Tales of Symphonia

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Tales of Symphonia case cover.jpg

Dwarven Vow # 1: "Let's all work together for a peaceful world."

Tales of Symphonia is a 2003 video game, the fifth game in Namco's famous Tales (series), and the third to ever be released outside of Japan; first in Europe. It stands as the top selling game in the entire series, and the only one to break a million copies sold due to extensive worldwide sales.

Tales of Symphonia is set in the land of Sylvarant, whose Life Energy (Mana) is being slowly drained away by the evil Desians. The only way to stop the Desians is the Journey of World Regeneration, a pilgrimage around the world taken by a Chosen One that, when completed, will awaken the goddess Martel and save the world.

Idiot Hero Lloyd Irving, after some hometown-related complications, sets out to protect his childhood friend and current Chosen One Colette Brunel on her Journey of World Regeneration. Aiding them is Lloyd's best friend and Bratty Half-Pint Genis Sage, Lloyd's teacher and Genis' older sister Raine Sage, and a mysterious Badass mercenary called Kratos Aurion.

After a few hours the storyline drops its first Wham! Episode on you, after which the plot expands exponentially from a single Black and White Morality tale to a full-on Gambit Pileup, with multiple sides trying to manipulate or eliminate Colette for their own purposes and Lloyd determined to do everything he can to protect her, even from herself.

Like many of its predecessors, Tales of Symphonia retained the real-time battle system, the use of food as healing items, the famous summon spirits, and the games' general tendency to include lots of Character Development, themes of discrimination and alienation, and a villain with considerably deeper motives than simply being Ax Crazy and openly evil. The game also contained numerous references to the first game in the series, Tales of Phantasia, which turned out to be because Symphonia is a Prequel set in the same world as Phantasia, a few thousand years before.

The game was adapted into three four-episode anime OVAs, the last of which is still in production, and 6 omakes. A manga was published that covered the events of the first game and its ending becomes the first game's canon ending according to the second game (See Third Option Adaptation below). There are also several Drama CDs. It's unlikely any of this will ever be officially translated to English, but fansubs of the OVAs are circulating around the Internet if you look. It places more emphasis on the relationship between Lloyd and Colette, and is obviously a Compressed Adaptation.

Symphonia introduced several concepts to the franchise, most notably the 3D incarnation of the Tales' signature battle system; nearly every single Tales game that followed in its wake (as well as a number of JRPGs in general) owes something to it, and its influence is still felt on the franchise to this day.

A spin-off-sequel for the game called Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (originally titled Knight of Ratatosk in Japan) was released for the Wii in 2008.

