Final Fantasy News

Final Fantasy is a franchise comprised of 2 movies, 4 anime series
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Final Fantasy is often praised as being King of the RPG's but I don't think so. It may be popular, but how much has it added to RPGs? Not much, I say actually. Phantasy Star and Mother came out at a similar time to the original Final Fantasy and are way more original and inervative than it. Final Fantasy VII is often refered to as having a new setting and darker plot than previous RPGs, yet Phantasy Star II had a science fiction setting and a dark plot long before Final Fantasy VII. And yet it's forgotten. Final Fantasy VII is praised for having the first 3D in the Final Fantasy series. Tha'st what makes it so revolutionary. It's not the first 3D game released, not even the first 3D RPG. Yet that is always the reason why it is so revolutionary.

Even to today it is still considered the greatest RPG series ever? Why? Just about every Final Fantasy is the samee, at least since the release of VII (evil organisation, moody with a large sword hero who says everything is all his/her fault a lot, then smiles at the end, a villain who wants to be a God and is fought during the final boss as some kind of oddly winged angel, ridiculously oversexualised teenage girls who "hold the team together")? In terms of gameplay it's getting worse and worse, almost not a game at all. And this is meant to add to the genre?

In 2003, Morrowind gave us a freeroaming world were you can go as you please (Oblivion and Skyrim have given more freeroaming, as well as Dragons Dogma). Then games like Fable, Mass Effect and The Witcher allow every last descision that you make to impact upon the story. Dark Souls and Borderlands gave unique gameplay as well as questioning "what is an RPG?" at the same time. On the handhelds, FIre Emblem has brought more light to turn based strategy, and Etrian Odyssey shows a new take on old gameplay to give us something fresh and challenging. That's not even starting of MMORPGs (I don't play MMORPGs, so I can't really talk for them, I hear Guild Wars 2 is quite stunning though) and looters. But screw all that crap when you have Final Fantasy with it's beautiful graphics and amazing storylines. Final Fantasy, however, has no customisation, no choices, no originality. In fact, to describe it as ridiculously cliched would be an understatedment (I understand many stories have cliches, but in the case of Final Fantasy it is just ridiculous). While other games have given us something new and have tried to inovate, Final Fantasy have given us the same stories with less fun while being even more wrapped up in it's own cliches. That's right, it's not fun. The music is also not as good as it's made out to be, escpesially One Wing Angel and XIII's soundtrack is just awful.

What's worse is that people still view it as the best, and we have had so many Final Fantasy clones and spikey haired loser whining that it's all their fault and all that rubbish.

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It took me awhile to write and edit, but I have finally gotten my content all together and have wrapped up writing most of my experiences at this year's FanimeCon 2011 in San Jose, Califorina. In this first of two segments that highlights my four days of wandering around, taking photos, and interviewing people for this feature, I will discuss what I saw at FanimeCon cosplay-wise, from the basic cosplayers to the elaborate cosplays that left people standing there in amazement. In addition, I have two of the interviews that I conducted for this feature, as well as some cosplay photos that I took during my travels around the San Jose Convention Center over the four-day duration of FanimeCon. I hope that you enjoy reading this feature as much as I did writing about my experiences.

One of many awesome, elaborate cosplays that I came across at FanimeCon 2011 xD
One of many awesome, elaborate cosplays that I came across at FanimeCon 2011 xD

Introduction

This year, I was able to make the pilgrimage from my hometown of Chico, California down to San Jose for FanimeCon 2011, which ran from Thursday, May 27th until Monday, May 30th at the San Jose Convention Center in downtown San Jose. From the moment I first reached the Convention Center at roughly 11:30 AM Friday morning until I got on the 12:50 PM AMTRAK train back to Sacramento on Monday, I was amazed and thrilled to be surrounded by roughly 15,000 or more fellow anime/manga fans doing what they do best: partaking in four days of Con madness. I was surrounded by a horde of people, ranging from photographers to cosplayers to members of the media and everything in between as FanimeCon 2011 officially got underway at 2:00 PM Friday with the Opening Ceremonies. Armed with my 2009 Canon Rebel XSi D-SLR camera, a pair of 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses, and two 8GB memory cards that could hold 1,350 images apiece, I set forth into the masses and began my 4-day adventure at FanimeCon 2011, taking cosplay images, conducting interviews, and helping my new friend (and fellow photographer) Sam Lau with his photoshoots outside of the Convention Center with dozens of cosplayers.

