Advent Children Staff Commentary

Uploaded with permission from Xcomp/LHYeung, who is also the translator of this material.

Below you’ll find my translation of the staff commentary that was available only on the DVD that came with the Limited Edition package in Japan. Even though the Western release of the DVD got more content than the normal edition of the Japanese DVD, the commentary track wasn’t available.

For those who are interested, Softbank Creative’s bilingual (English and Japanese) Reunion Files book is also available for purchase from May 22nd 2006. The A4 sized, 122 paged book is available for import from Play-Asia and contains the following content:

  • 10 hours Worth of Interviews and Comments.

From the voice actors and main staff which, will include comments about each individual character.

  • Countdown to Reunion

Detailing everything from the first day they started developing the movie until the day it went on sale in Japan as well as the events that took place overseas. There are concept art, episodes of the production process, treasured scenes as well as shots of the Pilot Film the Visual Works team made before considering the full length movie. Something that even Nomura Tetsuya didn’t know about until the making of this book. There is also some coverage of the other Compilation titles Last Order, Before Crisis, Dirge of Cerberus and Crisis Core.

  • Character Files

Featuring profiles of each character. These will contain character related images, script lines and thoughts from the staff and voice actors about what they thought about the character.

  • Story Digest

Entire movie dissected with images accompanied by staff comments.

#  Opening Message

Nomura:       So, we start with a message.

?:                 Haha, that was quick [starting the commentary].

?:                 Nice message.

Nomura:       I wonder who wrote it.


?:                 Who wrote it?

Nomura:       Secret.

?:                 Secret?

?:                 Oh, lets start [the commentary] with a secret.

Nomura:       I’ll tell you at the end of the movie.

?:                 Right, don’t forget to tell us then! (Laughs)

  • The original game opening BGM and ending scene was used for the beginning of the movie.
  • # Red XIII running towards the camera.
  • Originally the movie was supposed to go on sale 7 years after the game went in development but it was delayed and released 8 years later instead.
  • The story begins 2 years from where the game ended.
  • Reno had too thin of a character so Nomura and Nozue wondered if they could characterize him but, after adding more action scenes for him, his character was expanded enough.
  • # Center of the foggy Northern Crater.

?:                  Quite a turn of events here.

?:                 The tension’s growing.

Nomura:       It was hard depicting the tension here using sound alone, really. (Laughs)

?:                 But it’s supposed to be a movie.

Nomura:       We were lacking material… Weren’t we? That was a question. Really, that was a

?:                 question.

Yeah, we know (Laughs)

  • Commentators are:

Director / Character Designer, Tetsuya Nomura Co-director, Nozue Takeshi

Scenario Writer, Nojima Kazushige Associate Director, Hazama、 Advertising Department, Oofuji、

Head of the Kingdom Hearts Motion Capture, Handou Head of the FFVII Compilation Project, Imaizumi、 Goods Department, Matsuzuka。

  • # Flashback to FFVII when all the characters were gathered on green background.

?:                 Was Japanese the main language in the world of FFVII?

?:                 No, it was one of many.

?:                 But looks like there’s quite a bit of simple Japanese in there.

?:                 Well, it’s not Earth after all.

  • It appears there are various languages in FFVII besides Japanese.
  • # Sephiroth comes down to strike Cloud
  • The representation of the Lifestream was hard to do.
  • # Birds flying over the ruins of Midgar

Nomura:       See the birds flying here? There’s a secret to number of birds flying.

?:                 Seriously?

?:                 What is it?

Nomura:       Well, that’s another secret. I’ll tell you later.

?:                 Is there a secret to the number of people too? (Laughs)

  • Rumours have it that the number of birds represents the number of people in the staff at the time.
  • The monument was designed according to the disaster that took place in the game when the Meteor hit Midgar..
  • There are many signs in the city of Edge and playing around, Visual Works decided to add the staff’s names to them such as “Hazama’s Warehouse.”. Of course, many of the signs that appeared in the game were added too such as the Loveless signs. Maybe Nomura’s name was added too.
  • Cait Sith didn’t appear on his Moogle due to workload issues.

The motion capture and camera angles for the scene where Denzel is lying on a bed with Marlene sitting next to him, was revised many times. What you see is what resulted towards the end of the production.

