Mako (魔晄, Makō, Ma Hoảng hay 'Ánh sáng ma thuật') xuất hiện trong Final Fantasy VII. Nó là dạng chất lỏng của Lifestream của Planet và là nguồn năng lượng chính được con người sử dụng trên thế giới (ngoại trừ Wutai và vùng nông thôn). Lifestream có thể cô đặc thành Materia hay Đá Mako.
- Bài viết chính: Lifestream
Lifestream là dòng chảy năng lượng tinh thần qua Planet và được coi là "máu" của Planet.
Lifestream cũng là một dòng chảy của linh hồn, dòng sông của những kí ức người chết. Thực tế Lifestream là tập hợp của mọi sự sống trên Planet. Trong thế giới của game, mỗi sự sống mới (của thực vật, động vật, và con người) được "ban phúc" bằng năng lượng tinh thần từ Lifestream trước khi sinh ra. Đến khi cơ thể hữu cơ chết, năng lượng tinh thần đó lại trở về với Lifestream, mang theo kí ức lúc sinh thời của sinh thể đó, cho phép Lifestream trở thành một khối thống nhất và vòng lặp lại bắt đầu. Lifestream được trích xuất và xử lí bởi tập đoàn Shinra, tạo ra năng lượng Mako để sản xuất điện và chế tạo Materia. Tuy vậy, cũng có thể xem nó là dầu mỏ trong thực tế, như trong game nó được mô tả là đang bị hút khỏi Planet bằng các lò phản ứng Mako, sử dụng hết và không tái tạo được, một quá trình sẽ dẫn đến cái chết của Planet.
Mako as an Energy Sourcesửa
- Bài viết chính: Mako Reactors
Mako is the most common source of electrical power on the planet, with coal former resources a distant second. The process of power generation via Mako was began by the Shinra Electric Power Company, based in Midgar. Mako extraction and its usage is considered environmentally unfriendly, however, and the rebel group AVALANCHE actively attacks Shinra Mako Reactors in hopes of ultimately stopping the process.
Mako is thought to be similar to radioactive materials in that prolonged exposure can lead to genetic mutation (though this is discovered to be false in the game), poisoning, and ultimately death. People (notably those in SOLDIER) who have had prolonged exposure to Mako are identified by a glow in their eyes, referred to as "Mako Eyes." Besides its electrical uses, the elite Shinra task force, SOLDIER, is made up of operatives that are biologically augmented by Mako. Cloud Strife, Zack Fair, and Sephiroth are examples of people with Mako enhancement.
Members of SOLDIER are not only infused with Mako, however. They are also injected with Jenova cells, an experiment created by Professor Hojo, one of Shinra's scientists. Jenova's cells together with Mako gives them far greater strength and cognitive ability than ordinary people possess, provided they are mentally strong enough to handle the Mako infusion process without suffering from Mako poisoning. When this procedure is taken too far, the subjects turn into horrible monsters, as seen in the Nibelheim Reactor.
Besides its other uses, Mako, in various forms, is also found in weapons used by Shinra. The Mako Cannon of Junon used a variety of Mako shells, and later, as the Sister Ray, fired a beam of raw Mako energy. As materia, Mako has been employed by some of Shinra's Turk operatives who wielded it in their weapons in Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII and First Class members of SOLDIER were able to synthesize their own custom materia as shown in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-. In addition to the energy resource and weaponry allocations of Mako, the Shinra Corporation was also developing mako-powered cars for civilian purposes.
Exposure to Mako in its concentrated form can be dangerous to humans and typically results in a psychological disorder known as "Mako Poisoning" in Final Fantasy VII and "Mako Addiction" in Crisis Core. The best-known case of this occurred when Cloud fell into the Lifestream for an extended period of time, during which his identity and personality were phased through by the millions of souls and their memories coursing through the Lifestream. Though he later washed up near Mideel, alive, his immersion in the Lifestream had reduced him to a near-catatonic state, prompting Tifa to undertake the arduous process of restoring his former personality, memory by memory. The incident also led Cloud to "find himself" by casting away the illusion behind which he had been hiding, an event which is crucial to the story and to Cloud's character development.
The second mention of this phenomena occurs in Crisis Core. During the initial escape from the Shinra Mansion, Zack discovers a set of reports referring to himself and Cloud. These report allude to Cloud's mako poisoning/addiction and also state (though later are clearly proven wrong) that the damage done by the disorder is so severe that it is highly doubted he would ever recover. Later, when Zack is checking on Cloud, he mentions that Cloud's "Mako soaked" clothing may be serving to worsen his condition and changes his clothes so that Cloud can recover. During the final scenes of the game we see hints that Cloud is beginning to overcome the condition, contrary to the reports. During the emotional last moments, it is thought by quite a few fans that Cloud's strong friendship and respect for Zack cause him to rapidly recover while at the expense of truly internalizing Zack's words and memories.
Referring back to Final Fantasy VII's main game, Tifa at one point mentions that when she found Cloud he seemed "out of it". This is most likely due to the fact he had not actually fully recovered from the mako addiction, a second case of his addiction showing. Due to this, and the appearance of someone he cared about but felt as though he'd failed, the Jenova cells in his body absorbed a number of Zack's memories to construct the illusionary persona that Cloud uses for an extended period of time in the game.
The third and final occurrence of this condition is in fact as stated above the "Best-known" case. At the point of his immersion in the Lifestream he has not only suffered psychological trauma, from the recent death of Aerith and the revelation that his memories were wrong, but he also has only still recently (within six months of his first steps to recovery) been affected by the mako addiction. Being so recently "recovered" from it when he drifts through the Lifestream he rapidly reverts back to his state of toxicosis, which, as previously mentioned, is remedied with the help of Tifa.
Mako poisoning is indirectly referenced in Dissidia Final Fantasy, where the Mako Stone item has the description "DANGER. DO NOT TOUCH."