On the Way to a Smile
On a Way to a Smile is a collection of seven short stories written by Kazushige Nojima the scenario writer for the RPG Final Fantasy VII and its spin-off movie Advent Children. Each story takes a look at how the characters have been doing in the two year gap between the end of the original FFVII story and the beginning of the movie Advent Children. The collection started off on the internet where the very first story Case of Denzel was initially split into four chapters, the first being published onto the official Japanese FFVII: Advent Children website on September 5th 2005, a week before the release of the long anticipated CG movie. Over the two weeks that followed up until the movie's release, the remaining chapters were also uploaded.
Later, a second story Case of Tifa followed but was not uploaded onto the web. Instead, it was published in print in a book entitled "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children - Prologue" on the same release date as the movie. This story mainly focuses on the relationship between Cloud and Tifa.
Eventually, over two years later, a third story "Case of Barret" was released with the North American Limited Edition package of the movie on February 20th 2007. Picking up from the start of the the "Case of Tifa" story, we see how Barret is off to settle with his past and go in search of a new energy source for Planet, leading neatly into his entry in the movie itself.
On the very same day of Advent Children Complete's release on Blu-ray on April 16th 2009, a hardback copy of the On the Way to a Smile stories was also released containing revised copies of all three stories released so far as well as four new ones Case of Nanaki, Case of Yuffie, Case of Shinra and Case of Lifestream.
The translations you find here are all of the original versions and not the hard back versions.
The Maiden who Travels the Planet
Not long after the first chapter of Case of Denzel appeared on the movie website, a complete guidebook to FFVII was also published by Studio Bentstuff named Final Fantasy VII: Ultimania Omega. Besides an indepth guide to the game, it also contained a short story (not related to "On a Way to a Smile") named Hoshi wo Meguru Otome , "The Maiden who Travels the Planet". This story written by Benny Matsuyama focuses on Aerith as she travels the Lifestream and is set about midway through the original FFVII game. Although not written by the original FFVII scenario writer Nojima himself, the work was under the supervision of Square-Enix. Before the release of FFVII:AC, Nomura had approached the staff of Bentstudio and said he wanted a new book made for FFVII so that fans can enjoy the game once again. As the original game is now obsolete (unless you check some old second hand stores), this was probably the best thing to do. Besides an in-depth walkthrough of the game, this 592 paged book contains huge amount of details about FFVII such as detailed analysis of the story and locations, original concept art along with an introduction to the recent Compilation of FFVII series.
Initially there was little hope that these short stories would be translated into English and with only machine translations available on the web at the time, I eventually decided to translate the chapters myself to share with those who can't read Japanese. Here you'll find my own raw English translations (i.e. they haven't been edited after translation).
However, with the appearance of the first three stories, "Case of Denzel", "Case of Tifa" and "Case of Barret" story in English, there's some hope that there will be an official translation of the other stories.
Whether you have watched FFVII:AC the movie already or not, I recommend that you read all the short stories as they clarify certain events and will probably change your perspective on things.
For those of you who don't know the original story, you may want to read my full synopsis first before reading the novels.
Compilation of FFVII
The original Final Fantasy VII game released back in 1997 was one of Squaresoft's (now known as Square-Enix or Squarenix) most successful games. It sold more than nine and a half million copies worldwide! With fans wanting more after finishing the game, Squarenix finally decided to work on a project entitled, "Compilation of FFVII" which consists of four titles based around the original FFVII's storyline - the recently released CG movie FFVII: Advent Children, a PS2 game named Dirge of Cerberus , a PSP game Crisis Core and finally a mobile phone game Before Crisis.
Here, you'll also find translations of all other sorts of Japanese only FFVII related material which will hopefully, help give you a much deeper understanding of the FFVII world, changing the way you play the game, and watch the FFVII:AC movie.
Enjoy your stay and I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do!