Tales Of The Abyss

March 19, 2017

After the very awesome and satisfying Tales Of Zestiria The X, which was my first venture into the long running Tales series, it was the reason why I decided to check out one of the earlier adapted works, Tales Of The Abyss. Just like Final Fantasy, each series are a different set of stories and characters. So I’m hoping that with my preference for the fantasy genre, I hope it would lead me to explore other series under the Tales title or perhaps take some time off.

Episode 1
The opening narration tells us some heavy stuffs. The planet Auldrant that was created by 7 fonons is now divided into 2 countries: Kimlasca Kingdom and Malkuth Empire. Both have uneasy peace with each other. Yulia Jue as ‘the founder’ read from the Seventh Fonon, Lorelei that predicted the planet’s birth and its death. There is an order established to support and protect this Score. Part of the history include Kimlasca giving birth to one who will be called Light of the Sacred Flame inheriting this Lorelei power ad lead Kimlasca to prosperity. A couple of years later, somebody will destroy the land which he was born and this will lead to a full war cycle between Kimlasca and Malkuth. Phew. Don’t understand what’s going on there. Luke Fon Fabre sneaks out of his castle just when his maids are looking for him because Princess Natalia Luzu Kimlasca Lanvaldear is here to see him. Luckily his best friend, Guy Cecil knows where to find him. Luke is not fond of Natalia showing up here. Yeah, she is his fiancée and you know how sick you’ll be to see the face of the one you’re marrying many years from now. Haha! Luke is also unhappy is an arranged one and decided since birth. Making it even more painful is that Luke doesn’t remember the promise he supposedly made to her because apparently he was kidnapped by Malkuth since young but miraculously returned unharmed many years later although he lost his memories. Oh, there’s more. Luke is also suffering from some sort of pain in his head from time to time. Like as though a voice is trying to force him to listen to his will. No wonder that guy is so full of angst. Could this be Malkuth’s doing?

Luke is then called by his father the Duke. He learns his favourite teacher, Dorian General Van Grants will be heading back to Daath tomorrow. As he is the commander of Oracle Knights that is part of the Lorelei Order, his current mission has him to protect Fon Master Ion, leader of the Order. He is currently missing and Van’s mission is to look for him. But Luke is not happy because who is going to supervise his training? First world problems. He is also unhappy he is always locked up in the kingdom and can’t go anywhere. Though, mother assures he is free to do so when he comes of age. Van suggests training his heart out today to make up for his departure. While they’re swinging swords, a strange woman waltzes into the palace and starts singing, knocking them out with her song. Once Tear finds Van, she attacks him, calling him a traitor. Luke defends him and clashes swords with her. But their swords resonate since both are Seventh Fonon. Both are then blasted away to a faraway place. When Luke wakes up, he is on some flowerbed cliff near the sea. First time seeing the sea? Tear feels bad for getting him involved and will take responsibility of bringing him back. Why must he follow her? Because she does a better job in cutting down vicious monsters than your chicken sh*t ass. Luckily Luke’s lessons also pay off. Along the way, they meet a guy who is willing to give them a ride home. But he needs payment upfront. Tear gives her jewel. And Luke is happy he doesn’t have to dirty his shoes and can go home. Eh? I thought he wanted to leave the kingdom so badly and now he wants to go home? The ride home is smooth until the carriage is under attack.

Episode 2
The carriage gets out of the way. This giant military dreadnought, Tartarus is chasing a bandit believed to be from Dark Wings. Yeah, they just blow up the entire bridge along with the bandits. When Tear sees the military emblem, she realizes they are from Malkuth and they are heading into their empire. How could she even mess this up? After being dropped off at the small villager, we can tell Luke has been living a sheltered life as he takes what he wants to eat at the market without paying. This riles up the people as they capture him and bring him to Rose. They believe he is the food thief. Rose is currently entertaining Colonel Jade Cutiss of Malkuth’s 3rd Division Imperial Forces. If Luke is part of Dark Wings, it is his job to interrogate him. Luckily with Tear around, Luke isn’t able to give away his identity so easily. Remember, they are in enemy territory. Ion then pops up and claims Luke isn’t the food thief. He has done his research and shows proof that these creatures called cheagles are the ones stealing them. With everything settled, everyone lets Luke go. Luke is confused seeing Ion here. He heard he is missing but from the looks of it he is doing fine. Even his clumsy personal assistant, Fon Master Guardian Anise Tatlin is with him so this means his journey is officially recognized by the Order. While resting in the inn, Luke wonders if Tear has any paper so he can write his diary. A guy his age writing a diary? Well, since his kidnapping and lost memories, there is no telling if his amnesia will return so the doctor advised him to write one just in case. Luke asks about cheagles so he plans to head to the woods and catch one so he can show it to the villagers.

At the forest, they see Ion fighting off a few beasts. Although he won, it weakened him. When they introduce themselves, Luke is shock to learn Tear is Van’s sister and also from the Oracle Knights. He could have asked more if not for the cheagle popping up. Aww, how cute. Not to Luke. What’s wrong with this guy? Does he have some grudge over it? They follow it to the cheagle nesting where they meet the elder who can talk in their language thanks to the Sorcerer’s Ring that they made with Yulia forming a pact that became the symbol for the Order. The elder explains they started stealing food because one of them accidentally burnt down the forest in the north. It was the home to ligers. Now they have moved here to hunt for food so that is why they are stealing food. Luke doesn’t care about anything but Ion wants to negotiate with the ligers. As humans cannot speak their tongue, it is suggested a cheagle help play the translator role. The elder sends Mieu, the young one responsible for the accident to accompany them so as to take responsibility for his actions. Aww, isn’t Mieu cute? What’s your problem with cute things, Luke?! At the liger’s nest, Mieu tries to negotiate but the liger is very agitated as she is protecting her eggs. She will be even more so when they hatch and the village will be in danger as she will have to hunt for food. When negotiations break down, they attack. Luckily Jade is here to zap everything. With this problem solved, the cheagle elder banishes Mieu from their society as further punishment. Of course it is not forever as Mieu is tasked to serve Luke as his master for 1 full cycle. What a waste to give this cute thing serve this spoilt guy. As they leave the forest, Jade orders his men to surround Luke and Tear as he suspects them for emitting the Seventh Fonon.

