Twelve years ago, a mysterious purple column appeared in the heavens – This was the Day of Succession. Out of it emerged two fearsome beasts, one white, the other black. These beasts clashed and the resulting explosions left nothing but the mysterious dark pillar stretching between the earth and the heavens. This pillar is the gateway to the Inner World.

Marie and Joe Hayakawa were two of the scientists present when the day of confusion first arrived. They were instrumental in chronicling it’s story. They were also the first two people to actually travel to the new and strange world, but on their last mission they left their children and simply vanished. They have been lost somewhere inside the Inner World ever since.

Now the young Ai and Yu have decided to enter the Inner World to find their lost parents. Boarding the mysterious dimensional subway train that appears only at midnight, Ai and Yu need to take a giant leap of faith to enter the strangeness of the Inner World.

As Ai and Yu continue their quest through the many strange places that make up the Inner World, they continually meet new friends and make new allies. Lisa, the girl who hears the currents of energy. Cid, the inventor genius. Nav, leader of the revolutionary Comodin. And Kaze, the Black Wind. Controller of the Demon Gun, creator of the Soil Summonings.

But the Inner World is run by Chaos. The Count rules these dimensions with an iron fist. Together with his Gaudium Deathlords, the Count has now turned his attentions to these outsiders in his domain.

And slowly the appetite of Chaos grows…

2001 saw the release of Final Fantasy: Unlimited, a 25 part sci-fi fantasy adventure based in Square Enix’s Final Fantasy franchise universe and directed by Mahiro Maeda, with animation production handled by GONZO.

The plot of Final Fantasy: Unlimited revolves around a brother and sister’s search for their missing parents. However, their search takes place in the Inner World, a dimension separate from ours. The many worlds that inhabit this dimension are varied and wondrous, though things are not all that well in the Inner World. There exists a tyrant known as the Count who rules this area with an iron fist, and slowly he has been making his way across the worlds, destroying each and incorporating bits into his own vision.

Added to this is the story revolving around the hate relationship between the mysterious Black Wind, Kaze and the White Cloud, Makenshi. Kaze controls the Demon Gun, responsible for the creation of summoned creatures using the power of Soil. Makenshi on the other hand controls the Mist, and is able to summon huge white creatures from its essence. These two are sworn enemies, destined to face each other in battle.

The story of Final Fantasy Unlimited slowly builds up until it finishes with a great crescendo, though unfortunately, it is somewhat lacking in the build up stages. It is pretty formulaic in that it follows the standard “New monster arrives. New monster defeated by Kaze’s summoning” plotline for well over half the series!

On the other hand, the characters introduced throughout this show are really cool. Character development is good, and the characters are all interesting. One can’t help but want to learn more about the Inner World with each and every episode.

The animation is okay, with a lot of CGI graphics thrown in. It kind of captures the feel of the later Final Fantasy RPGs which also make use of CGI to blend in with the in-game graphics. A small gripe that I have is that this series makes a lot of reuse of animation sequences – something that can become particularly annoying.

The voice acting is superb and the musical soundtrack is top notch.

Overall, this isn’t a horribly bad title, but unfortunately it just isn’t as engrossing as a Final Fantasy fan would have liked. Fans will enjoy seeing their favourite creatures such as Chocobos making an appearance, but other than that, most people could probably give this title a skip.

It’s a pity, because SquareSoft could have done so much more with it.

(Historic Note of interest: This review was written back in 2004)

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