Tropes used in Tales of Symphonia include:
  • Abandoned Mine: Toize Valley Mine in Tethe'alla.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Meltokio. When Zelos and co. are arrested the party uses this to continue to come and go from Meltokio. It has doors, trash compactors, stairs, and bridges.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • In the OVA, Dirk beats up Lloyd because he used a Exsphere to protect himself and Colette. Judging by how Dirk is characterized, and how Norman of Pokémon Special got away with worse but was likewise still portrayed as a good father, this is probably a case of Values Dissonance, rather than deliberately portraying Dirk as a bad father.
    • Zelos never had the nicest relationship with his mother, as she was forced into a loveless marriage, even though she "probably loved someone else." When she's killed in an attack that was intended to kill Zelos, her last words to him were "You should never have been born". It's shown in the manga that even before this, she was cold and dismissive of her son, often making the excuse that she's ill or has a headache to get out of having to see him. No wonder he's so messed up...
  • Acrophobic Bird:
    • Colette has wings and can fly, and will sometimes think to go check out high places that Lloyd can't reach - but never when it would actually be useful, like in most box-pushing puzzles, or a certain quest involving picking a fruit from the high branch of a tree.
    • Similarly, Sheena can call upon the Summon Spirits to aid her, and occasionally does so outside of battle to get certain Plot Coupons, but she'll never do so to help you get past those mandatory box puzzles, even when time is of the essence.
  • Adaptation Distillation: For some fans, the OVA is an excellent example of distilled adaptation.
  • Adventure Rebuff
  • Aerith and Bob: There are names like Colette and Lloyd, as well as names like Mithos and Kratos.
  • The Ageless: The angels. The Cruxis Crystals halts the aging process, which is why Mithos Yggdrasil still looks more or less exactly the way he did 4000 years ago. Even Expheres slow the aging process considerably, in addition to the basic skill upgrades they give. Presea even brings up the possibility of a world of exosphere-preserved Immortals to Lloyd, who gently reminds her that they're Powered by a Forsaken Child.
  • All There in the Manual: Tales of Fandom Vol. 2 has skits that reveal the background of Yuan and Kratos: before they became Mithos' companions, they were soldiers that fought on opposites side of the war in Symphonia's backstory.
  • Alternate World Map: Sylvarant and Tethe'alla are both visited by the heroes, with party members coming from both worlds. Eventually, the party gains the ability to travel freely between both worlds. (Incidentally, the worlds' names are references to the names of the moons of the world of Tales of Phantasia).
  • Anatomy of the Soul: Soul anatomy here seems to include Mind, Heart, and Life Energy, at the very least.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Borderline - if one is killed while wearing a Cruxis Crystal or its infantile form, the crystal absorbs the wearer's consciousness and slowly 'digests' it. The disembodied soul can interact with the outside world, so much as this is possible without a body.
    • It's made clear that what happened to Martel Yggdrasill due to her brother's desire to resurrect her, and what happens to Colette after she "sacrifices her heart and memories" are true examples of this trope.
    • It's also shown that Marble and Clara have some form of consciousness, yet are unable to interact with anything for the most part.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The Ancient Kharlan War.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Four out of a maximum of eight members can fight; lampshaded by Gnome when remarking that "you fight dirty" four-on-one... ignoring the fact that half of your party were apparently just standing there, staring dumbstruck, instead of making it eight-on-one.
  • Art Evolution: The OVA's started out great, but it just gets better with each one.
  • The Atoner: Lloyd helps Colette partly to help atone for his part in Iselia's destruction. Later on, the party is joined by Regal, who embodies this trope. Kratos is also revealed to be one.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Summons, Colette's Sacrifice spell, any of the Hi-Ougis - Presea's Crimson Devestation (PlayStation 2 exclusive) is especially ridiculous, requiring her to be the only surviving party member and be below 16% HP, amongst other requirements.
  • Battle Royale With Cheese: When assaulting the Tower of Salvation in Tethe'alla, every single member of your party (except for Zelos, if you make him evil) ends up "dying" one by one... until you make it to the end and spoiler:they all pop up and inform you that they were saved.
  • Badass: Kratos, Presea, and in the OVAs at least, Regal.
  • Beach Episode: Well, cutscene, at least. In addition to gaining new titles and outfits, you also raise the Relationship Values of whomever you choose to accompany you.
  • Beam Spam
    • JUDGEMENT !!!!!
    • RAY!!!
    • HOLY LANCE!!
    • PRISM SWORD!
  • Betty and Veronica: The game's most strongly hinted at pairings for Lloyd is the sweet, blond Colette (Betty) and the tough, dark-haired Sheena (Veronica), though personality-wise, they're both mostly Betty.
  • Big Damn Heroes: This game is chock-full of this trope:
    • Kratos saving the party from Vidar at the beginning of the game.
    • The rest of the party saving Lloyd from Botta.
    • Sheena, at Kvar's Ranch.
    • Botta saving the party from Yggdrasill and Kratos the first time you go to the Tower of Salvation.
    • Botta again, saving the party (at the price of his life) from Rodyle's flooding lair.
    • Mithos summoning Aska to get the party out of a sealed chamber.
    • Yuan helping to delay Kratos.
    • Yuan, again, when he shows up and tells the party of an alternate route into the Tower of Salvation's seed chamber.
    • The entire party revealing that they survived and helping Lloyd defeat Pronyma.
    • Zelos (or Kratos) reapplying Colette's key crest, giving Lloyd the last item he needs to wield the Eternal Sword and helping Lloyd defeat Yggdrasil.
    • Yuan saving Kratos after the latter sacrifices all of his mana to release Origin's seal.
  • Black and White Morality: Deconstructed. Lloyd believes the world works this way at first, and a large part of his Character Development is learning to fight for actual reasons rather than just "because those guys are evil".
  • Body Horror: How does turning into a giant monster and attacking your loved ones sound to you? Made explicit in the anime, where Alicia's transformation looks exceedingly painful.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Niflheim
  • Bonus Material: In addition to the OVA's, there are 6 omakes/bonuses. They all have No Fourth Wall and are rather absurd.
  • Boobs of Steel: Inverted. Sheena is the most well-endowed, but she's not the strongest fighter. Colette, a self-confessed "Ironing Board", is physically stronger and can be a better fighter. But the girl that takes the cake is Presea, who can lift logs and wield Axes and Hammers larger than she is, despite looking like a twelve-year-old girl.
