Back at the start of the year, we all had the urge to go out and fight some monsters when we saw Hollywood blacksmith Tony Swatton recreate the massive sword wielded by Final Fantasy VII’s Sephiroth. Of course, Sephiroth is just one member of the gigantic collective cast of the long-running video game franchise. With so many more iconic weapons to choose from, it was only a matter of time until craftsmen went to work on armaments from the other games in the series, and next up is a real-life version of Squall’s gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII.
- Casey Baseel
Oct 5, 2014
Earlier this year, we stopped by Artnia, the café run by video game publisher Square Enix, to munch on buster sword chocolates and drink material cocktails. Just as you’d expect from the company behind some of Japan’s biggest RPG franchises, though, there’s now an upgraded sequel, the Eorzea Café, with an even larger menu of Final Fantasy themed foods.
Led by our sense of adventure and gnawing appetite, we journeyed to the strange and wonderful land of Tokyo’s Akihabara to check it out.
- Philip Kendall
Sep 18, 2014
Over the last few years, Tokyo Game Show has become increasingly focused on mobile gaming. This year’s show is one of the smallest to date, with noticeably fewer booths and even big-name publishers seeming almost reluctant to make too much of a fuss of their triple-A titles.
But it’s not just Gree et al pushing mobile gaming in Japan. Console maker Sony, too, is getting in on the action by putting the spotlight on its own smartphone line while doing all it can to show that mobile and traditional console gaming needn’t be completely separate entities, with the company setting up two enormous Xperia booths opposite its PlayStation area at Tokyo Game Show 2014.
- Casey Baseel
Sep 9, 2014
A complaint that some video game fans have with the current crop of mobile titles is their unambitious scale. Designed to played in short bursts, their aim is often limited to providing a way to enjoyably kill a few minutes of spare time, which can leave those looking for a more engaging experience feeling cold and uninterested.
But everyone who’s shunned mobile gaming for that reason might have to rethink their stance come October, with the launch of a new cloud gaming service from Square Enix, Japan’s most storied developer of grand adventures.
The slim, sleek Chocobo that populate the Final Fantasy world may be much better for covering long distances and racing, but as far as cuddling goes, Fat Chocobo might take the cake.
- Casey Baseel
Jun 26, 2014
Even though the numbered sequels in the Final Fantasy video game series stretch all the way up to 14, there are actually far more titles than that in the franchise. One of the most popular spinoffs to Square Enix’s massively successful role-playing game is Final Fantasy Tactics, thanks to its deep customization, complex and unpredictable plot, and stirring soundtrack.
The strategy role-playing game has been entertaining fans for the past 17 years, and as testament to its lasting appeal, this summer a symphony orchestra concert will be held dedicated to the music of Final Fantasy Tactics. And best of all, it’s free.
- Casey Baseel
Jun 19, 2014
Back in the heyday of Nintendo’s NES, video game hardware wasn’t advanced enough to handle the kind of polygon-based visuals that are the industry standard today. Instead, artists had to bitmap their characters.
Bitmapping involves laying down squares of color, called pixels, to form an image. It’s essentially a digital mosaic, and with enough time and dedication, you could perfectly recreate the cast of your favorite 8-bit classic using a sheet of graph paper.
Or, as one retro fan in Japan recently did, a screen door.
- KK Miller
May 23, 2014
RPGs like Square Enix’s Final Fantasy take us to faraway worlds with extraordinarily picturesque locations; places that couldn’t possibly exist on this planet. Mother Earth would have to be a scenery designer to create locales as visually stunning as RPGs do.
But Earth is a much stranger place than we can imagine, and some of the craziest “must be photoshopped” places turn out to be just the simple strangeness of our planet. Luckily for us, if you ever wanted to visit a place that would fit perfectly into a Final Fantasy world, Earth has you covered. Watch yourself when you stand up, because your jaws are about to be all over the floor.
After pictures of the Pope at the weekly General Audience were circulated online, internet users everywhere have noticed something peculiar: it looks eerily like the entrance of the last boss in a Final Fantasy game. If you don’t believe me, read on!
- Casey Baseel
Apr 17, 2014
When Final Fantasy VII was first released in 1997, gamers around the world emotionally connected with it in a way that had never been seen before. Years later, the game still occupies a special place in many people’s hearts, with many clamoring for developer Square Enix to release a version with graphics updated to today’s standards.
But even as so may ask for a new edition of the game that looks better, you won’t find anyone asking for one that sounds better, as the role-playing classic’s soundtrack is one of the most universally-loved musical collections to ever come out of the medium. As testament to its lasting appeal, a Final Fantasy VII symphony concert will be held in Tokyo this summer.
