I like the Tales/Tales of series of JRPGs a lot. I’ve played the series for a good few years now, and while I haven’t played all of them, I’ve experienced enough to say, “Yeah, I like them.” But when you ask me about my favorite games, they never really come up, despite RPGs being my favorite genre.
That’s not because I think they’re bad, I just never think they’re amazing. Xillia 1 was my favorite, but even that had its mediocrity. At the end of the day, I see them as comfort food. You know what to expect. They’re always pretty good, but they won’t exactly blow you away. And then, a little over a year ago now, I played Tales of Crestoria, and everything changed. Well, not really. My thoughts on the series didn’t change. I just had a very high opinion of one.
For those of you who don’t know, Tales of Crestoria was a mobile game of all things, and like most anime-ish mobile games, they will always be gacha games. At the time, I was on a gacha kick (which I’m always on) and decided to give it a try since it was brand new, and I liked the series.
So, I played it, and it was good. The game was fun, the gacha rates didn’t seem too unfair, and all around, it was solid. But there’s one aspect of that game that always made me angry. I hate that it exists, and I wish it was never made. Why? Because It deserved to be a proper full-fledged Tales game, not a mobile game. Because holy crap, does the story in Crestoria hit hard!
It is almost absurd to me just how much better I think Crestoria’s story is than any of the other Tales games I’ve played. It’s nuts! You can’t even compare. All it makes me think is that Bandai needs to grab Jun Kumagai up and let him write another plot for the series because, my god, the man has talent. Talent that I despise for not being used properly
Yes, the mobile game is still good, but backgrounds, text, and character portraits don’t do the story justice. I wanted more. And I just found out that I got my wish I had forgotten about back in October last year. Tales of Crestoria – the Wake of Sin, an anime that could really do the plot justice was produced. But it’s only one 14 minute episode that covers the prologue. Granted, that’s the best part of the story… Look, I need to take what I can get.
So, why is the story so good? For spoiler reasons, but these are things dropped in the prologue, so you’ll find them out soon enough anyway. Basically, the world in Crestoria follows very simple rules. You do something bad, theft, murder, take your pick, and someone happens to find out, you get punished. Nice, right? There’s no evil that way.
But where things go wrong, is this is decided by the will of the masses. These big crystal things can show video from other little crystals everyone wears around their necks, so if someone does a bad, it will get broadcasted to everyone in town. If they decide that this person who stabbed this guy did something wrong, they all wish for it, the crystal around the person in question’s neck breaks off and leaves a mark of sin on them, branding them as criminals, and they get tracked down by monsters in the name of “justice.”
What this doesn’t account for is that the world isn’t black and white. This person may have stabbed someone else to save someone they were going to hurt? They could have committed a bad act to prevent one. That doesn’t fly in this world. You do something wrong, and you will pay the price no matter what.
Why this matters is that good guy Mr. Beleives in the System, Kanata here ends up stabbing his father and killing him when his back is turned. To the masses, he just murdered his father and the kind caretaker of the town’s orphans. In actuality, he stabbed his barbaric father, who was about to sell his best friend, obvious love interesting, and orphan Misella, off to a bunch of men to be their plaything, as he’s done with many of the orphans he’s taken in.
Yet, both Misella and Kanata become the sinners because this world’s justice is screwed to hell and back. It’s collective self-righteousness. It’s law without the order. The world has a set of rules you can’t break, yet nobody controls what it means to break them. The world only punishes those who break the law, not any who uphold it.
As you might have guessed back when I talked about Higehiro, I really love the concept of things being black and white. There’s a reason I like it conceptually and not in practice. Far too many people believe things about the world are black and white, yet nothing actually is. There really isn’t a right or wrong, or a good and bad. Bad people do good things. Good do bad. Everything is circumstantial, and people often forget that.
Crestoria is a perfect example of what would happen in a world where the law was entirely black and white. Anyone who has the mindset of “if you do bad, you get punished” go read up on this story. It’s a very good example of why lawyers, and juries, and trials are things. Because this “justice” would be a living hell, and all you get out of it are a bunch of people who would turn their backs to everyone in need. You’d have no just people and very few unjust people. Most would just be very meh humans.
I can’t lie, I mostly just wanted to talk about Crestoria’s plot, but this anime gave me a reason to. Because it actually does some things on its own that is pretty fascinating. Firstly, you need to know the plot of the game. It doesn’t do it justice otherwise. Just getting that out of the way. It does enough, but you miss a lot of the nuance. That and the fact that it only spans the prologue means it’s either a love letter to those like me or a slap in the fact that I’ll never get more. I haven’t decided which yet.
Kamikaze Douga, a studio you might recognize as the maker of Pop Team Epic, decided to take Crestoria down the same route as some of their other works and make it 3D animated, as you could probably tell from the images thus far.
And really, it looks surprisingly good. Something about the models and the colors look really vibrant and not at all robotic like you would usually see in traditional 3D anime. There are even a few solid fight scenes. The only real issue is that some movements still look a little stiff, especially any talking or moving of the mouth in general. The lips jerk around too much, and when the rest of it is smooth, it’s even more apparent.
But all around, it’s really good for what it is. It has great 3D art, captures the story fairly well, has amazing music, and the whole thing is put together beautifully. It had fantastic production value that really did do the game justice. But I’m still sad. Seriously, why couldn’t they have made this an actual Tales game? Or a full anime? Don’t give me hope like that! I admit the hope was surprisingly good, though.
Thank you very much for reading
What’s a story you feel like was never given a proper chance? This is one that has stuck with me since the game’s release.