You probably first saw a Tonberry as a summon while fighting Fat Chocobo, but you’ll encounter a real Tonberry later on as part of an optional quest.
In Chapter 14, make sure to visit the Wall Market and speak to Madam M. She’ll send you on a side quest called “Malicious Goons” – pursue this side quest back to Aerith’s house to fight a Tonberry. It will be in the same space you fought Rude in Chapter 8.
Even later, you’ll be able to fight a Tonberry as part of the vs. Monsters of Legend battle in the Shinra Battle Simulator in Chapter 17 on Hard Mode.
How to Beat Tonberry
Tonberry are notorious because as eerily unassuming as they look, they are extremely deadly. The Tonberry’s Chef’s Knife attack, and one of its spells, causes Instant Death. It can very quickly wipe out your entire team if you’re not careful.
be in front of it. Tonberry will be extra susceptible to being staggered right after missing a knife attack. Lay into it during the few moments you have. It wants to focus on the character you’re controlling, so make sure to switch characters often so you’re constantly controller characters behind it to take advantage of this blind spot.
There is a way to counter Tonberry’s Instant Death status, though, which would make this fight much easier.
How to Counter Tonberry’s Instant Death
You don’t need this combo in order to defeat Tonberry in Chapter 14, but it’s still recommended to ease some of the pain – and it’s definitely recommended for the Shinra Battle Simulator vs. Monsters of Legend on hard mode.
Make sure to give Cloud (or the character you prefer to control) Warding Materia and Subversion Materia. Make sure they’re in linked Materia slots. With this Materia combo, you will be resistant or immune to Instadeath.
Warding Materia at Level 1 grants a 25% chance to resist, Level 2 grants 50% chance to endure the instadeath, and Level 3 grants full immunity!
Give this same character the Revival Materia so they can revive your other party members who are not protected. There’s only one Subversion Materia in FF7 Remake (to our knowledge) so you can only protect one character in this manner.