  • There’s a meaning to the angel statues to appear but they don’t say what.
  • # Camera passing the angel statue

?:                 There’s a lot of secrets to this movie, isn’t there (Laughs)

?:                 Is there really a secret to it? (Laughs)

?:                 How many secrets that now? (Laughs)

?:                 The third secret.

  • The design of the new Seventh Heaven is different from the old one that was destroyed. The new bar is located in Edge, a city that was built around Midgar so that the ruins are concealed.
  • # Wolf appears next to sword.

Nomura:       See the wolf here? There’s a great meaning to it.

?:                 Is that the old sword?

Nomura:       Yes, it’s Cloud’s old sword.

?:                 But the wolf’s taking shelter behind it now (Laughs)

?:                 Oh, so cold… (Laughs)

?:                 That’s going to be the fourth secret now.

?:                 Fourth now? (Laughs)

Nomura:       The wolf’s quite important, you know. Think about what it means.

?:                 All I can think about are the numbers right now (Laughs)

?:                 Well, it’s definitely the fourth secret now (Laughs).

  • Meaning to the wolf mentioned later.

The story takes place within a 3 day period in the movie and the weather was set appropriately such as the direction of the wind and how strong it was.

In the scene where Kadaj knocks Cloud’s sword to the ground, it was written in the script that he “ignores and knocks it away from the spot as if it was never there” but, in the final version it was only kicked to the ground.

The lighting in the scene where Kadaj and his two companions appear were revised many times.

  • # Bike scene where Yazoo and Loz leaps down hill to go after Cloud.

Nomura:       Hmmm, what happened to the “vroom” sound here.

Nomura:       Loz turns on the engine and makes the “vroom vroom” sounds himself.

?:                 Loz is my two year old son.


  • One of the commentators said, “It’s impossible for the bikes to move like that”, and Nozue answers, “It’s CGI after all.” It appears Nomura was after the impossible since it was CGI they were using.
  • The large sword Cloud uses during the bike chase scene is referred to by Nomura as the “First Sword”, the first sword of the six Cloud carries with him. When his sword gets knocked away, Nomura wants the viewer to imagine him going off to search for it.
  • # Remnants leaves Cloud behind without his First Sword.

Nomura:  His First Sword was knocked away but I’m sure he goes off to look for it at this point.

Have fun imagining that part.

?:       He looks really upset here.

?:       Waves of tears. (Laughs)

?:      You mean this part?

?:      He couldn’t find it, could he? (Laughs)

?:     “Where could it be…”

?:      Wow, it sure got knocked far away. (Laughs)

  • # Cloud on his way up the path to Healin Lodge

?:      This is the part after he found his First Sword again?

?:       Yeah. This scene takes place afterwards.

  • “Healin Lodge” was a temporary name but, it ended up being left as it was. It was imagined as a hot spring resort for Rufus. There is a slope that leads up to the entrance but thinking that it would be rough for Rufus on a wheelchair, an elevator was designed for him but wasn’t shown in the movie sighs Nomura. The wheelchair was motion captured and remains in the studio.
  • Facial animation was added to Cloud for the first time when he speaks with Rufus. They concentrated on his eyes for his expressions as they thought that was the way it should be done for him
  • # Cloud talking to Rufus at the Healin Lodge.

Nomura:       One of his hands isn’t moving so it’s like you can’t see it.

?:                 Is he holding it already?

Nomura:       He is.

?:                 What’s “it”?

?:                 You don’t know? (Laughs)

Nomura:       Jenova’s head. He probably…

?:                 He’s probably been holding onto it all this time.

?:                 All the way until the second half of the movie.

Nomura:       I had tried to watch this part thinking that he held onto it the whole time but, it didn’t give me that feeling. It was more like his left hand was wounded and that’s why it wasn’t moving. It was planned so that you wouldn’t know until later but, it’s a shame really.

?:                 So he had it the whole time?

Nomura:       He did.

?:                 Really? He really had it the whole time??

Nomura:       If you look at the way Rufus is just now, it makes you think he has nothing in his left hand but when you think about it, he should have it. His arm doesn’t look like it’s injured


?:                 Did Reno and Rude know he was holding onto it?

