Designed by the original character illustrator, Akira Toriyama, and subsequently animated by Toei Animation, the anime style cutscenes or animated videos that depict “scene[s] that develop the storyline”1 deeply impacted the notion of Chrono Trigger. While Japanese and North American players of the original experience never witnessed such fluid and beautifully hand-drawn video cutscenes, the following generation of gamers were influenced and absorbed by them as such, it is a common misconception that these cutscenes were carried over from the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) release; not to mention, that this is especially illogical because of the fact that this console was incapable of exhibiting full-motion video the technology was just not available. A big reason for these videos was so that fans of the original work, as well as those new to the experience, would get a feel for the upcoming sequel, Chrono Cross. Scenarist Masato Kato met with Akira Toriyama and his assistants frequently in order to achieve this concrete tie-in, especially taking great care when creating the ending cutscenes.
These cutscenes not only reinforced events and character personalities, but they also cleared up questions of canonicity, especially when concerning the fact that there were 13 endings at that moment, with the primary ending featuring five different ending scenarios. When beating the game canonically, an overarching ending cutscene brings consistency to the narrative, as well as a build up for the next adventure: Chrono Cross. In order to discuss these themes, below is an archive of these cutscenes and their original equivalents.

Scene 1 (Opening Sequence) “Our Planet’s Dream” 2:37

This opening scene sets up the narrative of Chrono Trigger, drawing the player in with one of the more memorable and quaint melodies of the soundtrack “Crono & Marle - A Distant Promise.” By choosing this music to play alongside the image of friends smiling together, it evokes a nostalgic feeling. The individual who picks up the frame may very well be Crono (although this is never articulated). Whoever it is though, their nostalgia is articulated to the viewer, finally taking on the form of memories, as the individual thinks back on all of the characters and time periods they witnessed and experienced. Many of these scenes are replications of certain events that take place in Chrono Trigger; they introduce friends and enemies, locations and battles.
In faithfully adapting the shift of female gender norms unfolding in Chrono Trigger, Marle, Lucca, and Ayla are depicted as strong and capable protagonists. Marle shoots a bolt at an enemy before it can exact revenge on Crono; Lucca is shown as intelligent and determined, staying up all night as she works on her Telepod; and Ayla runs through the trees before jumping on a Dactyl and riding it through the air.
Another interesting note is the violence portrayed in this opening sequence. By bringing players so close to the action in contrast to the pixelated overview the gamer always sees visualizations of battles are inherently more detailed and, as a result, appear more brutal. This is evidenced especially at 2:21, where a Heckran is sliced in two by Crono after being stunned by Marle and Lucca’s Antipode Bomb Tech (technical) move. This newly introduced violence presumably had an effect on the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating category that Final Fantasy Chronicles received, in which the “K-A” (Kids to Adults) rating was upped to a “T” (Teen) label.

Scene 2 “The Forgotten Robo” 0:22

Entering the Proto Dome, Lucca, Marle, and Crono discover a damaged Robot covered in rats. Their presence alerts the rats, who flee. Lucca retrieves a screwdriver from her handbag and holds it up enthusiastically, implying that she can repair the robot.
This scene helps contextualize the moment you first meet Robo in the Proto Dome. His damage is much more detailed and noticeable when compared to the pixelated rendition of the scene, making his situation feel more hopeless, but ultimately proving and reinforcing how brilliant and resourceful Lucca really is -- even thirteen hundred years in the future.

Scene 3 “Meet Ayla” 0:36

When first traveling to Prehistoric times, Crono and his friends (although not pictured due to different party combinations) are swarmed by Reptites. This is when we meet Ayla, who jumps in to save them. This scene is far more comprehensive of Ayla’s abilities than previously portrayed. Contrastingly, Ayla is shown sporting a club, whereas in-game, her Fists are her sole weapon in battle. She is depicted as very confident and characteristically moves around like a cat, pouncing on enemies. At the end of the encounter, Crono is astounded at the events that just transpired.

Scene 4 “Frog Opens the Way” 1:04

The “Masamune” or “Grandleon,” now repaired, is brought to the Magic Cave. Crono watches as Frog gathers power from -- what seems like the heavens. Imbued with such power, Frog is able to split open the rock face. Crono smiles after the passage is opened and follows Frog into the cavern.

Scene 5 “Frog Confronts Magus” 0:46

Chanting can be heard as Frog steps into a dark room. Several blue orbs light up at his feet as he walks further in. Frog braces himself as the orbs form a circle, illuminating the figure of Magus. He is floating inside of a pentagram of sorts (this looks more like a stained glass surface in the pixel art). This is interesting, since pentagrams were prohibited in Nintendo of America’s censorship guidelines, since they are religious symbols.

Scene 6 “Dino Flight” 0:35

Flying to Tyranno Lair in order to face off against Azala is far more iconic and dynamic in the following cutscene. We see Crono and Ayla mount Dactyls, with a third one following behind (this one is carrying your invisible party member). Ayla is also shown to be very experienced with handling these creatures, as she calms one by petting it. Lavos’ penetration of the planet’s surface is also foreshadowed in both depictions of the scene.

Scene 7 “The Wings of Time” 0:23

Crono discovers the Epoch in the Keeper’s Dome. Once again, he is the only one present due to the varying party members you could choose to bring. In the original scene, it takes much longer to figure out how to fly the Epoch. Belthasar’s memory, stored inside the creature that greets you, explains the controls and then shows you to the cockpit. Instead, in this cutscene, Crono appears to have flown the Epoch before. He jumps straight into the vehicle and fires it up, flying directly out of the Dome.

