So we watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children last night. We really liked it a lot, the mood of it and everything, but I would have been happier if they'd developed the story more. But for them to do that, they either would have had to have less fighting or a longer movie, and the fans were probably getting impatient enough with the movie as long as it is (which isn't really very long), and people seem to like fight scenes.
The fight scenes were very cool, but you could tell they were choreographed by game-designers. In fact, they were a lot like the fights in Kingdom Hearts II--each character involved takes a turn beating the other one up a little, until you get to do a reaction command and then people are flying (or being thrown) all over the place. Somehow the rendering seemed to change during some of it--I wonder if that's because those parts couldn't really be motion-captured.
The animation is amazing, of course. I thought it was so cool that you could tell what kind of fabric all the costumes were made of, and I was surprised that Cloud's angst--er, coat--wasn't made of leather.
The other thing that we felt was really amazing, surprisingly, was the translation. We had the subtitles on for a few reasons. One, we knew there would be some technical terms (geostigma? we never would have caught on to what they were talking about. Probably the same goes for "memetic legacy"), and two, sometimes with DVDs, it's hard to make out the voices over the music and sound effects. And comparing the subtitles to the actual lines, we were like, "This translator is amazing." I had examples, but I can't think of them right now. I'm seriously thinking we need to use those subtitles for references for certain phrases or something. I don't know how that would work. They gave Cait Sith a Scottish accent, which, now that I think of it, is really one of the best ways to translate a Kansai dialect, because it actually uses different vocabulary. Now if only we knew for sure what that vocabulary was, we'd be set for the next time we translate a Kansai-ben character. Maybe we should go invest in some books from the Redwall series...
We were happy to see that Morita-oniisan♥ (Tidus, Ichigo) was one of the motion capture models, but sad that it didn't specify who he modeled for. Our money's on Kadaj, especially because of when he's preaching his sermon to all the kids and he raises his arms. So Morita-oniisan♥. And he was the third name listed, and Kadaj is the thrid main character. Not surprisingly, Mayuko Aoki (Rinoa, Yuna) was the second name listed, and Akihiko Kikuma (Laguna) was the first name listed. We watched the making-of thingie, and during the end credits, they showed some of the motion-capture footage for Reno and Rude, and it was totally awesome.
And of course, no review of mine would be complete without a confusing voice actor report. First of all, we were both very amused to realize that Hideo Ishikawa, who plays not only Auron in FFX but Squall in KH (and I think he's either Itachi or Kisame in Naruto), was Cait Sith. Toru Ohkawa (Roy Mustang) was Rufus, which I felt was fitting because Reno was played by Keiji Fujiwara (Hughes). It would have been more awesome if Elena had been played by Michiko Neya (Hawkeye), but I guess it's better this way, since she's not so romantically involved with Rufus. And I guess it fits, because now it looks like Ohkawa-san is always causing trouble for Megumi Toyoguchi (Winry). Incidentally, Toyoguchi-san played Paine in X-2, and Tseng was voiced by Junichi Suwabe (Seymour Guado), something else that amuses me, but probably not a whole lot of other people. And if Advent Children and Gundam Seed Destiny are anything to judge by, Tamaki's out of luck, because Haruhi is destined to be with Hikaru.
And, dude, I don't know what happened, but suddenly Cid is like incredibly hot. And of course I should say something about Reno and Rude's awesomeness. I never understood why people were so obsessed with Reno in the game, but I can totally see it in the movie. Of course, it has always been a theory of ours that part of why we couldn't see the fascination with Final Fantasy VII is that the translation wasn't very good (we're too caught up in language, I guess). This theory was proved to be at least somewhat accurate, because when we watched the "Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII" extra (basically a Cliff's Notes version of the game, only the dialogue boxes were all in Japanese, so it was like subtitled subtitles), suddenly everything made so much more sense. I suspect that bad translations ruin character voice and make the characters less unique and lovable, too. I also have a thing for Keiji Fujiwara characters, so even before Reno really did anything I was in love with him.
Today I'm thankful for being done with volume one of a very fun but very time-consuming series, having finally seen Advent Children, making-of features with interviews with Japanese voice actors, having something to watch that might help us learn how to distinguish the voices of Showtaro Morikubo and Kenichi Suzumura from each other, and having mint-chip ice cream.