Episode 3
On board Tartarus, Jade explains he detected Seventh Fonon coming from Kimlasca. This means the duo entered Malkuth illegally. He knows about Tear but wants to hear Luke’s full name. Luke obnoxiously tells him. Anise is happy because this means she has a chance to marry a rich person! Jade frees them and explains his mission is to head to Kimlasca not to start a war but to prevent one. Although it has been 15 years since the great war ended, there are skirmishes here and there. Malkuth’s emperor, Peony Upala Malkuth IX decided to send a letter to Kimlasca to conclude a peace treaty. Yeah, it must be getting tiring fighting forever. Ion is requested to tag along as a neutral ambassador. He is listed as missing because he escaped from Mohs’ custody with Malkuth’s military aid. So who is this Mohs guy? Current the Order is also divided into 2 factions. The reformist faction under Ion and the conservative faction under Mohs. It is believed Mohs wants to start a war. With Luke around, Jade believes it would be easier to use his status to pass the border. Jade hears about Luke’s kidnapping but is unsure about it because he never heard a thing regarding it. Tartarus is attacked by an army of griffons and ligers. Luke shows his chicken sh*t side trying to escape but gets owned by General Largo of the Oracle Knights whose mission is to retrieve Ion. Largo knows about Jade’s reputation as a necromancer as he scavenges corpses after the battle. Largo attacks Jade but Tear’s hymn paralyzes him and Jade is able to stab him. That easy? Ion is captured as he passes the letter to Anise and kicks her out of the dreadnought. Wow. Can she survive that fall?

When Oracle Knights attack, one came too close to Luke. In his reflex, he pulls his sword and stabs him. Now this guy is in trauma. First kill, I presume? Yeah, it’s affecting him badly. They are captured by Asch who wants to kill them all but Legretta reminds him of the orders he has. They are locked up in a cabin. Jade can tell with Tartarus being stationary, they must have brought Ion to somewhere to activate something. He plans to ambush them when they come back but Luke is being chicken sh*t with his trauma. This means more killing, right? It’s fine that he cares about human lives and shouldn’t just waste them so easily but in order to stop a war that will cost more lives, killing a few is necessary. Jade uses his voice activation to shut down Tartarus and confuse the enemy. They ambush Legretta and her guards outside as they are returning with Ion. Coming into this fight is Guy as well as the beast summoning loli Arietta. Jade takes Arietta hostage and Legretta is forced to obey his command to be locked up inside Tartarus. Luke and co escape by foot but they have to rest since Ion is out of breath and pushing him further would mean shortening his life. Guy introduces himself to everyone. But he gets scared of shaking hands with Tear since he has a fear of women. The break is cut short when Oracle Knights catch up and attack. Once again Luke’s chicken sh*t trauma starts up. He is about to get slashed but Tear takes the strike for him before Guy cuts him down. Now his trauma worsens. It’s your fault Luke!

Episode 4
Tear is recuperating and what do you know? She can heal herself! Thanks for putting all of us in suspense. Especially Luke. Time to apologize? They receive message that Anise has already reached the naval port at the border, Kaitzur. Everyone makes their way there since they can meet up with Van. Upon arrival, they see Anise having trouble getting through as she has no proper documentation to proof who she is. Thankfully here is Van to pick them up. While Luke is such a happy fan boy seeing his sensei, the first thing for Tear is that she wants to fight him! WTF?! As if there hasn’t been enough commotion already. Ion tells Van that Mohs wants war, thus the reason he had to suddenly disappear. Tear blames Van for sending the Oracle Knights to attack but Van believes they are under Mohs’ orders. She is a believer of Mohs and doesn’t think he is out for war. But why did he task her to research the Seventh Fonon then? Since Luke doesn’t know what the heck is Seventh Fonon, a cue to explain to us viewers that this is some Score that Yulia created and lots of parties are looking for it. The port is then under attack by Arietta. It looks like she doesn’t want to do this but is under orders by Asch to snatch an engineer to fix their ship. If they want him back, Luke and Ion must come to Choral Castle. Unfortunately Van has no intention to go and rescue him because Ion and Luke’s safety are his utmost priority. Well you know what? Screw all that because everyone else will be going there.

At the castle, Guy tells Luke why he is quite familiar of this place is because this was where Luke was found after his kidnapping. This place was his father’s villa but abandoned during the war. Inside, Anise thought she could hug Luke after seeing a rate. Unfortunately she hugs Guy by accident. This triggers some trauma as he violently shakes her off. Everyone can tell something is off. He explains he wasn’t like this when he was young but something happened. He can’t remember. Oh, another amnesiac character? Yeah, just that short moment when his parents died he can’t remember. Arietta swoops down to kidnap Luke. Then she faces all of them and blames them for being bad guys killing the liger queen who was just trying to provide for its siblings and offspring after you baddies burn their home down. Arietta lost her parents during the war and was brought up by those beasts, thus the very close attachment. She sends her beasts to attack them but she ultimately loses. Meanwhile Dist and Sync are trying to extract some Fonon data out of Luke. Dist escapes once he extracts his portion. However Sync is interrupted by Guy and he escapes empty handed. Jade is shocked to see the extracting machine although he can’t explain what it is. Guy gives him the disc to analyze further. Everyone returns to the port and although Van isn’t amused everyone was being reckless, he lets it go and Luke is one happy boy again.

Episode 5
Jade analyzes the disc and so we see the gang explaining to clueless Luke its contents about isofons, Lorelei, fomicry and manmade replication. I don’t get it either… The ship is then attacked by Dist. Seeing Jade was his best friend, Jade can’t help diss Dist (pun intended). This makes Dist mad as he snatches the disc from his hands. In fact, Jade wanted to give it to him since he already memorized its contents. Dist can’t stand this anymore and summons his mecha to fight. Luke has a hard time till Van easily zaps it to smithereens. Won’t an explosion cause the ship to sink? Well, Van is a master. That night, Luke again has the inner voice trying to control him. Before he knows it, he lets out a destructive energy. Thanks to Van, he is able to calm down and regain normalcy. Van then reveals the truth he has always been locked up. It is so that he as the only person in the world who can use this hyper resonance to be under Kimlasca’s control. Normally it takes 2 Seventh Fonons for this to react that way but he is special, right? Luke is not happy that he is just a tool to be kept for war. Van convinces him to believe in himself and make the people acknowledge his achievements and preventing the war as the hero of peace. Luke returns to his palace and the first thing he does is to interrupt Mohs’ audience with the king (who is his uncle) about Mohs’ plan for war and to stop this sh*t. With Jade handing over his treaty, the king will go over it. I guess their part is done and negotiations will start, right? Everybody is so free so what can they do? They go visit Luke’s ‘normal’ house. Freaking big mansion…