  • Boomerang Bigot: The Pope is fiercely anti-half-elf even though he has a half-elf daughter. Though to be more accurate, he hates half-elves because his daughter is a half-elf; he used to support the cause of half-elf equality, and even fell in love with an elf. But when their daughter was born and her mother died, he found himself growing more hateful and terrified of her differences, coming to understand the perspective of the people who hated half-elves, and he started to support them instead.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • One skit involves Regal and Presea talking directly to the player.
    • The OVA bonuses', to the point of No Fourth Wall.
    • Also, the famous Tower of Mana "Quick Jump" skit. To an extent, anyway.
  • Calling Your Attacks: All of them. Except for Colette when she loses her voice, using a special in combat will result in this trope.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Maybe, but the similarities between Colette and Saikano's Chise are high in number and down right creepy at times.
    • Colette and Flonne are both flat-chested blondes who preach about love and are angels.
    • Ditto for Lloyd and Ichiro Ogami. It doesn't help that Kosuke Fujishima did the character designs for both.
    • Not to mention Zelos and Sha Gojyo. At least one particular version.
  • Character Development: Over the course of the game Lloyd learns not to see the world in Black and White Morality, Colette learns to take the weight of the world on her shoulders, and Regal and Sheena forgive themselves.
  • Cherry Tapping: The player is given a special title for using only wooden swords until halfway through the journey of Regeneration.
  • The Chosen Zero: Colette and Zelos. In this case, the real question everyone should be asking is "who chose them?"
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Yuan, Kratos, Zelos, and Mithos. This has led to the rather appropriate observation that 'There is no 'os' in trust.'
  • Color-Coded Elements: Red for fire, blue for water, green for wind, brown for earth, light blue for ice, purple for lightning, white for light, black for dark.
  • Crap Saccharine World: The bright, cutesy graphics do a great job covering the dark, nightmarish story.
  • Critical Annoyance: Genis: "We're gonna die..."
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of Martel, which has a very Catholic bent to it.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: In the beach sidequest of the first game, the names of the four girls you're supposed to find easily remind you of a certain book series that is beloved by the Japanese. Amy, Jo, Beth, and Meg make cameo appearances. Seriously. Bonus points to Jo apparently being a Bokukko here, and having Amy be blonde
  • Curb Stomp Battle:
    • In one of the OVAs, Sheena takes Lloyd down in one hit only to get owned by Kratos afterwords. You do not mess with that man's son.
    • Also in the OVAS: Zelos doesn't fare so well in his second battle with Regal, though he does manage to take him down with him via a Last Ditch Move.
  • Cute Bruiser: Presea, as well as Colette once she gains more angel abilities. She even lifts an unconscious Regal with one arm at one point.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Kratos, in cutscenes, can kill, stun, or block pretty much anything with a dramatic flash of light and a single attack. In battle, he's not so hot. Also, all the characters with wings don't use them very often.
    • Not to mention the fact that a single Demon Fang from Lloyd can horribly wound Magnius and Mithos in a cutscene. A Fireball (or three) from Genis yields similar results.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Going from a later game like Abyss, Innocence, or Vesperia to Symphonia can be really frustrating, because Symphonia predated free run.
    • In Symphonia, by default, normal attacks are A (the middle/central/somewhat over-sized face button) and special abilities are B (the left face button) on the Gamecube controller. In Vesperia, normal attacks are B (the right face button) and special abilities are A (the bottom face button) on the Xbox 360 controller. It helps though that both games allow you to customize your battle controls.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Abyssion in the PlayStation 2 Version, when the difficulty is set to 'Mania'. So, now that you've got Nebilim's power, why don't you just throw your most powerful spells and be done with it? Guess what, he always begins with Divine Judgement, causing a Total Party Kill to anyone unprepared, in the first two seconds of the fight.
  • Dark Is Edgy: Shadow, Pronyma.
  • Dark Reprise: Zelos' and Colette's themes.
  • Dead Character Walking: Sheena's revival technique, Purgatory Seal, essentially creates a literal version of this: the game will treat you as "alive", but you have zero Hit Points, and you go down if you take any damage at all. Healing items and spells work on you as they do on any other living character.
  • Deconstructor Fleet:
    • Pretty much every main character, including the Big Bad, is a Deconstruction of a standard RPG character archetype. It's particularly savage towards the idea of The Chosen One and just what self-esteem issues a Messianic Archetype Purity Sue could potentially end up with. It tears into the Determinator and Idiot Hero tropes too.
    • Just to clarify a bit, being a stubborn idiot may have been the only thing that kept Lloyd going when a smarter person of the same upbringing would have been done, and his unflinching idealism lead to a major Heroic BSOD or two when he learned what was actually going on.
    • And as noted below, the Big Bad is just as much of a Determinator as Lloyd is - his ideals just got compromised along the way.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Just about anyone you fight without killing.
  • Determinator: Half the damn cast, Lloyd being the primary culprit. It's also deconstructed with the Big Bad, whose main character flaw is in many ways his inability to Know When to Fold'Em, something Lloyd does know.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • The status page for characters includes both first and last names. When you reach the event where Presea finds out that her sister was killed by a man called "Master Bryant", Regal's last name conveniently disappears. Regal is a self-declared murderer. Guess who he killed?
    • Sure, you can get to Palmacosta by taking a boat from Izoold... or, you can walk across a bridge in the other direction, and go through around the second continent in reverse order. You'll still end up visiting all of the major destinations and seeing all of the mandatory scenes, and the story will still make a modicum of sense. There's even some scenes that you can only see this way, and once you've Level Grinded against the enemies on the "far" end of the continent and bought the good weapons, once you get back around to Palmacosta, every fight is a cakewalk.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: The Dragon Rider and his noble steed, the Velociraptor Velocidragon. In fairness, it does breathe fire.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: First there's the first visit to the Tower of Salvation in Sylvarant, then it's the Second trip to the Tower of Salvation in Tethe'alla (the third trip to the tower overall). And then after that, it's Torent Forest.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The human ranches are very similar to the Nazi concentration camps. Kvar also deserves special mention, as he draws many similarities with Josef Mengele.
