Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is the movie sequel to the seventh entry in the *insert magnitude-describingadverb here* popular Final Fantasy series.Two years have passed since the destruction of Meteor in Final Fantasy VII. People all over the world have become infected with the deadly Lifestream-distributed disease Geostigma; in spite of this, humanity keeps rebuilding society in the wake of Sephiroth's attempts at global destruction. In the city of Edge (built from the ruins of Midgar), Cloud now lives a quiet life with Tifa, Marlene, and a sickly orphan named Denzel. To Cloud's dismay, he soon discovers his own Geostigma infection — and realizes that the influence of Sephiroth has not yet died off when three young men bearing a resemblance to the "One-Winged Angel" come looking for Cloud and the remnants of Shinra...Advent Children served as a big turn-around for Square Enix (specifically, the Square half) after Final Fantasy The Spirits Within flopped; it proved Square can make a movie that's at least watchable. Advent Children became a definite Love It or Hate It entry in the franchise (like so many before it), but the biggest complaint for both fans and non-fans revolved around the hard-to-follow storyline (even with Word of God present to help clear things up).Limited-edition copies of the movie came bundled with a novella detailing several characters' points of view during the two-year Time Skip. The Advent Children CompleteBluRay re-release included an OVA version of one of the novella's stories and added additional footage to the film which either expanded on the plot (a necessary move) or altered parts of it (not so necessary.)You can (legally) watch the original release of Advent Children for free on YouTube (note: offer may not apply outside the United States), and the Complete version is available on Netflix(Sub only).
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children contains examples of the following tropes:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Sephiroth, Cloud, Kadaj... Basically anyone who uses any kind of blade has one of these. Cloud's and Sephiroth's are so sharp that they can apparently cut through entire skyscrapers. In fact, in Complete, the friction generated by the cuts are so great as to produce enough heat to set the concrete/rebar chunks on fire.
Adult Fear: The silver-haired men kidnap innocent children, effectively brainwash them and then put them in harm's way (said harm being a gigantic dragon). For any good parent, the first part alone is utterly terrifying. Somehow this does not prevent them from getting a Redemption in the Rain scene at the end of the movie.
Before Complete more adequately explained the plot, the best way of comprehending the movie (as well as learning of other interesting information) was to buy the Reunion Files book, the filmic equivalent of an FF Ultimania book. Whilst it's technically only available in Japan, it's also thankfully fully bilingual, featuring both English and Japanese text.
Besides the Reunion Files, a series of novellas collectively called "On the Way to a Smile" documents the events between the film in the game, including how Edge was built, how Cloud and Tifa ended up living together, what the party members were doing during their two years off, who Denzel is, what Geostigma, and Aerith's role in all of this is in greater detail. To say the novellas explain a lot of stuff not present in the film would be an understatement.
How Rufus Shinra survived also counts. Any chance for him to explain himself in the movie was lost when Cloud cut him off.
Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Inverted; the Japanese version of Advent Children Complete uses a new ending theme song called "Safe and Sound" but everywhere else uses the original theme, "Calling."
A Million Is a Statistic: Everyone seems a lot more concerned about Sephiroth's return than the silver-haired men kidnapping every single child in Edge. Somewhat justified in that Sephiroth posed a danger to the entire world, but still.
Anime Hair: Cloud's hair is not as bad as it could have been, but it was still present. The movie's about him, after all.
Armor Is Useless: None of the characters wear metal armor, except perhaps for Cloud's pauldron, which is never used. Averted when Cloud gets shot in the face, but only his goggles get shot off... although it is quite possible that The Goggles Do Nothing, and Cloud's face is just THAT tough.
Art Evolution: An "all-at-once" example. The original game had a very anime and cartoony design, even beyond the silly Lego-people polygons. Following the trend of the main series as a whole, Square Enix decided that in FFVII's next generation, they should go as realistic as possible. The new style stuck, and the entire Compilation has been near-photorealism since.
Audible Sharpness: In Complete, Sepiroth's Masamune gives off a high, clear, chilling tone... And he doesn't even need to swing it for it to produce this sound; if the camera is anywhere near the blade it practically sings about its ability to cut anything apart to the viewers.
