Ten years ago, a massive invasion by the Erebonian Empire almost shattered the Kingdom of Liberl, piercing to the heart of Capital City before being driven back by a determined counteroffensive led by Cassius Bright. Now, as the invaders pace behind the northern borders, coveting the small kingdom's magic and high technology, Liberl slowly rebuilds with the aid of the Bracer's Guild, whose mystical use of "Craft" is even more intrinsic to the nation's defense than its own army. For young Estelle Bright, daughter of Cassius, this is all just ancient history that she and her adopted brother Joshua learned as kids. But history has a way of repeating itself, and as they prepare to join the Bracers Guild themselves, sinister forces are preparing to thrust them into the familiar family situation of being in the worst possible place when mayhem breaks out. Because when their father's airship goes suddenly missing, of course it only makes sense to two green, but extraordinarily capable, young teenagers to strike out on a rescue mission of their own!
Video game adaptations are not easy to execute, and for good reason. Taking something from one medium to the other, especially mediums like video games or visual novels (in some cases, even manga) is difficult, because whatever has been written is written, well, for that medium.
1)- There's the interactive elements which simply have to be removed or done in a way that doesn't feel forced (if you've seen many video game or visual novel adaptations, you know what I'm talking about). Say, people randomly stumbling across the main character and talking one by one, or it being too easy to tell the important
characters from the irrelevant ones.
2)- The world-building that is so intriguing and interesting may come off as boring and irritating in anime form, because since you're watching people infodump information rather than reading it at your own pace, it comes off as slow and dragging the show down.
3)- The show may end up butchering all sorts of extra content, like side quests which may have added layers to certain characters, added to the feeling of adventure, fleshing out the setting or even simply being a fun scene where we see the characters messing around.
With all this in mind, this adaptation of Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky manages to walk out not only as one of the very worst adaptations I've ever seen, but also as among the worst anime I've ever seen.
The story is atrociously handled, with absolutely no set up towards any of the events in the story or any context as to why things are happening. You see, this technically isn't an adaptation of the first Legend of Heroes game, but rather its direct sequel which continues off the first game. Because of this, nothing makes sense if you haven't played the first game, and as such, it completely fails as a stand alone before it even starts.
Secondly, the games' world is among the most well-written and complicated worlds I've ever seen in a fantasy work period. This adaptation fails miserably at providing us with a feeling for how the setting works, no reason about the majority of the conflicts happening and doesn't bother doing much of anything to make viewers acquainted.
Last but not least, the games at their core are incredibly character-driven, with character motivations clearly built up and foreshadowed with a great deal of care and subtlety. None of that exists here, everything is in your face and over the top, and above all, the audience is disconnected from everything that is happening since there's no real reason to care.
The animation is generally extremely fluid and nice to look at, with backgrounds looking pleasant and interesting. What isn't pleasant to look at, however, is the artwork. The games generally have an incredibly old-school feeling to them, and one major influence for the game's setting is the Miyazaki movie Castle in the Sky, which the character designs and backgrounds for both the original release as well as the Evolution remakes clearly reflect. This is thrown out the window, as none of the characters are clearly identifiable for most of the show, and especially the long distance shots look atrocious. The close-ups look pleasant, but the OVAs have a habit of rarely ever focusing on facial features, which ruins the almost non-existent immersion the viewer may have even further.
The soundtrack is a treat for the ears, and I can confidently say that it is easily the best thing out of this entire mess. Many tracks which are already great in the games are remixed, and a special mention needs to go to the absolutely phenomenal remix of Silver Will. Seriously, here you go. You're welcome.
What you will regret, however? The voice acting. It's atrociously handled, the characters voice actors are constantly yelling for no real reason, everything is over the top and lacks any degree of passion or care and honestly feels incredibly ill-fitting (which is strange, considering that the same voice actors voice the characters in the Evolution version and they sound perfectly fine there). I blame whoever directed this travesty, it's clear they just wanted to cash in on some cheap money and didn't care about anything else.
The worst thing about everything here are the characters, however. They feel like running cliches saying cliche things, and not a single piece of dialogue sounds like something humans would actually say. Why is this a problem? Because the game has among the most human characters I've ever seen in a work of fiction, almost every line they said to each other sounds natural and consistent, their traits came off as the results of their experiences and upbringing rather than being there simply because they have to be, and you know what? They grow up over the course of the games, practically each and every single one of them.