    • And Regal is The president of a major company, specializes in martial arts, and has a pretty dark past involving the death of an important person. How oddly familiar...
  • Doomed Hometown
    • Iselia is burned by Desians and Lloyd is banished for being partially to blame for it.
    • Presea's hometown of Ozette is destroyed rather arbitrarily, Luin also becomes completely wrecked, and so does Heimdall...basically, half the hometowns you go to wind up getting thrashed. To be quite honest, Luin was asking for it. That's what you get when your town's name can be written as Ruin. So was Ozette for being full of racist jerks.
    • Palmacosta.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • Kratos and apparently Colette(?!) are seen doing this in the fourth OVA bonus, in mourning for their loss of lines/screen time. Yuan's there too though celebrating his increase in screentime.
    • Zelos also visits the bar later for the same reason.
  • Dub Name Change: Genius or Genis? Refill or Raine?
  • Dumb Is Good: Lloyd and Colette are both rather dim-witted (though Colette does better at school than Lloyd does) and seem much 'nicer' when compared to the smarter Genis, Raine and Kratos. To be fair, in Genis' case, he is pretty nice, yet for all the intellect he possesses, he's still one of the younger members of the cast, leading him to be quite bratty at times. This usually doesn't sit well with his older sister, Raine, as she still handles him with kid gloves by rectifying his occasional poor behavior with a slap across the head and the occasional spanking.
  • Deus Ex Machina Lloyd suddenly sprouts wings at a very convenient time. Its not entirely implausible, as Lloyd is Kratos' son, and the Angels get their wings because of their Cruxius Crystals, which are basically Exspheres, and the Desians repeatedly refer to Lloyd's Exsphere as being a super-special, one-of-a-kind, experimental Exsphere known as the Angelus Crystal. Getting unique angel wings was only to be expected, though it's unlikely the Desian who created it ever intended it to be used that way. Also, let's not forget the fact that Lloyd absorbed Mithos' Cruxis Crystal after killing him. Or that he WAS wielding the Sword of Plot Advancement at the time.
  • Durable Deathtrap
  • Dysfunction Junction
  • Easter Egg: Flanoir has a statue of Pac Man beside its Bigfoot and Wonder Chef statues.
  • Emotionless Girl: Presea. She comes to her senses at the worst possible time, though... Also Colette, as she begins to become an angel. Thankfully, she gets better.
  • Empty Room Psych: In Welgaia, there is a building with five floors, each with two identical small rooms. All but one of them are completely barren, and it's on the first floor anyway, making the whole thing all the more psyche-y.
  • Eternal English: The fact that people from Sylvarant and Tethe'alla still understand each other after 4000 years of near-complete separation is pretty amazing, they don't even have different accents!
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: The Penguinist and Penguiner enemies.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses
  • Precious Puppies: A sidequest involves naming all the dogs.
  • The Exile: Lloyd and Genis, due to being responsible of Iselia's destruction.
  • Fake Defector: Zelos, depending on your ending. Also Kratos, but he's much sneakier about it.
  • Fan Service: Sheena's alternate outfits (not that her default is particularly modest), as well as a visit to the beach and a hot spring. The massive amounts of Ship Tease also count.
  • Fantastic Racism: The discrimination against half-elves is a recurring element in the series, as is the discrimination against humans in Sylverant.
  • Fauxshadow: The character Genis is foreshadowed to betray you. He doesn't.
  • Fight in The Nude: Characters will only be shown using their most basic (and generic) weapons, with a few exceptions: Lloyd's model goes from wooden swords to basic metal swords after the second town. Kratos will equip the Flamberge after a certain event. And Lloyd will have the Material Blades after you earn them. Characters will also only use their most basic special attacks in cut scenes, because attacks are split across "Strike" and "Technical", and on top of that, you're allowed to delete known attacks, so it'll only show attacks that you can't not know. So expect to see a lot of Fireball, Demon Fang, and Force Field.
  • Five-Man Band: The initial guard for the Chosen, during the first part of the game - the archetypes begin falling apart once the party size expands to eight.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Elves and half-elves are able to distinguish between the different races by reading others mana signature.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Most of it is only obvious in hindsight. During subsequent playthroughs you'll probably wonder how you missed some of them. There's even some on the western box art. Notice how, of all characters, It's Lloyd/Colette and Sheena/Zelos that appear on the cover? (with Lloyd & Sheena being in front, and Zelos & Colette being in the back?) Essentially, it's showing two Sylvaranti along with their, for all intents and purposes, alternate-dimension counterparts.
    • There's a reason why Mithos and Colette look so similar.
    • Kratos being Lloyd's father is hinted at several times:
      • In the beginning, he asks Lloyd "Your name is Lloyd?"
      • His interactions with Noishe.
      • He gets uncharacteristically angry at Kvar when he insults Lloyd's parents. He even kills him before Lloyd can.
      • Pronyma and Yuan both notice a resemblance.
      • Both dislike tomatoes.
      • Whenever the party goes back to Dirk's House, Kratos will always been standing by Anna's grave.
  • For Great Justice
  • For the Cel of It
  • Follow the White Rabbit: The party finds their way through the Torent Forest by following a small animal that leads them along the correct path so they don't get lost.
  • Gainax Ending: Hoo boy. After defeating the final boss: Lloyd remerges the worlds, and the Eternal Sword then vanishes. Then the Summon Spirits appear to tell them that the Seed and Derris Kharlan are leaving and the world is gonna quickly die of mana deprivation without them. The heroes think they're screwed without the Sword, but Lloyd needs to try to save the world anyway, and so his Exsphere reacts and he promptly sprouts angel wings, of a completely different style compared to Colette's, and flies to the Seed along with Colette. When they reach the Seed, they think it's too late, but then the Eternal Sword randomly shows up again, and with its power they germinate the Seed.
