Final Fantasy is definitely a series full of interesting, if not odd, characters. Often considered to be a useless or filler character, Cait Sith is certainly both odd and interesting. However, I do not think he is useless or filler and I wanted to take this week as an opportunity to dive into why.
Cait Sith Or Reeve?
When I sat down to write about Cait Sith, I considered to chalk it up to Reeve and do the piece about him. However when I thought more about it, I really do still see them as separate characters despite Cait Sith being controlled by Reeve. There are a number of reasons why I think that, but it certainly could be argued that they are the same as well.
Cait Sith’s origin is a bit of a mess, not really ever fully explaining how this character came to be. According to the Final Fantasy VII instruction manual, Cait Sith rides a large robotic moogle that he brought to life. Cait Sith is controlled by Reeve and Cait Sith controls his moogle by giving it orders with the megaphones he equips as weapons. In The 10th Anniversary Ultimania, it explains that the moogle was manufactured by the Urban Development Department of the Shinra Electric Company, which Reeve is the head of, to gather intelligence.
The debate for me here is whether or not Cait Sith can act on his own. It would be ridiculous to think that Reeve controls him 24/7 so he must have some programming that allows him to act on his own. The extent of how Reeve controls Cait Sith is also never fully explained, so that is up for debate as well.
It is worth mentioning that he remains in control of Cait Sith even after being arrested so it is clear he doesn’t need Shinra tech to control him. Instead, some sort of mind control or telepathic ability is more of a possibility. In any case, Cait Sith does seem to have a different personality than Reeve so I’m lead to believe they are different characters.
From Spy To Friend
One of my favorite things about Cait Sith is to watch as he slowly warms up to the party. You already get a glimpse of Reeve’s wavering trust in Shinra when Cloud, Barret and Tifa spy on their meeting. Reeve’s transformation from Shinra employee to Avalanche member really defines this game’s overall theme quite well.
The debate of whether Shinra is evil is something that the game expresses time and time again. In Kalm, we see people talk highly of Shinra, explaining that they are the reason they even have power to survive. However, Reeve gets to see behind the scenes as well as what Cloud’s party goes through to fight Shinra, and can base his decision off of that information.
We don’t see much of Reeve until Dirge of Cerberus but we do get to witness this transformation through Cait Sith. When he steals the Keystone at the Golden Saucer and gives it to Tseng, he admits to being a spy for Shinra, though he does not say who he actually is. The party is then presented with a choice as Cait Sith begins to express remorse for his decision.
Cloud is reluctant to allow Cait Sith to come along, but he promises to take them to The Temple of the Ancients to make it up to them. This is when we really start to see the change in Cait Sith and by extension, Reeve.
The scene of Cait Sith running through the Temple of the Ancients to sacrifice himself for the party is one of the most bizarre scenes in the entire game. We only just realized his true nature and although he is trying to redeem himself, not much time has passed before this dramatic scene transpires. The scene definitely tries to make you feel something for Cait Sith but it also paints the picture of him having a separate identity from Reeve.
Although it is understood that another Cait Sith will replace him, and this isn’t even the first Cait Sith to begin with, this scene still drives home the idea that Cait Sith, or rather Reeve, is doing what he can to redeem himself. I do think that this scene also proves to us that somewhere inside of Cait Sith lies his own identity.
A Useful Party Member?
Cait Sith is the only playable character in the game who isn’t required to be in your party at any time and because of this, he is often considered to be a filler character. He isn’t particular strong either, although most of his weapons have a good amount of Materia slots and he has one of the best Magic stats in the whole game.
However, many don’t use Cait Sith, myself included, because his two Limit Breaks are all based on luck. Sure some of the combinations can be down right devastating, but the chances of getting those combinations are pretty slim. His Limit Breaks definitely fit his character as he often gives fortunes to people, but they aren’t too useful in battle.
There is one interesting thing that happens in the game if you have him in your party that I’d like to mention though. In Aeris’ death scene, each character will have their own part in the cutscene depending on who is in your party at the time. Cait Sith’s reaction is by far the strangest.
In my opinion, I think he is attempting to try and cheer Cloud up, but then realizes that now is not the best time, lowers his head in sadness, and walks away. However, it definitely just looks like he is dancing in celebration which certainly makes many people dislike him more.
I also think this scene signifies his original excuse for joining the party in wanting to see Cloud’s fortune unfold. “What you pursue will be yours. But you will lose something dear.” It also drives home the fact that Cait Sith predicted that Aeris and Cloud should be together and not Tifa. There’s no doubt in my mind that he feels the loss of Aeris, but it can definitely be interpreted differently.
More Important To The Story Than Gameplay
When I think of the Final Fantasy cast, I’m inclined to think Cait Sith is the only member who provides the player with comic relief and light-heartedness. The tone of Final Fantasy VII is very dark and depressing, and many of the characters express that depression. Aside from Yuffie and Aeris, the game is short on characters that bring about a sense of joy or happiness to the experience. So, while Cait Sith may not be the best choice for a party member, I do think his presence in the game is very much intentional and important.
His character arc shows his growth in understanding Shinra’s effect on individuals outside of the company. Many don’t utilize him in battle, but there’s no denying that he offers a unique view on the world of Final Fantasy VII. I think it also helps set up Reeve for his more prominent role in other titles. I’ll be curious to see what they do with both Cait Sith and Reeve in future installments of Final Fantasy VII Remake.
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