Highly anticipated J-drama Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light finally hit Netflix this month and it’s a beautiful tale of games, family and drama.
Spanning only 8 episodes with each at 20 minutes long, Dad of Light is one of those heartwarming adventures that honestly leaves you wanting more. The show’s narrative is a is a common one among gamers. It starts with son Akio seemingly bored one summer during his youth. His father, Hirotaro, buys him a Nintendo Famicom and Final Fantasy III. This sparks a bond between the two that brings a lot of experiences and memories. However as time went on, Akio and his father grow apart, not speaking to one another at home. Akio still plays Final Fantasy XIV on his PC. While consulting with his friends online in the game, they tell him his father might have fun in the game world of Eorzora. This inspires Akio to purchase Final Fantasy XIV for his father on PS4 and try and befriend him in-game without revealing his true identity. Episodes cut between the present day and memories of Akio’s past. These memories usually start at the beginning of the episodes and have some context to what the characters are thinking.
As you could imagine, Hirotaro gets into a lot of shennanigans in the beginning. A new, gamer, we can’t really blame him for his mistakes. There are moments we share with Hirotaro that include him learning how to walk, how to run, how to communicate via keyboard and how to change in-game clothing. Hirotaro will occasionally ask Akio for help in the game. Hirotaro even tries to enter Akio’s room a couple times with Akio having to turn off the monitor so his dad doesn’t suspect anything. It’s all really adorable and heartwarming.
The show is also beautifully shot. Most scenes are shot in the Inaba family home but also features locales such as Akio’s office, a couple of bars and Hirotaro’s friend’s company. Camera work is typical to that of any other Japanese drama, beautiful and featuring lots of nice bokeh shots. But I’d say about half the show is shot machinima style in the actual Final Fantasy XIV game. The avatars for Akio’s character/friend’s characters are voiced by different people with the exception of Hirotaro who is voiced by his live action actor.
Along with the in-gama drama involving Inaba son and father, Akio’s work life is also influencing his life at home with his dad. His co workers are all pushing him in the right directions with Hakamada, his close colleague, always giving him advice. He develops a relationship with new female office worker Yoko Shoda that helps bring him closer to his dad. Akio and his dad are great protaganists in this show. With the help of the supporting cast, including the mom, Hakamada and Shoda, they really bring to life the story and make it a more believable world.
Netflix really hit it out of the park with this one. Let’s hope there could be a season 2! More Fumika Baba, please.
Ren Osugi as Hirotaro Inaba
Yudai Chiba as Akio Inaba
Mako Ishino as Kimiko Inaba
Fumika Baba as Yoko Shoda
Yoshihiko Hakamada as Takahiro Hakamada
Make sure you check out the official website (Japanese)
And also listen to the fantastic opening song “The Other Side of the World” by GLAY and ending song “AKANE” by Silent Siren