To those who love this world and knew friendly company therein. This Reunion is for you.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a CGI-animated film that is a sequel to Final Fantasy VII. It has been released on DVD and UMD disc for the PlayStation Portable handheld console, as well as an extended edition titled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, released on Blu-Ray Disc in April 2009. Its official theatrical release date was on September 10, 2005 as the grand public opening. It was released in Japan on September 14, 2005. The movie received the Honorary Maria Award at the Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya on October 15, 2005.
Taking place two years after Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children focuses on Cloud Strife who has distanced himself from his friends due to his personal demons. In the two years since Sephiroth's defeat a plague called Geostigma has spread across Gaia, and among the infected are Cloud and an orphan named Denzel who is under Cloud and Tifa's care.
Two years after the Meteorfall, which was averted through the efforts of the rebel group AVALANCHE, the world is suffering from a disease called Geostigma for which there is no known cure. Suspecting a link between the disease and the alien entity Jenova, Rufus Shinra, president of what was once the Shinra Electric Power Company, tasks his assistants and bodyguards, the Turks, with the retrieval of Jenova's head from its last known location within the Northern Cave. While the agents retrieve the item, they encounter a hostile force within the cavern that abducts two of their number.
Concerned with this new development, Rufus attempts to make contact with the now retired members of AVALANCHE, specifically with Cloud Strife, who now lives in the newly built city of Edge with another AVALANCHE member, Tifa Lockhart, and two children, Marlene Wallace and Denzel, who is infected with Geostigma.
Tifa passes the message onto Cloud via his cellphone as he travels through the Midgar Wasteland while on a delivery. Unbeknown to his friends, despite his attempts to find a cure, Cloud himself has become infected with Geostigma and is distancing himself from them in anticipation of his death, while battling a growing depression and lack of self-confidence as he feels guilty for the deaths of Zack Fair and Aerith Gainsborough.
Receiving the call while en-route to Edge, Cloud is attacked by three teenagers dressed in black and riding motorcycles: the Remnants of Sephiroth. While two of the brothers harass Cloud, the leader, Kadaj, contacts Rufus. The Remnants were the hostile force encountered in the Northern Cave, now embarking unto the world in pursuit of their "mother's" head to initiate the "Reunion".
Cloud responds to Rufus's call and arrives at Healen Lodge, Rufus's current headquarters. Rufus attempts to enlist Cloud's help to stop the trio, but fails. After Cloud leaves, Kadaj breaks into Rufus's lodge and abducts Rufus, announcing that he and his brothers are planning a new Reunion that will culminate in Sephiroth's return.
While Kadaj abducts the president, the other Remnants, Loz and Yazoo, go to Midgar and Edge respectively to gather children infected with Geostigma for the Reunion. While children like Denzel flock to Yazoo with the promise of a cure, Loz obtains Cloud's collection of Materia after defeating Tifa within the Sector 5 Church in Midgar's ruins.
Returning to his encampment within the church to find Tifa unconscious and Marlene kidnapped, Cloud succumbs to his Geostigma and collapses. The pair is found and returned to Tifa's residence, the 7th Heaven Bar in Edge, by the Turks Reno and Rude.
While the Turks inform the two of the Remnants' plans and Tifa confronts Cloud over his self-depreciating attitude, the Remnants infect the waters of the Forgotten City with negative Lifestream and have the children drink the black water making them fall under the sway of their influence.
While en-route to the Forgotten City to rescue the children, Cloud is visited by Aerith, now a spiritual avatar of the Lifestream, who questions his refusal to move on from her death. Cloud's attempt to rescue the children fails and he ends up rescued himself by Vincent Valentine, who had been spying on the Remnants since their arrival in the Forgotten City. The two have a brief recap, during which Marlene flees the Remnants and Vincent reveals Tseng and Elena, the Turks who had been captured by the Remnants in the Northern Cave, have survived. Cloud asks Vincent how he moved on from his perceived failures and Vincent says he didn't and that he never tried to. Cloud declares he will attempt to move on from the past.