As the Seed falls to Earth, Tabitha, the Artificial Human made as a failed attempt to create a mechanical vessel for Mithos's sister Martel, is standing in the ruins of the Tower, and the seed falls on top of her, opens up, and she's infused with a whole crapton of spirits we've never seen before, including Mithos's sister, and when Lloyd and Colette come down to earth, she introduces herself as the Goddess Martel, the Goddess that Mithos made up for his Path of Inspiration. She's made up of all those spirits, and is the new guardian of the new World Tree. She shows the heroes what the Tree will look like when it's grown (which looks like the Game Over screen), and tells them that in its current state, it will die, so they have to give it happy thoughts or something, and Lloyd has to give it a new name. Then Lloyd goes "This tree's name is- * CREDITS*
The name thing is a bit of a joke. The game is a prequel to Tales of Phantasia, which features a Mana Tree, inhabited by the Goddess Martel, and is set thousands of years later. The name of the tree in that? Yggdrasil, same as the mythological tree and the villain of Symphonia. They didn't say it probably to be funny and/or keep from making the connection between the games even more obvious than it already was.
All of this makes more sense on subsequent playthroughs, if you read the text a little closer. One of Mithos' reasons for what he did was that, just as Martel would absorb the Great Seed if she was revived, the Great Seed would absorb her if it was sprouted. It's just that until the end, no one really understood what that meant. The other spirits that joined her were the souls of the other Chosen Ones, who had died in Martel's name while trying to fuse with her soul, their souls instead absorbed into the Great Seed; the composite spirit of Martel and the Chosen Ones became not a true goddess, but the guardian spirit of the new mana tree, who happens to be named Martel because that's the dominant spirit. Lloyd's unusual wings are most likely because of his special Angelus Exsphere, which was noted as being unique throughout the game. As for the revival of the Seed, this one is harder to see, but after he destroys Mithos' crystal, the sparkling fragments of it flow into Lloyd's Exsphere. When he and Colette are then trying everything they can to revive the Seed, that same pattern of sparkles flows out in reverse - the remnants of Mithos' spirit, seeking peace with his sister and contributing the final burst of mana that allows the Seed to revive.
  • Gainaxing: Visible on Martel in the ending cutscene. Also, pick Sheena as your avatar character and run around.
  • Gambit Pileup: Let's just say there's a lot going on.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Suffers pretty bad from it, considering how powerful the party becomes.
    • But also gameplay and story integration; when Raine gets the Unicorn's Horn, and when Colette loses her voice. Not to mention a rather subtle one comes from when you notice Kratos's AI behavior - he actually uses First Aid on Lloyd quite a bit.
  • Glass Cannon: Colette, Genis, and Sheena. Especially frustrating with Genis and Sheena, since their most powerful attacks rely on them getting into Overlimit first, which requires them to get hit at least a few times. Especially frustrating with Sheena, considering she has arguably the worst damage output otherwise. Even resident White Mage Raine can put up better numbers with attack magic. People rag on Sheena for this, but it seems a Justified trope considering that she might be a Guardian User/Magical Ninja, but she wasn't raised to be a fighter, and in fact one thing about making pacts that terrifies her as well as the Volt incident is that they refuse to make a vow with her and attack.
  • Go Through Me: Happens a couple of times with varying results.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Lots of moments, but the "Hard Path", the Relationship Values, and the Hi-Ougis get special notice.
    • Let's not forget the teleport maze at Palmacosta ranch, or, even worse with no guide, the specific donations necessary to rebuild Luin.
    • The side quests in general, and they are only available at certain points of the game and, after you complete specific events, they become Lost Forever. Especially annoying with small side quests which take place in places you normally wouldn't go, like finding and curing Clara, earning all the titles, and finding the relationship skits (since they're all on parts of the map where we'd normally have no reason to go).
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Half-elves.
  • Hammerspace: Seles's purse. Also: Colette has true Hammerspace, because her Pow Hammer-series spawn hammers out of nowhere.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door:
    • Kratos, Zelos and Yuan.
    • Also the heroes, from a certain perspective. Their ultimate goal is always "save the world," but pretty much every new piece of information about their situation radically alters what "save the world" even means, and how they plan to accomplish it, and sometimes whose toes are going to get stepped on in the process.
  • Hero Secret Service: Above mentioned Five-Man Band, and eventually also the rest of the party in regards to Lloyd.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Much to Lloyd's dismay, there's quite a few. Some end without people ending up dead. Others... don't.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Forcystus runs a Human Ranch and looks down on humans as inferior beings like the rest of the Desians, he even thinks an appropriate punishment for breaking a non-aggression pact is to pit Lloyd and Genis against a mutated Marble. What made him join in the first place? He fought and defeated an army of humans who were committing genocide against Half-Elves! It goes beyond that, even; there's a brief hint, of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it variety, where it's insinuated that he was a companion of Spiritua, the first Chosen of Sylvarant, and the one who came closest to fulfilling Mithos' needs until Colette came along; after she "failed" in Mithos' true aim, the insinuation is that Forscystus joined Cruxis out of guilt.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Heimdall. There's also a hidden Japanese village, Mizuho.
  • Human Resources: Exspheres.
  • 100% Heroism Rating: If you save a town and then donate money to rebuild it, eventually the townspeople will put up statues of you and your party members. Although...you have to pay for the statues, too.
  • Implied Love Interest: In this game you can make Lloyd to hook up with several girls, but the romance is never too explicit.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Genis uses a kendama, a children's toy. Sheena uses cards with wards inscribed on them.
    • Justified for Genis. The kendama is explicitly said to help the kid concentrate when he's casting.
    • Also justified for Sheena: She uses ofuda, which are used in Shinto. They're magic. Plus, she's a magic ninja.
    • If you equip the fancy clothes for Persea and Zelos they have a chance of using a giant stuffed bunny and flowers respectively.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests
  • Inferred Holocaust: This is the prequel to Tales of Phantasia after all.
  • Invisible to Normals: Presea and Abyssion are the only people out of a population of two whole planets who can hear Nebilim's voice.
  • Is It Something You Eat?:

