Two worlds exist, both unaware of the existance of the other. In order for one world to flourish, the other will have to perish. On the perishing world, a Chosen one is sent on a journey to restore that world's mana by awakening the Spirits and becoming an angel. Colette Brunel, the Chosen of Sylvarant, sets out on her journey accompanied by her best friends Lloyd Irving and Genis Sage. As they travel further they meet more friends and even more enemies, while they learn more and more about the truth behind the World Regeneration.
Well, this OVA of course comes from the video game Tales of Symphonia. So, the story is the same, however theres quite a few parts left out. However, I don't think it is quite right to say that just because of that the story isn't that good. This is the animation, not the game. Sure, it's based on it, but it's not gonna be an exact copy of it.
It starts really being a kind of 'save the planet' storyline, as a girl who is the Chosen One and her friends set out for a journey to a tower where she'll become an angel and rescue
the planet. However, after Lloyd (the main character) learns something serious about becoming an angel, the story takes a pretty big twist, which it pretty interesting. The OVA ends really like only about half-way through the game, so it does not give you a feeling of closure whatsoever, but that's exactly why more episodes are supposed to be made at a later date.
The artwork is similar to the cut scenes from the video game. Which means it's pretty good. Everything is nicely drawn, and the motions are pretty fluent. It's more of a simplistic style, which is actually quite nice.
The voice acting really couldn't have been better. The voices really fit the characters greatly. The background music isn't spectacular, but serves its purpose and is fairly good. The OP, I feel, couldn't have been better for this OVA. It, for some reason, just felt so perfect for the overall mood and tone of the show. The ED is actually a song that Collette, the Chosen One, sings in the series, so I guess it was a nice idea to have it as the ED.
The characters are all pretty cool, and each have a different personality, making them very likable. They didn't really get too develop themselves very much, which is unfortunate and disappointing, but I don't think it is fair to degrade the show for that, since it's simply 4 episodes.
Enjoyment would have been a 9 if the battles were better. That's really my biggest disappointment. The fights were very short and curt, and rarely involved a lot of intricacy or really just intensity, especially the battles against the seals. However, despite that, it's still a pretty enjoyable watch since there's a lot of emotion and, well, it's really just fun to follow it along, even if you haven't played the video game.
Story: This OVA is based off the game by the same name "Tales of Symphonia" basically there is a girl that is the "chosen" and she is to go on a mission to save her world from dying of a mana shortage. She is joined by her friends and they go on the journey for her to become an angel, which she needs to become to save the world. Now, I won't say this OVA won't be enjoyable if you haven't played the game, but you will notice that there are big gaps in time which they are supposed to be filled in in the
game. And if you've played the game, you'll be disappointed only because it has sooo much potential to be a very good anime series, but it cuts short :( Assuming you haven't played the game, there'll be some plot twists, and should keep you interested.
Art: If you've played the game, then you've seen the movie cut scenes that show up every now and then, and seeing as how Gainax produced those scenes, it's understandable that it was high end animation. Although Gainax doesn't produce the OVA, the quality stays. The characters are drawn well, and all the animation is smooth.
Sound: I assume sound means the soundtrack and voice acting, both of which I felt were okay. I enjoyed the voice acting more than I did the music, mainly because of a very good cast. You'll recognize many of the voices, and I they fit the characters well. The soundtrack wasn't bad, but nothing memorable, personally, i got kind of bored the OP, and ED.
Character: The characters never had a chance to progress, mainly because the series was so short. There was some progression, such as with Sheena and Lloyd, and change of character with someone else..., but there wasn't much gradual change. The characters are fun to watch, there are many personalities, serious, nerdy, naive, kind, etc. with all of them complementing each other.
Enjoyment: Ever since I played the game a few years ago, I loved the movie cut scenes, and always said that they should make a series just from this, and now that they did, I had to watch. Although it did not nearly meet my expectations, I did enjoy it, in fact it had me wanting much much more. But as a person who has never played, I'd imagine that they would enjoy this series moderately, seeing as they'll obviously notice plot gaps, and a pseudo-ending.
Overall: I give this series a 7 mainly because I thought it had an unimaginable amount of potential, but alas, this OVA series seems more like a promotional trailer for the game. And seeing as it is an OVA, it's too short, making the creators progress the story too quickly. I'd recommend anyone to watch this, and it may even make you want to play the game.
