Don Corneo (ドン・コルネオ, Don Koruneo?) is a character in Final Fantasy VII. He is a mafioso-style leader who resides in Sector 6's Wall Market in Midgar, an area filled with shops, restaurants and a brothel known as the Honey Bee Inn, which Don frequents.
Don Corneo is a short, portly man sporting a thin mustache and blonde hair shaved at the sides. The word "Love" above a heart pierced by an arrow is tattooed on the left side of his head, and he is never without a cigar in his mouth. His outfit consists of a red three-quarter length coat with fur trim on the collar and cuffs over a white shirt, opened partway to reveal a hairy chest, blue jeans (with a golden belt buckle in his field model) and white shoes. Corneo appears fond of jewellery and wears stud earrings, a medallion round his neck, and several rings on his fingers.
Don Corneo fits the Mafia leader stereotype, using lackeys to do his dirty work for him, having a reputation both feared and revered, and always getting his own way. He is rather perverted and enjoys the company of beautiful women to use as he will, though he also has a cold and ruthless side, discarding others to the mercy of his lackeys and doing anything he can to make sure he is the victorious one in a confrontation.
Don Corneo is a lonely, perverted man looking for love. During Cloud and Aeris's visit to the Wall Market, they discover Tifa has gone into Don's mansion, and decide to rescue her. What they do not know is that Tifa entered on her own accord, trying to get answers out of Corneo about Shinra.
Cloud's attempt to enter the building is blocked due to Don's rule of "no males allowed" (apart from his underlings). Cloud and Aeris devise a plan that involves Cloud dressing up as a girl to enter the palace. They threaten Corneo (by saying they will "chop them off", "rip them off", and/or "smash them") to make him reveal his connection to Shinra and their plans. The scene is one of the many comedic scenes in the game that also serves to form player attachment to the characters. Don releases a trap door and the party falls down into the sewers.
Don Corneo lives in a large house that looks rather like a palace with a Chinese inspired décor, split into five rooms: The main room is a reception area; Don Corneo's "throne room" has a red carpet walkway and is where he lines up prospective girls for interview; Don's bedroom, through a door behind the throne room; a dungeon room, which includes a torture rack (possibly for S&M); and the last room, a room for Don Corneo's underlings to stay and do as they wish with the girls Don has rejected.
The mansion interior has a Chinese-inspired design -- possibly consisting of souvenirs from Wutai -- and there are many mysterious kanji phrases scattered around, such as: 古留根屋 ('old remaining root house' [koruneo = Corneo]) and 業座 ('work seat' [gyouza = Chinese dumplings]). The concept behind the phrases being read one way, yet meaning another, is 'ateji', which means using kanji/Chinese characters based on how they are read, and not what they mean, which means one can't tell the meaning at all by looking at how the characters are written. In Don Corneo's bedroom, his bedspread bears a large 天, which means "heaven" or "sky"; this fits into the general vain horniness of his personality.
Don's connection to Shinra is that he was hired to reside in the slums and collect as much information about AVALANCHE as possible. After he reveals Shinra's plan to destroy Sector 7, Don Corneo flees Midgar to Wutai with the Turks in hot pursuit with intentions to silence him for spilling the beans to Shinra's Sector 7 plot. He manages to hide until his lust drives him to kidnap Elena (of the Turks) and Yuffie, taking them to the statue of the god Da Chao, where he ponders whom he desires the most. He is stopped by the player party and Rude and Reno of the Turks. While the conversation proceeds, Rude shoots Don with a silenced pistol, who hangs on, but Reno steps on the Don's fingers and he plummets off Da Chao.
The novel Final Fantasy VII Lateral Biography Turks -The Kids Are Alright- reveals that Corneo survived the fall, although confined to a wheelchair. In the novel he is utilizing a fuel source acting as a third party supplier of fuel between the remnants of Shinra and the World Regenesis Organization, while aging badly. In the novel, Corneo agrees to supply the fuel to Evan.
|"Don of the Slums"|
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"Don of the Slums" plays in Corneo's mansion in the Wall Market, and when he first appears in Wutai.
Don Corneo is not seen in the game, but he is referenced by a young girl in the slums of Midgar. She claims her uncle dresses nicely, is kind to women, and his profession is a "Don". Later in the game, a series of missions can be unlocked that pit Zack Fair against Corneo's forces in the slums.
The name Corneo makes a brief appearance in the Tale of Nanai, one of the three stories in the Zodiac Brave Story Sound Novels.
Don Corneo appears with an ice-elemental card with his Tetsuya Nomura artwork.
Don Corneo is likely named after, and partially inspired by The Godfather character Don Corleone. It may also be a wordplay on poet Lord Byron's Don Juan, a story about a ladies' man with a dark past. Fitting his character, his name is also the Italian word for "horny" (though it doesn't have the same meaning).
- An unused dialogue path is found in the game's data for the scene where Cloud is chosen as Don Corneo's "bride". In it, Corneo says that Cloud is his number one choice, but the other girls weren't bad either, and asks Cloud who he thinks was prettier, "from a woman's perspective". The player could then have chosen to reply either Aeris or Tifa, or claim that Cloud was the prettiest. There is also an unused end to the scene, where Tifa and Aeris don't run in and bust the two if Cloud goes along with Don's advances and is about to kiss him; instead, Cloud would jump off the bed and reveal his identity as a man, saying that he needs Don's mouth for something else than kissing, namely, for giving him the info he needs.