Most Final Fantasy fans don’t know about Final Fantasy: Unlimited. I didn’t know. When did this come out? 2001. Huh. Same time as Final Fantasy X. But still, I never heard of it. This isn’t the first Final Fantasy related anime. Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals ran during 1994. I didn’t know about that title either. Final Fantasy doesn’t promote their anime shows for some reason. I found out that Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals was a sequel to Final Fantasy V. But Final Fantasy: Unlimited is a stand-alone title, keeping in the spirit of the series. So, now I want to watch it.
I purchased the entire box set from eBay for $17.99. It was quite a deal, but how valuable was this show for such a low price? Was the person trying to get rid of it? Is Final Fantasy: Unlimited good? If the DVD cover was any indication, I was about to facepalm.
I found out that Final Fantasy Unlimited was to have 52 episodes, the standard for two seasons in anime. But for whatever reason, they truncated the series in half…minus 1. Maybe it was because Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within did so poorly in movie theatres. But most likely, Final Fantasy: Unlimited just wasn’t a very good show. This makes more sense. Square Pictures, Sakaguchi’s movie company, didn’t produce the series. Square would only cut this show if it couldn’t advertise Final Fantasy effectively. And judging from how it looks, Final Fantasy: Unlimited didn’t appeal to very many people.
How do I sum up the entire series? It’s awkward. The story premise seems alright. Two kids are looking for their parents in “Wonderland”. OK, it’s kind of a weird setting for a Final Fantasy story. Still, why not follow the story down the rabbit hole to see where it goes? I did. Already, the series confuses me. Their names are Ai and Yu, pronounced as “I” and “You”. So when characters call for them, they say “I” and “You”. Was that intentional for Western audiences? Ai is Japanese for “love”, while Yu is Japanese for “kind, tender, excelling”. But here, you wonder what everyone’s trying to say.
“Hey, Mom and Dad, it’s me, your son You. And this is I. Don’t you remember us?”
Assuming their parents didn’t abandon them to escape the confusion.
Something’s very awkward about the animation. It definitely looks like an early 2000s anime. But it feels so cheap compared to other anime shows from that time. You can tell from the details. Most anime shows from this time drew hair with highlights, shadows, and strands. Here, everything looks flat. None of the characters have shadowing. The hair doesn’t have the volume or highlighting other anime has. Just bright solid colors. This extends to all areas of the show.
The fan service seems half-baked. The Lisa Pacifist character is like Tifa Lockhart, in a certain area. And the animators make sure you know this but in unnatural ways. Her boobs change size regularly. Did they draw nipples for her? I’ve never seen a blossom that took a second in between jiggles while bouncing in different directions. What’s going on here? It’s like they have a mind of their own. Maybe this is the physics of Wonderland? And her legs are so long! Longer than this series, even. She looks like a lollipop with breasts.
What makes this show Final Fantasy? Well, they have a giant Chocobo, Cactaurs and a talking Moogle. A little boy emperor eats a dying baby Malboro. We get to see some cool summons. And they reference Omega. Otherwise, this isn’t Final Fantasy enough.
Lisa uses some type of weird physic power, but that’s it. Ai and Yu never learn magic. Nor do they level up. They each run from random encounters until a man dressed in black shows up to defeat the monsters. He’s like Vincent Valentine, but also Auron with a hint of Shadow. Kaze, the black wind, shoots summons out of a gun at enemies. It’s pretty cool, but they reuse the gun animation each time. Plus, why does he announce exactly how he’s going to defeat the enemies? Why doesn’t he just shoot them? Do we have to know that Deep Vermillion summons Titan? It might make a cool premise for a battle system, but the repetition kills the cool factor.
I’m big on narratives. I appreciate the way the show was building, even if it were a bit repetitive. Lisa and the kids meet a monster. They run from it. Oh no, this is the end! Suddenly, Kaze appears. He takes forever to shoot his stupid gun. The monsters stand around and let him talk. A summon defeats the monster. And then the show ends. This pattern repeats for the first thirteen episodes. Then, the remaining episodes take a new turn. Suddenly, they board a submarine floating through an intergalactic water puzzle?
The last two episodes were a sensory overload when it came to pacing. The Earl captures Yu and I. Everyone dies. All hope seems lost. Lisa tells the kids they were test tube babies with Omega’s power. You can tell they were trying to wrap the series up here. A wolf girl and a Moogle give Kaze their souls in the form of bullets. But then Kaze sacrifices himself to defeat Omega. Everyone inexplicably lives. The kids float ashore. We aren’t sure if they’re alive or dead. And then, it ends. Final Fantasy: Unlimited is over.
What did I just watch? Was this even a Final Fantasy? I binged this entire series on my day off, from noon to completion. I felt like I wasted an entire day.
When it comes to exactly what I’m hearing, I have mixed opinions. The worst aspect of the show is the voice acting. The dialogue from the children is flat and monotone. It’s like. They talk. In such. A stilted, way. It’s distracting once you notice it, but awkward when you try to ignore it. The voices make me grimace, especially Ai’s.
You Yu may sound mentally slow, but I Ai’s voice is gratingly high. Perhaps the only positive of this show is the soundtrack. Nobuo Uematsu wrote some of the scores, and as always did a fantastic job. I bought the OST. Sometimes, I wish I had only bought the soundtrack. But it would have been so awkward to look at an OST without viewing its show. So I would have experienced the cringe regardless.
You know what’s even more awkward than the series? I could have watched the entire thing on YouTube for free.