Huh? He's Got Pants Now.
I'd also forgotten about the bit where Red XIII dresses up in a soldier's uniform and sneaks onto a military ship and nobody notices. Red XIII is a quadrupedal lion/dog thing. Nobody notices.
VII feels to me like a 2D-era Final Fantasy that happens to be in three dimensions. I came into the series with VIII, which I think took itself more seriously than any of its predecessors did, and since then, with the exception of IX, Final Fantasy games have been pretty straight-faced. Perhaps that's part of the reason why opinion is so divided on later games.
Come to think of it, X-2 and XIII-2 do bring a bit of the silliness back. Maybe Square feel that their formerly-commonplace silliness should now be confined to spin-offs and direct sequels?
(Here, incidentally, is an exchange I had with my housemate, who is a Legend of Zelda person, when she was playing Twilight Princess and I was playing Final Fantasy XIII-2:
Riona: Why do you turn into a wolf in Twilight Princess?
RD: Because at the beginning... you're pulled into the twilight... and it turns you into a wolf.
RD: You can't judge! With your Final Fantasy XIII-2 - 'oh no, this person's been swallowed up by the paradox!'
Riona: Look, it makes perfect sense. Someone's been absorbed by the paradox, and they're walking around as just an outline, so you have to make them visible with the magical powers of your little flying creature that is also a bow that is also a sword.
Later, RD proposed a surprisingly plausible theory: 'I think that when they're coming up with ideas for Final Fantasy games, they just pick two words out of a hat and combine them. "Gun... sword. Yeah!" "Goddess... motorbike. Let's do it!"')
Speaking of Final Fantasy XIII-2: why don't people write Hope/Serah? I thought you were supposed to have everything, fandom! It's not as if they're minor characters!
Also, I don't 'ship Noel/Serah, but I do still think that Noel/Serah first-time fanfiction should exist in which Noel has absolutely no idea what he's doing. He lived at the end of humanity; I seriously doubt he has much experience in sex or romance. So Serah has to walk him patiently through pretty much everything. It'd be great.
Whilst I'm rambling about Final Fantasy games, a few notes on Final Fantasy XIII:
The environments in Final Fantasy XIII are incredibly beautiful, but it's hard not to feel a bit disconnected from them. It's probably most pronounced in Palumpolum; I never emerge from that town feeling as if I've actually been there.
Storyline-wise, Sazh and Vanille's travels together might be my favourite part of this game. I really love their relationship. I wonder sometimes how Sazh felt about Vanille and Fang's reunion. Did he worry that he was no longer necessary in Vanille's life? (Gameplay-wise, of course, Sazh and Vanille's travels together are the worst part of this game because you don't have a decent Commando. For a while you don't have a Commando at all. But I love their relationship so much that I am prepared to forgive that.)
It probably wasn't a bad idea to shunt Snow out of the way for three and a half chapters. I love Snow, but he's best in small doses. He was my second favourite Final Fantasy XIII character at first, just behind Sazh, but Lightning displaced him a while ago. You're a sweetheart, Snow, but you're also completely intolerable sometimes.
(What if, instead of Lightning Returns, we got a game called Snow Returns, with Snow as the central focus and the sole party member? What a terrifying thought.)