Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals

The Final Fantasy games are best known for their epic storytelling, complex characters, and sheer length. So an anime based on this legendary series could only be a good thing, right? Well, after watching this anime, I'm not sure exactly what it was based on, but it bore little resemblance to the Final Fantasy franchise. This series is *very* loosely based on Final Fantasy 5. Anyone who has played Final Fantasy 5 will probably have trouble connecting the game and the anime. The story in the anime is set 500 years after the events that occur in the game, but aside from a few references to events and characters, there is little similarity. The story revolves around a Final Fantasy staple; four crystals denoting the four basic elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water). The crystals start being stolen and it's up to an unlikely group of heroes to *holding breath* save the world. For those who have played the games, this sounds like your typical Final Fantasy plot, but there are a few differences. First, it's not nearly long enough. Final Fantasy stories are long, drawn-out, epic affairs, with tons of plot twists, shocking revelations, and other developments. In the anime, there is none of that. The plot is very straightforward and quite predictable from start to finish. As for the characters, well, they are a pretty wacky bunch. From the brash youth, Pretz, to the outrageous female pirate, Rouge, the characters are certainly varied. Unfortunately, they don't have a whole lot of depth to them, primarily due to the short length of this series. There are some relationship developments between characters, but these aren't nearly involved enough to keep things interesting. This whole series is rather silly. The action is quite exaggerated, probably to fit with the wacky characters. If you're expecting to see lots of cool monsters or magic spells that are a trademark of the Final Fantasy games, expect to be disappointed. Yes, there are a couple big baddies, but nothing noteworthy. As for the neat spells, there are only a couple of those as well and they aren't very inspired. The visuals are, putting it mildly, very poor when compared to other anime. The art is very plain and devoid of detail, and the animation is pretty average. The English dubbing was was adequate on the whole. Some of the voice actors over-acted a bit, but probably to express the wackiness of the characters. If you start watching this expecting anything even close to as good as the Final Fantasy games, then you'll probably hate this series. If, however, you watch it with no expectations, then you might actually garnish some enjoyment from it. At times, it was actually a little bit fun to watch, but I think I'll just stick with the games. The Verdict: * * 1/2 (below average)

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