Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV – Episode 1 [Before the Storm] [First Impression]

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On Wednesday March 15, 2016, an event titled “Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV” was held in Hollywood, California. Attendees were treated to not one, two, or even five, but fourteen revelations related to the upcoming video game Final Fantasy XV. One of those announcements was the launch of a new five-episode anime titled Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV.

So here we are! I’m so ecstatic that I get to cover this. The last time we had an anime adaption or tie in of a Final Fantasy game was (from what I remember) Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, an OVA released in 2005 as part of the collector’s editions of FF: Advent Children in Japan and North America.

~*~

Flames crackle in the night air as a child, Noctis, slowly opens his eyes. He’s lying in a pool of blood, barely conscious. Towering above him and the body lying next to him is a murderous looking serpentine creature, its six arms each holding a long blade. It prepares to attack Noctis but is thwarted by a group of men with swords of their own. A man I’m assuming to be Noctis’ father summons blades out of thin air, and hurls them at the creature.

vlcsnap-00004Noctis awakens briefly sometime later on. He’s clean and wearing different clothes, and we see someone hold his hand in theirs. (I’m still assuming this is his father.) Noctis is unable to stay awake and passes out again.

In the present day, Noctis awakens in the backseat of a car. He and his friends are on a trip to the city of Caem, but first they have to stop for food and gas.

At the little roadside diner, they order food and discuss what their next plans are. Ignis and Gladiolus bicker over Noctis’ picky eating habits, and this behaviour seems to continue throughout the rest of the episode. They’re all friends, but at the same time Noctis is royalty so the others are there to protect him and look out for him as well. It’s like having a friend and a babysitter all rolled into one.

Their plans get slightly derailed, however, when they hear a radio broadcast at the diner. The Kingdom of Lucis is now in anarchy after the death of their royal family, so the Empire has established a temporary government to help squash any anarchists. As they’re listening to the broadcast, an Empire ship flies by overhead, and drops some troops not too far away. Noctis and his friends take that as their cue to leave. As they drive away from the diner, Noctis’ inner monologue informs the viewer that the kingdoms of Lucis and Niflheim were at war for a long time, until Lucis lost. Now their royal family is dead, and the Imperial Army has overtaken Lucis’ Crown City.

Later that night, the guys stop to have something to eat and camp out. They muse about how much longer they’ll be able to take it easy like they are, because eventually they’re going to have to come out of hiding to reclaim their home. Prompto keeps taking pictures of everyone, and it’s revealed that their roadtrip had started out as a trip to Noctis’ and Lunafreya’s wedding, but then everything happened at the Crown City so their plans had to be altered.

The sun is barely over the horizon when the four guys begin driving again. It’s not long before they run into more Imperial troops, who have set up a roadblock. Noctis and the others can’t drive around it, so they are forced to fight. vlcsnap-00019

The fight scene serves as, in my opinion, a slice of what the combat in Final Fantasy XV will be like. The guys have the ability to materialize and dematerialize both themselves and their weapons at will, and this ability also allows them to switch their weapons in the middle of combat too. It’s a nice spin on the usual hack and slash in many RPG games, but really it just looks so fucking cool! O(???)O And that battle theme music ~!

The guys are winning the fight until more troops and a large metal crate are dropped from the sky. The door to the crate opens and out slithers a serpentine creature. Noctis confirms for his friends that yes, this is the creature that had once nearly killed him. Noctis launches himself at the creature with a battle cry, and the episode fades to black.

My thoughts: HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS! I’m so excited for Final Fantasy XV, and this anime just makes me even more eager to play it. I’ve been a Final Fantasy fan for nearly 20 years, ever since the release of FFVII in North America, and I haven’t been this excited to play a FF game in a long time. This anime short is just icing on the delicious cake.

What did I like about this episode? Pretty much everything. The animation and music are top notch, and the music in particular just feels like Final Fantasy. I don’t know how to describe it. Like putting on a favourite piece of clothing after not wearing it for a long time? I will definitely be tracking down this series’ soundtrack, if the music played during the credits is any indication of the OST’s quality. However there was no opening theme; I’ll have to wait until next week to see whether or not this will be the norm.

As for our main quartet, the guys play off each other nicely, and it’s easy to see they are all very devoted to both each other and their cause. Ignis is clearly the brains, Prompto is the joker, and Gladio is the muscle. Guess that makes Noctis the cool, quiet one.

The downside to being a fan of such a long-running series is that sometimes I can’t help but make comparisons to previous games in the franchise, even without doing it consciously. For example, Prompto reminds me of Zell from FFVIII, and Noctis looks similar to Zack Fair from FF: Crisis Core. But that of course is not something I can hold against Brotherhood, and I don’t. I wish each episode was a little longer (episode one clocks in at a little over 10 minutes), but I love Final Fantasy so that’s just me being a tad greedy. ^^;;

I’m so excited to see what the next four episodes hold! ?(*’?`*)?

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: F-yeah!

5 thoughts on “Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV – Episode 1 [Before the Storm] [First Impression]”

  1. No not yet, I don’t have a PS4. I’m waiting until the FFVII remake comes out next year, because I am hoping that they’ll release a collector’s edition PS4, which I will drop ungodly amounts of money on. ;D And then I’ll pick up FFXV after, I think. But I have friends who have a PS4 who I can mooch game time off of if I really want to play FFXV, lol.

  2. Hah, hah, nice.
    The weapons Noctis uses are all from that demo, and some of his moves too,like Dragoon Jump and Tempest (the circular swing with the greatsword). I thought that was a pretty nice touch on the animators’ part.

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