"Professor, what's a philanderer? Is it something you eat?"
"I don't think you'd want to eat one."

  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: A lot. For both Colette and Zelos.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Each of the Desian Grand Cardinals has at least one of these, from Magnius snapping a bystander's neck for failing to address him as "LORD Magnius!" to Kvar's casual attitude towards the Exsphere "cultivation" process.
    • Colette gets a literal Kick the Dog to demonstrate just how far gone her transformation has left her.
  • Kid Hero:
    • Lloyd, Genis, Colette, as well as Mithos. Presea is a subversion.
    • Although being 19, Sheena's still qualifies in Japan, where people are not considered an adult until age 20. A good reference to this is the ending of Tales of the Abyss
  • Kitsune:
    • Corrine, a small, rainbow man-made summon spirit.
    • Verius, the summon spirit of heart. It is rainbow like Corrine, but much larger.
    • Actually subverted with Presea
  • Lampshade Hanging

Yuan: "Like moths to the flame."
Lloyd: "Do you ever say anything original?"

  • Leaked Experience: meaning you don't have to swap characters around if you don't want to.
  • Leitmotif: Every member of the party has one, including a few Dark Reprises. The Big Bad and Kratos also have their respective themes worked into their fight music.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: In the first quarter of the game, Lloyd discovers that Colette needs to sacrifice herself in order to fulfill her role as the Chosen and save the world. Lloyd must choose between saving the world and saving Colette, and begrudgingly chooses the world, at least until he uncovers a Third Option.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Raine. She has rather... Interesting ideas on cuisine, such as one skit where she wonders about making a spicy cake. Half of her recipes have lemon as an additional ingredient. And a skit in the sequel has her cooking "lemon rice" for the party. She can even fail at making a Bread Sandwich! Sheena also has weird ideas about food, but she knows which weird ideas work so she is still a good cook (one of the best three, in fact, along with Genis and Regal).
    • One of the funniest moments in the game involves Raine's cooking skills. In a small skit, the stone-faced, humorless stoic Kratos samples some of Raine's cooking to be polite. He even makes a gallant attempt at finding something nice to say about it ("Well, it has an interesting texture") before the aftertaste sets in and Kratos's first reaction is to use one of his healing spells on himself. It's funnier because it's Kratos.
    • In an OVA, Raine's cooking is literally used as a weapon to kill Kratos...
  • Lethal Joke Item: After restoring Luin, each character gets the ability to buy one of these; they are among the most powerful weapons you can buy for that character. Lloyd gets a Paper Fan of Doom, Colette a tambourine, Genis a toy kendama, Raine a mop, Sheena a wallet, Zelos/Kratos a baseball bat or a pink plastic dagger, Presea a squeaky toy hammer, and Regal a pair of silver boots.
  • Limited Move Arsenal
  • Lost Forever: See Guide Dang It. Many sidequests involve this.
  • Love Martyr: Kate takes part in some less than moral experiments and impersonates the Princess during the exchange for Zelos, to earn the love of her father, the Pope.
  • Love Triangle: Lloyd, Colette and Sheena.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Lampshaded at a few points.
  • Magitek: Used by the villains, and the source of quite a few problems as a result.
  • Master of None: Kratos and Zelos. They don't really have that many techs to combo with, having only one full combo per tech tree side. Outside of a glitch using it for infinite combos, magic's casting times prevents it from synergizing with melee. That's not to say, however, that they're bad characters. In fact, they're usually considered the best characters behind Raine and Colette.
  • Medium Awareness: One skit has Lloyd complaining about why they have to climb through the Mana Tower again and that they should had just been given the "Quick Jump" option. Everyone else is confused as to what this "Quick Jump" is since Lloyd is apparently the only one who is mildly aware that they are in a video game.
  • The Messiah: Lloyd, after much Character Development; Colette would also qualify, but is overshadowed by Lloyd.
  • Mighty Lumberjack: Presea Combatir is a female lumberjack. She looks about twelve years old but carries an axe bigger than some of your other party members.
  • Mind Screw: Is that coffee hot or iced, Lloyd? To elaborate: Lloyd is noticing Colette is acting more distant and odd, so he comes up with a mind screw in order to get her to reveal it. Lloyd offers to make coffee for Colette, and makes it hot. He only TELLS her it's iced, and she notes how cold it is after he says it. He then tells her that he lied to her and they talk about her distancing herself. This gets bonus points, of course, for being in character and intended, since the whole point is to mind screw Colette into admitting that the angel transformation process is obliterating her humanity one step at a time and she isn't mentioning it to anyone.
  • Money Spider: Special mention for the dragon in the Temple of Earth, 10000 gald per kill, and is a respawning enemy. This is actually either a Good Bad Bug that was "fixed" in the Japanese-only Updated Rerelease for the PlayStation 2. It was only supposed to give 1000 gald, but an extra zero made its way into the code....
