By now, we have seen a lot of Final Fantasy XV, but we have mostly been shown either natural environments or the more ornate, fantasy-ish parts of the game world’s urban areas.
That’s why the latest episode of the anime series Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV took me by surprise. We have been told that the game is “a fantasy based on reality,” and that Insomnia’s downtown area is loosely based on the Tokyo ward of Shinjuku, but this time around we can really see why.
While the high-rise districts where nobles like Lunafreya reside do appear more akin to a fantasy setting, the residential areas could easily be mistaken for today’s Tokyo.
As a matter of fact, at a glance, if you didn’t know that you were watching a Final Fantasy XV anime, you’d probably think it was some random slice of life series set in real world Japan.
Basically every element is reproduced faithfully, from the hilly terrain that forms the foundation of Tokyo, to the narrow residential street with the air conditioners poking out of the walls, the compact family cars, the sloped river banks where people go jogging and cycling, the web of overhead power lines, and even the omnipresent soft drink vendors.
It’s Tokyo, all right. Having been there for several weeks a year for seven years, it feels incredibly familiar.
Even the interior of Prompto’s house could absolutely be mistaken for the abode of any normal Japanese middle-class family. Everything is the same, from the living room, the appliances, the bedroom, and even the bathroom is identical to a traditional Japanese one.
The same can be said about the elementary school where Noctis and Prompto spent their earlier student years. You would be hard-pressed to find substantial difference from the countless similar Japanese schools that you have seen in equally countless anime series.
We are given an extremely usual view of the Final Fantasy XV world, which is probably why it feels so wonderfully alien to the game’s genre. We are used to see Noctis and his friends visiting exotic places and fighting against fantastical monsters. Yet, everyday life in Insomnia is so close to real life in Tokyo that it feels extremely fresh and original in its fantasy context.
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love the idea.
Below you can see the familar sights in a few more pictures of Noctis and Prompto’s hometown with your own eyes, and the anime episode itself.
A fantasy based in reality indeed…