This was basically included as part of Advent Children Complete. It tells the backstroy of Densel, the kid who randomly appears in Advent Children without much explanation.
Story: This basically fills in a lot of the blanks about Denzel, his relation to Cloud and Tifa, and the conditions of Edge. The story is pieced together with parts of both the game and Advent Children. It follows Denzel on his journey to discover someplace he can belong. The story is touching and a little sad.
Animation: The animation switches between CGI (like that in Advent Children) and regular animation. Both are done as one would expect from a company like Square, captivating and enjoyable.
Sound: The sound from Advent Children can be found in this OVA. If you liked AC's music, you'll like this.
Characters: Along with the group we already know, you are introduced to some new and interesting characters as Denzel moves around. Despite the amount of characters in such a short piece, they are excelently done and tie together a rather interesting storyline.
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: November 30, 2013. Supplemental Review: On The Way To A Smile: Episode Denzel.
When Advent Children was released, Last Order came alongside it. When the Complete Version of Advent Children was released, here’s On The Way To A Smile: Episode Denzel
This is the story about Denzel and he aims to enlist in the World Regenesis Organization (WRO) and he leaps back into his past. some parts of this story takes place during the game and even before Advent Children.
To be technical, this is a production between Square Enix and A-1 Pictures and I assumed that Madhouse was behind this and I was wrong. The Animation looks gorgeous but the character designs aren’t perfect but it still looks nice. There isn’t much action in this one but some of the visuals look fantastic and appealing. A-1 Pictures has not disappointed me when they made Black Butler, but they have disappointed me with Fairy Tail. Fortunately, they don’t disappoint with this OVA.
The music by Takeharu Ishimoto does surprisingly compliment this OVA unlike Last Order which was forgettable. This OVA doesn’t have too much memorable music that is exclusive to this OVA but there are a few tunes from the game that do fit in. There’s not much said here, so moving on.
Like Last Order, an English Dub does not exist. Kazumu Iwata is ok as Denzel, and there are other seiyus like Takahiro Sakurai (Cloud), and Ayumi Ito (Tifa), but they don’t appear that much. Fumihiko Tachiki was a nice little treat to hear however. The casting’s okay though.
As with the characters, Denzel is interesting and some of the exclusive characters are okay, but since they get little screentime from 10 to 20 minutes, these characters aren’t as memorable. Reeve is in this one and he’s from the game. And even Cloud gets a moment and so does Tifa, but that’s pretty much it.
As for the story, it is an interesting one alright, Denzel’s past is fully fleshed out thanks to this OVA, but I really think this most of the OVA could’ve been used for Advent Children. Another reason I say this is that the disease Geo-stigma (referred in Advent Children) is explained much more in this OVA even though it can be obvious when viewing Advent Children after playing the game. It would have been great if this was computer-animated like Advent Children and reserved as a short prequel to Advent Children. But I guess that wasn’t meant to be. Since this OVA is short, my reviews of these kind of OVA’s tend to be short. I try to mention more stuff but there isn’t anything else I can say about this OVA.
On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode is available by Sony Pictures and it is released with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, this can only be viewed on Blu-ray. The book that is called On A Way To A Smile that is similar to this OVA has not made it overseas.
With that all said, On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode does give some insight to Denzel’s past that makes his backstory fully fleshed out with a decent backstory in the OVA and really good-looking animation. The characters aren’t much but at least they were okay, and even the music was okay too. I don’t know what kind of caliber this OVA would fall into but I can say that this is optional viewing considering this is within the universe of Final Fantasy VII.
I give On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode a 6.2 out of 10, it is DECENT!
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