Site translator hitoshura has been kind enough to provide us with a chapter-by-chapter summary of the newest official FFVII novel. Released on December 15th, the book was written by Kazushige Nojima, writer of the original FFVII, as well as Crisis Core, Advent Children and the On the Way to a Smile novellas. As such, The Kids Are Alright is an authentic entry in the world of Final Fantasy VII.
Sadly, however, it had no official release outside of Japan. So, while you could still import it if you lived elsewhere, you wouldn’t be able to read it without some knowledge of the Japanese language.
Were the contents of this newest tale in Cloud Strife’s world, then, to be kept from us indefinitely? Blessedly, no. TheLifestream.net’s hitoshura has already stepped forward to provide his fellow fans with a rundown of the book’s main events.
This is to tide us over until he is able to provide a complete translation of the 354-page novel — an endeavour that is already under way, so be sure to check back in the future for updates about that.
What you’ll also find in this article: scans I’ve made of all the book’s artwork (illustrations by Shou Tajima), and my translation of a page from the beginning of the book that introduces several of the characters featured in the story. Additional thanks go to hito, by the way, for correcting me on a word I had mistranslated on that page.
So, if you’re ready to get caught up on the latest events in this world we all love, click upon “Read the rest of this entry” below.
And yes, by the way, that mouthful up there really is the book’s complete official title. “Lateral Biography” (外伝 in Japanese) really should have (in my opinion, anyway) just been rendered in English the way it’s pronounced in its native language: “gaiden.” As is usually the case with these things.
But that’s neither here nor there.
What is here: hito’s generous summary of The Kids Are Alright, scans of its artwork, and your first introduction to Evan and Kyrie — two new characters who serve as this story’s protagonists.
Without further ado, let’s start with the artwork:
Excluding the composite image used for the front page of the article, the first two images after that are the dust jacket’s front and back covers, respectively. The third image is the front, bare cover. The fourth is the back, bare cover. Fifth is the title page for the first half of the book, “See Me, Feel Me.” Sixth is the title page for the second half of the story, “Who Are You?”. And, finally, the last image is the character introductions page.
If, by the way, you think you’re noticing a lot of references to English rock band The Who, you’d be right. “The Kids Are Alright,” “See Me, Feel Me,” and “Who Are You?” all refer to the music group. The references don’t end there either.
The Kids Are Alright’s narrator and main character, Evan Townshend (エヴァン・タウンゼント in Japanese), also shares his last name with band member Pete Townshend (ピート・タウンゼント).
Why all the references? Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps Nojima’s a fan. Or maybe it has something to do with the main characters of this story running a detective agency — all three CSI television shows use songs by The Who in their opening credits.
Next up, a translation of the character intros page posted above:
A 19-year-old young man who was living in depression on Midgar’s plate until 2 years ago. Along with Kyrie and other friends from the slums he came to know, he opened the Mireille Detective Agency. It’s been getting considerable business. A crooked young man who can’t plainly express himself.
A 19-year-old girl from the slums. Her family is now gone, leaving her all alone in the world. Thanks to her parents being skilled pickpockets, and the lessons of her swindler grandmother, she also lived a life of crime until meeting Evan and taking up detective work. She’s easy to get attached to, but is easily misunderstood as well. This is often the case even with her friends.
The self-styled ace of the Shin-Ra company’s Investigation Division of the General Affairs Department (nicknamed the Turks), his eye is on the company’s revitilization. He values his comrades more than anything, particularly his partner Rude, with whom he shares a deep trust. He becomes embroiled in circumstances involving Evan and co., and watches over them from the shadows.
One of the Turk’s elite, he serves alongside Reno. Following the Meteor calamity, he operates as escort to the Shin-Ra company’s ill president, Rufus. A warm-hearted but silent man, he is watching over Evan and co., like Reno.
The man who runs the Strife Delivery Service, which carries out a delivery for Evan. Unknown to Evan and co., he is one of the heroes who once saved the world.
Owner of the Seventh Heaven diner, where Evan and co. often hold business meetings. For Evan and the members of the Mireille Detective Agency, it is also a place of leisure.