- Casey Baseel
Apr 1, 2014
With well over 20 years since the original Final Fantasy was released, everyone who was old enough to enjoy developer Square Enix’s hugely successful video game franchise from the very start is legally old enough to drink in Japan. So when we heard tale of a realm/café run by the company, called Artnia, where we could combine our passions for role-playing games and alcoholic beverages, we were intrigued, and when rumors reached us of chocolate buster swords, we were out the door.
Our journey took us through pitch black tunnels, subterranean cities, and secluded forests, but we persevered, and have returned to tell all of our adventures.
- Master Blaster
Mar 31, 2014
Every once in a while we experience pleasant beauty of synchronicity in life, whether it’s listening to Pink Flyod’s Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of OZ or just listening to The Police’s Synchronicity.
Another such case is the uncannily fitting combination of a North Korean calisthenics video for children with the background music to a Final Fantasy IV boss battle. A video of it was posted on YouTube quite a while ago, but it’s worth revisiting again and again.
Last weekend I was at a department store in Tokyo, and since Valentine’s Day is coming up, the confectionary section was packed with candy makers hawking limited-edition chocolates for the romantic holiday. As I looked at all the sweetness on display, though, something struck me.
In Japan, women give chocolate to the special guy in their life, but the aesthetics are still entirely feminine. I saw dozens of candies shaped like hearts, ribbons, and even teddy bears and other cute woodland animals.
While the craftsmanship was impressive, none of the designs were the sort of things men actually want for themselves, especially when they could have these awesome Final Fantasy chocolates instead.
Located a short stroll from Shinjuku Station, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, or Tocho, as it’s commonly called, is one of the city’s most easily recognizable landmarks. Its design is distinctive, stately, powerful…and honestly, if you stare at it too long, it starts to look a little sinister.
Driving this sentiment home were a few Japanese Twitters user who worked a little photo editing magic to prove that Tocho would make a perfect dwelling for an RPG boss in a title from video game giant Square Enix.
Put on your nostalgia glasses, people: Square Enix has seen fit to grace us with one of its greatest non-playable endeavors of all time with a Final Fantasy XIII story recap done up in Super Nintendo-era graphics a la Final Fantasy VI – otherwise known as Final Fantasy III or The Best JRPG Ever.
Because this video compresses hundreds of hours of gameplay and hard-earned story revelations into a little under eight minutes, we must issue the most urgent spoiler warning we’ve ever issued, so JRPG fans who have for some reason not yet played the latest Final Fantasy be warned.
- Philip Kendall
Jan 28, 2014
Final Fantasy, perhaps the biggest and best Japanese RPG series ever as far as the Western world is concerned, is no stranger to spin-offs and dubious sub-sequels. There have been a handful of gems amongst them, but there are some that even fans of the main series would prefer to imagine never happened. Rhythm action game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, however, is one of the few non-core entries in the series that we’re sure gamers would be keen to get their hands on should its makers see fit to release it outside of Japan. And if a patent recently filed in Europe is any indication, they may just get their wish.
- Casey Baseel
Jan 18, 2014
When Final Fantasy VII hit PlayStations around the globe in 1997, featuring some of the most gorgeous graphics and CG cut-scenes gamers had ever seen, it single-handedly opened up the Western market to Japanese console RPGs. In years since, though, there’s been some contention over just how deserving developer Square’s biggest hit ever is of its exalted place in video game lore. Does it have a gripping story, or does the narrative become a confused mess after its midgame plot twist? Do the title’s numerous mini games flesh out its world, or is spending hours breeding giant flightless birds to race for sport both silly and boring?
But no matter which side of the debate you fall on, there’s one thing gamers everywhere can agree on: Final Fantasy VII’s antagonist, Sephiroth, is a stone-cold badass. Now, Hollywood blacksmith Tony Swatton has brought the villain’s iconic weapon, the gigantic blade named Masamune, to life.
A waterfall dramatically plunging from the wide chasm in the Jurassic limestone cavern roof, down to the moss green rocks and valley below: a scene so breathtakingly fantastic and beautiful you’d expect to ride a Chocobo there. A garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.
But this is not CG or a fantasy, this is a real place. This is the Baatara gorge waterfall in the Tannourine, Lebanon. Dropping 255 metres into the Baatara pothole or “Cave of the Three Bridges”, this seasonal waterfall is famed as one of the most beautiful in the world. Recently this natural wonder sparked interest in Japan as a waterfall “from the world of Final Fantasy”, the wildly popular video game franchise.
