Final Fantasy Unlimited After – Death to Boats!

Image10Spiral 5 begins a series of flashbacks that occur at the beginning of nearly every Spiral from here to the end of After Spiral in general. They concern Touya and Yu rescuing a sick puppy when they were in grade school, and I don’t see much sense in covering them in detail. They’re mostly here to show what close friends the two of them used to be. I’ll cut to the chase: even though Yu is more invested in the puppy, Touya decides to adopt the pup in in the end, since Yu’s parents wouldn’t allow a dog. Even the youngest reader will probably be able to predict that the dog will show up later in the season. Great, let’s move on.

We return to Soljashy and Touya, and Soljashy sets up a meeting with Touya, offering to tell him the truth about what happened in Wonderland if he’s interested. It’s clear this is going to be a Faustian bargain. He schedules their meeting for the morning, just before Touya’s scheduled meet-up with the twins.

We’ve been focusing on Touya for a while, but don’t forget the twins have been captured by the Doldiers! Big trouble, right? Bound to be exciting! …Yeah, Makenshi rescues them in just a few line of text. Waste of all our time. After the rescue, Yu talks about how he wishes he had the power to protect himself instead of having to rely on others, a speech that could have come straight from Squall Leonhart. Makenshi passes on his brother’s warning from Spiral 0 about how you shouldn’t fight just to be stronger, and insists that people like him exist so people like the twins don’t have to fight. Sure, FFU, your series has terminally boring protagonists because it has a “message,” I believe you!

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Soiruichi only posted behind-the-scenes art from three DVDs. I’m running out!

The party returns home to find Kaze waiting for them, and Kaze pulls a gun on Yu! Apparently Yu’s become too close to Chaos after all of his emotional outbursts, and Kaze wants him dead! Makenshi and Lisa are both willing to step in front of the gun before Kaze can fire, but the tension ends up being artificial, as Ai is able to break it by lecturing Kaze in a comedic fashion. It’s… kind of hard to say how seriously we were supposed to take the threat here? One possibility may be that Ai doesn’t realize how serious Kaze is about this (a possibility that’s bolstered by a later scene) but if this was heading towards some “Ai finally realizes Kaze is a dick” climax, it doesn’t pay off in Season 2, so I don’t know if I believe it! It’s probably just emotional whiplash for a cheap joke.

Speaking of things that don’t amount to anything, the twins walk away from Yu’s near-death experience with no scars whatsoever, and decide to have a look through old photo albums. This scene introduces a character named Kaori, a friend from school that Touya has a crush on, and who resembles Crux. I might be wrong about this, but I suspect that Kaori is yet another element that who meant to have a larger presence, but never reached the spinoffs. Ugh, these loose ends are all so disappointing. Ai, annoyed that she realized Touya had a crush on Kaori but Yu never caught on, tries to get Yu to focus on the things he’s good at instead of obsessing over those he’s not.

The next afternoon, Yu goes to his meeting with Touya, only to discover that Touya has likely been talking to Soljashy and is now terrified of Yu. The spiral ends on this “surprise.”

Image24Spiral 6 begins with Touya saying that Ai and Yu “aren’t real.” Or rather, that he’s learned these two are Chaos-spawn, not human. Touya’s statements are contradictory, and it’s not clear from Ai no Kareshi’s summary exactly what he believes, but it’s realistically done and probably intentional. Maybe he thinks his real friends are dead and have been replaced by Chaos-spawned clones? Or maybe he knows these are his original friends but doesn’t want to associate with them because they’re not human? He’s rambling, is what I’m getting at, and he seems to change the direction of his rambling half-way through the speech. He leaves, and Yu is so mad and upset that he doesn’t even tell Ai what happened when he got home. As it happens, however, Makenshi was spying on the meeting and has deduced out that Soljashy is responsible.

Yu is still upset, and Crux and Chobi overhear him crying about how he can’t even return Touya’s stuff anymore, as Knave will be back with the Silvia to pick them up later tomorrow. The two mascot characters decide to take the stuff back themselves, and when Touya receives them, he realizes that Yu really is still his friend all along. Touya sneaks out to see Yu, only to get kidnapped by Soljashy.

