FF:U - Final Fantasy: Unlimited ( ファイナルファンタジー：アンリミテッド ) Square-Enix/GONZO Digimation/TV Tokyo/Dentsu, 2001-2002 ADV Films, 2003-2004 Directed by Mahiro Maeda (The Animatrix - The Second Renaissance, Last Exile) Rated 13+ for violence and mature situations. Inspired by the best-selling Final Fantasy game series by Squaresoft. Twelve years ago, mankind experienced an unusual phenomenon when the Pillar of Chaos of Darkness appeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Now, a new adventure begins when two children board a mysterious train on a journey to Wonderland to search for their missing parents. In the beginning of their journey, they meet magic user Lisa Pacifist and a mysterious gunman that goes by the name "Kaze." Story: C A lot of fans have said that Final Fantasy should remain on video consoles. They were right when Sony and Square Pictures released their ambitious 3D film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in 2001, only to suffer from the backlash of bad reviews and poor box office sales. As for this recent adaptation of the famed videogame franchise, FF:U is too cliché and predictable from the start. Hell, I nearly fell asleep after the first 10 minutes of the pilot episode. Animation: A- As always, GONZO (Vandread, Yukikaze) did an excellent job with the digital 2D and 3D animation. However, Kazuto Nakazawa's (El-Hazard, Tomorrow's Nadja) character designs leave a lot to be desired, as they lack detail and somewhat clash with the backgrounds. Much like The Legend of Black Heaven, the character art looks like it was drawn on an Etch A Sketch®. Soundtrack: B+ What's Final Fantasy without Nobuo Uematsu's (Ah! My Goddess: The Movie) legendary opening and victory themes? Well, that's all he's credited for here. The soundtrack by Akifumi Tada (Nightwalker) and Shiro Hamaguchi (Ah! My Goddess: The Movie, Kiddy Grade) sounds good, but can't compare to Yuki Kajiura's score for .hack//SIGN. Sub vs. Dub FF:U features Nobutoshi Canna (Guts in Berserk, Ban in GetBackers) as Kaze, Yuka Imai (Rio in Burn-Up W/Burn-Up Excess, Otaru in Saber Marionette J/J Again/J to X) as Yuu, Haruko Momoi (Chika in Ai Yori Aoshi, Mii in Popotan) as Ai, Kyoko Hikami (Rabi~En~Rose in Di Gi Charat, Dojima in Witch Hunter Robin) as Lisa, Akiko Yajima (Dorothy in The Big O, Anna in Battle Athletes) as Chobi, Takumi Yamazaki (Isamu in Macross Plus, Incognito in Hellsing) as Joe, Yuko Minaguchi (Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl, Sailor Saturn in Sailor Moon S) as Mary, and Kikuko Inoue (Belldandy in Ah! My Goddess, Mizuho in Please Teacher!/Onegai Twins) as Fabula. ADV's English dub sounds too much like a Saturday morning cartoon. Stick with the subtitles. DVD Extras This review covers episode 1 as featured in the October 2003 issue of Newtype USA. I don't know if I'll ever rent the full version. The Bottom Line Final Fantasy: Unlimited isn't really bad; it just has a dull, boring plot. At least it's better than the 2001 flop Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Do yourself a favor and watch .hack//SIGN instead.