Aerith Gainsborough, alternately known with the first name Aeris, and other times with the surname Gainborough, or Gainsbourg, is a playable character in Final Fantasy VII and a major character in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII; appearing in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- and Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-. She is the last of the Cetra, an ancient race with powerful magical abilities, and so the Shinra Electric Power Company hunts her throughout her life, seeking to exploit her powers.
Aerith is upbeat and joyful, and several times in Final Fantasy VII attempts to cheer up her fellow party members. As she was raised in the Midgar Slums, Aerith maintains that she can take care of herself and can fight off Shinra troops, as well as demonstrating more subtle forms of savvy. When Aerith has made up her mind about something she will not listen to anyone who tells her otherwise. Aerith and Tifa often spend time together when the party splits up and are good friends.
As a child, Aerith was reluctant to accept her Cetra heritage, and in Final Fantasy VII she admits to Cloud she considers herself lonely as she is the only remaining Cetra. She exhibits personality quirks at times, such as being afraid of the sky in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, and claiming she can “hear the wind calling her” in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-. These traits may be influenced by her Cetra heritage allowing her to communicate with the Planet. She is portrayed as an independent, outgoing, motherly, and kind young woman who displays an intuitive understanding of others and is deeply in-tune with nature.