"In a world filled with chaos and death, one kid finds the determination to move forward."
Enter the world of "Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile - Episode: Denzel." To put it pretty straight forward, it shows the end results of Final Fantasy VII, but this time we view it from the perspective of an ordinary kid named Denzel, who was caught up in it.
The whole premise of the storyline takes place in flashback sequences, as told by Denzel, who not only explains just how he got where he is at present, but he also wants to join the WRO. Now don’t get turned off by the fact that this OVA ends up being a spin-off, because even though the story does not follow the characters you have grown to know and love, it still manages to capture what really counts in the series...Final Fantasy VII’s heart! Denzel is defiantly not a kid who had it easy, as he continues his tale of love and lose, you will get that deep emotion that the series has been so good at making its audience feel, and thus will truly make you feel like you are viewing the Final Fantasy world through the eyes of this kid. Such emotions like anger, sadness, excitement, and maybe even a little bit of laughs are all present here. Which was nice considering that the whole OVA in its entirety was in fact quite serious. The cast from the original video game is few and far between, but you do get some nice cameo appearances from staple characters towards the end, which was nice at bringing the whole FF feel together. That being said of course, if you are unfamiliar with the Final Fantasy VII universe, then this title can be best described as having lite military themes, and all about showing the reality of war and rebuilding. If you’re not into this style of anime, then I doubt this one will make you change your mind on it, plus some fans of the series may in fact be dissapointed that it doesn’t have familiar faces. All in all though, the heart of the series is indeed in tacked, and contains everything that has made the Final Fantasy games so enjoyable with their story. If you’re a fan that doesn’t mind seeing new faces introduced to the story, then you will enjoy this.
The animation is sharp and well detailed, and many fans will recognize environments from the game and movie. Even though I am not the biggest Final Fantasy fan around, and thus don’t keep up with every sort of version that is made, I still found it quite nice to see some of my favorite places now in animated form. I wouldn’t go on par of saying that it’s the most well animated OVA out there, but they did animate it just like you would have pictured it in your head, and for that reason I really enjoyed it.
Now it could be the fact that I haven’t played the game in some time, but I honestly remember the series sounding much better than this did. The whole time nothing really jumped out at me, with the exception of the ending theme. Background music was appropriate, but nothing really special that will be remembered after viewing it. Voice acting was good, and I think they got the right actors for each role. But they also sounded pretty ordinary, particularly with many of the adult male characters. I feel like I heard their sort of deep voices in many anime before. Still, the sound isn’t shabby by any means, it just doesn’t really have much charm to it overall.
A good cast considering that most are new to the franchise. Since the story revolves around Denzel for most of the time, he is the one that is most important when it comes to this category. He did a good job at making you belive he wanted to help others, and his caring nature was impressive. However, there were certain parts where I felt the emotion he was trying to bring, either felt a little forced, or was missing in general. Even though the supporting cast was not the most varied, they still acted very human and quite believable. The personalities of the cameo appearances done by the original cast were also quite good, I felt not a moment had past since I had seen them last, even if it was only for a brief moment.
Despite the fact that the appearance of the original cast is very brief, it ended up being surprisingly very true to the Final Fantasy universe, and I felt all of the emotion that Denzel felt. That, along with the familiar environments, will really involve the viewer. If you’re not a fan of the series, or don’t care for more serious and/or emotional storylines, then this won’t make you change your mind. Plus some fans may also find this OVA a bit too far fetched. Still, for me this was a nice change of pace from what we are use to seeing in this series. And I feel that if given the chance, this one will end up surprising most viewers as well.read more
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: November 30, 2013. Supplemental Review: On The Way To A Smile: Episode Denzel.
When Advent Children was released, Last Order came alongside it. When the Complete Version of Advent Children was released, here’s On The Way To A Smile: Episode Denzel
This is the story about Denzel and he aims to enlist in the World Regenesis Organization (WRO) and he leaps back into his past. some parts of this story takes place during the game and even before Advent Children.
To be technical, this is a production between Square Enix and A-1 Pictures and I assumed that Madhouse was behind this and I was wrong. The Animation looks gorgeous but the character designs aren’t perfect but it still looks nice. There isn’t much action in this one but some of the visuals look fantastic and appealing. A-1 Pictures has not disappointed me when they made Black Butler, but they have disappointed me with Fairy Tail. Fortunately, they don’t disappoint with this OVA. The music by Takeharu Ishimoto does surprisingly compliment this OVA unlike Last Order which was forgettable. This OVA doesn’t have too much memorable music that is exclusive to this OVA but there are a few tunes from the game that do fit in. There’s not much said here, so moving on. Like Last Order, an English Dub does not exist. Kazumu Iwata is ok as Denzel, and there are other seiyus like Takahiro Sakurai (Cloud), and Ayumi Ito (Tifa), but they don’t appear that much. Fumihiko Tachiki was a nice little treat to hear however. The casting’s okay though. As with the characters, Denzel is interesting and some of the exclusive characters are okay, but since they get little screentime from 10 to 20 minutes, these characters aren’t as memorable. Reeve is in this one and he’s from the game. And even Cloud gets a moment and so does Tifa, but that’s pretty much it.As for the story, it is an interesting one alright, Denzel’s past is fully fleshed out thanks to this OVA, but I really think this most of the OVA could’ve been used for Advent Children. Another reason I say this is that the disease Geo-stigma (referred in Advent Children) is explained much more in this OVA even though it can be obvious when viewing Advent Children after playing the game. It would have been great if this was computer-animated like Advent Children and reserved as a short prequel to Advent Children. But I guess that wasn’t meant to be. Since this OVA is short, my reviews of these kind of OVA’s tend to be short. I try to mention more stuff but there isn’t anything else I can say about this OVA.
