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Final Fantasy V

(Boss Fight Books #18)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  26 reviews
When Final Fantasy V was released for the Japanese Super Famicom in 1992, the game was an instant hit, selling two million copies in the first two months alone. With its groundbreaking job system and seemingly endless character customization, FF5 appeared to be a shoe-in for North American distribution. But the game, unlike Final Fantasy IV and FF6, was dubbed -too hardcor ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Boss Fight Books (first published September 12th 2017)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tight and fascinating love letter to a Final Fantasy installment I've never watched or played. Now, should I? :)

A few highlights along the road:

~ I love Chris Kohler's voice. It makes events that happened two decades ago sound so immediate.


Poring over more issues of magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly as the years went on, I slowly became aware that not only did Japan get the cool games first, sometimes Japan got games that we never got at all. Eventually those feelings of childhoo
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I started playing Final Fantasy with the I&II compilation released for the GBA, followed by each game in succession until the GBA ran out of titles (with one quick side trip to the DS for the III port). I had very little knowledge of the franchise, so I went into each game without much expectation aside from my homegrown hype built from playing the previous title. I didn't know as FFV charmed me with its job system and numerous optional cutscenes that Western gamers gave it a lukewarm reception. ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: games
(Full disclosure: FINAL FANTASY V author Chris Kohler and I both have books being published by Boss Fight Books. The publisher distributes a free digital copy of each new book to its stable of authors prior to publication. I read my copy of FINAL FANTASY V of my own volition, without being asked to leave a review.)

At this point, anyone remotely interested in video games has heard of Square's Final Fantasy series even if they haven't played one. Final Fantasy V isn't typically one of the entries
Peter Tieryas
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully "fantastic" book and a fascinating look into what makes Final Fantasy V so special!
Nicholas Zacharewicz
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Disclosure and Disclaimer

My thanks to Boss Fight Books for sending me an advance copy of this book for the purpose of review.

Up front I feel like I need to admit to some things about Final Fantasy V and the book of the same name.

I was one of those people who enjoyed the fan translation of this game in the late '90s that Chris mentions. But I didn't just enjoy the fan translation, I loved it.

I had played the other Final Fantasy games available at the time (also via emulation), but Final Fanta
Alain Casseus
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Final Fantasy V is the first book of the latest season of Boss Fight Books, written by Kotaku editor Chris Kohler.

In many ways, the author's experience with FFV and Japanese only titles in general mirrors my own. Personally, the first time I went through it was in Japanese. I learned about the different colors (ao-mahou was my favorite, Blue Magic), I found that it was actually still possible to finish a game without understanding the plot in its entirety. I say "still because the first game tha
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
cute and very detailed.
Margaret Sankey
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I still know absolutely nothing about this as a game, but I did find this entry in the series to be really interesting as a study of how Japanese games functioned as a window (a necessarily limited and often eccentric one) to Japanese culture and language. Following the model of the series, Kohler talks about the game that most influenced his subsequent career as a game designer and critic, illustrating the 1990s world of buying imports from Japan by calling a number in the back of a magazine, t ...more
Caleb Ross
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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Final Fantasy V Boss Fight Books book review

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Chris Kohler's Final Fantasy V opens with an engaging analogy that compares the presence of Japanese manga books in a few mid ‘90s American comic book stores to magical portals that gave the author a window into Japan when he was a young boy. These portals were rare, yet he had one in his own hometown. Though
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Light, breezy book on one of my favorite games of all time. Like many people in the US that grew up playing Final Fantasy games, I didn’t have a ton of respect for Final Fantasy V. I remember wondering where it was, being excited about finally being able to play it when it came to the US, and ultimately being disappointed in it after finishing it. The book briefly discusses the Four Job Fiesta, which I take part in every year, and which also gave me the appreciation I have for FF V today. I’m st ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology
Fun little book written by a guy who as a teenager in the 90's bought the Japanese-only Super Famicom version and worked on the internet with college students to make an English translation.

I love the Final Fantasy series, though I've really only passed 2 or 3 of the old ones because I don't have the time at this phase of my life. The author briefly outlines the history of the series and company and the Nintendo to Play station changes along with his personal history of pioneering a lot of onli
Jesse Lehrer
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
The best book I've read in the Boss Fight Books series yet. Chris Kohler not only goes into the details of FFV's history, the important of the game to FF, and the relation of FFV to western audiences, he does it from the point of view of a kid who was actually pivotal in bringing the game to the west originally - he, along with a couple others, wrote the original FFV guide on the legendary gamefaqs website. It's a truly unique story and one you will rarely find reading about video games. His lov ...more
Bill Mason
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though I enjoyed Final Fantasy IV, I didn't try FFV until much later in college; even then, I only dabbled in it. The author weaves together his personal experiences of the game with interviews from members of the development team. A serviceable accounting of the history of one of the gaming industry's oddballs: not officially released in the US despite outselling it's US-released predecessor by over half a million copies, etc. Thanks to this, I expect I'll make a little more earnest attemp ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, really enjoyed reading it to the point that it was hard to put down. I never played FF5 to completion but it was really interesting reading about it and the systems it had in place. Chris Kohler breaks down the game and its history really well and his personal stories really add to the overall narrative behind the game's English release.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent view of ff history

This reads really quick and is half history and half (excellent) fan service of the personal connection to the series. If you haven't played ffv or haven't in a while but enjoy old or new rpg's its a good reminder of old school gaming.
Matthew Cohen
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m no longer a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise of games considering their current direction, but the classics are special to me. This is worth reading for anyone who appreciates the franchise’s golden age; an ode to a misunderstood and deceptively complex classic.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
It's a good book! I'm just not quite the audience for it.
Devin Helmgren
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I near perfect dissection of what FFV is, but also what it became, and what it represented to fans on both sides of the Pacific. An absolute winner.
Jamie Galea
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short, breezy read on the history of Final Fantasy V - one of the more underappreciated games in the series.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read! Loved all of the backstory behind its creation and the unique connection Chris Kohler had with the game in the 90s! Kept looking forward to reading more. Thanks for writing this!
Tieg Zaharia
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Actually a good history for the whole FF series -- the story behind Yoshitaka Amano, the rivalry with Dragon Quest, the English translations for FFV, etc.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Amusing and informative retrospective on one of my favorite games.
Vsevolod Zubarev
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
A well-written, detailed account of the creation of the game, beloved in Japan even more than FF VI.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan, video-games
Borrowed from a friend that lived through a remarkably similar situation. A relatable story about a teenage otaku in the '90s and his passion and ingenuity in a world of early internet culture.
Kathryn Hemmann
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Final Fantasy V is a book about the experience of growing up in the 1990s and discovering Japan by way of video games. This story is familiar to many people who came of age along with the internet, and Chris Kohler, who was born in 1980 and currently works as an editor at Kotaku, is the perfect person to tell it.

The book opens with a history of the early Final Fantasy series narrated from the perspective of the author, an American who has to glean bits and pieces of knowledge from magazines like
Agustín Fest
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Un libro ensayístico sobre la creación de uno de los videojuegos menos gringos del mundo. Si te interesa cómo fue creado Final Fantasy V, además de por qué no llegó a este continente; si quieres entender un poco la subcultura que lo rodea y cómo muchos de nosotros empezamos a tener hambre de estos videojuegos; si quieres explorar los procesos que seguimos para traerlos a América (desde la traducción hasta la piratería), este es un buen pedazo de historia.
Hui Jing
rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2017
Nathan Walker
rated it liked it
Nov 10, 2018
Arturo Bory
rated it it was amazing
Jul 09, 2020
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Jan 15, 2018
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