Anime DVD Review: Final Fantasy Unlimited: The Complete Collection

Final Fantasy Unlimited: The Complete Collection is a five disc DVD box set that contains all 25 episodes of Final Fantasy Unlimited. This set was released in 2005, after the seven single DVD releases came out.

Final Fantasy Unlimited: The Complete Collection
English Publisher: Section 23
Format: DVD
Release Date: August 23, 2005

The series opens with Joe and Marie Hayakawa investigating a mysterious tower that suddenly appeared; as they investigate, the two of them disappear. Their children, Ai and Yu Hayakawa, go out in search of their missing parents. Ai is an energetic 12-year-old girl who is intensely curious. Yu is her twin brother, who tends act more like an adult during their travels; however, he does have an innocent, childish side.

The children board a mysterious subway, trying to head to a place called Wonderland. Their parents had gone there once before, but had returned. In fact, their father is a leading researcher in the field of Wonderland physics, and published a book called “Day of Conjunction,” about his experiences there. The twins refer to this book often in the first episode. While their parents returned after their first trip into Wonderland, their whereabouts this time are unknown.

While on the subway, they are surprised to find a woman named Lisa Pacifist on board. She is able to manipulate spirits that are found in nature through the Kigen Arts. She decides to join the twins on their quest to find their missing parents, and use her abilities to protect them from the various monsters in Wonderland. However, it is unknown why she decided to come to Wonderland in the first place. The three of them encounter a bird of happiness named Chobi.

As they explore Wonderland, they find a mysterious figure who has no memory of who he is. When Ai, Yu, and Lisa are attacked by a mysterious creature, this person suddenly appears, and he has a “Magun” in his right arm. It summons various kinds of fire, which he uses to defeat the mysterious creature.

The main villain in Final Fantasy Unlimited is Earl Tyrant, the child-like ruler of Wonderland whose ultimate goal is to become a god; he kills anyone who gets in his way. Earl Tyrant is aided by his Four Lords of Gaudium: Oscha, Fungus, Herba, and Pist Shaz XI. There is also a character named Fabula, who refers to herself as a guide; she serves as a narrator for the series.

As I watched the series, I thought it had at least some potential when it first started. However, as the episodes went on, it became clear that the series followed a rather predictable formula in the episodes, and that the character of Kaze was definitely a “deus ex machina.” When I finished the series, I ended up being rather disappointed in how it turned out.

Final Fantasy Unlimited combines traditional animation with 3D computer graphics. While the combination of the two animation styles isn’t as jarring as it is with some other anime shows, the viewer can still see a noticeable difference between the elements animated with traditional animation and the elements that rely on 3D computer graphics.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, each disc contains five episodes. For the second through fifth discs, the only menu option is for languages.

On the first disc, you can choose the languages, you can see the DVD credits, and there’s a link for ADV Previews. The ADV Previews includes trailers for the properties that ADV was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

I found the lack of special features in this box set to be rather disheartening, especially after discovering through research that the seven individually released DVDs did come with bonus features. The original single disc DVDs included such extras as audio commentary, production sketches, key animation backgrounds, and preliminary illustrations. The single disc releases even came with booklets with character information. For whatever reason, when ADV released this box set, they decided not to include any of those bonuses and just put out a bare bones box set.

Between my disappointment in the series, as well as my frustration in the lack of special features, I was rather disappointed in this DVD box set overall.

Now that ADV is out of business, both this box set and the individually released DVDs are out of print. However, if you are a fan of Final Fantasy Unlimited and are trying to collect the series on DVD, I would personally recommend trying to track down the seven individually released DVDs. However, if you don’t mind the lack of special features, then you might have an interest in this box set. If you decide to purchase the box set, I would recommend shopping around to find the best deal for it that you can.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Final Fantasy Unlimited: The Complete Collection that I was given as a gift.

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