By Tyler Hodg
Full disclosure: I have never been a fan of anime, nor have I actually fully played any Final Fantasy games.
Blasphemy, I know.
With the release of Final Fantasy XV in September, Square Enix is investing in new ways to keep the hype train rolling—which includes delivering exclusive pieces of the game’s lore through other mediums—and I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to hop on and see what the fuss is all about.
The first stop was a 25-minute demo that showcased a heartwarming introduction into the character of Noctis (Noct), at a young age, not told within the actual game. It is beautifully developed and worthy of anyone’s time.
The second stop is the premiere of Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV, a YouTube anime centred around the main character and his crew as they travel on a road trip.
Like the game demo, the opening sequence of the first episode, titled “Before the Storm,” depicts a younger Noct. Surrounded by fire and brimstone, and laying in a pool of blood, the character is saved from a serpentine woman by a mysterious man and what appears to be his companions.
The scene is a flashback, as Noct and his pals speed down an open road to a nearby diner. The young girl behind the counter recognizes his name, hinting that some business went down that was so crazy even people in remote places have heard about what has happened.
The banter between Noct and his four pals reveals that he is royalty, and was set to marry a woman named Luna before “all that stuff went down at the capital.” While the road trip started as a means to get to the wedding, the characters are now on the run and attempting to keep a low profile.
The group heads toward a massive government ship, and end up in a battle with the oblivious robot soldiers. Their magic abilities help them access interesting ways of finishing off their enemies, before Noct is faced with the monster that nearly killed him earlier in his life.
The negatives about this show are apparent and inescapable; the four characters fit obvious tropes (the silent but brash hero, the loudmouth, the voice of reason, and the brute), and some of the music is downright embarrassing—the greatest example is a cheesy harmonica ditty played while the group sits around a campfire. But despite these misfires, the mystery of the narrative is enough to make up for its downfalls.
At a run time of under 12 minutes, “Before the Storm” reveals so much, yet so little. Information about the past and the monumental event are teased, but viewers are still kept in the dark. Only a fool would expect all of the answers in the first episode, and with so much hidden, it only makes Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV that much more desirable to continue watching.