Final Fantasy Unlimited – A Game of Filler

Chapter 14 – Omega: Reunion and Departure

Outside Gaudium, we get our first look at the flying fortress’ defences. Remember the flying human hearts? It seems they form the four corners of a sort of energy shield. Good redundancy! It only covers a fraction of the fortress, but I imagine it can move, which is all you need against a party of RPG heroes in a single airship. Wouldn’t do so well against an entire air force, but it’s a good start.

The episode begins with Oscha confirming what Chapter 13 had only hinted at: that Chaos felt satisfied at the end of Chapter 13 because of Fungus’ death, not some other reason. The Earl reiterates that he’s “full” (done eating) as well, in case you’re having trouble drawing the line between the Earl and Chaos. In any event, Herba confirms that Fungus is dead, which I suppose needed confirming, and Oscha suggests they have a little eldritch-abomination-viewing party in “Chaos’ room.”

At this point, we cut to the party and repeat some information from the first episode, both for new viewers and to keep it in everyone’s minds. One new detail here is that the Hayakawa parents only ever came to Wonderland over a decade ago because they were outright “taken in” to the Pillar of Darkness during its original appearance, and that they didn’t visit deliberately.

Back in Gaudium, we get our first look at Chaos, which appears as a stylized nebula of energy over a causeway with a large platform in the middle. As Makenshi is a new Lord of Gaudium, this is his first time seeing Chaos, so the others tell him about how Chaos feeds on emotions of those in Wonderland. The Earl once again makes a connection between his appetite and Chaos’, and says that he plans to use Omega to take the place of God. Pist says that finding Omega will be easy now that “the Ocean Puzzle” is almost complete, and the Earl orders it rushed.

Unfortunately for the party, just because the Earl is busy doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. As they ride the subway to their next destination, another part of Omega ambushes the train. This part of Omega doesn’t seem to resemble any human body part and looks a bit more like a fish (pictured below). This time, the party doesn’t have Kaze or Lou to save them, and the subway is quickly destroyed! It’s all so rapid! As the subway is smashed, something flies out of the gross mouth in the engine room and is consumed by Omega. At this point, we suddenly see a fragment of Omega for no apparent reason. It’s not the best visual I’ve ever seen, and the producers must have agreed, because we’ll get a clarification of what happened in a few scenes. I won’t spoil it here. Seemingly satisfied with destroying a major piece of the show’s iconography and premise For Real This Time (no, really, it’s gone!), Omega leaves, which saves the party’s lives.

Hey, by the way, remember how we’re getting a new end credits sequence this episode? It’s got a new end credits theme to boot! It’s called “Romancing Train!” Named after the train we just blew up!

At this point, the party is left unconscious somewhere, and are found by none other than Fabula. Fabula insists she isn’t allowed to interfere, but wakes PoshePocket so that it can interfere for her. You know: PoshePocket! The living bag that was given to Ai by Fabula! An act you might call interfering. And after saying that… Fabula interferes directly anyways, and PoshePocket doesn’t? She just takes her giant clam, which now has giant wings like fucking Opa-Opa, and carries the subway car out of the subway’s dimension.

We rejoin the party in a clearing in a wintry cave, sheltered from a blizzard, where PoshePocket has done the best he probably can by giving them a space heater. While we’re here, Yu bemoans how useless he is (I mean, yeah, I keep saying it too), and says that he should be able to defend everyone from things like Omega because… oh for crying out loud… because he’s “the man” in the group. I don’t know what’s worse here, the patriarchal child-rearing or the fact that he seems to think that being the man of the group means he has to win fights against interdimensional planet-eaters. Lisa and Ai try to reassure him that he’s a good and worthy person because he’s kind and they rely on that, but even that’s basically just fluff, since the twins do so very, very little in this show that it’s hard to come up with examples of Yu even being kind. Um… he… well he made friends with Chobi? He… was willing to let Chobi go join the other chocobos? Nah, that’s a less like kindness and more like basic decency. Um… err…?

Just then, the party are interrupted by the arrival of none other than Fungo, who reveals that the Comodeen have a tunnel leading to exactly this spot! Oh, sure! The party are reunited with the rest of the Comodeen underground, where Cid is grieving over a scrap of the subway train that the Comodeen found somewhere. Also, just like last time, Ai gets a costume change, which I’m not as fond of as the last. She’ll stick with this outfit until the end of the show.

In the back of the Comodeen’s “factory,” Cid reveals his masterwork: the airship Silvia. Unfortunately, he says the Silvia won’t operate until he can find a special substance called “flying water.” But no sooner has Cid introduced this than he changes the subject to talk about the subway again? Here, he reveals that the reason Omega was chasing the subway was to eat its core of antimatter, and Cid suspects that since antimatter is so rare, it might actually have been a shard of Omega all along (and sure enough, that’s what the confusing scene following the destruction of the train was trying to convey). He also suspects that Omega may be trying to reconstitute itself. And having finished that digression, he returns to the matter of the Silvia? Holy crap, writers, talk in a straight line! Cid’s point is that the Silvia is the only way for the Comodeen to defeat the Earl, what with Gaudium being a flying fortress. Good talk, Cid. Very organized.

Continuing our theme of asset reuse, the episode goes full clip show at this point as the main theme begins to play as we watch clips of Kaze’s summons, and Lisa makes some Pacifist complaints about all the violence (see what I did there? …I apologize for what I did there).

