Posted on 29 January 2012 with categories: OVA Impressions, Tales of Symphonia

Apologies for the lateness. I thought that this was one of the earlier OVAs.

In any case, with this we’re continuing with the Tales of Symphonia Story again, and this definitely was an interesting episode here. Again it had things that it did better than the game, things that it did worse, and things that are completely different.

The big difference really is that the creators cut out the entire storyline for the second half of the games. Seriously, from what I remember the games had this epic storyline that involved firing this giant mana cannon and an out of control world tree. All of that was cut out here in favor of the characters. An interesting decision here.

This episode was about the half-elves of the story: Genis, Raine and Yggdrassil. This however is one point where previous design decisions come back to bite this series, because from out of nowhere it suddenly introduces the themes of racism that were prevalent through the entire game. So yeah, the creators had to catch up to a lot of building up here in just forty minutes. And speaking of build-up: with all of the hints at Zelos’ betrayal, I thought that he’d get much more airtime in this episode, but he showed up just at the end of this episode. My guess is that the final episode will focus a lot of time on him.

Zelos’ betrayal was really well done by the way. And with this, the creators also neatly avoided the single biggest face-palm of the game (seriously, there were two paths in the games: one where he betrays the party, and one where he doesn’t; the latter reveals that with one heck of a Deus ex Machina). In the game, the small version of Mithos was also acting really weird. I mean, he’s acting really weird here, but there he did the strangest stuff, and nobody really questioned this. Here, his actions make much more sense. This episode was a tad too angsty for my tastes, but they did flesh out this guy pretty neatly and explained why he ended up as the main villain for this series.
OVA Episode Rating: 8.25/10

Posted on 20 March 2011 with categories: OVA Impressions, Tales of Symphonia

Okay, so episode 6 was all about Regal and Presea, episode 7 took Sheena under the loop and now episode 8 comes probably with the least interesting couple: Lloyd and Collet. And don’t get me wrong, this episode still was pretty amazing, but the two of them just are the least interesting and received the least interesting upgrade from the game.

What I mean by that: in the games Collet got kidnapped quite a few times, but it’s not as extreme as here in the OVA where she was pretty much out of the picture for more than two episodes (especially considering how they were both 40 minutes). Lloyd meanwhile had to become a less strong main character, in order for the side characters of the anime to shine. In the games, he always was the one who pushed the story forward and carry the rest of the cast along with him. Raine pretty much was the only other character who could also do that. Here though, it’s the other way around: every side character takes you along in order to tell his or her story. In exchange, Lloyd needs to angst once in a while. He’s still matured, but he’s definitely a weaker character than in the games. Even in this episode that was supposed to focus on his development, we had characters like Zelos, Yuan and Kratos stealing the show.

Also, the comedy around Sheena was surprisingly good. And no, I remember none of the jokes she used from the games. Again, this really is an excellent adaptation. This episode only loosely followed the plot of the games; even less than the other episodes. Especially the fight against Rodyle was done nicely. In the games he just transformed himself into a monster because the characters needed someone strong to fight. In the anime, he instead uses this trap that allows him to nicely tease the characters in front of him and it also gave Presea another crowning moment of awesome.

And thankfully, this isn’t the end either. There’s a final batch of OVAs coming to detail the finale of this story. At this point the only characters that haven’t been taken under the loop are Zelos, Genis and Raine, and I’m really glad to see how much this episode kept hinting at how their stories will not be ignored: this episode really established that Zelos is working for Cruxis, and the end of this episode introduced Mithos, who will have a major impact on Genis.

I really wonder how the creators will handle Mithos here, though. I always found him a bit flimsy in the game. The characters never really questioned the really strange things he ended up doing (and thankfully the creators indeed did cut away the scene in which he [SPOILER] from Rodyle’s Human Ranch) and it was so obvious who he was and yet the characters never even questioned it.

the one thing that I really hope for in that final OVA is for the characters to pay a visit to Exire. I know that it has absolutely nothing to do with the story and all, but it really would be a wonderful addition to a certain character. I mean, this character just won’t be complete without it.
OVA Episode Rating: 8,5/10

Posted on 13 October 2010 with categories: OVA Impressions, Tales of Symphonia

As someone who played the original game, I am really happy with this episode: the creators did a wonderful job on it. Yeah, sure, it wasn’t 100% faithful, and a lot of the minor parts were cut away, but who cares! This episode really delivered where it should have, and it did especially Sheena justice.

