Posted on June 27, 2012 AT 03:44pm
Tales of Vesperia was, and still is, a popular video game that is just one in a long series of RPGs that have captured the hearts of gamers everywhere. Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike is a “prequel” movie based on the video game.
Taking place several years before the events in the Tales of Vesperia game, the story follows Yuri and Flynn, recruits in the Niren Corps of the Imperial Knights. Though childhood friends, they spend much of their time bickering over everything, especially on the correct way to mete out justice. The world is run on the power of Aer, harnessed through devices called Balista. A nearby town is suffering under attacks from monsters and out-of-control beasts. Captain Fedrok, leader of the Niren Corps decides to take his troops to the town after the Imperial Knights leader has refused to send help. While in the town, Yuri and Flynn discover the attacks may be caused by corrupted Aer in the area. Their search leads them to a fortress that appears to be the source of the corrupt Aer and though without adequate manpower, Captain Fedrok launches an attack on the fortress in an attempt to stop the invasion of the town. A heavy price is paid in this battle and Yuri is forced to decide the path his life must follow while Flynn is forced to relive past pain and deal with it.
The story is good and absorbing with only a few times when it feels like it’s tripping up. Generally this is when they are trying to meld the story of the anime with the video game or game concept. It just seems to be a little out of sync with what is happening on the screen. Best way to describe it would be when an NPC without much purpose wanders into your game screen and you are forced to talk to it but nothing comes of it. Overall, the dynamics between Flynn are Yuri are engrossing and the opposite natures of the two characters play off of each other beautifully providing a balance in the storytelling.
The voice actors, both Japanese and English, were well cast and did a fantastic job. If you are a subtitle person you will be pleased to know that the subtitles are clear and actually stay on the screen long enough to read. Too often animes scroll through subtitles too quickly and plot is lost. The English dubbing is well executed and doesn’t fall into that “ridiculousness” that sometimes hinders good animes. The animation is beautiful and rich. It is top-of-the-line in artwork, artistic style and coloring. The action sequences, though reminiscent of the game, are not repetitive nor silly. This is a very serious movie and it was treated as such.
SUMMARY: Anime fans don’t worry if you haven’t played the Tales of Vesperia game, you will still enjoy this movie immensely. If you have played the game, you are going to be treated with the back story of the game’s characters. The game never explained why, or how, Flynn and Yuri got to the points in their lives they were at when the game started. This movie will clear all that up.
- THE GOOD: Engrossing Story, Fantastic Animation and Voice Acting
- THE BAD: Trips up when trying to blend video game with movie
- THE UGLY: N/A – Nothing “ugly” about this one.
Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike (Blu-ray) has a runtime of 110 minutes with an additional 12 minutes of “special features. It’s rated TV14 and published by FUNimation Entertainment.
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