They meet Natalia who is glad Luke is back but b*tching at Guy for being left out of the ‘adventure’. Folks, meet Luke’s fiancée. Anise and Tear… You’ve got some serious competition… Can you defeat a princess? Anyway, Natalia tells Luke to quickly go see his mom since she fell ill after he was blown away. Mom is glad to see he is safe. Tear also takes this chance to apologize. Mom hopes Tear would stop her intentions of killing Van because seeing relatives fight is sad. Next morning, Luke is called by the king for a job. Before peace can be achieved for both kingdoms, there is a mining town in Malkuth, Akzeriuth that is facing toxic miasma threat. Luke’s job is to evacuate them. He doesn’t want to do it since it has nothing to do with him. There is a reason why the king believes he can only fulfil this role. Reading the lines from a Fonon stone, it tells part of the prophecy that only somehow Luke can do it. I guess that should do it. While Luke is happy he can finally be a hero, Van talks to him that the prophecy is incomplete and there is another part. That part states that hero will also bring calamity. This move is for the higher ups to make him bring a war. What Van wants is for him not to evacuate the people but to neutralize the miasma with his hyper resonance. After that, flee with him to Daath where he will make Luke part of the Oracle Knights. Luke is happy with this offer but wonders why he is being nice with him. Long ago, Luke was undergoing horrible experiments of his hyper resonance and was sick of it. Van helped him get away. Yup, Van was the one behind his kidnapping. This time he will not fail. He doesn’t want Luke to tell anyone else about this or else it will be harder for him to get to Daath. Luke is such a happy guy but unknown to them, Natalia has been eavesdropping…

Episode 6
As Oracle Knights are seen patrolling the sea, they think Mohs might setup some trap to ambush them. It is suggested the ship will be used as decoy and the real unit travel via land. They will meet up at Chesedonia which is under Malkuth control and then head to Kaitzur. Van will be on the decoy ship and Luke isn’t happy he will be separated from his master. Van says he has to since his name is officially listed and thus it would be more believable if they saw him embark. Anise then comes in with bad news. Ion is nowhere to be found and thinks he has been kidnapped. Indeed. Several clown pirates are under contract by Asch to kidnap him. They can’t go rescue him as it will cause a ruckus and thus their decoy plan will be useless. As the place is crawling with Oracle Knights, the only way out is to traverse via some underground abandoned weapons factory. This is where Natalia meets up with them and makes her stand to decide travelling with them. Of course everyone protests including Luke. Till she whispers what Luke talked with Van the other day. In that case, he welcomes her aboard! Call it goodwill? He is the leader of this unit and he can do anything he wants! Do we need another rival woman? Don’t worry. She won’t be a burden as she is a skilled archer and healer. See, she just killed a couple of sneaking bugs to prove it. Natalia promises Luke she will not rat on him. We get to see our first cat fight when Anise clings tightly to Luke and Natalia is not impressed, telling this little b*tch to get away. While they’re at it, Tear seems to be turning into a joker since she is obviously scared of the dark and ghosts and trying to act tough. With Luke abusing Mieu, Natalia remembers the time Luke returned with his amnesia and she vowed to get him back to his normal state. She is thinking too much about this and couldn’t fight the spider bug before her and had to have Tear save her before the rest take it down. When they arrive out, Luke sees Ion being led into a dreadnought. Also with Ion is Asch and instantly Luke goes to fight him. This wasn’t surprising although it is to everybody. Because Asch’s face looks exactly like Luke! Asch stops the fight since the mission is to retrieve Ion and returns to the dreadnought. With the enemy seeing them, the decoy plan has failed. What now Luke? He is b*tching why he has to decide? Because you’re the f*cking leader! He decides to follow Ion. While trekking through the desert, he has this inner voice attack again. However he could recognize this is Asch’s voice. He tells Luke to come to Zao Ruins.

Episode 7
At the runs, Asch makes Ion unseal some seal. The rest just arrives so Largo and Sync keep them busy. This time Luke isn’t chicken sh*t and fights in his cocky style. Luke is shocked that Asch is using a same move from Van. He would have revealed more but Sync stops him. They have achieved what they want and now it’s time to escape. Yeah, the entire ruins are collapsing. Ion is unneeded and is returned to them. While Luke blames Ion for this rescue (because it would mean meeting up with Van later), the rest discuss the seal that was put here by Lorelei to protect Sephiroth. However removing the seal has no effect whatsoever and Ion cannot divulge further information because it is classified. Oh really? Arriving at Chesedonia, those clown pirates spot Luke and mistake him for Asch before realizing they are wrong and escape. As they board the ship, Guy’s arm begins to glow in pain. He was struck by Sync during the fight. Ion examines it and confirms it to be a curse slot. It is some Daath fonic arts that use people’s hidden memories to control them. The closer the user, the more powerful it is. This means Sync must be nearby. After they depart, the pain eases. Ion notes only a Fon Master can do this and it is no deny that Sync is one. Luke continues to be an arrogant dick that it is so f*cking annoying. He won’t even let Ion rest thinking they would lose ground catching up to Van. They rest anyway and I’m sure I’m waiting to hear Luke b*tch about being attacked by Legretta. She wants Tear to come back to their side instead of following these people. Also, it seems they have activated some forbidden fomicry technology and this upsets Jade. What Legretta claims they are doing is to free people from the Score as they are so dependent on it. How dependent? Well, the extreme case has them deciding what’s for dinner! Holy sh*t! After Legretta leaves, they continue their journey. As usual, Luke blows his top for being kept in the dark and not knowing anything. He starts b*tching that only Van treats him nice and won’t make fun of him like this. Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP! In that case Tear warns him he is only a puppet who can only move with her brother’s instructions. He better start thinking for himself or he’ll make an irrevocable mistake. Luke continues to b*tch… He even mistreats Mieu who is possibly the only loyal ally in this group and thinks Van is the only one who understands him. What a dick.

Episode 8
At Akzeriuth, the miasma is thick and many are infected. Luke continues to be a dick when he won’t help out. Not only he claims he might get infected, but as a hero he should be doing something more than this! WTF?! So he is just standing around while the others help the rest. Tear is taken away by the vanguard to examine some stone. She examines it to be fake but then they surround her. The guards are then slain by Asch. Luke and Ion trek deeper into the mine where the miasma source is believed to come from. Luke gets this headache again from Asch telling him to stop or he will regret it. He pays no heed. Because he must be so freaking happy to reunite with Van who wants Ion to unseal the seal on this door. Ion sees no point in this but with Luke begging him because sensei said so that he is the one to save Akzeriuth, he relents. More telepathic warnings from Asch but Luke brushes it off. In some room with ancient mechanisms, Van instructs Luke to focus and do the necessary. Jade meets Tear outside who informs him the vanguards have been exterminated by the Oracle Knights. It was a trap to lure her away so that she will not interfere with Van whose goal is to destroy Akzeriuth. Luke feels something wrong and indeed something wrong starts up. From his flashback, it seems Luke is just a replica. The place is caving in and Tear is angry Van has betrayed her about preserving the Outer Lands. Van lets her live so that she will understand the ugliness of this land. The entire Akzeriuth collapses and everyone dies. If not for Tear’s hymn protecting the group, they could have been dead too.

