AC Weigh-In: November 2019

This month, we talk animation!

For the November 2019 edition of AC Weigh-In, we talk about the anime adaptations made available for the different Tales titles!


WARNING: This particular weigh-in may contain spoilers for Tales of Eternia (both game and anime), Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Vesperia, Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Zestiria, particularly Tales of Zestiria the X. If you are avoiding spoilers, then please do not read the article. We apologize for the inconvenience!

For this month, we have the following reactors:

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Ecargmura (Grace)
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8ro (Hachiro)
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Patron - Consul Praetor

Among the following major anime adaptations for the games, which is your utmost favorite and why? (Tales of Eternia: the Animation; Tales of Phantasia: the Animation; Tales of Symphonia: the Animation; Tales of the Abyss; Tales of Vesperia: the First Strike and Tales of Zestiria the X)


I really love how Sunrise did the Abyss adaptation mainly because it was so faithful to the source material, but the art style was a bit iffy to me. In terms of enjoyment in watching, I really really loved Symphonia's because it gave us a bit of back story on Mithos, plus the animation quality.
DimensionSlip Tales of the Abyss! Rushed as it is as an anime adaptation (an inevitability), I think it hit a lot of the points that made it such a good game, and is a nice entry point for people who don't have the time to play the game but want to know about Abyss's story and world.
Grace I'd have to go with Tales of Zestiria the X. It's not the best but I've gotten a lot of memories with it. I made blog posts on it and those blog posts made me a staff here, which then allowed me to review the second season and kickstarted my staff career here.
Flamzeron My favorite, surprising no one, is Tales of Eternia's anime adaptation. I liked the original story and the colors were very tropical and vibrant. My only issue with it was that it was too short.
Hachiro Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike! It's just so, so gorgeous!!! That animation quality is all i could ask for Tales~ It is also nice to see what Yuri, Flynn and Repede were up to before the game.
Amy I loved Tales of Symphonia: The Animation because I really liked the animation style and how much emphasis it put on the characters' emotional state. It wasn't a faithful adaptation, but it made for good AMV source material, haha!
Khayyaam Definitely Tales of Symphonia: The Animation. Of all of the adaptations, Symphonia's feels like it's a real labor of love, and ufotable's work is incredible for it. There's no off moments in the animation, memorable scenes are rendered lovingly, and it offers an enjoyable interpretation of the game and its events.
Returner7 For me it's the Tales of the Abyss adaptation due to its faithful retelling of the entire video game plot, its additional story elements that gave more background details about the main antagonists, and the awesome music. It's definitely weaker animation wise but I appreciated that there were enough episodes to tell the whole story, Abyss is definitely my favorite Tales story. First Strike is a close second for me because it told a complete prologue/side-story with nice animation.

Among the Animation Studios that have adapted Tales into anime, which one was your preferred animation style and art direction, and why? (Tales of Eternia: Xebec; Tales of Phantasia: the Animation - Actas; Tales of Symphonia: the Animation, Tales of Zestiria the X - ufotable; Tales of the Abyss - Sunrise; Tales of Vesperia: the First Strike - Production I.G.)


I love how Actas's work was really clean and neat, but of course people are going to lean on ufotable for this one. Really crisp art and really neat effects.
DimensionSlip I really liked the style in the First Strike by Production I.G.. It's very reminiscent of the game cutscenes and makes the movie feel like it's part of the game, in a way!
Grace I used to give Ufotable flack in the past but I think they've improved a lot, so I'll go with Ufotable.
Flamzeron Ufotable's work is definitely the prettiest to look at, but I also like Actas' work on Tales of Phantasia and how it looked very similar to the official art. When it comes to the Tales series anime adaptations, I like it when they look like they are anime cut-scenes from the games but longer. Although the Eternia anime was very nice visually, the character designs were a bit off in some areas, though everyone pretty much looked like how they were supposed to.
Amy I really like ufotable's art style. I thought their CG was a bit too in your face during Zestiria the X, but otherwise I've liked their work quite a bit.
Hachiro Production I.G. for sure, they've worked on the majority of tales titles, so i always link Tales to them. Also, i love Atsuko Nakajima-sensei's animation <3
Khayyaam Production I.G. Despite my praise for Symphonia's animation, it's Production I.G.'s art style that I think fits the series' own art style the most.
Returner7 Ufotable for me. Like everything else ufotable, The X was beautifully detailed both in dialogue and action scenes though it was noticeably less smooth, detailed, & high budget than their Fate/stay night adaptations. I am a little disappointed in their work on the Xillia + Xillia 2 animated cutscenes because they seemed comparatively lower effort to me. Production I.G. is a close second for the beautiful stills & dialogue in First Strike but weaker action animation.