Nomura:       There’s no way they would know.

?:                 Yeah, you’re right.

  • When Rufus had his left hand hidden, he was holding Jenova’s head. Many of the staff didn’t know.
  • Not known if Reno and Rude knew where Jenova’s head was. Tells you later in the movie.

Cloud lives in the ruins of the church.

Various additional scenes and changes were made to enhance the flow of the movie due to the scene where Marlene finds the box full of Materia.

  • A kind of black “pus” flows out from the Stigma and originally it looked like an unbearable thing. A lot happened to tone down the substance’s appearance. What you see in the movie is the toned down version.
  • Even though Rufus was holding Jenova’s head with Kadaj before him, he wasn’t agitated. He enjoyed watching how Kadaj was reacting to the situation.

The place where Cloud’s original sword lies is where Zack died. It’s set there as a gravestone.

The script for the scene where Cloud sticks the sword back into the ground was revised many times.

The Kingdom Hearts motion capture staff helped with the scene were Loz arrives at the church. Scenes that were used during the auditions for Loz’s motion capture actor were also used here. Originally Nomura wanted a very quiet tune added to the fighting scene but it ended it as a piano score.

  • # Loz arrives at the church.

?:               Loz went there to play, didn’t he?

?:                 Feels like he can become a good friend.

?:                 He probably won’t (Laughs)

?:                 *Gulp*

  • Someone commented they want to go have a drink with Loz.

Since they couldn’t watch through the whole movie to check everything, only the important scenes were adjusted and shown in the Venice Film Festival. During the premiere, the movie slipped off from the projection screen and Nomura was really worried. Later, the sound recording was completed on the last day just before the showing at Tokyo International Film Festival,.

It was the layout staff that suggested the Fanfare melody being added to Loz’s phone.

Originally, Marlene threw a stone at Loz. Taking into account the scene where Marlene sees the box of Materia, they changed it so that she threw Materia instead.

Eye movements were adjusted in millimeters.

The girl holding the Moogle doll gained popularity. When the Moogle doll appeared during the oversea premieres, viewers got very excited.

Cloud’s face was redone many times in the scene where he rushes over to Tifa in the church.

It took a lot of work to adjust the lighting so that his eyebrows would give the right impression.

The scene where Marlene looks at the box of Materia was added so that viewers would get the idea that Cloud was looking around for the Materia, realizing that it was gone and Loz had taken it.

  • # Cloud passes out from the Geostrigma.

?:                 ?: The camera seemed to be moving towards Cloud and Tifa. Who was it that was running towards them?

Nomura:       Secret.

?:                 Secret? (Laughs)

Nomura:       Look, there’s the wolf again.

?:                 Is that the sixth secret? (Laughs)

?:                 No, it’s the fifth.

?:                 The secrets really are just about numbers (Laughs)

?:                 Just watch (Laughs)

  • When Cloud passes out due to the pain from his Geostigma, the screen goes white and the camera shakes as someone runs towards them. It was only revealed that they were Rude and Reno after Cloud wakes up back in Seventh Heaven and the same commentator asked Nomura the question again.

They redid Cloud’s face many times as he wakes up from the bed. It was hard work getting the lighting right.

The scene where Kadaj attaches the Materia to his arm was added due to the scene where Marlene finds the box of Materia. Even though the production staff told Nomura that they wouldn’t be able to add in the scene on time, he stressed many times about how important the scene was and it was eventually added just in time.

  • # Back to Seventh Heaven.
  • In the scene where Tifa was saying “Dilly dally, shilly shally (Zuru Zuru)”, Cloud turned round in surprise because he never knew Rude and Reno were standing there. Tifa knew they were there, however.
  • It took 4 hours to do the 5 minute English narration recording used in the E3 promotional video where Kadaj and the children were gathered in the Forgotten City.

Morikubo was doubtful about playing Kadaj’s voice because he was such a difficult character but he gave it his best anyway.

In the scene where some black substance leaks into the water, the staff asks what it was.

Nomura says it was the colour coming off Kadaj’s clothes but it was really his will spreading into the water.

When Cloud was heading towards the Forgotten City, the staff had planned for Aerith to appear behind Cloud on his bike. The motion capture for the scene was done but since Nomura thought it would be too scary, they revised the script.

