Originally released for the GameCube in 2003, Tales of Symphonia is not exactly the newest entry in the Tales series. But it is certainly one of the longest-lasting, having been re-released for Steam as recently as 2016.
In addition to that, Tales of Symphonia has also spawned three anime OVA series, seven manga adaptations, and an entire spin-off sequel game. Not bad for an almost twenty-year-old game.
Ultimately, it’s impossible to be a fan of Japanese pop culture and not have even heard of Tales. But if you haven’t played it since its release, here’s everything you need to know about Tales of Symphonia!
Tales of Symphonia Synopsis
In a world called Sylvarant, Lloyd Irving and Genis Sage accompany their friend Colette Brunel and her guardians, Raine Sage and Kratos Aurion, as she travels around the world, replenishing it with mana, an energy necessary to their survival.
While traveling, however, they encounter Sheena Fujibayashi who is from a parallel world called Tethe’alla. She tells them that the mana isn’t regenerated, per se, it just moves between Sylvarant and Tethe’alla. When one world has it, the other doesn’t.
The group decides to confer with the angel Remiel, and they go to meet him. However, they are quickly betrayed by both Remiel and Kratos. They are both part of an evil organization called Cruxis, led by Mithos Yggdrasill.
The party escapes and heads for Tethe’alla, where they are joined by Zelos Wilder, Presea Combatir, and Regal Bryant. Together, they look for a way to sever the mana tie between Sylvarant and Tethe’alla, keep both worlds safe, and ultimately save them all from destruction!
Tales of Symphonia Characters
- Lloyd Irving – The main protagonist of Tales of Symphonia. He was orphaned as a boy and raised by a dwarf named Dirk. He wants to find a way to create peace in the world without anyone having to suffer.
- Colette Brunel – the Chosen of Mana of Sylvarant, also known as the Chosen of Regeneration. She was raised knowing that she would need to die to save the world. As she works to replenish Sylvarant’s mana, Colette becomes more angelic but less human.
- Genis Sage – The younger brother of Raine Sage, a child prodigy, and a great cook. His family his half-elf, but they present themselves to the world as full-elf to avoid discrimination.
- Kratos Aurion – A mercenary who is hired to accompany Colette on her journey. It is later revealed that he is also a high-ranking member of Cruxis.
- Raine Sage – The older sister of Genis, pragmatic, mistrustful of others, and a terrible cook. She and Genis were originally Tethe’allans who were sent to Sylvarant by their mother to escape discrimination. She has memories of the Otherworldly Gate between the two worlds from crossing through it as a child.
- Sheena Fujibayashi – A ninja from a village in Tethe’alla who is sent to Sylvarant to kill Colette. She ends up joining her party instead to help save the two worlds.
- Zelos Wilder – The Tethe’alla Chosen, and the comic relief of the party. He’s tactless and likes to flirt with women, but that’s a facade to deal with the struggles he’s had throughout his life.
- Presea Combatir – A lumberjack who is physically 12 but actually 28. She believes herself to have betrayed her younger sister, Alicia, so she joins the party to repent for it.
- Regal Bryant – The president of the Lezareno Company, and Alicia’s former lover. His butler sold Alicia to a scientist who accidentally turned her into a monster, forcing Regal to kill her. He has been wracked with grief since, and refuses to use his hands for fighting, instead defending himself in battle with kicks.
- Mithos Yggdrasill – The main antagonist of Tales of Symphonia. He was originally a kind-hearted man, but became twisted and cruel after his soulmate died years ago.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Tales of Symphonia was a popular enough entry into the Tales franchise that it got its own spin-off sequel, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World! It was released in 2008 for the Wii.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World takes place two years after the events of Tales of Symphonia. Sylvarant and Tethe’alla are undergoing massive climate change, tensions are rising between the people of the two lands, and organizations are forming to fight each other.
Two of those organizations – the “Vanguard” from Sylvarant and the “Church of Martel” from Tethe’alla – go to war, and that leads to an event called the “Blood Purge” in the Sylvarant town of Palmacosta.
It is alleged that Lloyd led the Blood Purge, and a young Pentacostan boy, Emil Castagnier, is absolutely certain he sees Lloyd kill his parents.
Six months later, Emil is living with his abusive aunt and uncle. He meets Marta Lualdi and Richter Abend, both of whom are nice to him – the only people who have been nice to him in months. Marta is a former member of the Vanguard, but is now looking for a way to reverse the climate change that has plagued the world by waking specific, powerful sleeping spirits.
Emil agrees to help them, and they journey through the world looking for these spirits. Meanwhile, Emil is also looking for Lloyd to get revenge, or at least some answers, about what happened the night of the Blood Purge.
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles
In 2013, both Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World were collected into a high definition release for the PlayStation 3 which was simply called Tales of Symphonia Chronicles.
A version of that was also released on Steam in 2016.
Tales of Symphonia Anime and Other Adaptations
In addition to a sequel game, Tales of Symphonia also got three anime OVAs, seven manga adaptations, six anthology manga collections, a traditional manga series, two novel series, four strategy guides, a character book, an official scenario book, an art book, and seven drama CDs.
Although they are technically three separate anime OVAs, they generally tell one story. The first anime is four episodes of a little more than thirty minutes each called Tales of Symphonia The Animation or Tales of Symphonia The Animation: Sylvarant Episode which came out in 2007.
The sequel anime series is Tales of Symphonia The Animation: Tethe’alla Episode. It also consists of four episodes, but those are between forty and forty-five minutes each. It was released between 2010 and 2011.
Finally, the second sequel anime series is Tales of Symphonia The Animation: United World Episode. It was released between 2011 and 2012. This one only has three episodes, but they vary in length between thirty and forty-five minutes, and conclude the plot of the anime.
It’s impossible to be a fan of JRPGs and never have even heard of Tales. Tales of Symphonia has been around for so long that even as part of a classic franchise, it can be considered a classic in its own right. Anyone looking for a great RPG experience that, despite having debuted almost twenty years ago, still holds up today can’t help but be satisfied playing Tales of Symphonia!