- “To those who love this world and knew friendly company therein. This Reunion is for you.”
- —Narration, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
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 and past failures still haunting him. 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.
Cloud's life is thrown into disarray when three silver-haired men attack the new city of Edge, kidnapping Marlene and Denzel. Cloud later discovers the men are seeking the remains of Jenova as part of a plan to revive Sephiroth, who is the cause of the Geostigma disease.
Two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII and the Meteorfall, which was averted through the efforts of a rebel group known as 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 has retired to live 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 now 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 his brothers harass Cloud, the leader, Kadaj, contacts Rufus and reveals the Remnants to be 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.
Returning to his encampment within the church to find Tifa unconscious and Marlene kidnapped, Cloud succumbs to his infection 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 Capital 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 Capital 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 is rescued himself by Vincent Valentine, who had been spying on the Remnants since their arrival in the Forgotten Capital. 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 move 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 the city, 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 city streets with the other Remnants pursuing him. 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 merges Jenova's head 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 which heals all those infected by Geostigma. As Kadaj also dissipates, Cloud is caught unawares by Loz and Yazoo, who shoot him through the chest before self-destructing in an amassed explosion of Materia energy.
Cloud is granted to return to the realm of the living by Aerith and Zack, "respawning" 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. 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 do better. 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 even 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 for the film 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 release date (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 of this movie have been released, including 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
- Main article: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete
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.
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 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 of Advent Children. 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 of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, there were no official English versions for the first two novellas, but various fan translations exist on-line.
The Reunion FilesEdit
A short booklet titled The Reunion Files was released, detailing much of the process of the movie's creation, including character notes, artwork, voice actor interviews, and other commentary.
Characters and Voice actorsEdit
|Character||Japanese||Japanese Voice Actor||English Voice Actor|
|Aerith Gainsborough||エアリス・ゲインズブール||Maaya Sakamoto||Mena Suvari|
|Barret Wallace||バレット・ウォーレス||Masahiro Kobayashi||Beau Billingslea|
|Cait Sith||ケット・シー||Hideo Ishikawa||Gregg Ellis|
|Cid Highwind||シド・ハイウィンド||Kazuyuki Yama||Chris Edgerly|
|Cloud Strife||クラウド・ストライフ||Takahiro Sakurai||Steve Burton|
|Denzel||デンゼル||Kyousuke Ikeda||Benjamin Bryan|
|Elena||イリーナ||Megumi Toyoguchi||Bettina Bush|
|Moogle Girl||Rina Mogami||Andrea Bowen|
|Kadaj||カダージュ||Shoutarou Morikubo||Steve Staley|
|Loz||ロッズ||Kenji Nomura}||Fred Tatasciore|
|Marlene Wallace||マリン・ウォーレス||Miyu Tsuzurahara||Grace Rolek|
|Red XIII (Nanaki)||レッド・XIII||Masachika Ichimura||Liam O'Brien|
|Reeve Tuesti||リーブ・トゥエスティ||Banjō Ginga||Jamieson Price|
|Reno||レノ||Keiji Fujiwara||Quinton Flynn|
|Rude||ルード||Taiten Kusunoki||Crispin Freeman|
|Rufus Shinra||ルーファウス神羅||Toru Okawa||Wally Wingert|
|Sephiroth||セフィロス||Toshiyuki Morikawa||George Newbern|
|Tifa Lockhart||ティファ・ロックハート||Ayumi Ito||Rachael Leigh Cook|
|Tseng||ツォン||Junichi Suwabe||Ryun Yu|
|Vincent Valentine||ヴィンセント・ヴァレンタイン||Shougo Suzuki||Steven Blum|
|Yazoo||ヤズー||Yuuji Kishi||Dave Wittenberg|
|Yuffie Kisaragi||ユフィ・キサラギ||Yumi Kakazu||Christy Carlson Romano|
|Zack Fair||ザックス・フェアー||Kenichi Suzumura||Rick Gomez|
- 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
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 references the rebirth of Sephiroth, who sees himself as a God and is the son of a figure he considers holy. 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 Lateral Biography Turks -The Kids Are Alright-, 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".
- In a deleted scene Cloud tells Sephiroth he used to look up to him. Sephiroth smirks and replies that he is "honored", but Cloud shakes his head and tells him that is no longer the case.
- Official Square-Enix Advent Children English site
- Official Advent Children Japanese site
- Official Advent Children Complete Japanese 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