The Final Fantasy XII manga is an adaptation of the video game Final Fantasy XII in the Final Fantasy series. The manga was Cut Short and this only adapts the first third of the game, from the introductory sequence to the destruction of the Leviathan and the battle with Vossler.
Several years ago, Princess Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca of Dalmasca is set to marry Prince Rasler Heios Nabradia of Nabradia to secure an alliance between their nations. When an insurgent faction in Nabradia sabotages the marriage, seeking to ally with the Rozarrian Empire instead of Dalmasca, their actions trigger war. The Archadian Empire, rival to Rozarria and neighbor to Nabradia, invades Nabadria and Dalmasca out of fear of a power shift in world politics. In the war, Ashe takes her own life and Rasler is killed. As peace talks begin, Captain Basch fon Ronsenburg of Dalmasca kills King Raminas, destroying any hope for a peaceful resolution. Basch is executed for treason and the war ends with the conquest of Nabradia and Dalmasca.
Two years later, Vaan, a street thief living in occupied Dalmasca, plots to sneak into the Imperial palace on the night the new consul to Dalmasca, Vayne Solidor, is appointed to his position. During the infiltration he is caught up in an attack by the Dalmascan resistance and meets up with the sky pirates Balthier and Fran. The three discover that one of the leaders of the resistance is Ashe, who faked her own death, and also that Basch has been kept alive by the Archadians and is secretly imprisoned near Dalmasca. Thrown together by the hand of fate, along with Vaan's friend Penelo, the six embark on a quest to try and claim the power needed to free Dalmasca from the Archadians.
Note that all spoilers for the game and manga are unmarked here
This work contains examples of:
- Adaptational Badass:
- The Judges have been each upgraded from Elite Mook to One-Man Army, possessing superhuman strength and speed in addition to their fighting training making them powerful duelists. Take Ghis for example—he kills Firemane single-handedly and then takes on Fran and Balthier and was beating them until Vaan intervened. And he was barehanded the whole time.
- Standard operating procedure is for the game's bosses to suffer Badass Decay so the party members can gain this trait dealing One Hit KOs to them — Fran uses a Quickening to freeze a second Firemane solid, and Basch cleaves the Mimic Queen apart in one swing. Using a rusted and cracked sword he repaired to working condition using Heroic Willpower.
- Fran's magickal prowess is stronger, and in the confrontation with Ghis she freezes his sword solid with a Quickening. Meanwhile Basch is able to form a sword from pure Mist by sheer willpower. They also have the above mentioned instances where they each single-handedly kill a boss enemy.
- Adaptation Expansion: Flashbacks show the circumstances of how Ashe and Rasler fell in love, why Archadia began the war, Basch's side of the story during the night Raminas was killed, and Vossler's actions in the Resistance.
- Adaptational Heroism: Gabranth's backstory is given early on, making him more sympathetic, and he has a couple Pet the Dog moments.
- Adaptational Villainy: Vayne is much more cruel and less charismatic than in the game.
- Ashe is surprisingly more bloodthirstier in this version as seen in the final chapter.
- Ascended Extra: Vossler's role in the early game is much more fleshed out.
- Big Bad Ensemble: By virtue of the manga's story scope and expanding their role in early events, Judge Ghis and Judge Gabranth functionally serve as the two main antagonists. Vayne is more of a Greater-Scope Villain to them, and Dr. Cid and Venat don't appear at all.
- Body Horror: Ashe summoning Belias causes her arm near its glyph tattoo to mutate and deform, then it shrivels to a stump when she dismisses him. This is in the last issue so it isn't fully clear if she'll recover or not.
- Cliffhanger: Final chapter ends with Ashe missing an arm with a note saying the party continues the fight against the empire.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Vaan. The other characters note he's an idiot, but when he gets into a fight, through either quick thinking or dumb luck, he's surprisingly capable.
- Flanderization: Vaan is a full Idiot Hero, Balthier is a Chivalrous Pervert, and Ashe has undergone Chickification to emphasize her powerlessness before the Empire.
- Hotter and Sexier: While Ashe is the focus of this as described below, Fran and Penelo aren't exempt either. Penelo appears in her home in her underwear in one scene, and overall the three female party members are often shown from angles that emphasize their breasts and rears.
- Loose Canon: On the one hand the manga ignores or rewrites many events that happen in-game. On the other hand a lot of the backstory and unseen events it depicts line up fairly well with what the game tells us about those things.
- Ms. Fanservice: Ashe is prone to being depicted very gratuitously, her rear particularly being emphasized often, and on one page she's fully nude with Barbie Doll Anatomy.
- Mundane Utility: Balthier tricks Vaan with a coin toss using the magicks Vanish and Decoy to create a fake coin while hiding the real one and tossing it to Fran.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Defied. In the original game we never saw Basch's side of things when he ran ahead of Reks. Here, we do; he wasn't simply captured and swapped out for Gabranth, they duelled one-on-one that night with Gabranth emerging victorious. The battle is also how Basch got his facial scar over the eyebrow.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: As the chapters progressed from backstory to the in-game events, the manga still follows the general outline of the game's plot, but a lot of scenes are swapped out and new ones added in.
- Shout-Out: When Ashe "borrows" Lord Rasler's sword and runs off, he calls out after her.Lord Rasler: Wait up! It's dangerous to go alone!
- Slasher Smile: Ashe sports one as she summons Belias in an attempt to kill the Archadians on the airship.
- World of Ham: There is a lot of shouting and grandstanding going on.