This article was shamelessly stolen and copied from http://www.ff7acmovie.com/ where it was submitted by Raven_237. However, since that site is now defunct, I made my own local copy of the page so it will never disappear again. That's right, the bulk of this is not my work. However, I have added a few of my own comments which should appear in red boxes. I've also written up my own little section about when and where the two switch blades are added to the assembly because I'm in complete disagreement of Raven_237's assessment of the situation. I added this part at the end.
Cloud Strife's 6 Piece Sword in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children describes the mechanism behind Cloud's weapon using scene by scene screenshots to demonstrate its assembly process. The article has not been modified to fit this website (or your screen).
For those of us who have seen the movie, one of the coolest and also most stupefying elements in it was Cloud Strifeís sword. It was a sword that actually comprised of 6 individual swords that could be combined to form one big one. Through the movie Cloud used this to his advantage especially during the final battle with Sephiroth.
However, some are confused as to how this sword combines the 6 individual swords and more so, what the 6 individual swords are. Did Cloud use all of them during the movie? Yes he did, and Iím going to show you all of them and how they integrate into the main weapon with screenshots from the movie.
The Base Sword (first sword) -> a.k.a. The Main Blade
The base sword is the most complicated of all the other swords so Iím going to be spending the most time talking about it. Itís the only sword (outside the 2 switch blade swords) with moving parts. The base sword has 5 stages to it and each stage is defined by how opened or closed the blade is.
The first stage is the one in which the blade and the hand guard are closed. Below is a screenshots of the sword in the first stage. Notice in the first screenshot that the hand guard is closed and diamond shaped. In the second and third stages the hand guard opens up via these pivot points (marked in red) and becomes rectangle in shape. More on this later. In the second screenshot, though itís not very clear you can see the blade (green) and the hand guard (red) are closed. This stage is the mainly to allow the sword be carried easily in the sheath, as seen in the first screenshot:
The second stage of the sword is what I like to call the battle ready stage. In this form the swordís blade (red) and the hand guard (green) are fully extended. Cloud tends to use this form the most in battles:
In this screenshot the pivot point for the hand guard can be seen very well (red). Do you also see the little piece of metal on the inside (yellow)?
It can be seen a little more clearly here (yellow). Those are what hold the hand guard to the blade. Also itís the main mechanism that allows the hand guard to expand:
Iíll try to explain here to the best of my ability with the diagram below how the hand guard thing works. Basically, the piece of the handle that the metal pieces connect to has a spring-loaded rotation ability. When Cloud sees fit he can activate it and it will rotate and push the metal pieces out which in turn forced the pivots on the hand guard to move outward as well and form the rectangle hand guard. With the rectangle hand guard the sword can now fit the other 5 swords in the assembly.
Iíll explain the 3rd and 4th stage of the base sword later on in the guide.
The Impact sword (the second sword) -> a.k.a. The Hollow Sword
I call this sword the impact sword because in the assembly is becomes the main impact blade. The sword itself is hollow and can be seen below (red):
Even the handle is split (red), which allows the blade to wrap comfortably around the first blade:
Now for the assembly. Here are the swords before assembly. Notice the gap in hand guard of the first sword (red) and the fact that the sword is expanded (green):
Now the 2 swords are together. The gap has closed and the first sword has contracted and the second sword is fitting snuggly in its position (yellow):
Last but not least, the second sword is slid down to lock in place (yellow). Notice that the 2nd blade does not connect to the center of the base sword but in fact to the right section of the blade (from Cloudís point of view). Now the base sword is in its 3rd stage which I call the Phase 1 assembly stage in which the blade is closed, the hand guard is expanded and the gap at the base of the hand guard is closed:
Now the gap at the base of the hand guard is filled by 4 metal plates that fold out from inside the hand guard itself. One can slightly be seen here (yellow). It is noticeable due to the fact that it is a slightly different color from the actual inside of the hand guard:
When all four are down it looks like this. Notice the dividing points that indicate that there are in fact 4 (yellow):
The 3rd and 4th Swords (have no good name for them) -> a.k.a. The Serrated Blades
The 3rd and 4th swords are identical. In the assembly they occupy the same place except on opposite sides. Below is a screenshot of the 3rd and 4th blades before being assembled (red). If you look to the right youíll see the first 2 swords already in the assembly (yellow):
Now for the 4th stage of the base sword. The base sword needs to be in this stage in order for the 3rd and 4th swords to be assembled. In this stage (Phase 2 assembly) the base swordís blade is slightly expanded (red) and the hand guard remains as it was in the 3rd stage. Now why does the base sword need to be slightly expanded at this point? Well, you cannot lock the door till youíve closed it. More on this analogy later.
Getting a good picture of the 3rd sword after assembly is only as hard as getting a picture of the actual assembly because it happens so fast and in the middle of the Bahamut battle. If you look closely below you will see the 3rd sword connected on the left side of the assembly to the top. The blade of the 3rd sword itself is facing down (green) the blunt end is facing up (red) and the handle is locked into the base of the hand guard (yellow):
Here is a screenshot of the 4th sword just before being assembled (red). This happens as Cloudís friends are boosting him up the sky to hit Bahamut the final blow.
