English: Tears to Tiara
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 6, 2009 to Sep 28, 2009
Premiered: Spring 2009
Licensors: Sentai Filmworks
Source: Visual novel
Duration: 24 min. per ep.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
Score: 7.351 (scored by 18,819 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Fire is fed by the wind and extinguished by the wind,
Grant us peace."
Okay, now I will admit one thing here. I have been itching (that's right, itching), to review this series from around episode 6. There's very few shows that have that effect on me, and almost every one is a special case. This one is no different, not because the show is actually good, or because it's well animated, or even because it has a good soundtrack. I've been wanting to review this show because of the things that inspired it's creation, and by this I don't mean the eroge that came before (although admittedly this version is based on the PS3 remake). Instead, I mean the cultural, historical and mythological references that have been poured in, mixed around and served to the audience.
If there's one thing that I've always loved about anime, it's the way that the creators take things that we know and turn them on their head. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes ... the end result is just a little bit special.
Tears to Tiara is a case in point.
The series, as I've already mentioned, is based on the PS3 game of the same name. However, don't be fooled into thinking that the show loses points because of this. The producers have done a remarkable job in that, if you haven't heard of the original game, you would have no way of knowing that it's based on one.
The story is set in a time very similar to the Dark Ages in Britain. A group of soldiers from the Divine Empire have come to a deserted village belonging to the Gael tribe. Their purpose is to take the priestess Rhiannon, who is also the chief's daughter, and use her as a sacrifice to resurrect the demon king Arawn. Rhiannon's brother Arthur senses something wrong and goes to rescue his sister.
And now to the nitty gritty.
Tears to Tiara is, quite simply, the proverbial dragon's hoard when it comes to references, both historical and mythological. The creators have dipped heavily into Welsh Prydaic myth and Arthurian legend, as well as "The Chronicles of Prydain" by Lloyd Alexander (a series of five books that remain, to this day, among my top ten fantasy reads). There is also a healthy smattering of historical references, from Londinium (the original Roman name for London), to Gaius (based on the Latin name for Julius Caesar). Even the Divine Empire is a reference to the Holy Roman Empire.
What impressed me the most about the series is how it plays about with mythology and history to create a story that is both flowing and understandable. The numerous references to Welsh mythology that appear, like Dyrnwyn, Annwn, The Cauldron of Ressurection, amongst many others, are used in an extremely intelligent manner. Even the names of some of the characters are taken from mythology, Arawn, Ogam, Llyr, etc, etc. There's also a smattering of Christianity in there as well, but anyone with half a brain will see those references fairly quickly.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of the various references then google it or ask me, but there's too many for me to put down here.
Now one would think that having so many references would be an attempt to hide a poor story, and normally I would agree (with a proviso of course). Tears to Tiara, on the other hand, has not only a great story, but also a cast of characters who are pretty damn good overall. The plot is extremely well paced and flowing, and there is nothing that occurs that doesn't have an impact on the progress of the story (although some instances may not seem that way at first).
Art and animation are big plus points for the series. Oriental Light and Magic have doen sterling work blending CG and normal animation. The backgrounds are atmospheric, but lack a certain polish on occasion, something which, once or twice, has distraced me from enjoying the show. The characters on the other hand, are extremely well animated, especially during combat. One of the high points for me were the differences in sword styles used in the show, something which was particularly in focus during the "duel" between Octavia and Arthur.
As far as the designs go, the anime seems to have followed the path set by the game. This has both advatages and disadvantages, and is the main reason why I'm of two minds where the design is concerned as all too often the original template needs some updating. The advantageof using the original character design is that no time is wasted envisioning the characters, but the disadvantage is that the show lacks a certain creativity because of the inherent limitations from using this method.
The music is very well done throughout the series, in particular during several scenes where the choreography between visual and aural is superb. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the OP and ED. The OP is a nice enough J-Rock track called "Free and Dream" (sung by Suara), and is nicely choregraphed, especially the metaphor where Arawn and Arthur share an apple while fighting back to back. My problem with it though is that it's a bit too "boppy" for my tastes. That doesn't mean it's not suited to the show as it does have a hopeful and joyful feel to it, it's just that given the theme of the series I would have preferred something a bit more in tune with the overall atmosphere of the show.