The staff took care in making the scene of Aerith’s appearance seem like an illusion so that she didn’t seem like a ghost.

As Cloud sped towards Kadaj and his companions towards the spray of bullets, Loz’s arm was glowing. This was added in to give viewers the impression that he too had attached the Materia into his body by this point in the movie.

All the children became superhuman because they had drunk the water with Kadaj’s will in it, “Sephirizing” them.

Yazoo’s bullets couldn’t hit Cloud not because of his bad marksmanship but because Cloud was simply too strong.

It was hard adding in the voices during the fight scenes in the Forgotten City due to timing.

  • During the layout of the battle scenes, Yazoo walks towards Cloud shooting at him after Loz knocks down the tree. This was later taken out during the retakes and revised with him slashing at Cloud with his gun but was then returned to the way it was again.

Vincent’s mantle was hard to do in the scene where he rushes out to save Cloud as it was done so that it looked as if he was a phantom.

Most of the scene where Vincent and Cloud talks with one another was done during the early stages of production. Only very minor adjustments were made but hardly any.

Most of the images shown in the Venice version of the movie were revised and so, can’t be seen in the final version of the movie such as how Cait Sith wasn’t on top of Red XIII.

Vincent’s voice actor, Suzuki was originally the one doing the title call for the movie’s promotional videos At the time, the voice actor for Vincent hadn’t been decided yet. His part in the PV got him the role.

Nojima was worried that viewers wouldn’t get the idea Vincent didn’t have a phone when he spread out his mantle.

Cloud and Vincent’s personality are similar so it was hard drawing out their differences but it went well in the end.

Tifa’s motion capture actress Aoki done the scene where she says “Did we lose to our memories?” with so much passion that all the male staff’s heart ached. Adding in the voice later to that scene was a lot of hard work.

During the game’s production, the point of Vincent’s shoes were rounded. It was the FFVII producer Kitase who told him to make them pointed later. The reason was that it didn’t suit his character.

  • Kitase was the one who named Vincent while Nomura named all the other characters. Kitase seemed to have given Vincent a lot of thought.

Reno acted as if he was surprised that he wasn’t told the whereabouts of Jenova’s head and was angry about it. He was actually angry that Yazoo was making a fool of him. Turns out they never knew Rufus had it all along.

  • # Scene with Kadaj and Rufus in a building.

?:                 How many secrets is that now?

?:                 I’ve forgotten.

?:                 We just can’t keep count (Laughs)

?:                 The first was the opening message and the second was the birds. Maybe the number of secrets is the same as the number of birds?

?:                 There’s that many secrets? (Laughs)

?:                 Way too many.

  • The scenes where Kadaj and Rufus are together in a building were added later. There’s a meaning to the number 13 but they don’t say what it is.
  • Just my speculation but, in Chinese (or other Sino, Chinese related languages such as Korean and Japanese I think) the number 13 is a lucky number. Just like how the number 4 sounds like “death/shi”, the number 13 sounds like “will live/san”. Since Rufus jumped off the building and survived while both Elena and Tseng who were supposed to be “half dead” is also alive, I wouldn’t be surprised they took this in mind and decided to pick this number.

Jenova was attached to the meteor that fell towards the Planet. Nomura had a hard time designing Jenova during the game’s production.

  • # Scene with Mako flowing through the pipes.

Nomura:  Are those pipes transparent? I was wondering why they were transparent during the game but, it’s a mystery to me.

  • The scene where Kadaj summons Bahamut Shin from the building was another scene that made Nomura add more content to the movie to enhance the flow. The Materia to summon Bahamut Shin was inside the box that Marlene found.

The name Bahamut Shin (or “Sin” if you use the Kunrei Romanization system..) came from Japanese fighter planes such as Kai, Zero, Shin.

Instead of “We-” “Can’t beat this.” when Rude and Reno saw Bahamut Shin, they originally said, “Un-“ “Believable” as can be seen in the deleted scenes.

It was the animator who suggested that the boy who Reno was trying to save, sticks his fingers into Reno’s nostrils.

The staff wasn’t sure if they were going to let Bahamut Shin fire his Mega Flare (?) or not.

