For the sake of my dignity, I won't divulge just how many hours I've previously devoted to Tales of Symphonia, nor will I make it known that I will be purchasing a Wii primarily for the fact that Tales of Symphonia: The Knight of Ratatosk is slated for release sometime this coming fall. What I will say, however, is that I had mediocre expectations for this OVA at best, as there was simply no way it could possibly compact the sheer magnitude of its story or the three dimensionality of its characters into a mere two hour block. Indeed, many of the key points in the story such as the Renegades are touched upon only very briefly, and serve only to unravel its coherency instead of clarify certain events; for those familiar with the game it offers no new insight, and for those not it's but shallow, boring babble.
As such, I'm not really sure how to judge the OVA - it's neither a productive watch for those familiar with the Tales of Symphonia nor an interesting watch for those not. Though the fight scenes are cool, they are few in number as most of the time is devoted to trying to flesh out the story (which wasn't such a bright idea in my opinion, as Tales of Symphonia's story can only appreciated in its full context, not simply its first arc.) Considering the OVA only manages to cover the first 30% or so of the story with a skin-and-bones presentation, though, it's a lackluster success at very best. I must admit that I was actually rather bored, as I had to fight the urge to just go play the game instead of watching the full two hours. In fact, had I not the motivation to get this review written for it, I probably would have done just that.
Plus, a lot of the cool content to look forward to was excluded, especially with the Desians; hell, Colette cripples Magnus with Angel's Song of all things, avoiding that fight altogether. Kratos' execution of Kvar was also rather lame, as he kills Kvar in a single, swift blow instead of drawing out the death scene while he vents his anger. Not only that , the slaying of the seal guardians is comprised of a shot of the temple followed by a brief clip of the guardian dying. They even skipped the the Tower of Mana altogether. This decided lack of content really dulled my interest, and I can't see it being too entertaining for most fans of the game, either; if you really find yourself drawn to the title, I'd strongly suggest going back and picking up Tales of Symphonia again instead, as it will be a much more satisfying experience.
The animation follows a very similar pattern to the games as far as character designs go, but the scenery is much more detailed. This creates a somewhat odd interplay between the two, as it keeps the characters familiar but doesn't keep the world atmosphere the same. While I actually thought the scenery to be quite pleasant, the two just seem at odds with each other most of the way through. Still, it's more a peeve than an actual glaring flaw, as for the most part it's tolerable and doesn't seem to be obtrusive in any overbearing fashion - it works well enough for that it set out to do.
That said, the fight scenes are pretty cool when it's between humanoids, especially those involving Sheena. This more than compensates for the previously mentioned issue, as ultimately it gave the OVA some saving grace.
I don't know if the original Japanese seiyuu voiced their respective characters, but I have to say that the English cast did a much better job overall. Kratos' voice was way too deep to really fit his physiology, and Sheena's suffered in a fashion similar - the girl's supposed to be seventeen or so, not fifty-five. The music actually turned out better than I expected, but it never got me past the grating sensation the voice acting surfaced in the fathoms of my eardrums. Especially for those familiar with the English dub it's pretty awful, so keep that in mind if you choose to watch it.
Expectedly, the characters are overly dull. Lloyd is ten times more annoying than he is in the game, as at least in the game he's respectable on some levels. Here, though, he whines and bitches like any other standard protagonist in his shoes, so it's a big turnoff. Kratos, on the other hand, is a little too emotionless, as his total detachment in the OVA parallels rather poorly with his pragmatism in the game. The others are just generic, one dimensional extrapolations of their respective characters, though, so overall there's really not much to mention other than I didn't really care for them - they were much more round and complex in their original setting.
Still, in lieu of all my negatives, if you're interested in seeing Kratos or Sheena kick some ass it'd be decent a way to burn a couple hours; I did actually enjoy those scenes quite a bit. Other than that, though, I'd suggest passing this title up - generally speaking, it's simply not worth your time.
I've played the game, Tales of Symphonia. So I decided to give the anime a shot. NO. Just no. It tries to follow the storyline, but seeing as its an OVA, not an actual anime. It doesn't do well. The characters were exactly the same though. However, it speeds up most of the action and skips to places.
So if you wanted to watch this because you loved the game, maybe you should just replay the game instead.
Tales of Symphonia is a Japanese role-playing game released for the Nintendo GameCube on August 29, 2003 in Japan. The fans found the game very enjoyable, which was the reason for the creation of the new material: novels, manga, drama CDs, and, of course, an OVA anime series. A Steam version was also released on February 2, 2016. The TV series focuses on the two worlds; one world prospers at the cost of another. In one of these worlds, Colette Brunel and her guardians embark on a journey to save their world called Sylvarant and to replenish it with the mana that is needed for its existence. However, they do not know if they will be able to save their world, as well as the cost they will need to pay to save it.
So, the story of Tales of Symphony focuses on a young man and a girl, who have been friends since childhood. The girl, Colette, needs to perform sacred rituals, for her world to be saved from the destruction. Her closest friends embark on a journey with her to help her complete the ritual and, of course, there will be people that will do everything to kidnap, kill, or even to somehow influence the restoration of the world. And that is the whole story and it will probably sound boring, also it might also look boring for you, when watching the first episodes. However, as the story continues, it becomes much more interesting, there are so many things going on and the most important part about it is that it all makes sense and is quite catchy overall.
Animation wise, the animation was done by Ufotable and whatever they do is always amazing. Action scenes and attacks are splendidly animated and the way the animators paid attention to so many details does make the TV series that enjoyable. OST and music wise, it is amazing how many great tracks this series has. The whole OST fits the series' tone well and helps you to appreciate the series even more. And not only that! The Japanese voice actors also did one hell of a job voicing their characters, helping the viewer appreciate the series even more, because thanks to their work, the characters they voiced all looked real and quite enjoyable to follow.
As for the characters, they all have intriguing pasts and quite a development. There are so many characters, they are all different, they all have a story to tell and this is amazing. I did not quite appreciate one of the main characters, he is caring, but annoying at the same time. He is the only exception to the stereotype list, but you might even understand him and find him not as annoying as I did. Other than that, all heroes constantly discuss something, make fun of each other and find themselves in awkward situations. The viewer sees not only comedy scenes, but also some well-made melodrama that is not forced and is very enjoyable.
Overall, too bad the TV series did not get enough episodes to show enough development. If you played the game, you should know what I am trying to say. If you, however, know nothing about the game and like great adventures, I am more than sure you will find the anime quite enjoyable. Do give it a try, it is not that long.
I LOVE both Tales of Symphonia games!
But A bad thing is I you don't know the game the story is hard to follow
A friend of my have also watch Tales of Symphonia but never play the game.
He couldn't follow the story that well
But be both games I love the story and that one of the reasons I play it over and over again