Thoughts, rants, experiences, reviews and other things from the mind of Jason O’Conal

Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV

15 Jul 2016

tl;dr A promising show, nothing too heavy or surprising, I’ll continue watching.

I’ve decided to start blogging about my first impressions of anime series I’m watching. I often wish that I could remember what it was like when I first watched something (like Stargate SG-1, which is one of my all-time favourite TV shows), so this is here for my posterity more than anyone else’s entertainment.

I’m not going to continue to blog about each episode, as I’m unlikely to have much worth reading after my initial thoughts. I’ll probably update on whether I changed my mind on any of the shows after seeing the whole season.

You’ll find that some blog posts are about more than one episode (like this one). That’s simply because those were the episodes that were available when I started watching. For shows that have already been around for a while, I’ll probably just review the episodes I watch in the first sitting.

SPOILERS: Not sure how best to handle this, but I’m reviewing an anime episode. If you don’t like spoilers, stop reading now. Come back once you’ve finished watching it. We can compare notes.

RATED: 7/10 – not bad. The characters are largely believable and I find myself already caring about a couple of them after only three episodes.

GENRES: Action

Episode 1

I don’t often start a new show knowing nothing about it. Usually I’ve read some reviews, had a recommendation, played the game, etc. This time, however, I just thought it might be fun. I’ve got a glancing familiarity with Final Fantasy (played FF XIII for a few hours and FF XIV for a few weeks), but I hadn’t heard about Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV until it popped up on Crunchyroll.

So, for the first time in a long time, I started watching something with no expectations. By the end of the first episode, I had more questions than answers:

But it was enjoyable enough to keep watching. On to episode 2.

Episode 2

I did a little research on the show, and it is a prequel to the 2016 video game. It’s released by Square Enix and tells Noctis’ back story. Noctis is the crown prince of some far away land that I don’t know about and the four guys (Prompto, Ignis, and the other one) he is travelling with are his best friends.

In the present day, they’re trying to escape the Empire. This episode introduces flashbacks to the main characters’ school days.

Flashback – Prompto

The first flashback, triggered by an injured dog on the side of the road, is to Prompto, a chubby, geeky guy obsessed with his camera (a hobby that he still has in the future). He obviously has a great deal of respect for Prince Noctis and is a total loner – taking photos of the world instead of being part of it. The scene ends with Prompto eating a burger alone. We see Prompto’s kind-hearted side when he helps out an injured dog he sees on the footpath. He ends up keeping the dog over night and clearly enjoys his company.

The dog ends up running away to his owners, obviously rich people (the royal family?) who find the bandage he put on the dog’s leg with “Prompto” written on it. They go looking for him.

I love stories like this – lonely outcast does something kind or selfless, gets recognised by someone and it ends up changing his life, putting him on the road to true friendship and fulfilment.

He receives a letter from Luna and resolves to try to be Noctis’ friend.

Dear Prompto,

I hope this letter reaches you in good health. My name is Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. I believe you are the one who found my dog, Pryna. My heart was heavy with the thought of losing her. But we were happily reunited, thanks to you. You have my gratitude.

I had sent Pryna to see Prince Noctis. You’re friends with Noctis, aren’t you? I heard he’s usually too busy to play with his schoolmates, so I suppose you don’t get to see him very often. Regardless, I hope you can continue to be a good friend to him.

The prince calls him heavy and he resolves to lose a bunch of weight. Running. No more burgers. Quite heartwarming really.

It fast forwards to Prompto being skinny and introducing himself to the prince. And then we’re back to the present. And no, not all episodes are 11 minutes. This one was 14.

Episode 3

This episode starts with a fight scene. Well animated, felt rather like a video game. Then the Empire shows up on the scene.

Flashback – Noctis

We flash back to Noctis’ training when he was a boy – he doesn’t treat his trainer with much respect, but the trainer’s reaction is still surprising: “I hate that spineless brat from the bottom of my heart.”

The trainer’s young sister Iris is very cute. She arrives at the palace asking for an audience with the prince. Her brother, Gladiolus, is obviously embarrassed, but the butler offers to seek an audience on her behalf. Iris runs off after a cat and Noctis follows her.

Iris starts crying once it starts raining, though I have no idea why (perhaps she’s very young – she was carrying a soft toy with her) and Noctis “rescues” her. This was the least believable part of the show so far.

Noctis covers for Iris and gets in trouble with his father. Later, Iris tells her brother (the trainer from before) that Noctis saved her, and Gladiolus seems to be warming to the boy. This all happened very quickly and only after a single incident, though I’m still glad it did. For a moment, I thought the conflict between Noctis and Gladiolus was going to spawn into a lifelong rivalry. That would’ve been boring and I’m glad it doesn’t look like that will happen any more.

Noctis and Gladiolus bond in training (“This time I won’t lose”) and we are taken back to the present to see the older Noctis defeating the Empire’s last minion.

Is the fourth guy in the party Gladiolus? Looks like it. He’s pretty old, and they are having a friendly competition. Interesting.

And now I’ll have to wait for the next episode to be out.

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