Anime Review: Tales of Phantasia: The Animation

Anime Review: Tales of Phantasia: The Animation

Compressing a JRPG into four episodes may not have been the best idea.

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And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

I think even the JRPG fans will spare you this one; I know I will. That sounds like an absolutely awful series. Thanks for the warning. ;)

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

I wouldn't worry about it, games to anime conversions haven't ever really been anywhere near the top of the genre, I mean just look at the Disgaea anime or the Valkyria Chronicles one. They follow the plot so rigidly that the fans already know what's going to happen, and the entire reason for their existence is to act as half an hour long advertising for the game they're based off of. Hell, the best the anime's can even do to change things up is to make minor changes to minor plot items. For instance, in the Disgaea anime (Ran 13 episodes) the only ways that the anime was different then the game was very minor changes, such as that the Vampire dude that was blackmailing Etna trapped the protagonists in a board game instead of a book.
In short, if you are attacked by Rabid JRPG fans, just tell them that the show didn't do the game justice.

grinklehi:
I wouldn't worry about it, games to anime conversions haven't ever really been anywhere near the top of the genre

I'm inclined to argue against that generalization. If you look at a number of highly rated anime series - Higurashi no naku Koro Ni, Air TV, Kanon, Clannad as immediately apparent examples - you'll find that many have their roots in games; just not necessarily games that were released over here.

However, those are all visual novels as opposed to roleplaying games. I'll wholeheartedly agree with you that RPGs convert terribly into anime formats. Fantasy RPGs are probably the worst offender in that regard. Welcome to Generic McFantasy Land!

RollForInitiative:

grinklehi:
I wouldn't worry about it, games to anime conversions haven't ever really been anywhere near the top of the genre

I'm inclined to argue against that generalization. If you look at a number of highly rated anime series - Higurashi no naku Koro Ni, Air TV, Kanon, Clannad as immediately apparent examples - you'll find that many have their roots in games; just not necessarily games that were released over here.

However, those are all visual novels as opposed to roleplaying games. I'll wholeheartedly agree with you that RPGs convert terribly into anime formats. Fantasy RPGs are probably the worst offender in that regard. Welcome to Generic McFantasy Land!

And am I the only one who finds it odd that adult visual novels consistently seem to convert into good anime series more than any other game genre?

JoshV:
And am I the only one who finds it odd that adult visual novels consistently seem to convert into good anime series more than any other game genre?

Well, they were developed with the intention of telling some kind of intricate story. At least, the examples I cited earlier were. As far as game genres go - and I'm going to assume we're talking about quality material here rather than every H game to hit a store shelf - the visual novel genre has to rely on good storytelling to propel things along more than any other genre; there are typically no levels to gain, monsters to fight, or treasure to loot, and player input is fairly minimal. If you consider it that way, maybe it's not so surprising that they convert better than most.

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

Hi there. Umm yeah no I doubt that JoshV. Besides going from a video game to an anime is very hard to transition especially since there was only 4 episodes. The animation looks nice and it is shocking to use a SNES game for their anime isntead of a modern JRPG people would know.

Also I could not imagine any JRPG really converting into a good anime series because the director has to retell the story itself or continue where the JRPG ends.

Aww crap I just remembered Star Ocean the anime series. That was pretty good unless that is my nostalgia is kicking in. Any of you Anime Reviewers want to take that series on if it was released in english stateside?

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

You should be fine, as you're not criticising the actual game.

Nice avatar, by the way.

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

The thing that attracts most of us to JRPGs is the depth of the story, the characters, and the world. Your criticism is based on how the anime adaptation lacked these. Why would we harm one of our own?

I wonder if the Symphonia and Abyss anime are the same way. I've heard they're giving Symphonia more than one 4-episode OVA, but...

JoshV:

RollForInitiative:

grinklehi:
I wouldn't worry about it, games to anime conversions haven't ever really been anywhere near the top of the genre

I'm inclined to argue against that generalization. If you look at a number of highly rated anime series - Higurashi no naku Koro Ni, Air TV, Kanon, Clannad as immediately apparent examples - you'll find that many have their roots in games; just not necessarily games that were released over here.