When Luke wakes up, he notices the gang travelling in Tartarus in an underground land. This land is called Qliphoth. Part of the land where we see everyone else lives on is the Outer Lands which is actually a floating land in the sky floated by the pillars named Sephiroth rising from Qliphoth and Akzeriuth is one of them. 2000 years ago when miasma threatened Qliphoth, Yulia read the Score to escape destruction and raised the land. The only ones who know this are the higher ranks of the Lorelei Order and those who live in Qliphoth. Tear is one of the denizens. Now, back to Luke b*tching it wasn’t his fault because he was trying to save Akzeriuth. Worse, he tries to blame it on Van. We know he has been betrayed but still. Everyone is so disappointed in him. Yeah, it’s like everyone is saying f*ck you and leaving him. Some goodwill leader. Uh huh. Mieu is trying to console him and he still mistreats him. WTF?! F*ck you! As they are heading to Yulia City, Luke is shocked to see Asch here. Since Luke is in such denial, Asch has to tell it to him that he is his replica. Asch is the true one who was kidnapped 7 years ago by Van. I guess this explains why they look the same, right? Luke cannot accept this truth and goes crazy trying to attack Asch. Yeah, his brain is all haywire that he can’t even attack straight, screaming like he is a virgin to such plot twist. Well Asch, are you going to kill this failed replica?

Episode 9
Instead of killing Luke, he is now ‘living’ inside of Asch’s body. His physical might be lifeless but hey, it’s better than Luke b*tching around, right? Thank goodness. There’s some explanation why this is possible because they are perfect isofons and the fon slots that he opened at Choral Castle and making them link. Asch hates to admit it but he still has to take care of his useless replica. Luke better be thankful because Mieu continues to be loyal to him and won’t let Asch do anything to his physical body. At Yulia City, they see Tear’s grandpa who is going to use some memory particles from Akzeriuth’s destruction to lift Tartarus back to the Outer Lands. Their next destination is Belkend as Asch believes Van often visited Fon Machine Lab One there. There, they meet this old guy, Spinoza who is surprised to see Asch. He is among the group involved in Luke’s kidnapping. His team also used the forbidden fomicry technique on living beings. Spinoza won’t be lectured by Jade because he is in fact the father of fomicry and should know better. Jade will not deny his wrongdoings but 2 wrongs don’t make a right. That is why he came up with a rule banning it. Asch is unaware of Van’s preservation project so Spinoza flees. But he left documents to Wyon Cavern that mines minerals needed to produce replicas. At this point, Guy decides to drop out from this expedition and return to Luke’s side (his body is back at Yulia City). Hey, somebody needs to be by his side. He might be an idiot but he is his idiot. Asch has nightmares of being kidnapped and experimented on. When he escaped and returned to his palace, he snuck in and to his dismay saw a replica in his place with his family. Any kid would be heartbroken seeing this.

At the cavern, they see lots of high tech equipment. There is also data on the effective scale of fomicry that covers 1/10 of Auldrant. This data was from the war and Malkuth should have already disposed of it. Jade fears that Dist might have been able to recover it. A short earthquake occurs. Cue for Asch to save Natalia but sorry, no romance blooming. He is not into love at this moment. Asch explains that earthquake was from southern Rugnica collapsing as one of the supporting Sephiroth trees has been destroyed. This will slowly have an effect on other areas. Remember how Ion was kidnapped and made to unseal seals at Sephiroth? Although there are further seals that would make anyone unable to do anything, it seems Van has done something about it and can control Sephiroth. It seems obvious that Van’s plan is to destroy the Outer Lands. If going according to plan, the next to fall will be St Binah. Asch has had enough of Luke following him around and blasts his soul back to his body. Luke instantly wakes up and he is a changed man. Now he treats Mieu kindly. He hears Tear singing and tries to warn her that St Binah is next. However what is the use if he does not have a plan to counter this. It would be the same like Akzeriuth again. Nothing he can do to bring the lost lives back. An absolutely changed person, Luke admits his own pathetic and selfishness. He would even kill himself if it meant bringing back all the lives of Akzeriuth. He knows it won’t work that way and it will be hard to earn back the trust of the rest. But as a start, he shows his determination to start anew by cutting his hair. Not much but what were you expecting? A limb?

Episode 10
Luke tries to apologize to Tear’s grandpa but he shocks them by saying Akzeriuth’s destruction was bound to happen as predicted in the Closed Score. So another part of the book not known to many? They need to follow the Score so that they can have great prosperity as predicted. That is why Mohs was trying to start a war. When Tear mentions about St Binah falling, he assures that will never happen since that will be where the battle takes place. Later Tear tells Luke about Hod, the land where the great war took place 16 years ago. It was Tear and Van’s home. Because it was abandoned by the Score, he never forgave the world. That is why when she overheard about his plan about destroying the Outer Lands and not telling Asch about it, the reason she wanted to stop him because killing innocents for revenge isn’t the right thing to do. She has failed and even as far as saving Akzeriuth. When they return to Outer Lands, Guy is waiting for them. Luke tries to apologize but Guy accepts it all. Till he is shocked when he hears Luke for the first time saying thank you. Never thought it would happen, eh? Jade is also here to relay the news that Ion and Natalia have been kidnapped by Mohs. He intend to start a war blaming Akzeriuth’s destruction on Malkuth. Kimlasca’s reason for joining the war is the disappearance of Ion and Natalia. They head to Daath, the HQ for the Lorelei Order and meet up with Anise who is still pretty disappointed in Luke. Work hard to earn her trust back. Tear uses her status to enter the cathedral. Since they need to look room by room, I guess Mieu serves as a distraction for the guards. Imagine knights chasing down a little cute critter… Luke has to sum up his courage and kill some of the guards. He is still shaking but at least he made some improvements. So once the kidnapped are rescued, Natalia and Luke have to put aside their awkwardness. War is going to start soon so it is suggested to seek Peony’s help. They can leave via Tartarus that Asch left at the bay.

