Thanks to Rhomagus for the inspiration!
On UltimateSolidusSnake’s post, where he asked is Cloud and Lightning were related, Rhomagus states:
It’s mainly a Nomura signature.
Any Final Fantasy where Nomura was the character designer had protagonists share their name with a natural phenomenon.
Final Fantasy 1 through 5 still had Amano as the character designer. No nature references.
Final Fantasy 6 was the first Final Fantasy Nomura worked on in some capacity. Though he wasn’t the main designer we did get our first nature reference in the form of Terra.
Nomura dons the role of main character designer in 7. We get Cloud.
Nomura does 8. Squall.
Amano reprises his role for 9. No nature references. Though Garnet might count.
Nomura returns for 10. Tidus and Yuna.
Nomura’s hand is absent for both 11 and 12. 11 was an MMO, but still lacks names with direct nature references.
12’s entire cast lacks nature references. Though Ashe might be loosely considered.
Nomura’s designs return for 13. We get Lightning, Snow, Hope, Vanille, Fang, etc.
Akihiko Yoshida returns for 14. Severe lack of nature references in main character names.
Nomura returns for 15. Main male lead? Noct, Latin for Night. Female lead? Lunafreya, shortened by Noct to Luna, latin for Moon. Stella was the first female lead back when it was versus 13. Stella is latin for star or starlight (off the top of my head).
Nature references seem cooler when they aren’t your native tongue. Native English speakers probably gravitate to Yuna, Noct, Stella, Luna but second guess when they see Squall, Cloud, Lightning, Snow, Hope, Fang.
The Latin based native speakers are probably equally unimpressed with Stella, Noct, and Luna, but probably don’t second guess Yuna as a viable name.
Since nature references seem to be baked into a lot of Japanese names, it probably seems cooler to see those names in English from a native Japanese speaker’s perspective. Though they may not have the same gravitas to the English speaking commumity.
Amano and Yoshida were a bit more abstract with their names but that could be because they didn’t have as much a hand in that aspect of character development (I.e. they may have been given some character descriptors and just drew the characters while Nomura preferred a more hands on approach by baking story elements into his characters overall theme. I have no info to back that up though, just speculation. )
In general though, clean lines and nature references are two things that stick out to me when viewing Nomura’s work. Soft dreamscapes are a hallmark of Amano. Yoshida seems to find a more bohemian feel mixed with some chibi characteristics.
Cloud and Lightning aren’t related.
But what if they were?
How would they be related? Other than facial structures, what if Cloud reincarnated from the LifeStream as a woman? Maybe this is why he dressed as a woman, at Aerith’s suggestion. I could see Cloud following in his older sister Lightning’s footsteps as a military grunt. And dressing as her occassionally. Technically, they’re the same age, but she might be protector to the softer Cloud.
What do you think?