Back from the Dead: Sephiroth is resurrected by Kadaj eating Jenova cells. Cloud gets shot in the back and caught in an explosion at the very end, but is stopped from entering the Lifestream by Zack and Aerith.
Bad Ass: Quite a fair few of them, ranging from characters to tropes, in varying levels.
Two in a row. After Cloud defeats Sephiroth, he tells him: "Stay where you belong... in my memories." Sephiroth's response is to look Cloud in the eye and declare "I will... never be a memory", doubly badass for quoting his own Ominous Latin Chanting ("Noli manere, manere in memoria").
In the original Japanese, Sephiroth's final line is "Ah, but I am much more than that."
Badass Cape: Vincent's cape definitely counts, especially during his intro scene. This makes him a better ninja than Yuffie.
Badass Normal: Rude. In a world where just about every fighting adult can practically fly, and even Reno has crazy climbing skills, Rude manages to hold his own against Loz with nothing but fists (and some awesome shades). Also, he manages to stop Loz and Yazoo with his homemade bombs.
Rufus Shinra too. Played Kadaj like the bush-leaguer he is without so much as getting out of his wheelchair and then engages Kadaj in a sky-diving chase sequence in pursuit of Jenova's head.
Aerith and Zack are finally shown reunited in the afterlife.
Cloud. He tried right after the game, and made a good run of it, but his survivor's guilt eventually caught up with him. Contracting Geostigma put the final nail in the angst coffin. However, events in the movie (spelled out in the Ultimania) make it clear Cloud has dealt with his major issues and finds his promised land surrounded by his friends and his family by the final end.
Blocking Stops All Damage: The first thing Sephiroth does is block Cloud's swing so dead he and his BFS suspend in midair for awhile. More easily justified than most, as his strength is so much higher that blocking is almost a formality.
Bloodier and Gorier: The Complete recut. While the characters didn't recieve apparent battle damage in the original version of the movie, Complete shows characters getting dirty as they fight, and damage being done to Bahamut SIN (armor breaking off the face, revealing flesh and blood). The biggest change is toward the end of the fight between Cloud and Sephiroth, where Sephiroth stabs Cloud repeatedly in mid-air to the point that he's a bloody mess, barely able to stand.
Bloodless Carnage: Played mostly straight in the original, but gruesomely averted in Complete when Sephiroth repeatedly impales Cloud in mid-air near the end of their fight leaving him a bloody mess.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Sephiroth, who has at least two good chances to kill Cloud and decides to fight and taunt him a bit more. It arguably makes sense with Sephiroth. Dude's been waiting two years for his revenge; he's going to take his time and enjoy it.
Bottomless Magazines: Averted with Vincent's triple-barrel handgun, Cerberus. During the Bahamut fight, he stops twice to reload in the span of thirty seconds (once on top of a building spire, then on Bahamut's shoulder) Played straight by every other gun wielder in the movie.
The Coconut Effect: The entire reason Cloud is constantly depicted as angsty in the movie (despite the fact that he got over his problems by the end of the game) is because at this point the fandom had made this out to be his primary mental characteristic and wouldn't recognize him otherwise.
Though there's a recap at the beginning, the movie sorta requires that you play the game to really make sense out of it. Luckily, the DVD came with a recap of key events.
Complete comes with an additional feature that recaps the events of the other spin-offs, although Dirge of Cerberus is glanced over, as it's set a year after Advent Children.
Cool Bike: Needless to say, Cloud's Fenrir. Bonus points for having a built-in sword rack for his new Cool Sword.
The Remnants of Sephiroth's motorcycles are pretty cool too.
Cool Shades: Rude's, the guy even has a spare pairmany spare pairs in his jacket. Some parts of the fandom insist that Rude has a special Materia just for producing Cool Shades. Cloud's goggles are pretty cool too.
Spare sets or a costuming Materia, Rude has good reason for taking such measures as the first set get stepped on by Reno during their brawl with Yazoo and Loz.
Cultural Translation: Not really. For example, the Japanese have a more nuanced relationship with insects than Americans do, so calling Kadaj a "chrysalis" carries more meaning, though Yuffie's "He's a bug?" response works just fine.
Curbstomp Battle: Kadaj has NOTHING on Cloud once he gets healed from his Geostigma.