Episode 11
Along the way, Tartarus hits an engine problem. Funny thing is how Mieu thought they were going to sink and he can’t swim. Funny, because I thought he was always flying… The nearest port is Keterburg and is Jade’s hometown. They are outside what they thought is Jade’s house but it seems this house belongs to Peony! The previous emperor had lots of enemies so naturally his son was in danger and thus he was hidden and spent his childhood days here. The governor, Nephry Osborne is his younger sister who recently got married. She is surprised Jade is still alive as everyone thought he perished at Akzeriuth. She arranges for them to stay at a hotel. The receptionist is happy to have one of the two fontech genius staying with them. His real name is Jade Balfour and just took on the Curtiss surname as it was his foster family. The other genius Saphir Wyon Neis whom we all know as Dist. They along with Peony attended the same private school under the tutelage of Professor Gelda Nebilim. Anise also once met Dist as she noticed he was a lonely man who only talked about Jade. He was the one who gave her the stuffed toy doll. Later Luke is summoned by Nephry to tell the truth about Jade’s fomicry. When her doll was ripped, he used fomicry to replicate a perfect replica instead of buying it. He was only 9 then. He might look kind but he is actually a demon, experimenting on harmless creatures. That is until Nebilim took him in and he changed his ways. However after her death, he started going back to his own ways and with Dist did something even more terrifying. Nephry believes Luke as a replica is his only chance of saving him. After that, Jade knows Luke has heard from Nephry and tells the rest of his story. He was the one who killed Nebilim. Jade could control any arts except Seventh Fonon. Against Nebilim’s advice, he tried to control it and an explosion occurred, taking Nebilim’s life. He tried to use fomicry to replicate her but it failed. By that time his exploits have been well known so he was taken in by the military Curtiss family. As for why he banned it himself, it was because he almost got himself killed. He realized replicas do not have past memories so even if Nebilim looked the same, it wasn’t the real her. He intended to seek forgiveness so he could feel better but realized he will live the rest of his life tormented by the sins of his past.

Episode 12
Arriving at Grand Chokmah, the capital of Malkuth, Jade goes into the palace alone to seek clearance for the rest as they wait outside. However they are ambushed by Largo. The curse slot on Guy also works as a tracker. Guy is fully mind controlled as he attacks Luke. Tear’s earthquake reveals Dist’s position. They have to retreat as Jade has returned with reinforcements. Ion will try to heal Guy and he is possibly the only one who can do so. Shouldn’t he done this long ago? However he tells Luke a dark secret. Because a curse slot cannot completely control its target. It stirs up past memories and paralyzes the target’s rational thoughts. Therefore Guy could not have attacked had he not have a desire to kill him. Luke thinks hard about this. Tear tries to cheer him up that there are times Guy might want to kill him (during his arrogance) but since he came back to get him, there is still hope. After Guy is healed, Luke apologizes but Guy doesn’t pin all the blame on him. He reveals he is from Malkuth on born on Hod. When the war broke out, the Duke had all his family, relative and servants killed. So he joined his service as the Gailardia Galan, the House of Count Gardios to seek revenge and make him experience the same thing. Guy might still resent Luke a bit but he still wants to follow him on his journey to ascertain something. Everyone has an audience with Peony. As he knows the area St Binah is sinking, however it seems the council is reluctant to send in the military to evacuate the people. Malkuth has received an official war declaration from Kimlasca to avenge the deaths of Luke and Natalia at Akzeriuth. All sanctions have also begun. Malkuth thinks Kimlasca is the one orchestrating Akzeriuth’s destruction and they think if they send in the military, they will disappear along with the people of St Binah. Also, as they are going to war with Kimlasca, they don’t want to expend more troops there. Luke voices out to send him as he wants to atone. Peony agrees but he has them come to his room first. I’m not sure if he wants to show off his rappig (rabbit x pigs) pets, but Peony can use his status to reinstate Guy’s title as a Count (money eyes ringing for Anise). But Guy refuses seeing he has something to do with Luke and co (Anise so disappointed). Peony will also send someone to help them out. As Luke and co evacuate the people at St Binah, part of the land starts to sink.

Episode 13
A strange craft flies in. They heard about flight experiments using some ancient hover drive technology combining with fon machines. Noelle the pilot is the special assistance Peony sent. She picks everyone up but as St Binah rapidly descends, they have to pick up all the citizens left behind. Thankfully they made it just in time before the land crumbles below. Luke becomes desperate trying to save everything (including interrogating Van for a way) so Jade has to scold him for panicking. Once back above the land, they see the war has started out. Tear realizes this must be part of Van’s plan to eliminate both sides because now that the Sephiroth tree isn’t supporting the land, it will soon crumble and take all the soldiers along. Natalia and Jade agree to seek ceasefire from their side. Natalia is at Kaitzur’s naval port as she commands Count Almandine to stop the war now. She apologizes for not returning to Baticul to clear up the mystery surrounding her fake death (does Luke have to spam Akzeriuth’s destruction is his fault every time now?). However Mohs orders their arrest and calls them imposters. He mentions about Natalia’s different hair and eye colour from the royalty and he has statement from an old royal maid as proof that Natalia was switched at birth. Meanwhile Jade and Ion fail to persuade Peony to stop his side. He claims it is hard for them at this point to pull back unless Kimlasca retreats.

Tear and Guy are thrown into prison but are shortly freed by Asch. A subject sees Natalia and Luke. He calls Natalia as Meryl and wants her to revoke her claim as heir to the throne. He has them drink poison wine to kill themselves but obviously they won’t. The guards will kill them but Tear’s singing knocks them out. Then they head to see the king to confirm if Natalia is not born of royalty. The old maid confirms it. The real Natalia died stillborn and since the late queen couldn’t take it, she switched her own daughter. There is further proof that her remains were buried. Luke argues even if Natalia isn’t his real daughter, he still raised her as one. Unfortunately the king decided to listen to Mohs. He will kill them and make the war with Malkuth official. Mohs orders Dist and Largo to kill them. Dist isn’t pleased that Jade isn’t here. Asch then comes in to buy them time to escape. Asch blames Dist for betraying Van and leaking information to Mohs. Dist has no qualms in doing that since fulfilling his goal takes priority over his loyalty to Van. As Luke and co try to escape the kingdom, guards surround them. However the ordinary people fight back to protect them. They heard she was about to be executed for a crime she didn’t commit (thanks to the clown pirates spreading the word). Even if Natalia admits she is not the real princess, they don’t care because she cared for them greatly. They stall the guards enough for them to flee.

Episode 14
Natalia is sad that she had to leave her people. Guy consoles her and she feels better. When everyone regroups, they head back to Belkend lab to search for clues on the fonic arts and fon machines. It is discovered that Qliphoth’s cause of liquefaction is in the core. It should be resting but is currently shaking violently by Planet Storm (an artificial planetary fuel distribution system). They need to build a fon machine to stop the liquefaction. But they need researchers for it. Don’t worry. Guy has enlisted Hencken and Cathy for the job. At first they refuse to do something this dangerous until Guy thinks of asking Iemon instead. Because they are bitter rivals at competition with everything, the old duo agree. But who is Iemon? Noelle’s grandpa. Oh… Luke sees Spinoza spying on them. He wants to chase him but Jade doesn’t want him to focus on such trivialities. The information shared wasn’t anything important. Guy gets a message to meet with Van. Van wants him to come back so they can revive Hod. But Guy doesn’t acknowledge his methods and even if Hod is revived, it will be a replica. Although Van considers Guy as his master but can’t obey his orders to stop this foolishness, they part ways. Anise is surprised her mom, Pamela sees her. Apparently Pamela loves donating to Lorelei because she believes in the Score that they don’t need money thereafter! No wonder Anise is always looking for a rich man to marry. They are attacked by Arietta’s beasts. Ion tries to protect a girl. Who protects Ion? Pamela. She gets struck. Why is everyone so shocked that an innocent person gets injured? With Ion seriously telling Arietta to stop, she gets scared and backs off.

