Dad of Light (2017)

Growing up I played video games with my mother. From exploring the treacherous castles in Alex Kidd, to discovering new evolutions in Pokemon; we did it all. There’s something special about being able to bond over video games – the highs and the lows. Naturally when I saw the announcement for Netflix’s Dad of Light I was really intrigued.

Final Fantasy XIV is my favourite video game. I absolutely adore the friends that I have made on the game and the feeling of accomplishment when I manage to clear a hard raid. My interest in the game compounded my interest in the series further.

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Dad of Light (based on a blog by the same name) tells the story of a father (Hirotaro) and son (Aiko) who bonded over Final Fantasy when he was young. Over the years their relationship deteriorated; his father suddenly quitting his job with no reason prompted Aiko to suggest he plays FFXIV in his free time. Aiko has a secret agenda as he plans on befriending his father in game, and creating a bond with him before revealing who he was all along.

I really enjoyed the series. It is approachable enough that you can watch it without any knowledge of FFXIV. However there are so many nice touches and hat-tips to the audience, that you notice if you’ve played the game. When Hirotaro first creates his character he is constantly surrounded by other new players recognisable with the ‘sprout’ icon. This slowly disappears as they make their way through the story. The way that Hirotaro interacts with the game is incredibly charming; one instance had him circling another player to interact with them as he didn’t know how to communicate.

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The story includes other players who are presumably part of Aiko’s Free Company (FFXIV’s version of a guild) who all interact and work together to help Hirotaro beat the game. We do hear some background information on these characters. Two of them in particular met through the game, began a relationship and married in real life. I thought it was nice to include this in the show. It’s quite common to meet people online through numerous avenues and it warms my heart when it’s shown in media.

The story involving Aiko’s nuclear family had me captivated however I could not say the same for his work issues. Dad of Light had the chance to touch on a series issue in regards to women in the workplace. They set it up brilliantly. Aiko was to find out why successful women were joining the company and then leaving shortly after. They mused what it could be and it was thought to be a real issue. On further investigation it turned out the women just thought that the uniform was ugly and it was immediately changed to pink. I felt like they could have done so much more with story line. It was such a disappointment.

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That said I really enjoyed the series and ended up binge watching it. As expected it is a little bit cheesy, but that’s part of the charm. Dad of Light is a charming experience that will captivate you, as you experience the journey through Eorzea alongside the characters. I would recommend the series to not only Final Fantasy fans but anyone who wants to watch something heartwarming.

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