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Last Order: Final Fantasy VII
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Last Order: Final Fantasy VII (ラストオーダー -ファイナルファンタジーVII- Rasuto Ōdā -Fainaru Fantajī Sebun- ) is a 2005 Japanese anime original video animation produced by Madhouse and released by Square Enix. The OVA is an alternate rendition of two flashbacks used for Final Fantasy VII. Last Order was released in Japan with Advent Pieces: Limited, a special edition release of the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and as a bonus feature in the North American "Limited Edition Collector's Set" release.
Last Order: Final Fantasy VII is associated with the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, a series of prequels and sequels to the original Final Fantasy VII. Although not an official installment of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Last Order: Final Fantasy VII has nonetheless been included in official guidebooks. Its soundtrack was released with the music of Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, and select songs were later remixed for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.
The OVA was created due to the success of promotional commercials for Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, and production lasted for six months. The plot encompasses two events occurring before the events of Final Fantasy VII. One follows Sephiroth destroying a village, and the other follows Zack and Cloud escaping from the Shinra Electric Power Company. These flashbacks are narrated by Tseng. Originally meant to focus on Zack, Last Order: Final Fantasy VII highlighted Tseng's feelings and position in Shinra. The OVA received negative fan response due to differences from the original game's content, and the Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII game designers avoided recreating certain scenes from Last Order: Final Fantasy VII.
The Shin-Ra Company has been alerted to a disturbance at the Mako Reactor in Nibelheim. Strange monsters have been appearing in the area, and it is believed to be due to a malfunction within the Reactor. Shin-Ra have assigned two First Class SOLDIERS to the operation: Sephiroth and Zack. Among the Shin-Ra army regulars dispatched to accompany the two SOLDIERs is a 16 year old young man named "Cloud Strife". Nibelheim is his home town. When they arrive in town, a young woman named "Tifa" offers to guide them through the nearby Mt. Nibel to the Nibelheim Reactor.
Cloud has known Tifa from childhood, when he still lived in Nibelheim. Cloud had always admired Tifa from afar and wished to catch her attention. He thought that if he proved his strength by becoming a member of SOLDIER, that he would not only be able to protect Tifa -- as he had failed to do years before when she fell into a gorge, despite his best efforts to save her, an incident that resulted in her being in a coma for a week -- but that he would gain her interest. Two years before being dispatched to Nibelheim with Sephiroth and Zack, Cloud told Tifa that he was leaving Nibelheim to go to Midgar so that he could become a SOLDIER. Tifa then asked Cloud to promise that he would rescue her whenever she was in trouble if he achieved his dream, and Cloud agreed; that had been part of his reason for wanting to be strong in the first place. Cloud, however, never made it into SOLDIER, and only became a regular Shin-Ra soldier. Ashamed of not becoming what he promised Tifa, he hides his face with his uniform's helmet when he returns to Nibelheim at Shin-Ra's orders.
When Zack and Sephiroth enter the Nibelheim Mako Reactor, Sephiroth finds that a Mako leak had caused the appearance of the monsters in the area. He and Zack also discover several pods housing mysterious monsters that bear striking similarities to humans. Sephiroth realizes that these monsters are humans, but that they had been used for inhumane experimentation, exposed to a high level of Mako, and possibly other substances as well. Professor Hojo, the Head of Shin-Ra's Scientific Research Division, had carried out these experiments and placed these research specimens inside the Mako Reactor. Sephiroth then notes the name "JENOVA" on a vault door inside the reactor. When he was younger, he was told that "Jenova" was the name of his mother. Sephiroth then begins to suspect something terrible: That he was created by way of an experiment similar to those these humans had been forced to undergo.
