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.
Did George really force Regal and Alicia apart because it was for Regal's own good, or did he just want Regal to himself?
Lloyd, actually. Is he an idealistic young man who thinks everyone deserves to live, but has to fight others despite wanting to protect them? Or is he a filthy hypocrite who says everyone deserves to live while also killing half-elves left, right and center?
Kvar is a Mad Scientist infamous for being the cruelest of the Desian Grand Cardinals. Heartless and sadistic, Kvar runs a Human Ranch where his prisoners are turned into Exospheres in a process that leaves the party horrified. Discovering that some of his prisoners escaped from the ranch to the village of Luin, Kvar attacks Luin, destroying the village, killing many and capturing the survivors for his experiments. When Lloyd encounters Kvar, the Cardinal brags about how he removed the Exosphere from Lloyd's mother, causing her to turn into a monster and attack both her child and her lover, Kratos, which resulted in Kratos killing her to save their son. The depth of Kvar's depravity is such that even his own men are appalled by him.
Rodyle is another Desian Grand Cardinal who shares Kvar's penchant for mad science. Taking over Kvar's experiments following his death, Rodyle manages his own Human Ranches and is working to create a superweapon, the Mana Cannon, in order to destroy the Tower of Salvation, overthrow his boss, and become the ruler of two worlds. When the party frees the Ranch's prisoners, Rodyle manages to trap the prisoners again and floods the room they're in, forcing the party to watch. Following his defeat, Rodyle activates the self-destruct sequence of his Human Ranch to make sure the heroes and everyone else in the Ranch dies with him.
Colette, by some Lloyd/Sheena fans; sometimes they don't even hate her, just "need" to bash her because she's "in the way". The reverse also goes for Lloyd/Colette ships bashing Sheena.
Sheena and especially Colette fall prey to this for Lloyd/Zelos.
Zelos does this for people who prefer Sheena to be with Lloyd, often using the "Kratos Route" of the game where Zelos dies as the setting to make the pairing more possible, without any future interruptions.
Zelos has ranked in the top 10 of every single official popularity poll Namco Bandai has done except for the seventh poll (in which he ranked in 11th place).
Outside of Japan, at least, both Kratos and Sheena have formidable fanbases. Especially Kratos.
Kratos gets quite a bit of this in Japan, too. He ranked 3rd in the first official Tales Character Poll and won the following poll, an honor that only Leon, Yuri, and Ludger have ever shared. Even though Kratos has not made the top three since the year he placed first, he continues to place 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 the player learns 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.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: As far as sales go, it's the Tales Series equivalent to Final Fantasy VII: in Japan, it was a pretty good Tales game and is well-remembered but not in a truly standout way. Outside of Japan (in America in particular), it defined the entire fandom and is the game people will think of when casually mentioning the series as a whole.
The Tech Glitch. Normally the Tech Tree is set up so that you can't learn skills from opposing branches simultaneously. However, with clever use of C-stick shortcuts and party member swapping, you can learn the final-tier skill from the branch you aren't taking, as well as the skills from the branch you are.
Just before the final boss fight with Mithos, during the cut-scene, if you advance any of the dialogue before the audio finishes playing, then when the boss changes into his young form he'll glitch out for the rest of the cut-scene. 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 only does so because of a typo that resulted in an extra zero — the Japan-onlyPlayStation 2Updated Re-release has it only give 1,000 Gald instead. Chronicles's version, being a PS3 port of said Updated Re-release, is the same. This unfortunately makes completing the Luin Rebuilding sidquest a lot more cumbersome than it already was; the next best Money Spider is the Gold Dragon, which gives almost as much Gald, but appears in a later, more troublesome dungeon.
Harsher in Hindsight: The Clara sidequest manages to do this to already very harsh events in several of your party members' backstories. It turns out that people who mutated into monsters because of the Exspheres can be turned back into humans after all. Kratos, Regal, and Genis may not have needed to kill their loved ones, and Lloyd and Presea could have possibly kept their family members.
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.
Hypocrite: Sheena often gets mad at Zelos for making sexist remarks, but we get this statement from her at Palmacosta:
"Yeah. A woman's been kidnapped. If you're a real man, you have to rescue her!"
Hype Backlash: Given that it's often dubbed "The best Tales of game" by it's fans, it's not surprising that many get disappointed with it as a result.
Doubly so when coming back to this game after having played later tales series games, and Symphonia will be surprisingly stiff by comparison. Not terrible or bad by any means, but in comparison to advances or changes in the gameplay like Xillia, Graces and Abyss offered, Symphonia will show its age.