However, those are all visual novels as opposed to roleplaying games. I'll wholeheartedly agree with you that RPGs convert terribly into anime formats. Fantasy RPGs are probably the worst offender in that regard. Welcome to Generic McFantasy Land!

And am I the only one who finds it odd that adult visual novels consistently seem to convert into good anime series more than any other game genre?

There is no Tsukihime ani-- er...*cough*

Sorry.

I guess the question is whether those anime are good simply on their own merits, or whether they actually function as good adaptations, as well. Type-Moon's stuff has been a mixed bag (Tsukihime had been disavowed by a lot of the VN's fans, Fate/Stay Night was...an okay adaptation, but with terrible animation, but Kara no Kyokai is supposed to be pretty good). I've heard the first (Toei) adaptation of Kanon sucked, while the second (KyoAnime) one was pretty good.

Granted, I haven't seen very many, myself, but I've heard good things about Higurashi, Air, Kanon, Clannad, and the like, so you might be on to something. Considering how visual novels are like RPGs in that tend to have tons of content, which in VNs is often spread out over several different paths, it does seem kind of strange that that might be the case. It would depend on what the adapter puts in, what they leave out, how they make up for what they leave out, and how much time they have available.

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

Not at all. The fact is, several of the "Tales" games have OVA series based on them, and none of them are particularly good if you haven't played the games. They're really meant to be companions, you know, like the Street Fighter Movie that came with SFIV. Without the game, they make little sense.

RollForInitiative:

grinklehi:
I wouldn't worry about it, games to anime conversions haven't ever really been anywhere near the top of the genre

I'm inclined to argue against that generalization. If you look at a number of highly rated anime series - Higurashi no naku Koro Ni, Air TV, Kanon, Clannad as immediately apparent examples - you'll find that many have their roots in games; just not necessarily games that were released over here.

However, those are all visual novels as opposed to roleplaying games. I'll wholeheartedly agree with you that RPGs convert terribly into anime formats. Fantasy RPGs are probably the worst offender in that regard. Welcome to Generic McFantasy Land!

You hit the nail on the head. Games do translate will... if they're visual novel games. Mostly because those are kinda told in such a way that they translate easier (usually being story and theme focused), while RPG's have the trappings not only of often being highly generic (though still story focused), but of also having the whole thing about side quests that may be important to the story-line (than why are they side quests?) and if they should be included or not, weapon quests, the constant weapon swapping that happens in RPG's in general, the action that plays out differently for each person (to where you might not even be using the character that the Anime has fight someone), etc.

So, yeah, I just very long-windedly agreed with you.

Interesting. I'm sure it is horrible. There is a Tales of Vesperia full length movie coming out soon. It actually looks pretty damned good. I'm not an anime fan but I loved Vesperia and would like to see the film as it is a prequel to the game.

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

I would if you had badmouthed Tales of Symphonia the game however I've watched the fist few episodes of the anime version of that and it does a lot of the things you mentioned. I honestly don't think JRPGs should be adapted to anime for the same reason books don't generally translate well into games. it's a matter of tempo, games and anime have a different tempo in the same way books and games do and trying to bend the tempo to fit the genre doesn't work.

I have a feeling the game might have been better, but with my experience with the ToS anime I have a feeling your right on the money.

what you should really worry about is if you have to review Eureka 7, bad mouth that anime and I might have to hunt you down, unless you bad mouth Rentons squeaky voice in the Japanese, I kinda hate that too.

NeutralDrow:

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

The thing that attracts most of us to JRPGs is the depth of the story, the characters, and the world. Your criticism is based on how the anime adaptation lacked these. Why would we harm one of our own?

I wonder if the Symphonia and Abyss anime are the same way. I've heard they're giving Symphonia more than one 4-episode OVA, but...