Two of the many Black Butler-related cosplays seen at FanimeCon 2011 (Grell and Ciel)
Two of the many Black Butler-related cosplays seen at FanimeCon 2011 (Grell and Ciel)

Cosplay at FanimeCon: From the Basic to the Amazing!

When I attended the opening day of FanimeCon 2010 last year (from 8 AM until 2:30 PM), I managed to walk around the Convention Center taking images of various cosplayers that were making the rounds of the area before I had to leave. This year, I decided to employ the same strategy that I had used for the 6 hours of the previous year, by making constant loops of the 1st floor, 2nd floor, and outside of the Convention Center, taking images of any cosplay that captured my attention or was worthy of being captured with my camera. This year, I began to notice after several hours that there were a ton of VOCALOID, One Piece, Black Butler, and various Final Fantasy cosplays (ranging from FFV all the way to FFXIII) at FanimeCon to behold, and they seemed to be the most popular series/franchises to cosplay as this year. I lost count of how many different cosplays from different series that I came across, but I am quite sure that it was quite a high number in the end. Some of the best cosplays that I came across were from the VOCALOID, Eureka 7, One Piece, Black Butler, Final Fantasy, Puella Magi Madoka★Magica, Code Geass, Street Fighter, Rozen Maiden, and other franchises that I could not name (not familiar with them)

One of the many cosplayers participating in a photoshoot (Cosplaying as Luka Megurine of the VOCALOID franchise)
One of the many cosplayers participating in a photoshoot (Cosplaying as Luka Megurine of the VOCALOID franchise)

In addition, the types of cosplay that I came across at FanimeCon were quite amazing, from the basic cosplays that new cosplayers or low-budget cosplayers donned for convention all the way to the elaborate, high budget cosplays that had photographers swarming them like flies, all trying to capture images of their amazing cosplay from whatever series/franchise it was from. There were dozens of scheduled cosplayer gatherings being held at FanimeCon, which allowed for a large number of cosplayers dressed as the characters of their favorite franchises to participate in mass photoshoots and to interact with each other under the leadership of the leader of their gathering. I managed to attend 5 gatherings (VOCALOID, Pokemon, K-ON!, Valve, and Black Butler) at FanimeCon this year, taking image of the large number of cosplayers that participated in each of their respective gatherings. One of the people that I managed to interview for my feature was the leader of the VOCALOID gathering that was held on Friday at 5:30 PM, and our brief interview is as follows:

Here is Chirstina, cosplaying as Hatsune Miku and leader of the VOCALOID gathering at FanimeCon 2011.
Here is Chirstina, cosplaying as Hatsune Miku and leader of the VOCALOID gathering at FanimeCon 2011.

ShadowKnight508: So, what got you into cosplaying at FanimeCon?

Christina: Just going to the convention and seeing the cosplays and like "That looks like fun!" *laughs*

ShadowKnight508: So, what got you into cosplaying as VOCALOID?

Christina: Um, I dunno...I just love Miku, she's a great character. Um, I'm not really sure...she is just like my favorite, so....*laughs*

ShadowKnight508: So, what was your budget and what was the effort needed for your cosplay?

Christina: Um...budget was about...I wanna say around $200+. Um, it was originally about...maybe I think $75 for the wig and like $80 for the cosplay itself plus shipping, so and then I added on props later, so that total is around $50 or so.

ShadowKnight508: Thanks for participating, Christina! Enjoy the rest of your Con!

Working with Sam Lau (Cosplay.com)

Around 2 PM on Friday afternoon at FanimeCon 2011, I came across a Sucker Punch photoshoot that featured a Babydoll and other cosplays from the film. As one of the cosplayers posed with a rifle on a bike, the wind began to swirl quite strongly, sending one of the reflector screens that one photographer had set up flying. I grabbed onto it and put it back in place, holding it still until he was finished. After the shoot was over, he introduced himself to me as Sam Lau, a photographer from Toronto, Canada who was attending FanimeCon 2011 to take images for his profile on Cosplay.com. I decided that he was a neat guy to hang around with, so I asked if I could become his assistant/partner for the day. He agreed, and from that point on, I was assisting him with his photoshoots for the remaining three days of the convention. We took many images as a team, with me assisting him in his shots by holding/angling the light reflecting screen or holding the screen with a Pocket Wizard-enabled flash for additional lighting. While he packed up after he had finished, I would take my quick shots of the subject and then proceed off with Sam to find the next cosplayer to shoot. We spent the most time with a Sailor Mercury cosplayer (Sailor Moon), taking her images at the fountains at the Cesar Chavez Memorial Park and in the one fancy area of the hotel that Sam was staying at.