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. Grandia II says "hi".
Or bash Colette.
Or, similarly, bash Sheena.
Try to explain why Chronicles should/shouldn't get a Wii U release, and you'll get either Nintendo fans, or Sony fans breathing down your neck.
It's Popular, Now It Sucks: Before the series became super popular in the states, fans held it as one of the best games ever. Since the series has gotten more fame now, fans of the original GameCube version tend to have this mindset, at least, in regards to the PS3 version.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks: The Chronicles re-release gets this a bit due to all new features that weren't in the PS2 version being largely superficial. Particular points of contention are the lack of Free Run, and the preservation of the spell queuenote The game's inability to show the animations of two mid or high level spells at a time., the latter of which was only in the original version due to technical limitations.
And that it runs at 30 fps (because the PS2 version did), while the GameCube version from 10 years ago ran at 60.
Love to Hate: Remiel is a well-done example, requiring just one scene to make you utterly loathe him, and then you immediately get to beat the piss out of him. And it feels very good.
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."
It got to the point where there's an image floating around of Hideo Baba (the director/producer of the Tales series) holding up a fanmade "Lloydbucks" shirt.
The Coffee scene is so memetic, that it get three references in the "Successors of Hope" novel.
Kratos's apparent dislike of tomatoes (he never willingly 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
Referring to Mithos Yggdrasill as Disco Lord Yggdrasil, due to his fabulous white bodysuit.
Colette, in spades: Cute face: check. Small, delicate body: Check. Dojikko: Check. Adorable voice, courtesy of Nana Mizuki in Japanese and Heather Hogan-Watson in English: OOOOOH! Soooo check! The Woobie as big as you can get: CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!
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.
Fighting the Archers with the Japanese track on becomes very irritating because they moan every time they're hit.
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.
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.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The game's condemnation of racism is frequent and unsubtle, particularly as the game goes on, but it is surprisingly nuanced. Rather than repeatedly drumming in the point that discrimination is bad over and over (though there's certainly a lot of that), different parts of the game focus on different aspects of racism, from open slavery, to separatism, to violent supremacist movements that ultimately prove no better than their former oppressors.
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 Wake-Up Call Boss if you are under leveled. While most bosses are solo and can thus be pushed into a corner and whaled on, these two are both full blown bosses and fight together, meaning that while you're trying to corner one, the other is whaling 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.
The Woobie: Everyone in the party has Woobie moments to some degree. Even the Big Bad does.
Colette. There is a split opinion on her— and that's flame bait. She was born to be the Chosen and raised from birth to believe that she was going to die and has absolutely no self esteem to speak of, since she was going to die a martyr.
Presea's father fell ill when Presea was 12, so she agreed to be part of a experiment that completely halted her aging process and sealed away her emotions for sixteen years. In the meantime, her father died in bed and she never noticed. Once Lloyd puts a Key Crest on her Exsphere, she finally realizes what happened and freaks out. She also finds out that her sister is dead and she has to travel with the man who killed her. They deal with that though, but even in the sequel, she's still not completely over it.
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 berserk 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 berserk 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 is a Jerkass Woobie. As a child, his mother was murdered in front of him and her dying words were "You should never have been born.", from there on, his father died and as he grew up, everyone he met never cared about him and only associated with him because he was the Chosen. Since then, he's become a huge Death Seeker who hates every moment he's alive behind his Jerkass persona of a flamboyant playboy.
Regal is a Stoic Woobie. He killed the woman he loved after she was turned into a monster from having her Exsphere removed. Since then, he turned himself in and never managed to get over it, even in the sequel.
Kratos is a Stoic Woobie. He also killed the woman he loved, who was Lloyd's mother. She also went out of control due to having her Exsphere removed. A baby Lloyd and Noishe fell off a cliff and by the time Kratos got down to the bottom of the cliff, all Kratos found was the corpses of Desians eaten by monsters. Since then, he's been a Death Seeker who has no reason to live until he meets Lloyd at the start of the game.
Yggdrasil is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. He watched his sister Martel die, the only family he had left when all he wanted to do was stop Half Elf discrimination. He then split the world in two to stop it from destroying itself and has spent over four thousand years trying to revive Martel and has gone off the deep end big time. By the end of the game, he goes completely insane and tries to take away Derris Kharlan which would end the worlds. His dying words are so filled with despair that it hurts.
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 (especially 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 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).
Backfiring slightly, as Genis tends to get a rather... inappropriate nickname by some people, and Raine's name is a hilarious/harsher in hindsight moment, considering her intense fear of water.