Deducing that Shinra has hidden their mother under the Meteorfall Monument at the center of Edge, Loz and Yazoo have the infected children form a barricade around the monument and attempt to remove the structure. They are interrupted by Reno and Rude, but Kadaj summons Bahamut SIN to destroy the structure as his brothers battle the Turks.
The summon destroys the monument and finds nothing, and begins to run rampant in the city. The other members of AVALANCHE arrive to assist Tifa, and later Cloud, in fighting the dragon.
After the dragon's defeat, Rufus reveals to Kadaj he had been in possession of Jenova's head all along, and tosses the box containing it over the edge of the building the pair had been residing within. While Kadaj recovers the box, Cloud catches sight of him and pursues him through the streets. The race moves onto the Midgar Highway stretching between Edge and Midgar and into a tunnel where Cloud, with the assistance of Reno and Rude, deals with Kadaj's brothers.
Kadaj seeks refuge within the Sector 5 Church, but is discovered and driven away by both Cloud and the eruption of Lifestream-infused water from the church's flowerbed; summoned by Aerith to counter the effects of Geostigma. Now healed of his ailment, Cloud pursues Kadaj to the remains of Shinra Headquarters at the center of the derelict city where, supported by his friends from AVALANCHE, Cloud defeats the Remnant in combat. Kadaj absorbs Jenova's remains into his body and completes the Reunion, using his body as a vessel and resurrecting Sephiroth as a physical being in his stead.
Sephiroth manipulates the corrupted Lifestream, developed through his influence and formed with the souls of those killed in the throes of Geostigma, to spread across the Planet, intending to gain full control the Planet and use it as a vessel to search for another planet from which to start anew. The two engage in combat over the ruins of Midgar, but Cloud prevails and Sephiroth dissipates and returns to the Lifestream.
With Sephiroth's will momentarily dissipated, the corrupted Lifestream disappears from the skies to be replaced by Aerith's Lifestream-infused rain that heals all those infected by Geostigma. As Kadaj also dissipates, Cloud is caught unaware by Loz and Yazoo, who shoot him through the chest before self-destructing in an amassed explosion of Materia energy.
Cloud is granted a return to the realm of the living by Aerith and Zack, appearing within the newly sprouted spring in the Sector 5 Church surrounded by his friends and the children he had helped to save. Given a final farewell by the spirits of Zack and Aerith, Cloud agrees he is going to live his life in the present, instead of the past.
The idea for a movie came about from the success of Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, in which the secret ending depicts a CGI action sequence of two people fighting Heartless. Director Tetsuya Nomura had the idea for a full movie with "lots of cool fight scenes", and thought Final Fantasy VII would be a good source material for it. The development team thought the ending movie for Final Mix was the best they could do, but Nomura was certain that with better technology they could surpass it. When Final Fantasy X-2 became a success the project came closer to realization. Nomura claims the merger between Square and Enix was the event that sealed the creation of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and got the project rolling. In spring of 2003 Final Fantasy X-2 was released, Square Enix was formed, and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was given the green light to start production.
The original script was only 20 minutes long and involved an unspecified woman giving a message to a child and asking her to deliver it to Cloud. Through a relay system between children, Cloud receives the message and at the end it is revealed who the messenger is. The script kept expanding due to a combination of fan speculation, the anticipation of a long-awaited sequel to Final Fantasy VII, and new ideas being worked in. Once initial reactions to sneak peeks and trailers were positive, the short video became a full movie. Yoshinori Kitase and Kazushige Nojima decided to bring Nomura in as director who began writing down key words for scenes as a foundation for a storyline. Some of the phrases he wrote down would be used for ads and trailers. For example, one of Nomura's ideas was for a child to narrate and explain events they could not truly understand, which developed into Marlene narrating the film's opening sequence which recaps the events from Final Fantasy VII.
Nomura and others began experimenting with concept sketches and CG renders of the film's key characters and locations. The film's subtitle was originally going to be "reunion", but Nomura found it did not suit the rebirth of Sephiroth that was planned for the film. He found the word "advent", Latin for "coming", and Nojima wanted the word "children" in the title as well. Thus the full subtitle "advent children" was created. With the project rapidly expanding, a year after production began the script was still not finalized and scenes and renders were still being altered.
