Posted by psgels on 30 May 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



The Tales of-franchise stands out because every game gets to be adapted by a different production company and a total different staff. This leads to a wide variety of different adaptations with all their own focuses, interpretations and things at which they stand out. With Tales of Vesperia, it’s Production IG’s turn, and they went with the movie format. And holy crap, is it good. This is everything an RPG adaptation should be.

At first it might seem like your average fantasy story: alas, the protagonists are young. One of them appears to have a princess as girlfriend, there are more cute girls, meant to act as the voice of reason when the lead males go out of control again, blah blah blah. But make no mistake: for every cliche that this show uses, it subverts two of them. While this is a fantasy movie, it for once does not require the leads to travel across the world and have all kinds of adventures. No, these guys are part of a town guard: they simply belong to a unit, responsible for protecting a bunch of people. There’s nothing like saving the world in here. Aside from the initial cliches, there’s no attempt made to make these characters seem any bigger than they are: they merely follow the orders of their captain when they fight a battle.

Also, this is animated by Production IG, and it really does live up to their name. The battles here are incredibly well animated: in duels, there are no still frames or convenient cuts; a lot of focus has been put on the sword skills, team work (and not just a team of four warriors or something, they often fight battles with a small squadron in which everyone knows his place). Fights aren’t a matter of whacking a sword long enough until the other party goes down, instead they’re calculated, realistic and believable. Because of this, the magic system can also be fleshed out a lot more: the spells here are a lot more interesting, logical and believable than you usually see in fantasy series.

There is a lot of drama in this movie, most of it centred around the coming of age of the two lead characters. The two of them are flawed, and a lot of the focus of this movie is about fleshing these two out, and developing them. Especially in the first half of the movie these two like to cause trouble, which can be annoying to watch at times, but it’s all with a purpose: to get the best out of their development. They really both develop into great characters in the end. What also helps throughout the first movie is a great sense of humour: it’s got a very good comedic timing.

The fact that the characters for once are simple town guards also has another advantage: you really can get a good feel of the people who live in this town, and this movie takes optimal advantage of that: it chooses a few random townspeople and gives them a convincible personality and character, which all do a great job of bringing the town to life.

I do have a few question marks about the ending credits, though. I’m not sure whether it’s meant to be an advertisement about the games, or a sequel, but it showed many of the cliches that this movie avoided so well. In any case though, this movie is yet another excellent example of how good RPG adaptations can be when some actual effort is put into them. Despite some initial cliches, it’s got excellent characters, a believable scenario, excellent animation really manages to bring its setting to life.

Storytelling: 9/10 – It’s got a ton of fantasy and action, but brings this realistic and believable. Well paces, nice ideas and good attention to detail.
Characters: 9/10 – There are cliches, but makes up for this with excellent character-development and great chemistry between the characters.
Production-Values: 9/10 – What you’d expect of a movie: no cut corners, well portrayed battles that find a very nice balance between believability and action.
Setting: 8/10 – Inspired and lively, though loses points because of how young some of the characters are.

Suggestions:
– Tales of the Abyss, Eternia, Symphonia, Phantasia.
Strange Dawn
Popolocrois.

9 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    Wow, now I NEED to see this movie! I better hope it gets subbed soon!

  2. aquagon says:

    Though as far as I know, this movie isn’t supposed to be an adaptation of the game, but a prequel to it.

    And also, there are a lot of games that never got adapted into anime: Both of the Tales of Destiny games, Tales of Rebirth, Tales of Legendia, Tales of Tempest, Tales of Innocence, and Tales of Hearts. (And that’s only counting the ones that aren’t spin-offs)

  3. chounokoe says:

    Yes the movie is a prequel to the game and now I honestly want to have a look at it.
    I fairly disliked Tales of Vesperia compared to other Tales of entries…actually for me it was among the weakest in terms of storytelling and plot. One of the major flaws of the game was, that many characters felt wooden and clichéd and many things that seemed interesting about them was never discussed in further details…maybe this movie (which is actually canon) can change at least some of that.

  4. Joojoobees says:

    I am so glad I checked this review out. I only played one Tales game (Symphonia). I glanced at an anime adaptation of one of the others, and decided it wasn’t interesting. This one sounds great though! Looking forward to seeing it.

