Story: Takashi Umemura
Translation: Jennifer Wood
What They Say:
When darkness veils the world…
Light and darkness hold the world in balance-and should that equilibrium ever break, only the four warriors chosen by the Crystals can prevent inevitable ruin. This is the story of three times the balance shifted-and the three bands of friends who came together to save the world.
See where it all began with the novel adaptation of the first three stories from the classic FINAL FANTASY series, penned in celebration of its 25th anniversary!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
In Final Fantasy I, four warriors find themselves in the middle of a field without any memories. These four warriors travel to the kingdom of Cornelia and are greeted by the King. He calls them the Warriors of Light and sends them on a quest to save his daughter, Princess Sarah, from Garland, a knight twisted by wicked aspirations. The four go to his dungeon and make quick work and Princess Sarah. But this is just the start of their journey as they must reactivate the four crystals of light and bring balance back to the world.
This story rushes forward to the end without much thought to the world around it. The main crew just travels from place to place without any build-up to the places around them. There isn’t any suspense to their battles. They beat up a boss and then travel to the next area. Final Fantasy I never seeks to engage the reader and go off random tangents. These characters are very plain and just go on endless quests without a speck of personality. Someone tells them to go somewhere and they are quick to jump without any knowledge of their quest.
Final Fantasy II is where things start to pick up a bit more. People from Fynn wake up to see their city under attack. Firion, Guy, and Maria are thrust to war and are tasked with saving a kingdom from impending doom. Firion is a better-developed protagonist that gives a perspective of the world. He grieves when he witnesses the devastating tragedies of war. The rest of the cast is just along for the ride.
It suffers from the same fate as the first Final Fantasy in that the world is severely undeveloped. One of the antagonists, Leon, ends up joining the heroes at the end with no explanation. He was family to them and was separated from them at the beginning. But the story doesn’t even touch upon this at the ending. He declared himself Emperor after his dark mentor was murdered. He has a sudden change of heart and readers are just supposed to accept it without any reasoning.
Final Fantasy III is the most complete story out of the three tales. It has the same premise as four warriors are chosen to be Warriors of Light and save their world from darkness. The four warriors, Luneth, Arc, Refia, and Ingus set out to land and see to bring balance to light and darkness. This story actually takes time to develop the world behind it. The characters are given logical reasoning to explain why they are fighting against the darkness. There are various people they meet in their journey that experience a tragic fate to motivate them. One of the better tragic tales is between Desch and Salina. Desch has amnesia and is walking the world searching for his place. He runs across Salina who is enamored with him. But his fate is moving him in a different direction and must leave Salina. It would have been better if more time had been spent to develop these tragic characters.
Stories should be about the journey and not the destination. That’s where this book struggles for the first two stories as it gallops to the conclusion. I never played these games so I am unsure if Final Fantasy I and II suffer from having aspects that are lost in translation from video game to story. Or if these stories are identical to their counterparts and are exact translations. Either way, these stories are so bareboned and there isn’t much to them. These stories will be more enjoyable to fans who played these games. Final Fantasy I is the hardest story to become intrigued with. It never stops to develop its world. Many events are skipped over to race to the finish line. Final Fantasy II picks up the pace. But it’s not enough to create a satisfying story. Final Fantasy III is the most enjoyable of the three. There is a world that is fleshed out for all to see. The characters are fluid as they explore their devasting world.
Final Fantasy I Grade: D
Final Fantasy II Grade: C
Final Fantasy III Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 18th, 2020
MSRP: $14.00 / $18.50 CAN