In the most shocking and infamous scene of Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth kills Aerith while she is praying in a temple by stabbing her through the chest after sneaking up behind her. Afterwards, Cloud buries her at sea.
However, one video game theorist asserts that Aerith didn’t die in the temple. Apparently, when Sephiroth stabbed Aerith he separated her spinal cord, paralysing her and leaving her unconscious. What actually kills her, according to this theory, is Cloud accidentally drowning her by burying her at sea. Advocates of this theory point to the lack of blood showing when Aerith was stabbed as well as the position of the sword going through her body, which, as is argued, misses all vital organs and blood vessels.
But, this theory suffers from a number of holes which ultimately undermines it. For instance, Aerith is stabbed with a sword which causes immense damage during in-game battles, particularly to those not wearing any armour (which she wasn’t). Also, if she were alive when being buried at sea then we’d expect to see some bubbles in the water. Moreover, perhaps the game’s developers Square Enix kept the blood to a minimum in her death scene to maintain a lower parental rating for the game. After all, it would be quite shocking for a kid to see a main character die in a gruesome manner. The final nail in the coffin for this theory comes from the official novella released by Square Enix which states that Aerith watches from the lifestream as Cloud lays her body to rest. Sephiroth killed Aerith. Case closed.