For days, Sephiroth locked himself inside the old Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim, below which was a laboratory that had been used by Shin-Ra researchers in the past. There, Sephiroth reads every document and report concerning Professors Gast and Hojo, and their experimentation with the creature named "Jenova." These flawed and incomplete reports misled Sephiroth to believe that he not only wasn't an ordinary human being, but that he was produced from the genetic material of Jenova, a creature that Gast had discovered some 25 years before, buried in a 2,000 year old geological stratum. Professor Gast's reports mistakenly said that Jenova was an Ancient (also known as the "Cetra"), the original caretakers of the Planet. In actuality, Jenova was an alien from ancient times that came to the Planet on a meteorite, its landing resulting in the formation of a deep wound to the Planet that had not yet healed, even in 2,000 years. Jenova was a viral creature possessing unmatched psionic abilities. It infected many of the Cetra with its cells, turning them into monsters without sanity, before a small band of unchanged Cetra battled and sealed Jenova within the Northern Crater, Jenova's landing site. However, these truths were unknown to Sephiroth, and he believed himself to be a Cetra, being that he believed himself to have been produced from the genetic material of a CEtra. Further, having learned that the regular human beings who dominated the world of the present day were descended from Cetra who gave up their Planet-reverent lifestyle and lost their close relationship with nature, Sephiroth believed it to be his duty to take the Planet back from these "traitors." Sephiroth was driven to insanity, and in a rage that couldn't be reached with reason, he lashed out at the people of Nibelheim, slaughtering most of them and razing their town to the ground.
During the chaos that ensued, Tifa frantically searched the town for her father. She learns from her martial arts instructor, Zangan, that her father had left for the Reactor in the mountains. She's also warned not to go, because Sephiroth was heading in that direction. Leaving the warning unheeded, Tifa rushes to the Reactor in search of her father, hoping to reach him before Sephiroth gets to him. As Tifa hastens to the Reactor, she finds her father cut down by Sephiroth’s Masamune, which lay next to him. As Tifa’s father dies in her arms, Tifa is filled with hatred for Sephiroth, Shin-Ra, and everything associated with them. She takes Sephiroth’s sword and charges him inside the Mako Reactor. Vainly trying to take revenge on him, she is overpowered and consequently cut down, and though her wounds are life threatening, they do not kill her. Sephiroth then enters Jenova's chamber at the back of the Reactor.
Zack and Cloud arrive to the sight of Nibelheim in flames and learn from Zangan that Tifa has gone into the mountains in search of her father. Zack hurries to the Reactor, telling Cloud to remain behind to assist Zangan with finding survivors. At the Reactor, Zack finds a severely injured Tifa. Learning that she had been wounded by Sephiroth, he knows beyond doubt that Sephiroth had crossed an unforgivable line, and he decides to put an end to the chaos by killing Sephiroth. Zack blasts down the door to Jenova's chamber to confront and challenge the legendary SOLDIER.
Zack finds Sephiroth talking to a humanoid-looking lifeform contained in a large glass containment vessel. This creature is Jenova. Sephiroth's mind is clearly ruled by insanity at this point, as he speaks to Jenova about taking back the Planet and ridding the world of the humans who "stole" it from his "mother." Zack interrupts him, demanding an answer for why he destroyed the town of Nibelheim. Sephiroth seems to be ignoring him, until he suddenly calls him a traitor and engages him in combat. Zack fights against Sephiroth valiantly, even while Sephiroth shows no signs of doubt in his ability to overcome Zack, casually directing an onslaught of powerful attacks at Zack, and putting him on the defensive, while Sephiroth himself describes his "duty" to the Cetra, and Jenova's "destined status" as the rule of the world. Despite his valor, Zack is defeated and hurled into one of the pods outside Jenova's room.
Sephiroth turns back to speak with Jenova, but he is suddenly stabbed through the back of his lower abdomen by the masked SOLDIER from earlier. Unbeknowest to Sephiroth, Cloud had arrived and taken Zack’s Buster Sword from where it landed when Sephiroth's last blow put Zack to the floor. Cloud is finally revealed to Tifa because he had taken his helmet off after attacking Sephiroth. Tifa -- remembering the promise Cloud had given her about coming to her rescue whenever she was in trouble -- is surprised, yet happy to see Cloud. He apologizes for being late, to which she responds that it's fine. Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of breaking glass. Though grievously injured, Sephiroth had survived Cloud’s attack, and shattered Jenova's containment vessel. Unable to take Jenova's entire body with him due to his injuries, he uses his sword to cut the head off its body, and he prepares to leave with it.
