Come watch Appellate Judge Dave Ryan gasp in horror at the unbelievably insulting end of this deeply flawed anime series... if you dare!
Um…what the heck just happened?
The Final Fantasy: Unlimited series crashes to its train wreck of a finish with this, the seventh and final collection from ADV. Oh, the animanity! It's all well and good to set things up for a sequel at the end of your show, but to leave almost all of the show's questions unanswered with an abrupt, insulting ending? Oh, I don't think so…
(As always, spoilers follow. Please beware!)
To recap, Final Fantasy: Unlimited follows the adventures of two kids named Ai and Yu Hasakawa as they journey through the alternate dimension known as Wonderland in search of their missing parents. Along the way a motley crew of friends and well-wishers joins them, including required anime large-chested female semi-adult Lisa Pacifist, the somewhat disorganized pseudo-insurrectionist group the Comodeen, a dirt-gun-firing loner named Kaze, and a chocobo named Chobi. They all seek to keep the evil Earl Tyrant from unleashing the forces of Chaos on Wonderland. Or something like that.
Phase 7 contains the final three episodes of the show's 25-episode arc:
• "Teros—In Search of Flying Water"
They're really just three parts of a single episode, when push comes to shove, so I will treat them as such. We pick up with Jane the Submarine and the Comodeen finally reaching the legendary home of flying water, Teros. They meet up with an inventor named Bolbol, who serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Meanwhile, Lord Pist (no, it doesn't rhyme with "kissed") of Gaudium has discovered a type of…something that will counter the summoned forces of Kaze's magun. It's time to get it on!
The gang finds its way to a confrontation with the Earl, who reveals himself to be the physical manifestation of Chaos itself (something that's been telegraphed for about 10 episodes now, at least). Pist's innovation keeps Kaze from effectively using his Magun, at least until Makenshi (AKA White Cloud) shows up to complicate matters. The two of them have to unite their powers to keep Chaos from destroying Wonderland. Oh, and the kids' parents show up as well.
It all comes to a climactic end, whereupon Fabula, our narrator, actually says the following:
"What happens to our heroes? That's a story for another time." Roll credits.
Twenty-five episodes. Over twelve full hours of television. And the (expletive) bastards who wrote the (expletive) story don't even finish it! That's it—I'm getting my Magun and going on a three-dimension killing spree.
For a while there, in the middle, Final Fantasy: Unlimited was shaping up to be a decent anime series. Not great, but decent. But then, it had to go and do this. There's no excuse for a show leaving its audience hanging in such a disrespectful way. We, the viewers, have stuck through this story even though it often went off on wild, incoherent tangents—but we don't even get a minimal payoff for our troubles. It makes me mad—mean mad.
Audio and video are the same as before; a full screen presentation is mated with a 5.1 Dolby Surround English track or the original Japanese 2.0 stereo track. At least the sound and vision quality has been consistent in this series, even if nothing else has been. The extras offered are also equivalent to past sets—an audio commentary track with two of the English-language voice actors for Episode 25, a couple of animation sketch galleries, "clean" openings and closings, trailers, and promos.
But few viewers will care about those extras; they'll be as angry as I was at the cop-out ending of this terribly disappointing anime series. We've come to expect such a high level of quality from a SquareEnix Final Fantasy product, based on their video game successes. But in the end, this just isn't a quality offering. It has its moments, but they're too few and too far between to make up for the show's failings in its storytelling.
It's just so disappointing.
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