In the game, Materia was put into slots on weapons. Here, when Kadaj gets Cloud's Materia stash, he infuses a sphere of Materia into his arm. Alright, doesn't really look like Souba's got Materia slots, but that still raises implications. Next time we see him, he summons Bahamut SIN and constantly blasts people with magic. That would require, at minimum, two Materia pieces - one for the summon, one for the energy spell. Okay, little diversity never hurt a video game character, but still... When Yazoo shoots Cloud in the back, we see him and Loz each raise one arm. When they start glowing and are revealed to be pumped full of Materia of multiple different colours, you can tell they've been getting the good stuff.
Dual Wielding; Cloud's Fusion Swords, being six different blades, naturally get this treatment all throughout the film. note (1) One base blade, (2) one hollow blade, (3/4) two back blades, (5/6) two side blades. In order: 1 -> 2 -> 1 & 2 -> 1+2 -> 1+2 & 3 -> 1+2+3 -> 1+2+3+4 -> 1+2+3+4 & 5 -> 1+2+3+4+5 -> 6 -> 1+2+3+4+5 & 6 -> 1+2+3+4+5+6 -> 1+3+4+5+6 & 2 -> 1+2+3+4+5+6 -> 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6
Fastball Special: All the party members perform it on Cloud. Yes, even her. Note that this is not on separate occasions... this is the aerial equivalent of a bucket brigade, with Cloud as the (highly ballistic) bucket.
Fight Scene: It'd be more accurate to say the movie contains non-Fight Scenes. The original cut is 90 minutes long. The fight with Bahamut Sin starts about 45 minutes in, and the whole rest of the movie is one long fight. A good chunk of the first half is fighting too.
Flanderization: Cloud's angsting went from pretty minor in the original game to taking over his characterization here. At the end of the game, he seeemed to be mostly over his issues. On the other hand, Word of God says that depression is a standard side effect of geostigma, and that Sephiroth was Mind Raping him through it. On the other, other hand, Word of God also says that they deliberately regressed Cloud's emotional state so he'd feel more "familiar" to viewers (even though the movie actually makes him far more angsty than he was in the game), making the geostigma side effect just a justification for that.
As a matter of fact, although Cloud is the more obvious example, ALL of the characters of the game receive this to different degrees. Though for the other characters, a large part of it is that Cloud dominates the screen time so we barely see them do anything.
Goggles Do Nothing: Reno's don't seem to do anything other than to look cool and give him red rings around his eyes. Completely averted with Cloud, though—in addition to their regular purpose (keeping dirt out of his eyes) the goggles also prevent him from taking a bullet right between the eyes.
Heel Face Return: Rufus shows up and explains he's seen the error in his ways and is working to undo the damage he did. His repentance kind of makes sense in that the consequences of Shinra Company's activities were extremely dramatic by the end of the game, and nearly were even worse.
Hellish Pupils: Sephiroth and his remnants have these. The children infected with Geostigma develop them after drinking the water corrupted by Kadaj, and Cloud sporadically develops them whenever his Geostigma acts up.
Hidden Eyes: The animators were careful to make sure Rufus's eyes were never visible under his cloak, to hint he may have been disfigured somehow. It's also to convey that he's hiding something very closely but you can't figure out quite what.
Yazoo, who shoots Cloud's sunglasses off his face at point blank range and gives him only a tiny cut on the forehead, though it's more due to Cloud's ability to shrug off a bullet to the forehead.
Ironically, for a movie so bent on Rule of Cool, this is entirely possible. Squama frontalis, a part of the frontal cranial bone that forms the forehead itself, is one of the (if not the) toughest bones in the human bodynote Also the reason headbutts are effective. In some people it may reach a full inch or more in thickness, and thus is entirely able to stop at least a handgun bullet. Of course, the force of the impact would still create a shockwave that would pulverize the brain behind it. Surviving without skull penetration? Depending on the angle, possible. Surviving without at least some brain injury? Extremely unlikely. Cloud's brain is Made of Iron too.
Improbable Piloting Skills: Reno manages to casually fly a helicopter under a highway... backwards. Yazoo later tops this by flying through the open side doors of Reno's helicopter... in a motorcycle.