Image8Unlimited – After Spiral ends with Spiral #7. Spiral 7 begins with a few character scenes, but things really get started when Soljashy hijacks the TV signal to reveal he’s holding Touya on a rope suspended from a lighthouse, and orders the twins to show themselves or he’ll kill their friend (also, Soljashy… makes a few jokes about being a weatherman). After this, a brief scene starring poor, forgotten Herba, and the twins show up at the docks.

Soljashy has four monster-possessed boats on the scene, which he calls “Besserios.” I’m at a loss to explain this particular pun. Maybe this one is a Japanese pun and Ai no Kareshi didn’t bother to localize? Makenshi fights the Besserios, destroying three of them, but he’s captured by a metal fishing net wielded by the fourth. Lisa and the kids use this distraction to try to rescue Touya from the lighthouse, but they’re spotted after Makenshi is captured and well before they’ve hoisted Touya to safety. Soljashy then transforms the entire lighthouse into a monster called Twin Cage, perhaps meant to be another incarnation of the recurring Square Enix boss that Final Fantasy fans will know as “Prison Cage” (see also: Kingdom Hearts 1, Bahamut Lagoon). Don’t get too attached to the giant monster, as it doesn’t last long. Kaze shows up out of nowhere, as he does, he snipes the business card attached to the lighthouse with his shotgun, defeating the lighthouse in seconds. What a letdown. Makenshi also destroys the last Besserio after it makes the mistake of trying to pin him.

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I don’t claim to understand why Ai’s dressed as a maid, but this official wallpaper is one of the few official pieces to feature Touya, and the only one I’ve found featuring either twin’s (Yu’s) middle school outfit.

Soljashy tries to kill Touya by severing the rope holding him up, and the kids and Lisa are forced to form a human chain to grab him. At this point, we have a little hiccup in Ai No Kareshi’s summary, as Soljashy commands “his monsters” to summon a wind storm to keep Chobi and Crux away from Touya. Do you spot the problem? That’s right! Soljashy doesn’t have any remaining monsters, and certainly not more than one! I suspect Ai No Kareshi may have mixed up the order of events for clarity. Soljashy then uses a business card to form another amalgam monster out of the destroyed ships, so that Kaze will have something worth shooting with a Summon. You know how it goes.

Lisa is finally able to help the kids and Touya apologizes for his behaviour, which means Ai isn’t distracted when Soljashy tries to name his monster “King Besserio” and she is able to insult the name. He’s so put off by her take-down (no, really!) that he renames it “Tornado Besserio” instead, because it has a big propeller. I imagine this is “the monster with wind powers” from earlier, but Ai no Kareshi describes Kaze as destroying Tornado Besserio as soon as it’s created, so I can’t be certain! Anyways, let’s hit it:

The soil charge triad to use on you has been decided!
More infinite than the open sky, Sky Blue!

I’m sorry: the sky is more open than the sky?

The one to fill out the devilish darkness, Holy Black!
The light after trial, Judgment White!
Shine! I summon you, Alexander!

Alexander destroys the amalgam Besserio, and presumably takes a shot at Soljashy while he’s there, because Lisa starts openly crying about Kaze’s repeat attempts to kill “Dolk.” No matter: Soljashy gets away inside of his magic suitcase, and lives to fight another day.

Wall_U_04Unlimited – After Spiral ends with the party returning home, where Touya’s puppy recognizes Yu and runs up to lick him. Ai uses to lecture Touya, by pointing out the puppy could have revealed that Yu was the real Yu all along. I’m so glad we wasted all our time on this important plot element. Touya is left behind when the kids leave with the Comodeen, and it’s hard to say if he was meant to return later in the Season or maybe in Season 3 (I suspect yes). At this point, Lisa announces that she wants to visit China, and the town where she learned the Kigen Arts. Despite Knave’s earlier, brash plans to… fight the Pillar of Darkness… Lisa apparently talks him into it.