The problem that occurs when trying to make a show/movies/anime about a game is that you are inevitably going to have cut a fair amount of content, this problem is amplified when you try to adapt an RPG, because you are cutting a 50+ hour game down to 2-10 viewing, and skipping this content normally REALLY hurts the show in question. Now it's time to see how hard Tales of Symphonia hurt itself, at least for the first part.
The Short Version:
(+)The music is delightful.
(-)The entire thing feels rushed.
(-)The characters aren't really fleshed out.
(-)You can tell they just want to get past the beginning of the
game in the first episode.
(-)The art quality is below average for its time
The Story (6/10):The story is a simple thing to grasp in this show, one of the main characters is more or less chosen by 'God' to become the Child of Regeneration and save this world from it's own destruction, basic 'Save the world plot'. But there are points in the story that WILL throw up a "Dafuq?" flag in your brain. An early example is what would be the first boss battle in the game, where some "baddies" have appeared in the MC's village and threaten the populace, the MC and head baddie duke it out, the hero wins, but then the show cuts to the villages salvaging their burnt down houses, this is the point where I thought, "Hang on, where the fuck did the rest of the baddies go? Did they die? Or did one of them just go, "Well I'm going home, whose coming with?" Then the rest of the lads followed him. There're a couple of these moments throughout the OVAs but there's not enough of them to leave you questioning the entire show, just a fair amount of it.
Another thing with the story is that it horrendously rushed, like someone on the development team just said, "Ok, I know we need to make this good, but let's just get through all of the beginning of the game so we can get to the better stuff A.S.A.P." If you're not a fan of fast paced anime, this may very well throw you off, as the entire show for the most part, plays out in this format.
The Characters (6/10): Their are 5 Main Characters in this anime, to get these guys and their relation to each other out of the way for future reference:
Colette Brunel, The Child of Regeneration and childhood friend to Lloyd and Genis.
Lloyd Irving, Male lead and evident love-interest of Colette.
Genis Sage, Child mage and brains to Lloyd's brawn.
Kratos Aurion, hired bodyguard of Colette and probably knows more about the situation then he's letting on.
Refill (Raine) Sage, group healer and big sister of Genis.
The characters as a whole are a fine group, but individually they would not hold this show in the slightest. But as a group though, they hold it just enough to keep you going. The love exchanges between Lloyd and Colette are cute, Kratos fills the mandatory badass slot but he pulls it off without also being an asshole, Genis and Raine are there to help Lloyd and Colette along and almost nothing else.
After 4 OVA's I feel that we know just enough about the characters that we get their emotions and motivations, but not enough to feel for them in any given situation, and another thing I noticed was that there are what I call 'Houdini' characters, characters that pop up for a couple minutes then disappear just the reappear later on.
Art and Sound (14/20): Now if you actually read the anime info off to the side, you'll notice that this anime was in fact animated by ufotable. I'll warn you right now, don't expect their Kara no Kyoukai, UBW, level of animation, it isn't here, but the animation that is there is good for the time, you're looking at Fullmetal alchemist level of animation, not Brotherhood, just the original series, but with smoother edges. Special note that, even then, they had their 3D revolving on point.
The sound isn't your everyday fare. The OP is actually rather calm compared to modern day anime and the ED is much the same, and the voice acting is standard but special note to Kratos' VA, his voice is so good.
What do you think of this anime?
I won't actively go out a look for a physical copy of this show, I wouldn't even buy it if I just saw it at JB Hi-Fi and thought, "Yeah lets buy that one." I would've seen this in the recommendations and just streamed it at home.
Would you recommend this anime?
Yeah I would, only for the last stretch of the show, so unless you pre-plan to watch all three parts, you might very well only watch this part but I implore you get watching, you'll be pleased.
Tales of Symphonia, the original being a video game, is probably the best rpg games out there for both Gamecube and PS2. From its epic plot to its memorable characters--one of the best villains of all times, Yggdrasill!--all the way to its awesome soundtrack, it is a masterpiece.
The OVA does an excellent job in capturing the most important aspects of the videogame, although, leaving out some major side plots that are very significant to the overall theme. Even with it's fast paced, and sometimes obviousness that is not present in the original game, the OVA allows fans to relive that heart-rendering experience with the
characters in control. Although, we, the players, have no more role in revealing the destiny of their Worlds, it would seem as the characters have evolved from our level of direction! Awesome OVA, 10/10.
It doesn't matter where you look, you're bound to bump into a couple of anime elves. Some of them are mischievous, others are kind and a few of them are just magical. They come in all sizes and live in diverse worlds. Come on in, it's time to meet some interesting characters!