And, finally, the real jewel in this thread — hito’s summary of each chapter of The Kids Are Alright:
This is the summaries for the first half of the book (“See Me, Feel Me”):
Also, a little explanation of the character notes if it’s even needed:
– Characters Introduced/CI: First time a character appears in the story themselves (not just mentioned/referenced)
– Mentions: First time a character is mentioned by name in the story
– References: First time a character is indirectly (not by name) referenced in the story
1. Evan talks about his past and family, leading up to the Meteor disaster. Evan lived with his mother on the Sector 6 plate. His father had died in the Wutai war, and his mother hated him. One day she brings home a man, Nix Foley, who says that the three of them are leaving Midgar. Evan storms out of the house, hoping to come back after their intended depature date and ruin their plans. On that day, the Sector 7 plate falls, leaving Evan (in Sector 8 ) to walk through all the other sectors to get home. When he arrives, he finds that his mother has gone. She left him a large sum of money, and a letter saying she will contact him when she’s reached her destination. With no word from his mother and not wanting to spend the money she’d left, Evan started working to make a living until the day Meteor and the Lifestream destroy Midgar.
Characters introduced: Evan, Evan’s mother, Kuro the cat, Nix/Nick Foley
Mentions: Evan’s father
2. Skips to 2 years later, at Healin with Rufus and the Turks. A man called Fabio steals some Geostigma medication from the lodge.
CI: Rufus, Tseng, Elena, Throp, Fabio Brown
Mentions: Sephiroth, Jenova, President Shinra
3. Reno and Rude pay Evan (Townshend) a visit, mistaking him for Fabio. Once they’ve gone, Evan goes to see Fabio but finds his little brother Vits, who has Geostigma, home alone.
CI: Reno, Rude, ‘Rat-Face’, Vits Brown
4. Evan heads to Seventh Heaven to meet his friends. Evan and Kyrie head to meet a client.
CI: Tifa, Leslie Kyle, Kyrie Canaan
Mentions: Marlene, Keogh (Rat-Face), Marle
References: Kilmister, Reeve
5. Elena is displeased with how Reno and Rude handled the ‘Fabio’ situation.
6. On their way through the slums to see the client, Arde, Evan reflects on how their detective agency got started. The job is to look for Arde’s missing son Gould, a SOLDIER 2nd Class who went missing prior to the Meteor disaster.
CI: Tyran Arde
Mentions: Mireille, Gould Arde, ‘man in the biker clothes’, Ceddie, Aunt Liz
7. Elena visits the real Fabio to punish him for stealing the medicine.
8. As Evan is clearing up the mess Reno and Rude left his room in, Vits comes by in the middle of the night in pain. When they go back to Vits’s home, Evan sees Fabio on the floor, beaten to a bloody pulp.
9. Evan, Kyrie and Leslie go to Johnny’s Heaven, where Evan talks about what happened to Fabio.
Mentions: Mr. and Mrs. Chico, Dr. Drake
10. After two days without sleep, Evan collapses outside the Mireille Detective Agency’s office. Kyrie ends up going to Reno and Rude for help, but regrets it when the Turks say they’re going to take her and Evan somewhere. They make plans to escape from the Turks into the slums.
11. Their escape attempt ends in failure, with Rude leading them to the truck that will take them wherever it is they’re going on their ‘drive’. Kyrie asks if this is how the Turks got Aerith.
12. Reno reveals that they are taking Evan to Healin, and it has something to do with his mother, Annette Townshend. Kyrie talks about how she knew Aerith. Reno and Rude reveal that the photo Evan and Kyrie got from Tyran Arde of Gould was taken in Nibelheim.
References: AVALANCHE (FFVII)
13. Rufus and Tseng discuss Annette Townshend, a former secreterial worker for Shinra who was offered ten-times the standard retirement bonus when she quit.
14. Evan meets Rufus and Tseng, who tells him that he is the illegitamate son of the late President Shinra. They are interrupted when they hear an explosion from the woods.
15. Fabio, Doyle and Keogh attack the lodge to rescue Throp, a friend of Keogh’s who had helped Fabio to steal the medicine. When they run into trouble, Evan bargains with the Turks by threatening Rufus, who lets them go.
16. On the way back home, Evan ends up banging his head and losing consciousness. He’s taken to Dr. Drake’s to be checked out. By this time, Evan and Kyrie have fallen out.
