Abyssmal Load Times: Plot Primer
I couldn't pass up the chance to see an anime based on one of my favorite games of all time even if other game animes fell short in the past. Also, I realize that's it's almost impossible to not make this review a compare and contrast model having seen the anime and played the game. All the original plot and characters are present and provide much of the same experience as given in game; the only difference being the length of mediums. Watching the anime is like reading flash ficiton while playing the game remains akin to reading a novel. This change wouldn't pose a problem if the series had been adjusted to meet the limited elbow room. Instead the anime plods along as though nothing had drastically changed and the narrative and character development begin to thin without the assistance of the game. In the end everything sticks to the foundation but lacks the full effect because of the absent 400 character developing skits, battle dialogue, and various instances of in-game banter.
The animation stikes me as beatiful even though aesthics can often be arbitrary. The colors are vibrant but not distracting and environments feel lively and familiar. My only real dissapointment with the animation lies in the lack of fluid movement on a regular basis. Oftentimes Luke fon Fabre and crew resolve an epic, emotional battle with a few strokes of the sword and flashy spell. I remember one of the best fights visually was Luke vs. Random Oracle Knight. The sound sadly falls behind the rest of the elements due to lack of quantity and quality. Most of the game OST was bagged, and there are very few tracks I remember amidst the 26 episodes which's unfortunate. The perserved opening theme, Bump of Chicken, retains a golden charm and the ending theme suits the tone of the show. All the voice actors make a return and do a great job.
In the end, the show has difficultly standing without the game as support; so I recommend the game over the show but if you can't afford the game or don't wish to invest 50 hours of your time the show provides much of the fantasy experience but with better visuals.