The following review focuses on both the game and the movie, you cannot assess the series without the game. Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike is a 2009 Japanese animated film by Production I.G. It is directed by Kanta Kamei and written by Reiko Yoshida. The film is the prequel to the Namco’s ‘Tales of Vesperia RPG and the first animated feature film in the Tales series.
Tales of Vesperia focuses on the world, called Terca Lumireis, which uses an energy source called blastia for all its needs, including creating protective barriers around its cities. The story focuses on Yuri Lowell and Flynn Scifo, two knights who have just joined the Niren Corps, together with two of their senior knights and fellow Corps members. They are sent on a mission to investigate an abnormal activity of aer in the area and to protect its citizens.
Well, this one is quite a challenge to assess. If you forget about the game, which is the direct continuation to this movie and to have a full understanding of the world of Tales Of Vesperia, you will have to play it, Tales of Vesperia ~The First Strike~ is just a beautiful movie, with a likeable cast that gets enough development for one movie, but not as enough as it should be, great OST, with many famous Japanese voice actors, which also has an amazingly heartbreaking storyline. However, if you assess this movie together with the game, Tales of Vesperia is something worthy of being called a masterpiece. While the movie does have a somewhat slow start: where many characters still have not been introduced and you have 0 clue of what is happening, or how this all will end, after having played the game you will understand how beautiful and dramatic Tales of Vesperia really is.
While the main characters both in the game and in the movie do get quite a good development, which is nothing special, to be honest, the supporting cast gets as much development as the main cast. And this is something amazing, Tales of Vesperia has such a big world, with so many heroes and antiheroes and they all have a story to tell. On top of that, you never get tired of them, because they all are so different and this makes your Tales of Vesperia journey even more fun to undertake.
OST and animation wise, taking into consideration the fact that both the game and the movie were made quite some time ago, they have a very enjoyable animation: a very likeable character design and stunningly detailed background, just an eye candy. OST wise, Tales of Vesperia has an amazing OST, which helps you appreciate the series, as well as the game even more. What is more, many characters of Tales of Vesperia were voiced by famous Japanese voice actors: such as Kousuke Toriumi, Mamoru Miyano, Mai Nakahara, Rika Morinaga, and Eiji Takemoto. Yet, both the game and the movie also have quite a good English dub, so it is up to you, which version you would like to check.
With the game: Tales of Vesperia (The Movie) is a prequel, which plays a very important role for the world of Tales of Vesperia and absolutely no doubt about it, it is a pure masterpiece I cannot give anything less than 10/10;
Supposing I had never played the game, Tales of Vesperia (The Movie) is a very weak 8/10.
All in all, it is up to you, if you want to play the game, or not. But this will be worth your while. Do try to find the time for both the movie and the game.
A Special little treat for a Tales fan like me.
As my name implies, I am a Tales fan, therefore it might seem a little biased, but it's still fair. The story is a prequal to the game and it is about Yuri's time in the knights. To fully understand some minor details, you would need to have played the game, but it doesn't matter, the story still proved to be interesting enough that non Tales might enjoy just as much. The animation is clean and nice, as expected from Production I.G. Shading might be a little scarce, but it is hardly noticable and a tradition of Production I.G.'s works. Oh yeah, I've never seen such epic blood before in an anime. XD The seiyuus did the voices really well and each one fitted the personality of the characters. The theme song for TOV is also present in the movie, which made me shed a tear for nostalgia. The characters themselves are excellent, with a few cameos from the game. The twins were an instant hit with me, perhaps I just have this thing for twins... well, I didn't like Futakoi (another anime about twins) though. Not to mention, the main character was already badass in the original game. His personality is excellent because he shows raw emotions (not like some people who want to save the world and is nice to everyone blah blah blah). anyways, you won't be dissapointed with the characters.
In the end, the movie proved a lot better than I thought. Anyone who wants a good fantasy anime movie will be happy with this.
I never played Vesperia so my friend suggested me to watch this movie, he says this is the prequel of the video game so I had a shot.
Because I never played the game I cannot understand who is that guy and what he/she does because the movie doesn't explain anything about the characters.
*Reviewed from an outsiders perspective as I know nothing about the video game*
The story for the most part seemed very slow and I was introduced to things that I had no idea about (like blastia) and some random cameo's from characters I assume are from the game, that go no where. It did pick up though in the second half, the two main characters were interesting and well developed, same with their commanding officer. Animation is great, soundtrack is great; from an outsiders point of view I really enjoyed it, though I'm sure fans of the game will get more out of it. It's just a fun film to me.
More in video review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGHAusYXGTQ
BBFC rating - 12 for moderate bloody fantasy violence
Over the course of me writing this review I have also seen the Tales of Eternia, Tales of Phantasia, and also the Tales of Symphonia anime. All of which for the most part skip story bits and character development.
But Vesperia on the other hand is a different story. It is a prequel to the game its based off of, which is actually kind of rare. Makes it easier to tie the events of the movie into the game. The director and the writer kept it simple and direct, and because of this, Tales of Vesperia manages to become interesting to a degree, enough to at least enjoy the movie and maybe consider buying the game.
Animation- For the most part Production I.G. has done a good job maintaining their standards of animation. Its interesting to note how the movie shows a far more graphic depiction of violence compared to its game counterpart. It doesn't shy away from grusome occurences which have only really been shown in a very sanitised manner within the Tales series thus far.
Sound- The music is absent from most proceedings, however this serves to enhance its effect when it is used. Overall the quality of the pieces adds to the scenes.
Characters- The biggest problem with Tales of Vesperia is the characters. Because this is both a movie and a prequel to a larger story, there is little in the way of major development. That said, the two lead characters do grow to a degree, and anyone who has played the game will no doubt find the additional information about them pleasing. However, those who have had neither the opportunity or inclination to play the game will probably find there is a distinct lack in this department.
That's not to say that the characters are bad though. As a stand alone movie they work fairly well, however the open ended nature of the tale leaves one feeling that more could have been done with the time. In essence, the fact that this is a prequel, something which in terms of plot content is an advantage, becomes a flaw when considering the the characters as they an "unfinished" quality about them cometh end of the film.
Overall- This movie deserves some credit for being not only a prequel, but an original tale, as it could very well have been just another adaptation.