CI: Dr. Drake
17. Evan returns home and checks on Doyle and the others. He doesn’t tell them the truth about what he talked about with Rufus (instead telling them they wanted to use him as Rufus’s double), and decided to leave and get away from everyone.
18. In order to get fuel for his truck, Evan decides to contact the number from a business flyer he found, the Strife Delivery Service. Using the phone at Dr. Drake’s office, he tells the boy who answers, Denzel, that he wants a letter delivered.
CI: Denzel, young girl (Marlene)
19: Reno complains about how Evan and Rufus had their ‘family reunion,’ and how Tseng and Elena are off doing something and he can’t get in touch with them.
20. While waiting for Cloud, Dr. Drake talks about the book/file he is reading: on Jenova, the subject of many Shinra experiments. Cloud arrives and Evan tells him that he actually wants fuel, to which Cloud replies that his choices are Shinra, the WRO, or Don Corneo in Wall Market. Evan mentions planning on heading to Nibelheim to find a lost SOLDIER. Cloud tells him to go ask about Nibelheim at Seventh Heaven.
Mentions: Don Corneo
21. Evan goes to Seventh Heaven to ask Tifa about Nibelheim. She seems reluctant for him to go there, but shows him the route. He tells her he’s going to find his mother. She had been in the picture with Gould Arde. The man who had brought that photo to Tyran Arde was Foley.
22. Kyrie goes to see Reno and Rude to ask what they’ve done with Evan, thinking they’ve taken him or hurt him, and waits by Evan’s car until he gets back.
23. Evan goes to Leslie’s house in the slums to ask how to get to Don Corneo’s. He meets Marle, Leslie’s pregnant girlfriend, who looks troubled when Evan mentions Corneo.
24. Reno and Rude notice that Kyrie is still scared of them, which reminds them of Aerith.
25. Evan goes to see Corneo, now an old-looking man in a wheelchair, about getting fuel. He agrees and says it will be delivered to Edge. Corneo recognises Evan from a picture one of his men took off a bullitin board, which had been put there by Foley while he was looking for Evan. Evan takes two pictures from Corneo’s walls: one of Cloud, Tifa and Aerith, and one of Marle. On his way out Corneo says Evan can take as many pictures as he likes, because he has copies of them all. Evan rips up the pictures.
CI: Don Corneo, Corneo’s doorman
26. Evan goes back to Leslie’s house to apologise for taking the picture of Marle from Corneo’s in case something happens to him and Marle because of it. Leslie tells him not to worry, and how it was meeting him that made Leslie (a former man of Corneo’s), Fabio (robber) and Kyrie (general life of crime) mend their ways.
27. Doyle arrives at the site of the monument being built by Shinra to tell Reno that he, Throp and Keogh will be helping out with the construction (as a way to make up for the damage they caused when rescuing Throp). Doyle notices Evan’s truck he left with Reno to look at while he’s gone. Rude tells Reno he’s going to Midgar, where Tseng and Elena are going to get a helicopter.
28. Evan goes back to Seventh Heaven and gives the same apology he gave to Leslie about the picture he stole from Corneo. Tifa tells him that Kyrie was there earlier, and that she told her about Evan’s Nibelheim plan. Evan returns to his car to find Kyrie there, who is set to go with Evan on his trip.
29. While Rude is fixing one of the helicopters, Tseng tells him and Reno of their new project: to find Jenova. However, Reno notices someone was listening in on their discussion, and Tseng sends Elena to capture whoever it was.
30. Evan and Kyrie spend the night in the car, waiting for the fuel to be delivered in the morning. They are surprised when it’s Leslie who drops off the fuel, as well as weapons for Evan’s trip. He went back to Corneo pretending to want his old job back, but instead burns down Corneo’s house (Corneo himself survives). Evan and Kyrie get ready to set off together to Nibelheim.
Rest of the summaries cover the second half, “Who are you?”
31. On their way to Under Junon, Evan reflects on how he met Kyrie, Fabio and Leslie.
CI: Mireille Dudley (Kyrie’s grandmother)
32. Evan and Kyrie encounter a girl on a chocobo, asking about the medicine for Geostigma.
CI: girl on the chocobo
33. Rude falls victim to a failed attack by two men (Keogh and Fabio) while fixing the helicopter. Reno talks with Doyle about Shinra until he gets a call from Rude: Fabio and Keogh are dead.
