Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Final Fantasy VII Advent Children poster.jpg
Japanese film poster
Directed byTetsuya Nomura
Produced by
Written byKazushige Nojima
Starring
Music byNobuo Uematsu
CinematographyYasuharu Yoshizawa
Edited byKeiichi Kojima
Production
company
Distributed bySquare Enix
Release date
  • September 14, 2005 (2005-09-14)
  • April 16, 2009 (2009-04-16) (Complete)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children[a] is a 2005 Japanese computer-animated science fantasy action drama film directed by Tetsuya Nomura, written by Kazushige Nojima, and produced by Yoshinori Kitase and Shinji Hashimoto. Developed by Visual Works and Square Enix, Advent Children is part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series of media, which is based in the world and continuity of the highly successful 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was released on DVD and Universal Media Discs with Japanese voice acting in Japan on September 14, 2005, and on April 25, 2006, with English voice acting in North America and Europe.

Advent Children takes place two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII and focuses on the appearance of a trio that kidnaps children infected with an unexplained disease. Former Final Fantasy VII hero Cloud Strife, suffering from the same disease, goes to rescue the children. He discovers that the trio plan to resurrect the villain Sephiroth using the remains of the extraterrestrial villain Jenova, and he and his compatriots from the game fight to stop them. The film's voice acting cast includes Takahiro Sakurai, Ayumi Ito, and Toshiyuki Morikawa in Japanese, and Steve Burton, Rachael Leigh Cook, and George Newbern in English.

The film has been released in multiple versions; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, released on Blu-ray Disc in 2009, is the last version and adds 25 minutes of new and expanded scenes to the 101-minute original. The film has received mixed reviews. Critics have praised its animation and CGI work, but the plot has been criticized as both incomprehensible to viewers who did not play Final Fantasy VII and as a thin connection between action scenes. It received the "Maria Award" at the Sitges Film Festival in 2005 and the "Best Anime Feature" at the 2007 American Anime Awards. The original release was one of the best-selling animated movies in its release year in both Japan and the United States, and the Complete release was noted as driving a large increase in sales of the PlayStation 3 console in its release week. By May 2009, the DVD and Universal Media Disc releases had sold over 4.1 million copies worldwide.

Plot

Setting

Advent Children takes place two years following the events of the 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII, during which the antagonist Sephiroth attempted to absorb the Lifestream (the lifeblood and soul of the planet) and be reborn as a god.[1] He was defeated by Cloud Strife and his companions but Sephiroth's final spell, Meteor, destroyed the city of Midgar.

Since the end of the game, the survivors of Midgar founded the new city of Edge where Cloud and his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart now run a courier service and are the caretakers of orphans Denzel and Marlene. Cloud is still haunted by his role in the death of Aerith Gainsborough, who was killed by Sephiroth. In addition, both he and Denzel are infected with a mysterious new ailment known as "Geostigma", which has no known cure. When the film opens, Cloud has recently moved out and isolated himself from his friends.

Story

Cloud is contacted through Tifa and summoned to a meeting with the Shinra Company's former president Rufus Shinra, who was presumed killed in Final Fantasy VII.[2] Rufus asks for Cloud's help to stop Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo. The trio are physical manifestations of Sephiroth's surviving spirit, and are seeking to resurrect him using the remains of the extraterrestrial villain Jenova.[3] Cloud refuses to help and leaves.

Meanwhile, Kadaj and his colleagues are recruiting children infected with Geostigma. Denzel falls in with the group, attracted by their promises of a cure for the disease. Loz follows Tifa and Marlene to Aerith's church, where they had gone looking for Cloud, and attacks them. Tifa is knocked unconscious in the fight and Loz kidnaps Marlene. All the kidnapped children are taken to the ruins of the mystical Forgotten City, where Kadaj embraces them as brethren and announces his intention for them all to be reunited with Jenova. When Cloud arrives to rescue them, he is overpowered by Kadaj's gang, but is rescued by his old comrade Vincent Valentine. Demoralized by his failure, Cloud asks if sin can ever be truly forgiven, to which Vincent nonchalantly replies that he has never tried to forgive. Cloud decides to keep fighting and returns to the city, where Kadaj has summoned Bahamut SIN and other monsters to terrorize the population.[4] With the help of his companions from Final Fantasy VII, Cloud engages and defeats the monsters.

Kadaj confronts Rufus Shinra, who reveals he possesses the box containing Jenova's remains. He attempts to destroy it, but Kadaj manages to save it and flees the city with his companions. Yazoo and Loz are apparently destroyed along the way by an explosive planted by Shinra's agents. Cloud chases Kadaj down and engages him in battle, ultimately subduing him. Outmatched, Kadaj opens Jenova's box and fuses with its contents, transforming into Sephiroth. He then tells Cloud he will be able to use the life essences of Geostigma sufferers to achieve complete domination over the planet.[5] He and Cloud then fight, and throughout the whole encounter, Sephiroth appears to have the upper hand, flinging Cloud repeatedly into walls and finally impaling him through the shoulder. He asks Cloud to tell him what he most cherishes so that he can have the pleasure of taking it away. To this, Cloud replies that he cherishes everything, then uses his Limit Break, Omnislash, to defeat Sephiroth. Sephiroth's spirit departs, leaving behind the mortally wounded Kadaj. As he lies dying in Cloud's arms, a healing rain starts falling across the land, curing the people of their Geostigma. Yazoo and Loz appear and confront Cloud; he charges at them, and they set off a massive explosion engulfing the three.

Cloud has a vision of his deceased friends Aerith and Zack Fair, who say that his time to join them has not yet come. He then awakens in the church, healed of his injuries and surrounded by his friends. Behind them, he sees Aerith and Zack leaving the church and hears Aerith's voice say, "You see, everything's all right." He agrees: "I know. I'm not alone... not anymore."

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