Sheena’s story really took up the main focus of this episode, and I’m really glad to see that the creators of the anime realized that it’s indeed the characters who made the original game so good, rather than its typical story. I also love how much of a bigger role Corrine had here: it even appeared in front of Lloyd, to make him trust Sheena: he never did that in the game. The anime also put a lot more focus on the parallel between Sheena’s two attempts to summon a pact with Volt. The actual fight with Volt was done better in the game, but everything around it was actually way superior in the anime in my opinion.

It’s also interesting to see that the anime creators decided to reveal Lloyd’s father this early here. To come with a bit of a comparison: in the game we’re still on the first disk. Yuan only exposes Kratos, halfway through the second disk. Still, they really didn’t have any choice here, with the really shallow way that they’ve been foreshadowing it. That really was something at which the game was better. But at the same time, the revelation in the anime also really packed a punch: it was well timed and worked really well as a cliff-hanger at the end of this episode.

This is something subtle, but I also love what the creators did with Raine’s powers: in the games she already was one of the best characters in terms of combat, but they really made her kick ass beyond belief here: able to block Volt’s rays for several minutes, and while some of the other characters struggle to just slay one dragon, she blasts an entire army away. On top of that, I also really love the way that the creators found in order to reveal that she’s actually a half-elf: it both showed Regal’s intelligence, and also pretty much enabled that Pope to remain out of the storyline here. It’s much more subtle here, and I like it a lot more than in the games.

There is one part about this episode that I didn’t like, though: it’s the portrayal of Lloyd: he just doesn’t feel like a worthy main character here. In the game, he also had his flaws, but at the same time he was the one who pulled the rest of the characters along with him: he was impulsive, but resolute and that allowed everyone to move forward. The others in the meantime were the ones who provided him with advice when he was having a hard time. That latter is too much overstated in the anime: he just gets pulled around, he is a bit of a whiny brat, especially at the time when Yuan proposed an alliance. He just isn’t the leader here, which on the other hand isn’t so bad, because the rest of the cast is that awesome.
OVA Episode Rating: 8.75/10

Posted on 29 May 2010 with categories: Tales of Symphonia

Awesome. Nearly an entire episode dedicated to Regal and Presea, my two favourite characters of the game. It was a bit cheesy, sure, but I don’t care! This is the episode I’ve been anticipating ever since the Tales of Symphonia anime got announced. After more than four years of waiting this episode was SO worth it.

It’s awesome to see that in an adaptation of a game that shined because of its side characters, the creators indeed intend to give all of them ample time to show themselves, especially considering the limited time that this OVA has to deal with. The characters didn’t end up travelling to Ozette or Regal’s company, and the point about the rotting corpse of Presea’s father was also omitted, but instead Regal immediately recognized Presea, and didn’t keep his past secret, wanting to settle it immediately. That works too.

A bit surprise was also that Presea’s character is completely different from the game. In the game, when she recovered, she still remained quiet: she only said something when necessary, and she remained introvert. Here however, she’s much more outspoken. Her voice actress also gives a very different dimension to her character compared to her English voice actress from the game. I actually liked this difference quite a bit, to see such a different interpretation of her character like this.

Adapting a game is probably the most difficult kinds of adaptations that you can get. With mangas and light novels, you can pretty much copy and paste the scenario from start to finish. With games however, you can’t just do that: there are so many things that just can’t be translated to the animated medium: random battles, quick-saves, the battle system, having to slowly travel around the world and talk to random people. You really have to think outside the box to make these work. And again, I’ve got to applaud Ufo Table for actually pulling off a pretty good attempt here.

