We know Cloud isn’t who he says he is. This is a crucial plot twist in the story. Cloud says he was in SOLDIER, yet, he never made the cut. His cockiness was all just an act. But he’s not the only one who isn’t all he seems. In fact, each of the characters isn’t who they seem.
Consider Aerith. Is she really as sweet and naive as we think she is? In the Japanese, her speech takes on a rough tone, alluding to her slum upbringing. I guess we tend to think of her as a gentle soul, probably due to how nice she is. White mages throughout the series have this reputation. But Aerith is also an extremely fierce woman, who knows how to handle a staff in battle.
Don’t forget that she was the one who actively convinced Cloud to crossdress as a woman. As a SOLDIER he believes himself to be, he could have barged in to save the day. Instead, he let Aerith flirt her way into his psyche. She’s a pro at this. Those men outside of the Honeybee Inn is willing to pay hundreds for wilting flowers from Aeriths. She’s able to flirt effectively, in a manner that even convinces Barret to admire himself with a Sailor outfit. But she’s a tease, as she’s almost like a maiden. Hence, her pure status.
What about Tifa? She’s a boxer and a bartender, so I’m sure our first impression of her was rude. She would have to be; as a businesswoman she can’t put up with nonsense in her bar. Especially not if it just happens to be the hangout for a terrorist organization. Learning martial arts would help her defend against Shinra’s grunts. And while being a bartender, you’d think she’s good with flirting. Of course, we curiously, never see her flirt effectively in the entire game…
But she can be rude at times, such as calling Barrett a retard. Yet despite this, she’s actually demure. Her speech tone is much coyer than she lets on. But while she’s supposedly a loving individual concerned for Cloud’s safety, she’s also manipulating him. She plays into his delusions to shape him into the man she wants him to be. She’s hopelessly clingy, and not at all good with flirting.
And then, we have Sephiroth. He’s cold, calculating and shrewd. At least, this is our impression of him. But he seems quite sane for the most part. He even seems to care about the men under him. Later on, he becomes nearly insane, ranting about his mother, his ancient lineage, meteors, etc. But how much of this was already within him, to begin with? Was he always just a little bit crazy? If not, how exactly did he have a mental breakdown so quickly in such a short time?
This is what’s so great about Final Fantasy VII. It subverted our expectations of who we thought these characters would be. Perhaps the remake can do the same, and subvert our expectations of what we believe the game will be.