Tragedy strikes the lives of Cless Alvein, a young swordsman, and Chester Barklight, a young archer, as they return to their village of Totus to find it razed to the ground by the mysterious Black Knight. To take over the world, the Black Knight seeks to claim the power of the Demon King, Dhaos—sealed away by the ancestors of Cless and a young cleric named Mint Adnade. Dhaos's reawakening signals not only the end of the Black Knight, but potentially the world. Cless and Mint must now journey a century into the past to rally allies capable of vanquishing the Demon King for once and for all.
Tales of Phantasia The Animation follows Cless and Mint's journey through time to long ago, where they forge an alliance with the half-elf sorceress Arche Klaine and the summoner Klarth F. Lester. Together, they strive to defeat Dhaos and his army in saving the past as well as the years to come.
Game adaptations are rapidly becoming a dime a dozen in anime and, surprisingly, the Tales franchise is leading the charge. Like all adaptations though, they can be a bit hit and miss and, in the case of some of them, heavily dependent on first hand knowledge of the game itself.
Tales of Phantasia should be a prime example of this. Should be ...
The story is basically the same as that of the game, barring a few minor differences of course. A band of heroes must defeat the evil sorcerer Dhaos, with much in the way of fantasy action shenanigans along the way.
Surprisingly, the whole anime actually works rather well as the plot doesn't really let up at any point, and because of this, watching Tales of Phantasia is more like watching a good action fantasy movie. In essence, the series is nothing more than an abridged retelling of the game's story, and while there are some minor differences, the essential points remain the same. The show doesn't really try to portray itself as anything that claims to have a degree of substance, and to be perfectly frank, this works far better than a faithful 13 or 26 episode adaptation.
Like many adaptations though, Tales of Phantasia looks and sounds better than it actually is, however unlike most others, the difference here is marginal. The designs are taken from the game, again with some minor alterations, so there's no real creative skill involved there. Where the show does shine though, is with the smoothness and fluidity of the animation. There is a lot of action in Tales of Phantasia, and the animation level never really drops in speed or quality throughout the show.
As for the sound, the music is either taken from, or inspired by, the game itself. Once again, the fact that this is an adaptation places certain creative restrictions, however the choreography is very good, especially during the more frenetic scenes. In addition to this, the acting is actually pretty decent throughout. Since the original game didn't really feature any voice acting, there was a certain amount of freedom in choosing the right actors for the roles. While the are some minor niggles here and there, the seiyuu are generally good in their portrayals of Cless, Mint, and the rest of the gang.
To be honest, I wasn't at all sure I would enjoy this the first time around as I hadn't played the game at that point (I have done so now though), however I found that this didn't really stop me enjoying the show as long as I didn't try to treat it as anything more than a decent action fantasy. In that respect, it works surprisingly well as entertainment, in particular because there's usually something interesting going on in the show, one of the advantages of the abridged format.
While I know that there are numerous people out there who will decry Tales of Phantasia for "not having enough plot" or "not developing the characters", I should point out that if one is watching a show in order to be entertained, then such things are not always necessary. In the case of this OVA for example, the length of the series prohibits any serious development, yet the fact that the whole tale has been compacted into an easily watched anime means that the story is accessible to a far greater audience than before.
Tales of Phantasia is a rarity in game adaptations, not simply because it really is entertaining, but also because it's easy to watch (there's a difference you know). Like any game adaptation though, the creative limitations sometimes leave one wishing for something with more bite.
To start off, I'm going to clear some misconceptions.
This OVA, in my opinion, is heavily targeted towards the audience who have played the game. For a 4 episode anime, it clearly does not cover many significant aspects of the actual story, as you would expect. Many reviews, including external resources out of MAL, disregard this important matter and criticize and how lacking the anime is.
For fans who have played the game, such as myself, it is an extra treat. Tales of Phantasia could easily be seen as one of the best Tales series out there, but you won't get the appreciation out of it through the OVAs, but through the game.
The animation is great, especially the battle scenes. The theme songs, especially the ending theme, "Prayer" by Masami Suzuki, really gives you a very emotional feel that will leave you feeling mixed emotions of sadness, hope, and tragedy; at least that is what I felt. I really love the song.
As I have played the game, I know the actual story, and I truly appreciate this story and animation.
Some people say that the characters are typical cliche fantasy characters, but these characters are, undoubtedly, very well presented. As you may have guessed, do not expect to see much character development; you get all of that in the game.
So in summary, if you have played the game, I greatly suggest you watch it, but do not watch it for the story, as the OVA is very slightly different than the game itself. Watch it for a recap and to appreciate the characters coming to life as it is very well illustrated and it creates a truly memorable "Tales" experience.
For those who haven't played the game, but still wish to watch it, go ahead. This animation has the qualities of a great anime, but being only 4 episodes long, the plot is greatly reduced, and is heavily ignored/criticized by people who have not played the game. It is truly a shame.
I give the ratings I give only because I have played the game, which makes my rating biased. But I also believe it is because I watched this anime expecting it to be a recap and only to see the characters coming to life, not as a series.
