Posted by psgels on 28 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



The thing I like about the Tales of-games adaptations is that they’re all done by different animation companies with different ideas. This way, the shows remain fresh, and are prevented from getting milked out, since all of them have their own styles now. Tales of the Abyss, while it suffers from some of the major pitfalls of RPG-adaptations, also manages to avoid quite a few of them, and is worth the watch if you’re into fantasy series.

The biggest pitfall it failed to avoid is of course the very questionable power management: teenagers have enough magical powers to save the world compared to adults with much more experience, little girls can control monsters as if it’s nothing, and trained royal guards die as easy as flies. It’s something that’s very hard to avoid in this genre, but it’s still pretty grating.

Thankfully though, the show has enough to make up for this. It really stands out in its character-development, which is pretty much a trademark of the Tales of-games by now. A lot of emphasis is put on internal trust: a lot of the main characters in this series are pretty flawed, and because they all have their own mistakes and secrets, a memorable bond grows between them. Especially the lead character, Luke is notable for this, as even though he may look like it, he’s far away from your typical male lead in such fantasy series. To explain why would be too much of a spoiler, though.

The storyline is also very well done, and impressive for an RPG adaptation. For once the king of an empire can be something different from either a fascistic pig or an incompetent flower-child. The show has plenty of villains, but all of them have at least decent motivations for their actions. The storyline is pretty complex, and no episode is really wasted, and I especially liked how th emagic system in this show has turned into a sort of science. Especially how it affects the world that the characters live in is very detailed and full of imagination.

Near the end of the series, the show does get a bit rushed, though: it wants a bit too much in too little time, and especially the ending of the series just feels too lazy, but apart from that we have ourselves a very good series here. While it never really hit any heights, it’s been a solid and enjoyable series.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

5 Responses

  1. Denizen says:

    Tales of the Abyss was a surprisingly good series. It never really managed to become more than just decent, but for anyone who watched it, it did have some reward.

    It’s probably not something I would recommend to anyone, but it serves.

  2. cc says:

    Going to have to see it for myself and judge. The biggest reason I’ve been avoiding this is that the game played out the “luke” part WAY WAY WAY too much. We all know how Luke acted but his companions made the situation about 100x worst and went overboard. That’s in the game anyways. I will probably still take a look at the series but hopefully that drama part keeps in check.

  3. miken-chan says:

    I liked the adaptation for Tales of the Abyss — the game itself had a number of flaws, though the anime managed to pick out some of the best parts and focus on the overarching story instead of the countless sidequests.

    My only real problem other than some faulty animation here and there would be Sunrise’s penchant for reusing animation, with Jade and Guy being hit the hardest. One animation for Guy was used a total of 3 times, with only a little bit of color variation. Jade’s Indignation was straight-out reused in the final episode and a couple of his casting animations were reused too. (You notice a lot when you have to time every line)

    I really liked the respective rulers of both countries, since they didn’t do anything that was outright malicious. Though I still stand by my thoughts that Malkuth >>>>> Kimlasca.

    In terms of characters — All of them were very interesting…Well, except for Tear, Tear was very boring both in the game and in the anime. >_

  4. ren says:

    I started watching this anime when someone suggested it on a forum. Turned out it was an awesome anime. Well, not as awesome as animes like FMA, since its story development kinda weak, but since this anime was based on a PS2 game, it’s understandable. Jade is my favorite character because of his “witty sarcasm”. :D

    BTW, I started playing this game and all the other “Tales of..” game series after i knew about this anime, so i already know the ending even though i’m still at episode 17 of the anime.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:30 AM)
    Watchmen was deemed ‘unadaptable’ for about thirty years, so just getting what Snyder got out of the material is a huge success; it is said that what he did was to write a book version of Ingmar’s Holy Mountain. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo award and is easily the most intricate and multilayered Alan Moore comic, so it’s no surprise that it continues to top ‘best comics of all time’ charts to this day.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:20 AM)
    I beg to differ. Doctor Manhatten is the most intriguing character of Watchmen and the comic is a giant in ,not only in the comic world, but the history of literature itself. It is a deconstruction of superheros and Dr. M shows how afraid the world would really be when faced with a ‘superman’ and how a creature in such a higher realm of time and perception would show apathy toward humans and their foolish struggles.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:15 AM)
    GitS just won’t work. Maybe in a world before the Matrix, but not now with so many elements of it borrowed liberally by so many franchises in various mediums. Scarlet Johansson is decent in roles that fit her. She was enjoyable in Lost In Translation, but race aside she has nothing in common with Kusanagi. This is a travesty and the franchise is dear to me so it especially burns my ass.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:10 AM)
    While I am no fan of man of steel, Nolan and Snyder, just about anyone would have a hard time taking a difficult character like superman and making him work on screen.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:08 AM)
    Apart from Veidt and Rorshach I could never get into the characters all that much in watchmen. I also found the film overly long and mediocre acted for the larger part. But to each there own. For Alan moores works I always preferred his Miracleman, swamp thing, V for Vendetta stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:06 AM)
    Nolan can produce the action plus personal and dark story that Alita would need, and he also brings talent such as composer Hans Zimmer and Cinematographer Sally Pfister to the table. Him and Snyder have too much combined integrity to make a mockery out of Alita like Spielberg did with the GitS license.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:03 AM)
    Well Snyder has respect for his source materials and that is key in anime-to-film adaptations. Hell I’m a big Watchmen fan and I thought his version was (almost painfully) close to the comic. You’re not going to get that anywhere else in Hollywood. Also the combination of Nolan/Snyder is quite different than them individually.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:34 AM)
    And directed it as a co-production with America, using a Japanese cast.
    Yeah…this is impossible…
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:32 AM)
    The only way a live action ghost in the shell film would work is if Mamoru oshii directed it.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:29 AM)
    Wait wait…his Van helsing film is a reboot sorry I confused it with the other one.

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