Final Fantasy XIV: Dad Of Light
Square Enix series keeps it in the family
Good news: Netflix has made a Final Fantasy series! Unexpected news: it’s a goofy drama about a father and son who reconnect by playing Final Fantasy XIV. While it may not feature a man with a gun-arm suplexing a train, Dad Of Light is a surprisingly sweet soap about the power of videogames to bring people together.
After a brief prologue where Akio Inaba (Yudai Chiba) is bought his first games console and a copy of Final Fantasy by his father Hakutaro (Ren Osugi), the pair bonding over exciting turn-based battles, events jump forward a decade. Father and son have become emotionally estranged, living under the same roof but talking only to say hello and goodbye each day. Struggling at work, Akio takes refuge in Final Fantasy’s world of Eorzea by night, which gives him a brainwave – what if father and son could reconnect online? For reasons that only make sense if you remember this is an eight-episode series, Akio concocts a convoluted plan that requires he keep his true identity concealed and befriend his father in-game.
While undeniably a bare-faced advert for FF XIV, there’s something charming about Dad Of Light’s daft plotting, melodramatic staging, soap-opera flat cinematography and battleship-broad performances. Look past the kooky facade and there’s authentic emotion underpinning the drama. It doesn’t need to be anywhere near as long as it is, and machinima footage from FF XIV that pushes the story forward in-game only serves to demonstrate the limitation of that engine to convey anything close to convincing emotion. But FF fans looking for a binge watch could do a lot worse. Just don’t let it give your parents ideas about nicking your PS4. Jordan Farley