If you have the time, I suggest you play the game. The Super Nintendo (SNES) version you can find is the Japanese version of the game with unofficial translations, but the translations are cleverly done and quite enjoyable. The GBA version of the game is just horrible,voice acting especially, although the graphics may be a little better. I suggest the SNES if you do wish to play. Do not underestimate this game just because it is old.
1) For fans of the game = Must-watch
2) For people who have not played the game = Highly recommended to appreciate the animation, but not the plot, as it is rushed.read more
The Tales series games have made welcome additions to any RPG aficionado's collection since the 16-bit era. Every single installment I've played has been, at the very least, good. Not surprisingly, a lot of the Tales games have received anime adaptations. So, where should you start when looking at these adaptations? How about with the original Tales game, Phantasia.
The story in the OVA is close to the story in the game. A demon lord named Dhaos is revived at the expense of two villages and two young people, Cress and Mint, are sent back in time to find two magic users to bring back to their time and defeat him. If you've played the game then you can probably spot some difference there. That's why I said "close to" rather than "exactly like." The OVA does leave some stuff out, mainly for the sake of time, it's only four episodes. For those of you who are curious about the OVA but aren't interested in playing the game, as little sense as that seems to make, I'll talk about how it stands on its own. It's a really fast paced adventure. The story is a lot of fun and they manage to get quite a bit of complexity into it. Really, there are two issues. The first is that the pace is hectic. There's a lot of story in the game and they fit as much of it into the OVA as they possibly can. The result is that things progress really quickly without much time for things to wind down or the action to fall. The other issue is that there are some scenes that only make sense if you've played the game. Without that background they seem to be kind of pointless. Now, these are pretty minor problems for anyone who's played the game, but they could bother you if you haven't.
Tales of Phantasia has some spectacular characters. The OVA keeps their personalities intact. It also fits in the most important aspects of their backstories. The only real exception is Suzu who barely plays a role in the OVA, showing up in only a few scenes. One thing that the OVA does do better than the game is fleshing out Dhaos's character. In the game his motivations are barely touched on and he comes off as being randomly evil for the evils until the very end. In the OVA they actually make him a really sympathetic character which makes the conflict much more three dimensional and interesting.
The art is pretty good. They manage to copy the monsters really well. The action scenes are exciting and have a grand scale. It looks similar to the cut scene art in Lunar 2. My only real complaint is that the noses look bizarre. They're barely there in most scenes, although they occasionally become more pronounced for no apparent reason. It's a minor complaint but it bothered me.
The voice acting is really well done. Kusao Takeshi does really well in the hero's role, almost like he's played a similar role before. Which he has,several years before Tales of Phantasia he played the role of Adol Christin in the Book of Ys OVA, I may get to those eventually. Kanai Mika, Inoue Kazuhiko and Itou Kentarou also do really well. Morikawa Toshiyuki is well suited as a villain. In fact, I think I've heard him do it before in a different video game based anime. Admit it, you looked it up. The background music is really similar to what you might find in a game, appropriately enough, and the theme music is... not particularly memorable, sorry to say.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. I've always thought that Phantasia would be a better game with some yuri, not that it isn't awesome anyway, but the OVA did not change that.
My final rating for Tales of Phantasia is an 8/10. This is a great anime, especially for fans of the Tales games. You will probably like it better if you're a fan of the game, but it's still enjoyable if you just like a good fantasy story. Either way, give it a try. read more
Based on the video game by the same name, Tales of Phantasia follows the journey of Cless, Mint, Klarth, Chester, and Arche as they try to defeat the demon king Dhaos, who is bent on annihilating the human race.
Like most anime series based on video games, Tales of Phantasia lacks many essential storyline elements, preventing it from living up to its initial potential. While the premise promises a grand, fantastical adventure, Tales' limitation to 4 episodes makes this impossible. The storyline is rushed and unless you've played the game you won't understand some scenes (why, for instance, is Fujibayashi suddenly in a fight to the death with her own father to prevent him from entering Dhaos' castle?).
The series' brevity further results in a lack of any substantial character development, and moments that should have some build-up are forced and unrealistic (Chester and Arche go from disliking each other to cuddling up close after a 5 second apology). The story itself lacks depth and is cliche, and it may become hard to watch even all 4 episodes when there is nothing suspenseful or shocking.
Weak storyline notwithstanding, Tales has exceptionally clear, attractive animation and lots of cool magic spells. Characters and scenery are sufficiently detailed but nothing special, and character designs are original. Both the Japanese and English voice casts are superb: in particular, Cless (in English) is voiced by the extremely popular Johnny Yong Bosch (see Ichigo in Bleach, Lelouch in Code Geass, and Kiba in Wolf's Rain). The OST is nothing spectacular but it gets the job done and sounds professional enough. Overall, aesthetic and audial elements make Tales of Phantasia a well presented package, but the storyline plays out too much like the video game on which it's based and cuts too many corners to be anything special.
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