Revisiting Final Fantasy 7: A book review on Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile by Kazushige Nojima

The apocalypse is over, but the journey is only beginning.

 The world may not have ended after the Meteor fell, but life has forever changed for the survivors of the cataclysm. Mako is no longer a viable source of energy, and an incurable new disease is spreading amid the societal upheaval. But even when brought face-to-face with grief, regret, and despair, people will find a way to pave their own path to the future-to stand tall and live.

 This collection of short stories serves as an epilogue to one of the most beloved installments of the hit Final Fantasy video game series, as well as a prequel to the cinematic follow-up, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

A must-own for enthusiasts and newcomers alike!


Final Fantasy VII: On the way to a Smile by Kazushige Nojima is a great book that any Final Fantasy 7 fan would enjoy. The book is composed of short stories on how the main cast live their life after they save the world from Meteor and it also gives you glimpses of the thoughts of Sephiroth and Aerith as their consciousness lives in the Lifestream. It serves as a sequel to the original Final Fantasy 7 game and a prequel to the Advent Children movie.

This book was first released in Nihongo in 2009 and an English version was released by Yen Press in 2018. Reading this book was such a joy for me that I regret I was not able to grab a copy sooner. It brought back nostalgia as I revisited Midgar, Wutai, and Correl with familiar characters that I love. 

 What I particularly like about the book is that it shows how life was still difficult for everyone even though the end of the world has been averted and how everything seemed to take a turn for the worst now that they are no longer relying on Mako energy. It is a world where everyone backpedals to a more primitive era where they rely on alternative sources of energy apart from Mako such as coal and how this step-back also affects a newly discovered disease- the Geostigma.

Geostigma: A terminal disease with no known cure.

The novel also emphasizes how crippling the Geostigma is. I liked how the novel doesn’t hold back on the symptoms and signs of Geostigma because I felt that these were not particularly obvious in the movie: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The description that the book provides is so graphic that you can practically imagine a thick, disgusting goo of black sticky liquid oozing off from an infected person as they are moaning in pain. Nasty, right?

 Another aspect of Final Fantasy VII: On the way to a Smile that I liked is that the story is divided into separate, yet interconnected short stories. It helped me to get to know the characters better and it was interesting to read about their thoughts, their fears, and their personal challenges. Out of all the short stories, my favorite was Nanaki’s because it revealed a side to him that I didn’t see in the game and I also liked the chapter of Rufus Shinra because it humanized the Turks. After reading Rufus’ chapter, I developed a newfound respect for the man and his crew. Hahaha and this is pretty big for me considering that I thought they were rather villainous when I played the game when I was younger.

 I really don’t have any critique to say for this novel. If I have to nitpick, readers who are unfamiliar with Final Fantasy VII may not appreciate this novel as much because it does not provide much background information on what happened during the game which eventually led to the events in the book.

However, despite this, I still think that Final Fantasy VII: On the way to a Smile is a great book. Haha…I may be biased because I am a Final Fantasy fan but reading this book brought back pleasant, childhood memories that I’ve had of the game. Overall, Final Fantasy VII: On the way to a Smile is an amazing book and it’s a must-read for any Final Fantasy VII fan!

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2 thoughts on “Revisiting Final Fantasy 7: A book review on Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile by Kazushige Nojima

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    1. Hi Michael, thanks! Please credit me if you plan to include part of my post in your blog. It would be great if you can leave a link to your blog post because I would be interested in reading your post as well.

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