A sad attempt at a spoiler-free review, despite the assumption that the audience has played Final Fantasy VII before. Contradictory? Probably. Introduction:
Let's just get it out of the way now. I'm not a fanatic fanboy of FFVII, nor am I an adamant proponent of its worldly destruction. A chance is a chance, and an opinion is an opinion, so here it is. I've played FFVII, and when I did, it was a pretty interesting experience. If I went back to play it again today, I am not so sure if I would have preferred to know what I know now or to start with a fresh mind.
But, back to the OVA. My expectations are not anywhere close to high for anything I ever do, but I do admit to some fairly major concessions. It would not be fair to give every work in time the same grading rubric, for that ignores the intention of the work. That being said, Last Order met my expectations: expanded backstory and action scenes, while at the same time milking the game for what it is worth. Lots of Before Crisis stuff in there, actually. I did not expect that, but I should have, because there could be no way anyone who were not already familiar with the FFVII universe could find any merit to the OVA. The Plot:
Nice and brief: not much of it. Last Order does not give the viewer anything that they do not already know, but it is nice to have it playing in front of one's eyes without having to worry about pressing X to get to the next scene and saving.
Last Order also adds a lot more to the situation than was given in the original game, especially expanding on the role of the Turks and the Nibelheim Incident. But at the same time, some details about the situation was changed: for example, the details of Sephiroth's defeat are different, enough to provide a completely different interpretation of the situation, but that, I shall leave to the viewer.
The characters and locations were lifted straight out of the original game. Nothing new, nothing spectacular, but what can you do with only thirty minutes and not to set up any form of exposition? What made Last ORder differ was that it was told primarily from Tseng's point of view, and it gave it an altered persective, giving something of a feeling for making the Turks much more sympathetic than they were in the original game. Animation Quality:
Sad to say, I watched it in an .avi format, and not .mkv. But that did not impact me as much as I thought it would have. The animation was not terrible to look at, and nothing put me off. It matched what I expected, and left me rather pleased. Sound Quality:
The music was mostly lifted from the FFVII, the stuff that I noticed, but otherwise, I heard nothing of signifcant importance while I watched it. Sad enough to say, right? But it fit the mood of the situation.
I watched Last Order with subs. Not quite so tragic, seeing as they did not get in the way, but one's analysis of the intricacies of the Japanese language is lost on someone who speaks only English (well, technically, English and another unrelated Eastern language that does not help). The voices did not detract from the experience at all, so, bonus points? Watchability:
It's like drinkability, but less for alcohol, and more for a production meant for entertainment. Again, it met me expectations, but it was not exceptional in any regard. The fight scenes did not dazzle me or make me go "wow awesome." It wasn't funny, nor was it meant to be, but I did get a kick out of when that girl stuck her tongue out at Reno. That was heart cutting and reminded me of why I'm alone. I liked it.
I do not know how someone who was watching this randomly would have felt about the OVA. There's just not enough going on, details that are left out and left for assumptions, unspectacular situations with even less to be desired, but it was worth the thirty minutes I spent. I can't help but have the feeling that it could have been done so much better, if only it were not so short, and not about Final Fantasy VII. Conclusion:
If you're a heaping fanatic of the game that's memorized lines, you might dislike some of the changes. But for everyone else, it'll do, as long as you leave your brain where it should be: on your school's campus. Final Grade:
- Review by Tavrobel.