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If, as some argue, Clerith is now canon, then this attribute feels like it doesn't really mean anything. The status of canon ship is not (noticeably) drawing any new shippers. It's not lead to a noticeable uptick in fanfiction or fanart. It's not lead to a demonstrably new essay on the pairing. It might make people feel good, but if it is canon then it doesn't matter. Fans are abandoning the ship over time. The amount of fan works is being dwarfed - it should not be unusual to find a new Clerith fic listed on Ao3 or FFN but it is the exception all the same. If it's canon then this status has nothing to do with what people like to ship - they apparently do not care. Each new instalment or new information seems likely to overlook the ship - Dirge of Cerberus (the manual does not count. Seriously) and CC offered nothing. G-bike does not appear to feature Aerith at all.

If, as others argue, Cloti is canon, then this attribute does seem to contribute to popularity. There are new shippers all the time. Zerith is extremely popular and everyone is very emotional over Crisis Core's ending. There's frequent updates to fanfiction and new fanart. There's more essays about the pairing. People feel good it's canon, and it attracts new fans. The fandom grows; maybe not like when FFVII was new, or when AC or even CC came, but it's still in flux. New fans come to the ship. They're swayed by arguments, they produce fan-works. People ship the pairing - and it looks like it's canon; each new game and new information seems to keep confirming the ship. Right up to date there's Tifa in G-bike.

This is a rallying call to Cleriths. Stop the canon fixation. It does not help. Believe it if you wish, but stop bashing Tifa. This is putting people off. Stop bashing Zack too. That really puts newer fans off. Like it or not, the major way fans enter the fandom these days is via AC or CC - neither of which at first glance indicate Clerith. CC gave rise to Zerith as an eternal unending ship (no, I don't like this view or the ships' portrayal in the game or indeed the game but this is beside the point) and implied Cloti. AC is nothing but Cloti - believe what you will about Cloud's last lines, the smile, Aerith's words, whatever the creatives said previously or Cloud seeing Aerith as he does. None of that matters in the slightest. A new person to the fandom is going to watch Aerith walk away from Cloud and Cloud then says he's not alone anymore. They are going to see Tifa sticking by his side and believing in him the entire film. They do not and will not reach the conclusion that Aerith lives on inside Cloud - the visuals and framing simply do not lend themselves to this conclusion.

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