  • Motive Decay: After Martel rejects Mithos, he goes from wanting to bring about (an albeit twisted and unnatural) equality to the world to wanting a world where he can live with his sister, at the cost of leaving the world to die.
  • Mummies At the Dinner Table: Presea's father's body.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Abyssion. Nothing good ever comes from an abyss. Except the Tales of It.
  • Never My Fault: Lloyd is blamed for the destruction of Iselia even though it was Genis who wanted to go to the forbidden ranch in the first place, and Lloyd was the one who tried to talk him out of it. (Possibly because Lloyd was the main one caught on camera, and the mayor considers him an outsider because Dirk's house is not located in the village.) Genis even has the gall to get indignant with the townspeople for their entirely rational anger towards their homes being burned down because Lloyd and Genis violated their peace treaty. Of course, at the time everyone thought that the Desians had struck first at the temple, so Genis has a point here.
  • New Game+: The GRADE system, which allows you to purchase bonuses and even Self Imposed Challenges if you choose.
  • No Flow in CGI: Just compare the opening cinematic to actual gameplay footage.
  • No Hero Discount: Zig-Zagged. Shops will charge you, but certain events such as the dragon tours and trips to Thoda Geyser will not cost you anything since the people can't take money from the chosen. Yet, some people like the old man on Hakonesia Peak will still try to rip you off for a gate pass.
    • Also, you do get a 10% discount in shops if you have Regal's Personal EX-Skill set, as well as a 10% bonus when selling.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In the OVA, Presea gives one to Regal, after she finds out he killed Alicia, her sister. She tells him to fight back, but he's just too guilt-ridden to do anything. She only stops when Alicia comes back for a few moments to tell her that Regal isn't to blame.
  • Not in This For Your Revolution: Kratos. More wrong than you could imagine.
  • Not So Different: Dangerously so, in the case of Mithos and Lloyd.
  • Now Where Was I Going Again?: A log keeps track of various story events; incomplete quests are highlighted to remind you, though the way it's written tells you, at best, only what your objective is and not how to go about doing it.
  • Numerical Hard: Applies to random battles, and most bosses. Latter bosses do get some new moves though.
  • Older Than They Look: Presea, Mithos, Yuan and Kratos, for starters.
  • Once Is Not Enough: Yggdrasial dies in his third confrontation with the party, and all that's left is his Cruxis Crystal. Genis picks it up, aware that his subconscious might still be inside (if what happened to Alicia was any indication) but wanted to wait until Lloyd used the Eternal Sword to reunite the worlds until doing so, to show him the new world he strived for. Turns out he manages to survive in the crystal and tries to take over Lloyd's body right after making the pact with Origin (only for Lloyd's closest party member to take his place). Even after getting kicked out of that body during The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, he manages to recover his original body for the final battle(s).
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted; the main reason the summoner mentioned by the various Summon Spirits, Mithos, is not thought to be the hero of legend is because it has become a common boy's name. But then it gets played with later when it's revealed that said Mithos is not only the summoner and legendary hero, but also the game's Big Bad.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Lloyd's Exsphere.
  • Our Elves Are Better: And they're aliens!
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: The skit "For Lazy People".
  • Parental Abandonment: All the main characters, except possibly Presea, Regal and Kratos, as well as the Big Bad. If not for the fact that the game's inherent bias towards idealism means they all get over it, we'd have a Dysfunction Junction on our hands.
  • Path of Inspiration
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
  • Poor Communication Kills: Several villagers died when Sheena was unable to form a pact with Volt, and she was ostracized for her failure, but because no one could directly communicate with Volt, they had no idea why it attacked them. It wasn't until Raine came along and could translate that Sheena could find out why Volt attacked.
  • Power Gives You Wings: The strongest characters are all angels with translucent, multicolored wings. Yggdrasil even has wings on his wrists.
  • Power Glows: Both the angels with their glowing translucent colored wings. Also, Lloyd's "ultimate weapon," the Material Blade.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Exspheres
  • Precursor Heroes: Mithos's party.
  • Preexisting Encounters: The first Tales game to use this mechanic instead of Random Encounters.
  • Prison Episode: This game had Lloyd, the main character, tossed into a Desian prison in the middle of the desert. He busts out on his own, just before the party shows up... too late.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Actually punctuated slashing.

