These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Some people think Mithos and Martel's relationship has incestuous undertones. The logic behind this is, how much can one person change the world, just to revive their sister if they aren't loving her that way?? Especially when her real lover is so much more sane and understanding of her real wishes.
Awesome Art: While the OVA series wasn't perfect, it cannot be denied that it had gorgeous animation, courtesy of Ufotable.
Kvar. He performs brutal experiments on his prisoners in hopes of creating a Cruxis Crystal and gloats about being responsible for the death of the hero's mother. Most of the other Desian Grand Cardinals are saved from this trope because their motive is to get revenge for their people. Kvar's own minions declare that the man is just plain sick.
Rodyle. The man tricked a twelve year old girl into becoming a lab experiment and then a slave. When the heroes cause a prison break in his fortress, he drowns the prisoners for no reason other than to demoralize the heroes. He's also one of the main distributors of Exspheres in the game, which Vharley points out.
Zelos is the only character in the entire Tales series (except Leon) to place in the top 10 of every single official popularity poll Namco Bandai has done.
Outside of Japan, at least, both Kratos and Sheena have formidable fanbases. Especially Kratos.
He gets quite a bit of this in Japan, too. The official Tales Character Polls consistently listed him as the most popular character in the entire series before being dethroned by Yuri. Even then, Kratos still places consistently high on the list.
Fan Preferred Couple: Quite a few examples since Lloyd can be paired off with anyone, but notably Lloyd/Sheena and Zelos/Lloyd for the Ho Yay shippers.
It's cute when Colette is drawing on Lloyd's hand in the opening cinematic, until you get to the point in the game where she does this, and learn why: she can't talk.
The skit "Pretty Boys Die Young," in which Lloyd and Sheena comment that Zelos seems like the type of guy who just won't die. You can see where this is going In one of the endings, he dies.
The ending becomes a lot less hopeful for people who have played Tales of Phantasia and realize that once Yggdrassil's system of mana distribution fell, it eventually lead to exactly what he was trying to prevent — another great Magitek war that destroyed all advanced human civilization on the planet.
Game Breaker: Colette's Toss Hammer; Para Ball being another example.
Also of note: For the final boss fight with Mithos, in the beginning cut-scene, the final boss will randomly not move at all. He will just stand there, talking to you, mouth not moving, arms lifeless, body totally inert.
As mentioned in the main article, the dragon that gives 10,000 Gald upon defeat apparently only does so because of a typo that resulted in an extra zero — the Japan-onlyPlayStation 2Updated Rerelease has it only give 1,000 Gald instead.
Kratos' Taking the Bullet moment. It's just after it's been revealed that he's Lloyd's father. He blocks an energy blast from Yuan, and asks Lloyd, "are you alright...? Good." and then passes out. And now his cryptic "Don't die, Lloyd" starts to make sense, and we get the horrible creeping feeling he's been struggling to help Lloyd from the shadows all along.
In return, every time after this scene where Lloyd calls Kratos "dad" also counts.
Zelos occasionally acts slashy towards Lloyd. In Japanese, he even refers to Lloyd with the exact same epithet he uses on all his lady loves - "honey."
It certainly doesn't help that he's one of the only male characters Zelos shows any real affection for. Other guys might as well be pieces of furniture to him.
Genis cooks for him, and he totally resents it if he's not chosen to be in Lloyd's group in the times you have to split the party in two. His friendship with Mithos also has elements of adorable Toy Ship (especially when Mithos goes "Who do you like better, Lloyd or me?", which actually makes Lloyd react jealously), except... then the whole thing gets much more serious.
Zelos prepares a meal with sleeping drugs. Just before serving, he grabs Lloyd from behind and hugs him tight. "'Cause we're best friends, right? I worry about you. You must be tired." Or verrrry uncomfortable. Still, cue the Squee. Or just run with it altogether.
Just try and explain why Colette or Sheena is a better match for Lloyd and see how far that gets you.
Also, don't bring up the Drama CDs. Just... don't.
Or compare this to Final Fantasy X. Doing the reverse yields the same results. Even after pointing out the many, many differences the slightest comparison will lead to Fanwank of unimaginable levels. Even pointing out that one has heard the two games compared can lead to flaming like you would not imagine.
The infamous "Coffee Mind-fuck" has generated a minor meme cluster, with Lloyd being referred to as Coffee-kun on certain Image Boards, and often being portrayed as an enraged Starbucks employee who offers only two options for an order - "motherfucking hot coffee" or "motherfucking cold coffee," offering none of that "Espresso or Frappucino bullshit."
Kratos's apparent dislike of tomatoes (he never uses them as an additional ingredient while cooking, and is less proficient at recipes in which they're required) shows up quite a bit in fanart. Lloyd's dislike of tomatoes is also brought up in various fanworks on a regular basis, especially when people are trying to come up with father son similarities/bonding experiences
Memetic Badass: Regal and his Kamehamehadoken have become a minor case of this, with people theorizing that if he'd just use it during combat, he'd be the most powerful character in the entire game.
Desian Mooks, when defeated, shout "how could I lose to such INFERIOR BEINGS!?" This happens every time.
On that note, there is an enemy called a "Mandragora", which is essentially just a cute female flower spirit, but when defeated, they shout "I'm a goner"! Kind of funny, but the voice is just annoying. UH OH TIME TO FLY UH OH TIME TO FLY I'M A GONER UH OH TIME TO I'M A GONER UH OH TIME TO FLY
Also; "I'm sorry". Said by everyone. Ever.