In the final scene, the party and several of the Comodeen have boarded Cid’s second big project: the submarine Jane, which Knave plans to use to explore the ocean of Wonderland for some flying water. He says their destination is “Teros,” which you can conclude is probably the home of the flying water. The episode ends by showing us, unsurprisingly, that Crux is still tailing the party.

That’s it. I know it wasn’t much to put into an episode, but what do you want from them? They spent all their money on a new 3D submarine, a 3D Omega, a 3D clam, a train blowing up, an airship in a drydock… they probably had to pay for the script with change dug out of the couch!

Chapter 15 – Jane: The Moving Ocean Puzzle

This episode has a very strange opening sequence, as Cid talks directly to the audience about how the fantasy machines in this world are supposed to operate! I mean, I guess you don’t have to fold this stuff into the narrative, that’s fine I guess. He explains that Soil only gives off its energy if it’s driven into a spiral, thus the “drill-like” portions of the Magun and the late subway car. Cid promises to give more explanations in the future, and sure enough, we’ll be seeing him again at the start of the next ep, which I’m sure will be thrilling, considering he give us little more than a sentence of new information this time around.

After some fluff, the episode starts for real. The in-universe Cid starts us off by bragging about the Jane. Most of his details are unimportant, except for the fact that the Jane is never going to run out of power, and also that he’s the only trained pilot. Yu is thrilled at all this mechanical stuff, but Ai is bored, and drags her brother out of the bridge to goof off around the ship as the original (pre-Ep 13) end credits theme plays. We also see the Comodeen doing drills with their blowguns and Miles’ weird throwing triangles, it’s all just silly fun. After this, we have a scene at the dinner table, where Miles talks about all the weird food she usually eats as a part of the Comodeen: lizards, toads, fantasy vermin, you name it.

Believe it or not, two of the superficial things I just mentioned in that paragraph are going to be important down the road, and good of the show for seeding them.

At least all that filler was kind of fun. At this point, we cut to Pist, who has a coral castle somewhere else in the ocean. Pist is broadcasting to the Earl, saying he’s about to unleash the Ocean Puzzle on the Jane, and even the bad guys seem bored by the lack of plot progression. But never let it be said that the producers of this show pay attention to a lesson they wrote down themselves! We get a cutaway to Kaze, who has arrived at the ocean shore of his own accord, and then we go back to the filler.

It’s now a week later, Ai is getting cabin fever, and Yu has been getting depressed at the lack of progress. Yu once again mentions that weird “Lisa looking for her lost boyfriend” thing that Ai made up, and more nothing continues to happen. Arrggggggh! On one hand, at least this episode is occasionally playful and fun, but still, it’s not until past the halfway point and the final commercial break that anything actually happens!

Having finally gathered enough emotional energy from the tense, cabin-feverish Comodeen and party, Pist is able to activate the Ocean Puzzle, which turns out to be a giant, segmented, cubic section of the ocean! Pist has a magical model set up to visualize the Puzzle as a cube made of cubes, 5x5x5, which can shift around internally, not unlike, but far more complex than, a Rubik’s Cube. Little do the Comodeen know, but the Jane is heading straight for the place, and a few seconds later, there we are.

Once inside the Ocean Puzzle, we get… an awful lot of flickering for a post-“Electric Soldier Porygon” episode of anime? Aesthetic concerns aside, a big fish approaches, and the Comodeen load a torpedo of sorts into one of the Jane’s torpedo tubes, which they fire via tubes that work like blowpipes. Okay, I’ve got a little respect for the consistency.

To the surprise of all – including the Earl, but mostly me – the Comodeen actually manage to destroy the fish, but Pist promises that we’re just getting started. The next thing we see isn’t one of Pist’s traps, however, but Kaze, though god knows how he got there when we we’re a week out from shore via submarine. Cid gets Kaze into the ship, and Lisa hesitates to resuscitate him because she doesn’t want to put her lips on his after all their dubious romantic tension that I haven’t been mentioning because it hasn’t been very substantial until now. Ah, what a responsible adult. Knave is about to do it himself, but Kaze gets up before he can do it. Knave going in to resuscitate Kaze is played as a gag, by the way. I’ll point out that none of these homophobic gags were being made when Ai needed resuscitation from Lisa in Episode 6, so they had some common sense then (especially with her being a preteen), so where did it go now?

At this point, Pist shows up like a game show host to explain the Puzzle: apparently each cube in the Puzzle is a fragment of a different world destroyed by Chaos. He’s set a challenge in each world, and if the party keeps succeeding in them, they’ll find a way out, but if they lose enough times, they’ll be “consumed by Chaos.” Lisa repeats this final line, and she does it in a way as though Shawn Sides was trying to do a mocking impression of Edwin Neal. I mean, that’s unlikely, voice actors don’t usually work with one another during recording, but that’s how it sounds! Pist obviously plans to milk the Comodeen of emotions for Chaos before letting them go one way or another. At this point, he shuffles the puzzle and the episode comes to an end.

You might be wondering why we spent a whole half of this episode looking at the submarine, and nearly all the remaining half talking about the nature of the Ocean Puzzle. Well, there’s a good answer for that: not including this episode, we’re going to be in the puzzle for eight episodes. There’s only ten left! Eighty percent of the remaining episodes are spent in this puzzle! So let’s get comfy on our lady submarine, because it’s time to play a game! A game… of filler!

Prev: Final Fantasy Unlimited – The Only Significant Thing We Did All Day
Next: Final Fantasy Unlimited – I’ll Take ‘Cuisine’ for $200, Alex

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