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. It is the third to ever be released outside of Japan and the 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 Badassmercenary called Kratos Aurion.After a few hours the storyline drops its first Gut Punch 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 animeOVAs 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.An HD port of the PS2 version of the game titled "Tales of Symphonia: Chronicles" (or Tales of Symphonia: Unisonant Pack in Japan) for the PS3 containing Dual-Audio, new bonus cameo costumes, as well as an HD port of Dawn of the New World was released in 2014. Both games can also be bought separately through PlayStation Network.
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...
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, or even save lives in certain cutscenes.
Adventure Rebuff: Lloyd wants to join Colette on the journey for world regeneration. All the adults think he will just get in the way, and Colette eventually tricks him into missing their leaving. It isn't until the destruction of Iselia, and later his escape from the Sylvarant Base, that he rejoins the others, who naturally expected that he'd show up.
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.
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, although sometimes it's treated as an actual historical event.
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.
Asshole Victim: Before Ozette is destroyed, it's revealed that it was a town primarily of racist hicks anyway.
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 (PS2 exclusive) is especially ridiculous, requiring her to be the only surviving party member and be below 16% HP, amongst other requirements.
There's also the Penguinists and Penguiners, who look like people in penguin suits. And for a plant version, Mandragoras are just people with flowers growing out of their heads (Dawn Of The New World makes them look more like monsters.)
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.
Blood Knight: The Sword Dancer only seems to care about finding strong opponents to fight. It even lets you live if you lose to it.
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 Boss: Lots of them. There's the four fights against the Sword Dancer, Abyssion, Maxwell, the mid-boss and boss of Niflheim, the fights against Garr/Woodrow, Farah and Meredy in the Colosseum, a Duel Boss fight against Seles (also in the Colosseum,) and another Duel Boss fight against Kuchinawa.
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.
Buffy Speak: Lloyd does this a lot, usually to be corrected by Kratos or Raine.
Call Back: The entire scene in Flanoir could be seen as a Call Back to a similar scene in Phantasia, both happening just before the game's climax or the last Disc One Final Dungeon, in Symphonia's case.
Both Phantasia and Symphonia also have a special Tower of Druaga-related title for collecting all of the Tower of Druaga equipment (except in Symphonia you have to equip them all on Zelos to get it.)
Calling Your Attacks: All of them. Except for Colette when she loses her voice, using a special in combat will result in this trope.
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.
Censorship by Spelling: Zelos calls Kratos an "arrogant SOB" at one point, although Sheena still chews him out for it, presumably since they were in front of Genis, Colette and Presea at the time.
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, Regal and Sheena forgive themselves, Presea starts to move on with her life, Genis and Raine come to terms with being Half-elves and Zelos learns how to trust the others (Provided you let him).
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.'
Climactic Battle Resurrection: 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 they all pop up and inform you that they were saved.
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.
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.
It also works in reverse, not only does playing this game make you forget about Free Run, but it also, especially if you played multiplayer, try to constantly attack bosses and try to overpower him to guard break as opposed to seeking out actual openings or weaknesses.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Abyssion in the PS2 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.
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.
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.
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.
You can actually recruit Sheena early. And there are scenes that only play if she's present at the time.
After you make a summon pact with Undine, you can go make pacts with Efreet and Slyph as well. There's no in-story reason to do this, but it will unlock them as spells earlier and save you the trouble of going back for them later in the game when you need all the Summon Spirits. The bosses are even retuned to match your current level.
There's one sidequest early on in which Genis casts Icicle to freeze a geyser so Lloyd can retrieve a statue. If you trigger the start of this event before he learns the spell in question, he will go "But... I don't know that kind of magic yet" and the party will decide to return to that event once he learns it. If you try to go to the event's location before learning the spell anyway, he'll go "I STILL don't know that spell yet!"
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.
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... 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.
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? Shihna or Sheena? Regal Bryan or Regal Bryant?
Dumb Is Good: Lloyd and Colette are both rather dim-witted 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.
Dummied Out: There's an unused model ofRutee Katrea in the game's coding. She was probably going to appear in the Coliseum Cameo battle along with Garr. The PS2 version and PS3 versions also have an unused "Meikuu Zanshouken/Dark Blade" arte name shout for Lloyd, the same Mystic Arte used by Cress Albane, hinting that Lloyd was probably going to receive an extra move along those lines as a tribute.
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.
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.
Emotions vs. Stoicism: Each of Lloyd's companions is driven by either emotions or logic; Lloyd's decisions impact relationship values based on which side he appeals to.
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!
To be fair, since both Cruxis and the Renegades are controlling both worlds behind the scenes, it makes sense that they would speak the same language in both worlds.
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. 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.
Flat Earth Atheist: Weirdly enough, Mithos is one - declaring that there is no goddess. The fact that he was the one who set up the Corrupt Church may have something to do with it.
The Force Is Strong with This One: Elves and half-elves are able to detect the flow of mana. This allows them to use and sense magic, sense shifts and differences in the mana levels of both worlds, and distinguish between the different races, among other things.