Pamela is treated and in stable condition. During that commotion, Guy has regained his memories. He now remembers how his family was killed. His sister and maids tried to hide him from the invading soldiers. But they all were killed trying to protect him. The scene of dead women piling on him is somewhat the reason of his fear for women. It’s no laughing matter. After that, he met Van at Belkend who became his protector. They swore to take revenge together but now things have changed. Ion examines the Closed Score to find a Sephiroth’s location. He reads its premonition and everything that has gone according to it so far. But they find it a bit odd because Luke or rather Asch should have died at Akzeriuth. Then they realize maybe because of the existence of replicas like Luke, the Score was thrown off track. The next Sephiroth is located at Tataroo Valley. Anise sees a rare butterfly that would fetch her 4 million and tries to catch it! But a small earthquake rocks the place. She almost falls off but Guy saves her. Hey, he doesn’t have his gynophobia anymore. Inside the cave, the ancient mechanisms are exactly the same as at Akzeriuth. But they notice it is not working and believe Van has deactivated it to destroy the Sephiroth trees. But it starts activating and Tear starts to feel strange.

Episode 15
Noelle brings the gang back to her base and introduce them to her brother, Ginji. Also helping out is Tamara and Iemon’s assistant, Aston. It is already embarrassing to see old farts fighting each other over different opinions… The measurements they took from the Sephiroth is analysed and at this rate the trees are weakening and if nothing is done, the Outer Lands will collapse. Jade has a suggestion and that is to lower the Outer Lands. He needs a device that would stop the liquefying. They can load it onto Tartarus since it can withstand the fall. So as it lowers, the liquefaction will stop and this in turn takes care of the miasma. Luke wants to do his part to try and convince his uncle to sign a peace treaty. Nobody couldn’t believe it at first. Is he sick or something? But Natalia too has her own fears of returning to Baticul. She fears of being rejected again. I guess they can only move when she is ready. Natalia meets Asch and talks about her fear. He reminds her they once made a promise together they will change this country so that it has no wars. He advises her to do what she wants and not restrict herself to her birth status. Luke feels bad that had he not exist, Natalia and Asch could have been happily together. Another timely reminder from Tear that Luke is Luke. If not for him, Asch would have died at Akzeriuth. His life is only his to live. With Natalia ready to move forward, everyone returns to Baticul to see the king. First, Luke passionately tries to convince the king that Natalia has been his daughter all this time. Even if she isn’t his real daughter, all those memories were real. He is still concerned about following the Score. Luke argues how it deviated since he was born. It is proof that they do not need to rely on the Score to achieve prosperity anymore. He shuts up his subordinates and won’t allow them to talk bad about Natalia. I guess it finally sunk in which is more important. Do we have time for an emotional father-daughter hug? The king agrees to meet for a peace treaty and lower the Outer Lands.

But where will the place be held for the treaty? It can’t be at Daath since Mohs holds great influence. Luke suggests at Yulia City and it would be a great time for the rulers to see Qliphoth. After the treaty is signed, Guy interrupts and wants to know if the same agreement was made after the war at Hod. When the king says it is for Kimlasca’s prosperity, Guy draws his sword. He is mad that Hod was destroyed for that. He reminds him about his mother, the woman whom he married into the House of Gardios of Hod as a sign of peace. The Duke stands up and says if he is looking for revenge, kill him because he was the one who killed her. Oh, now Peony says it is him he should be killed. He explains fomicry was conducted as an experiment there and was covered up in secrecy by his father to pass it off as an act from Kimlasca to quash anti-war sentiments back home. The one who was behind it all is no other than Van. Luke, you mean to look so shock now? Ion explains Van’s name in the ancient language means one who would seize glory, exactly in line with the Score. Thus it makes sense how he knows fomicry even though it was sealed from the records. Guy is told to stop seeking revenge or else everyone in this room will have to be killed. Of course Guy isn’t looking for revenge in the first place. He just wanted to find out the truth of why his hometown and family were destroyed.

Episode 16
The device is completed and the old farts are fighting for credit. However the place is besieged by Legretta and her Oracle Knights. Tipped off from Spinoza, they can’t let them destroy the core. Iemon and Tamara sacrificed themselves so the kids could get away. Van now stands in their way. He is bent on destroying the world to create a new one. This means killing everyone because what good is a new world if the old lives remain. Uhm, does this mean he will have to kill himself too? So he is going to create a replica world but the rest argue how it is not possible theoretically. However Van plans to destroy Lorelei at the core. Although its existence is not even confirmed, if you take it into account, it is possible. When the Seventh Fonon disappears, the world and people will be unable to read the Score. Instead of fighting Van, the rest escape to Tartarus. The remaining old farts sacrifice themselves so they could escape. But Van didn’t pursue them since he was just the decoy. Everyone is taking some time to grief the deaths of the old people as they descend into Qliphoth.

But waiting for them at the core is Sync. As they fight, Luke cuts off his mask. He has the same face as Ion. He is also a replica like Ion. Yes, this Ion is also a replica of the original one. He is the seventh and final replica and was made as the Fon Master because his abilities were the closest. It was 2 years ago when Ion was born. The original Ion was dying and had no successor in sight so Mohs and Van did fomicry to clone Ion. Sync considers the other Ion replicas as failures. He is only alive to be used by Van. Believing his task has ended, Sync jumps off to kill himself. Everyone gets out from the core but Luke is paralyzed by the voice in his head. Doesn’t sound like Asch. When Tear tries to heal him, she gets possess. Through her the voice speaks and calls herself as Lorelei. She claims Luke’s fonon frequency is the same as the Seventh Fonon. This makes them perfect isofons. Something big is absorbing her power and wants him to stop it. Thanks to his actions, the core is calmed and Sephiroth stabilized. However it won’t last as long as she is trapped. Tear is free from the possession so they take her to seek treatment at a hospital at Belkend. She is fine for now but the doctor detected contaminated Seventh Fonons fused with miasma trapped inside her body. Jade deduces it must be during the time they took measurements from the Sephiroth. In short, if they continue their plan to lower the Outer Lands, Tear will absorb more miasma and her survival is not guaranteed.

