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    Tales of Phantasia 
  • Mankind is finally re-emerging from the Dark Ages, and is re-rediscovering magitechnology. One of the first things they build is the Mana Cannon, a device that is ultimately responsible for thrusting mankind into the dark ages twice in the past 8,000 years. And failed to accomplish anything useful for anyone the one time it failed to wipe out all civilization.
    • This only applies to the OVA. In the actual game itself, the Mana Cannon was created so the humans could have a chance to defeat Dhaos, who, incidentally, was attacking them because they were capable of creating such a thing. In the OVA however, it was built by a half-elf to prove half-elves were useful.

    Tales of Destiny 
  • In the Updated Re-release, Leon Magnus sees a suspicious secret meeting taking place, and overhears his father and associates plotting to steal the Eye of Atamoni.
    You'd Expect: Leon to leave immediately and tell the appropriate authorities.
    Instead: He confronts them, and when his father tries to recruit him tells him he won't participate, but he won't turn them in either. Hugo then gleefully reveals he doesn't have a choice but to participate because Leon's maid, Marian, has been kidnapped by him.
    You'd Then Expect: Leon to go to the proper authorities, or at the very least the Swordian Masters he's made friends with for help.
    Instead: He does what Hugo wants several times, even after it's clear he doesn't intend on letting Marian go. This leads to Leon losing his prestige and status as a knight, his friends, and his life.
  • In the remake's Leon Story manga, Marian is being held hostage by Hugo's four lieutenants and overhears that Hugo is using her to make Leon betray the Kingdom of Seinegald. She resolves to kill herself to free Leon.
    You'd Expect: Her to quietly hang herself with the ample bedsheets and hanging fixtures available in the room she is being kept in, making sure she cannot be saved by the time she is discovered.
    Instead: She walks out of the room, armed with a butter knife, loudly announces her plans in a room with four highly capable people, and only manages to stab herself with the knife at the last second before she is grabbed by one of said people. This plan of course fails spectacularly and she is prevented from doing any similar action in the future.
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    Tales of Symphonia (and its sequel) 

