Finally, back with another blog post. I know I still owe a Winter Break post but... first things first: The Square Enix store!
The Square Enix store is basically a store dedicated to merchandise from, well... Square Enix games. Most notably Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Dragon Quest. But especially Final Fantasy. That's kinda why you go to the store (cuz even Kingdom Hearts is basically just Final Fantasy after you've dropped some acid and somehow Squall is dancing with Mickey Mouse and... yeah...). Anyways, the store is small, but it has a magical, merchandise-y quality to it. All the employees are dressed in suits that appear to be modeled after the Turks from Final Fantasy VII. They have literal piles of chocobo stuffed animals. They have figurines ranging from tiny little pieces of junk to full-blown artwork behind glass cases. One of the things that really captivated me was t-shirts with Yoshitaka Amano's beautiful Final Fantasy artwork on it. He's one of my favorite artists. Example of his artwork from his Vampire Hunter D series:
But the room you really have to see is the jewelry display room. First of all, the room is dark, with the only lights being the lights that are on display items. Most of the display items are either really big, awesome figurines, or super-shiny, super-blingin' jewelry worn by characters from Square Enix games. Some of this stuff is pretty amazing, though you have to be willing to slap down over a hundred dollars for any of the really nice jewelry. It's all really shiny and full of bling. It's like a sparkly nerd-paradise.
Another really cool thing in the room... they have Gackt's costume from when he modeled as a character in Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus. Now, I'm stupid, and I didn't actually take a picture of the costume. Well, here's Gackt himself posing next to his costume to make up for my photo fail. This was the costume on display in the store:
But the real highlight of that room, undoubtedly... is Sephiroth's corpse. Yeah, they have his "corpse" buried in the floor of the shiny room. It's pretty damn amazing. I guess you could say I've always been fascinated by the process the Final Fantasy VII characters have gone through to become "real." The artist in me finds it to be a really incredible thing. The game was made in 1997, and although its graphics were "cutting edge" at the time, the characters were still simple polygons. Ten years later, when Square Enix decided to make a movie sequel to Final Fantasy VII with their new graphic capabilities, these polygons were suddenly "brought to life." Case in point:
Sephiroth in the flames, 1997:
Same scene, 2005-ish:
Hahaha, yeah, he gonna kick yo' aaaaaass. Hard to believe the image below was done completely with computers.
Anyways, having Sephiroth's corpse in the floor of Square Enix adds another interesting development to this graphic journey. It's one thing to make him look almost completely real on screen, it's another to make a 3-dimensional replica of him in real life. Here's how it goes...
In 1997, Cloud finds Sephiroth's body crystallized in mako... which is bizarre, since Cloud's been chasing Sephiroth around the whole game, yet here's his dead body. Anyways, Cloud is schizophrenic and gives Sephiroth's corpse this materia-thing he wants. Old graphics:
Reeeeally old graphics:
And here we are today, over ten years later, in Square Enix, staring down at Sephiroth's mako-encased corpse in the floor. Pretty neat, huh? Don't forget to click to enlarge the photos!
Without flash you can see how much this thing was really glowing under your feet:
Here it is without flash. It's kind of scary how life-like this thing looked (especially when you consider that a physically dead Sephiroth is still a wandering and killing things-Sephiroth). The materia ball is even floating in there with him, lol:
With flash, for detail. The hair was definitely real hair, and the feathers of his one wing were definitely real feathers. This thing was really cool. I was very mesmerized by it, but other people were too, so I didn't feel too weird. The Turk-employee was kind of chuckling at everyone oohing and aahing over it, lol.
Yup, right under the floor (with flash. Sorry, I know the flash makes the glow go away). Heh, you can see Geri's foot stepping on him, lol. I was almost afraid to walk on it because it was so pretty.
Here's me being a doofus over his corpse. A lot of other people were posing with him too, lol.
Anyhoo, I wound up buying a couple small, cheap figurines. You buy them in a box and you don't know which one you'll get. I wanted one Sephiroth and one Vivi from Final Fantasy IX, but unfortunately I got two Sephiroths, so I gave the other one to Ashely, lol. Here's my chibi Sephiroth (aaaaaw, he's even emo when he's a chibi):
Yeah, we all know he's compensating for something with that sword, lol.
Now if only I could send in requests and force Square Enix to give some of the other Final Fantasy villains some love. Yeah, Sephiroth is bad-ass but... we need some Kuja and some Kefka in that store, damnit! But let's face it, everyone loves Sephiroth.
We meant to go to the Pokemon store on this day as well but it was closed, so be prepared for a giant Pokemon post some time in the future when the Pokemon Center is actually open!