34. While taking a break at a pond on the wastelands, Evan and Kyrie come face-to-face with a ‘red monster’. Evan’s attempts to get rid of it backfire when he shoots and blows up their own truck. Then Kyrie starts to sink into the water, now seemingly turning black.
CI: red, dog-like monster (Red XIII)
35. While following Evan in the helicopter, Rude and Reno reveal that it had been Doyle who was listening in on them, thinking Shinra were up to no good. When Fabio heard about the helicopter, he decided to take it to help Evan. Meanwhile Tseng and Elena are at a beach house in the newly rejuvenated Under Junon when they hear commotion outside. A young girl has been brought to the town by a talking red beast, which Tseng recognises as Red XIII. Tseng goes to the office of the town doctor, Dr. Eugene, and recognises the girl as Kyrie.
When Tseng goes back to Dr. Eugene’s, Kyrie has left. He finds her talking to a young man behind the doctor’s office. The boy has the same silver hair and the same eyes as Sephiroth–he introduces himself as Kadaj. He goes to shake Tseng’s hand, and as Kadaj leaves, both Kyrie and Tseng collapse. When they come to, Tseng warns Kyrie not to trust Kadaj, who Kyrie saw as an old acquaintance she thought had died in a fire, if he should appear again.
Reno and Rude, having found Evan, are bringing him to Junon. Tseng will use Evan and Kyrie in their search for Jenova.
CI: Dr. Eugene, Kadaj
Mentions: the former Turks, Hojo
36. On the helicopter ride to Junon, Evan sees Nanaki outside and thinks back on how he saved Kyrie and him. When they reach Junon, Kyrie, who thinks the Turks had something to do with Fabio’s death, suggests they try to escape. Their plan is cut short as soon as it began when Elena shoots Evan in the shoulder. While in Dr Eugene’s, Evan has a ‘dream’ where he sees Fabio, who touches the site of his injury. When he regains consciousness, Kyrie explains that he had been in surgery for five hours and in bed for two days, and the doctor said he might never get the full use of his arm back. However, Evan feels no pain or discomfort in his arm at all.
37. Although Evan is ready to give up on looking for his mother, Reno suggests to Tseng that they just whip him over to Nibelheim in the helicopter. Tseng agrees to this, but it is himself and Elena who will be going. Reno and Rude are to take over Tseng and Elena’s duties and wait for their former coworkers to report in.
38. Dr. Eugene is surprised to see Evan out of bed. His shoulder had been shattered, he should be in tremendous pain moving around, and he was supposed to be in restraints that he couldn’t have gotten out of himself. Elena tells them that the Turks will take them to Nibelheim. Evan no longer cares, but Kyrie wants to go to look for Gould Arde.
39. When they reach Nibelheim they are confronted by suspicious villagers and a bearded man with a guy–who Kyrie soon recognises as Gould Arde. He explains that Tyran Arde is his step-father, his real father having died in the war. They had never really been that close, and Gould has no plans on reuniting with Tyran.
As Evan is ready to leave, Kyrie asks Gould about Annette Townshend. He reveals that Foley had been distressed because, while he had feelings for Annette, she would not accept him because her son didn’t like him. Annette had stayed in Nibelheim not even a week before leaving due to work, before the day the Lifestream destroyed Meteor. Annette had been in charge of tending to the test subjects living in the village. Gould gives them a letter sent to Foley by Annette. The letter had been sent from Icicle Inn. Evan and Kyrie return to the helicopter and head north.
CI: Gould Arde
40. Back in Junon, Reno and Rude are still waiting for the old Turks when Doyle and Leslie arrive. They’ve come looking for Evan. The day before he died, Fabio had taken Vits to the doctor where he was told that Evan needed to be looked at urgently. Fabio considered Shinra the reason for his parents’ death, so would not just ask them for the helicopter and instead tried to steal it. Rude says they are going to go look for Evan.
41. While Tseng and Elena wait in the helicopter, Evan and Kyrie visit Icicle Inn. They go to the guesthouse to enquire about Annette Townshend, but the lady at the desk doesn’t know anything. However, she says the proprietress might, but that she isn’t in today. Evan and Kyrie stay at the guesthouse, and while Kyrie goes to get some things from the shop, Evan reads the letter from Annette. It reveals that the money she left at home was for Evan to have an operation. Annette had taken the job of being a ‘villager’ in Nibelheim for one year, with the possible penalty of death if she disclosed any secrets she learnt, in order to get money to pay for Evan’s operation. She sent her contract back to Foley when it seemed she was going to be staying away from Nibelheim for longer.
