Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tales Of The Abyss

Auldrant is a world governed by The Score, an ancient prophecy divined by Yulia, which foretells the fate of all things. Thus, the Order of Lorelei is founded with the sole purpose of determining and upholding The Score. However, there always will be those who struggle against fate. Luke is a spoiled young noble of Kimlasca who yearns to be outside of the walls of his mansion. He spends his days spurning the advances of his fiancée Natalia and training with Guy, his friend and bodyguard, and his teacher Van, Commander of the Knights of Lorelei. During an attack on the mansion, he ends up in Malkuth, enemy territory. When he tries to return home, he soon finds himself embroiled in a worldwide conflict between those who would uphold fate and those who would defy it. Source: Anime-planet.com

The script was well written. I enjoyed the story so much that I finished all 26 episodes in one day, without even realizing as time passed. Most fans will make up their mind on whether they would probably enjoy an anime by the time they watched the second or third episode. But Tales of the Abyss took me about 8 episodes to settle in, by then I was hooked. Before that eighth episode however, each episode felt like it was either a hit or miss. Having a major plot revealed in episode 8 probably strengthen my interest too. And after that, every plot revealed was just mind bogglingly good.

Everyone has their own agenda and only Luke was ignorant of it. The anime overplayed Luke’s arrogance to the extent that it became downright hateful. If you think that it’s only for the first few episodes and that Luke will learn his place in the world soon enough. Well, you are only half right, it is going to take quite some time before Luke learns the meaning of manners. Just to encourage you, he will change by episode 9.

Character development is nicely paced. I like the slight hint of romance circle going on around everyone. Like how Luke and Tear interacts with each other emotionally yet not too showy, not forgetting Natalia too. There are obviously some other romances to happen but you don’t expect me to spoil it for you right? :p
I was able to relate to each supporting character and their roles as every character were deeply explored and their history told. This will really help improve experience between fans and the characters in the anime. The only one I found lacking in depth was Anise. (Off topic: Anyone else agrees with me that Anise’s ability is the coolest?)

Animation wise, I really applaud how lightning and other special effects of spells were well moderated. Nothing was over-exaggerated. Get some time to familiarize yourself to the terms and phrases used to describe Fonons and other terminologies. During episode 14, I suddenly realized I had lost all understanding of the terms thrown around. The constant bombardment of terminologies at that episode has finally popped my head off. And also, give the opening theme some time; it will slowly grow on you as you realize more and more how it goes really well with the anime.

The slight inconsistencies found throughout the series were bit of a turn off. Anyone notice that there are 2 sides to the story of how Natalia/Meryl entered the royal family as a baby?
Between episode 24 and 25, in one moment, there were guns blazing left and right as a full-fledged war. The next moment, silent as a winter’s night. In episode 25, Ginji was injured, and Tear just looked at him as Luke was getting information before running off with the party to hunt for Van. What happened to her healing spells? Lol! Last little nitpick, the airship can save a whole bunch of villagers but can’t even accommodate a few extra soldiers to help Luke and his party when invading Eldrant?
In the end, what I hated most about Tales of the Abyss was how the ending was under-played. It felt like a half-assed attempt to fill out the last 3 episodes just so that they can end it. The final battle was over too quickly, I pity fans that have been waiting for the final battle against the lead villain (For those who've read this review before this edit, Sorry for the spoiler revealed). And all I wanted was a nice little 5 minute scene just to emphasize on how they world is finally peaceful and (almost) everyone is happy. Is that too much to ask? And what about Asch? Come on! And it is these last 3 vital episodes which will drop this series from a 5 to a 4-Stars title.
Tales of the Abyss
Ratings: 4-Stars
Torrents: AbyssalChronicles

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