Ah, this episode was much better than the previous one. It didn’t come without flaws, though. I’m especially critical because Tales of Phantasia probably is my most favourite OVA ever, so this series has a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, Tales of Symphonia won’t be taking over that title, though it’s definitely fun to watch.
The most obvious bad point for this episode has to be the ending: they have yet to reach Tethe’Alla, which means less time for my two favourite characters, Presea and Regal. Their cases had better receive enough time in the final two episodes. And especially now tat Lloyd and Colette are getting so much development, I just WANT to see Genis and Presea together.
My second point of critique was about the stuff that was left out. In this area, where Tales of Phantasia succeeded, Tales of Symphonia fails. The great thing about Tales of Phantasia was that it allowed the viewer to fantasize for himself about what happened during the parts that weren’t shown, without it feeling incomplete. The best example has to be the line “and you had to burn our villages for that?!” It gives just enough information to perfectly explain that situation, and leave the rest up to the imagination of the viewers.
Tales of Symphonia acts like the left-out pars never happened. Take Marble, for example. Her case is essential to explain why Lloyd and Genis embarked on their journey in the first place. In this episode, it seems that the Renegades have been completely left out as well, which were supposd to be the explanation of why Lloyd and Colette managed to rejoin with each other. The explanation the anime used is just bad. I mean, how often do you run into each other, in the middle of the DESERT?! The Expheres have also been left out for both Genis and Raine. The reason why they can use magic is also beyond me.
Palmacosta was also left out, but that was inevitable,, as it had absolutely nothing to do with the main story. It is a pity to see the destruction of the town of Luin missing, which was supposed to have given Sheena some valuable character-development. Either that, or that’s going to happen in the next episode. It would be really bad if she’d just ended up joining Lloyd, just because he spared her life.
Which brings me to my third point of criticism: Lloyd. His translation into anime just didn’t go well, and he ended up looking like all other carefree, ambitious shounen-heroes out there. Again, Tales of Phantasia also managed to avoid this with Cless. The guy is determined, he knows what he wants, he’s struggling inside, and he doesn’t try to be a hero in front of others, only to fail horribly.
Okay, enough with the bad points, now the good points. Apart from Lloyd, all other characters were AWESOME in this episode. While Tales of Phantasia put more emphasis on its story, Tales of Symphonia is definitely about the characters. I loved how the creators managed to keep in Rain’s ruin-mode and seasickness, and her and Genis’s reaction when Lloyd started bashing the half-elves also was really interesting.
Colette, while I hated her in the game, also turned out really cute. I like how she broke some clichés throughout the episode, when she indeed didn’t have to fight much, and didn’t get to save Lloyd at the last possible moments. Kratos also was much better than he was in the game, where he sometimes was like a wimp. He’s much more mature, and he really shows his strength this time. Thanks to him, the fights are also interesting, with the tactics inserted. The highlight was his fight against Sheena.
It’s a bit of a shame that Sheena’s entry at the Ossa Trail was left out, but apart from that, she looked awesome in this episode. Zelos surprised me. He’s not the lovable idiot I remember from the game, but I think we’ll get to know that side in the next episode.
Another thing that really took a turn for the better in this episode: the music. I think that this is the only part where Tales of Symphonia can call itself equal to Tales of Phantasia, as they sound really beautiful, and they give the perfect mood to the entire episode.
Overall, this episode really was fanboy-worthy, though again, it’ll never beat Tales of Phantasia. I’ll never forget Klarth’s triumphant laugh after he slaughtered the army full of flying beasts.