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If you’re putting together a profile for a video game or anime character, the inclusion of certain bits of information are optional, such as favorite food, hobby, or breast weight. But just about every fictional character coming from Japan has an official birthday. As a matter of fact, it’s become such a standard bit of background information for anime and video game characters that you can search online and find dozens to sing happy birthday to on any given day.

This week, though, was the birthday of an especially popular figure: Cloud Strife. Not only did the hero of Final Fantasy VII hero receive plenty of warm wishes from fans, he also got an illustrated birthday card from his designer himself, Tetsuya Nomura.

The spikey-haired buster swordsman’s birthday is listed as August 11, which came on last Tuesday. Since the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII remake is still a ways off, Cloud’s most recent video game appearance is in the mobile title Final Fantasy VII G Bike, and in celebration the game’s official Twitter account sent out this tweet on August 11.

That’s no fan art, either, but a lovingly detailed drawing from Nomura, who rocketed to fame when he took over from Yoshitaka Amano as Final Fantasy’s character designer when the series transitioned from bitmapped to polygonal graphics while jumping ship from Nintendo’s cartridge-based hardware to Sony’s first CD system in 1997.

As Final Fantasy VII has gradually evolved into a franchise of its own, Cloud has been shouldering increasingly heavy burdens as the narrative takes on a more serious tone. All of that stress doesn’t seem to have affected his looks, though. While most of us can expect to pick up at least a few blemishes or wrinkles over the course of 18 years, Cloud’s features seem to be becoming more sharply fine as time goes by.

▼ Cloud’s design from 1997’s Final Fantasy VII, 2008’s Dissidia Final Fantasy, and Nomura’s 2015 birthday card

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Apparently in addition to giving you shiny eyes and superhuman physical prowess, Mako energy is a great anti-aging agent for the skin.

Source: Jin
Top image: Twitter/@FFVII_GBIKE (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert image: Wikipedia/Theo’s Little Bot, Wikia/Yeah 93, Twitter/@FFVII_GBIKE (edited by RocketNews24)