Anime Meta-Review


Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals


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Title Info

  • seen: 1-4 of 4
  • type: OAV
  • grade: worthy
  • form: dub
  • Series state: Will watch more at some time.
  • source: Urban Vision Entertainment
  • dur: 120
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Tue Feb 20 12:13:17 EST 2001
  • mod: none

It's just possible I might be the only person in anime fandom qualified to review this title...for the simple reason that I have never played, and know nothing about, the console game series on which this is based. Yes, my ignorance has always been my strength. And, while it's not going to be a popular opinion, i've got to admit I, well, really enjoyed this title.

The background plot is not one of the strong points though. On this planet (planet "R", how poetic) there exist four elemental crystals that keep the natural forces under control. And apparently this is the only thing that keeps the world livable. Each crystal is held by a different kingdom in a temple to the element in question. They're the ultimate relics of this world, sources of powerful magic, but given that no-one would gain from the destruction of the world they seem pretty safe. At least until the `forces of darkness', a very strange bunch of robots and alien beings, arrive and start to seize the crystals. With only one crystal still free from their grasp, things look bad for the world. What the world clearly needs is a hero.

Although it probably doesn't need a hero quite like the one we get. The current `chosen' one for the last remaining crystal is a young girl and her aging grandfather, who bows out fairly early. She's wise and seems to be in touch with the spirits of the world, but she doesn't seem hero material. Fortunately, when leaving the town on starting her quest, she is noticed by a young male friend with an almost boundless energy, physical skills and no concept of the term danger. Despite grandfathers disapproval he tags along and soon finds himself in all sorts of fun. And while he might not care about the quest, her certainly cares about the female lead.

While these characters are fairly loud, and the characters they meet are often even less subtle, it's actually good fun. The female lead, and what's wrong with a cute young girl, handles the `mystical' stuff. Meanwhile the male lead, along with his huge sword, is always happy to handle the physical. And the interaction between them, the world, and the other people they meet is energetic and fun. It's pure action adventure stuff with lots of impressive action sequences and interesting places to visit. Perhaps if you know the game world you're confused, but if not you'll probably be intrigued at the people and places. And while the plot seems fairly simple the twists and energy of the story are entertaining and even manage an epic feel.

There's also another, hm, potential problem. And that is the fact that the style is serious `old school' in a lot of ways. The humor, and the character designs, are significantly different from modern style. This might cause a lot of anime fans to find it strange and potentially unpleasant. This extends into both the design of the items on this world, and the way in which they are represented. The complex linework, huge and strange retro-styled machines and alien devices are not the expected spiffy high-tech. Similarly the artwork is like an animated manga. There's lots of sketched in expanses, detailed focus objects and delicate water-color style coloring. I actually really like it...but if you've only seen the latest and greatest anime then this is probably going to look very strange to you...and possibly even cheap. It also, strangely, strongly remind me of certain european artists, such as Moebius or Druillet.

It's also interesting to see that there are some things this style can't do. While some of the action is excellent I suspect there was also an attempt to do fan service. Largely for the female lead, who ends up flying around in a skirt much too small for that task. Likewise a female pirate captain has a fairly `suspicious' outfit. However I say `suspect' because it doesn't work at all. This is fine by me of course, but the feeling that they wanted to have fan service but couldn't manage it is quite weird. Likewise sleek and zooming tech is incompatible with the ponderous and complex design of most of the technology in this movie.

And, as if trying to tell an epic story in 4 episodes wasn't bad enough, it looks like they put the brakes on in the second tape. The animation is still interesting, but the story becomes more compressed and there's less time for character work. Likewise, while the conclusion is awesome in scale the animation actually takes a step backwards, leading to some not entirely successful parts. It's still decent, and the conclusion has a certain degree of epic magnificience, but it doesn't really live up to its early promise.

So, it's definitely worth renting to see if you can cope with the style. But if you can there's some nice scenes to be had. The male lead has all sorts of pose shots, some of the cycle (did I mention he had a motorcycle?) work is good fun and the action has pace and imagination. At the same time the still moments, and the dialogue, also have a sort of power about them. The voices are as you would expect, a bit overblown and perhaps too comical, but they didn't make me cringe. The music is agressively different, which seems to be the nature of the beast here, spooky and weird, but won't be too everyones taste.

Other Reviews

  • THEM review Unlike my ignorant self the folks at THEM do know the final fantasy world...and they are not at all impressed by what they find here. They also consider the characters unlikable and the plot fragmented (1/5).
  • Akemi's AnimeWorld review Likewise Akemi's are fans of the game and don't see much of a connection. The review is lengthy, detailed, and does point out some positives, but ultimately they consider it a bit juvenile for their tastes (2/5).
  • The Anime Critic review Once again a fan of the games who considers this anime to not match up. The review also mentions that the short running time degrades the character and story depth. Also gives the art style a thumbs down. It's also mentioned that a fan with no expectations is more likely to enjoy it (2.5/5).
  • Lord Carnage review Lord Carnage notes that it has no real connection to the source, but is a bit more positive about it. He does note that it's a bit light, and wonders if it will stand up to repeated viewings, but states that it's quite fun (3/5).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:18 WST 2009