When Sephiroth exits the alien's chamber, Zack, barely conscious, screams at Cloud to finish Sephiroth off. Cloud takes up Zack's Buster Sword once again and charges Sephiroth. Unfortunately, this time, Sephiroth is ready and parries Cloud's attack while driving his Masamune through Cloud's chest. He then flings Cloud's body back into Jenova's chamber, where the Lifestream is seen flowing below. Cloud is then impaled upon Sephiroth's sword a second time, and Sephiroth holds Cloud's limp body out over the Lifestream. Cloud, however, is unwilling to accept defeat, and filled with a rage to surpass Sephiroth's own, he grasps the blade of the Masamune and pulls himself further down the blade, getting his feet back onto solid ground. Cloud then hurls Sephiroth into a wall, the force with which Cloud had thrown Sephiroth crumpling the metal he slammed against like paper. Sephiroth is filled with disbelief, amazed yet horrified that Cloud was capable of such strength. Rather than attempting to carry on fighting with Cloud, who shows no signs of backing down, Sephiroth runs with the head of Jenova and leaps into the Lifestream. Cloud passes out with the Masamune still inside his chest. Shortly thereafter, Zangan comes to the Nibelheim Reactor and rescues Tifa, being unable to rescue Zack or Cloud. He takes her to Midgar to recover from her serious wounds, while Cloud, Zack, and the other survivors of Sephiroth's massacre face a horrible fate.
After receiving word of what happened, Shin-Ra sent the Turks and several scientists, including Professor Hojo, to the Nibelheim Reactor. Hojo makes the decision to use the survivors as new research specimens, and also remarks that he was surprised that Cloud was able to defeat Sephiroth (Shin-Ra incorrectly concludes -- based on the observations of a Turk who was present in Nibelheim at the time -- that Cloud had killed Sephiroth before succumbing to his wounds). Hojo orders that Zack, Cloud, and the others be taken to the basement of the Shin-Ra Mansion.
For the next four years, Zack and Cloud are used as experiments for testing Hojo's Jenova Reunion Theory. Hojo injects Cloud and the other survivors with large amounts of Jenova cells and also infuses their bodies with Mako energy; he then labels them as "Sephiroth clones" due to the similarities between this experiment and those that were conducted on Sephiroth. At this time, Cloud suffers from severe Mako Poisoning. His memories become clouded by all the foreign memories within the Mako (which comes from the Lifestream) that had been infused into him, and he loses his self-identity, becoming nearly catatonic. One year before Final Fantasy VII begins, Zack is able to break out of his confinement, taking Cloud with him. They escape from Nibelheim, with the intent being to head back to Midgar. Shin-Ra then ordered the Turks along with regular soldier units to find, and, if necessary, eliminate the two escapees. Zack carries the unresponsive Cloud during their entire journey, still managing to defeat many regular soldiers despite his comatose burden. Tseng, the leader of the Turks at this time, is hesitant to take Zack and Cloud's freedom from them a second time, and orders his subordinates to capture them alive if at all possible.
Zack manages to fight off many assailants during their year-long trek back to Midgar and, nearing their destruction, he and Cloud hitch a ride in a pickup truck heading to Midgar. It is here that Zack decides that he and Cloud should become mercenaries. Relaxing, Zack takes a look toward the horizon, imagining the future, but then suddenly senses imminent attack. Shin-Ra regulars had been dispatched to take Cloud and Zack in, but were ordered to await the arrival of the Turks before taking action. However, seeking to take the glory of the apprehension for themselves, they opened fire prematurely. Zack is shot, taking a bullet that was meant for Cloud, leaving him wounded and unable to properly defend himself when he and Cloud arrive on a bluff overlooking Midgar. Zack is easily killed while within sight of the goal he had struggled to reach for a year.
