A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show is built around an endearing father-son relationship, with the pair bonding over a role-playing game when the son is a child, and then again when he's an adult.
Positive Role Models
Akio and his father are both loving and kind, even if they sometimes find it hard to talk to each other. Stereotypical gender representations: A mom is generally in the kitchen in an apron, a girl blushes over compliments to her hairstyle, office ladies wear uniforms at work.
Violence & Scariness
Characters frequently play a game that has animated battles with weaponry.
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One joke revolves around the word "butt."
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Products & Purchases
This show is sweet but has heavy commercialism: a dad and his son bond over a game; scenes show them buying the game and playing it; the game's cover is prominently shown, too.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character who's presented as kind and worldly smokes cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light is a Japanese-language show about a father and son who bond over a role-playing game. The show is very sweet and squeaky-clean, with no drugs or drinking, only the most genteel of off-color language, and very mild violence (animated role-playing game battles). Parents should also note the marketing messages tucked within the show's relatable main thrust: scenes picture Akio and his dad buying the game, looking at the game's cover, learning how to play the game. The characters in the game also pop up in the show's action, as Akio and his father use them to speak to each other. Parents may also want to talk to their kids about some of the representations of gender seen in Dad of Light (does Mom never leave the house?). The subtitles and jokes/plot twists that revolve around an understanding of Japanese culture make this show unlikely to interest younger kids, though game-loving teens should enjoy this quirky story.
Is It Any Good?
Marketing messages never went down so sweetly as they do in this genuine oddity, a Japanese-language mashup of family-love drama and role-playing game quest. The central fantasy of Dad of Light (that name! almost as weird as the original Japanese name, Daddy of Light) is made clear in the show's credits, with an image of Dad kneeling at his son's feet to teach him how to throw a baseball dissolving into an animated scene that shows the dad's Final Fantasy character kneeling before his son's avatar. Instantly, we get it: Through identifying with fictional characters, humans can break down the barriers that keep them from connecting. It seems like an obvious idea, yet it's handled with such delicacy here. Akio genuinely yearns for his father's love, feeling the gulf between them as they sit at the breakfast table, silent in identical white shirts and ties. When he presents his father with the gaming system he hopes will bring them together, his eager face waits for his father's reaction: Will he be pleased? Or will Akio's hopes be dashed?
Indeed, though it's hard to relate to a game company's desire to push more product, it's easy to relate to a son who just wants more time and attention from his dad. And that's why this highly unusual import is worth a look, particularly for viewers with a soft spot for family dramas. You may just be surprised by how moving you find Akio's efforts. At one point, Akio's dad seeks reassurance -- he's scared to explore the woods near the game's imaginary town. "You'll be fine," says Akio kindly. "There will be monsters, but they aren't strong ones, so you can easily defeat them." It's as good a motto for life as any.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.