Kratos: FEEL THE PAIN! (slash!) OF THOSE INFERIOR BEINGS! (slash!) AS YOU BURN IN HELL!

  • Redemption Demotion:
    • All party members gained through Defeat Means Friendship.
    • Arguably, however, Sheena can eventually surpass both her boss incarnations statistics-wise.
  • Red String of Fate: Colette's Necklace, the key item. It is from Lloyd to Colette, and it's literally tied with a Red String.
  • Relationship Values: Raised and lowered according to your decisions. Colette, in particular, is almost impossible to shake off due to her role as the childhood friend. There are also skits scattered about the world map that raise your status with various characters depending whether or not you answer correctly, but you don't get punished if you choose the wrong answer.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Renegades.
  • Rings of Death: Colette uses chakrams in combat. The fact that most of them are obviously magic may explain their boomerang abilities.
  • Road Cone: As expected, the official adaptations of the games make it clear that Lloyd/Colette is the main pairing.
  • Save Both Worlds: About 2/3 of the game is this trope.
  • Schizo-Tech: Justified in Sylvarant because the Desians have been stunting the technological advances of the rest of the world. Played straight in Tethe'alla which is mostly post-Renaissance in design; except for Sybak which is a Steampunk town; and Altamira, a modern resort town with skyscrapers and working elevators.
  • Scripted Battle: The first Hopeless Boss Fight against Yggdrasil comes right after some other tough bosses, setting it up to be even more of a Curb Stomp Battle than its hopeless nature would imply.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Desians. Subverted once we learn what they're doing during the time they're supposedly "sealed away."
  • Secret Shop: It's in Luin, after you rebuild it. And they sell the strongest Lethal Joke Items that money can buy.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Invoked; several Titles exist as rewards for embarking on several common challenges, though most only require you to stick with them until various points on Disc 1, rather than the whole game.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The party briefly thinks about doing this, once they get ahold of the Eternal Sword, which has the power to transcend space and time. Lloyd decides against it, realizing that they don't have the right to tamper with time, especially considering the odds of messing this up even worse.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Done for every member of the party with the Flanoir cutscenes. The ones with Sheena and Colette are decidedly romantic (the creators obviously knew that people were going to ship regardless), and the other ones explore other types of affection.
    • Don't forget the Z-skits: One where Genis tells Lloyd to tell Colette he loves her and another where Lloyd, in his idiocy, makes Sheena think he's willing to marry her.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several, such as the the snow statues of Namco characters like Pac-Man in the first game. The Tales developers gave one to themselves with the names of the worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla, which are taken from the moons of Tales of Phantasia's world.
    • Someone in the slums of Meltokio says that he heard there was a cute flower girl somewhere in the slums, but it turns out to be just a rumor.
    • Some of the equipment items are also shout outs. The straw hat, for example.
    • There is also a couple on one of the boats moored in Palmacosta. If you talk to them, the guy suggests he and the girl do that thing like in that movie, at which point he tries to lift her up over the bow and she screams.
    • One side quest involves finding a woman's four daughters. Two of the daughter's names? Jo and Beth.
    • Tethe'alla's capital Mel-tokio is named after the Japanese capital Tokyo. The mountain that is associated with Meltokio, Fooji Mountain or Mt. Fooji, is named after Mt. Fuji. Meltokio itself is very European themed however.
    • Abyssion's physical appearance is an obvious reference to Dragonball Z.
  • Sidequest: Oh so many. Waaaay too many.
  • Similar Squad: lampshaded with a little debate amongst the team about who their counterparts were.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very idealistic.
  • Snow Means Death: Zelos's backstory, revealed in his Flanoir Doctor Scene, in which a very vivid mental image of his mother's murder in the snow is left.
  • Snow Means Love: The Flanoir doctor scene Shown in the intro with Colette's respective scene. Subverted in that the scene wasn't exactly romantic... The conversation was mostly about Kratos.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Many puzzles revolve around this; the most blatant example is the "quest" to obtain the Ymir Fruit.
  • Spank the Cutie: After finding out they skipped class, Raine proceeds to spank Genis.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The spellings differ depending on whether it's the Japanese version or the English version. Collet/Colette, Shihna/Sheena, Ruin/Luin, Haima/Hima, Parumacosta/Palmacosta, Ascard/Asgard. (Japanese spelling first, then English.)
  • Spoiler Opening: How do you know that Sheena is going to join the party and that Kratos will eventually face off with you? Simple; the cover shows Sheena, Lloyd and Zelos in fighting poses (with Colette just doing some Maiden Pose) and the trailer shows Sheena attacking and killing an enemy (like it does with all your other eventual allies) in addition to Lloyd drawing his swords in preparation for battle in response to Kratos stepping out of the shadows. Subtle.
  • Standing in the Hall: Lloyd; while sleeping at the same time
  • Stepford Smiler: Zelos. Big time. See: His Flanoir scene, or the cutscene in which you kill him if you chose Kratos in Flanoir. Mithos, as a type C, might count, too, at least until The Reveal.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option:
    • You mean to say that the surly angel who refused to explain anything and was interested only in his "daughter's" transformation into a soulless being, practically cackling when she was finally ready to do so, wasn't such a great guy after all? I'm shocked, I tell you.
    • Partially subverted by Colette, of all people. She admits that she figured out Remiel was not truly her father pretty early on, but felt she still had no other option besides completing the world restoration journey (which would still presumably save Sylverant.
  • Sue Donym: The main male cast does this in the drama CD Maid in Altamira, where they dressed up as maids in a Maid café. Lloyd becomes Lloydie, Zelos Zelda, Genis Ginny, Regal Regala, and Kratos Kratty. Of course, the names don't keep them from running off the customers.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming:
      • Kratos and Zelus (Zelos) are the names of two winged Greek god bothers that were in the service of Zeus. The mythological Kratos is the personification of strength and power, whereas Zelus is the personification of dedication, emulation, eager rivalry, envy, jealousy, and zeal.
      • Yggdrasill is the name of a World Tree from Norse Mythology.
    • Asgard is where the Norse gods hang out.
  • Third Option Adaptation: The Manga's ending is canon.
  • Too Many Belts: Lloyd, Kratos and Forcystus all love 'em.
  • Trauma Inn: One town has three as a result of being a tourist attraction, and they all charge different rates.
  • Trial Balloon Question: The Question is skipped however, with the answer being given straight.
  • Trojan Prisoner
  • Try Not to Die
  • Turncoat: Several characters, but particularly Yuan, who alternates between trying to capture/kill Lloyd and co. and assisting them with alarming frequency.
  • Turns Red:
    • Played straight by That One Bonus Boss, Abyssion, who starts using attacks like Indignation Judgment and Meteor Storm when his HP is low, and subverted in the case that Lloyd's Falcon's Crest becomes available to him only when his HP is lower than 16%, so it's the player character turning red.
    • Also, Genis and Sheena's strongest attacks can only be performed while in Overlimit- a Status Effect that is pretty much turning red, but that can be activated through other means.
  • The Unchosen One: It is Lloyd, not Colette or Zelos, who rallies everyone to save the world.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Colette, by Road Cones. Depending on how you play the game, she may become the Unlucky Childhood Friend instead.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: First game in the series to use 3D battles, although free-range 3D running didn't come until Tales of the Abyss.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Kilia changes voluntarily from some kind of purple monster-thing into a human child and back.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: It's a Tales (series) game. Most of the villains, except the Grand Cardinals except Forcystus, who was a half-elf hero who wanted to help his people.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Oh so much use of this. Lampshaded at one point.
  • Wing Pull:
    • Lloyd and Kratos.
    • Zelos as well, especially since you only see them in the story path where you fight and kill him.
  • World Tree: The Tree of Mana, destroyed during the last magitek war. A new one sprouts by the end of the game. As shown in Phantasia, Lloyd named it 'Yggdrassil'.
  • World of Silence
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died? Kvar does this on Lloyd, regarding his mother.
  • Wutai: Mizuho. It's even one of the classical names of Japan.
  • You Can Barely Stand: During your first trip to the Tower of Salvation, if you lose the fight against Kratos, you face Yggdrasill with 1 HP per character. Yggdrasill has 40,000 HP, and your attacks do practically nothing, though, the boss fight is hopeless either way.
  • You Shall Not Pass:
    • Used word-for-word by Regal during the endgame Battle Royale With Cheese.
    • Also used by Forcystus when the party assaults the Iselia Human Ranch in order to shut down its Mana Reactor before stopping the berserk Kharlan Tree.
  • Zero-G Spot: Referenced in a skit between Zelos and Lloyd, the latter of whom having no idea what the former's talking about.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Raine and Sheena's bonus outfits. Also Alicia.
  • Zip Mode: the game often lets you "quick jump" through a dungeon you have already traversed when you have to back to go its final room for plot reasons. One time it simply doesn't happen. Lloyd gets amusingly frustrated about it in a rare moment of Breaking the Fourth Wall.