Finding the heroine’s panties: The most difficult side quest in newest Final Fantasy role-playing game
- Casey Baseel
Nov 21, 2013
While in recent years opinions have become increasingly divided on the gameplay in long-running video game series Final Fantasy, there’s not much room to criticize the franchise’s artistry. New installments of Final Fantasy are consistently among the most visually and aurally pleasing games at their time of release. Each title has a huge team of designers and software engineers who spend untold hours making sure the cut scenes are gorgeous, the interface slick, and the soundtrack stirring and crystal clear. And also, apparently, that the heroine doesn’t inadvertently flash her panties.
Should you happen to be in Tokyo this Golden Week, you have until Tuesday (May 7) to check out a free (!!!) art gallery displaying some beautiful works by Amano Yoshitaka. If the name doesn’t ring any bells, some of the projects he’s worked on surely will: Final Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, and the incomparable Sandman: the Dream Hunters.
And if you happen to have a few extra yen laying about, you can also pick up some original pieces! The least expensive one we found was only about 40,000 yen (US$402), and the most expensive we spied was about 3.8 million yen (US$38,381). Even if you can’t pick up the original art, you can still get postcards, posters, notebooks, and calendars with Amano’s brilliant art. And! You’ll get a poster just for coming by!
Photo and event information below! (Some of the photos are not safe for work!!!) Read More
- Korean tattoo artist’s small, simple, stylish “line tattoos” change our impression of getting inked1
- We still don’t feel bad for you, Emperor: Photos of actors and their historical counterparts2
- Video of guy giving pandas medicine is insanely cute, unless you’re the guy3
- Worst date ever! Japan’s ladies reveal the top five date ideas to avoid4
- The Simpsons Halloween episode pays tribute to popular anime5
- 35 fascinating photos of Korea from 100 years ago (before K-dramas took over Asia)6
- Raw, frozen eggs are the new food trend in Japan, apparently7
- Poor little dog is driven into corner by owner’s terrifying new house guest8
- Korean stylist’s secret to volumizing your hair in just five minutes! 【Video】9
- When first-try character bentos go wrong 【Photos】10
- Anime pregnancy tests: The latest otaku meme, and it’s not just for 2-D girls1
- Korean tattoo artist’s small, simple, stylish “line tattoos” change our impression of getting inked2
- Clever font sneaks pronunciation guide for English speakers into Japanese katakana characters3
- Awesome Air Umbrella from China keeps you dry with blasts of air4
- Why does Engrish happen in Japan?5
- The 10 best anime of the fall season, according to Japanese otaku6
- Somebody turned a Disney Channel cartoon into an anime and it’s pretty awesome7
- Beautiful old footage shows “God of Judo” Kyuzo Mifune gracefully defeat young challengers【Video】8
- Cat man from Kyushu walks nine cats in a stroller, draws crowds in Tokyo9
- Chinese woman’s catty comeback to Korean colleague gets netizens talking10
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】1
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China2
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked3
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea4
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls5
- Watch liquid turn into food at Japanese sample food factory 【Videos】6
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”7
- 10 things foreigners do that Japanese people find amusing8
- “Beautiful foreigner walking a polar bear” spotted at Shibuya’s famous crossing9
- Anime pregnancy tests: The latest otaku meme, and it’s not just for 2-D girls10
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】1
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】4
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China5
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later6
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons7
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea8
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked9
- Surgery, diet, and sunscreen transform heavy, swarthy Thai boy into slender, tan-free lady10
- 35 fascinating photos of Korea from 100 years ago (before K-dramas took over Asia)
- Raw, frozen eggs are the new food trend in Japan, apparently
- Poor little dog is driven into corner by owner’s terrifying new house guest
- Korean stylist’s secret to volumizing your hair in just five minutes! 【Video】
- When first-try character bentos go wrong 【Photos】
- Has a Japanese company found the fountain of youth? One man’s youthful skin suggests so
- Robot rebellion begins with a cranky Roomba, Internet users too busy laughing to fight back
- Shocking footage of accident on Japanese highway reminds us of the fragility of life 【Video】
- Food envy: Pizza Hut Korea launches new cream cheese cranberry crust pizza
- Anime pregnancy tests: The latest otaku meme, and it’s not just for 2-D girls
- Time to head north: Tochigi Prefecture’s gyoza-flavored rice topping is nothing short of divine
- Ten things we learned at USJ: A muggle’s guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Rising star of Japanese horse racing is as ridiculously fast as he is comically scatterbrained