The ED, "True Sky, Blue Sky" (sung by Aira Yuki), on the other hand, is pure J-Pop and it really feels out of place given the nature of Tear to Tiara.
The cast used for the series are noteworthy in that they are also the same voice actors used for the PS3 game. I actually applaud this move as rather than bringing in new actors, the producers have stuck with people who are already familiar with the characters. This actually shines through with the quality of the voice acting as the cast are able to really sink their teeth into their respective roles, something they were only able to do in a limited fashion before. Granted there are one of two annoying voices in the crowd, but the series is well served on the whole because of the experience of its cast.
The characters actually represent something of a quandary for me as I'm familiar with the mythic and histroical usages of many of the references. Because of this I have a slightly different take on them than most, especially those in the lead roles. Out of all the cast the one who really stands out is Arawn, and the one thing I most liked about him is that from the beginning of the series he is a complete character. Much of the development occurs on the part of Arthur, Rhiannon, Morgan and Octavia, and whilst the girls may be sporadic with their growth, Aruthur is coninually pushed by Arawn. In essence, Arawn (and Ogam to a degree), play the father figures to the humans, and it was nice to see the producers acknowledging this by allowing the viewer to understand the reasons behind Arawn's actions.
I actually found myself liking most of the characters in the series, even the Fairies. There isn't any single character who I would call truly annoying as, for the most part, the characters spend much of their time on edge.
This is an extremely good fantasy anime that may appeal to fans of Fate/Stay Night (because of the Arthurian references), as well as to fans of Arthurian legend, Celtic myth, or even Roman History. The pacing and style of the series, together with it's numerous well used references, make this one of the better fantasy anime I've watched.
Now why can't all game based stories be as creative and enjoyable as this one? read more
THEME. The themes of this story was indeed not something to be awed for bewildering unexpectedness; The themes are not very new and are often discussed in many literature. Some of these literature are dated as far as back as the Egyptian and Babylonian times. Not telling what the themes are~~
CHARACTER'S MOTIVATION. Frankly, the motivation of the characters in Tears to Tiara was a cliche. I'll give you a hint, "mamoru" is a big key here and for otakus, this key word "mamoru" is very redundant because it's used in many of the animations currently distributed today to provide characters a motivation.
CONFLICT. I like the fact that the only conflict mentioned in the series is not restricted only to the Holy Empire.
FASHION. Although Gael is a group of a less developed native people, I believe that their sense of fashion was awkward when I had my eyes set on them. For instance, Arthur shows his abdomen, in current fashion, that's considered extremely awkward for males to dispose their abdomen despite wearing a shirt, but the animators sense of creativity that they put in to make the awkwardness contribute to the idea of their primitiveness.
As for the Holy Empire, Gaius wore the Romanian military uniform. Although, it's not original, his fashion clearly showed which era and country he comes from and clearer symbol he reveals about himself.
VIOLENCE. I believe the violence wasn't too extreme. Since the setting of Tears to Tiara is set in the medieval times, only swords, bows, catapults, spears, shields, arrows, and hammer are involved. There aren't many limbs cut off from sword fighting or beheading, but there are definitely scenes where blood is spilled when two sides cut one another to defeat their enemies.
THE BGM. The intense music mainly supported by the strings and bass sounds, created the intensity of a bloody battle.
VOICES. Arawn's seiyu depicted a good example of his haughtiness, and Ogam had a low pitch voice which gave the idea that he is a normal humble old man. However, Riannon's moe voice of Goto Yuko do not match her charisma of Gael's female chief, even if it was provide her immature characteristics.
The opening did not contain too much rock or hip hop characteristics making it so that the time setting set by the music does not upset and interfere with how the actual time setting the story should be set in.
The first ending, blue sky true sky, although the ending of how the little girl running shows the entire cast of the story, I didn't like the fact that the girl running there gave spoilers. The ending did contained some energy to make the viewers still lively and be disappointed by the fact that they reached the ending. Moreover, the beat was allergro (120-168 bpm) making it a very fast and bright piece of music.
The second ending, weeping alone, makes a considerable contrast compared to the first song because it's a bit sadder. Since this story consists of violent scenes and would obviously have some mourning scenes, it was wise for the creators to create a song of a bit sadness to create a grieving mood.
