AVALANCHE (アバランチ, abaranchi?), always in all capital letters, is the name of two eco-terrorist insurgent groups in Final Fantasy VII, each opposing the actions of the Shinra Electric Power Company. They seek to save the Planet from the misuse of Mako energy. The first group are the main antagonists of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, while the second is a group that the main heroes of Final Fantasy VII are a part of in the beginning of the game.
Both organizations of AVALANCHE believe that Shinra's actions are harmful to the Planet, and that continued harvest of Mako energy will eventually destroy the world. They are believers in the Lifestream; that all life on the Planet is derived from the Mako rivers beneath the Planet. By sucking the Lifestream out, the Planet is slowly being eaten away until eventually the world will be barren and incapable of sustaining life. To this end, they believe that Shinra must be stopped by force.
The Origins of AVALANCHEEdit
In the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, it says that an unknown person founded AVALANCHE after he went to Cosmo Canyon and participated in the study of life. This study made him realize what kind of harm Mako Reactors would have on the Planet, and he founded AVALANCHE.
In Crisis Core, one can meet a man in Sector 7 who went to Cosmo Canyon and studied life and learned of the Mako Reactors, causing him to hate Shinra with a passion. This fits the description that the Ultimania explains. This person, being an NPC, could be the unknown man who started AVALANCHE despite denying it when questioned about being connected to AVALANCHE.
- "Down with Shinra!"
- —AVALANCHE rallying cry
Sometime after AVALANCHE's creation, a girl named Felicia who had lost her memories came to Cosmo Canyon. It is not stated how, but she eventually became the organization's leader and took on the name "Elfé". She worked with a cold scientist named Fuhito, whose plans were far more than a simple revolution of Shinra. At some point, Elfé and Fuhito meet a bandit leader named Shears, who has his own reasons to hate Shinra.
Together these three work together to destroy Shinra with an army of insurgents. They recruit the Shinra Vice President, Rufus Shinra, to fund their operations and supply them with valuable intelligence of Shinra defenses and movements. Using SOLDIER data, Fuhito creates a monstrous attack squad called the Ravens. This AVALANCHE is highly ruthless and vicious, willing to do anything to defeat Shinra.
This group of AVALANCHE fights against the Turks, a Shinra black-ops group. AVALANCHE and the Turks fight across the Planet, but most of their battles end in draws. Shinra finally corners AVALANCHE in Wutai, but the organization is able to hide itself by pretending to be defeated with its leaders killed. They reappear in Corel, and cause the town to be destroyed by Shinra. During the fighting, Rufus is captured. During this time, Elfé slowly begins to lose her strength from an ancient Summon Materia called Zirconiade inside her. Shears leaves the organization to work with the Turk leader, Veld, who is actually Elfé's father. The Turks defect with their leader to find four Materia that can help defeat Zirconiade.
While Shears is gone and Elfé is too weak to lead, Fuhito becomes the true leader of AVALANCHE. During his command, the group breaks down. AVALANCHE soldiers act as little more than zombies of Fuhito's will. Several members simply leave, disgusted by how the group has changed. One of them is Shalua Rui, who sustains great injuries during her escape. In the end, Fuhito summons Zirconiade but it is defeated. He is killed in the battle. Elfé leaves with her father to escape Shinra. What remains of this AVALANCHE group is either defeated or falls apart.
In Crisis Core the player can find a reporter on Sector 8 and begin receiving emails from him. The Crisis Core Complete Guide reveals the man is, in fact, a member of AVALANCHE. The reporter is dedicated to revealing Shinra's dark secrets and writes reports concerning Shinra's confidential matters, closely monitoring what happens in the company. As a member of AVALANCHE the reporter works on gathering classified information and the articles are used to give the public a negative impression of the company.
In Final Fantasy VII, a second, far smaller, AVALANCHE is created by Barret Wallace, a former citizen of Corel, in Midgar. After the events of AVALANCHE's destruction of Corel and the departure of several members, Barret meets up with one such member in Cosmo Canyon and is told of the ideals of AVALANCHE, giving him the incentive to form a resistance group of his own (it's unknown whether this was after the full destruction of AVALANCHE or not, but is likely due to the timescale and implied injuries Barret sustained against Scarlet).
This group has only a handful of members including: Tifa Lockhart, Biggs, Wedge and Jessie. Cloud Strife is hired as a mercenary to aid AVALANCHE in bombing the Mako Reactors. The group is based at Tifa's Bar, 7th Heaven within Sector 7. Unlike the first AVALANCHE this group is far more benign and less ruthless. One of their main goals is to help the people of Midgar slums. Several members show remorse for the people killed in their attacks.
After the group bombs the Sector 1 Reactor and Sector 5 Reactor, Shinra launches an assault on the pillar supporting the plate above Sector 7, destroying all of Sector 7 in an attempt to wipe out AVALANCHE. Then, they blame AVALANCHE for the attack. Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie are all killed trying to protect the pillar and only Cloud, Tifa, and Barret survive. After this defeat, the remaining AVALANCHE members continue to fight Shinra and try to save the Planet. This AVALANCHE can be said to live on in Cloud's party, but it is rarely called "AVALANCHE" following the events of Midgar.
After the events of Final Fantasy VII and Shinra's fall, AVALANCHE's mission was done, and presumably broken up, though the characters still keep in touch with each other. The memory of AVALANCHE's struggles may be symbolized along with the memory of Aerith's death by the pink ribbon worn around the arms of the party.
Though not a continuation of AVALANCHE, the World Regenesis Organization seems to be picking up where they left off, working to keep the Planet going and doing their best to keep what Cloud and the others worked so hard to bring.
- In Cosmo Canyon Barret mentions he had promised Jessie, Biggs and Wedge they would go there to celebrate one day. The original script for Final Fantasy VII in fact did include a scene where Barret and the other members of AVALANCHE would talk about going to Cosmo Canyon. This scene, however, was cut from the game's final version.
- AVALANCHE symbol of skull and bones greatly resembles the pirate flag Jolly Rogers. Although the traditional skull and crossbones pirate flag prevalent in popular culture is usually depicted as black, many historians agree that the original pirate flag was red; red flags were common in naval warfare, to signal that no quarter would be given. This red flag was called Joli Rouge (pretty red) by the French, and may have been corrupted into English as Jolly Roger.