Final Fantasy VII: Last Order Review (OVA)

We are not too far away from more news & release regarding Final Fantasy VII Rebirth so I decided to spend some time digesting some stuff from FF7 expanded universe starting with Last Order (OVA) which was released back in 2005 in Japan and 2 years later in the US closely along with the release of Crisis Core (PSP).

Synopsis – With reports of monsters terrorizing the reactor at Mount Nibel, the Shinra Electric Power Company dispatches their elite fighting force SOLDIER to investigate. Accompanied by fellow SOLDIER First Class Zack Fair and a small contingent of company guards, the war hero Sephiroth is to assess the condition of the Mako reactor at the behest of the company. In Nibelheim, the village that the reactor powers, Sephiroth discovers the source of the monsters and the origins of Shinra’s legendary Jenova Project.

Running through the woods months later, Zack is no longer the hero he once dreamt of becoming. He flees from the General Affairs Department of the Shinra Electric Power Company, better known as the Turks, who desperately seek to bury the evidence living within the two.

This ~22 minute OVA was animated by a household animation studio known as MADHOUSE which is mostly known for some highly appraised titles such as Death Note, One Punch Man, Hunter x Hunter (2011), Parasyte, Monster, Overlord, and Helsing Ultimate for instance. Usually, OVAs are known for their very high quality and I would say this one is rather decent quality as well, but perhaps not as good as some of MADHOUSE’s other work.

Another take on Crisis Core or something Different?

We obviously know that when Last Order was in production they were already working at the original Crisis Core which was relaunched by the way last December as Crisis Core Reunion, which you might want to play if you missed the original. For the record, I also reviewed it on my youtube channel earlier in case you want to hear my thoughts on it – but let’s get back on point which is the direction that the Last order took.

In the OVA you have quite a similar story as in Crisis Core, but instead of having Cissnei, Reno, Tseng, and Rude having a relationship with Zack, there isn’t any indication that there is any of that in this anime episode. Also, there are a bunch of new Turks that don’t make any appearance in Crisis Core, and to my memory neither in Before Crisis the odd mobile game.

The Anime also has quite fast pacing and it jumps between two timelines a bit, the point where zack and Cloud encounter Sephiroth and the point where they are on the run. There are 2-3 scenes where we are jumping suddenly quite fast. There are some unique scenes to this OVA that you don’t see any other version of the story, which is neat i guess, but doesn’t really build out any larger or different view point into this plot we know.

Also needs to be pointed out that Genesis, Angelus and any other Crisis Core exclusive characters do not make any appearance during this OVA.

What did they do to you Sephiroth?

While I said that the animation quality here is actually high-bar it doesn’t mean there aren’t things that look quite odd, especially Sephiroth’s design. He looks like a cosplayer from a British Comicon and he just kinda lacks those wild eyes and evil presence I feel that is translated better in Advent Children and FF7 Remake for instance, but the voice actor choice is spot on though.

We get to also see a bit more blood in this version, which is good given the fact that there was some random dark mist coming out of Cloud when he’s being stabbed at the Remake for instance, which is all types of kinda lame. The scene where Cloud stabs Sephiroth though is kinda odd still even in this adaption and I feel conflicted about it I guess for Sephiroth to make such a mistake here.

The Fucked Up Ending (End Verdict)

Now before I wrap up my thoughts here there are two things I need to talk about, one is the actual OST which is not all bad but the battle music from Crisis Core was actually used here so that was a kinda neat thing they did. Outside of that, there isn’t something I would listen to outside of the OVA here in my spare time, it’s generic stuff and I don’t expect you to make an amazing OST to begin with for an OVA.

Lastly, the fucked up thing about the OVA is how it actually ends. It basically just ends on the part where Zack and Cloud are stuck in the truck sitting in the back, now this is of course a scene many know who played the original game, but if you haven’t you necessarily arent able to put the pieces together and understand this is the part where Zack dies shortly after with his confrontation with the Shinra Soldiers.

Obviously, in Rebirth he survives this encounter, and the story shifts around a bit more here. Overall Last Order is visually good-looking, but it has too many jumpcuts and it feels very incomplete if you haven’t consumed any of the other media before.

If you are interested to watch this, you can find it on YouTube on upscaled 1080p and there is also an English dub in 4k which seemingly is fan-made perhaps?