Would you rather date an aloof and emotionally unavailable black cat or a peppy golden retriever that’s eager to please?
That’s ostensibly what it feels like to ask yourself whether you’d rather date Cloud Strife (the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII) or Zack Fair (his dark-haired counterpart that stars in the newly remastered Crisis Core -: Final Fantasy VII-7 Reunion prequel).
Maybe you prefer an anime bad boy like Cloud, or perhaps you’re keener on the more typical shounen archetype that Zack embodies. But who’s more popular with the fans? Inverse polled hundreds of them about their preference for spikey-haired SOLDIER boy-friends.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve got some convincing arguments for both.
The internet’s favorite “sad boi”
Final Fantasy was released on December 18, 1987, and 35 years later, it remains one of the most beloved franchises in gaming. Inverse's celebration takes a look back at our favorite games, characters, and moments over the years.
Cloud received a staggering 60.2 percent of the overall vote in a landslide victory. As the star of the most widely loved Final Fantasy game ever, this makes sense.
Many of Cloud’s fans wrote that they adored his aloof personality, even though it was a turn off for the Zack stans. A few fans even liked the thought of dating a “fixer-upper.” (You know, someone they could “fix” or help with their emotional baggage.)
“Cloud is damaged, broken, and doesn't know who he is. I can fix him,” one fan insisted. “Zack did war crimes for Shinra. Not entirely his fault, but still.”
Another fan admitted that they loved both but had to side with Cloud. Who cares if he’s got a couple of loose screws? “As much as I love Zack, Cloud is just very much a character I truly love lol,” one fan wrote. “He's just a semi-brainwashed and amnesia-ridden guy just kind of finding his way into different shenanigans who has a funny sense of humor. A good, little guy!”
Just an FYI: Cloud is indeed a “little guy” at 5’7” compared to Zack, who is 6’1.” Some people just stan a short king.
As per our readers, Cloud also has the fact that he “looks way too good in a dress” and “would make a good bottom” going for him. Also, “he dumb” and “sad boy go purr.”
Zack Fair-est of them all
39.8 percent of the overall vote went to Gongagan Zack Fair.
Zack fans honed in on his openness and positivity. They also respected how he could stay upbeat “in spite of shitty circumstances.” He and Cloud may both be loyal, but Zack is undoubtedly more emotionally honest … and stable. Many of the comments about Zack used uplifting adjectives like upbeat, caring, and sweet. He just has his “shit together.”
“I choose Zack because I admire his positive and enthusiastic approach to everything thrown his way,” one fan wrote. “Through the toughest battles, he still smiles and remains a goofball all the while being serious and passionate about fulfilling his duties as a SOLDIER. He is extremely confident and cool but still seems like a very friendly and an easy-to-get-along-with type of guy. And he's VERY nice to look at as an added bonus!”
Another fan who voted for Zack said that, although they respect Cloud’s character development, his unhealthy way of dealing with trauma was a downside to them.
“Zack is upbeat, open with his emotions, and loyal to the end with the people he cares about. Despite everything he’s been through, he remains a ray of sunshine who lives only to help others,” they said. “Although I prefer Cloud’s character development compared to Zack’s, Cloud is just too emotionally unavailable to be a good partner. His initial way of dealing with trauma involves shutting out those whom he should care about (which is especially evident in Advent Children).”
The internet has spoken: Most people would rather date Cloud than Zack. Personally, I would rather date Zack because I’m too old to be dating people who need me to carry their emotional baggage. However, as seen above, that’s up for debate as a selling point.
We’re still waiting to see if Cloud and Zack will reunite in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the sequel to Final Fantasy VII Remake. The latter essentially destroyed fate itself and seemingly changed Zack’s destiny so that he’s still alive in the new timeline. For all we know, maybe they’ll wind up together and leave the rest of us forever pining.