When the development team was offered to show their work at a festival in Venice they had two months to develop a minimum 30-minute film or else they would be rejected. The team rushed to meet the goal, formulating the final film into a 23 minute segment, showcasing visuals and CG that were not completed yet; thus, most of the footage shown was ultimately cut from the final product. After the positive fan feedback the team returned to Japan with the realization they were making a full film, and still had much work to do. The final length of the film was nailed down at 100 minutes at the end of 2004, and work on finalizing the CG visuals and renders began.
Originally Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children had a run time of approximately 60 minutes, slated for release on July 10, 2004. Upon release the film's run time had increased to 101 minutes. Commercials were planned for August of that year. Delays pushed the release dates back to September 13 for North America and September 14 for Japan as a simultaneous release. The simultaneous release was not an identical release, however, with Japan obtaining a special release of the DVD with more extras and collectible offers than the U.S. release. The official website for the English version of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children featured a clock counting down to the DVD's release, but due to the release date being pushed back several times the timer was removed.
Mere days before the North American release Square Enix changed the date to November, a move rumored to have been motivated by the promise of better sales during the lucrative holiday season. The date was changed again in early November to a January (with initial confusion given that many retail outlets got different release dates and information that did not match), with a limited theatrical run before the DVD release. Fans questioned Square Enix's move, given the track record of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, which bankrupted Square Pictures after the movie made a substantial loss.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was initially released on both UMD and DVD formats. The Japanese UMD version includes a set of battle music tracks from the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Original Soundtrack as a bonus. The North American DVD release consists of two discs, but the buyers who preordered the set were given a bonus DVD including extra material.
Special editions include the Ultimate Edition "Advent Pieces: Limited", which includes the OVA Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-. This was the first announced title in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
Japanese special editionEdit
The Ultimate Limited Edition Advent Pieces includes a Cloud riding on Fenrir figure, a voice actor script, a shirt and a cap, a serial-numbered keychain, a new version of the Japanese Final Fantasy VII International and a DVD with Final Fantasy VII: The Last Order. The set is limited to 77,777 pieces.
North American special editionEdit
A collector's edition of the movie was released in North America on February 20, 2007.
Included in this collector's edition is the following:
- Ten collectible postcards.
- English movie script.
- Biographical character booklet.
- Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII story digest.
- Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Venice Film Festival footage.
- Sneak peek of upcoming Final Fantasy VII (related) games.
- Deleted scenes.
- The Distance: Making-of featurette with all new English voice cast interviews.
- The anime Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-.
The illegal releaseEdit
On September 11 of 2005, the pirate group BiEN leaked the movie in DVD rip format over the internet. Many fans, desperate to see the movie since its announcement in September 2003, downloaded it through BitTorrent. The Japanese addition Last Order was also leaked around the same time.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children CompleteEdit
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is an extended edition of the movie for Blu-Ray with almost thirty minutes of extra content. Along with these new scenes are a demo for Final Fantasy XIII, and a new OVA starring Denzel.
At the Tokyo Game Show 2006, Square Enix showed a trailer of a movie titled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete that is to be released on the blu-ray disc format. New scenes were be added to the movie so it could be called an extended version, however, director Tetsuya Nomura says that "it's not meant to be just an update to the original, but rather a replacement". Nomura has stated the new scenes could add up to as much as thirty minutes of new content. Though originally slated for a 2007 release, the movie was delayed until 2008 and then 2009. The film was released April 16, 2009, for Japan, and in North America on June 2, 2009. Included is a new theme song, "Safe and Sound", a joint-creation of Kyosuke Himuro and Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, which was only included on the Japanese version.
The film was released in Japan in three bundles. One included a limited edition 160GB "Cloud Black" PlayStation 3 bundle with the Final Fantasy XIII demo, another was the film with the demo, and the last was the stand-alone film. The film also includes an OVA based on On the Way to a Smile: Case of Denzel, along with never-before-seen trailers for Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy Type-0. Nomura also said that Complete may be the last installment of the Compilation for some time, but he and Takeshi Nozue have other ideas and are contemplating another film project.
