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ADVENTO CHILDREN

03 December 2005

Ouph, I'm spent.

I've been creating comic pages every day for weeks now, and especially on August days it's tough to keep up. Lately I've been neglecting some of my other duties in favour of the horror comic, and the nagging backlash of guilt I now have is taking its toll of my motivation. It's no big step to clean up my act, but every day I'm poised to do something about it only to be engulfed by another flood of things to do.

Today I wrote a little second opinion for an article to be published in one of the Dutch magazines I write for: Aniway (manga, anime, Japanese pop-culture). About Final Fantasy: Advent Children, no less. That's huge irony because I'm an outspoken, opinionated opponent of the game that spawned it. However, I couldn't bring myself not to love Advent Children from the first trailers I saw and the final product impresses no less. It's wonderful pulp entertainment of the highest degree. And I do love my pulp.

Of course I sneaked in some critique on the game, but that was only to be expected. The point I make in the second opinion is one I'll make here again: stripped from all that tedious and bothersome 'game', Advent Children is Final Fantasy the way it should always have been: to the point and drowning in visually slick design. Having a huge, repetitive game bogging one down in his attempt to enjoy the above average story was a bad choice from day one. Now, finally, Final Fantasy hits home. Hopefully it'll stay there and make many more wonderful movies.

One thing that struck me however was that the designers have a big weakness: they don't dare to make people ugly. That's logical, you'd think, because beauty sells; even more so when everyone -men and women alike- look like pre-adolescent Japanese schoolgirls. It sacrifices some impact however, which can be painfully clear when revelations are made in the end. A little spoiler-alert, by the way, for anyone who cares.

There's this guy, Rufus, and he was a bad guy in the game. But he got caught in some big explosion, was presumed dead etc etc, but now he's back. In a rickety wheelchair, covered almost entirely in a white cloth. The message is clear: this guy is horribly disfigured, a burned-out husk that dares not show its face to the world. A powerful image I might add! From the first trailer this tragic figure caught my interest and I was hoping he'd have much airtime.

And he does, to some extent. Enough to satisfy me. Except, in the end, Rufus makes a bold move. He removes his cloth and stands up to defy an androgynous foe. It is revealed what poor Rufus ails: the slightest of marks on his arms. No wonder he had been spending all those years under a rag! Rufus reveals himself to be another beautiful person, his face is excruciatingly symmetrical, fair and delicate, just like all the other girly men in the picture! I'm sorry, but this is a flaw in the design and I don't care HOW you turn it. The designers seemed to have been incapable of modelling someone even slightly disturbing, either out of lack of skill (which I don't believe for a second) or out of political motivations: to please all the fangirls. Recapping: goodbye believeable characterizations, hello more generic pretty people for generic pubescent girls to drool over. (But for the rest I love the movie, really.)

It's sigh-a-licious!

Roderick.