This year, Final Fantasy XV has transformed from just being the video game we’ve been waiting for, to including multiple, different aspects of an entire universe. There are two different demos, two mobile game tie-ins, the full-length CG film Kingsglaive, and the five-episode anime Brotherhood.
Each aspect of the Universe brings something different to the table, but so far one easily stands out above the rest, and that’s Brotherhood. Both in terms of content and delivery, the anime feels like a fleshed out, important part of Final Fantasy XV’s story, and one that anyone planning on playing the game should experience beforehand.
For those that don’t know, Brotherhood spans fives episodes, each running about 11-16 minutes in length. Every episode is available to view right now for free over on the official Final Fantasy XV YouTube channel. The show’s structure is simple, with one introductory episode and then each episode after that focusing on a different party member and their relationship with Noctis, the main character of Final Fantasy XV.
Where Brotherhood succeeds so well is in giving us natural feeling character development and building relationships. We’ve seen plenty of flashiness and impressive showings from Final Fantasy XV’s marketing so far, but Brotherhood is a bit different, slower if you will. More often than not, the show is more concerned with building characters’ personalities than giving us cool looking action sequences. It stands in stark contrast to the film Kingsglaive, which is filled to the brim with intense action sequences.
Brotherhood takes subtle steps to making the game’s main characters feel more relatable, by giving them problems and character traits that anyone might have. Take the second episode, focusing on Prompto for example, a character that we know to be the outgoing goofball of the group. The anime episode paints a bit of a different picture, as Prompto used to be a socially awkward outcast, that also had a bit of a weight problem when he was younger.
After finding an injured stray dog and taking care of it, young Prompto finds out that the pooch actually belongs to Princess Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. Luna assumes that Prompto is a friend of Noctis’, and asks him to continue being a good friend to the prince. The boy then assumes that Luna is relying on him to befriend the prince and look after him, but for whatever reason feels like he isn’t good enough to be Noctis’ friend.
What follows is a short training montage showing Prompto working his tail off for literally years across middle school and into high school, all in order to improve himself enough to where he can be a worthy friend to the prince. It’s a touching sentiment tinged with sadness, to see Prompto working himself ragged and improve. His work pays off when Noctis recognizes him at high school from their past interactions, and the two become freinds.
The episode is framed with scenes of Prompto in the current time of Final Fantasy XV, pulling over and taking care of another injured stray dog. In 14 minutes this episode of Brotherhood established Prompto’s kindness, his determination, and the bond of freindship between him and Noctis. There isn’t one scene of action or violence to be found in the episode, either.