"Hey What's Wrong" "IT'S NOTHING"
The pink Sylph fairy has the most grating voice ever.
Colette learning Judgment immediately after becoming an angel.
Regal: "What is this ominous light that threatens to engulf us?!" That one is pretty much a meme.
Due to the slow movements and wooden animations outside of battle, many supposedly action-heavy cutscenes come of as kinda undynamic and laughable. One example would be Genis running slowly in front of someone to block a fireball that got cast over 5 seconds ago and then casually wandering off again.
Nothing quite beats Kratos after undoing Origin's seal. There's an intense Duel Boss, things are awesome, and then he stares up at the camera, neck at an entirely impossible angle, and says with dull frustration, Wangst "it looks like I've failed to die once more."
Rodyle mocking Presea when you confront her at his Ranch. After, Presea goes, "DIE!!" ...And then just stands there. It's as awkward as it is hilarious.
Paying too much attention to stuff in this may cause nightmares. It's covered by cute graphics, but sometimes even that doesn't help. However, after Colette loses her soul, she's downright creepy, with Glowing Eyes of Doom and a complete apathy towards anything except that which threatens her.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: It's easy to have been spoiled by the later titles, even those without free-run for how radically different their battle systems were from this game.
Sequel Displacement: This is probably the first Tales game many people played and is the most well-known.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: The aforementioned Colette vs. Sheena war, plus the numerous Yaoi Guys ships. The various skits and Ship Tease moments do not help one bit. Nor did the sequel, which decided to make any given pairing happen, depending on a question you ask Lloyd.
Stoic Woobie: Regal, especially in the anime, which takes his already tragic backstory and elevates it to outright Tear Jerker status. Despite all the bad things that happen to him, however, Regal never angsts unless the issue's being pressed.
The dragons on the Island of Floating Dragons, since they launch powerful attacks that are difficult to dodge. Strangely enough, they don't even get boss music.
Yuan and Botta can also be a Wakeup Call Boss if you are under leveled. While most bosses are solo and can thus be pushed into a corner and wailed on, these two are both full blown bosses and fight together, meaning that while you're trying to corner one, the other is wailing on your healers or casting eruption everywhere.
The Wind Spirit in Asgard is surprisingly tough.
The boss in the Tower of Mana, especially if you take the Hard Path.
Shadow's temple, which is basically a dungeon-long puzzle that forces you to wrangle five little NPC blobs that have the most critically stupid AI ever and can't grasp the concept of straight lines.
Ymir Forest also tends to drag on.
And don't forget Volt's temple. There are winding hallways with lots of stairs, no railing, and sporadic lighting that take you back several rooms if you fall over. Of course, if you do happen to fall a few times, you get frustrated and want to get through it in a hurry, causing you to make mistakes and fall even more. Then, finally, you navigate through three of those damn hallways... and fall off a corner three inches from the exit.
The Ice Temple and the Tower of Salvation are no cakewalk if you don't like sliding puzzles.
The Tower of Salvation is especially hard because you get virtually no hint as to where you're supposed to go.
Be honest, did you think that figure in pink in the back of the box art was going to be a man? Not only that, but a total casanova at that? The fact that he's way in the back and in a very androgynous pose doesn't help. Raine can also be mistaken for a very hot effeminate guy... well, until thirty seconds of playing. Later, the kid Mithos also has a quite girly design, rather similar to Colette. Granted, Colette and Mithos looking similar is quite deliberate and is meant to foreshadow the game's later developments.
It's very common for people to assume Genis is a girl. The voice and hair don't help.
Apparently, that rainbow Kitsune with a feminine sounding voice and name (Corrine) is male. Except in the manga, unless that was a translation error or something.
Every playable character has their moment of woobieness. Even the Big Bad counts.
Sheena - she was abandoned in "The forest of death" by her birth parents, then the Chief of Mizuho adopted her. Then she was sent back and forth to Meltokio and Sybak to become a Summoner. (Lloyd even lampshades that they treated her like a bargaining chip.) Then at seven years old, she fails to control Volt, who goes beserk and kills a quarter of Mizuho's population and puts her father-figure in a coma, which much of the village (including her childhood friend Kuchinawa) still blame her for. Then she's forced to go to Sylvarant to kill Colette, but can't go through with it when she sees the state Sylvarant is in, causing Kuchinawa to attempt to get revenge on her, and then she is forced to attempt to make a pact with Volt, only for him to go beserk again and kill her lifelong friend, Corrine. All this puts her squarely in Woobie territory.
Raine also has it bad- she and her parents were thrown out of the Elven village, then her incredible intellect meant she was pursued relentlessly by Sybak's Imperial Research Academy to "get their hands" on her (and considering the way they treat half-elves...), she falls off a boat and almost drowns as she tries to escape from them with her parents, resulting in her having a permanent fear of water. Then her mother is forced to abandon a young Raine and newborn Genis at the Otherworld Gate. They make it through there, forcing Raine to raise Genis herself and hide their true heritage from everyone in Iselia to avoid persecution. Ouch.
Zelos too, by far, although he sometimes dips into Jerkass Woobie territory.
Woolseyism: Raine and Genis were originally named Refill and Genius, respectively, in the original Japanese. While the Japanese would find this incredibly funny in a good way (espeically since "Refill" is a healer, thus, she refills your HP), Namco's editorial team wisely realized that Westerners would find the names eye-bitingly stupid and wisely dropped the "u" from Genis' name to preserve the joke without being too obvious, and came up with a nice equivalent for Raine without being quite as blatant as the Japanese version (that is, her English name invokes the image of a soothing rain washing away pain).