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Anime / Agni's Philosophy

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Agni's Philosophy is a graphical tech demo shown at the 2012 E3 conference by Square Enix. It was designed to show off their new Luminous Studio Engine, which can render extremely detailed and realistic graphics in real time, being shown again during the PlayStation 4 announcement conference running on the new hardware, continuing a trend of Final Fantasy related media showing the processing and graphical power of a new home console. As such, it looks very pretty.

The demo shows a very short story starring the title character, Agni. A group of mages performing a ritual around a crystal come under attack by aggressors bearing modern firearms. Their leader is shot and killed, but he passes on a smaller crystal to Agni, who escapes the massacre. She flees into the city, pursued by mutated dogs, and completes the ritual to summon a dragon to save herself. The clip ends with Agni mounting the dragon and flying off, viewing a city in the distance.

Although Square Enix consistently denied it, there were many rumors that this demo's characters or story would feature in a future installment in the epileptic-tree-plantingly popular Final Fantasy series. In particular, it didn't escape notice that the "minister" looks almost exactly like one of the central villains from Final Fantasy XV, that the displayed technology levels (not to mention the general visual design) of FFXV and AP are virtually identical,note  and that the playable team for FFXV had neither any truly dedicated spell-casters nor, more infamously, any women. However, in the end the finished product for FFXV didn't feature anything from Agni's Philosophy at all.

In April 2015, Square-Enix showed a new brief real-time tech demo called WITCH Chapter 0 [cry] , which featured Agni kneeling among ruins and crying... which naturally kicked the above into even further overdrive, because either they're just making Agni their go-to "demo" character, or with that much work they're planning on putting her in a "proper" game of some sort. It's also implied that what's been shown is going to be part of a more substantial updated tech demo.

This demo contains examples of:

  • Action Survivor: While Agni is capable of utilizing electrical attacks, she only does so once in the initial strike on the compound, and spends the rest of the demo evading her pursuers and attackers, briefly healing her wounds, and finishing the summoning for the dragon.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: In a setting with cars, firearms, and futuristic cityscapes, Agni wears an elaborate ceremonial robe (as do her compatriots, and the Prime Minister, for that matter).
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Agni is certainly attractive, but the fight with the attackers and the tracker beasts clearly takes a toll on her. And in WITCH, something rather more serious seems to be happening...
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just as Agni finishes the incantation and is about to be done in by the monster, the dragon bursts out of the compound, swoops down and snaps the monster up.
  • Body Horror: Watching Agni convulse as she heals herself, and even seeing a bullet forcefully expel itself from her body.
  • Broken Tears: The focus of WITCH Chapter 0 [cry], as the horrors of the previous demo seem to be catching up to Agni. It's hard to notice until the demo zooms in close, but it also shows makeup running around her eyes.
  • Dragon Rider: Agni, at the end of the clip.
  • Healing Potion: Agni creates one from a soda bottle filled with a clear liquid during a breather in her escape. The results certainly heal her, but it looks extremely painful.
  • Hell Hound: The result of injecting a hyena-like animal with a glowing serum looks like a cross between a hyena and a porcupine, with More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: A variation. The leader of the coven is mortally wounded despite the acolyte's best efforts. He passes on the smaller crystal to Agni before dying. While the two characters are clearly acquainted, this hits all other aspects of the trope perfectly.
  • Immune to Bullets: The acolyte's magic is able to render them thus for a short period of time, but they are eventually overwhelmed.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: See Hell Hound.
  • Mythology Gag: Several to the Final Fantasy series:
    • The main character's name is Agni, meaning "fire". It's a common trend in the series for protagonists to have names that correspond to natural forces or phenomena.
    • Summon magic in general, and a dragon summon in particular. It may even be Bahamut. Its design, which features in colorful scarves and beads, may also be a reference to Yoshitaka Amano's Signature Style.
    • A red mage.
    • A healing potion makes an appearance, and is shown in a Coke-shaped bottle, which may be a simple example of Bland-Name Product or a reference to Final Fantasy's various cross-promotions with Coca-Cola.
  • Power Crystal: One is instrumental in the summoning ritual.
  • The Red Mage: Agni is shown to use lightning both offensively and defensively as well as healing magic. She also wears red garb.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The acolytes are initially presented as identical, robed figures, with hoods over their faces. Only when Agni pulls her hood free do we realize that "he" is a she.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The Psycho Serum injected into the hyenas.
  • Sequel Hook: Still hunted by her attackers, Agni flees with the crystal astride the dragon. WITCH Episode 0 seems to be the beginnings of a follow-up.
  • Shock and Awe: The acolytes seem to specialize in lightning magic, and use it to defend themselves and their leader.
  • Summon Magic: At least one of the functions of the large crystal is to summon a dragon.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The summoning ritual could only occur during a solar eclipse. It damn near passes before Agni is able to complete the ritual.
  • Urban Fantasy: The setting combines magic and a setting that wouldn't be too far out of place in the modern Middle East, complete with turban-wearing attackers using firearms that strongly resemble AK rifles. note