On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode is available by Sony Pictures and it is released with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, this can only be viewed on Blu-ray. The book that is called On A Way To A Smile that is similar to this OVA has not made it overseas.
On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode does give some insight to Denzel’s past that makes his backstory fully fleshed out with a decent backstory in the OVA and really good-looking animation. The characters aren’t much but at least they were okay, and even the music was okay too. I don’t know what kind of caliber this OVA would fall into but I can say that this is optional viewing considering this is within the universe of Final Fantasy VII.
I give On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode a 6.2 out of 10, it is DECENT!
First I have to say that I´m a huge fan of the Final Fantasy franchise. I didn´t play the original game Final Fantasy VII, but I played Crisis Core and are familar with FFVII´s story.
This OVA tells the story of Denzel, a boy who lost his parents by the collapse of the Sector 7 plate. He now wants to join the World Regenesis Organization (WRO) to help other people. Then the story leaps back into Denzel´s past.
The story is really touching and sad.
I loved this OVA. I don´t really like the other Final Fantasy movies, but this was really touching. A must-watch for Final Fantasy fans.
Denzel was the only child of Abel, a worker in the Shin-Ra Company's 3rd Business Division, and Chloe, a sociable woman who ran her household well. The three of them lived in the Shin-Ra Company's employee residential area on the Sector 7 plate. Abel had been born and raised in a poor local village, so he was satisfied to have a family living in the upper levels of Midgar. But Abel believed that you always needed a goal in life, something to aim for. So Abel's new goal became to live in the Sector 5 residential area, reserved for managers and executives. Shortly before Denzel's 7th birthday,Abel was promoted to head of section. This earned him and his family the right to life in a company house in Sector 5.
One Day,Abel comes to know that Sector 7 is going to be destroyed,he tells Chloe and Denzel abt it.Denzel was shocked,his parents weren't trying to hold back any smiles this time.Chloe wanted this info to be passed their neighbors,friends.But Abel Disagreed as there was no time for that.So,she told Denzel to go with his Father.She squeezed Denzel's hand tightly before running off.Suddenly,Abel looked past Denzel, to the outskirts of Sector 6 and Sector 7. A tall man, dragging a heavy looking suitcase was behind him. Abel called out to him. The man rushed towards them.He told Abel that Turks have finished setting the explosives.Having listened to his father talk about it since he was young, Denzel knew quite a bit about the organizational structure in the Shin-Ra Company. All the dirty jobs were done by the Turks.Trying to decipher what they meant, Denzel noticed his father looking at him.Abel asked that man to take denzel to Sector 5.Abel gave Denzel the Key to house no. 38 in the Sector 5 residential area and ran towards Sector 7.The man took Denzel to Sector 5,Denzel came to know through news that Sector 7 was gone.Denzel ran, making his way through the sea of people to get as close as he could to catch sight of Sector 7.There was nothing there. It was as if it had always been like this, that there had always been a gaping void here instead of solid ground, houses, and people.he Sector 7 plate and connection sections were visible in the ruins.
Denzel wandered through the crowds, his mind devoid of any coherent thought, his body numb. He gave no attention to the voices of the surrounding onlookers and people taking shelter.He cursed AVALANCHE.As he walked away from them, the crowds and the noise and the panic, but the piteous voice of one child didn't fade. He stopped in his tracks, tears running down his face, and he realized it was his own.
Denzel is a quiet kid,who at times can be rude or ignorant. He sees Tifa as a mother and Cloud as a dad since he lost his parents at young age.
Denzel thought that since Cloud was in Army ages ago,which made him stronger.Thats why, even Denzel wanted to be stronger.In order to do so,he now wants to join the World Regenesis Organization(WRO).
Art was gr8.Animation is Detailed,Background(enviroment) is well designed.They Did a good job with animation.
There is no OP and ED theme for this series.Background music was good though.But I was'nt really happy wid music.
Denzel being the main character was perfect.The personalities of different characteres were amazingly well.
Apart from Sound,i liked everything abt the series.Since,i am ff(Final Fanatasy) fan,so i am happy wid release of this series.I suggest it a must watch series if u are into ff.
First of all, after watching this I really started to adore Denzel, he's just so nice, and his character who I thought appeared quite out of nowhere in the movie Final Fantasy Advent Children. Also you learn what he do after Advent Children, so he does not just disappear.
Story: 10! - The story is both nice and sad, and it shows the story of Denzel who is thrown into a cold and cruel world where there is illness and survival of the fittest.
Art: 10! - I really like the drawings.
Sound: 9 - The music is really nice, and so are the sound effects.
Characters: 9 - The Characters are basically the same as always, but they all have a role, and they are all necessary for the plot.
Enjoyment: 9 - I loved this piece, and I could easily watch it again.
It is a nice little piece, and absolutely worth watching!read more