WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD, if you haven’t seen Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children yet.
I just finished watching (amazingly, for the first time) Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (AC).** Great movie, especially if you like CGI and action scenes. Much better than Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (TSW), but only if you know the Final Fantasy VII (FF7) storyline. (Otherwise, stick with TSW, where Sandra Bullock and Alec Baldwin lookalikes save the world from… itself. And ghosts.) Of course, like any other addiction, this one little taste of the amazing addicting FF7 storyline has spurred within me a hunger for more knowledge about the ever-expanding world of Cloud, Tifa, Aerith and the rest.
** Note: Since I wrote that I’ve seen the movie four more times, all within the span of about a week. It would’ve been more, but I’ve also spent time seeing all the extras, comentaries, and deleted footage. What can I say? I’m an extras junkie.
Anyway, I won’t get into explaining everything about the FF7 story world here, but if you (like me) neglected the world for almost a decade, here’s what’s been going on: a number of follow up backstories and after-the-event stories have been and will be released over the next couple of years. In fact, if you go to the FF7 Wikipedia page (which I recommend doing if you need a refresher), there are links there to all kinds of information about the new Compilation of Final Fantasy VII storilines:
Games: Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding***, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, and Dirge of Cerberus: Lost Episode – Final Fantasy VII
***Note: The snowboarding game is based on the little snowboarding minigame within the game. It’s a simple game, so it’s been only released for mobile phones. Makes me wish they’d also release the Chocobo races (and raising) for mobile phones, as well as Final Fantasy X‘s Blitzball game as a standalone.
Lots of stuff, I know. The cool thing about these is that you get to find out stuff like what happened between Cloud and Tifa in the years between FF7 and Advent Children (The Case of Denzel and The Case of Tifa, both of which make up On the Way to a Smile), and what Aerith found after she died (Maiden Who Travels the Planet). The downside is that it seems the FF7 writers couldn’t quite keep from altering their own histories a bit. (Nothing of massive significance, but enough to cheese more than a few diehards off.) Of course, after reading all of that, you may want to head to IGN and read the translation of the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega. Heck, you should probably head on out to the AdventChildren.net forums to read a full episode summary of Before Crisis, which has not yet been translated and may never be.
As I read all this, here are a couple of striking (at least to me) observations I made while reading all of this:
- When people die in this world, they go to the Lifestream, which is a bit like the Hades of Greek mythology. If you had a lot of regrets, then you were there in a prision of your own mind. If you lived a good, regret-free life, then you had a good afterlife. Eventually you sunk down into the lifestream and became one with the planet. Reminds me of the words of Milton: The human mind is a wonderful thing, for it can make a hell out of heaven and a heaven out of hell.
- What the heck is with the Zack guy?! He’s got to be the coolest character EVER! The dude gets his groove on with both Tifa and Aerith! Amazing. Even more amazing is that he’s such a frigg’n huge part of the story even though he’s a minor character (until Last Order, where he becomes a major character). Seriously, minor characters shouldn’t be allowed to be this cool.
- Turns out that Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy VII are related. Look to the Lifestream for answers on that one.
Anyway, what’s a bunch of info and spoilers without some video goodness, eh?
The following video is from FF7, and shows the last fight between Cloud and Sephiroth. (Features the Omnislash.)
By the way, to find out more about what exactly is going on, and why Cloud had to descend into the Lifestream to fight Sephiroth at the end of the game, you’ll have to read The Maiden Who Walks the Planet, which also explains why Aerith seems to keep popping up whenever Cloud’s in trouble or the plotline conveniently needs a loophole. Also explains more completely the backstory of Advent Children, and why it’s such a great story about forgiveness.
The following videos are from Kingdom Hearts, with Cloud and Sephiroth fighting, and a guest appearance by Tifa.
Of course, if you haven’t seen the movie, you can munch on this little bit, which, if nothing else, gives you a taste of the amazing (and fantastically unrealistic) fight scenes in through the movie. (Sorry, it’s in Japanese.) By the way, don’t miss the limit break at the end of the scene, a new version of the Omnislash.
Finally, what sudden fancy (and relapse into addiction) is complete without the “Which character are you?” quiz? According to Quizilla, turns out I’m one of the following, with only a one-answer difference:
Vincent was my first result. Do I agree with it? Actually… yes. But explaining that is another story entirely. (Read a few of my older articles, especially those on theology and philosophy, and you’ll begin to see why I say that.)
And that, as they say, is that.