Karma Houdini: Reno. To be fair to him, in Complete he has a conversation with Rude where he admits that he's happy helping people now, but he isn't quite sure if any one of them can really make up for what they did what with the whole almost destroying the world thing.
People seem to forget that even though President Shinra ordered the Midgar plate to be dropped that Reno was the one who physically did the deed. Just Following Orders is not an excuse. Does he get any kind of karmic punishment in this movie? Of course not. He's demoted to Plucky Comic Relief.
We shouldn't forget, however, that Barret and AVALANCHE also responsible for terrorist actions that killed innocent people. If that can be swept under the rug, then there's really no reason Reno's actions can't be. And besides, with the whole Sephiroth and Meteor incident having transpired and the whole world needing rebuilding, a dropped plate seems like an insignificant event by comparison and retribution for it would be pointless.
Like Mother, Like Son: Invoked by Sephiroth, who states that he's more or less forgotten (or given up) on his original goal of becoming a god and has decided he's going to follow in Jenova's footsteps; flying through space draining worlds of all their life essence.
Cloud gets the most of them; he uses all his Limit Breaks from the original game save for Cross Slash and Meteorain. Easily distinguishable for the blue aura surrounding Cloud when he's about to pull one off.
He uses Blade Beam with the main blade from his First Tsurugi against Loz, to cut through the shockwave coming to him on their first fight at the Forgotten Capital.
He uses Braver against Bahamut SIN and knocks it down to the ground in one hit.
Shortly thereafter, he uses Climhazzard against Bahamut SIN, this time finishing him for good.
With his Fusion Swords all assembled, he uses Finishing Touch to send Kadaj off flying.
And in the Complete version of the movie, he tries to use the original Omnislash against Sephiroth. It backfires spectacularly.
Then there's Omnislash Version 5note As stated by Word of God, it was the fifth Omnislash they designed for the movie. What Could Have Been, indeed...? which is a revamped Omnislash utilizing his Fusion Swords to their fullest. The attack is redone in the Complete version; no official name is given to it, but fans have begun to call it "Omnislash Version 6".
Tifa uses several of her special moves against Loz at the Sector 6 Church, including Sommersault and Meteodrive.
Barret unleashes what seems to be a reminiscent of Big Shot straight to Bahamut SIN's face.
Cid performs a High Jump, again, against Bahamut SIN.
Aerith also gets a couple from beyond the grave. She calls upon Great Gospel to heal the Geostigma in Cloud, which then pools to act as a healing spring. She uses it again after Sephiroth's defeat to heal people all over Midgar. In the Bahamut SIN fight, she also fuels Cloud with Fury Brand, allowing him to perform two Limit Breaks within a few minutes of time.
Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The original CE of the movie was available only in a limited run in Japan, and equated to around $300. It included the Last Order OVA, a cap and t-shirt with the Fenrir symbol printed on each, a Play Arts FFVIIAC Cloud with Fenrir, the voiceover script, a special reprint of the original game and the movie itself, complete with director's commentary and a special features disc. An American equivalent would be released much later, with many of the physical extras (save for the OVA) removed. FFVIIAC Complete also somewhat qualifies, considering the approximately 20 minutes of new footage and the On The Way To a Smile OVA.
"Dilly dally shilly shally", a nonsense phrase used in the English version to replace the Japanese "zuruzuru", an onomatopia that mimics the sound of dragging a heavy load. Since the entire film is about Cloud letting his guilt and feelings of powerlessness weigh him down ("I feel... lighter"), it makes sense in context. "Dilly dally shilly shally" on the other hand...
Lost in Translation: Cloud's sword in the movie was originally called the First Tsurugi by fans, both all six assembled blades and the base blade. In actuality, this name refers only to the base blade - the others were never given names by the production staff, who just used "Fusion Swords" to describe them. The mixup came from a misunderstanding of a transcription of Tetsuya Nomura's DVD commentary. Even the word "Tsurugi" (Chinese for broadsword) isn't the original one used (they just went with 'ken', evidently).
Messiah Creep: Try watching the baptism scene at the end of the movie and tell us that's not what's happening with Cloud.
Missing Trailer Scene: The first 2 trailers are infamous for being made almost entirely of test footage, none of which was used in the final movie (save the scene relating to Aerith's death). Interestingly, some screenshots of these scenes are actually on the back of the original DVD box.