When Kyrie comes back, there is a knock at the door. The proprietress, Windey, has come to talk with Evan. Back in the helicopter, Tseng and Elena are listening in through a bug planted in Evan’s bag. Windey tells them about the strange people in black who appeared in the village two years earlier. Annette had come to take them back, but by the time she got there they had all headed further north. But two months later, Annette returned, saying she needed to carry out her work, and headed into the snow fields. She never came back. Windey tells Evan he shouldn’t go looking in the snow fields, as the eruption of Lifestream has left crevasses all over, many hidden by the snow.
Meanwhile Reno and Rude ask about Evan and the others at Nibelheim, but are met with an unwelcoming reception. As they are taking off, Reno notices another set of landing marks on the ground. He tries to contact Tseng, but to no avail.
Back at Icicle Inn, Tseng and Elena are now in the room adjacent to Evan and Kyrie’s, listening in on their conversation. Kyrie suggests Evan goes to Junon to find the doctor his mother mentioned, Dimitri. Tseng recognises the name–Dr. Eugene Dimitri.
CI: Windey, receptionist
42. When Evan and Kyrie seem to have come to the end of their conversation, Elena suggests Tseng gets some rest. He refuses and suggests Elena do so instead, but she seems to have little intention to do so. Tseng goes to the window and looks out… And there is that silver-haired young man looking directly at him. He makes up an excuse and goes outside.
While Kyrie is in the shower, Evan hears a knock at the window. Thinking it must be Tseng or Elena he goes over and wipes the condensation away to find ‘Fabio’ standing there. He tells Evan to come outside and talk to him, or else he’ll kill Kyrie. Evan goes, unarmed, out of the guesthouse. Elena soon follows him. Tseng makes it to the spot he saw Kadaj, but there are not even footprints where he was.
‘Fabio’ leads Evan to a small guards’ hut, where he says he wants to show Evan something. It’s the picture of Jenova he had seen in Dr. Drake’s office. There’s dark stains all over the picture–blood. Suddenly it’s Dr. Drake standing before him. He tells Evan how he had learnt Jenova was in the Shinra Building from the real Drake, only to find nothing there. He returned to Drake, feeling betrayed. For a second he saw in front of him a silver-haired man. He says it was him who took away Evan’s pain, thinking he would know something about Jenova. Taking the form of Evan’s mother, Kadaj undoes what he did before, leaving Evan in agonising pain.
Tseng finds Evan on the floor of the guards’ hut, but is attacked by Kadaj. Kadaj disappears when he realises that Tseng doesn’t know where Jenova is either. Elena follows the footsteps in the snow to Tseng and Evan.
43. With Tseng and Elena going to search for Kadaj, Evan rushes back to the guesthouse to check on Kyrie. Outside the room he hears voices coming from inside. Kyrie is talking with her old friend, Kadaj. But then there’s a gunshot, and Evan opens the door to find the silver-haired boy he’d seen before on the floor. Kyrie fires again and the man on reception comes rushing to see what is happening. Out of nowhere, Kadaj now has a sword in his hand, threatening to kill them. They manage to get out of the building, but Kadaj is right there, outside and in front of them. They start running but Kyrie stops. The guesthouse is on fire. Evan pulls Kyrie back up and heads for the entrance to the village.
Tseng and Elena had returned to the helicopter. Tseng is checking a rocket launcher as he asks Elena to contact Reno and Rude; turns out she already had let on where they were, and that the other helicopter is on its way now. Elena takes off towards the village, where Evan and Kyrie have just reached the guards’ hut as the helicopter reaches the village, when suddenly Kadaj leaps from the ground and onto the helicopter. As the helicopter begins to move north, Evan suggests that they can beat Kadaj.
