From Bandai Entertainment, the publisher behind the Eureka Seven, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Code Geass comes the first part of Tales of the Abyss, an anime adaption of the PlayStation 2 RPG (soon to be on the Nintendo 3DS) from Namco Bandai Games.
Tales of the Abyss is set in the world of Audlant, which has two major military powers, the Kingdom of Kimlasca and the Malkuth Empire. Both kingdoms accept that the order of the world and its events are decided by the “Scores”, which is the complete history of the world and looked after by the Order of Lorelei.
The story of the series revolves around Luke fon Fabre, the son of the Duke of Kimlasca. Young Luke was abducted as a child and since his return has been forbidden to leave the Fabre family home. Spoiled and arrogant Luke spends his days wandering the grounds with his companion Guy and training with his instructor Van Grants.
In the first part of the series, while training an intruder sneaks into the mansion and attacks Van, causing Luke to come to his masters defense, resulting in the attacker and Luke being transported all the way to Malkuth when their seventh fonons, which are used to cast spells, react. With no knowledge of the outside world Luke is forced to depend on the attacker, Tear, to get him back home as they work their way back to Kimlasca.
Along their journey Tear and Luke meet Fon Master Ion, the leader of the Order of Lorelei, Ion’s bodyguard Anise, Jade Curtis, a Malkuth military officer and a cheagle, blue mammals that are considered sacred by the Order of Lorelei, named Mieu. As they join the strange combination of allies to make their way to the capitol of Kimlasca, Luke struggles to adapt to the outside world while the rest of the group stand in awe of just how ignorant he really is of the world around him.
Standing in the group’s way at every turn are the Six God Generals, the military leaders of the Oder of Lorelei and servants to Van, which complicates things for Luke. As the party works to uncover just who the enemy is and what they have planned they also attempt to prevent a war from breaking out once again between Kimlasca and Malkuth, which struggle to maintain a fragile peace.
Visually the series has a nice look to it and all of the characters retain their designs from the video game. The series is done very well and looks just like the cut scenes from the game, thanks to Sunrise, Bandai and Namco working together, which should keep gamers happy. The series is in Japanese with English subtitles so there is some reading involved, but the subtitles are clear and easy to understand and the Japanese voice cast fit their characters perfectly.
The DVD comes in a standard DVD case that features an image of Tear, Luke and Mieu on the cover and a chibi version of Guy on the disc. There aren’t any on-disc features to speak of really, with the exception of the clean opening, which features my favorite theme from any Tales game, and trailers for other Bandai releases. If you purchase the limited edition version you receive a soft case that features the main case on the cover as well as the first volume of the Asch the Bloody manga, which tells the story from God General Asch’s perspective. This manga actually serves as a great addition to the series as it covers the events of the disc and gives the reader a little more insight into both Asch and Luke.
All in all Tales of the Abyss is a great series that sticks to the story of the video game it was adapted from very well. Viewers have the chance to enjoy the deep story and evolution of Luke as a character, he is really easy to hate early on but shows faint glimmers of being a better person, without having to go through the long play through of an RPG, though I would recommend the game as well.
The series has a great blend of action and story that can easily keep fans entertained from start to finish. The only issue I have is that Bandai continues to release single disc 7 episode parts and the cost can be a bit high when you compare them to other 12-14 episode releases from different companies.
If you enjoy fantasy action anime or are a fan of the Tales series of games then Tales of the Abyss is definitely worth picking up.
Score (No pun intended, well maybe a little.)
4.5 Out of 5
Tales of the Abyss Part 1
Publisher: Bandai Entertainment
Runtime: 175 minutes
Number of Discs: 1 DVD
Number of Episodes: 7
Languages: Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: 13+
Release Date: October 11th, 2011
(This review is based on a purchased version of Tales of the Abyss Part 1 on DVD.)