At this point, it’s time for another “Summary from CD booklet.” This one is much longer than the last, representing a huge span of content… or lack-of-content, as the case may be. Annoyingly, it also intermixes its summary of After Spiral with some of the events that took place after After Spiral, never specifying which is which!

Here’s what I managed to piece together. First off, Cid builds a “Flying Water Recycling System,” which he uses to revive Clear from his shard! That’s what the summary says, but Clear never does anything from this point on, so this is basically the end of Clear’s storyline as we know it. It’s worth noting that this is in contrast to the FFWiki at the time of writing, which also mentions the recycling system, but goes out of its way to imply that Clear is used as a component of the system and is still dead! Ai No Kareshi is just as firm that Clear is alive, and goes into a few details about Clear’s resurrection. It’s not clear why these two fan sources are at odds, but that’s what you get with fan sources! Because there’s official Season 2 art of Clear (art which includes some other details I want to discuss later), I’m inclined to favour Ai no Kareshi’s version of events, but there’s a chance the official art might be metaphorical.

Image3The booklet summary then implies more battles with Soljashy and more instances of Soljashy haunting Lisa with his Dolk personality. It’s hard for me to say if this a reductive summary of the events of After Spiral or if it’s implying that, in the original TV plan, there would be a block of filler episodes at this point in time. The summary does tell us that Soljashy’s control over the press has gotten humans to migrate next to the Dark Pillars in hopes of getting to Gaudium (“Dark Pillar” is singular in Ai No Kareshi’s summary, but it would make more sense if he was referring to the multiple pillars around the world). These would-be migrants have bought Soljashy’s propaganda hook, line and sinker, to the point where they even attack the Silvia on sight.

Eventually, Tsar Pacifist, who is confirmed as Lisa’s father at this point in the summary, shows up on the Silvia and explains the “treaty” he mentioned earlier: the Privy Council doesn’t believe they can stop Chaos from consuming Earth, and Soljashy’s attempts to recruit humanity into Wonderland are part of a deal where the volunteers coming to be “saved” at Gaudium will become a servitor race to Chaos. In this manner, humanity will live on, and the Privy Council thinks this is a pretty good deal. In fact, the wording of Ai no Kareshi’s summary implies that the people migrating to the pillars might be aware that they’re being drafted to be slaves, as opposed to being eaten if they stay, but I’m not sure that that’s the case, given that it doesn’t match Soljashy’s rhetoric. Lisa, who’s already turned inside-out by what’s happening to Dolk, is even worse after hearing her father sell out the human race, even though she and he have always been estranged. Seeing Lisa is upset, Knave threatens to slit the Tsar’s throat, which is pretty good of him at this point, honestly. The Tsar leaves, and is not explicitly mentioned in the remainder of Ai no Kareshi’s season 2 material, though I imagine he appears in other Privy Council scenes described below. For example…

Image9Elsewhere and else-when, the Privy Council orders the Hayakawa parents to begin research on a new energy source related to Chaos, though it eventually leads them to discover that there are “fragments” of Chaos scattered about (just like there were fragments of Omega) that they might unite to somehow allow the Privy Council fight back against Wonderland… if they’re willing to take that risk. Also, it’s not clear if the fragments are on Earth, Wonderland, elsewhere, or all of the above. This was probably meant as a Season 3 plot device, as it doesn’t come to anything in Season 2. Ugh, so many loose ends!

At this point, we come to a fairly detailed summary of events that span a relatively small amount of time, which has me wondering if the next few events might have been planned for another spinoff product at one point. We get started with Crux 1, who has finally located Gaudium. She goes to report back to the Silvia, but is intercepted on the way back by Crux 2, who attacks her. Crux 1 is badly wounded, but lucks out, as she happens to crash-land on the floating island where Makenshi found his brother’s grave. It turns out the grave is giving off “Madou energy,” and this radiation forces Crux 2 away. Bye, Crux 2. See you in Season 3, ha ha, just kidding. Crux 1 then finds a jewel on Madoushi’s grave, and takes it back with her towards the real world.