This episode did have its nitpicks again, though. The biggest wut of this episode came at the beginning, when Yggdrasil showed off a skill that not only he never had, but also introduces quite a bit of plotholes. When he has the ability to stop time, then how the heck can it be expected to beat him? In all the battles he can just stop time and kill everyone before they can do anything. In the games, he was just ridiculously strong and used that to beat everyone. He could have easily used that here too.

Also, the flashbacks. In the games, we never saw an actual flashback of the moment at which Lloyd’s father killed his mother, people only talked about it. It’s quite reasonable, since Lloyd shouldn’t remember anything about it. It was pretty much a big question mark at this point. In the anime however… yeah. Is there anyone who hasn’t played the games and does still now know what’s up with Lloyd’s father? Great subtlety, guys.

Overall, Lloyd and Collette were the least interesting characters of the games, and that again pretty much shows here. It’s very refreshing to see an entire episode without Collette, while Lloyd felt like he had a bad case of constipation in this episode. The rest of the cast was wonderful, though. Zelos’ jokes were a lot funnier than in the games, and the chemistry between him and Genius worked surprisingly well.

I expect the next episode to again kick a lot of ass. The final episode… well… in the games it was a standard climax. It definitely wasn’t among the best parts.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 3 April 2010 with categories: Tales of Symphonia

Hell yeah, finally! Now that Ufo Table finally finished with Kara no Kyoukai, it’s finally time for them to finish off what they started with Tales of Symphonia. And as an added bonus, the episodes are forty minutes long instead!

Again, this episode did not follow the story of the games exactly. Presea is introduced in a different way (it was awesome to finally see her, by the way. She was my favourite character to play as in the game). Yggdrasil’s appearance at the end of this episode was also… random to say the least. In the game we saw that Kratos travelled around in Tethe’Alla as well (for reasons that will probably explained in one of the next episodes), but I can’t recall that Yggdrasil had anything to do with it.

In terms of the focus, it’s clear that the creators have chosen the stories of Collette, Kratos and Zelos to be the major focus of the series. It’s a bit of a shame, though. For me, the backstories of Genius and Raine was the best, followed by Presea’s. Instead, Genius hitting on Presea in this episode was a lot more annoying than that it was in the game.

Zelos in the meantime was a lot more interesting compared to the way he was in the game, and that’s something that the creators really intended to do. I must admit, I never got to play his entire story. It was one of the most difficult to get to, so I didn’t bother. While I’m a bit sad to see that the TV-series will not spend as much time on the issues of discrimination (the thing that I remember the most about this series, after playing it some five years ago), but at the same time, I’m interested in the themes that the creators did choose to focus on.

Like the first season, this TV-series really does certain things worse than the games, and at the same time it also has enough things that it does better than the games. And really, out of all the adaptations, game adaptations are the most difficult to pull off correctly. While with mangas or light novels, at least you have a continuous storyboard that you can be faithful to. Games however have quicksave functions: an easy reset button for if you screw up. There is no way in hell to translate this into animated form. On top of that, it’s also impossible to make animated random battles interesting. If you want to pull off a game adaptation right, you really need to have an inspired storyline and idea to base it around. And really, that’s what happened with this series. Game adaptations are often looked down upon, and I agree that the lesser ones indeed are really terrible, but the inspired ones can be really good.
Rating: ** (Excellent)
OP: Nice, though not as good as the first OP.
ED: The clay figures are back!

Posted on 23 December 2007 with categories: Tales of Symphonia

As usual, the episode had its good and its bad points, but I don’t care! At the end of the episode, the creators finally showed what I’ve been longing for ever since this series started: Regal and Presea! They should come in action on the next episode. (Because yes, Tales of Symphonia has been extended to eight episodes!).

About the rest of the episode, a few changes have been made. First of all, now that the green light has been given for an extension of the series, the creators suddenly decided to include Yuan. That’s got to be really confusing for the ones who haven’t really played the game, with the guy’s introduction being mercilessly cut from the second episode. Ah well, I’m glad that the creators decided to include him after all, and I like how the creators changed his personality from the game. He’s much more confident here, and he can actually stand his own against Kratos.