Differences from Final Fantasy VII: Advent ChildrenEdit
The following is a list of the changes found:
- New exclusive music compositions are added to the film and many of the original are revised. For more details, see Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Reunion Tracks.
- A new opening scene is added in which Kadaj and Rufus discuss why humans repeatedly destroy and create. With this new scene, the film starts in medias res.
- In the Northern Crater, the shooting sounds are prolonged.
- Cait Sith's stuffed moogle is now included in the flashback scene of the final confrontation in the Northern Crater.
- An extended introductory tour of Edge is added, introducing the Moogle Girl and her Geostigma-afflicted younger brother, as well as showing a death from Geostigma.
- Tifa listens to a radio in the 7th Heaven bar reporting about the Lifestream and Geostigma.
- A book titled Medical Science: Mechanism of Human Body and newspaper clippings about Geostigma are added to Cloud's desk.
- Kadaj's facial expression after the motorcycle battle in the Midgar wastelands is altered.
- A brief scene showing Denzel gazing at the photos of his parents is added.
- The Healen Lodge has changed names from "Healin" to "Healen".
- The scene and dialog within the cabin between Cloud and Rufus is altered, giving more insight to Geostigma and Sephiroth being the cause.
- A brief video showing Tseng and Elena being attacked by the materializing Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz in the Northern Crater is added.
- Reno and Rude talk about their comrades (previously seen in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-), and atoning for nearly destroying the planet before Kadaj streams through the door in a black mist.
- An additional flashback scene is added, showing how Cloud found Denzel in Sector 5.
- An additional scene shows Denzel running outside thinking he hears Cloud's motorcycle, but seeing Yazoo pass by instead.
- A new scene shows Denzel and the Moogle Girl crossing paths for the first time as she carries her now dead brother through the city streets, while suffering discrimination from spectators.
- An extended flashback of Zack's Final Stand (previously seen in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-) is added with a short voiceover of Sephiroth repeating lines from Final Fantasy VII.
- Zack is redesigned to match his Crisis Core design.
- More details are added to characters in the scene of Tifa and Loz's fight in Sector 5 Church. Both Tifa and Loz accumulate dirt spots. Tifa's disappearing glove issue is also amended, but before the fight starts, Loz's Velvet Nightmare is missing.
- The scene between Denzel and the Moogle Girl outside 7th Heaven (before she leads him to Yazoo's truck) is slightly altered.
- When Cloud passes out next to Tifa, the music track "Anxious Heart" from Final Fantasy VII is played instead of the original "Water" track.
- A new scene shows Cloud preparing to bring Denzel to Tifa after finding him in Sector 5.
- A new scene shows Denzel and the Moogle Girl being taken away in Yazoo's truck with other Geostigma-afflicted children.
- More explanation about Kadaj's plans is given when Loz brings the materia and Marlene to the Forgotten City. During the scene, Marlene briefly attempts to escape.
- A brief new scene shows Kadaj speaking to Jenova as the inflicted children drink from the water in the Forgotten City.
- The scene of Vincent's intervention in the battle of the Forgotten City clearly shows Vincent's face.
- The dialog between Reno, Rude, Yazoo, and Loz at the Meteor Monument is slightly altered.
- New scene shows Cloud dropping off Marlene at 7th Heaven, where they discuss why he left them.
- The scene between Rufus and Kadaj before he summons Bahamut SIN is altered to remove all indiscriminate flashback images. The dialog itself is altered. Music track is removed from the scene.
- A flashback scene of Denzel watching the news about Sector 7's destruction is added.
- Extended scene shows Tifa fighting Shadow Creepers to protect Denzel.
- The introduction scene of the former AVALANCHE members is altered.
- Cloud's arrival scene is altered to that of showing him saving both Denzel and Tifa. His memories of failing to save Zack and Aerith are shown synchronously as a symbol of him finally acknowledging his own abilities.
