Cloud’s Buster Sword in Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a massive broadsword around six feet long with a single-edged blade about one foot wide. It’s the spiky-headed protagonist’s iconic weapon that is shown with him in most appearances, and even has cameos in other games; but why is it so enormous?
According to the Final Fantasy Ultimania Vol. 2, Cloud’s sword was smaller and thinner for the original Final Fantasy 7‘s early concept sketches. One of the FF7 Remake developers, Tetsyua Nomura, said in the Final Fantasy 7 Advent Children Reunion Files that the original version of the sword was unrefined steel and named it “the Giant Kitchen Knife.” Cloud’s imagery was inspired by the samurai martial artist Musahi Miyamoto, and the Buster Sword resembles the waster sword wielded by him carved from an oar.
The Buster Sword in FF7 isn’t really practical for most humans. Many attribute Cloud’s ability to slash it around with ease to him having super strength due to being experimented on with Mako injections. The sword is a bit of an enigma as it seems to contradict itself in one scene where it’s shown bouncing off a metal door, and in another it seems to effortlessly slash through metal debris in FF7 Remake – though this could also be attributed to Cloud’s strength progressing as the game goes on.
Cloud actually wasn’t the first to utilize the Buster Sword. In the Final Fantasy 7 universe, he receives the weapon from Zack Fair, who urges Cloud to take it and become his “living legacy.” Zack used the blade pretty frequently, often swinging it to hit with the blunt edge whereas Cloud uses the sharp side. However, even Zack wasn’t the first owner of the Buster Sword.
Zack’s mentor was Angeal Hewley – a serious First Class SOLDIER who had a soft side for Zack and was the original owner of the Buster Sword in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7. Unlike Zack and Cloud, he preferred to use a standard SOLDIER sword due to the sentiment the Buster Sword had to him. Angeal’s father – or stepfather, though he raised him as his own – forged the blade for him when he joined SOLDIER. His parents had to borrow a lot of money for the sword, which Angeal’s father worked until his death to pay it off. Angeal carried it around with him in addition to his more commonly-used weapon. He tells Zack, in reference to the Buster Sword, “Use brings about wear, tear and rust. And that’s a real waste.” Too bad nobody mentioned that to Cloud. Angeal viewed the sword as a symbol of his dreams and honor, but inevitably entrusted it to Zack to pass on these ideals, and Cloud eventually inherits that bequest in the Final Fantasy compilation.
It seems the sword is only as big as it is due to Angeal’s father having the best intentions for his son, but not necessarily knowing what makes for a practical sword, having been poor and likely not well-versed in such matters. Cloud ending up with it is rather serendipitous, as not just anyone would be able to wield such a large and heavy object. It has since become emblematic of the self-proclaimed “former ex-SOLDIER,” as it’s repeatedly paired with Cloud in numerous appearances, including the most recent Final Fantasy 7 Remake and even in Astro’s Playroom.