Final Fantasy IX, one of the most beloved entries in the JRPG series, is getting a cartoon adaptation aimed at eight to 13-year-olds.
Reported yesterday by Kidscreen and confirmed to Kotaku by Square Enix, the French production company Cyber Group Studios, known for their children’s edutainment shows, will lead the project.
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In a press release, Pierre Sissmann, CEO of Cyber Group Studios said, “We are honored and enthusiastic to participate with our friends of Square Enix in such a great adventure.” Cyber Group Studios COO Dominique Bourse added, “It is a dream come true for our teams in France and in the U.S and we already look forward to creating a great piece of entertainment that respects this fantastic brand.”
Released more than 20 years ago, Final Fantasy IX was seen as a return to the series’ fantasy roots after the previous games, Final Fantasy VII and VIII, introduced audiences to a darker, more technopunk version of the franchise.
Final Fantasy IX is the story of Zidane Tribal, a thief contracted to steal a princess, Garnet Til Alexandros XVII, from her home in the royal city of Alexandria. As with most Final Fantasy games, several plot turns ensue and the game ends with a band of misfits consisting of a literal child, an autonomous construct with a soul, and a genderless gourmet chef with a thing for frogs, fighting god.
It will be interesting to see how Cyber Group Studios tackles some of Final Fantasy IX’s darker subject matter. While kids are smarter and more culturally aware than TV executives like to give them credit for, it might still be difficult to navigate FF9’s themes of death, depression, war, and genocide in ways palatable for 8-13 year olds. However, of the recent Final Fantasy games, making a children’s show out of FF9 makes the most sense. It’s more lighthearted (aforementioned genocide and war themes aside) than its predecessors, and its plot is fairly straightforward—no Sephiroth clones or memory wiping monsters living in your brain to keep track of.
In addition to production, Cyber Group Studios will also handle merchandise licensing. Given that this show is aimed at young children and tweens, expect to see Vivi plush toys coming to a store near you.