The scene where Reno and Rude were blown away by the Mega Flare’s explosion was motion captured. Due to the limited size of the studio, the motion capture actors couldn’t get blown away too far so it was hard to complete.

It was hard doing the motion capture scenes where people were running. They were running into a dead end in the studio after all.

The crowds were controlled by a simulator and not motion captured.

It was the layout staff who suggested Rude had an extra pair of sunglasses. They already put the idea in since the rough planning stage. There were many bad suggestions during the time but Nomura thought this one was interesting so he left it in.

  • # Midgar sign burning.
  • # Denzel runs towards Bahamut.

Nomura:       What’s that boy going to do?

  • Kadaj ordered Bahamut Shin to dig where the monument was, thinking that Jenova’s head was there.

All the commentators laughed and said that the way Barret’s gun arm transformed was impossible. Nomura then came up with the answer, “the power of the future.”

It was hard putting Red XIII and Cait Sith together such as keeping their movements flowing correctly.

  • There’s no limit to the energy that Barret can accumulate in his gun.
  • Yuffie’s clothing wasn’t designed by Nomura but by the female staff., following the Japanese taste. Even though it wasn’t his own design, he liked Yuffie’s clothing the best out of all the characters.

Barret’s clothes were designed in accordance with art director, Yuusuke Naora. His tattoos

were done by Luz (also designed the motifs on the cap and T-shirt in the LE pack) and were only completed towards the second half of the movie.

Mechanics, creature designer, Takayuki Takeya wondered if Bahamut Shin could be beaten when he looked at it.

The fight with Bahamut Shin was done with the Weapon battles from the game in mind so that viewers could feel the whole party was fighting together.

Bahamut Shin’s size was about 5 stories high. Actual figures hadn’t been decided.

The scene where Cloud gets a boost from each of his companions was called the Relay Battle, something that was homage to the ending of the game where Cloud stretched out his hand towards the hand in the light.

During the Relay Battle, someone says, “That’s ignoring the laws of physics, isn’t it?” and Nomura’s reply was, “They won the battle because they were doing the impossible.”

Rufus’ fight with Kadaj, the Bahamut battle and the Turks’ fight with Yazoo and Loz all occurred simultaneously. Everything happened below the building.

Rufus’ gun was originally designed to be small enough to fit into the sleeve. Mechanics, creature designer Takyuki Takeya worked on the bike designs early in the production stage.

  • Vincent had said that Tseng and Elena were half dead so there were talks of whether they were alive because Vincent lied or it was because of Shinra technology.

Originally, Loz was supposed to be flung away with Cloud swinging his sword at him during the bike chase scene but, he gets repelled by the flaps on Fenrir that conceals Cloud’s swords instead.

When the bike continued to move even though the accelerator wasn’t being used, Nomura wanted the viewer to think of the bike in auto-cruise mode. A futuristic bike.

The scene where Loz uses his legs to throw the bike was only an idea at first but was added later.

The gun Cloud sliced apart belonged to Yazoo and the smoke that came from its remains was barely added in time towards the end of the production.

The explosives Reno and Rude were carrying were originally planned to look like the round bombs used in the game Bomberman but, Nomura wanted the scene to cool so they were changed. The bombs Rude made were low in explosive power and were only flashy.

The bike Fenrir was modeled on a 1:1 scale and was designed by speaking with several bike manufacturers meaning it could have cost millions to make. It would have been a disaster if the real thing broke but, since this was a CGI movie, that wasn’t going to happen.

  • # Kadaj inside the church.

Nomura:       You can see the machine guns attached to the front here.

?:                 Ah, I see.

Nomura:       It was such a waste that we couldn’t make use of them at all.

?:                 And Kadaj’s crying out in regret (Laughs)

  • There are machine guns attached to the front of the remnant’s bikes. Not once have they been used in the movie but during the production stage, there were scenes where they were used.

The scene where water comes gushing into the air in the church was homage to the original game’s ending where the Lifestream comes rushing out of the ground. The same camera angles were used.

There was a scene where Cloud and Kadaj makes their way up the ruins as they fought but it was cut to reduce the movie’s tempo.

The staff had planned on having Cloud and his companions gather together in the scene where Kadaj was looking down at him.