Do you prefer anime adaptations that follow the storyline of the original game (i.e. Phantasia, Symphonia), or do you prefer those that try to make its own story in order to add to the game's existing lore (Eternia)?


As much as I love Eternia, the fact that it had a different story arc with different characters I was not familiar with made it hard for me to get attached to the show. Abyss followed its source religiously, so it actually made me really look forward to how the animation would adapt my favorite game scenes. That said, there's Zestiria.
DimensionSlip The former, since the latter style could get a little tricky.
Grace I prefer anime adaptations that follow the story line because it brings back memories of the game. Also, why would you diverge from the game and make your content that will either be hit or miss?
Flamzeron I prefer either, but not a mix. If it's going to follow the story, I'd want them to follow it to a T. Same with the other side, where I would want it to be an original story entirely. If they do mix, I would want any original plot to be on the side if possible. Pretty much a side quest.
Hachiro Hm, hard to say. I'm okay with either, as far as it's good. Going back to ToV First Strike, it is a good example of how adaptations to other media can expand and add more to an already established work.
Amy I definitely prefer the ones that follow the game's storyline for a few reasons. For games that don't have great graphics, faithful anime adaptations are the best chance of good source material for AMVs. More importantly though, it kinda drives me nuts when there are story inconsistencies and that happens a lot more often in animes that diverge from the original game's plot.
Khayyaam I like both styles. They have their own advantages. In the end though, I'd pick ones that make their own story, since I think playing the original game is the best way to experience the story in most cases, I do have a bit of a dislike for the idea of someone watching an adaptation so they won't have to play it. With an original story, you get something that can get someone interested in the original game, and would be enjoyable to someone who has as well. All that said, Eternia isn't the best example, but it's enjoyable in its own way.
Returner7 I don't necessarily prefer one over the other so long as a complete & un-rushed story is told, this is why I'm not the biggest fan of the Phantasia & Symphonia OVAs.

Tales of Zestiria the X was an adaptation that only loosely followed its original game, making major changes story-wise that affected the game's ending differently. What is your opinion on this and why do you think this adaptation was made as such?


Oho I think we all know why they made this *coughtheAlishaissuecough* but anyway. I don't have a preference. I like Zestiria the X for the art and for the story changes. But I still love the story of the original Zestiria despite a good fraction of the fandom hating on it. To each his own.
DimensionSlip I didn't mind the S1 changes so much, personally. But the S2 changes took liberties that weren't as easy to ride with, and proved to be a departure from what the game's themes, I suppose. Quite crassly, it felt a little like a high budget fix-it fanfic in some ways, which isn't to say it's terrible. More like a testament to how much liberties they took with the story. I think this may have been done in response to all the criticism surrounding Zestiria's plot and the way they handled Alisha, which is understandable, but at the same time, the lengths to which they took things is definitely divisive.
Grace Either people like it or they don't. I'm in the middle ground. There are aspects that I like and dislikes. I like the animation and how the world of Zestiria ties to Berseria; not to mention, the adaptation actually made me have better opinions of Rose and Edna. I'm not a big fan of the less pivotal role Sorey has. He's the protagonist for goodness sake! Mikleo has a huge importance Zestiria's story but his role gets diminished even more than Sorey's. I feel like the adaptation was made to appease angry Alisha fans who did not like how she was "shafted" after a fourth of gameplay. That's why she has a bigger focus.
Flamzeron To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of the changes made in the plot to Zestiria the X, besides the new characters. I did like how Sorey did like a super Armatization with everyone. It was basically Super Saiyan, he even had the hair to match! The mention of Velvet was interesting though. I had always wondered how things would go if they met, and although they didn't, it was nice to see them at least see each other in that one vision scene.
Hachiro To be honest, it sure looks hard to adapt games (especially JRPGs) to more story-driven medias like anime and manga. These games are so long and have so much content, how to adapt something like this in a linear narrative? That's probably something that crossed Haruo Sotozaki's (the director) mind during the whole production. It is easy to just lose track of what do you want the thing to be, and i think that's what happened /lol Years before he has tried a more "faithful" adaptation with the Symphonia OVAs and maybe noticed that it doesn't work very well, dunno. Zesty the X felt kinda lost to me overall~
Amy I haven't watched the entire anime yet, so I can't really comment. Please skip this answer.
Khayyaam For the most part I didn't like it. After everything it felt like Zestiria The X existed as a form of damage control after the game's shoddy reception, but the changes weren't too developed. If they were going to change the story I'd have preferred they waited a while, but oh well. However, I do like the different conclusion to what happens with Eizen over the in-game sidequest, which felt needlessly cruel.
Returner7 I don't think that was a problem per se, but it seemed like those decisions were made to market Berseria and address some of the fan backlash regarding Zestiria's story content (lack of Alisha & somewhat weaker story). Ultimately I don't feel like their changes in season 2 were improvements.