Names to Know in Anime: Notable, since this was the first major instance in which the cast had voices. Most of them have stayed on too.
Obfuscating Disability: Rufus Shinra always sits in a wheelchair and is covered in a long cloak, making him appear to be crippled and highly disfigured. That way Kadaj constantly keeps turning his back to him, which comes in handy in the end, as he can stand, walk, and use guns without much problems, at least for a short time.
Oh, Crap: Cloud when Sephiroth is resurrectedright in front of him. Later returned the favor with the Omnislash Version 5. In Complete, Sephiroth BLOCKING the original Omnislash.
Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: According to Reunion Files, Nomura said he wanted Cloud to fight someone younger than him, resulting in Kadaj. It also qualifies as a Double Subversion. Cloud is 23 at the time of the movie and Kadaj physically looks like he's in his late teens, but given how the latter was created he's actually no older than two.
One-Winged Angel: Wouldn't be Final Fantasy VII without it. Kadaj becomes Sephiroth, then Sephiroth sprouts his wing at the fight's climax. The last one is subverted, however, in that he dies immediately after it appears.
The Pawn: The silver-haired men to Sephiroth and Jenova.
Yuffie's entire contribution to the film is having a flashy shuriken to throw around.
In one of Complete's new scenes, Cloud throws two of his swords as boomerangs. One comes back quite soon. The other one he catches about 10 seconds later, still in mid-flight, using the sword he was already holding.
Denzel, after regaining his senses and seeing Tifa get hurt. "Son of a BITCH!"
This is actually the only time a swear gets dubbed. Of course Reno and Rude are supposed to say "holy shit" when Bahamut Sin unleashes a breath of fire, but the dubbers changed it to "H-hello..." "Hell no..."
In addition, he never actually cursed in the original; Denzel's original line was "You're dead!"
Psychopathic Man Child: One of Kadaj's defining traits. Loz too, with emphasis on the childishness. Yazoo also has shades of this, though due to his personality and lack of screen time, it isn't as obvious.
Remember the New Guy: If you find yourself wondering who this Denzel kid is, trust us, you're not the only one. Complete expands on his role and backstory.
The Reveal: In all of the promotional material for Advent Children (including the Playstation 3technical demo that remade the Final Fantasy VII opening with the new character designs), no shots of Aerith showed her whole face. Even in the actual film, the first unobscured shot of her face is at the very end when her spirit turns to look back at Cloud before going away with Zack. Given, her face has become one of gaming's most famous ones, and if the modelers screwed it up...
Rule of Cool: Acknowledged by the animators as the motivation for a lot of the design decisions, including the art designs for aspects such as Bahamut and the Shera, and the fight scene animation, including Omnislash Version 5.
Showy Invincible Hero: Going through the SOLDIER process really makes one a badass. Tifa, Yuffie, and the rest are Badass, but Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo are superhuman, and it takes the three of them working together to make a match for Cloud.
So Last Season: In Complete, Cloud tries to finish Sephiroth with the original Omnislash. Sephiroth blocks all the lead-in attacks and impales him in the middle of the finishing leap. He's going to need another approach.
Spirit Advisor: Aerith and Zack act as this to Cloud, urging him to let go of his past failures and focus on the present.
Soap Opera Disease/Incurable Cough of Death: Geostigma. A Genetic disease born of Sephiroth's hatred after dissolving into the lifestream but not dissipating. In Complete, Vincent basically describes it as Magical AIDS.
In the original, it's tough to see what's actually so bad about the disease, as it seems painful, but not particularly fatal. Complete clarifies the horrific nature of the disease when, at the beginning, someone is shown dying of it by melting.
Stock Footage: Rufus and Kadaj's conversation before Kadaj summons Bahamut SIN reuses clips from the opening of the film as they talk in a manner similar to B Roll, the footage sometimes matching what they're talking about, sometimes not. These sequences, as well as other clips from the film, have since been reused in subsequent Compilation entries and related media, particularly Crisis Core.
Survivor Guilt: Cloud seems to have this in spades at the beginning of the film. He gets better.
Sword Fight: There are about five examples of this not happening. Two of them are gunfights.
