Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-08-17 12:13 (JST)
Translated by. Ari Clark
A delightful movement has sprung up worldwide around the hairstyle of Tifa from Final Fantasy VII. Tifa is a heroine known for her iconic dark hair, which she wears very long. People who say they would like to see Tifa with short hair are posting illustrations on social media that depict her with her hair cut short.
Taking a look at the Twitter hashtag #TifaShortHair brings up a huge number of illustrations of Tifa with a short haircut. Since August 13, the number of posts with this hashtag has skyrocketed. A lot of people seem to be entertaining the idea of how Tifa would look with short hair.
The person who touched off this boom was Twitter user strawderryst, who edited some CG images of Tifa from Final Fantasy VII Remake to make it look like she had short hair. Her post seems to have become the flashpoint for the fad. According to Polygon, strawderryst is “an artist and a person who loves to imagine”, and the idea of giving Tifa short hair just popped into her head as she was thinking about different hairstyles for her. The trend for giving Tifa short hair seems to have been inspired by her post.
Certain users have been expressing the opinion that Tifa should have had this hairstyle from the beginning. The character is a martial artist, and some have commented that it would be more logical for her to have short hair than long hair, which would be bound to get in the way in a fight.
However, strawderryst herself has objected to this view. She replied to one such tweet by saying that she “would not consider such factors from real life in a video game”. Inviting laughter from other users by pointing out that the game also features a guy who swings around a sword who’s bigger than he is, she affirmed her support for Tifa’s original design, saying that it wasn’t necessary to apply real-life common sense like whether long hair would be a disadvantage in battle.
Strawderryst also left a supplementary comment in response to one part of the aforementioned Polygon article, which had noted that “a lot of women in games tend to embody the feminine ideals of the male gaze, which tends to include long hair”. According to strawderryst, she didn’t give Tifa short hair as an act of opposition to the “feminine ideals of the male gaze”, but did it “purely from a subjective point of view”.
Speaking of Tifa, before the Final Fantasy VII Remake went on sale, there were suggestions from game director Tetsuya Nomura that her design would be reworked. In an interview with Famitsu (Japanese link), he commented that “(w)e wanted Tifa to have defined abs, so she has more of an athletic look. The in-house ethics department also instructed us that we needed to have more snug support around her chest, so it wouldn’t look unnatural during the intense action scenes.”
Tifa has been popular as a sexy character since the original version of FFVII, and some people must surely have had concerns about how she could be presented in a modern way without chipping away at that special appeal of hers. The remake version of Tifa was eventually fine-tuned to be a more dynamic character while still preserving her sex appeal. She shows a lot of skin overall, but without putting too much emphasis on her cleavage and so on, and she looks conspicuously cool in battle, too. She exudes a sense of nurturing maternal instinct, while also feeling like someone you can rely on, making a strong impression as a well-balanced character who’s easy for both male and female gamers to love.
Her elegant facial features are probably what inspired players to start thinking about trying different hairstyles on her, which might be what led to this short-haircut trend. This latest trend seems to be less about demanding anything in particular, and feels more like it aims to innovate appealing new looks for Tifa.
The official overseas Twitter account for Square Enix also left a comment on strawderryst’s post that read “…cute…”, with a wide-eyed emoji. Tifa’s long, dark hair has always been her trademark. Just as her hairstyle change for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children still suited her beautifully, this could be seen as another example of proof that, no matter how you change her hairstyle, Tifa’s appeal is evergreen.