You know, I can rant on about other things. I can rant on about how it doesn't follow the game properly, how it ruins the power levels (which are given an incredible amount of detail in the games), how literally half the story arcs within the games aren't there, how they ruined the beginning and the ending of the game, about how characters who should have died didn't, how they cut out entire characters out of the OVAs and so on.
But you know what? Don't watch this. Play the games; they're immersive, rewarding, fun, interesting and above all, don't insult your intelligence the way this sack of crap does.
I can confidently say that this is easily the very worst adaptation I've ever seen, and I recommend you avoid it. There are almost no redeeming qualities within this abomination, and as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't exist.
Still, maybe one day we'll get a proper adaptation of these games. I cling to that hope and certainly believe that with the right presentation and effort, they can be amazing.
Anime based on a game. Anime adaptation from a video game. Anyway, whatever it's called, my expectations are USUALLY low whenever a video game gets an adaptation, whether its a live-action movie(or simply just movie) or an anime. And to no one's surprise, Eiyuu Densetsu is no different. So for this, Eiyuu Densetsu Sora no Kiseki or Legend of Heroes : Trails in the Sky The Animation gets an anime. One note though, Nihon Falcom is one company which makes one of my favourite RPG game series - Ys.
Getting straight to the point - Overall, Eiyuu Densetsu is just so-so. Story is so
very rushed (and very difficult to understand) and with the amount of episodes(only 2 with approx.40 mins each, since its an OVA) is just not enough for all to fit everything into that time span. It starts of with a very brief introduction of "orbments", goes straight into the OP then followed by a sudden "kissing" scene. Most characters don't get much (ANY, to be more exact) introduction themselves, so you might end up having a hard time knowing the characters.
So the only two redeeming qualities for Eiyuu Densetsu lies in the action-scenes and the animation of the whole OVA. One word for the action - Incredibly satisfying. I'm not kidding, the battles are fast, fluid and its pretty much the most you'll get of out Eiyuu Densetsu. How about the animation/visuals? Character visuals are very detailed and "amazing" is the easiest way to describe Eiyuu Densetsu's animation quality.
Anyway, moving into more detail on the characters, you'll either love or hate them. Main character Estelle Bright is the typical tomboy who isn't so bright and is more to brawn over brains. Her past is later revealed in the OVA but only lasting for a couple of minutes. Joshua, is the typical cool and strong guy cliche. Like Estelle, his past is revealed, but again, very briefly. He is called the "Enforcer No.13," but nothing is mentioned whatsoever about these so called "Enforcers" and his objective is to destroy "Society"; again, nothing much is explained. Estelle and Joshua are the only two characters who gets most of the spotlight in the OVA, later on in the second episode of the OVA, majority of the "other" main characters get tossed out. Frankly, I don't even remember the names of characters (nor do I particularly cared for any of them) in the anime except the two main MCs.
Ending was also very disappointing, it was clearly unfinished and much is left to be explained. But what much can I say? That was rather expected for a 2-episode OVA; introductions and explanations are simply non-existent. Perhaps if you're a fan of the video game, then just maybe you'll enjoy this OVA a lot more. Anyway, one thing's for sure, after watching that OVA, I'm now very interested in trying out the video game. In conclusion, Eiyuu Densetsu : Sora no Kiseki feels like a very plain action(but with very solid action scenes) anime throwing out most of the story.
This OVA really god choice for short watching as a movie, it gets you instantly hooked and holds to the end, but being and short have a lot of downsides that you can find after watching Legend of the Heroes: Trails in the Sky.
First of all short anime equals short story and here you can see one of strange way of telling it: they cut beginning and ending of it (full story can be found while playing the game) and i think it makes more time for pure action. Other than what is good beside few unexplained things that you have to figure
on your own or wait till they slowly and partially reveal to you.