Wasn't amazing. I'm talking about the Symphonia one. it was all right from what I watched, but it went by very fast, I think in the first two episodes they had already gone through to Palmacosta, and they skipped the whole sequence with Marble.

If you've never played Tales of Symphonia, the Marble part(Marble was a person, kind of a slave) and she was a big part of the protagonist's best friend's character. it was also a part of the protagonists story that leads to a whole lot of the stuff they do.

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

The thing that attracts most of us to JRPGs is the depth of the story, the characters, and the world. Your criticism is based on how the anime adaptation lacked these. Why would we harm one of our own?

I wonder if the Symphonia and Abyss anime are the same way. I've heard they're giving Symphonia more than one 4-episode OVA, but...

Wasn't amazing. I'm talking about the Symphonia one. it was all right from what I watched, but it went by very fast, I think in the first two episodes they had already gone through to Palmacosta, and they skipped the whole sequence with Marble.

...how can it skip the whole Marble thing? That's how Genis got his exsphere, and it's the source of Lloyd's banishment from and angst over Iselia, it's how the Desians find out about him, and it's the start of the Chocolat thing! Among other things.

*sigh* I guess as a huge fan of the game, I do have to watch the thing eventually, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Maybe if these anime adaptations were TV instead of OVA length, but then they'd have to cut corners somewhere else, instead.

NeutralDrow:

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

The thing that attracts most of us to JRPGs is the depth of the story, the characters, and the world. Your criticism is based on how the anime adaptation lacked these. Why would we harm one of our own?

I wonder if the Symphonia and Abyss anime are the same way. I've heard they're giving Symphonia more than one 4-episode OVA, but...

Wasn't amazing. I'm talking about the Symphonia one. it was all right from what I watched, but it went by very fast, I think in the first two episodes they had already gone through to Palmacosta, and they skipped the whole sequence with Marble.

...how can it skip the whole Marble thing? That's how Genis got his exsphere, and it's the source of Lloyd's banishment from and angst over Iselia, it's how the Desians find out about him, and it's the start of the Chocolat thing! Among other things.

*sigh* I guess as a huge fan of the game, I do have to watch the thing eventually, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Maybe if these anime adaptations were TV instead of OVA length, but then they'd have to cut corners somewhere else, instead.

not to mention that's how a large portion of who genis is as a person is developed. like I said it went by very fast, too fast. they actually skipped the dungeons, they just went to the bosses.

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

not really, as much as I love the tales series, even I can tell the anime adaptations are just fanservice

black lincon:
what you should really worry about is if you have to review Eureka 7, bad mouth that anime and I might have to hunt you down, unless you bad mouth Rentons squeaky voice in the Japanese, I kinda hate that too.

Better hope I never get slated to review that one then. I've got a few bones to pick and axes to grind where that series is concerned.

To stay on topic, it sounds like folks seem to universally agree that JRPGs make for horrible anime. On the bright side, bad anime like this gives us a better appreciation for the good ones. ;)

RollForInitiative:

black lincon:
what you should really worry about is if you have to review Eureka 7, bad mouth that anime and I might have to hunt you down, unless you bad mouth Rentons squeaky voice in the Japanese, I kinda hate that too.

Better hope I never get slated to review that one then. I've got a few bones to pick and axes to grind where that series is concerned.

Bone's eh? funny, that might be all that's left after I'm done MUH HA HA!*cough**cough*. Coincidentally, I need to clean my collection of sharp objects, deadly projectiles, poisons, and assorted tools for corpse disposal, just so you know.

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

The thing that attracts most of us to JRPGs is the depth of the story, the characters, and the world. Your criticism is based on how the anime adaptation lacked these. Why would we harm one of our own?

I wonder if the Symphonia and Abyss anime are the same way. I've heard they're giving Symphonia more than one 4-episode OVA, but...

Wasn't amazing. I'm talking about the Symphonia one. it was all right from what I watched, but it went by very fast, I think in the first two episodes they had already gone through to Palmacosta, and they skipped the whole sequence with Marble.