Original game

  • At the Palmacosta Human Ranch, Lloyd and co show up to destroy the ranch and rescue all the captives inside who are going to be used to make exspheres. They run into Chocolat, a Damsel in Distress who was captured when she left Palmacosta, in order to lure the Chosen to the Ranch, as they already saved Chocolat's mother Cacao once before. When they confront Magnius, Magnius taunts Lloyd with his failure to liberate the Iselia Human Ranch and reveals he killed Marble, Chocolat's grandmother.
    You'd Expect: Chocolat to give Lloyd a chance to explain himself, or at least not trust that the brutal thug Magnius isn't telling the whole story, as Lloyd and Genis actually tried to save Marble but she was turned into a monster by Forcystus to punish Lloyd for going near the Human Ranch and Lloyd was forced to Mercy Kill her.
    Instead: She freaks out, refuses to listen to Genis when he tries to tell her what happened and insists she will wait for Dorr to save her (unaware Dorr is actually working for Magnius). She's then taken away by some Desians, who drag her off to the Iselia Human Ranch.
  • When trying to get to Heimdall late in the game, the party has to acquire a Ymir fruit, which hangs off a very tall tree.
    You'd Expect: Colette, who has wings, to simply fly up and pick a fruit off the tree. Or have Sheena summon Undyne, the Summon Spirit of Water, to get the fruit. Or have Genis and/or Zelos use their magic to get the fruit out of the water with a spell. Or just have anyone jump into the water and pick the thing up with their bare hands before climbing out.
    Instead: The party decides to go through a convoluted puzzle involving having an animal headbutt the tree so a fruit falls into the water, and then luring fish with music to push the fruit through the river to the shore while avoiding having these fish get eaten by other fish and traipsing through a dangerous dungeon to find somewhere they can collect said fruit. The option for anyone else to use their powers to get the fruit never comes up.
  • The party members have to return to Meltokio, but they arrive so late that the city gates are already closed for the day (a security measure known by every Tetheallan). Zelos says that they can enter through a secret passage only he knows of, but it implies going through a sewer loaded with nasty monsters and a door override mechanism that involves convoluted block puzzles. To add insult to injury, mooks sent by the Pope (including Sixth Ranger Regal) ambush them right at the exit.
    You'd expect: The party to double back and return to the nearby Abbey where they can rest for free, entering the city the next day at dawn. It's not like they are in a hurry.
    Or: If Zelos knows the place as well as he think he does, he would made sure he has a way to open the door that don't involve danger or solving puzzles.
    Additionally: He should know the Pope well enough that he would choose the sewers as the perfect place for an ambush and avoided that route.
    Even more: Colette has just turned back to normal. Have her use her wings and ferry her friends over the city's walls. She has angelic Super Strength, so it's perfectly possible.
    Instead: The heroes have to go through the aforementioned sewer dungeon full of monsters and puzzles and fight the Pope's mooks.
  • The Mizuho villagers sent Sheena, one of their ninjas with the gift for Summoning, to try and make a pact with Volt, Spirit of Lightning. Sheena, due to being younger and weaker as well as not understanding Volt's 'language', fails to make the pact and Volt attacks her grandpa and village chief, Igaguri, making him fall into a coma. The other villagers are furious at her.
    You'd expect: For the pact making to have waited until Sheena was older and strong enough to prove herself in battle before Volt. The pact would have failed, but Igaguri would be safe.
    Additionally: If the ninjas wanted to pact with Volt they should have studied his legends and the records of previous pacting tries, discovering that he speaks a gibberish language (apparently it's Morse code?) and learned the language or brought a person who knew it to serve as translator.
    Instead: The Mizuho ninjas were horrible at their job (which is supposedly gathering info) and spent the following years not even trying again and pestering the girl who failed the job to the point of her developing a phobia against said Spirit (and maybe lightning in general?). The pact was not successful until she was 19, her new friends helped with her fears and Raine was there to translate.
  • The party realizes that to use the Eternal Sword, they need Elven blood, which allows them access to magic.
    You'd Expect: Any of the party members who are not Lloyd or Presea, the only two characters without magic, would offer to take up the sword. After all, they do not need to actually know how to fight with swords to use it. And previously, only Lloyd tried and failed to take the sword. Literally anyone else could just pick up the sword besides Presea.
    Instead: Nearly a full third of the game is spent trying to make it possible for Lloyd to use the sword, which makes no sense, considering, first of all, Sheena and Zelos know that they have Elven blood in their veins, or else they couldn't cast magic, and could easily use the sword, and second of all, even if they wanted to use the Eternal Sword as a weapon, it's a single sword- Lloyd specializes in using two swords, which is much different than using just one, a fact the game highlights if Lloyd talks to Kratos a lot. If anything, Zelos should be using it. The party had no way of knowing the sword would split into two, either. Even if Zelos has the excuse he might plan to betray the party, (which is only in one of the eight potential paths you can take) there is no reason why Sheena or Regal or Colette or Raine or Genis can't simply pick up the sword to hold onto for later.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

  • Everyone is investigating the cause of recent fires in Izoold. It's been proven that the fires have been caused by a light-frog. A bit of investigating shows that a common factor linking every fire was that seafood gels were involved. However, light-frogs don't normally feed on seafood gels.
    You'd Expect: Everyone figures that if seafood gels are common in each fire, they must be involved somehow, right?
    Instead: Everyone adamantly refuses to acknowledge that this is even possible, despite the fact that the very presence of a light-frog in Izoold is unnatural. Absolutely every time you bring it up, they consistently tell you how impossible this is, and even when you finally kill the damn thing by baiting it with seafood gels, everyone is absolutely shocked that the only common factor in the fires could've been the cause.
    Additionally: Nazdrovie!
  • In the same game, Ratatosk Emil had used his Ein Soph Aur on Richter, which he reverses with Eternal Recurrence right back at his face. A few cutscenes later, Ratatosk Emil runs into Richter again.
    You'd expect: Emil to remember what happened the last time he tried to use Ein Soph Aur and not use it this time.
    Instead: He uses it again, the predictable happens and it gets reversed right back at him. To top it all off, Ratatosk Emil still has that same shocked look on his face that he did when it was reversed the first time.
    In Addition: You can also do this yourself by having Ratatosk Emil use Ein Soph Aur against Richter in a battle. Sure enough, Eternal Recurrence occurs.
  • Alice, a high ranked member of the Vanguard, tells protagonist Emil that she is worried about her Stalker with a Crush Decus' sanity and chained him to his own iron maiden that he carries everywhere. Alice, who has shown several times that she hates the protagonist duo more than anything in the world, asks Emil to go into a room with Decus, ALONE, to check on him.
    You'd expect: for Emil to outright deny the petition or at least have Alice enter the room with him if she is so worried about the man. Or have Tenebrae scan the area for traps. ANYTHING.
    Instead: Emil goes into the room by himself, Alice traps him inside with a mad and now FREE Decus, and only gets out of trouble because the villain hesitates at killing someone that smells like his favorite perfume. That, and Colette and Zelos' opportune intervention...