- New scene shows Denzel making his way back to 7th Heaven and confronting a pair of Shadow Creepers along the way. This scene shows the extreme vulnerability of Shadow Creepers to the water.
- As the battle goes on, Bahamut SIN accumulates scratches, fractures, cuts and burns.
- All fighting characters receive scratches, wounds and spots of dirt during their battles. Tifa and Yuffie receives spots of dirt on their cheeks and dresses. Cid's shirt shows perspiration and his face becomes very dirty. Red XIII is charred in two spots. Rude and Reno categorically accumulate dirt all over and bleed. Only Loz and Yazoo remain largely pristine.
- Tseng and Elena are shown arriving on the scene to save Rufus, both bandaged and patched for their injuries from the Northern Crater and the subsequent torture.
- An additional scene shows Rufus directing the Turks to help Cloud.
- The highway chase event features comedy scenes involving Reno and Rude's attempt to assist Cloud by attacking Loz and Yazoo with a Shinra Military Transport Helicopter and a missile launcher. After miserably failing and crash the helicopter, they are picked up and air dropped to the other end of the highway tunnel by Tseng and Elena instead of making it there on their own.
- Sephiroth's Masamune is given a new resonating sound effect.
- The denouement of the battle between Cloud and Sephiroth is extended: Instead of being thrown against a wall and impaled in the shoulder, Cloud is thrown into a pile of rubble. He recovers and attempts the original Omnislash limit break. It fails when Sephiroth impales him midair, in a scene that resemble his original impalement during the Nibelheim Incident. (Sephiroth comments on it.) Sephiroth reveals his wing, throws Cloud into the air, executes a vicious variation of Octaslash on him and throws him to the ground in a pool of his own blood.
- The original scene of Cloud remembering what he cherishes is extended with Zack appearing (apparently, only to Cloud alone) to give Cloud some encouragement, reminding him he must "protect his SOLDIER honor" and that he is his "living legacy" (previously heard in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-).
- Cloud's execution of Omnislash Version 5 is more detailed.
- Cloud bleeds from the gunshot he receives from Yazoo.
- After Cloud's apparent death, phones ring around Edge and the unheard voice tells everyone to go to the Sector 5 Church, in addition to Marlene meeting the Moogle Girl.
- Flowers are shown growing on Zack's grave. A short voiceover dialog between Denzel and Cloud is featured. The Buster Sword is shown to have been cleaned and moved to the Sector 5 Church.
On the Way to a Smile is a series of short novellas taking place between the time Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Written by scenario writer Kazushige Nojima, they were released in episodes on the Japanese Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children website, and as a novella in the Limited Edition Collector's Set. The two original novellas were "Case of Denzel" and "Case of Tifa'", and "Case of Barret" was released with the North American and European releases of the film. Until the Collector's Set release, there were no official English versions for the first two novellas, but various fan translations exist on-line.
For the release of Advent Children Complete, several more novellas were released. They are Case of Yuffie, Case of Red XIII, Case of Shinra, and Case of the Lifestream. There is also a thirty minute OVA, animating the Case of Denzel.
A short booklet titled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children -Reunion Files- was released, detailing much of the process of the movie's creation, including character notes, artwork, voice actor interviews, and other commentary.
Although Final Fantasy Record Keeper is a game with no inherent relation to the film, its status as a Final Fantasy compilation title provided for the entry of Advent Children into the Record Keeper universe. Based on this, the Challenge Event "The Lone Wolf's Lament - Cloudy Wolf" was created from several battle sequences that played out in the film. Cloud's alternate Wardrobe Record, Cloudy Wolf, is based on his appearance in Advent Children. The Fenrir is also rendered as part of his Burst Soul Break, Fenrir Overdrive, which in turn requires that Cloud obtains the Fusion Sword 1st (VII) as a weapon.