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 be standing by Anna's grave.
In battle, Kratos uses First Aid on Lloyd way more than on anyone else.
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.
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 behaviour - he actually uses First Aid on Lloyd quite a bit.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In their attempts to approach a unicorn, Raine notes that only a pure maiden can approach it. Raine promptly excuses herself (because "I'm an adult") and elects Colette. Sheena becomes a bit upset that the party doesn't think she's "Qualified". Except for Lloyd and Genis who clearly haven't had The Talk yet.
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.
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).
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.
Heroic Sacrifice: Much to Lloyd's dismay, there's quite a few. Some end without people ending up dead. Others... don't.
Hey, It's That Voice!: The English voice cast in a lot of ways embodies the transition period between popular 90's voice actors and voice actors who would become popular as the 00's went on.
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-agression 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.
Also, Exire, home of the half-elves. Though not exactly hidden, it does float above cloud level.
Hopeless Boss Fight: The game actually seems to throw two of these at you in a row with Kratos and Yggdrasill, but only the second one is hopeless. The first one is simply very, very hard, but not necessary to win (it's a lot easier if you use an All-Divide.)
The second fight against Yggdrasill is hopeless as well. You're at a higher level than before, and thus able to fight on more even ground, but the fight still automatically ends after a certain point. Unlike the first fight, though, you're not allowed to lose this one.
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.
Immune to Flinching: The main perk of going into Overlimit. And of course, there's the fact that many bosses require multiple consecutive hits to stun. Presea and Regal can near-permanently gain this ability through the compound-ex skill, Glory.
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 literalKick the Dog to demonstrate just how far gone her transformation has left her.
When you finally get the Ymir fruit, your avatar character will declare "That took forever!"
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.
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.
Subverted for Max, Lyla and Aifread. Max is in love with Lyla, who only ever talks about tracking down Aifread. But she's not actually in love with him at all- Lyla's a Loan Shark and Aifread, a pirate, owes her quite a bit of Gald...
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 synergising 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.
Following the same naming traditions as Luin, there's also Exire, the floating city that's home to ostracized half-elves.
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.
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.
Missing Mom: This game really doesn't like mothers. Anna is dead, Colette's is never mentioned, Sheena's parents abandoned her and she has an adopted father, Genis and Raine's mother is mentally insane, Zelos' is dead, Presea's is dead and Regal's is never mentioned.
Even better is equipping a party member with a Blue Sephiran, an item that doubles gald received in battle, netting you a whopping 20000 Gald per dragon. One can quickly become a millionaire by simply climbing over a few dozen dragon corpses.
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.
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.
Averted after ten years: The PS2 release of Tales of Symphonia was bundled with Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World for the PS3, complete with a graphical update, in the "Tales of Symphonia Chronicles" two-pack for North America and Europe.
None of the OVAs have been released outside of Japan. Fortunately, the fans have translated them.
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.
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.
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.
Our Elves Are Better: And they're aliens! Eventually deconstructed (like everything else in this game). Lloyd outright tells the elves that their attitude directly led to Cruxis, and the elder even admits that they probably could have prevented everything if they weren't so passive.
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.
Pokémon Speak: Presea in her Klonoa outfit. (She only does this in Altamira.)
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.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The OVA series gets this a lot, trying to fit the entirety portions of the storyline into four thirty-minute episodes every arc. While still very well-done, it becomes especially noticeable when Lloyd talks to Colette about their expanded party as if they'd interacted a lot more than seen on-screen—which they do, as evidenced by a flashback earlier in the episode to Sheena and Zelos watching Lloyd at the forge, i.e. a scene unmentioned before said flashback—but since they can't afford to focus on these interactions longer than they do, it can lend to the feeling that there are episode-wide gaps between the strengthening of the party's bonds that the viewer is unfortunately unable to watch. Not that the studio working on the animation doesn't try and even succeed at times to lessen the gap throughout.
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.
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 Steam Punk town; and Altamira, a modern resort town with skyscrapers and working elevators.
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.
Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Time and again, Lloyd and eventually the group proves that there's always a better way of solving the world's problems then just putting one in danger or forcing everyone to be the same. Essentially, they show that actually trying to do the right thing instead of what is necessary will actually change the world.
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.
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.
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.
Solve the Soup Cans: Many puzzles revolve around this; the most blatant example is the "quest" to obtain the Ymir Fruit. To be specific: You have to change the Sorcerer's Ring to make a pig slam into a tree so that the tree drops a magic seed, which you plant, which then cause magic flowers to appear on the lily pads. Then you use one of the magic flowers on the lily pads to summon a fish that pushes a chest so you get a third magic seed. You plant this one, and then magic flowers sprout on branches. You jump onto the branches and summon a bird that takes you to a place where you shove a box into the water to make a bridge and to the other side of a rock you have to shatter with a pig-summon in order to clear a path for the fruit, which you have to get over via the box bridge. Then you use a pig to make the fruit fall into the water, summon a pig to hit a tree to drop worms to distract a bigger fish that would eat the fruit, then summon a smaller fish to push the fruit past the big fish, then summon more worms to push the fruit down so that a fish waiting on the next screen wouldn't eat it, then summon the fish to swim to the next screen, time the next fish summon so that the fish swims past yet another big fish, then the fish swims through the path you created by destroying that rock with the pigs, then finally, FINALLY, you can leap onto a lily pad to grab the fruit. Did I mention one of your characters can FLY?