    Tales of Rebirth 
  • During Hilda's character segment, they encounter Naira, who happens to be Hilda's birth mother. However, Naira is aware of a dangerous prophecy and fears it may harm her daughter.
    You'd Expect: Naira to calmly tell her daughter about the prophecy and how she fears it will kill her, and try to encourage her to leave town for her safety.
    Instead: She rejects Hilda, rips up Hilda's treasured Tarot Cards, refuses to talk to her, only revealing things when Tohma shows up, and she performs a Heroic Sacrifice to protect her daughter, which could've been avoided if she had just opened up. Sheesh!

    Tales of the Abyss 
  • Cute Bruiser Anise is secretly being forced by the game's Big Bad to act as his spy inside the party. His leverage over her is her parents, who are being held hostage in the city of Daath under the pretense of being housed inside the religious citadel there. At one point in the game, the party, including Anise, goes to Daath to break out one of their friends, who is being held under heavy guard in a military garrison adjacent to the citadel. This poses no great challenge.
    You'd expect: Her to realize that her allies are more than strong enough to rescue her parents, tell them what's going on, and beg them to stop off and collect two more passengers.
    Instead: She says nothing, and isn't revealed as a traitor until she openly turns on the party and helps the villains to murder the person who is essentially the Pope of the religion that she personally follows - and who, for extra irony, is the person they went to Daath to save the first time they were there.
    Bonus Idiocy: She is, of course, Easily Forgiven. With a side helping of being forgiven for her hypocritical tongue lashing of the main character earlier and her horrible treatment of her rival who just called her out for it all.
    Extra Bonus Idiocy: There are three major powers in the world. She spends the game traveling with the two heirs to one of the powers, the second-in-command of the second power, and the leader of the third power, all of whom dislike the big bad she is controlled by, along with having one of the worlds only flying machines. Guess when she takes the opportunity to inform them of what is happening and ask for help.
  • Related to that is what happens when said rival, Arietta, confronts Anise and the rest of the party some time later in the Cheagle Woods. Arietta, besides being pissed at the party for killing the Liger Queen that raised her, calls out Anise for her treatment of Ion, and how Anise is responsible for it all.
    You'd Expect: That Anise and the party would try to explain the circumstances surrounding Ion's mistreatment. For one, Ion wasn't killed by Anise, he was killed by Grand Maestro Mohs, who is so desperately trying to follow the Score that he'd kill his own boss and restart a major worldwide war to try and get it back on track. It was also Mohs who was manipulating Anise into being a traitor in the first place. With all of that, the party has ample ammunition and evidence to convince Arietta to back off.
    Instead: They say absolutely nothing about Ion, or why any of it happened, just that Arietta is being "delusional," and they kill her in a boss battle. The after-battle cutscene is presented especially tragically, as Arietta dies pitifully calling out for Ion, lamenting that her "mama," the Liger Queen, died for nothing. It also manifests with a bit of Fridge Horror when you realize that Arietta died without ever knowing what really happened to Ion, who she also loved like an older brother, and that none of it had to happen if Anise and the party had just opened their mouth. It makes the whole sordid affair a case of poor communication literally killing someone.
    • During the climax of the game's first arc, the party chastise Luke for causing the deaths of hundreds of people by following Van's plan that they knew nothing about.
      You'd Expect them to realize that Luke completely idolizes Van, so when Van told him to "not tell anyone" about his plan, Luke wouldn't tell anyone.
      Instead: they chastise him worse for it, thinking that it would be easy for him to just tell them.
      Also, they completely ignore the fact that several of these characters (in particular, Jade) had knowledge of Van or Luke that could have fundamentally changed the outcome, had they mentioned any of it to him.
      Plus, they completely fail to recognize that out of the entire party there's only one of them that Luke had any reason to trust at all, that that one person (Guy) already works with Van, and that Luke had no reason not to trust Van until up to this point.