I believe that the names of each character gave away too much about what each of the character's roles were and what the next consecutive events would take place. Which takes away too much of the fun to predict what the next episode would occur. For instance, the protagonist Arthur's name and his personality clearly gives away the name of the famous British epic hero.Nonetheless, the exaggeration of the epic heroes made by myths and legends does not become the characters; they still form their realistic characteristics.
I've enjoyed the series because it had a very witty method of using the names of other Welsh, Christian, Roman, Greek, British, Latin and other cultural names to produce some form of symbols for the characters. For example, the 12 white spirits was a clever representation of the arrogant 12 Greek divinities who believes that they are perfect even though they are not.
I felt Tears to Tiara was very unoriginal but at the same time unique. What I mean is that the fruits are not unique but when you mix them you get a unique juice: the Tears to Tiara, the juice, was just a story that consisted of popular cultural tales, the fruits. Even though the tales were not their work, the story in which they used the tales to make a very ironically original plot deserves an applause. read more
The art style is pretty good, the outfits and landscapes looked great. Fight scenes were nice and bloody. However the background music was very repetitive throughout the series, the same three or four tunes that were straight out of a 1995 RPG game. Almost as annoying as the dialogue. The word 'Mamoru' is permanently scribed into my brain. "This guy killed my dad so I have to kill him! ah but wait, he's my friend! I totally forgive you now that I think about it, you're not such a bad guy." Give me a break. I honestly got so annoyed listening to these characters talking that I skimmed through the last 5 episodes just to see how it ends. Which was typical and boring.
Not such a bad series, but 26 episodes is far too much for the content within it. If you're into the hearing 'blah blah blah protect my friends' and 'blah blah sacrifice myself blah blah' over and over, dive right in. read more
The general plot of the story revolves around the Demon King Arawn becoming the leader of the small Gael clan, first leading them to fight off a malevolent Divine Empire,, then eventually to stop the corrupt gods that seek to destroy the world. The story is standard fare as RPGs go, even without comparison to its predecessor. Unfortunately, beyond even the uninspired narrative, Tears suffers from awkward pacing: on multiple occasions, apparent looming conflicts with the series most regular antagonist are ignored for multiple episodes in order to explore other sub plots or character arcs that sprout inorganically from the main story. Even worse, the transition of the primary antagonist from the Divine Empire to the corrupt deities known as the White Spirits is jarringly abrupt and lacking the world building necessary to properly convey the escalation of danger.
The underwhelming story might be forgivable had the cast been entertaining or endearing; they are almost uniformly neither. While Arawn is an improvement over Hakuoro as a protagonist, on account of starting off with much more personality thanks to an absence of amnesia, he is probably the only of Tears' characters that are a clear improvement over their precursors. The next most important characters, Riannon and Arthur, are adequate as the romantic interest who's a reincarnation of someone from Arawn's past and a tediously honor-bound warrior and future leader. With the exception of Ogam, who fills the standard wise old sage role, the remaining cast are so devoid of personality that some of them don't even warrant a stereotype, defined only by a recurring “joke” and the weapon they wield. One pair of characters get a scene about two-thirds of the way into the show presenting them as a longstanding tsundere-admirer relationship, despite having no interaction prior. Such an incident demonstrates that the anime is simply ticking off a checklist of expectations rather than making a genuine effort.
Not helping the character depictions is the dub. The translation is clearly attempting to be grandiose and noble to fit the story's epic scope, but instead comes across as trite and overblown, especially when the subject matter turns to power of friendship or honor speeches. Further complicating the acting is the effort to give many of the cast Gaelic accents, which in seems to make it more difficult for several of them not to speak their lines in a grating squeak (Greg Ayers' Negi Springfield voice is back, for example).
The animation is thoroughly average, although absent is the conspicuous CG from Utawarerumono used in the large battles. The trade-off for the more consistent look is that the fights are scaled down, which hinders the scope of the story. At least the character designs are appealing.
If you really want a mythic fantasy adventure where the protagonist leads an oppressed people to freedom and survival, watch Utawarerumono instead. If you already have, there's not really a need to watch Tears to Tiara. read more
Awesomely awesome show, had me hooked from episode 1. It is a tad gory so beware, but other than that i loved it. One thing that bothered me though was that the characters, while amazingly drawn, etc, aren't extremely fleshed out, so they don't have a ton of personality. Rhianon comes off as a bit flat and helpless, and while she is married to Arawn (not a spoiler, it's in ep 1), not much is said about their union.
