Final Fantasy XV has thrown all kinds of curveballs at us tonight. With a full-length CGI film, a mini-series anime featuring how the group got together and bonded so well, and countless other goodies, Final Fantasy XV is off to a great start after many years in developmental hell. At Uncovered Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix announced that the miniseries, Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV, would release its first episode tonight, and subsequent episodes by the time the game releases September 30. That first episode is now live on YouTube, and you can check it out below. Each episode is 10 minutes long. Check out “Before the Storm” now!

SPOILER WARNINGS!

The mini-series kicks off with the main character, Noct, being attacked by an unknown creature, and nearly perishing to it. He is later saved, and it all turns out to be a reminiscence as the present Noctis awakens from his slumber in the back seat of a car alongside his three friends. The show spends the next several moments within the car, with the group socializing and laughing. They stop at a restaurant, where Noct is almost recognized by the waitress. Gladio, being the manly tough guy that he is, flirts with the waitress a bit and proceeds to order food and drink. We get a nice, funny comical sequence with fan favorite Prompto, who sucks at using a ketchup dispenser, and the team having a small spat.

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Just a little while later, they notice an SAF airship flying in the distance, and fear that they’ve been found. The show skips over to a campfire scene, where the team talks about how far they came and went together; they mournfully wish that they could be together forever, or at least longer, as they realize that this peace will soon be broken. As the morning breaks, the team observes another SAF ship landing near their location; they then spring into action and fight this legion, but realize that they’ve fallen into a trap as another ship flies overhead and drops a mysterious crate and a small legion of soldiers from the SAF. This mysterious crate opens up and it is revealed that the creature from the opening moments of the series is back, and bigger than ever. Noctis, wanting a rematch, charges in with sword in hand, to the dismay of his companions, and the episode ends there.

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“Before the Storm” marks a powerful start to a potentially great miniseries. The animations, done by anime veterans A-1 Studios, are incredibly fluid. That is not a surprise, considering A-1 has been responsible for hit series such as Sword Art Online, Aldnoah.Zero, and Your Lie in April. If it’s a big show, chances are they’ve had a hand in it. Brotherhood is not an exception, and the quality is top notch. The materialization of the weapons, the fighting, and the visuals are incredible. Each character moves fluidly throughout the show. The action and quality is backed by a great sound track that plays the right tone at the right moment; action moments receive more of an epic soundtrack, and quieter moments receive a serene tone.

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Brotherhood does a lot of things right with its animation and music, and it nails it even further by adding in the right amounts of drama with humor to balance it out. The humor is actually genuine too, and doesn’t feel excessively like slapstick one-liners. Given that the theme of Final Fantasy XV builds on friendship, it’s no wonder that A-1 and Square Enix replicated that camaraderie and brought it to the mini-series. The characters feel like they are actual characters and have developing character habits: Noctis is rather brooding, Gladio is portrayed as a manly flirt, Prompto is hilariously funny to watch, and Ignis is the cook who actually can make good foods. With a solid and recognizable cast of characters doing the Japanese voice overs, it’s great to recognize some familiar voices: the voice behind Hunter x Hunter’s Chrollo Lucilfer, Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail, and other such castings makes the adventure that much more fun, and it’s going to be great to see where the series goes from here. Stay tuned for future coverage from each episode.