His images (which turned out much better, due to his impressive Nikon camera and incredible lenses), can be found on Cosplay.com under Baron Karza, his profile name.

Over the 4 days we worked together, we took images of at least 60 different cosplayers, most of which had some stunning outfits or amazing props to go with their cosplay. Below are some of the many cosplay photos that I took at FanimeCon 2011 this year. The rest (meaning the other 150 or so) can be found on my DeviantArt profile (which will be linked down below the images):

Overall, my experience at FanimeCon 2011 was a great one, for spending almost four days engulfed by all things anime/manga with over 15,000 people is nothing short of epic. I took roughly 500 images at FanimeCon, with around 280 of them turning out to be the best of the bunch, so those 280 or so are being uploaded onto my DeviantArt account (around 70% of them are loaded up as we speak). In part two of my feature on my trip to FanimeCon 2011, I will post the other three interviews that I managed to conduct, more cosplay images, photos from several of the gatherings, my Con pass, the FanimeCon 2011 guidebook, and show the band of religious protestors that show up and heckled the con attendees (which led to some funny moments with cosplayers mocking them, horsing around them until the cops showed up, and ended with a Jesus cosplayer walking in front of their group, arms spread wide and looking towards the heavens as the crowds cheered him on).

ShadowKnight's DeviantArt Profile: http://www.shadowknight508.deviantart.com

*ShadowKnight508 is a frequent user of AnimeVice, with almost 24,000 Wiki points worth of work to his name and many blogs to his credit. You can find him watching anime, taking photos, gaming, or working on the Honey Blonde/Maid Bride wiki pages.*

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  I got a FXIII skin for it courtesy of amazon. (slim PS3)
 
Also, here's a picture of my games.
 
I also am the current owner of 3 blu-ray movies: FF7: Advent Children Complete, The Terminator, and The Kingdom of Heaven.
 
That's all for now!
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Granted, she's no Gackt... but... wow.
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Originally Posted on GiantBomb but i thought that it would apply over here.
 
Just recently I got Final Fantasy XIII, and playing it has made me think about the past games in the series and how they relate to my view on gaming today.
being born in the early 90's my first view of the Final Fantasy games was like most other people FFVII, which I hated i can never really explain why but i guess it has something to do with my friend loving it and building it up to the pinnacle of gaming history only for it be fine. In retrospect i think my views on FFVII are filtered through a pair of the black tinted glasses of hatred. 
After taking a break from the series I finally gave it another try with FFX, which to date is my favorite Japanese RPG of all time. Now i know there are some things in the game that are really retarded, Tidus, Wakka, Tidus, Blitzball and Tidus come to mind, and the voice acting is god awful at times, and the whole game suffers from the need to over-explain everything, and Rikku is only 15 yet is the most sexualised thing in the game (if you ignore Lulu's boobs). But on a whole i really like the flow of the game, the fact that it is not until around the last 30 percent of the game until it opens up location wise, and it is a great idea, you know almost everywhere in the game before it throws you to the wolves.
Then comes FFXII, in theory i should love FFXII the game got rid of the crappy love stories, the main character is blatantly not the main character, and there is Balthier (AKA the leading man), however when it came to gameplay i hated FFXII so much, from the battle system to the constant need to do side quests. needless to say i didn't finish FFXII in fact i got to a point where I'm walking across stupid spires in a desert when i said enough.
Since the release of FFXII i have gone and played the FFII remake and FFIX both of which were fine, FFIX is quite a good game and really should not get the grief that it gets, but then i could see why people whoud dislike it after playing VII and VIII.  
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Join me. Let us dance.
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So, I'm staying home "sick" today (shhh, don't tell) to play Final Fantasy XIII. I'll be doing a video of my first impressions later in the day, but if you're curious as to what I'm thinking as I go, keep an eye on the Anime Vice Twitter feed-- I'll be tweeting along with the game. I'm not quite sure HOW massive the tweet pile will turn out, so if you already follow us, consider yourselves warned! 
 
Er, note that I'm not going to live-tweet the entire GAME. Just the first hour or so. I'll try not to spoil anything big, either :)
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I've never wanted a bird as badly as i do right now.
 
Like, apparently they don't just beat up on soda cans, they SING THE CHOCOBO THEME.
 
Yes, I know I have a problem.
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