, so she does not mind that he is a SOLDIER. Over time, Zack visits Aerith on a regular basis and when he is not with her, she often calls him. He helps her build her flower-cart before he leaves for Nibelheim and she gives him a note that contains her greatest wish.

Cloud makes his appearance in Zack's life as Zack heads to Modeoheim with Tseng to find new clues on Genesis' location. Cloud is the only other person in their group of SOLDIER, Turk, and regular Shinra soldiers to be able to keep up with Zack, and Zack asks him where he is from and jokes around with him. Two years later, Cloud is in a group of SOLDIER trainees who Zack is helping to train. He recognizes Cloud and gives him a friendly pat on the shoulder before beginning his speech to the class.

At Nibelheim, Zack witnesses Sephiroth's madness and tries to stop him, but does not succeed. Because he is injured at the time, he is easy prey (along with an equally injured Cloud) for Hojo, who keeps them imprisoned for four years until Zack becomes aware enough to break out of his tank and free Cloud. Zack finds Aerith's note in his pocket and reads it; Aerith wrote that her greatest wish was to spend more time with him. Zack then realizes that his only mission now is to make it back to Aerith in Midgar. Cloud is suffering from Mako poisoning, so Zack must carry him as he tries to get to Midgar and stay out of Shinra's sight. The whole time, Zack takes care of Cloud, protects him, and constantly tries to talk to him, hoping Cloud will wake up. He attempts to visit his parents in Gongaga, but Cissnei (a young Turk) tells him to leave or he will be caught. Later, he encounters two Angeal-clones and Genesis, and helps the Angeal-clones to defeat Genesis. Both clones end up in bad shape, and Zack leaves them and Genesis propped up together on chairs and says his final goodbyes. He finds a letter from Aerith left by one of the Angeal clones addressed to him, stating that it had been four years since they last saw each other and this letter is the 89th letter she has sent. She also wrote that it would be the last letter and thanks Zack for all he's done for her. Zack now realizes that four years had passed and cries out in anguish. He quietly tells Aerith to wait for him before getting Cloud and sneaking away from the Shinra soldiers who have appeared close by.

Zack and Cloud are almost to Midgar (and Aerith) when Shinra catches up to them. Zack leaves Cloud sheltered in some rocks and goes to face the many soldiers surrounding them. He is fatally wounded and left to die on the edge of the cliff. Cloud ,who was left alone because of his vegetative state, wakes up and crawls to Zack's side. Zack tells him "you are my living legacy" and gives him the Buster Sword before he finally dies.

After Cloud has left for Midgar, a gloved hand descends from the Lifestream (probably Angeal) and Zack sits up and grips the hand, then fades into the Lifestream, having fulfilled his dream of being a hero.

Final Fantasy VII Remake[edit]

Zack appears at the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake during a flashback scene, where he survives the ambush by Shinra forces and continues dragging Cloud toward Midgar. It is implied that the scene takes place in another timeline from the main narrative.

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep[edit]

Zack's first and only Kingdom Hearts-related appearance is in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, where he has a more youthful appearance than in his Final Fantasy incarnation. He is featured prominently in the Olympus Coliseum, commonly participating in tournaments in order to achieve his dream of becoming a hero. Since the game is a prequel to other Kingdom Hearts titles, the staff chose Zack because they wanted a character from a Final Fantasy prequel.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Q&A". GameSpot. Published July 19, 2010.
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