Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals
|Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals|
|Genre||Adventure, fantasy, comedy|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Rintaro (series director)|
Naoto Kanda (#2)
Tomohiko Ohkuda (#3)
|Produced by||Tetsuo Daitoku|
|Written by||Satoru Akahori|
|Music by||Masahiko Sato|
|Released||March 21, 1994 – July 21, 1994|
|Runtime||30 minutes each|
Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, released in Japan as Final Fantasy (Japanese: ファイナルファンタジー, Hepburn: Fainaru Fantajī), is an anime OVA based on the Final Fantasy series of role-playing video games. It was released in Japan in 1994 and distributed by Urban Vision across two volumes in 1997 and 1998 in North America on VHS. Urban Vision have since lost the distribution license and to date the series hasn't been released in any other format, such as DVD, following its initial video release.
The story takes place in the same world as Final Fantasy V, named Planet R, set two hundred years in the future, where three of the four crystals have been stolen. The original heroes in Final Fantasy V are now legends of the past and a new evil, Deathgyunos, has risen on the Black Moon and must be dealt with. Mid, a recurring character from Final Fantasy V, contacts a new hero and heroine: Prettz and Linally (a descendant of Bartz). They eventually meet the sky pirate Rouge and Valkus, commander of the Iron Wing.
The OVA introduces several original characters and a few characters who made an appearance in Final Fantasy V.
The main protagonist Prettz is a headstrong and reckless young man with feelings for Linally who rides a motorcycle and uses a nodachi and spiked bombs as his weapons. The other protagonist Linally is a brave, young, blue-haired girl, the direct descendant of Bartz and a novice in the art of summoning (she can only summon Chocobo), and became a vessel for the Wind Crystal after the others were taken. Supporting characters include: Valkus is the bumbling general of the Tycoon air force, leading the flag-airship Iron Wing, who, despite his aggressiveness and large size, is fiercely loyal to Queen Lenna; Rouge, a scantily clad sky pirate captain, with a love for all things shiny, who attempted to take the Wind Crystal from Linally and company, but was captured by Tycoon and held prisoner until Queen Lenna offered her a full pardon if she agreed to aid the others; and Mid, Cid's grandson, an engineer who returns as a ghost to aid the heroes with his advice and general knowledge of historical events important to the series, and, although apparently unable to physically manipulate the world in this state, is clever enough to convince his living allies to complete tasks with words alone.
The antagonist of Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals is Ra Devil, a powerful wizard intent on gaining the power of the Void for his own ambition. He steals Cid's brain away in hopes of using its knowledge of the four Crystals to his advantage, assuming his true form, Deathgyunos, once he succeeds.
The OVA was produced by NTT Publishing with animation by Japanese studio Madhouse simply under the title Final Fantasy. It was originally released in Japan across four episodes on VHS between March and July 1994. A North American English dubbed version was released a little over three years later by Urban Vision under the title Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals split across two volumes. Volume 1, which contained the "Wind Chapter" and "Fire Chapter" was made available on December 9, 1997, followed by a second volume containing the "Dragon Chapter" and "Star Chapter" on February 3, 1998. A boxed set containing both volumes in a single slipcase was released in the region on November 17, 1998. It is the first animated media produced for the Final Fantasy series, as well as the first direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game.
Legend of the Crystals is separated into four 30-minute episodes. It was released in VHS format with the first and second episodes contained on the first video, and episodes three and four on the second, later released as a boxed set.
|No.||Title||Japanese release||English release|
Transcription: "Kaze no shō" (Japanese: 風の章)
|March 21, 1994||December 9, 1997|
Transcription: "Honō no shō" (Japanese: 炎の章)
|May 21, 1994||December 9, 1997|
Transcription: "Ryū no shō" (Japanese: 竜の章)
|June 21, 1994||February 3, 1998|
Transcription: "Hoshi no shō" (Japanese: 星の章)
|July 21, 1994||February 3, 1998|
Several media based on the OVA was released on 1994. Two soundtracks were released for the OVA. The first volume was released on May 21 and contains tracks from the first two OVA episodes. The second contains tracks from the last two episodes and was released on July 21. A guidebook titled Final Fantasy Video Graffiti: Animation Perfect Guide (ファイナルファンタジー・ビデオグラフィティ―アニメーションパーフェクトガイド) was released on September 1. A two-volume manga adaptation was released on December 2. Each volume also adapts two episodes each.
In the 1990s, the anime received positive reviews from critics. Shidoshi of GameFan magazine gave it an A rating in May 1998, stating it was one of "the finest anime I've seen in quite" a while. The reviewer ranked it the best anime of the month, above several episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion reviewed that same month. The same year, Charles McCarter of EX praised Legend of the Crystals heavily, noting the similarity to Square's existing characters helped lend credence to the Final Fantasy title. He additionally noted, with exception to the backgrounds, the animation was good, and the dubbed voices for the English version were believable, notably Linally's and Prettz's, and added "Final Fantasy provides a good balance of action, adventure, and just enough humour to make the characters personable."
Retrospectively, the OVA has received a mixed reception. Adam Arnold of Animefringe criticized it as one of several failed attempts to translate Final Fantasy to film, calling it a "lacklustre and drawn-out retelling of Final Fantasy V". Sam Yu of THEM Anime Reviews rated it 1 out of 5 stars and called it "a cruel mockery of all Final Fantasy stands for", citing it as basing the storyline off the "weakest" title in the series, and citing the finale as anticlimactic and the villain disappointing. Ramsey Isler of IGN later described it as notable for being the first sequel to a Final Fantasy title, but stated it "did not become a favourite addition to the Final Fantasy Legacy", citing its animation as "nothing special" and noting its reliance on comedy over dramatic story telling. Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku called the film "a mess" for its un-Final Fantasy aesthetic and fan service.
Other critics were more positive. GameSpot staff described it as a worthy adaptation of the series, and noted while the animation was "somewhat simple", the story was immersive and praised it for not meandering to include all aspects of the game.
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