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Upscaled promo art for the PC game (!), featuring Makenshi and Crux (without her helmet), which may imply that this team-up has been in the works for a while.

Lisa arrives in the village where she learned the Kigen Arts, and goes to find the “Spirit Master” that taught her. The Spirit Master’s gender is never given in the original summary but Ai No Kareshi figures the Spirit Master is a woman, since all other Kigen Arts users have been women. Unfortunately, Soljashy got to the village first and is attacking with ill-defined “miasma monsters.” While this is happening, Crux catches up to the Silvia and gives the jewel she found to Makenshi. When he touches it, Kumo gains his brothers power, the red mist, and even regains his own white mist. Crux, heavily wounded, seems to die at this point, but somehow fuses with the jewel to become a second sword for Makenshi. He begins dual-wielding the two swords at this point, and can even use Crux’s sword to turn into Twin Sword Dragon to clear the field. Crux can even turn back into her regular self and fly around as a sword under her own power! Unfortunately, Kaze arrives and the two have another stare-down, now that Makenshi has the mist that Kaze wanted him to have for their big duel.

Meanwhile, Lisa is meeting her former master, and the Spirit Master finally convinces her that Dolk is truly dead and has been for some time, and that left is Soljashy. Furthermore, the Spirit Master reveals the silly fact that Soljashy is not actually the part of the monster-human that resembles Dolk, but the suitcase, which is why he keeps surviving whenever Kaze blows his skull open. This is ridiculous, but for Soljashy, it’s ridiculous in a way that’s in-character, and I like it!

Image10The Spirit Master then tells Lisa something about the Privy Council wanting Lisa to give into her emotions because of… urm… something. Ai no Kareshi doesn’t go into any details, and it’s likely that they just weren’t provided. It doesn’t help that the quality of the summary fucking tanks at this point, and stays in the gutter until the end of the whole “Village of the Spirit Master” episode. Whether this is a failing on the part of the original text (if my guess is right, this would all have been crammed into the latter half of the CD booklet summary, after all!), on the part of Ai no Kareshi, or both, I can’t say. I’m going to do my best, but seriously, this is a mess.

At this point, the Spirit Master insists that the bad guys want “to preserve the barrier.”  What barrier? Why do they want to preserve it?  From later events, I believe the barrier in question is the barrier between Earth and Wonderland, and I believe the Spirit Master was supposed to say the bad guys want to open the barrier. Okay, wrong verb, maybe a translation error, but why they’d want to open the barrier further than they already have isn’t explained either! Remember, Soljashy seems to have done more than enough damage to the barrier between worlds for them to get their monsters across! Things also get more confusing when the summary later says the barrier is… already gone?

Image11The part about the barrier is followed by a bunch of sentence fragments that make even less sense. Thankfully, the problems end there, but I’m having a lot of trouble extracting useful information from the sentence fragments. The most important point I can glean from these sentence fragments is that the Spirit Master makes mention of Lisa’s Kigen Dragon form, but I can’t work out why. (Note that Ai no Kareshi refers to all the dragons, including the Makenshi’s Sword Dragon and Kaze’s Gun Dragon, as “Beasts” instead of “Dragons,” as per the Japanese version.)

After imparting all this choppy wisdom, the Spirit Master begins to die (the summary doesn’t mention why the Spirit Master dies, but I presume the miasma monsters were responsible). Before she goes, she imparts one final bit of wisdom about restraint, something about fighting against your evil emotions. Maybe it’s just the summary, but it doesn’t honestly strike me as being all that healthy a moral? It’s probably worth saying that the characters will outright complain about this attitude in After 2!

Image24Back with Makenshi, he and Kaze have started another fight, though Makenshi keeps trying to stop it, asking Kaze why he’s such a jackhole.  At this point, the fight comes to an abrupt and anticlimactic end, as the summary doesn’t describe what happens! In fact, the whole “Village of the Spirit Master” sequence ends here! Both Kaze and Makenshi are still alive after this, for what it’s worth!

Prev: Final Fantasy Unlimited After – Spiralmania
Next: Final Fantasy Unlimited After – All’s Well That Didn’t End At All

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