In the dawn of 3D animated series, do you think a Tales adaptation would look good in this medium?


Depends, are we talking Hearts DS 3D or something akin to Miraculous Ladybug maybe? I'm all for the latter, but if we're going to attempt something that would become a sad attempt to look like Final Fantasy? Then no.
DimensionSlip Hmm possibly depending on how it's handled, but leaning more towards, "maaaybe not", considering the anime signature of the series.
Grace It depends on the game. I think Rebirth would look good in 3D.
Flamzeron Truthfully, no. Though I suppose it would depend on what kind of art style it would be.
Hachiro Like I said before, as far as it's good, i'm okay with it. There's so many good 3DCG shows out there~ A good example is Kamikaze Douga's work on Crestoria, that looks pretty good.
Amy Maybe? It really depends on how the specific style and animation quality. If it's good animation, it will look good. If it's lazy and/or cheap, it probably won't. There's nothing inherently wrong with the 3D animation medium though.
Khayyaam  The answer to this question is... does a Tales game already look good in 3D on its own? Since the games are already 3D and have their own cutscenes, there's no reason a 3D anime couldn't reflect that closely. Of course, it isn't quite so simple, since the Tales games before Xillia had a slightly more stylized, kinda chibi artstyle, and the games from Xillia onward had ghastly lighting, in my opinion. A 3D anime may have to fix these to achieve wider appeal.
Returner7 I have no doubt it would, but at that point I feel like I might as well play the game or watch all the in game cutscenes unless there is a significant amount of added story content.

Lastly, which Tales game would you like to see adapted into an anime, and which animation studio would you like to see work on it? And would you want it to be a direct adaptation, or a spin-off of sorts to add to the existing story?


Oh boy oh boy Tales of Destiny PLEASE. I'd love to see Leon's story animated - but I'd prefer Production I.G to work on that since Destiny's animated scenes were perfected by I.G. And of course, either a direct adaptation or just Leon's arc (from Destiny: Director's Cut). That aside I'd love to see either Xillia or Berseria animated by ufotable as direct adaptations.
DimensionSlip Abyss, always. A Production I.G. version of any part of the story would be The Dream, and I've always hoped they'd do something like adapt the Nebilim sidequest into a movie, aha. Otherwise, seeing Xillia adapted into an anime would be amazing.
Grace Oh boy, there's a lot of games I want to see. If I had to pick, I'd would like to see an Xillia anime given how much Ufotable has improved in animation since Demon Slayer. I'd like to see them incorporate a bigger budget into the Xillia/2 lore and maybe focus more on the two worlds.
Flamzeron I feel like Tales of Destiny deserves a good anime. There were some cool parts and I think viewers would like the character designs. They could also put in Destiny 2 if they wanted it to be longer or do a movie.
Hachiro There's so many options here; As a fan, i would LOVE an anime adaptation of Tales of Destiny -- it doesn't need to be good (and probably wouldn't), i just need fanservice. I wanna see my beloved characters interact with each other, my favorite scenes in anime form, wanna hear their voice actors in a brand new material again. But if i want something really good and not just for fanservice, i'd love to see a short Tales of Destiny (1&2), Rays or Abyss side-story to expand the games' world. The studio would be Production I.G. of course, with Tokuyuki Matsutake-sensei returning as a character designer and key animator, and to be honest the director could be either Kanta Kamei-sensei (ToVFS) or Haruo Sotozaki-sensei (he did a good job for Demon Slayer after all).
Amy I'd really like to see more of Berseria as an anime done by ufotable that's faithful to the game's storyline. I was really disappointed when I found out that Berseria only got a couple episodes of Zestiria the X because I was really enjoying that adaptation.
Khayyaam I think all the Motherships are ok as they are for telling their story and as I said, should be played first... so I want an Escort to be adapted. Tales of The Tempest is the main one that comes to mid, but I'd also love anime for Summoner's Lineage or maybe even a crossover like Tales of The World: Reve Unitia. These are games that are hard to get into by just playing for multiple reasons, so adapting them into an anime would be a great way to make those stories more accessible!
Returner7 I would really like to see a ufotable made Phantasia 26 episode series, it's old enough that the story would be relatively fresh, ufotable could make it look beautiful, & it could ignite interest in a Phantasia remake I've always wanted. An adaptation of one of the non-localized titles could be cool too.

Any suggestions for next month, or anything that you want to respond to? Feel free to share them in the comments below~

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About a745 1738 Articles
A745 (or Abby, as most people call her) is the founder of Abyssal Chronicles. She is currently a doctor, but that doesn't stop her from showing her love for the Tales of Series. She loves potato chips. A lot.