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Review: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

Aug 21 // Josh Tolentino
[embed]35209:5798:0[/embed] Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XVStudio: Square Enix Visual WorksDirector: Takeshi NozueLicensed by: Sony PicturesPremiere: August 19, 2016 (US, Asia) , July 9, 2016 (Japan) Have you ever seen a "game movie"? The term refers to a subgenre of game Youtube videos wherein players capture recordings of various video games' cutscenes or story sequences, to be viewed by audiences removed from the context of actually playing the game. Some more ambitious versions try to edit the clips together in a coherent fashion, potentially removing the need for players who can't finish or don't own the game in question to actually play it at all, leaving only the narrative to bring things home. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV feels like an extremely expensive, fabulously ambitious iteration of that particular trend. It's not quite the same, of course. Players who pick up Final Fantasy XV in November won't see much of Kingsglaive's actual events onscreen, as the film is a two-hour-long setup and prequel to the events of the game.  The Kingdom of Lucis is in danger. Ruled by the wise King Regis (played by Game of Thrones' Sean Bean), Lucis is the last place unconquered by the Empire of Niflheim. Its defenders are the titular Kingsglaive, a squad of soldiers that wield magic channeled to them by Regis, from a magic crystal that is the source of Lucis' power and the only thing standing between Niflheim's technological prowess and world domination.  Unfortunately, the war is coming to a close, with Regis aging and the crystal's power flagging in the face of "The Nif's" magitek weapons and demonic thralls. It's in this spirit that Regis accepts a peace deal, to marry off his son (and the game's protatgonist) Noctis to Lunafreya (played by Game of Thrones' Lena Heady), princess of the Niflheim-ruled province of Tenebrae. When all is not at it seems on the eve of the treaty signing, it's up to Kingsglaive's star fighter Nyx Ulrich (played by Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul) to save the day and have a hand in kicking off whatever's set to happen in the game proper. While the plot is barely coherent and its relevance to Final Fantasy XV is largely confined to explaining why Noctis and his buddies are on the other side of the world in the first place, Kingsglaive's most solid achievement is visual. Produced by Square Enix's legendary Visual Works studio, the film succeeds at visualizing the setting of the game, creating the kind of mental space in future players' minds that can reconcile the stylistic absurdities of typical Final Fantasy and the more grounded, modern aesthetic of the real world. The world of Kingsglaive (and by extension, the game) is the kind of place where it makes sense for contemporary office buildings, cellphones, TVs, and product placement stands comfortably alongside the overdesigned costumes, massive creatures, and elaborate magical spells and effects. To its credit, it's the most convincing iteration yet of the series' penchant for techno-fantasy flourish. Beyond that, though, Kingsglaive is hardly essential. Despite initial misgivings, the core cast do credible work in their roles, elevating the otherwise cheesy and overly self-serious script. Supporting characters, however, come across as a bit too cartoonish, the delivery never quite overcoming the tension between the realistic facial designs and otherwise very "anime" words coming out of the characters' mouths. The action itself, though, is well-rendered, if a bit difficult to follow. The Kingsglaive members all use some variation of the game's combat, wielding teleporting knives and plenty of flashy effects to burn, shock, and blast the HP off of an assortment of classic Final Fantasy beasts. Unfortunately, some ill-conceived zooms and use of "shaky-cam" effects during some fight scenes make what should be the most pivotal moments of the film an exercise in trying to puzzle out just what's happening. Final Fantasy fans can also expect some clever fan service, sighting cool callbacks to timeless franchise easter eggs, some subtle, and some overt. In the end, whether Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will be worthwhile largely depends on one's anticipation for Final Fantasy XV. By its very nature it's skippable, but fans who plan on immersing themselves in the game come November will likely find something to appreciate.
Kingsglaive: FFXV Review photo
A Clash Royale
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FFXV: Kingsglaive photo
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Mar 24 // Brad Rice
NEW YORK, NY (March 24, 2014) – Yen Press, the graphic novel imprint of Hachette Book Group, and leading Japanese gaming and manga publisher Square Enix in conjunction with the Tuttle-Mori Agency announced today that their highly anticipated inter-corporate initiative for the global distribution of Square Enix's English language manga will commence on April 8th. By virtue of this groundbreaking agreement, fans of Square Enix’s manga in over 200 countries will have access to the authorized, English-language ebook editions of 175 titles through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google and Kobo with new volumes available concurrently with future print releases. Launching first with internationally best selling series like Atsushi Ohkubo’s Soul Eater, Yana Toboso's Black Butler, and Yoshiki Tonogai's Doubt, Yen Press will roll out additional series weekly throughout the month of April with a blockbuster assortment that includes Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist, Jun Mochizuki's PandoraHearts, Ryukishi07's Higurashi WHEN THEY CRY, and Until Death Do Us Part by Hiroshi Takashige and DOUBLE-S. As an added bonus for fans, these ebook editions will include color pages not reproduced in the titles' print counterparts. In addition to this ambitious launch of their cooperative digital publishing endeavor, Yen Press and Square Enix have also unveiled a program for the digital English language serialization of new chapters of two ongoing series – Atsushi Ohkubo's riotous successor to Soul Eater, Soul Eater NOT!, and Yoshiki Tonogai's latest mind-bending mystery thriller, Secret. Chapters not already contained in the collected volumes of these series will be released as digital comics in advance of the latest chapters slated for publication April 14th. Kurt Hassler, VP and Publishing Director of Yen Press, said of the agreement, "In much the same way that video streaming technologies transformed the way fans consume anime, the digital availability of manga content stands to revolutionize readers’ access to the material they love. Particularly exciting to us is the opportunity Square Enix has provided international audiences to enjoy and support the latest installments of continuing series at the same time as Japanese fans. Manga has a truly global community of enthusiasts, and Yen Press could not be prouder to help connect these brilliant creators with the worldwide readership clamoring for their work." Katsuyoshi Matsuura, Division Executive of Publication Business Division and General Manager of Digital Publishing of Square Enix Co., Ltd., commented regarding the commencement of the service, "I am extremely pleased to know that our work will be available to manga fans to whom it was previously inaccessible. At the same time, I am very encouraged and excited to be able to implement this service in cooperation with Hachette Book Group and to work with them to address the ever expanding needs of enthusiasts while providing them with the most exciting experience possible." About the authors of the serialized chapter publications: Atsushi Ohkubo’s debut manga series, B.Ichi, originally appeared in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine. Upon completion of the work, his concept for Soul Eater began as a series of shorts appearing in the same magazine and later became the long-running work that has earned him international renown. The final chapter of Soul Eater recently ran in the September issue of Monthly Shonen Gangan. Ohkubo is still at work on his spin-off series, Soul Eater NOT!, the animation for which is slated to begin airing this spring. Yoshiki Tonogai leapt onto the manga scene as the artist on the Time Killing Arc of Ryukishi07's epic Higurashi WHEN THEY CRY. He then went on to create his first solo work, Doubt, which was serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Shonen Gangan, the success of which inspired its sequel, Judge. Tonogai's latest murder masterpiece, Secret, kicked off its serialization in Monthly Shonen Gangan in October 2013, and he has been a recurring presence on the New York Times manga bestseller list.
Yen Press photo
175 English-language titles to appear in over 200 countries
Yen Press and Square Enix just announced a partnership to put eBook versions of 175 manga titles online, giving the English-language versions of Square Enix's manga worldwide reach. Starting April 8, you'll be able to access ...

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