...how can it skip the whole Marble thing? That's how Genis got his exsphere, and it's the source of Lloyd's banishment from and angst over Iselia, it's how the Desians find out about him, and it's the start of the Chocolat thing! Among other things.

*sigh* I guess as a huge fan of the game, I do have to watch the thing eventually, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Maybe if these anime adaptations were TV instead of OVA length, but then they'd have to cut corners somewhere else, instead.

not to mention that's how a large portion of who genis is as a person is developed. like I said it went by very fast, too fast. they actually skipped the dungeons, they just went to the bosses.

Well...to be perfectly honest, dungeons are really the most understandable things to skip outside a game format. They're indispensable for gameplay, but nine times out of ten, story-wise, what's important is what's waiting at the end of the dungeon.

NeutralDrow:

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

The thing that attracts most of us to JRPGs is the depth of the story, the characters, and the world. Your criticism is based on how the anime adaptation lacked these. Why would we harm one of our own?

I wonder if the Symphonia and Abyss anime are the same way. I've heard they're giving Symphonia more than one 4-episode OVA, but...

Wasn't amazing. I'm talking about the Symphonia one. it was all right from what I watched, but it went by very fast, I think in the first two episodes they had already gone through to Palmacosta, and they skipped the whole sequence with Marble.

...how can it skip the whole Marble thing? That's how Genis got his exsphere, and it's the source of Lloyd's banishment from and angst over Iselia, it's how the Desians find out about him, and it's the start of the Chocolat thing! Among other things.

*sigh* I guess as a huge fan of the game, I do have to watch the thing eventually, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Maybe if these anime adaptations were TV instead of OVA length, but then they'd have to cut corners somewhere else, instead.

not to mention that's how a large portion of who genis is as a person is developed. like I said it went by very fast, too fast. they actually skipped the dungeons, they just went to the bosses.

Well...to be perfectly honest, dungeons are really the most understandable things to skip outside a game format. They're indispensable for gameplay, but nine times out of ten, story-wise, what's important is what's waiting at the end of the dungeon.

for most of them, but what happens when they skip them running into sheena at the end of the baurucof(sp?) mausoleum or when they rescued those hostages, or when Raine blows the crap out of the ranches? All that stuff happens inside of the dungeons, and while most of the important stuff happens outside there is some stuff that goes on inside that's slightly important or at the least interesting.

Oh well, I think we've established that there rushing the story in these things.

I think the bottom line is that interactive entertainment doesn't translate well into passive entertainment.

black lincon:

Bone's eh? funny, that might be all that's left after I'm done MUH HA HA!*cough**cough*. Coincidentally, I need to clean my collection of sharp objects, deadly projectiles, poisons, and assorted tools for corpse disposal, just so you know.

I'll be waiting. Look on the bright side; you'll probably never have to hear my review of that series.

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

black lincon:

NeutralDrow:

JoshV:
And this is the part where dozens of JRPG fans hunt me down with pointy sticks.

The thing that attracts most of us to JRPGs is the depth of the story, the characters, and the world. Your criticism is based on how the anime adaptation lacked these. Why would we harm one of our own?

I wonder if the Symphonia and Abyss anime are the same way. I've heard they're giving Symphonia more than one 4-episode OVA, but...

Wasn't amazing. I'm talking about the Symphonia one. it was all right from what I watched, but it went by very fast, I think in the first two episodes they had already gone through to Palmacosta, and they skipped the whole sequence with Marble.

...how can it skip the whole Marble thing? That's how Genis got his exsphere, and it's the source of Lloyd's banishment from and angst over Iselia, it's how the Desians find out about him, and it's the start of the Chocolat thing! Among other things.

*sigh* I guess as a huge fan of the game, I do have to watch the thing eventually, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Maybe if these anime adaptations were TV instead of OVA length, but then they'd have to cut corners somewhere else, instead.

not to mention that's how a large portion of who genis is as a person is developed. like I said it went by very fast, too fast. they actually skipped the dungeons, they just went to the bosses.

