I was discussing Gladiolus’ Cup Noodle quest on Final Fantasy XV with some friends recently when one of them pointed me to this wiki. Most of the article explains the product placement in FFXV, but a small section at the top discusses the Panasonic FOMA P900iV, a 2004 phone model released in Japan in conjunction with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. This model serves as Cloud’s phone in the movie. I’ve forgotten and remembered pieces of Advent Children trivia throughout the years, but I don’t think I ever knew this. It gives a whole other layer of meaning to the scene where Cloud’s phone falls to the bottom of the lake.
For many years, this scene, featuring whimsical music underplaying a cell phone drifting to the bottom of a pool that is always as deep as the plot needs it to be, was just silly to me. I still find it funny, even after my close examination of this film over the past year revealed its purpose. This scene symbolizes Cloud losing the one thing that connected him to his friends in the first half of the movie. After this point, Cloud can only interact with them directly. In the final fight with Sephiroth, neither his lost phone nor his friends can serve as a source of comfort or safety. Knowing that his phone is modeled after a real product and that, consequently, at least the first half of the movie is a subtle advertisement for it, this scene is now also a commercial showing off the phone’s sleek design. It also demonstrates that it is not waterproof. 🙂
I’ve heard people say that Final Fantasy XV is a giant advertisement for Cup Noodles, but out of everything negative people say about Advent Children, I’ve never heard them call it an hour-and-a-half-long advertisement for a cell phone. I feel like it should be an outrage that the film is filled with product placement, but it’s not. Cloud’s Panasonic FOMA P900iV, and the prominence of phones and cell phones, in general, is product placement done right. It’s visually subtle but deeply integrated into the story. Even the scene where the film does its most blatant advertising isn’t terribly out of place. It’s visually and audibly similar to another silly scene where Cloud and Tifa pass out in a patch of flowers. While the film has a somewhat bizarre focus on cell phones, its only part of the charm of a film that is bizarre for multiple reasons. Gladio’s quest, on the other hand, just makes FFXV’s story look even stupider and the creators look desperate.
I also recently discovered the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children – Reunion Files, an artbook with interviews from the cast and crew. I skimmed through a free copy available online and immediately purchased it. The interviews I glanced at confirmed many of the things I suspected about this movie and more. I’m not crazy! I swear.