Region: 2 - UK
Length: 625 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
FF:U follows twins Ai and Yu as they journey through a strange world known as Wonderland, looking for their lost parents. In order to get to Wonderland they have catch a strange train that appears at thirteen minutes and thirteen seconds past midnight on the full moon. The twins are quickly joined by the mysterious Lisa, who effectively appoints herself their guardian.
It quickly becomes apparent that Wonderland is not really a single place, but a series of worlds that have become entangled with each other. The twins frantically search these world fragments for their parents. Superficially this may sound like Kingdom Hearts, but other than nods to certain FF staples such as Chocobo, FF:U feels more like Kino's journey in tone as each place they visit is built around an idea or theme rather than an established Square title. For example one of the worlds is full of strange masked figures that spend their entire lives working without rest; putting together and then dismantling strange machines on repeat. Ai and Yu are horrified by that state of affairs, but when their work is disrupted it becomes even more horrifying as the workers loose their reason to live.
The twins like many of the cast members are fairly typical archetypes, Ai is the load opinionated girl and Yu is an introverted yet thoughtful boy. This usually means that Ai gets them into trouble whilst Yu shrinks back They are joined by Lisa a young woman who uses the Keigen arts which is essentially a form of magic and Kaze a strange man of few words who uses the Magun a magical weapon which can bring forth summons. They are opposed by the Earl the self proclaimed ruler of Wonderland and his minions.
The summons are the strongest ties to the Final Fantasy universe, and fans will be able to spot series regulars such as Ixion and Shiva. A number of Final Fantasy staples make it in such as Chocobo and Moogles, and like all the main Final Fantasy games there's a character called Cid who ends up being one of the mist likeable characters of the series. These elements however are actually rather superficial and feel a lot different from the games, so fans expecting this to be " Final Fantasy the anime" will be disappointed, to really enjoy this series it's best to put preconceptions aside and treat it as a standard fantasy anime.
Whilst many of the episodes seem to merge together, the best come near the end when the cast is trapped in the moving ocean puzzle, a maze comprised of cubes of different worlds, the standouts being the comedic episode 17 where Cid is transformed into a frog, and "Cactus" which finally sees the Cactuar appear.
The dub is a little disappointing, the characters sadly seem a little shallow in the Japanese which is emphasised in the English dub. I would recommend in this case to watch in Japanese. Dub fans who stick with it will be rewarded for their loyalty with the numerous voice actor commentaries.
Final Fantasy Unlimited can be broken into two halves. The first focuses on showcasing the different worlds of Wonderland, the second is devoted to the character's past as well as resolving the plot. The ending is extremely rushed, and doesn't entirely make sense. That said, I'm not entirely convinced that it really makes a difference. The story isn't as deep as it would like to think, rather it's best to enjoy the journey rather than look for any concrete answers.