Well...to be perfectly honest, dungeons are really the most understandable things to skip outside a game format. They're indispensable for gameplay, but nine times out of ten, story-wise, what's important is what's waiting at the end of the dungeon.

for most of them, but what happens when they skip them running into sheena at the end of the baurucof(sp?) mausoleum or when they rescued those hostages, or when Raine blows the crap out of the ranches? All that stuff happens inside of the dungeons, and while most of the important stuff happens outside there is some stuff that goes on inside that's slightly important or at the least interesting.

Well, of course, but the hostage rescue and ranch destruction and the like happen at the end of the dungeon. They're not the run around fighting baddies and solving puzzles.

...don't tell me they skip those parts altogether.

Oh well, I think we've established that there rushing the story in these things.

Agreed.

I wouldn't necessarily say that RPGs make bad game to anime conversions either--it's just, if someone is going to do one, they need to go all out. Like I mentioned in the review, something like 13 or 26 episodes could work. But if they're absolutely stuck at four episodes, they need to not try to tell the whole story.

My problem with the series was really less that it was blatant fanservice (Because really, do you expect anything else from a tie-in like that?), and more that it completely failed to draw me, as a newcomer to the franchise who hadn't ever played the game, into the story. I felt like I was watching a summary of major events in the game minus the narrator. I could easily see adapting the story into something interesting--perhaps not a masterpiece, but still something worth watching--if they just didn't try to cram the whole story into something so short. Some exposition would be nice too.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, for example, despite being a massive fanservice buffet, still had a self contained storyline that I (despite not having played much of FF7 either) could mostly follow. I may not have really liked the movie, although that's largely because I don't really find most of the FF7 cast to be all that interesting (oh, they're gonna lynch me for that comment), but at least the story was kept simple and open enough that I could keep up. I imagine it also helped that the story they were telling occurs after the end of the game, so they could more or less do whatever they want.

Oh, and black lincon, I rather liked Eureka 7. There were a few parts that were basically "press this button for dues ex machina," but that tends to happen in even the best of anime series (I'm looking at you, Fullmetal Alchemist). That said, I doubt we'll be reviewing it, since we are predominantly reviewing new DVD releases in the States. Unless they somehow haven't released a full collector's edition super box-set of doom yet.

JoshV:
I may not have really liked the movie, although that's largely because I don't really find most of the FF7 cast to be all that interesting (oh, they're gonna lynch me for that comment), but at least the story was kept simple and open enough that I could keep up.

I'm inclined to agree with you on this and, even though I was a big fan of the game back in the day, I find that it's actually a little on the godawful side if you stop viewing it through the rose-colored glasses of youth and nostalgia. This is coming from somebody that clocked a couple hundred hours on the game back when it was released.

That said, I doubt we'll be reviewing it, since we are predominantly reviewing new DVD releases in the States. Unless they somehow haven't released a full collector's edition super box-set of doom yet.

Amusingly, they are currently in the process of releasing two season box sets of the series. One of us might wind up with it after all. ;)

JoshV:
I wouldn't necessarily say that RPGs make bad game to anime conversions either--it's just, if someone is going to do one, they need to go all out. Like I mentioned in the review, something like 13 or 26 episodes could work. But if they're absolutely stuck at four episodes, they need to not try to tell the whole story.

My problem with the series was really less that it was blatant fanservice (Because really, do you expect anything else from a tie-in like that?), and more that it completely failed to draw me, as a newcomer to the franchise who hadn't ever played the game, into the story. I felt like I was watching a summary of major events in the game minus the narrator. I could easily see adapting the story into something interesting--perhaps not a masterpiece, but still something worth watching--if they just didn't try to cram the whole story into something so short. Some exposition would be nice too.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, for example, despite being a massive fanservice buffet, still had a self contained storyline that I (despite not having played much of FF7 either) could mostly follow. I may not have really liked the movie, although that's largely because I don't really find most of the FF7 cast to be all that interesting (oh, they're gonna lynch me for that comment), but at least the story was kept simple and open enough that I could keep up. I imagine it also helped that the story they were telling occurs after the end of the game, so they could more or less do whatever they want.