Seriously though, great show, i love the mythological and arthurian ideas thrown in, as well as the background music and themes. Enjoy!
this anime... is... somewhat lame in plot development, everything seems too random, i mean, after a certain event they just turn around and say oh this is next... its like, dude??? wtf??? there weren't any good plot buildup at all... and this.... just ruined the anime for me
the only thing that's likable about this anime is the artwork, i love the dragon and elf look, but especially the elves X) they were cute ;)
the sound was... just sound =P nothing spectacular, nothing amazing... it was just sound...
ok... so they try to incorporate humor... but its pretty lame... and then one of the elfs likes to cry over stupid things and idk... i was just turned off by that... the only thing i really like about the characters was Octavia because she's a beaut ;) the looks remind me of Feris from Legend of the Legendary Heroes
the only thing that the series had going for it was Octavia... i swear i only watched the anime for Octavia... and disappointingly enough she doesnt show up much after they developed her so much in the series... -___-
well... all i can say is, if you want an amazing anime series to watch, dont watch this one, its disappointing read more
I thought i would enjoy as much when i watch this anime. However, i personally feel that 26 episodes for this anime is far too stretched out for it. I feel the characters gave too much pointless speeches that made me want to fast forward and just watch the ending. But, i know if i do so, i might miss a few important parts of it.
Somehow, i managed to finish all 26 episodes and in the end i couldn't bring myself to give it a bad rating as it is still a good fair of anime. read more
The anime starts out with an interesting story arc, but by the end of the second episode that is completely blown. This one episode should have been four. Within one episode a girl is to be sacrificed and the demon king returns to life to destroy the world. Then a twist comes...The Demon King turns out to be on the good side. He then sides with a tribe and becomes its chiefton through marriage. All this takes place in two episodes, without any character, story development, or backstory explaination.
Over the next few episodes, characters never become developed as more are tossed in. By the end of 5 episodes the Demon king has 3-4 wives, a few maids, and a minstrel that shows up and then vanishes.
Before we know it we are 8-10 episodes in and we have no clue about the world or the political structure. The empire is bad...but we have no clue why. The only thing we have to go on is a few badly used mythological references and names that are slapped on. (oh but a few more wives show up).
This is an anime that trys to be smart but fails miserably. From horrible celtic accents, to slapped on mythological references with no story or character development.
The only positive about this anime is the art, and even that is nothing special. The sound is average as well.
This is no LOTR or Arthurian Legend, its a piece of garbage that is posing as a fantasy. I have no clue how anyone could rate this an 8 or above. And the horrible part is the fact that it had 26 episodes to get it right.
The main characters are all well-conceived and have a strong presence throughout the whole anime. You automatically come to love them.
Some old legends are mixed up in the plot (including the Arthurian Legend e.g.) and give the whole series a kinda familiar touch. The drawing style is very beautiful and so are the opening and ending. The choice of voice actors fits the anime really well, too.
You could argue that it's one of those typical Eroge/Adventure animes but it's not and is so much fun to watch and be thrilled.
I can't understand why no one I know knows/likes Tears to Tiara but everyone's taste is different after all.
For me it's an awesome series I'll always love.
Okay, I admit. First time I watched It I found it bit boring at first, but when I got into it, It was difficult to stop. So don't give up so easily (especially not after the 2nd episode, which can make one maybe drop the anime).
In the end, the anime is filled with action, moral questions, humor. So, not just useless fights or philosophy.
The characters all differ from one another (and some of them a re a bit strange, but that's not so unusual for animes). It adds a lot as if all were relaxes or hot tempered, we'd get no where, things are starting to repeat themselves.
As you can see a lot in animes about the anctient history or Middle Ages, those who are responsible to everything are men. It's easy to see here the sentence "behind every great man there stands a woman". But the they don't just stand there. They shade the men's advantage. They're not just another minor character without a personality, but they succeed, each in her on way, to be strong, brave and leaders.
I really like the animation, though white her looks a bit off for someone who in overall doesn't look too old. read more