I only learned about this Final Fantasy related series when I was recording the FF30 Anniversary podcast with David Walker. While the video game franchise is key to the premise, it’s a true story about real people, and the game is incidental. It could have been World of Warcraft or something similar just as easily, so don’t let a lack of interest in FF keep you from checking this out.

Cast and Crew Information

Yûdai Chiba as Akio
Ren Osugi as Hakutaro
The IMDB list is much more complete with performers, but not with the names of the actors.

Written by Kôta Fukihara and Mighty.
Directed by Teruo Noguchi and Kiyoshi Yamamoto

Availability Information

This series is currently a Netflix exclusive.

Premise

Based on a true story: Akio’s father quits his job rather abruptly and with no explanation. Hoping to repair their relationship and bond with his father, Akio hatches a plan to get his father to play Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and get to know him hidden behind his online avatar.

High Point

This will evoke virtually every emotion human beings are capable of feeling in the span of about 3 and a half hours. If you don’t understand Japanese, make sure your subtitles are on.

Low Point

Episode 8 didn’t need to be its own episode. It’s really like a “side quest” that could have been edited into the other episodes to better demonstrate the bonds between the players. That said, don’t watch it first, or it will spoil the real series ending at the tail end of episode 7.

The Review

This feels original. Sure, it’s based on a true story, but it’s still not the kind of story you see all that often. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are minimal. It’s a true story, so the only effects involved are those needed to show what the players are doing in game. In that sense, they do their job well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is highly entertaining. The sense of humour is distinctly Japanese, but still amuses, and it can also be heart-wrenching at times. The tolerance of sexism is the only thing that bothered me about the story, but I don’t know enough about Japanese culture to know if that’s a fault of the show or just an accurate depiction of what life is like for these people. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is well done. I have never seen any of these performers before, so I didn’t have any baggage associating them with other roles, and easily bought them all as the people they portray. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is a little bland. It gets the job done, but lighting and wardrobe choices telegraph upcoming emotional “surprises” a little too often for my tastes. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is great. If it’s a human emotion, you’ll feel it by the time the series is done. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is one that will easily fly under the radar outside the Japanese speaking world, but don’t let that stop you from seeing it. It’s worth it. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light receives 36 out of 42.