Monday, November 14, 2005

Final Fantasy VII: Last Order

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Parental Guidance Recommended
Credits: 2005 Morio Asaka, Dr. Movie, Madhouse Studios, Square-Enix


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Skysenshi's Description:
Two soldiers are on the run from Shinra Inc. Zack and Cloud battle their way to Midgar, only to be confronted by memories of Nibelheim. The question is, will they survive?

Be still, my heart. >>> by skysenshi
Last Order OAV is bundled with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (note: applicable only to the original Japanese release). Like the 3D animation movie that this is packaged with, it needs a good Final Fantasy VII foundation. Meaning, you must have played the game and remembered it well, to make coherent sense of what Last Order is all about.

This 2D short features Zack. Many gamers have forgotten Zack and what role he plays in the Aeris-Cloud-Tifa love triangle. For those who have long sold their copies of FFVII, suffice to say that Zack was the "someone" that Aeris had been waiting for. Cloud, in all that brouhaha, had assimilated all of Zack's memories and feelings and had confused himself with Zack. This is the reason why Aeris had once pointed out in the game that Cloud reminded her of someone. Now, Last Order illustrates who Zack was.

I must admit that when I was playing FFVII, I thought that Zack was a wussie. I mean, he was supposedly an elite SOLDIER, but he died in just a snap. Last Order erases that misconception by showing you that Zack was not one who can be terminated so easily and that he has proven himself worthy of the title SOLDIER First Class. His action scenes are so gripping that you just might find yourself holding on to your seat till the very end. He exudes so much bravado and absolute devotion, making it clear that Aeris did not love a useless piece of chicken excrement. I found myself cheering him on every step of the way, awed as I am at this character that got so little exposure during the game.

Aside from Zack's display of delicious manliness, viewers are also shown the back end of Shinra Corporation. If you think Shinra was intriguingly fun during the game, you might think that Last Order has packed an additional dimension to this beloved group of villains. We get a peek at Shinra's masterminds' finest moments, as well as cameos of the other Shinra members. I suspect that you'd get to meet them again in Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus and Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis.

If you were asking what Sephiroth was thinking about when he went up Nibelheim, attacked everyone in his way, and grabbed Jenovah's head, here's your chance. Sephiroth, in his ultimate bishounen history, demonstrates what it is like to go berserk in pursuit of one critical aspiration. There are a lot of other fun activities to do while you reminisce. You may even hazard a guess as to who the "extra" SOLDIER, whose identity was protected by a helmet and who followed Zack's biddings, was. Can you still remember? What's great about Last Order is that it you'll be able to see how your pivotal characters interacted in ways that you've never seen before. This alone adds value to my memories of FFVII and therefore makes this OAV a wonderful supplement to my memorabilia.

The production values are top notch, with the artwork, animation and sounds living up to expectations. That the colors are nearly monochromatic and dark seem to be intentional on the artists' part, seeing as this is a flashback of the events that transpired before Cloud and party members embarked on their epic journey. The only reason I'm not giving it a perfect ten is that it is still quite dependent on other FFVII elements and cannot possibly stand solidly on its own.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 9; Characters 10; Sounds 8

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