This is the 4th sword as it is being assembled on the right side of the main sword (red). Itís as clear as day here:
And here is Cloud snapping the 4th sword into the locked position. Notice that the base blade is still in the 4th stage:
Now that the first 4 swords are assembled the base sword can be put into the 5th and final stage (Phase 3 assembly). In this phase the base blade is complete closed, so in essence itís the same as the 3rd phase. Now what this closing of the base blade does is 1.) It locks the impact sword and the 3rd and 4th blades together (red) and 2.) Now permits the 2 switch blades to be placed in the assembly:
Here you can see that the blade for the impact and the 3rd and 4th swords connect seamlessly. This also points out more accurately how the tips for the 3rd and 4th swords are shaped:
The Switch Blades (5th and 6th swords)
The switch blades are also identical to one another and are the smallest of all the other swords. They are also the only 2 swords whose handles flip up before being assembled (hence, switch blades). Now there is a lot of complications and mysteries surrounding these blades. The first one being that the assembly of the 5th sword is almost impossible to spot but after reviewing the footage over and over again Iíve finally found where it occurs.
First of all, this is the 5th sword (red) and the 6th is still in Fenrir.
You have to really pay attention to see the assembly of the 5th. It occurs just after Cloud throws Loz off his bike in the tunnel. Here you can see there is no switch blade on the main sword on this side (red), plus a piece of the 5th sword sticking out behind Cloud (yellow). This is a screen just as Loz is jumping off his bike onto Clouds.
Here we can see there is also no switch blade on the other side of the main sword (red). I know itís hard to see but play back your own copy in slow motion here and youíll see for yourself.
Now look really closely at Cloud here. This is just as he has thrown Loz into the air. You can see the main sword on his right (red) and the 5th sword in his left (green). It is at that moment when Loz is landing back on his bike and Yazoo is shooting at Cloud that Cloud assembles the 5th sword and takes the 6th out of Fenrir.
Here is the 6th (red) and the 5th sword in the main sword assembly (yellow).
Here Iím just showing how the switch blades pivot. Notice the pivot point (red). The handle will swing in (yellow) when it is being assembled.
Here is nice screenshot of how one of the switch blades looks in the assembly. Do notice the how the handle has flipped up on the 5th sword in the assembly (green):
Here is the 6th sword being assembled during the tunnel battle (red):
The assembly for the switch blades is not very complicated. All it requires his for Cloud to close the handle (red) and slide the blade into place (green). I should point out that the 5th and 6th blades at NOT interchangeable. By that I mean, there is one made for the left side of the sword and one made for the right. Same applies for the 3rd and 4th swords:
So now you know how all 6 swords work in Cloudís assembly. I have to admit it was pure genius of them to make his sword in such a way. It made the final moments with Sephiroth very interesting to say the least.
Based on this, and watching the whole bike battle frame by frame, I have come up with a couple of theories. The first - and the one I think most likely to be correct - is that based on the horrible inconsistancies in the state of assembly for the whole bike battle, the left Switch Blade is never taken out of Fenrir and any instance showing it attached to the assembly during this battle is an error on the part of the animators and who ever was proofing their work. The first time a Switch Blade is attached to the assembly is actually the point where Raven_237 shows the SECOND Switch Blade being attached right before Cloud cuts Loz's bike in half. He later pops that Switch Blade out of the assembly and re-attaches it sometime between when he speeds away from Loz and Yazoo, and when we see him speed by Reno and Rude. The first time Cloud pulls the left Switch Blade out of Fenrir isn't until he's getting off the bike to go fight Kadaj.
The thing that plays most into this theory's favour is that there are actually a lot of shots in the tunnel that clearly show 2 Switch Blades attached to the assembly with Cloud holding a third one in his left hand. If this is the case, the first one is attached long before they get to the tunnel. There is one shot when the bikes are spinning when Yazoo completely obstructs our view of Cloud. The next time we can see Cloud, it looks a little like he could be pulling an other sword out of Fenrir. Shortly after that, there is a scene where there appears to be a Switch Blade attached to the left side of the assembly. Then at the fork in the highway, right before Loz forces Cloud to take the low road to the tunnel, there is a shot that shows clear as day that there is a Switch Blade attached to the left side of the assembly.
By this theory, Raven_237's idea of where it shows the first blade being attached still works. However, it now becomes the point where the second blade is attached to the right side of the assembly and Cloud draws the second right-side Switch Blade out of Fenrir.
Some time after attaching the second Switch Blade but before Cloud jumps to cut Loz's bike in half, the blade on the right of the assembly falls out and Cloud attached the second right-side Switch Blade right before cutting Loz's bike in two.
Shortly after that, we see Cloud pop a switch blade out of the assembly so he will once again have a sword for each hand. Following my '4 Switch Blade Theory', he actually released both Switch Blades from the assembly. I have a couple reasons for this opinion.
First, when you see the Switch Blade come out, you can see right through the gap in front of the Hollow Blade's handle. When the Switch Blades are attached, they cover that hole which means there is no Switch Blade attached to the side of the assembly we can't see.
Second, when you see the Switch Blade pop out, it's the left-side one we see detaching from the assembly. Then, in the next shot, from overhead, it's very clear that it's a right-side Switch Blade that Cloud is catching. That would mean Cloud just let the left-side Switch Blade fall to the road, and left it behind.
Note: this point actually also serves to reinforce my first theory since a)it IS a right-side Switch Blade, b)you never see a left-side Switch Blade in the air, and c)there is definitly NO Switch Blade attached to to either side of the assembly until the end of the battle.
Finally, right before going to fight Kadaj, Cloud has a right-side Switch Blade attached to the assembly, a right-side and left-side Switch Blade were each left behind in the tunnel, and Cloud pulls the second left-side Switch Blade out of Fenrir, which makes a total of 4 Switch Blades.
Misc Other Images Stolen from Various Places