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.
For a decidedly more subtle one, you know that blonde haired angel who's back we see at the start of the intro? That isn't Colette.
Stealth Pun: The light seal is in the Tower of Mana, an old library. Why put the light seal in a library? Because books are enlightening.
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.
Story Branch Favoritism: In Flanoir, choosing to talk to Kratos instead of any other potential choice has far-reaching consequences for the rest of the game. Firstly, even getting the scene is a bit of a Guide Dang It, since you have to reject the three other characters that Lloyd has built up affection for (and even then, if your relationship with the Guide Dang It character wasn't high enough, the scene won't trigger). Secondly, this turns Zelos's fake Face-Heel Turn into a real Face-Heel Turn, and you're forced to kill him in a boss battle. That causes major problems at the end of the game, since the character you abandon is required for a good number of endgame skits, cutscenes and sidequests, while the optional secret character has none. Thirdly, getting the secret character also locks in Colette as Lloyd's soul mate, which meant if you wanted to see Lloyd pair up with anyone else, you're out of luck.
And on top of all of this? It's non-canon. The sequel definitively shows that Zelos is still alive.
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.
Nobody apart from Zelos seems to find it suspicious that they found Mithos, the only survivor of Ozette being destroyed, who looks eerily like Colette, is a half-elf, can do magic, has some kind of magical flute and doesn't seem remotely injured or dirty (unlike Sheena was in Luin, ironically, Raine suspected that Sheena's situation was a trap) despite being trapped in a a huge forest fire.
Raine admits She knew there was something suspicious about Kratos, especially his "surprising breadth of knowledge" regarding pacts, how he knew not to move Colette when she was suffering from Angel Toxicosis, etc. Unfortunately, she was unable to put her finger on exactly what that was until it was too late, and since Kratos was an important party member, they needed him with them to help protect Lloyd, Colette and Genis.
Sue Donym: The main male cast does this in the drama CDMaid in Altamira,where they dressed up asmaids 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.
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.
Played straight by That OneBonus 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 PS2 version gives the player even more of these. Raine and Regal's hi-ougi's require overlimit, as does one of Zelos'. Kratos' hi-ougi requires his HP to be lower than 16%. One of Zelos' hi-ougis requires him to have less that 16% of his HP and be in overlimit. The crowner goes to Presea, who's second hi-ougi requires her to have less than 10% of her HP remaining while the rest of the party is KO'd.
Unicorns Are Sacred: Averted; even though you have to kill a Unicorn to get its horn to heal someone, the unicorn reveals that its death just means a new unicorn will be born elsewhere, so there is no "curse," nor is it an evil act, to kill a unicorn for a greater good.
The Unintelligible: As per Tales custom, Volt is unable to speak normally (this time, just communicating with a series of "..."s (which might also make him a Silent Bob.)
Updated Re-release: The PS2 version of the game had a few extra costumes for everyone as well as some optional extra battles. For up to ten years, overseas players wouldn't be able to try these up until the HD rerelease in 2014.
Wham Episode: After making pacts with all eight Summon Spirits, not only does nothing get better, but Palmacosta is destroyed. And discovering the existence of Tethe'alla is like this.
Wham Line: "The hero Mithos Yggdrasill, his sister Martel, and their companions Kratos and Yuan."
To a lesser extent, "This world will be saved!"
What Happened to the Mouse?: Several characters abruptly vanish after their final scenes with no explanation; Kate disappears from Zelos' house and is never mentioned again if you complete the "save Princes Hilda" sidequest, if you heal Clara, she apparently just sits there in Izoold and is unaware Palmacosta is destroyed and her husband and daughter are dead, Exire never lands, Chocolat disappears after she's rescued from Iselia's ranch, etc.
Clara becomes the new Governor-General of Palmacosta in the sequel, continuing to protect it like her husband did.
Zelos as well, especially since you only see them in the story path where you fight and kill him. Unless you're playing the PS2 or PS3 versions, where he also sprouts them for his Holy Binds Limit Break.
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'.
Wutai: Mizuho. It's even one of the classical names of Japan.
Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: This is apparently a requirement for forging a pact with a Summon Spirit. Despite this, Luna is the only one that actually talks this way, while Gnome outright finds it annoying.
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.
This is said to Sheena word-for-word in the destroyed Luin.
You Monster!: A frequent reaction by the protagonists after witnessing the atrocities that the Desians commit. Kvar and Rodyle are the most common targets of this trope; the former even gets this from his own men.
Zip Mode: the game often lets you "quick jump" through a dungeon you have already traversed when you have to go back to 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.