|Even the best of intentions can be ruined.|
Tales of Eternia, based on the Manga of the same name, and the Playstation game "Tales of Destiny II" takes place on one of two binary worlds, named Inferia, a fantasy world of swords and magic, where terrible monsters are an ever present threat. Floating above this world is another named Celestia, and as we come to find out, developed along the lines of high technology. Both worlds together are known as Eternia, but you won't find He-man here.
Two thousand years prior to this story, the two worlds fought an epic war, and since the wars end, have lost touch with one another. Our story however, is based upon a long ago prophetesses event, known as the Grand Fall. This is when the Orbus Barrier, which keeps the two worlds apart, breaks down, the two worlds collide, and both are obliterated. The heroes in this story are the only ones in the world who know about the apocalyptic event that is about to happen (with the exception of the bad people who are causing it, of whom the group later confronts). We join the heroes on there quest as they go forth to find the cause of the Grand Fall, and stop it if they can.
The heroes in this tale are based on a core group of four people, led buy the sword wielding hunter Reid Hershel, who wears bare midriff, sleeveless armor that I think was meant for a lady to don, rather than a man. He is the protector of the group, but is often lazy and more often is caught eating up all the food meant for the entire group. This earns him the wrath of the female lead in our story, Farah Oersted, a green haired farm girl who is an accomplished martial artist, and Reid's oldest friend. The two, throughout the story, develop somewhat of a romantic interest in one another. They also both possess a unique special attack that can hit targets at a distance. Joining them is the scholarly wizard, and the "Mr. Spock" of the group, Keele Zeible, who delivers facts and wise advice in an emotionless deadpan voice while ignoring the chaos erupting all around him. Since Wikipedia doesn't exist on this world, someone like Keele is handy to have around, I guess. His magic consists of being able to call forth and control two Summoning Spirts, Sylph who controls the wind, and Ifrit who controls fire. As we come to find out, Keele was kicked out of Mintche University where he was a student, because of his findings on the Grand Fall. Lastly, we have Meredy, who suffers from terminal cuteness, and is often the center of attention because of it. This cotton candy haired cutie pie is from Celestia, and in episode one, the group recalls how she just fell out of the sky one day, and the group couldn't understand her because she didn't speak there language. Fortunately, Keele was able to teach her the language they all speak in, and now she is fully understandable. She controls a Summoning Spirt called Undine, that has some water based attacks. She also has a pet named Quickie, that kinda looks like a rabbit with a squirrel's tail, and is blue and green in color. This occasional battle ally is often perched on Meredy's head, adding to her already devastating cuteness. In addition to the core group, making a cameo appearance in episode one is a young girl named Coreena Solgente, a bard in training and later on in the series, joins the group in there quest. She provides comic relief if anything else. If you have even seen "Gilligan's Island", she plays Gilligan. We find out later in this series, she is useful for more than just a few cheap laughs.
In episode 2, Reid gets kidnapped by the monster bounty hunter Marone Blurcarno, and via her massive flying wyvern, spirits Reid away to the far off island of Belcarnu. She enlists Reid's help in defeating a massive sea serpent that has been plaguing the island. The rest of the group follows, and arrives just in time to help fight the sea serpent. This island then becomes the scene of the rest of the story, as all the other adventures the group has takes place on it. Later in the series, Marone joins the heroes, and reveals she is half Infenian, and half Celestian in origin.
The earlier episodes promised a good series. There was no shortage of action, and an almost ever present element of humor, sometimes the two where intermixed. Unfortunately the series, as it goes farther along, descends into harem hell as three more girls in addition to the ones I listed ( for a grand total of seven) join the group and vie for Reid's attention. Not that this takes away for the fact the series sticks with it's action/comity motif throughout it's 13 episodes, but in my opinion, ruined an otherwise fine work of anime. The story and plot elements where well done, and I thought the premises was rather original for what is normally the routine of most fantasy genre animes. I also liked the fact it included high technology in the plot mix towards the end. The dialog was full and rich. The story and plot elements, though becoming more complicated towards the end, was clear and easy to follow. Unfortunately with so many characters in this anime, not all of them have a viable roll in this tale, and many of the girls we meet later on become nothing more than eye candy, redundant characters with no actual part in the story. They exist merely as a harem plot device, adding little to nothing to the overall series. The art elements, of the old stile hand drawn variety, was fine but nothing spectacular, and the action sequences where well done, exciting for the most part and along with the comedic element, formed the backbone of this series. As for adult content, the series has some fan service in it, though infrequent, and no outright nudity save for a bare butt or two. There is some foul language but this is also rare. Though this series is 10 years old, you can watch it for free at Veoh.com, if you don't mind sitting thought a 30 second ad. I rated this series four stars, loosing one full star for the redundant characters and harem element it developed later in the series.