Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Lucis, Noctis Lucis Caelum, sets out on a journey to Caem. His purpose is to meet with Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, an oracle and Noctis' childhood friend, in order to marry her. A strong and silent type, Noctis is accompanied by his friends and Royal Guard Gladiolus, Prompto, and Ignis. The four young men set out on a road trip across the continent in the king's personal convertible, the Regalia. Along the journey, each of them experience various situations which allow them to reflect on their past together, and strengthen their bonds for the future.
A prequel to the 2016 video game Final Fantasy XV, Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV explores the relationships of its four main protagonists and the challenges awaiting them.
Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV is a five episode short(special sixth episode limited to the special editions) that is supposed to be a treat for those like me who are anticipating the grand game. Now I have waited a decade for this beautiful game so seeing an animation short is pretty sweet. While I would like a full blown 25+ episode anime made for this game, I can see why this exists and its purpose. It's there to present the fans of the series who have been long anticipating this game to connect with the characters and build on them. The animation short does just that.
It represents each character nicely. I find it to really deliver on that aspect. A prequel of sorts that tells the story from a more character-based perspective. This is really important as if we are going to be experiencing this game we would love to know more about these characters and who they are.
The four characters have an episode of their own and each episode also shows their connections with each other. In particular, the episodes dedicated to characters other than Noctis always come back to showing their connection with Noctis.
Story-wise, it does what it does. It tells the character's background story as an overhead of what is to come in the future. This requires them taking flashbacks to past moments in the lives of these characters, ultimately achieving the goal to present us with details on who they were before the present. And it is all done in a very sweet way. It certainly feels like "an anime." It's Final Fantasy XV in anime form. Characters all feel alive to me now after watching this.
The art is gloriously beautiful. Honestly, I prefer the art in this to any of the stuff we have coming from the more established anime titles now(anime like Sword Art Online and Shingeki no Kyojin). It's just magnificent. Colors and lighting are just so flexible and vibrant. The vast detail in the scenes(especially the fight scenes) is perhaps where the animation and art is the best.
Any music related to Square is an automatic 10/10. For anything related to Final Fantasy XV, it's beyond that. The music for this game was spectacular to begin with. Carrying over to the animated series just takes it even further. If there's one thing good about Final Fantasy XV, it's the music(although I love everything about it). The music is orchestrated divinely. Yoko Shimomura deserves a lot of credit for it.
Overall, I have to say I extremely enjoyed it, as I do with anything related to Final Fantasy XV. If you are someone anticipating this game or are a newcomer to the franchise I recommend checking this out because it really lets you know the characters are alive. They have personalities and we have information as to who they are. It's not something you would watch if you are treating it like some seasonal anime, it's more like something for the fans to watch and understand.
The characters won't have to be a worry for me while playing this beautiful game. The animated short, for me, did a really good job at actually getting to know Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladio.
I went into this anime to mainly get a feel for the main company of characters and their dynamics and was kinda disappointed, kinda because it turned out to be what I expected.
The main cast consistent of very one-note characters and getting an episode to learn a bit more about them unfortunately doesn't change that since it adds very little aside from past details that become seemingly irrelevant in the grand scheme. Noct is a moody brat, Prompto is a cheerful bishounen, Ignis is a wet sponge and Gladiolus is a big guy who doesn't know how to wear a shirt. All of them
just feel like a bunch of archetypes thrown together for the sake of variety rather than a proper company of friends who share a history. They go through a couple of pretty personal interactions but that's it, otherwise you could claim they met each other yesterday and it wouldn't feel much different, I feel like having some interesting banter and more real friendship moments could've helped to change that.
Otherwise there's little going on in this story-wise, there are some plot points that might be relevant to the game but I don't know of them so pretty much all I got out of this is a short road trip filled with flashbacks providing insights for the characters and occasional glimpse of the world surrounding them. Each individual story was bit of a bland plot template with FFXV characters drawn on top so that wasn't exactly an interesting watch.
All character designs themselves are painfully boring, I don't know why but everyone seems to be opposed to characters wearing something other than lame black outfits most of which reflect their personality in the most blatant way possible. Doesn't help that a lot of the time animation is underwhelming and stiff with character art eventually having a stroke thanks to designs being quite detailed and not animation friendly. One thing show does really well however are backgrounds, they're all quite nicely drawn and composed, almost to a point where I'd say it's worth watching just to look at how nice they are.
To summarize it's a mediocre show with nothing going for it aside from the gorgeous background art.
I have to admit, given Final Fantasy's bad record of anime/3D animation adaptations I wasn't particularly excited about these shorts. But when I heard the minor buzz that they were actually better than they had any right to be I decided to give them a shot. And I'm glad I did. While Kingsglaive shows off the effects and action that Final Fantasy XV is capable of these shorts focus more on the characters. And that gives them a tremendous advantage. Each episode is focused on a different character, apart from episode one which establishes the basics of their relationships. These shorts are only about fifteen
minutes long so they don't have time to show us too much and instead focus on one aspect of their personalities. The focus at all times is on their relationship with Noctis. Episode 2 shows how Prompto and Noctis became friends despite his being a filthy peasant, episode 3 shows how Gladio came to respect Noctis despite his being a bit of a spoiled brat, and episode 4 is about Ignis' attempts to educate/understand Noctis. Episode 5 tells how Noctis' mother(?) died and a bit about why he's so detatched. These are all told through flashbacks set up by events on their roadtrip. The series as a whole is bookended by an attack that happens in the first episode and is resolved in the final one.
I enjoyed all of these and especially appreciated how the characters were actually allowed to experience real change throughout the series. It's not overly long or complicated, and it barely has any overarching plot, but it works well at humanizing these characters. The series is basically just an advertisement for the game (they're available for free online) and as such they do their job well. If this level of quality is what Final Fantasy XV is like I'm game.
I really enjoyed these shorts. While I have some things to critique, overall they exceeded my expectations (by far) and served their purpose (i.e. got my hyped for the game).
The story is what you would expect from a FF game/spin-off (or prequel, in this case)--but in my opinion, I personally like this story more than others from preceding games. It has a uniqueness I can't quite delineate--in fact, it might just be Noct as a character that draws me in, as opposed to, say, Tidus (lol citing basically the only other FF game I've invested any sort of time into). Despite the subtle cliché basis
that comes from FF as a whole, the fact that Noct is a character I've come so quickly to care about is enough to make the story feel, from what we were given, well composed.
The art, while I have no complaints about it particularly (considering I normally prefer the hand-drawn style), was nothing to flaunt. I almost wish (and I know this probably wouldn't have been feasible) that these shorts were in the beautiful CGI style that the game demo advertised. Again, that's just my preference, but it was what I was sort of expecting (given that I did no research whatsoever before diving into watching these shorts).
Overall, I'd certainly recommend these shorts to anyone planning or contemplating buying FFXV. After playing the demo I was already pretty excited for the release, but this little mini-series gives a lot more information as to our main characters in the game and their backstories.
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