Characters and voice actorsEdit
- Additional English voices
- Director: Tetsuya Nomura
- Co-director: Takeshi Nozue
- Producer: Yoshinori Kitase
- Co-producer: Shinji Hashimoto
- Scenario Writer: Kazushige Nojima
- Original music composed by: Nobuo Uematsu, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Keiji Kawamori, Kenichiro Fukui
- Art Direction by: Yusuke Naora
- Mechanical and Creature Designer: Takayuki Takeya
- Akihiko Kikuma
- Isamu Tachihara
- Jun Ishii
- Mayuko Aoki
- Masakazu Morita
- Tesshin Murata
- Yukiko Nakamura
Battle motion actorsEdit
- Kenji Arai
- Masahiro Watanabe
- Miwa Hashiguchi
Etymology and symbolismEdit
Advent is Latin for "the coming," often used to refer to the time before Jesus's birth, or to the second coming of Jesus at the end of the Earth in Christian religions. This refers to the rebirth of Sephiroth, who sees himself as a God. The second coming of Sephiroth can also be seen as a sign of the end of the world, as he plans to destroy all life on the Planet.
"Children" comes from the original concept for the story, being told by and focusing on children across the Planet.
The term "Advent Children" could refer to the Remnants of Sephiroth, the children of Jenova who bring about the coming of Sephiroth, or to the Remnants coming to the Planet. It could also refer to the children recruited by the Remnants to search out Jenova to bring the advent of Sephiroth.
- Though characters bleed often in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, in the original Advent Children there are only two instances of blood: first when Cloud's goggles are shot off in the beginning of the film, and second, when Cloud pulls Sephiroth's Masamune from his shoulder at the climax of their battle.
- The Meteor monument in Edge resembles the meteor illustration used in the Final Fantasy VII logo; it was likely designed to reflect that motif.
- Korean singer Ivy stirred controversy for the music video to her song "Sonata of Temptation" because the video shared too many similarities with the fight scene between Tifa and Loz in the church.
- In Square Enix's Nintendo DS game The World Ends With You, Yodai Higashizawa makes a reference to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children by quoting Tifa's line, "Dilly dally, shilly shally".
- Though a major driving point in the film, Aerith's name is not stated once; instead being called "her", "she", "you", etc. This is a possible reference to the retconning of her name, and the division among fans over the correct one. During the credits she is referred to as "Aerith Gainsborough".
- In December 2011 Square Enix published a book called Final Fantasy VII The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story, which takes place shortly before Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and leads up to the film's events.
- Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children contains a spelling mistake on a sign on the highway. It misspells "personnel" as "parsonal".
- Last Order -Final Fantasy VII- is not included with Advent Children Complete.
- During the closing moments of Advent Children Complete, when the Moogle Girl is cured of Geostigma, a small paper bearing a three-by-three grid is visible on the wall behind her (above the young boy's head); within these nine spaces are the box art to many of Square Enix's PlayStation 1 games, including the art for Final Fantasy VII (top row, middle box) and Final Fantasy Tactics (middle row, left box). This can be seen at 1:46:30 for several seconds before she walks away from the wall.
- The Brazilian release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is not dubbed in Portuguese, but has Portuguese subtitles instead. Also, it's dubbed in Japanese, French and English.
- In RWBY Volume 4 Episode 3, "Of Runaways and Stowaways", the battle against Bahamut SIN is referenced during the battle against a sea serpent-type Grimm: the image of Sun Wukong launching Blake Belladonna with a powerful upward arm movement is similar to how Tifa launched Cloud further into the air, and Blake using her blade to cut through the Grimm's wing to reduce its maneuverability is similar to Cloud cutting through Bahamut SIN's wing with his blade to also reduce its maneuverability.
- In the English dubbed version, the post-credits scene is Japanese with no subtitles
- Official Square-Enix Advent Children English site
- Official Advent Children Japanese site
- Official Advent Children Complete Japanese site
- Official English Site
- Advent Children DMOZ Directory
- On the Way to a Smile translation of Square Enix's Novel and other resources, all the actuality from Final Fantasy - French Fan site
- The Maïden who Travels the Planet translation of Square Enix's Novel and other resources, all the actuality from Final Fantasy - French Fan site
- Advent Children trailers direct download, searchable image gallery, and fan works
- The Making of Advent Children with Interview Translations and Images
- Official Trailer