Posted by psgels on 18 April 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews, Tales of Phantasia

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Tales of Phantasia is a small OVA, consisting of four episode and based on the RPG with the same name which came out about ten years ago. I truly recommend this to everyone who’s looking for something interesting to watch.

People might claim that this anime is only worth it if you played the game as well. That is absolutely not true. I didn’t play the game either and I totally loved this. Okay, in the beginning, you’ll see a lot of inexplainable thing happen. But don’t see that as a reason to quit this anime, see it as a reason to use your own head for a bit. Try to figure out what happened before. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy this OVA even more.

The graphics in this anime are totally amazing. Perhaps they even stand above the extreme quality of Tsubasa Chronicle Torikago no Kuni no Himegimi. In any case, they belong in the category of top-5 best graphics ever. The CG is just brilliant to see. There’s just so many attention put into the details, and don’t forget the incredible way the creators integrated these with the rest of the graphics. The character designs are also one of the very few today that really are unique. Each and every one of them stick to your mind like superglue. It doesn’t really plan to come off too soon. They look just too awesome, my favourites are Arche and Klarth. The music also is a masterpiece. Ranging from the OP to the ED, from the quiet moments to the dramatic moments to the battles, everything just perfectly fitted.

The characters themselves are also greatly developed. Especially if you consider that this OVA just takes a mere two hours to tell its story. I know some anime which couldn’t even come close to achieving this much character development in four times the same amount of time. I also liked the fact that every personality has something unique, which at the same time really characterizes that particular character. The way each character interacts with the other is also just amazing.

The story itself isn’t too complex. This, however, is greatly made up in the way it’s told. The creators somehow manage to make each second of this anime count. As the tale to be told is huge, and there are only hours available, the pace of storytelling is high. There are some rushed parts, but these take in no way at all away the power of these scenes.

There’s just one thing I don’t like about this anime. It’s just too damn short! I would have loved to see each of the characters fleshed out even more. I would have loved to see even more character developments, backgrounds, stories, et cetera. Maybe four episodes was a bit too little for such an awesome series. Still, I’m glad I was able to see this.

Final Rating: 95/100

4 Responses

  1. Zanz says:

    Great review!
    Yes, it was too damn short. As a fan of the ‘Tales’ series (and an even bigger fan of Kosuke Fujishima) I was a little disappointed with how they handled Suzu Fujibyashi – IMO, one of the more complicated backstories. But, hearing Klarth say various summons and Arche shouting “indignation” made up for it.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Hmm, I never knew Suzu had such a complicated backstory. It’s indeed the drawback of having just four episodes. I’m also finding it a bit strange that I’m the only one in the anime-blogging community who’s noticed this series, as I never saw any review of any of the episodes at all. Anyay, thanks for the comments. ^_^

  3. Andrej says:

    Wow I totally agree with your review..just finished watching it and I have to admit, it’s one of the most satisfying endings in anime I’ve ever seen. Same complaint though…tooooo short :*(

  4. Firechick says:

    I just finished this series earlier this morning and I loved it! But not to a point where it’s going on my top 20. But I loved it nonetheless! And even I didn’t even play the game (along with Tales of Symphonia and Abyss).

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:32 PM)
    An anime original that wasn’t an adaptation of some manga, LN or VN gave it a certain charm and unpredictability, which is absolutely a welcomed addition. Now I’m not gonna deny its plateura of problems, but it’s hard to sit back and hear people call Casablanca shit because it doesn’t have the flair and optimism of Age of Ultron.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:29 PM)
    Misanthropy in anime is old, cliched and boring. But that wasn’t the case when Eva did it. Plus it features characters like Misato and Kaji that are very hopeful for the future, going as far as planning to filter the ocean and regrow vegetation for society. There is definitely a bigger focus on misery, but as explained that was a mirror to Anno’s deteriorating mental health, which in itself added an angle of intrigue to the show.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:22 PM)
    Now does it look old? Does it seem overdone and unoriginal? Absolutely. But that’s no th fault of the series for not accounting for viewers who are watching it 20 years later, after getting exposed first to all the stuff that have heavily borrowed from it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:19 PM)
    It also perfectly explained what the instrumentality looked like for people that were in the process of assimilation, so it was a fitting end; albeit admittedly a weird one. Episodes 25 and 26 just chose to show the stream of consciousness of how the process was perceived by someone inside the sea of LCL. It made sense if you cared to pay attention along the way, so to call it completely nonsensical is unfair and entirely reliant on personal misinterpretation.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:14 PM)
    Also End of Evangelion is a masterstroke of the animated medium. That’s not just my opinion as a fan, but an opinion that’s been echoed in the circle of critics, many of whom don’t even care about anime. Even the classical conservative critics on IMDB gave it an average of 8.3, that is far from shabby.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:05 PM)
    Discounting the influence of a show is an arbitrary parameter that you’ve just come up with to undermine the series- nobody agrees with such restriction. And again, the genre deconstruction, the great cinematography, the slick character design, the music, the unconventional plot and creative ending, are all points that stand on their own regardless of how influential Eva was or wasn’t.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 02:58 PM)
    And no, Archer hated Shirou’s childish ideology, and he heartheadedly stuck to it, knowing we’ll what suffering he has gone people (including the future version of himself) thru. A World where nobody cries is an absurd goal, that is as illogical as it is unattainable.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 02:56 PM)
    @Aidan: nothing exists in a vacuum. The year the show got released is an extremely important factor, and a horrible show would never leave such a mark on the industry.
    Plus I spoke plenty about the reconstructive elements of Eva, that has nothing to do with its influence. Everything from SAO to Fate has copied exact scene compositions from Eva; just Google it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 02:47 PM)
    Two last things. Shirou in that timeline has very little chance of becoming Archer.
    And the end of the TV series wasn’t Annos fuck you to the audience. End of Evangelion was Annos Fuck you to the audience. Thing is instead of getting pissed off, they cheered.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 02:42 PM)
    Either way Mario said he might do a review of the First Eva tv series. I am curious to see if he will be quite so enthralled with it seeing as it’s his first time watching it and he hasn’t been deluded with years of it’s “influence”

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