As a lover of men, dresses, and men in dresses, you can imagine how excited I was to see Square Enix announce its collaboration with Play Arts Kai on a figure celebrating Cloud Strife’s crossdressing adventure in Final Fantasy VII Remake. And better yet, it has nothing to do with all the NFT bullshit the Japanese company is getting into lately.
The merch is based on the Wall Market section of Final Fantasy VII Remake, the climax of which sees the game’s heroes infiltrate the mansion of local crime lord Don Corneo. As the lecherous mafioso routinely rounds up young women to be his “brides” for the night, Cloud must doll himself up to breach the gang’s headquarters undetected and save his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart.
Cloud is already very pretty, so it’s mostly a matter of finding the right dress to match his looks. Seeking out and fulfilling a series of side quests before subjecting Cloud and Aerith Gainsborough to Don Corneo’s perverted beauty contest results in the protagonists donning increasingly more extravagant outfits. The second-best (my personal favorite) is used for this new collectible.
The articulated figure is by no means cheap at $194.99, but it apparently comes with a stand as well as a separate face and several unique hands so you can display Cloud in different poses. Square Enix also takes great care to point out the “particular attention” paid to “every fine detail,” including the makeup, pigtails, and ruffle textures and skirt folds of the dress.
I’m not a figure guy by any means, but I have to admit, this does look nice. Pre-orders open today with a planned release window of July 2023. If you’re a completionist, you can also pre-order figures of Aerith and Tifa in their own dresses. Unlike the star-crossed lovers, however, it’s debatable if Square Enix chose the best of Ms. Lockhart’s outfits, but that’s a conversation for another day.