Oh, and black lincon, I rather liked Eureka 7. There were a few parts that were basically "press this button for dues ex machina," but that tends to happen in even the best of anime series (I'm looking at you, Fullmetal Alchemist). That said, I doubt we'll be reviewing it, since we are predominantly reviewing new DVD releases in the States. Unless they somehow haven't released a full collector's edition super box-set of doom yet.

The only way you will get me to lynch you is if you review the now defunct 4kids edition of One Piece over the new and improved FUNimation (Oda Approved) version.

Seriously, like or hate the 4kids edition imma lynch you, take your job, and do it right.

Onmi:

The only way you will get me to lynch you is if you review the now defunct 4kids edition of One Piece over the new and improved FUNimation (Oda Approved) version.

Seriously, like or hate the 4kids edition imma lynch you, take your job, and do it right.

Oh man, 4Kids is like Sony Online Entertainment, they break everything they touch.

JoshV:

Onmi:

The only way you will get me to lynch you is if you review the now defunct 4kids edition of One Piece over the new and improved FUNimation (Oda Approved) version.

Seriously, like or hate the 4kids edition imma lynch you, take your job, and do it right.

Oh man, 4Kids is like Sony Online Entertainment, they break everything they touch.

I'm fine with them ruining commercial crap like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon, which are just giant adverts really. But how can you take one of the most popular anime in japan, the No.1 Shonen Jump anime out there, with such momentum that it's broken records set by predecessors...

And turn it into... well... a failure.

I don't understand how properties like One Piece are allowed to fail while badly written shows like Naruto and Gundam SEED Destiny can thrive.

Onmi:

The only way you will get me to lynch you is if you review the now defunct 4kids edition of One Piece over the new and improved FUNimation (Oda Approved) version.

Seriously, like or hate the 4kids edition imma lynch you, take your job, and do it right.

If it makes you feel any better, the One Piece we have is Funimation. :P

CantFaketheFunk:

Onmi:

The only way you will get me to lynch you is if you review the now defunct 4kids edition of One Piece over the new and improved FUNimation (Oda Approved) version.

Seriously, like or hate the 4kids edition imma lynch you, take your job, and do it right.

If it makes you feel any better, the One Piece we have is Funimation. :P

Actually it makes me hate you because stores in AUS only stock the 4Kids one (even though it's defunct) And this is a series I actually wanna support.

JoshV:
I wouldn't necessarily say that RPGs make bad game to anime conversions either--it's just, if someone is going to do one, they need to go all out. Like I mentioned in the review, something like 13 or 26 episodes could work. But if they're absolutely stuck at four episodes, they need to not try to tell the whole story.

Well, As I've stated, the Disgaea anime ran 13 episodes, which admittedly was the amount they needed to tell the main story and a sidequest or two, and actually looking back at that anime in comparison with this Tales anime actually was better then most other RPG-to-anime conversions, but I think that may have been because Disgaea 1's storyline was short enough that the devs of the series were actually able to flesh things out a bit more then the characters were previously, plus the humor of the games were still there. They even chose one of the endings from the game:

I remember Phantasia. I usually just turned it on and listened to the music in the background. I never was a big fan of Mickey Mouse.

Very nicely done Josh. I actually enjoyed reading your review. I probably won't bother watching this now, it doesn't sound very interesting.

By the way, if you do somehow get a time machine, your bringing me with you. I want donuts too!

The only Tales of anime that I've consistantly seen was Vesperia. And that red head guy was a real douchebag. I have seen Tales of Symphonia and since i've played and beaten the first one I really didn't much care for it. Mostly it was a disapointment.

Btw how many Tales of are there?
Known Tales of:

Tales of Symphonia
Tales of Vesparia
Tales of Phantasia

 

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