The Wolf of Advent Children
By Trang An
There has been much speculation about the purpose of the wolf in the renowned sequel to Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children. This mysterious creature has appeared several times in the movie: first near Zack's sword on the outskirts of Midgar; then appearing again when Tifa and Cloud are unconscious on Aerith's flowerbed; on the shore of the lake in the Forgotten Capital; and once again when Cloud was revived. Nothing in the game or the movie has explained the purpose for the wolf's existence.
One theory is that the wolf is representative of Zack watching over Cloud. This can be tied to the scene where Cloud dies and is floating unconsciously in the plane of the dead and the voices of both Aerith and Zack can be heard, indicating that the two are sort of spirit guides for Cloud. This means that since Aerith is represented in the plane of the living through water, it would only be reasonable that Zack would have a physical representation too. And that would be the wolf.
There is something more I would like to add to this "Zack the wolf" theory. After watching the Anime OAV, Last Order, and reading more information about the upcoming PSP game, Crisis Core, one can get a good feeling of what kind of person Zack is like. From what I can tell, despite Zack's outgoing personality, he does not seem to have many friends other than Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth. You would think that a person like Zack would be very popular, right? As implied from Last Order, it can be seen that Zack does not hold a liking to Turks, indicating a possible dark side to his personality. Because of this, the belief of Zack as the lone wolf is not so far off. Perhaps Crisis Core will clarify this interesting individual even more.
Another theory is that the wolf is representative of Cloud's grief which, like a loyal dog, refuses to leave him. This can be supported by the fact that the wolf is always appearing in a significant place: the cliff outside of Midgar where Zack was killed; the flowerbed where Cloud met Aerith for the second time; and the lake of the Forgotten Capital where Aerith was laid to rest. All of these events contributed to the breakdown of Cloud's mentality in the game and continues to haunt him long after Final Fantasy VII up to Advent Children.
My theory for the wolf is that this creature is a Nibel Wolf, a monster which can be found in the game scattered around the grassy area near Nibelheim. Because of its natural connection to Nibelheim, it can be said that the wolf is representative of the tragic event when the town was burned down by Sephiroth. It was from that day on where the main story of Final Fantasy VII truly unravels. Just like how the wolf is symbolic of Cloud's grief, it is also symbolic of Cloud's past; it's not actually seen, but its presence is there.
In nature, there is no actual "lone wolf." Wolves live and travel in packs, which are pretty much big families; very rarely will you find a lone wolf in the wild. For the case of Cloud, his "pack" can be seen as the Avalanche team which includes Tifa, Barret, Cid, Yuffie, Cait Sith, Red XIII, and Vincent. In the game, they lived, traveled, and fought together. When Cloud begins to distance himself from them, everyone becomes concerned. In the end of the movie, the wolf disappears and Cloud comes back to his "pack," his family.
Final Fantasy VII (PC) game
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
"Advent Children: Trivia." Wikipedia. 26 June 2006