    Tales of the Tempest 
  • During the beginning scenes, villains Lukius and Rommy storm the church in the village and sets fire to the priest inside, killing him. Said Priest's wife approaches from the outside where the hero Caius was watching this all go down. He then stops and warns her that her husband's killers are still inside and that it's dangerous.
    You'd Expect: That as someone with absolutely no combat ability she would heed Caius' warning and wait until the killers left before getting near her already dead husband, after all, she still has a child to consider.
    Instead: She walks straight inside, goes right up to where her husband died (and his killer is still standing), and without even putting up a token resistance, gets set on fire and dies as well.

    Tales of Vesperia 
  • Towards the halfway point, Judith discovers that the party's ship's Blastia core is actually a Hermes blastia and, naturally, destroys it. The rest of the party, who are unaware of the history of Hermes blastia, demand an explanation.
    You'd Expect: That Judith, who clearly considered the party her friends, would explain how the Hermes blastia are extremely harmful to the world, and must be destroyed.
    Instead: She refuses to explain anything and outright abandons the party, effectively betraying them. Not only does this cause considerable tension and angst within the party, it also directly leads to the party coming into conflict with the Hunting Blades guild.
    Bonus Idiocy: Judith could've at least waited until the boat docked and they all got off the ship first, or is the word "patience" not in her vocabulary? (But Wait, There's More!)
  • The party has reached Myorzo, home of the Krityans. The Elder there teaches them all about the creation of blastia and how they relate to the monster sealed at the shrine of Zaude. Among all things, they learn that 'all blastia were created equal' and the only difference between a normal and Hermes blastia (those that Judith has been hunting down) is the formula (the only part of a blastia that can be manipulated with today's current knowledge) which was too effective at extracting aer and damaged the environment a lot.
    You'd expect: The Elder to discover that bit of information and tell Judith BEFORE sending her to the world below to destroy blastia.
    Instead: The Elder keeps his mouth shut. Judith goes around breaking valuable relics that can't be manufactured, only excavated, and created unneeded tension between her and the party by putting her quest above the rules of the guild she had just joined days prior.
  • During the party's trip through the Sands of Kogorh, the characters suffer from heat and dehydration.
    You'd Expect: Rita, a mage who can create large quantities of water with magic and regularly does so while fighting enemies, to use this spell to provide refreshments for the party.
    Instead: The party is stuck popping cacti for water until they eventually collapse from heatstroke after the Boss Battle.
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    Tales of Xillia 
  • After once again making a fool of himself in front of his 'rival' Jude and his boss Milla due to receiving false information from a carrier pigeon, handmaid Ivar receives another message from the same bird telling him that he can save The Four Great Spirits with an item Milla had given him earlier.
    You'd Expect: Ivar not to take conveniently-timed messages from strangers that have already been wrong, and go back to Nia Kherra like his boss keeps telling him to.
    Instead: Wanting to prove himself superior to Jude, Ivar ends up activating the Lance of Kresnik, nearly killing everyone nearby (including Milla) and giving Exodus the opportunity they've been waiting for to invade.

