'Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV' Anime Episode 1: You Don't Need Great Animation When You Have Abs Like Gladio

  • Playstation 4
  • Xbox One
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There's 8 visible ones but I know there are 10 other ones that we can't see under that jacket. I know it.
There's 8 visible ones but I know there are 10 other ones that we can't see under that jacket. I know it. (c) Square Enix

Episode 1 of Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV , the short prequel anime announced in last night’s Final Fantasy XV release date event, was available to watch on Youtube here immediately after the presentation (details on all major announcements here ). In fact, you can watch Episode 1 of Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV embedded below:

The anime is done by A-1 Studios, the folks behind Sword Art Online, Black Butler , and the unbelievably good Erased which just wrapped up its last episode. Whether you consider their work a hit or a miss (sometimes, as in Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash , I can’t help but consider it a miss), they’re a notable studio that has put out great work in the past.

Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV will have 5 episodes available online for free. No schedule has been announced for their release beyond the information that they will all be available before the game’s September 30 release date, with a bonus sixth episode available exclusively on the now-sold-out Ultimate Collector’s Edition .

Given that Square Enix is clearly hauling out all the stops to bring Final Fantasy fans back to the fold, I was surprised to see that the animation quality of what is only a 6-episode order seems rather low. Still shots are pretty enough, but I feel like I can see every individual frame that composes any given shot, which is less important when the boys are chowing down at a diner but becomes jarringly apparent during what are intended to be fluid battle scenes.

Plot-wise not much happens, as it’d be silly to spoil important main game plot points before the game comes out. Young Noctis survives an attack by this six-armed slithering Monster Musume out of nowhere, with what I assume is his dead mother or big sister FOA (fridged on arrival). Then we flash forward into the future, where eight solid minutes of banter awaits us between the road, a diner, and camp. The entire purpose of the prequel is to establish both the bond between these characters and where that bond began, so the banter (and lack of any big plot) is to be expected.

The character dynamics are quite fun in the diner, actually. Noctis is unmasked as a picky eater who foists his unwanted greens onto Ignis’s plate, which makes Gladio grump, which makes Ignis grump. Peppy Prompto jerks some ketchup off and winds up shooting a load (of ketchup) all over the table, a moment particularly memorable for its unsmooth animation. There’s a moment of exposition over the situation in the capital city of Noctis’s home before the gang is forced to leave, only to eventually face off against a squad of mechanical soldiers.

With the animation quality being what it is, the fight scene is a little less than high-octane excitement, but the music is as sweeping as Final Fantasy music ever is, the mechanical soldiers look cool, and the fight mechanics look awesome, with weapons disappearing and reappearing out of thin air. Noctis disappears and reappears as well, zipping and slicing all over the battlefield. The episode ends with the return of Monster Musume . Cliffhanger for next episode.

Overall, Episode 1 of Brotherhood left me with a positive impression - not rosy, but positive. For a freebie, Brotherhood’s solid enough and is on the right road to do what it needs to do. All we need to see is banter, brotherhood and battle, and it looks like that’s exactly what’s on the plate.

How did you feel about Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV Episode 1? Are you excited to see where it goes? Feel free to discuss in our comments section below.

Final Fantasy XV
Combat, Plot, Characters Create Something Flawed, Beautiful, Fantastic
Despite it's flaws, Final Fantasy XV is a milestone achievement: not just for being completed, but for being completed with polish, aplomb and love.
  • Engaging main cast of characters
  • Fun, fast-paced combat
  • A massive, beautiful world to explore
  • The Regalia!
  • Continuous updates have addressed some shortcomings of the initial release
  • Major aspects of the story feel rushed or absent, particularly toward the end of the game
  • Stealth sequences feel out of place
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