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LEt us not forget that we, as individuals, have different experiences in life. I'll just use myself as an example here. I've seen both my parents die in front of me in a young age. My mom dies when I was 13 and my dad when I was 21. And stuff like that changes your life real fast and a LOT. But the worst part of these events are not the deaths in themself, but the funerals, because that's when it truly hits you that it's over. It's farewell. So back then I just had to stop going to funerals (I have lost more than just my parents) because I got flashbacks and I got sad. Those who know me know me and would rather make me take care of their dog or something like that rather then to "invite" me to funerals. So watching a movie with a funeral can give me those flashbacks. But it's so long ago now that it's A OK now, but in my teens it really sucked. But those who haven't witnessed such events wont react. Such is life ;)
Now to the game. First of, I don't think she is a shallow character at all. Though I'll admit I played the game back in 97, so I might have forgotten a lot, but I still remember her well and I liked her. But she was a threat to Sephiroth and he had to get rid of her, but damn was I shocked when it happened. I was seriously just looking at the screen in silence for some time. I think the shock is what got many of us because no one saw that one coming, really.
But the damsel in distress argument? What the flying %(/#&/&%/"&%(/#? Very bad argument and really just pathetic. Go play the game.
Now! FF7R next year. I have my fears for that one, because it just looks too cinematic. The thing with games back in the day was that we could use a lot of our own imagination because, well, them graphics and sounds weren't as good as today (DUUUUH) so we had to "send" our imagination into the games. Now when they have very realistic graphics and VA it can make the game great, but can also break it because that isn't exactly how I (or someone else) imagined the characters. Cloud's and Aeris' faces are just not what I would have imagined. Actually I like her anime like face better. BArret and Tiffa seem close to what I imagined though. And voices? Well... YEah... BArret seems like what I would have guessed, but the rest... Njeee. We'll see. But maybe this is a reason I love Octopath so much. I'll get FF7R for sure when it comes. At least the first episode (TWO BR discs? Sheeesh) and see how I like it then.
P.S: Books can also trigger emotions. I remember my dad back in the day asking what the Hell is wrong with me after just ONE page from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the whale part). I seriously cried ters of joy on that