And obviously, there’s yet again a lot of emphasis on Collette, but in this episode, it’s not just Lloyd who is worried about her. Genis and Raine also show much more involvement with Collette than in the game. I like that. I’m also surprised to say that Sheena joined the party much later than expected. She never played a role in the tower of salvation at all, and instead saves the group when they’ve been captured by the Renegades. The interesting thing is that unlike in the game, she’s much less compassionate and a lot less easy to read. That does make me wonder what her relationship with Zelos will be…

Overall, I was a bit wary when I found out that Ufo-Table would be producing this series, with their previous works consisting out of Coyote Ragtime Show, Futakoi and Ninnin Ga Shinobuden. Still, I must say that these guys are learning quite quickly. It started this year with Manabi Straight, and now with Tales of Symphonia too. While they still have much to learn, it’s good to know that they’re keen on improving themselves. If this tread continues, we can expect more interesting things from them.

Posted on 26 October 2007 with categories: Tales of Symphonia

Okay, the creators are NEVER going to finish this one in just four episodes. They haven’t even reached the Tower of Salvation yet, for goodness’ sake. Still, this gives me hope for some kind of second OVA, to cover the things that happen in Tethe’alla, so that some quality-time can be devoted to the case of Regal and Presea. The next episode will probably end with the death of Remiel.

That said, the creators did a good job with this episode. There were a few things I didn’t like, though. The hot tea, for example, was done better in the game. But then again, Collette was a real airhead there, so it was easy for Lloyd to fool her. Sheena’s performance in Luin also was disappointing, especially how Lloyd and the others turned up at the last possible moment to save the day. Furthermore, why didn’t Sheena use her final summon at that time? It would have been the perfect opportunity. The game did this a lot better when Lloyd basically arrived when she was mourning over the village. What also bugs me is how the creators didn’t even mention why the Desians attacked the village in the first place. The little girl was a nice touch, though.

Still, the creators thankfully did well on the parts that really mattered: Collette, losing everything and Lloyd, finding out that he’s been fighting with the thing that killed his mother. I would have liked a bit more emphasis on the Expheres and the monsters in the building up for it, but it can’t be helped, with the length of this series and all. I must say, Collette felt really annoying in the game, and Ufotable did a good job of making her relationship with Lloyd quite touching. The two of them are much closer together, and it works perfectly.

I seriously hope for a second series of OVA’s, though. Basically, the only characters that got any depth in the first half of the game were Lloyd and Collette, while the others got this with the second half. I just want to see Raine’s mother, and how the two got abandoned. I want to see Presea, and the horrible things that were done to both her and her sister. So far, the creators have been giving a few hints that the fourth episode won’t be the end of this: they showed glimpses of both Zelos, and the last two Desian Cardinals, neither of them had any big role in the first half.

Posted on 12 August 2007 with categories: Tales of Symphonia

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.

Posted on 9 June 2007 with categories: Tales of Symphonia

Yay! It’s finally here! Let me first say that it was well worth the wait!

Lloyd somehow turned less stubborn than in the game. He’s also way closer with Collette as well, which is quite interesting. Genius turned a bit clumsier, though, and in the game he was quite a bit smarter and down-to-earth. I liked the changes with Rain, she really looks like an evil teacher now. I can’t wait to see her go in her infamous “Ruin-mode”. ^^; Kratos was a bit disappointing, though. The creators dropped a few way too obvious hints about his real identity, something which came as a shock when he finally revealed it.

Anyway, about the anime. I had to get used a bit to the new character-designs, as they’re a bit different from the ones used in the game. After a bit, this turned out all-right. Seeing actual locations from the game return really accurate was really nice, though. Locations like the school, Lloyd’s and Genuis’s house really brought back memories.