Episode 17
It seems Tear is needed to come along with them as she has to activate the Passage Rings if they are to lower the Outer Lands safely. Spinoza has repented on siding with Van as he thought he would be given the freedom to research all he wants. Anise is not pleased that everyone is so trusting to allow this traitor back. Jade needs his ability to verify if it is possible to lower the Outer Lands and seal the miasma. Tear activates the Passage Rings in the Sephiroth trees and each attempt is clearly weakening her. Then they discuss about Van knowing about Lorelei’s existence. Guy thinks there was this ruin Van showed him back on Hod that could have been the Seventh Fonstone. Tear could be a descendent of Yulia and if Van could read it means he knows the future written on the Score. Tear tries to go off herself that night but encounters Van. He tells her to stop this foolishness as it is affecting her health. Van’s health is also affected from his doing but he doesn’t care as long as it is to free this world from the Score. He gives her another chance to join him. This time Asch attacks and the commotion wakes up the rest. Asch agrees that he is also disappointed in the world like him but there are others he wants to protect. Tear dares Van to kill her and just make a replica. Not so eager now, huh? Van retreats and tells Asch he will be waiting at the Absorption Gate. Time for Luke to feel disappointed that his sensei needed the real deal and not the replica. Still hung over about him? Tear regrets hesitating not fighting her brother seriously. But now she is resolved to fight him till the very end. The final Passage Ring is at Mt Roneal but they have to go through Keterburg. They see Dist throwing a tantrum because he has been left behind. Time for Jade to make this guy talk. It seems the God Generals are already at Mt Roneal. So naturally when they trek up the snowy mountain, they get ambushed. With the endless waves of soldiers, Jade causes an avalanche while the rest hide under Tear’s barrier. Once done, they head inside the ruin but once Tear activates the Passage Ring, she weakens. Well, looks like nobody saw this trap coming because Van has set the memory particles to flow backwards. Didn’t they find it too easy? Oh well. Anyway at this rate the Outer Lands will start collapsing again.

Episode 18
Since the Outer Lands won’t be collapsing immediately and the weather is bad, everyone rests back at the inn. Luke talks to Natalia and cheers her up by repeating Asch’s words of changing the country. Then he talks to Guy who is thinking back how different it would have been had he followed Van because he might end up being his God General but thankfully he didn’t. It must be a busy day for Luke because now he talks to Asch who is still injured from Van’s attack. There’s a lot of anger inside him and he wants Luke to kill, not just stop, but kill Van. Otherwise he’ll do it himself. When the weather is clear the next day, they head to the Absorption Gate. The floor gives way. Luke and Tear fall through, separated from the others. I guess it is Tear’s turn to have some quality time with Luke as she talks about her homeland she never knew. She was in her mother’s womb when Hod was destroyed. Van looked after her and taught her about its history as well as Fonic hymns. He might look kind but underneath that lurks hatred and vengeance, blaming those who rely on the Score and knew this would happen. That is why she has decided to stop him as his methods are wrong. They stumble into Van. He is an organist now? He is disappointed to see Luke as he was expecting Asch. Van doesn’t have any need for Luke anymore as he was just a substitute to overturn the Score. Although there are slight deviations from the Score, the main core is still intact and is still moving inevitably towards a certain future.

Luke and Tear team up to fight Van. Before the replica gets his ass handed to him, Jade and Guy arrive in time to assist. Van can’t believe he lost and jumps off the ledge. It’s time for Luke to show all that training because now he uses his hyper resonance to stabilize everything. But soon after he hears a voice in his head (also communicating with Asch) that he will send them a key to set him free as there is somebody is trying to capture him. Suddenly in the aftermath we see Luke lazing around in his room. Looks like everything has returned back to normal. The Outer Lands have landed safely, the miasma is gone and both countries are at peace. With everyone parted ways, Luke’s mom gives him permission to go see his friends before he turns into a hikikomori. Noelle is his pilot and when Luke learns Asch was recently seen in Yulia City like as though he is investigate something, Luke heads there as well. He sees Tear praying at Van’s grave. Asch has just left after talking to Tear’s grandpa. Remembering that voice, Tear also mentions a strange report that Van’s sword that was left behind at the Absorption Gate is missing. They think a surviving God General might have taken it. They immediately head to Daath to ask if Ion knows anything.

Episode 19
Also seeing Ion are Jade and Guy. It seems strange things have been happening since. Jade reports that Dist has escaped from his prison. He attacked a transport ship carrying Mohs to his trial. However Mohs’ body was not found and it is assumed Dist freed him. There are also reports of a mysterious unit attacking the Malkuth forces while training. A witness said they were wearing Kimlasca’s outfit but he noticed their eyes are like dead and lifeless. Subsequently Natalia comes to complain to Jade about Malkuth attacking Kimlasca. After comparing notes, they realize that somebody is trying to continue Van and Mohs plan of inciting war between both countries again. All in good timing, Tear collapses. She regains consciousness as they discuss about the puzzling state she is in. If the miasma is gone, her condition should have improved. Even if Planet Storm kicks up again, everyone should have been affected. Anise comes in to take Ion away for an urgent matter. She claims there is a huge miasma outside. When the rest try to follow, Arietta comes rushing in to tell them Anise actually took Ion to the Sephiroth at the cathedral to make him read the Score on the Seventh Fonstone. Aside from what will happen to the world, Ion is already at a weakened state and he will die this time. When they try to chase them down, they are besieged by, uhm, dead people they know? From the old farts and Guy’s sister. Jade can tell they are replicas. Tear sings a hymn to put them down although it weakens her. Although they realize Anise has been a spy under Mohs, she left a note telling them their location. They believe her parents were taken hostage and she had no choice but to do his bidding. The gang arrives but Ion is already in a trance reading the Score. Luke snaps him out. Mohs escapes after seeing this has failed. More importantly, Ion has used up all his energy and is about to die. Luke is getting very emotional. Ion’s final gesture is absorbing Tear’s condition to heal her. It was the only way. Then he vanishes into thin air. Anise falls into depression. Time to talk it out with Luke. She admits she has been Mohs spy all along and the reason why the ambush on them was always pinpoint. Because her parents have been scammed into a debt when she was young, they were bailed out by Mohs and hence she cannot go against his words. Too late blaming yourself for causing Ion’s death. What else could she do but cry her heart out.

