Tales of Symphonia: The Animation
Colette Brunel is the Chosen of the dying world of Sylvarant, and she embarks on a journey to regenerate the world in the name of the people she loves. Her childhood friend, the headstrong fighter Lloyd Irving, follows in order to help her achieve her goal.
Along the way, they meet a host of friends and enemies, and they slowly uncover the truth about World Regeneration. Unbeknownst to them, there is another world, Tethe'alla, tied to Sylvarant, and for one to flourish, the other must fail.
Ultimately, it is up to Lloyd to find a way to save both worlds in the name of the one he loves ...
"Don't die, Lloyd!"
Several THEM members own the game, so this sentence has become something of a key phrase for someone hopelessly in over their heads, and for when certain of us have unexpected misadventures. (Haha, lol, Brian.)
Now, the Tales of Eternia series has been criticized by some for diverging wildly from the plot of the game, though I felt it actually brought something knew to the table. Still, the creators of Tales of Symphonia evidently listened to their very vocal and large fanbase and decided to have the anime series hew faikrly closely to the game's original plot. Fortunately for everyone involved, the game this is based on has one of the best storylines out there.
For those of you who haven't played the game, don't expect a whole lot of action sequences. The game's bosses make minor appearances, but this is definitely not a combat-driven series. Instead, most of the screentime is devoted to the interactions between the various characters. The characters are, by and large, rather likable, though as befits a short OAV series, most of the focus stays on the two leads, Colette and Lloyd.
As in the game, Colette is played with endearing sweetness by Nana Mizuki, while Katsuyuki Konishi holds his own as Lloyd. It's nice to see an anime couple that doesn't start out by quarreling and never even gets there; instead, both of them are sweet on each other from the start. This has the effect of making the truth about Colette's role in the series that much harder to swallow.
The rest of the cast is largely underutilized compared to the anime, but still quite well-done, from the magically talented brother and sister combo of Genis and Raine (hilariously named "Genius" and "Refill" in the original Japanese) to total badass Kratos and enigmatic ninja Sheena.
But what about Xelos and Presea and Regal? We really don't see them, because unfortunately, episode four cuts out just as they're heading to Tethe'alla for the first time, essentially at the halfway point of the game.
Animation-wise, Tales of Symphonia does a rather good job with characters and action animation, though the real treat is right in the opening, which features Eri Kawai's "Almateria". Rarely does a theme mesh so well with an opening sequence -- not since the Lodoss War TV series has a fantasy series had it this good.
Tales of Symphonia: The Animation is a faithful rendition of the game, paced appropriately to present a fun adventure with enjoyable characters. Hopefully ufotable will come out with the promised second half of the storyline, but even incomplete, Tales of Symphonia is a worthy fantasy series in its own right.
As of 2009, the next four episodes are to be released as Tales of Symphonia: Tethe'alla Chapter.
While this is essentially fan service for fans of the series, it's even good for folks who haven't played any of the games. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Teens and up due to violence and onscreen deaths of minor characters. Primarily aimed at fans of the Tales RPG series.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (4/4)
Tales of Symphonia: The Animation © 2007 Kosuke Fujishima / NBGI / Tales of Symphonia Production Committee
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