    Tales of Berseria 
  • What kicks off Velvet's Roaring Rampage of Revenge is her brother-in-law Arthur, aka Artorius Collbrande, performing a ritual sacrifice on Velvet's little brother Laphicet. The ritual also infects her arm with daemonblight, causing her to to scream in fury as she slashes through daemons, demanding an explanation.
    You'd Expect: Arthur would tell Velvet why he killed Laphicet: to start a ritual that was ultimately for what he felt was the greater good by creating a way to stop the daemonblight. Or, failing that, for Arthur to tell Velvet about the ritual beforehand, explaining how Laphicet was a willing victim of the ritual if it meant saving Velvet's life and helping to heal the world. While Velvet would never agree to let her little brother die, at least Arthur would have done all he could to make it as painless as possible.
    Instead: He gives vague platitudes about how "the sin is mine to bear" and offers no apology for what he did. This, plus being locked in the dark for three years, turns Velvet into a Tragic Monster that causes far more trouble for Arthur and his goals.
    Even Worse: Arthur's ultimate goal is sealing all emotion away from humans and turning them into coldly logical beings. Based on that, one would think the logical thing to do would be to make the ritual as painless as he could for Velvet to prevent any unnecessary complications.
  • Late in the game, Velvet's party has a plan to stop the Abbey's final goals right at the eleventh hour. They only have one night to do it, and need everything to go perfectly, and that includes luring two specific people from the Abbey, Melchior and Shigure, the last enforcers of Artorius, to a very specific and ostentatious location.
    You'd Expect: The Abbey would recognize what Velvet is trying to do, and have one of her targets simply not show up. Shigure would never turn down an implicit challenge from Rokurou, and nobody can stop him from going, but the other could simply refuse the bait and doom Velvet's plans.
    Instead: Both targets go for it, hook, line, and sinker; both of them show up, and they both play right into Velvet's hands. They might be powerful, but that's still giving Velvet an opening to put her plan into action.
    Even Worse: The more "reasonable" of the two targets is even more obsessed with pure reason than Artorius, and appears to have pridefully taken the bait on the assumption Velvet will match his predictions and give into despair at any moment, despite having completely changed her way of thinking, and explaining this to his face. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!. Even more egregious, Melchior flat out tells Magilou he knows exactly what Velvet is trying to do...and yet came anyway.
  • In light of The Reveal, the motives for The Plan of the villains become rather obtuse in retrospect. Laphicet willingly chose to sacrifice himself as a way to give Velvet a world where she can be happy, with he and Artorious keeping this plan a secret from her. And while there is arguably some logic for why they would withhold this information at first, whatever reasoning Laphicet had for keeping the plan a secret becomes moot when Velvet finds the two of them, watching Laphicet about to be murdered by Artorius.
    You'd Expect: Given that Artorius is an Anti-Villain who already had things planned out to a T, he could at least try and give some context for what's about to happen when he takes the final steps of putting his plan into motion. Or failing that, have Laphicet do it beforehand so that Velvet listens. She might not agree, but at least Laphicet could try; they may be under a time constraint with the Scarlet Night, but Arthur is perfectly capable of holding back the demons until he can explain.
    Instead: Velvet is given no context at all for what's about to happen. Laphicet refuses to say anything that would help, just telling her to "stay back" and nothing else. Naturally, Velvet makes an incorrect assumption that what Artorius is doing is cold-blooded murder when Laphicet dies. And in doing this, Laphicet and Artorius ironically guarantee that Velvet will never live the normal life they sought to give her by going through with this plan to begin with. Sure enough, when Velvet inevitably finds out what really happened, it not only devastates her on a much greater level than it would have three years ago, it's far too late for her to move on with her life because of all she's done up to that point.
  • Teresa's choice after she's taken hostage just reeks of stupidity. The party is holding her hostage with the intention of getting Oscar to just lay down his arms and surrender in exchange for handing over Teresa safely. By doing so, the party can get the therion they're after without needing to fight either of them.
    You'd Expect: Teresa would just go along with Velvet's plan. Velvet would only have to fight Oscar if he tried something stupid; Velvet even agreed that Teresa and Oscar both wouldn't be harmed if they cooperated. Yes, Velvet would get the therion, but after she does, Teresa and Oscar could both escape while Velvet was busy and formulate another plan to catch her off guard.
    Instead: Teresa breaks loose of Velvet's grip right as the hostage exchange is happening, causing Oscar to attack Velvet. Then, Teresa willingly armatizes with the therion to kill the heroes and protect Oscar. Teresa pressed the issue because she didn't want Oscar to fight at all, but it came to that anyway when he armatized, and Velvet had to kill Oscar to get him to stop, resulting in Teresa also dying when she attacked Velvet in rage.
    Even Worse: Teresa's actions cause Velvet to not only get the therion anyway, but their deaths give Velvet usable forms to exchange for the Four Elemental Empyreans later in the story. In summary, not only does Teresa turning herself into a therion cause her and Oscar to both die, but it allows Velvet to use them both as vessels that weaken Innominat enough to permanently defeat him. Nice job Teresa, you more or less handed the Abbey the end of all their plans on a silver platter, all because you were too blinded by love for your brother!

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