A friend of mine is absolutely nuts about the Tales series. Having grown up with him playing Tales of Destiny I and II on the PSX, you can imagine his excitement, and my anticipation for this anime film. Finally, it gets the blu-ray treatment and I am here to let you guys know it does a great job presenting the world of Tales. Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike will take place a few years after the end of the Great War before the events in Tales of Vesperia the game. That is correct, Production I.G decided to toss out the plot of the game and make a prequel! The movie starts with Yuri Lowell and Flynn Scifo, new Imperial Knight recruits in the Niren Corps. They are sent to investigate abnormal aer on the outskirts of town that is causing the forest to wilt and the animals to behave savagely. All together, the cast is put together quite nicely and the voice acting is impressive, using the same voice actors from the game.
Utilizing the power of a powerful substance known as aer the people of the planet Terca Lumireis are in an age of discovery and prosperity. The crystallized form of aer which is known as Apatheia, is considered to be a very powerful energy source as it is essential to human life. In order to protect towns from attacks by monsters large amounts of Apatheia are being produced to create barriers around towns. You also get to learn about Flynn’s backround, and why Yuri left the knights, and where he got his special Blastia from. Although, I am a little disapointed that a lot of the characters were not in it. Also, Yuri looked less feminine than I remember him being in the game. But, the effort Production I.G put into this film is very apparant in the animation department. A lot of anime show the same animation or background over and over, but this movie kept showing new material and I can really appreciate the effort from the animators.
I like how they crammed so many things in to this movie, and I’m glad it’s just under two hours, because that way, the movie didn’t feel rushed, unlike most movies that are 90 minuites long, but they’re usually American. But it’s probably less about plot and drama, but moreso the creation of a world of fantasy. The demons, creatures were somewhere between animals and monsters, and they also are one of the most appealing factors of the film. Director Kanta Kamei, who was involved as an artist even in large projects has now completed his first debut and in doing so – puts the focus entirely on this show’s presentation. Naturally, plot will suffer, but even then, he had yet to put in a little more effort. While the world borrows looks from “Vesperia” quite obviously, it lacks that certain something. Again, the animation is clean, and has a solid look, but this gives the work the character of an assembly line product.
The main characters contrast in which Yuri follows his heart and helps the people in need, while Flynn just does what he is ordered to do. Yuri and the captain look up to Flynn’s father who disobeyed orders and protected the Lower area of the city and died in the process. However Flynn thinks his father died pointlessly and left nothing behind apart from dishonour, however later in the show he realizes when the captain does the same that many people were alive because of the captain’s sacrifice. This really does open up layers and layers of the franchise that have never been seen before. The movie is light-hearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously, but I didn’t mind, it’s typical because it’s proven to work. My very personal recommendation would be that if you played the game you should really watch this. After all, with the high demand of video game anime lately, such as Dragon Age; Dawn of the Seeker, it is obvious who the demographic is chasing. This is a quality anime that only misses A marks by a few centimeters. Add it to your collection this June!