Talking Is a Free Action: In Complete, Cloud really had a lot of time to talk with Zack while Sephiroth was approaching from the sky. Sephiroth himself indulges in this a fair amount as well.
With Cloud, it's at least partially justified; the sequence in which he talks to Zack is probably taking place in his head, where time may be passing by slower. With Sephiroth, he's just really into crazy monologues and everyone seems happy to indulge him.
This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Why didn't Yuffie just pass around some materia, have everyone cast one of their maxed-out spells (most of the materia was green), and wipe Kadaj and his ilk off the face of the earth? Because they've Traded Their Passion For Glory - moved on and rebuilt their lives after Sephiroth's defeat, while Cloud spent all of his time brooding on his failure to save Aerith. Tifa infers, from her defeat at Loz's hands, that none of them are the demigod-slayers they used to be. None of them save Cloud, who has refused to let go of his grief, is still riding the wave of desperation that let the party match superhumans like Sephiroth blow-for-blow. She even says those Exact Words. Letting him finish the final fight himself not only keeps them out of his way, but enables him to find closure.
Though Barret does say "He's got 10 minutes", before he presumably would jump in. It just never came to that.
Or regained levels, more like. Tifa comments during Cloud's fight with Kadaj how they all got weaker since the end of the game, but Cloud's retained much of his edge due to his isolation, and after entering single combat with Kadaj, seems to once more become "the man who killed Sephiroth"... twice.
Also, Denzel in the Complete version in comparison to the old version.
Did you think Sephiroth was going to come back for this movie?
Not the trailer, but the cover for the ACC Blu-Ray release shows both Cloud and Sephiroth on the front of it. But anyone whose a fan of FFVII would have known they were going to bring him back anyway.
Debatable. This trooper was around when the first trailers starting to appear and remembers the debates about if they were going to bring out Sephiroth (or Aeris and Rufus for the matter) or not. Most of the scenes from the earlier trailers involving him were recreated flashbacks anyway, except for the last trailer that shoved him briefly at the end.
Troll: Rufus Shinra. Word of God says that he really did have Jenova in his lap under his cloak the entire film, and with that in mind, sitting in his chair doing nothing to stop Kadaj but continuing to taunt him casts him into this territory.
Victory Is Boring: While not exactly boring, winning two years ago took away Cloud's purpose in life. He took up a simple job as a delivery boy and had a lot of free time on his hands. He spent this time brooding on his failures and drinking. Soon afterwards Denzel, his adopted son/brother, gets geostigma and Cloud leaves to find a cure, but he fails. Even worse, he catches the disease himself and is dying at the young age of 24. Indeed, his fighting ability is greatly hamstrung until he is cured. A combination of embarrassment, shame, guilt, and sadness drive Cloud even further into depression and isolation not helped by the occasional seizures and Mind Rape being handed to him by Sephiroth and the disease.
Villain Ball: The Remnants pick it up when they abduct Marlene. She doesn't have Geostigma so she's useless to their plans, and she ultimately does nothing but be held captive before escaping off-screen and running to Cloud, who takes her home. Aside from an excuse to have Marlene and Cloud interact shortly after the battle, there was no reason to kidnap her and doing so did nothing for the plot.
The stinger for Complete directly references this - The first shot is of the spot Zack died, with flowers growing, and Denzel asking if it was someone's grave. Cloud replies that it was where "a hero began his journey". After this, the shot fades to Aerith's church, where the sword has been moved to and been restored.
Who Is This Guy Again?: Combined with Continuity Lockout, while all of the main characters from the original game make an appearance, more than half of them are never referred to by name throughout the movie.
Would Hit a Girl: Loz, who defeats Tifa in battle, namely by punching her full of electricity. He would have killed her had Marlene not interfered.
Younger Than They Look: Kadaj and his brothers might look like young men, but the truth is, as Sephiroth's remnants, they're only about two.
Your Mom: Subverted for two different reasons. Reno and Rude insult Jenova in front of Loz and Yazoo. When they take offense to it, Rude apologizes instantly. Reno attempts to follow through, then realizes they're talking about Jenova's friggin' head and snaps back into battle mode.
Yazoo: I will not have you refer to Mother that way! Loz: You meanie! Rude: Our apologies. Reno: Your mom's cool. (Beat) What the hell am I saying?!