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Final Fantasy VII: Last Order

fflastorder-1
Genre: Action
Company: Square Enix/Studio Madhouse
Format: 1 OVA
Dates: 9/14/2005

In a dark forest, two men are on the run from Shinra soldiers. Both are ex-members of SOLDIER and have some connection to a secret experiment. As the Turks are dispatched to take care of the escapees, Turk leader Tseng sits in his office contemplating the pasts of these runaways… a past that is tied to the burning of Nibelheim, and the last appearance of Sephiroth.

summary by Ender

 

Reviewed: 11/16/2005 by
Grade: 60% av-Ender

Highs: Sharp animation; good for Final Fantasy VII fans

Lows: Ultimately pointless

Part of the same Final Fantasy media blitz that spawned Advent Children, Last Order is yet another interesting take on the pop-mythos created by Square Enix. The brief story is not only a precursor to Advent Children, but also a recollection of an important event in the Final Fantasy VII video game. Sure it sounds like it’s worth the time to watch, but isn’t there something better one could do with 25 minutes?

As stated, Last Order deals with a scene in the game that, unless you have not played it, is very familiar with fans. That being said, if you are a fan, then you might dig the re-mentioning of the Turks, Sephiroth, Nibelheim, Tifa, Cloud and Zack. Now, unless if you haven’t played the game in so long that you’ve all but forgotten this part in the game, then by all means go ahead and enjoy it. The fact that it’s animated with Ninja Scroll grace by Studio Madhouse should be enough to warrant a gander. There is a nice use of the cameras and some finely honed fight sequences of which the techniques I’m quite sure Madhouse will use again in future anime… if they haven’t already.

It must be said though that beyond the animation and the quick refresher, there is nothing that demands the viewer’s attention. It aims straight for the fanboys and girls. The anime ends at the worst possible time and doesn’t add anything of importance in the whole scope of Final Fantasy. Rather, this anime feels like a commercial that entices the viewer into replaying the game, or maybe buying some future game down the line. Who knows or even cares? I find it unfair that Square Enix would put so much time and effort behind Advent Children and leave this little project to rot. They could have at least given this anime 20 more minutes to work with, then it might have been something good. Oh well, that’s mass merchandising for you.

If you’re a die-hard Final Fantasy fan, then chances are you’re already eyeing this. For everyone who isn’t on the bandwagon, revisit my first question: could one find something better to do in 25 minutes?

 

Reviewed: 01/31/2006 by
Grade: 50% av-Gatts

Highs: An alternate take on part of Final Fantasy VII

Lows: Not much substance; poor pacing

Released in conjunction with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Last Order is a short OVA that recaps a few events from Final Fantasy VII involving Zack and Cloud. Even more so than with Advent Children, this OVA is strictly for fans of the series and will make no sense whatsoever to anyone unfamiliar with the game. Even for fans though, there isn’t a whole lot of substance to Last Order as it serves mainly as a promotional tool for Square Enix’s game, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.

Last Order is basically a few scenes from Final Fantasy VII in animated form. Fans will no doubt recognize these scenes, but they have been changed slightly from their in-game counterparts. While aficionados of the series may enjoy seeing part of the game from a new perspective, there really isn’t a whole lot to this anime. The plot is virtually nonexistent, and only the most dedicated fans will probably be able to follow what little story there is because of the abrupt transitions from one scene to the next.

In terms of presentation, Last Order is a mixed bag. The animation for the most part looks pretty good, and Studio Madhouse did a good job recreating the game’s characters. On the other hand, the music is pretty disappointing. Since the OVA is basically a retelling of part of the game’s story, using the original music would have been a nice tie-in to the source material. Instead, the anime features a generic and totally forgettable score.

Final Fantasy VII: Last Order is really only for the most dedicated Final Fantasy fanatics. Sure, its fun seeing Zack, Cloud and Sephiroth fight, but the lack of substance really hurts the OVA. Perhaps the Square Enix game Crisis Core will add a bit more meaning to this anime, but as of right now, this is a tough one to recommend to anyone except for diehard fans.

 

Reviewed: 02/14/2006 by
Grade: 51% av-Kain

Highs: Loves everything about itself…

Lows: … like a narcissist checking a mirror every five seconds

Why release an anime like Final Fantasy VII: Last Order? Because someone high up at Square Enix headquarters didn’t think Final Fantasy VII was milked enough for all it’s worth. As if the franchise wasn’t saturated already, yet again we the audience are subjected to another rendition of why Cloud, Sephiroth and company wallow in being insufferable.

My problem with these characters (and I know I’m not alone in this) is they spend far too much time feeling sorry for themselves, only to miraculously come to terms with their inner demons just before participating in an uninspiring finale. This has been the cookie cutter recipe for “success” for every Final Fantasy anime incarnation, and with this one it has officially achieved the status of “overused.”

But what’s even worse this time around, as compared to the technical marvel that is Advent Children, is that there aren’t any other redeeming qualities to cover the stink that is the characters. The art and animation, while certainly no slouches, are incredibly lukewarm and without any distinctive style or flair. The character designs are generic, forgettable. The story feels like a small part of a larger one, as there is hardly any rhyme or reason for the appearance of side characters or scenes. It should go without saying that anyone unfamiliar with the original video game couldn’t find his way through this anime with two hands and a flashlight, but admittedly even I had a hard time staying focused given the liberal use of flashbacks and scenes not shown in chronological order. It was a jumbled mess that might have once intended to be innovative but ended up bewildering.

Undoubtedly, to this day Final Fantasy VII has somehow maintained this unwavering appeal among its fans. Just go to any anime and video game convention, and you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Cloud or Tifa cosplayer. And I suppose while there’s the demand, there will continue to be a supply.

 

Final Fantasy VII: Last Order can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.

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