Fonons. Essential components of all matter on planet Auldrant.
Ages ago, a new type of fonon was discovered—the Seventh Fonon. Its discovery threw humanity into chaos, for if one could use the Seventh Fonon, one could learn the future. Wars over the Seventh Fonon raged across the lands, ending only when the miasma—a poison from within the planet—covered the entire world. This is when Yulia appeared.
A fonist skilled in prophecy, Yulia saw thousands of years into the future and foresaw a way to seal away the miasma. With the guidance of her prophecies, humanity sealed the miasma deep within the planet.
Over two thousand years passed.
The world is ruled by Yulia's prophecy, known as the Score. People believe in the coming “unprecedented prosperity” promised in the Score, never straying from the path set forth in the Score which will lead them to that prosperity. They look to the Score as revealed by the Order of Lorelei, the religion Yulia founded, and hold that the greatest virtue is to follow the Score faithfully.
Yulia's Score tells of a young man who is necessary in order to bring “unprecedented prosperity.” His name is Luke fon Fabre. An heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear, he was kidnapped as a child by the kingdom's enemy, the Malkuth Empire. Since his return he has been confined to his family's manor for his own safety. He has no idea of the evil that now draws close.
The most impressive aspect of this manga adaptation of Tales of the Abyss is that it includes not only a good re-telling of the game's events, but also a series of short side stories that illustrate the lives of certain characters-- protagonists and antagonists alike-- as they were before the events of the game. This provides fans like me more details on their favorite characters and delves deeply into events that were only vaguely mentioned in the game. My review of the Tales of the Abyss manga focuses heavily on these side stories, as they were the most striking in their presentation of new material
as well as their truthfulness to the characters and events of the game.
First comes the story. The plot is the foundation of any manga, and is the most important aspect of it. I have rated the plot of Tales of the Abyss with a 10 because it depicts the complexities of the plot of the game very well, and as I mentioned before, brings more of it with the series of backstories it includes.
The art was pretty. I was, however, bothered a bit by the manga-ka's apparent inability to draw hair that is NOT in the process of flying about romantically. I know that flowing hair is pretty, but not when the hair never ceases to flow. Then it just gets distracting. Now, I'm not depriving this section of a 10 purely because of the hair, but it was definitely a factor. Hair just doesn't do that.
Characters get a 10, just as the story did, and for many of the same reasons. The characters were developed in this adaptation even more than they were in the original source material because of the added depth in the back stories, which was a phenomenal accomplishment meriting a 10 in my humble opinion.
Clearly, the enjoyment factor contains a bit of bias. Mostly because this is a manga adaptation of one of my favorite video games ever, but also because many of the backstories included one of my favorite characters ever, Anise Tatlin. However, even without these, I would still find this manga highly entertaining.
Overall, I give it a 10. I obsessed over it, and it is one of the few adaptations of a game that not only lived up to, but in some ways surpassed its source material. Also, it's pretty, with the exception of the gravity-defying hair.
If you like Tales of the Abyss, you will adore this manga. So read it now.