The Shin-Ra soldiers who killed Zack spare Cloud’s life, seeing that he was already in a heavily-impaired state, expecting that he would die anyway. They lie about the outcome of the situation, stating that Zack was killed while resisting and that Cloud escaped during Zack's resistance. Cloud manages to regain consciousness shortly thereafter, though still highly disoriented. He reaches Midgar, taking Zack's Buster Sword with him. There, he meets Tifa again, discovered by her while he sat disoriented at a train station. Since Cloud's own personality had been so thoroughly lost by the effects of the experimentation carried out on him, his subconscious was only able to build a new personality for him by using the mimic effects of the Jenova cells inside him to copy (first) Zack's behaviour, abilities, status as a member of SOLDIER, and stories about what happened in Nibelheim, and (second) Tifa's memories of who Cloud was; the new personality that was formed from all this was then imprinted onto Cloud's psyche, giving him the ability to function as an individual, even if he was living a lie without knowing it. Tifa quickly realizes that all is not right with Cloud, but hides her feelings and doesn't tell him that she thinks something is wrong. She convinces him to take a job for AVALANCHE, the underground resistance movement fighting to topple the Shin-Ra Company. This paves the way for the events of Final Fantasy VII.
Deviations from the original story
- In Final Fantasy VII, Tifa's father is found already dead inside the mako reactor. In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, he is found dying outside the reactor.
- In Final Fantasy VII, when Tifa is injured by Sephiroth, Zack just checks on her. In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, they have a conversation before Zack enters the chamber.
- In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, Cloud and Sephiroth have additional dialogue during their confrontation not present in the game.
- In Final Fantasy VII, when Cloud charges Sephiroth with Zack's Buster Sword, Sephiroth turns in time to be stabbed in his stomach. In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth is unaware of Cloud's presence in Jenova's chamber until after he is stabbed through his lower back.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is impaled upon Sephiroth's Masamune once. In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, he is stabbed with the sword twice.
- In the original story, when Sephiroth attempts to leave with Jenova's head, Cloud pursues him onto a catwalk that crosses over the heart of the Reactor, a wide shaft leading into the Lifestream below. In this depiction of events, Sephiroth quickly turns and runs his Masamune through Cloud. After being impaled by Sephiroth and held in the air above the Lifestream, Cloud pulls himself onto the blade then stepping onto the ledge of the Lifestream and flings Sephiroth with his own sword, into the Lifestream. In contrast, in the OVA, Cloud charges Sephiroth while he stands at the top of the stairs leading to Jenova's chamber, and is impaled a first time. Sephiroth then tosses him into Jenova's room and impales him upon his blade a second time, holding Cloud's severely wounded body above the shaft that leads to the Lifestream (retconned to be in Jenova's chamber instead of another room). In this retelling of events, Cloud grasps the blade of Sephiroth's sword and throws him into a wall (which crumples from the force of Sephiroth's impact) instead, and Sephiroth then decides to jump into the Lifestream of his own free will. It should be noted that in the game, when Cloud reflects on the last time he saw Sephiroth, he states that "Sephiroth went off searching for the Promised Land, so he could become the ruler of the planet... That was 5 years ago... He told me he wants to go to the Promised Land with his mother, Jenova." These changes are also present in Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII.
- When fighting with Sephiroth in the Jenova chamber, Cloud is shown to have eyes glowing in a manner similar to so-called 'mako eyes', a sign of mako infusion. What exactly this suggests (and whether they're actually glowing or simply reflecting light) has been debated amongst fans.
- In Final Fantasy VII, when Zack rushes Sephiroth, he is apparently defeated in one blow, or at the least, a very short period of time. In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, he manages to trade several blows with Sephiroth over the course of 48 seconds before being bested. He is still ejected from Jenova's room and into a mako pod outside by Sephiroth's final blow, however.
