Judge David M. Gutiérrez is the next victim of this vapid anime wormhole.
"Soil is my power."—Kaze
There's no better way to describe the adventures of young Yu and Ai (get it?) in Wonderland in Final Fantasy: Unlimited—Phase 2 than this: simultaneously fascinating, banal, hypnotic and repetitive. I can't wrap my head around this series. Is it something that I'm not getting on the first go, or something just plain silly?
Ai and Yu are aided by martial artist Lisa Pacifist on their quest to find their parents. Unfortunately, the floral child Earl Tyrant and his plantlike allies threaten their every move. The mechanical whiz-kid Cid, Lupus the wolf-girl, and the mysterious gunslinger Kaze drift in and out of Yu and Ai's travels to aid them where necessary (and where it's convenient).
The four episodes included in this DVD are (spoilers follow):
"Cid—The Adventure of the Underground Waterway"
"Kigen Arts—The Savior of the Soul"
"Subway—Enemy of the Dimensional Tunnel"
"Soil—The Hear of the Magun"
The reason behind the disappearance of Ai and Yu's parents is a mystery. They're obviously away somewhere and the children want a reunion. Looking back, it's clear nothing has changed or happened during the course of four episodes. The kids meet Lupus, Lisa has a flashback and we learn more about Kaze and his gun and the Early Tyrant throws a tantrum.
When I first noticed the artwork in Final Fantasy: Unlimited—Phase 2 I thought, "Finally. I'm so glad I've found a series based upon Patrick Nagel's artwork." While I like the simplified line work used for the series, the animation tends to drift between thriftiness and sloppy. Less convincing is the failed merging of 2-D and computer animation. During these instances, the 2-D work looks terrible and out of place, taking the viewer out of the story.
Why is it that children are portrayed as the most annoying creatures on any planet? The Earl Tyrant is grating—in both English and Japanese, no less. The rest of the cast did as good as they could considering the material they were given.
The DVD has one of the nicest cases I've come across in a long time. ADV Films was nice enough to provide a reversible cover and an insert with character names and information.
Along with a great package, the DVD contains a few special features. The fourth episode contains a commentary by two of the actors. It's actually more of a question and answer that adds some insight to how the actors approach the characters they play. Also included are production sketches and a style guide for the series.
The four-episode DVD receives the full-frame treatment. The colors are appropriately vibrant. The only flaws in the picture occur when the series adopts a darker palette. Occasionally, the colors would get a bit muted and muddied. The sound was consistently good.
My ignorance to the video game world of "Final Fantasy" may have a hand in my confusion at this series. However, I know poor storytelling when I see it, and Final Fantasy: Unlimited—Phase 2 has that in spades. There's no complexity to the series, but I find that the ideas are somewhat interesting. It's unfortunate the ideas never go farther than their surface. Don't hop on board this train, friends. Wait for the next one.
Final Fantasy: Unlimited—Phase 2 is sentenced to life without parole.
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