Scene 8 “Crono Falls” 0:52

As the title suggests, this is where Crono sacrifices himself inside the temporal dimension opened by Queen Zeal at the Ocean Palace. In the cutscene, Queen Zeal is not present, and neither are the two other characters you chose to accompany you. Crono braces his katana against Lavos as it opens its mouth. A torrent of wind begins to suck Crono, Schala, and Magus closer, and Magus (already having knowledge of this phenomenon) is depicted as knowing his ultimate fate. A great ball of energy comes at Crono, and he then recalls what was said to him earlier on from Janus (the younger rendition of Magus). We see Janus as he mouths the phrase, "One among you will shortly perish." In literal Japanese, this line reads, 「 あなた達のうち、誰か一人…… 死ぬよ、もうすぐ……。」 or “One among you… will die, and soon…” Dropping his katana, Crono is enveloped in electricity. His lifeforce is shortly drained from him, disintegrating his body into nothingness.
Since your friends, or Queen Zeal for that matter, are nowhere to be seen, this scene feels empty and does not portray the same atmosphere that is seen in the original. However, it does reinforce Crono’s fate as absolute. There is no denying his death, in large part, due to its detailed illustration. His suicidal courage is also fortified, reflecting back to the previous discussion concerning World War II and its hypothetical influences on Chrono Trigger (see SNES Gender Norms).

Scene 9 “Radical Dreamers” 2:39

After obtaining the canonical ending, the final scene in Chrono Trigger plays. It depicts the royal wedding of Crono and Marle. They are wearing regal headdresses, which are indicative of Crono now becoming a prince and potential heir to the Kingdom of Guardia because of Marle’s heritage (see PS Gender Norms). There is then a cut to a scene in the Prehistoric Era. During a feast in Ioka village, Chief Ayla “proposes” to Kino by forcing a ring-shaped object onto his finger. She then urges him to place the Dreamstone ring she also acquired on her own hand. Kino accepts, and the villagers celebrate the newlyweds. We then return to Guardia Castle in 600 A.D., where Frog, now Glenn, is knighted by the King. Back at Crono and Marle’s wedding, Melchior toasts to the couple and the two wave back at him, leaving the church as husband and wife. Lastly, Marle throws her bouquet into the air. Here, there is a transition to Lucca, who is found walking in the forest with a mini-Robo (most likely one of her creations). She spots a child with a glowing pendant around its neck. Picking the baby up, she walks back towards her house.
Unfortunately, Robo and Magus are not depicted in the ending cutscene. Although both are portrayed in the original Robo is shown with Atropos looking at a sunset and Magus is depicted flying away in the Epoch, respectively. Meanwhile, Ayla’s personality is further imbued with her proposal to Kino, once more displaying her forthright nature; and Lucca’s genius is revealed again with her newest creation, a robot based off of Robo. This may also allude to her nostalgia to meet Robo again.
Strikingly, religious symbolism in the form of two crosses appears at 1:46. Yet again, this coincides with the moment in which Nintendo of America’s game content guidelines were no longer heavily practiced, instead relying on the Entertainment Rating Software Board (ESRB) for deliberations (see NDS Decline in Censorship). This also reinforces the fact that Crono and Marle had a religious wedding ceremony inside of a church.
Lastly, the ending also reinforces the fact that Frog still keeps the “Masamune” or “Grandleon,” as well as the fact that Frog did indeed transform back into a human (a fact that could look more or less ambiguous depending on which ending you received in the original SNES ending), ultimately making this event canon.
Below is a transcription of the credit roll featured during this video:
PlayStation version staff

Executive Producers 
Tomoyuki Takechi, Hironobu Sakaguchi

Yusuke Hirata

Katsuyoshi Kawahara

Production Manager
Kiyomi Tanikawa

Akio Ohfuji

Hiromichi Tanaka, Masato Kato

Animation Sounds 
Square Sounds Co., Ltd., Tsuyoshi Sekito

Animation Production 
TOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD, Producers KouZo Morishita, Tatsuya Toshida

Art Director
Shinzo Gyo

Character Design, Animation Design 
NaoYoshi Yamamuro

Nao Ito

Scene 10 “The Fall of Guardia” 0:31

After beating Chrono Trigger a second time with the “New Game+” feature, this cutscene plays. It displays the iconic Chrono Trigger pendulum before cutting to a Guardia royal crest. Depicted as shadows, two individuals duel. Text appears over the scene, reading, “1005 A.D. the Fall of the Kingdom of Guardia...” The cloaked figure is believed to be Dalton (this was assumed after the release of the Nintendo Dual Screen iteration of Chrono Trigger). Once more, we return to the shot of the pendulum which is quickly replaced by an image of a fallen Truce. Dead bodies covered in blood lay on the ground, while the Grandleon or Masamune is pulled from the ground. A last subtitle reads, “...and the disappearance of the legendary sword, the Masamune.”
The presence of blood and gore in this cutscene parallels the effects of the opening title sequence, showing the players a very real and vivid scene of Guardia being razed to the ground. It is both shocking and violent, and it is most likely due to this video, as well as the violence exhibited in previous cutscenes, that the Final Fantasy Chronicles bundle received a “T” (Teen) ESRB rating.

Works Cited:

[1] cutscene. Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 28 July 2015. .

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