- In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, after Cloud critically wounds Sephiroth and is moving Tifa to safety, she regains consciousness and speaks with him. In Final Fantasy VII, she does not. Instead, the dialogue seen in the OVA is spoken by Cloud and Tifa while they watch the flashback in the Lifestream. This may be a plot hole, because in the game Tifa has no recollection of Cloud ever coming to Nibelheim 5 years ago, which is a key point to the story. Some speculate however, that Tifa may have lied, given Cloud's erroneous memory and account of what happened on that day, taking the place of Zack in most situations.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is present during Sephiroth's attack on Nibelheim and is consequently knocked unconscious. He later recovers and rushes to the mako reactor after Zack has already gone in that direction. In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, he discovers Nibelheim in flames along with Zack, and only goes to the reactor after scouring for injured civilians with Zangan. It is for this reason that he arrives at the reactor later than Zack in Last Order: Final Fantasy VII.
- In Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, Cloud and Zack are ambushed by Shinra soldiers while hitchhiking to Midgar in a pickup truck. While the original game features the hitchhiking scenario, it does not feature the attack that Cloud and Zack suffer at that time. In the retelling of events, Zack is shot while taking a bullet meant for Cloud. This is speculated to have left him wounded and less able to defend himself when he and Cloud reach their fated destination: a bluff overlooking Midgar, where Zack is gunned down and killed.
- In Final Fantasy VII, during the secret flashback accessible on Disc 2 in the Shinra Mansion's basement library, Zack is shown exiting the rebuilt Nibelheim half-carrying Cloud, who is still in his ordinary trooper uniform. The scene then fades to black, there is some dialogue posing that Zack changes Cloud into a spare SOLDIER uniform. For the rest of the flashback, Cloud appears in this uniform, but however in Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, the change is never made and Cloud remains in his trooper clothes throughout the trip.
- Original story: Kazushige Nojima
- Executive producers: Shinji Hashimoto, Yoshinori Kitase, Yōichi Wada
- Supervising director: Tetsuya Nomura
- Screenplay: Kazuhiko Inukai
- Character design: Hisashi Abe
- Chief animation director: Satoshi Tasaki
- Animation directors: Kunio Katsuki, Fumie Muroi, Katsuya Yamada
- Art director: Hidetoshi Kaneko
- Color design: Yuriko Kadomoto
- Director of Photography: Yukihiro Masumoto
- Editing: Kashiko Kimura
- Sound director: Yōji Shimizu
- Recording & mixing engineer: Kanami Mitani
- Sound effects: Shizuo Kurahashi
- Music: Takeharu Ishimoto
- Producers: Akio Ōfuji, Jungo Maruta, Masao Maruyama
- Animation producer: Yūichirō Saitō
- Assistant director: Hiroyuki Tanaka
- Director, Storyboard: Morio Asaka
- Production: Square Enix, Madhouse
Characters and Voice actors
|Character||Japanese||Japanese voice actor|
|Zack Fair||（ザックス）||Kenichi Suzumura|
|Cloud Strife||（クラウド・ストライフ）||Takahiro Sakurai|
|Tifa Lockhart||（ティファ・ロックハート）||Ayumi Ito|
|Professor Hojo||（宝条）||Nachi Nozawa|
|Shinra Solider (A)||Keiji Okuda|
|Shinra Soldier (B)||Atsushi Imaruoka|
|Shinra Soldier (C)||Daisuke Kirii|
|Turk (Rod)||Daisuke Namikawa|
|Turk (Two Guns)||Ginpei Satō|
|Turk (Martial Arts)||Hōchū Ōtsuka|
|Turk (Shotgun)||Mayuko Aoki|
|Turk (Gun)||Megumi Toyoguchi|
|Nibelhiem Villager||Yōhei Tadano|
|Films and animation|
|Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005) • Final Fantasy VII: Last Order (2005) • Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)|
|Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals (1994) • Final Fantasy: Unlimited (2001-2002) • Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV (2016)|