Nomura wanted to put Kadaj much higher up than where he was in the movie but due to the height limitations of the studio during motion capture, this was adjusted accordingly.

The Kadaj battle scene didn’t take place during the evening originally. It was supposed to be daytime.

Nomura was the one who suggested Cid said “Go jump off”. Those who played the game should get a laugh out of the scene.

  • Art director Naora asked for Sierra’s interior to be revised after the exterior of the ship was finalized.

It was planned for both Cid and Barret to say, “He’s got 10 minutes.” But it ended up with only

Barret saying it.

  • In the scene where the Cloud jumps away from the Sierra, he smirks because he was imagining what his companions onboard were talking about leaving things in his hands.

A suggestion was made to let Kadaj eat Jenova during the scene where he was going to absorb it.

The staff wasn’t going to let the viewers see inside the box.

Even though the box was too small to fit a head inside, viewers were supposed to use their imagination.

  • Note that co-director Nozue said that “Jenova’s head” was just a given name and hinted that the box actually contained cells in the Prologue book interview.
  • It was early evening when the Sephiroth battle began.

The black streams that Sephiroth summoned was a negative Lifestream composed of those who died due to Geostigma. It was a good contrast with Cloud standing in the bright evening light.

  • The motion capture done for the scene where Sephiroth says he thought of a present was done by Kindgom Hearts’ motion capture staff.

Producer Kitase decided that they couldn’t make any other character stronger than Sephiroth in the world of FFVII.

Only the places where Sephiroth cut through were burning because those points were where all his power gathered before being scattered.

  • # Cloud lies against a wall and Sephiroth stabs him.

Nomura:       Surprised you, didn’t it? I was surprised when I saw that the sword pierced through his

?:                 arm. I wanted Sephiroth to pierce his chest.

?:                 Get the ambulance, the ambulance. (Laughs)

Nomura:       I wanted it to be more shocking.

  • Even though Cloud was pierced through his arm, Director Nomura had wanted Sephiroth to stab him through the chest.

Cloud’s sword was designed to be composed of 6 swords because Nomura wanted to finish off Sephiroth with the same move that was used in the game. The finishing blow is known as Omnislash Version 5 due to many revisions during the production process.

Originally the church scene was supposed to follow right after Sephiroth was defeated but, because of all the extra scenes they added, the movie was lengthened to 100 minutes instead of the planned 60 minutes.

Advent Children was made with the theme of “family” in mind..

  • Nomura really wanted a scene to show the link between Tifa and Aerith and so the scene where Tifa says, “Somehow I knew you were there.” inside the airship was added.

One of the commentators didn’t know Cloud gets shot and was genuinely surprised when he saw the scene for the first time. Yazoo used Loz’s gun at this point.

  • The glowing Materia on Loz and Yazoo’s arms were attached to them when they were in the Forgotten City.

# Cloud in a white background.

Nomura:       Nomura: Here, Cloud’s eyes stayed open until the final version of the movie was made. I

want you to imagine this scene with his eyes open.

?:                 ?: I can, quite a bit (Laughs)

Nomura:       Nomura: You know how scary that looks? (Laughs)

Nomura:       Nomura: So I got them to close his eyes.

  • Cloud’s eyes were left open for the whole scene where Aerith touches Cloud’s forehead and he says, “Mother?” during the developing stages of the movie.
  • The wolf represents where Cloud’s mind remains, appearing on the hill where Zack got shot, in the Forgotten City and the church. Once all the matters were finally settled, the wolf disappears. The wolf represents Cloud’s regrets.
  • The scene where Cloud wakes up in the puddle inside the church was one that the staff had been thinking about since the early stages of the movie.
  • It was difficult to cast Red XIII.
  • The scene where the children jumps into the water and where Aerith, Zack appears was the scene that Nomura wanted to show the most.

?:                 So, we’re leaving those secrets untold? (Laughs)

Nomura:       Eh? What are you talking about? The number of birds that were flying over the ruins?

OK, I’ll tell you.

?:                 What about that message that was written at the opening?

Nomura:       Oh, that message, well ? Oops, the movie’s finished.

?:                 Terrible (Laughs)

Nomura:       What a shame.

End of commentary.