  5. nys says:

    I loved the fights against the wall creatures. I haven`t played Vesperia, but it felt like a RPG quest that built up to the final room. I also liked that their weapons were not at all dependable, which added some uncertainty.

  6. Roldan says:

    Yeah, i kinda like Tales of Vesperia then most of the Tales of games because of Yuri. He’s defiantly one of the best video game protagonist and in the game he’s like 26 and not 14 :D.. Gonna check this one out when the subs hit out.

  7. Miken says:

    As stated before — yeah this is a prequel movie, which sets it aside from Symphonia and Abyss, which are adaptations of the game’s main plot and Eternia…which was a sidequest.

    I was very glad Production I.G. handled this movie, since they cover the in-game anime cutscenes, thus creating a movie with no real change in character design or animation style. As for the credits, they used the OP sequence for the game. I do like that, since it gives a sense of rounding out the movie that basically says “And the rest? Well, you already know that~”

    I also liked that this movie spent the most of its time fleshing out Flynn and Yuri’s characters and friendship, since their conflicts in ideals is a big point in the game itself. Production I.G. also doesn’t have to worry about a huge world-saving plot simply because this is a prequel and saving the world isn’t even a part of the picture yet. Before all the main characters come together, there really was no grand adventure.

  8. Bruce says:

    I really liked this movie – it had a gritty and more realistic take on swords and sorcery than other shows, for example, Tales of Symphonia. I do hope they make an adaptation for the main game itself. Somehow I feel it just doesn’t do story justice to have such a great prequel and then a rather mediocre game for the actual plot.

  9. HENRCAST says:

    Mediocre? Vesperia was one of the best entries in the series (if not the THE best). The average age for the characters was much higher than usual, which resulted in the most mature cast in the series. Yuri and Flyyn’s conflict was brilliantly detailed, especially their debates about justice. Even the younger characters were given proper context (Rita is actually my personal favorite character)… Except Karol, I guess. The plot wasn’t the most original (like pretty much every Tales game), but it served it’s purpose of pushing character development well enough. Like the movie, it subverted most of the initial cliches.
    And yeah, the op is pretty weak. I guess it was created as a way to sell the game, or maybe 2 minutes just wasn’t enough to properly avoid the initial cliches like the game did.

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:47 AM)
    I remember that same guy, during end of eva, pausing it over and over during that scene where asuka dies with all of those fast moving clips too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:39 AM)
    I remember catching it also when I was young with a friend and we looked back on a fanservice scene with shinji and rei and he mentioned “You know if you think about it that scene is damn disturbing when you think she’s a clone of/modelled after you know who…”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:36 AM)
    Before Eva, when I was 11 or so my image of a mech anime was Nadesico…then it was eva and then I was like…Whoah…whoah God halp! =O
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:34 AM)
    I suppose credit where I feel it due, the angel designs are excellent and I remember getting the shock of my life when shinji’s eva went nuts and then there was a bit with Bardiel infect Toji’s unit. I remember at least Masatos boyfriend being a likeable character.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:31 AM)
    I don’t think anyone was prepared for Eva, whether they liked the show or not, at 11 I can remember being horrified by end of eva and the series original ending as well as having my first moment of “Feck…theres a first…an anime that did something that scrambled my mind, I actually feel kind of thick now, this show is smarter than I am”.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:27 AM)
    It really wouldn’t have been that hard to put a satisfying ending to the original series, wrap up the threads nicely and put a pretty ribbon on the package to finish it off. But Anno and friends took a risk and went against the tide and end up becoming the trope-namer for the Gainax Endings. That took balls and made things unexpected and fresh, cuz god knows that ,good guys win the day ‘is tired and boring.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:26 AM)
    Requiem for a dream. I remember the guy who recommended that film saying to me “Even someone such as yourself who finds it hard to find/has high standards an emotionally investing film will get something out of requiem for a dream”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Emma: leaving a bad taste is pretty much the point of Eva, just as getting bummed out by Requiem For a Dream is the naturally intended effect. I don’t mind that you don’t enjoy Eva all that much Emma, l actually appreciate it over dishonest admiration. Just keep in mind that Eva deserves it’s special place in anime.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.

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