One thing that I wasn’t enthusiastic about, though, was that Marble was left out. Right now, it seems that Lloyd’s decision to start his journey really has been dumbed down a bit. Originally, the Desians never attacked Collette in the first place, but this was done by people who dress like Desians. The people from the village of Iselia have made a treaty with the Desians: if they stay away from the human ranch, owned by the Desians, the Desians would stay away from the village. When it seems that a friend of Genius (Marble), who lived in the Desian-human ranch was getting into trouble there, Lloyd decided that the treaty was already broken and he interfered with these Desians to protect her. Because of this, the Desians set fire on the village, since they never broke the treaty in the first place. To make things even worse, they turn Marble into a monster, causing Lloyd and Genius to kill her. Heck, that’s why Genius gets his own exphere. It could have easily been included if less time was spent on introduction, and it would have been so much better than Lloyd’s mother interfering.

Still, overall, I loved it, mostly for nostalgic purposes. It’s been a while since I played the game, but I loved seeing everyone back again. Still, I do have to say that its predecessor was better. Tales of Phantasia was so great because it just skipped the introductions, and still remained understandable. Cless saying: “you had to burn our village, just for this?!”, combined with the context in which she said it, was enough to make us understand the grievances and motivations of the characters. I was secretly hoping for Tales of Symphonia to do the same, but they really decided to start with the beginning.

The next episodes, though, should promise to become even better, since now that episode one covered such a relative small part of the game, they really have to fasten up the pacing in order to be able to finish in time. I think the most plausible way for the episodes would be the following:
Episode 2: the journey through Sylvarant
Episode 3: the journey through Tethe’Alla, until the giant tree gets saved.
Episode 4: the conclusion, up till the destruction of Yggdrasil.
That means that in two episodes, my favourite characters will arrive: Presea and Regal. I can’t wait! For the next episode, it’s probably impossible to include every major event, though I do hope that the issues of the city of Palmacosta are addressed. For the later episodes, I really do hope we get to see Rain’s mother. Even though she just was in a side-quest, it really made clear why she and her brother lived their lives the way they did.


Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:46 AM)
    @Kaiser: so far it’s good. I’ve been hearing the buzz but I wished someone had nodged me to watch it sooner.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:42 AM)
    You’ve reminded me Bam that I’d been meaning to pick up ash vs the evil dead sometime.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:39 AM)
    @Kaiser: the remake was still pretty entertaining, but it lost the silly comedy edge the series was known for. I still think that the 2nd film had the most unique and prominent voice of its own, and all of that is present in the new series’ pilot. If anything Raimi cranked it up a couples of notches here and there.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:35 AM)
    There was a mean spirited feel to the remake I found pretty appealling.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:27 AM)
    @Kaiser: the original Evil Dead was playing the horror genre straight, but it had a strata of slap-stick that was partially unintended. With Evil Dead 2 he doubled down on the strange horror/comedy dynamic and it became fantastic. Army of Darkness was very entertaining, but it strayed very far from the series’ roots. The remake was only produced by Raimi, while he got back on the writer/director chair for the pilot of the new series, and proved that he still got it sharp as ever.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:19 AM)
    Then again I believe Raimi was fairly involved with the remake.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:18 AM)
    The remake as far as remakes go should have been worse but it worked much better than I would have thought and I say this as someone who hates reboots/remakes.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:16 AM)
    @Bam: I’ve only partially seen the first evil dead but I don’t think its aged well, the second one I’ve seen and its hugely entertaining later on but its army of darkness that was the most enjoyable of the three for me.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 03:47 AM)
    Wow Ash Vs the Evil Dead 01 was a blast; I really should’ve gotten into this sooner. I was smiling thru most of it, either because it was funny or slap-stick gory, or because it was a blast to see that Sam Raimi still got it. I guess the only time that Evil Dead works is when he’s involved. Seeing Bruce Campbell again with the chainsaw was a treat which I didn’t know I needed in my life.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:31 PM)
    I’m trying not to get my hopes up however, given that it wouldn’t be surprising if he gave us another filler chapter like he did with that pointless flashback.

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When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]


Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]


Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]


Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]


Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]