44. Over the snow fields, Tseng and Elena are still fighting Kadaj, while Evan and Kyrie try to keep up. Evan has a plan to get Kadaj using the crevasses as a trap. But when looking up to find him, they hear a voice in front of them. Kadaj is standing there, and provokes Kyrie to lunge at him. Kadaj leaps out of the way, and Evan grabs Kyrie’s hand before she slipped. But suddenly, the snow beneath her feet crumbles away, leaving her hanging on to Evan’s hand. Just then Kadaj offers to help. Evan, unable to pull Kyrie up on his own, agrees. But Kadaj simply stabs Evan in the shoulder, as Kyrie falls to the bottom of the crevasse.
In the helicopter, Tseng is looking down on Kadaj, standing over Evan. He tells Elena to fire a missile. Elena hesitates and asks Tseng if he is serious, but Tseng gives the same reply.
Reno and Rude, along with Doyle and Leslie, arrive at their destination. Elena tells them to get ready to attack. Reno sets up a machine gun, but when he finally sees that Evan is down there, he is not willing to follow Tseng’s orders to fire. After Rude says a ‘malfunction’ cut off the radio, Tseng tells Elena that they will attack alone. He tells Elena to preform the attack, but she instead insists on piloting the helicopter.
Down on the ground, Evan hears Kyrie’s voice calling him. After Kadaj removes the blade from his shoulder, Evan slides himself towards the crevasse.
Rude spots Kyrie in the crevasse about 3 metres down, still alive. Leslie and Doyle try to shoot down Kadaj with the machine gun, hoping that with him gone they can save Evan and Kyrie. The bullets hit Kadaj, but have no effect, then he disappears. Reno and Rude turn to find him standing on the nose of the helicopter. He stabs the windscreen, shattering the glass. Rude veers the helicopter to the side and throws Leslie and Doyle out. He then takes the helicopter up higher, but Kadaj has gone. He’s now sitting in the back of the helicopter. Reno and Rude both jump from the helicopter. Once they’ve escaped, Tseng fires a missile at the other helicopter and explodes it.
45. Evan reaches Kyrie, but the force of the explosion cracks the ice apart and they both fall into the depth of the crevasse. However, they find themselves in a strange, bright white place surrounded by voices–the Lifestream. Eventually Evan wakes up to find himself and Kyrie in a pipe-like tunnel of ice, made two years ago when the Lifestream erupted. They make their way through this maze, looking for a way out.
Tseng tells Reno that he and Elena are going back to Under Junon, while Rude is going to Healin to get the third helicopter, in order to collect Reno, Doyle and Leslie who are looking for Evan and Kyrie.
Evan and Kyrie hit a dead-end, but Kyrie notices several shapes just ahead. They are bodies, all dressed in black, frozen and preserved. Also there is the body of Annette Townshend. When Kyrie checks her, she finds some letters she was carrying: a report to Foley about the escapee test subjects, a personal letter to Foley, and a note to Evan. Just as they are leaving, they notice one more item, a small warm mass wrapped in Annette’s handkerchief.
But as soon as they’ve turned around, they hear Kadaj’s voice behind them. As they try to outrun him they pass a hole leading into the Lifestream. Evan suggests that they jump in, but then the handkerchief falls to the ground and unravels. Inside is a piece of Jenova’s flesh. As Kadaj tries to grab it, Evan kicks it into the Lifestream. Kadaj jumps in to get it, but eventually is consumed by the Lifestream and vanishes into particles of light. Not long after, Leslie, Doyle and Reno find them.
Mentions: Vincent Valentine, Cid Highwind, Barrett Wallace
Test subjects: Kaitlin Starks, Edmond Starks, Trevor Shaun, Ezra Monty, Ian Modeus, Rick Fergus, Lisa Tutti, Senna York
46. The epilogue started off straight where the last chapter left off, but soon moves ahead to the end of/just after AC. Evan, Kyrie and Vits are now living together, and when the Lifestream spring appears in the church, they take Vits there to get cured.
No real cliffhangers, story over.
Also, a brief addendum: Cloud, Tifa, Marlene and Denzel briefly appear in the epilogue, where they converse with Evan, Kyrie and Vits outside the church. It’s mentioned that Cloud and co. will be holding a get-together at Seventh Heaven (AVALANCHE’s reunion party, when the new photo from AC/C’s ending was taken).
And with that, the summary is concluded.
We hope you enjoyed it, and have gained something of a handle on the new story. We also hope your appetite has been whet for hitoshura’s upcoming complete translation.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned. =)