Sound was good nothing too fancy but i loved opening and ending melodies. Art and animation was exceptional especially outstanding action scenes. As rpg game adaptation they truly focused on combat animation and kind of showing character difference in their fighting style and weapons. Similarly all character personalities can be seen just from the look at them (clothes + weapons + face and eyes ("we both have same killer eyes") : hot head tomboy girl, closed inside assassin, lone wolf manly fighter, hard outside little robo girl, older evil friend, other evil sister and THE Leader. It is shame you cant learn almost nothing about them. I adored Estelle (till she started doing stupid things) and i like cool "I can win alone" chars like Joshua, so this show became wonderful journey.
This OVA was just perfect for me I loved instant action and super good fighting scenes, I let lack of the story to get trough and just enjoyed the show.
"From kiss to the kiss"
Being a very passionate JRPG gamer, i`m always excited about anime representations of my favourite games. There are many instances where it works as a nice addition to the source material, even if it basically retells the games storyline or only alters it to some degree (Persona 4, Tales of the Abyss), someteimes it`s a big disappointment and puts shame to an amazing game (Xenosaga). Sadly the Sora no Kiseky OVA falls to the latter cathegory.
Even though the Eiyuu Densetsu games by japanese developer Falcom are
quite popular in their home country, the JRPG series only became somewhat known in the west through its 6th
entry, Sora no Kiseki or as it is known in english speaking territories: Trails in the Sky, that not only takes place in a different universe than its predecessors, but also started a massive, storywise interconnected series of games, known as the Kiseki games (Sora no Kiseki 1-3, Zero no Kiseki, Ao no Kiseki, Sen no Kiseki 1-3... Nayuta no Kiseki).
This OVA is based on the second Sora no Kiseki game that somewhat gained medial attention through its 4 year long translation process of its enormous script and the fact that its main translator attempted to kill himself because of this ardous task. To put it into perspective: The Eiyuu Densetsu games in generall may be the most text heavy JRPGs out there, but Sora no Kiseki was the series new high point. Its japanese version consists of roughly 3 million characters (!), the translated script is almost twice as long as all Lord of the Rings books combined (!).
Now imagine a game this big (the playtime easily exceeds 100 hours) cramped into an 80 minutes OVA...
The story starts about 15-20 hours into the game, you exprience Estelle fighting the Phantom Thief on the Jenis Academy grounds in the Ruan region of Liberl Kingdom. From there the OVA rushes at a break neck pace to what would be chapter 6 of the game. So the first downfall is that we miss 3 (and i might say best) chapters of the game. That wouldn`t be as bad if the story at least had some focus, but basically the OVA rushes through the events of the game without ever focusing on characters other than Estelle. This of cause is a major flaw, because the Sora no Kiseki games are all about the characters. Basically every chapter deals with the past of one of your party members. The OVA neglects the characters almost completely, making them as bland as clean sheets of paper. Whats even worse: The OVA drops about 90 percent or even more of the story events and MANY MANY story characters (hell, even Weissman) aren`t even mentioned. Though i have to give the OVA credit for characterising Estelle really well in the short time given. And then there are the changes in almost all plotpoints. Let`s put it this way: You will be surprised at what point the party meets a certain character. Now, normally i don`t mind plot changes, but the OVA takes it to another degree.
But enough of the negativity, let`s get to some of the OVAs strong points. The OVA was made by Cinema Citrus (also known for their work on the Eureka 7 Movie, which interestingly enough had exactly the same flaws as the Sora no Kiseki OVA). I make it short: The animation was quite impressive. From the first scene on you see alot of action and fights really well and fluidly animated. The colors are vibrant and the character designs (even though quite different from the game - but they do resemble their designs from the Sora no Kiseki EVOLUTION PS Vita remakes) had much character to them.
Another point are the absolutely fantastic remixes or re-recordings of the games soundtrack. If you played the games you will feel a strange sense of nostalgia hearing these rearranged orchestral track. Definitely the best part of the OVA.
You may have noticed, i have a strong passion for the Sora no Kiseki games, so my review may be alittle biased. If they put the game into a 26 episode series, covering all plotpoints and characters, it could have easily been one of the best videogame adaptations ever made, the source material ist just amazing. Sadly the OVA rushes through the story without giving the plot time to sit in or the characters to develope. Whats even worse are the grave changes to the story, that make it feel really awkward. Nonetheless, for Sora no Kiseki Fans it could still be a great experience, mostly for the great soundtrack and flawless animation. Hell, i had tears in my eyes when i saw the intro.^^