Materia is Final Fantasy VII Remake’s magical eight ball — at least, in terms of size. These iridescent orbs grant users the power to perform magic. Each appears first as a cue ball-sized crystal nestled in the palm of a hand; if a fire spell can’t kill enemies, maybe a knock on the head with one will. While Cloud and the rest of the game’s cast are constantly stuffing different materia into their equipment, the game never quite explains how each one seems to shrink to the size of a marble.

This is exactly the kind of silly non-issue that will — and has — nagged me since 1997.

In large part, that’s because materia, weapons aside, has been especially baffling in the case of Aerith. The flower girl infamously keeps her prized possession,…

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