Episode 20
The gang plans to head to Mt Roneal as they heard Asch is heading there. If it is not bad enough for Anise still reeling from Ion’s death, here comes Arietta blaming her for it. She challenges her to a duel. Time and place to be confirmed later. Just great. At this point, what is more exciting than watching lolis fight? At Mt Roneal, Luke finds a locket addressing to Meryl buried in the snow. They see Asch frantically trying to activate or undo something. He blames Luke that everything should have been alright had he received the Jewel of Lorelei (the key). Right now Van has already absorbed Lorelei and thus the number of Seventh Fonons are decreasing and as a result the miasma is seeping out. Asch received this sword as his key but without the Jewel, it is worthless. Asch will contact them if he finds anything. Time for Luke to feel guilty again. Jade receives word that a large consumption of Seventh Fonons is detected on Isle of Feres. It is the island destroyed by tidal waves after Hod’s destruction. Apparently this is a place rumoured to be where Arietta was born. She was picked and brought up by ligers before Van and the original Ion rescued and assimilated her back into society. It is a reason why she is fond of Ion. They see an operating fomicry machine inside a building. After Jade destroys it, Mohs I suppose can’t contain his anger and makes his presence known. He has been making replicas here and blames them for wanting to interfere with the raising of Eldrant. He summons Dist to give him to power of the Fon Master. Dist warns him he should be doing it on Eldrant but since Mohs wants to show these guys a lesson, as you wish. Mohs turns into a hideous monstrous blob. Make that a powerful monstrous blob. He raises Hod from the sea although it is just a replica.

Mohs makes his worldwide announcement blaming Kimlasca and Malkuth for abandoning the Score. That is why he has built this glorious land, Eldrant to ensure the world will once more follow the Score. Since Mohs is losing his neural abilities and turning into a retard, Hod now forms an impregnable barrier. At this time Anise receives message from Arietta about their duel. At first Anise wants to do this alone since this is her problem but with the rest claiming she is her friend, Ion is her friend, is there a reason to say no? Oh well. Since they can’t do anything about Eldrant because the military can’t even penetrate it, might as well watch a couple of lolis duke it out. At the forest, Largo is also present although he is just here as witness. The battle begins. While Anise directly fights Arietta, her friends take on Arietta’s forest friends. Lots of flashbacks of old times till eventually Arietta lost. In her dying breath, she regrets her failures to avenge everyone. All she can see is Ion. Ironically Anise feels bad about defeating her so Largo tells her it is insulting if she shows pity on her enemy. Arietta knew the risks and staked her life on it. The next time they meet, it will be their last for Largo will take revenge for Arietta.

Episode 21
Dist badmouths Arietta’s death so Largo almost slices off his head. Guess what? Sync is still alive! Luke and co report back to Kimlasca’s king. There is nothing more they can do so he has them rest while he thinks up of something with Malkuth to counter this. Luke seems to be pretty considerate as he wants the girls to talk to Anise to cheer her up. This is so he and the guys could talk to the king to confirm the locket which indeed is Natalia/Meryl. From deduction they believe her real father is Largo. The king never tried learning more than this as he would fear the truth would make her distance herself from him. But now is the time for her to know the truth. Luke gets a message from Asch to meet but for the first time Luke puts his foot down to see him at Baticul instead of somewhere else. Asch relents and this is a setup so Asch could be reunited with his real parents. Yeah, it’s a little awkward. So Luke is the one feeling lonely now? After that Asch warns him not to meddle in his affairs again and he is never coming back here again. He is here to find out if there is any plans put forth between Kimlasca and Malkuth but apparently from what he can see, nothing has been done yet. When Jade asks about his condition, he doesn’t answer. From the way it looks, Asch doesn’t have much time left. Luke and co see Spinoza who reports his findings on the miasma. It is appearing worldwide and at this rate everything will die. The only way is to use Luke’s hyper resonance but at his level it won’t be enough to cover worldwide and he will die. Same goes for Asch. They need some sort of amplifier to reduce the stress on the body. Another way is to use a large number of Seventh Fonons. This involves sacrificing 10,000 Seventh Fonists and the one activating this will die. Where to find that much Seventh Fonists? Remember those replicas Mohs made? They are detected heading towards Rem Tower. I’m sure everyone is thinking Luke wants to sacrifice himself for this but do they have time to find another way. Too late because Luke notices Asch has eavesdropped on them and Luke can tell he is going to do it. They fly there as fast as they could. They know Asch is already here since Ginji brought him. He tells them Asch is already inside and looks kinda troubled. Those clown pirates aren’t his allies but wanted criminals though hired by him. They hope they can save Asch.

Episode 22
While the pilots and clown pirates hold off the other replicas from entering the tower, the rest reach the top to see Asch trying to convince these replicas to leave this place? They are attacked by Dist who also crushes the hopes of the replicas that they will be picked up by Mohs. Sorry, not happening. Dist knows he is in deep sh*t when Jade gets serious. Jade doesn’t share the same goal of resurrecting Nebilim and return to those old times. Using his powerful magic, he blasts Dist away. My guts tell me he’s dead for good. I think. So what now for the remaining replicas? Asch has a deal. Using those in the tower as sacrifice, he will find a place for other replicas outside the tower. Obviously our goody two shoes heroes won’t allow this because you know, replicas are still living things. So Natalia has to go complain to her father about it. Yeah, they want to save everything. There must be another way. Nobody has any solution and the miasma is spreading. Jade has a crueller way and Luke knows it involves sacrificing him. So lots of thinking, lots of feelings. Sure, Luke might save the world from miasma but those who know him will suffer. Wait a minute. A few people are more important than the world? How many people know Luke by the way? Anyway Luke is determined to use his life. Respect his wishes. Ironically all this is playing out like the Score says. When he initiates the ritual, Asch comes running to stop him. So they’re fighting to be the ones to sacrifice themselves? Weird people. Luke argues Asch as the original should have a better chance to free Lorelei. Asch realizes Luke had the Jewel inside him all along but just never realized it. As the ritual isn’t working, Asch lends some of his power to stabilize the hyper resonance. Success. Even more so Luke is still alive. There’s some explanation about it but I’m already so lost. Now that they’ve found the key, Asch should come with them, right? Nope. He thinks the God Generals will target them and is better to act separately to locate Van’s whereabouts. Like, there’s a difference whom the God Generals will attack? Jade has Luke undergo medical examination since he almost died. Although Luke relays the good news he is okay, Jade knows he is lying. True enough, his cells are starting to disintegrate and will die. Jade’s only advice is to not exert himself to speed up the disintegration.

Episode 23
Largo comes to see Kimlasca’s king for his answer on reparations as punishment for neglecting the Score. Kimlasca has decided to ditch the Score and not wanting another war. But if Mohs insists on threatening his people, they will fight back. Largo will relay this message to Mohs. Luke throws him the locket and asks if he wishes for this. His answer is that he only serves Van. The king then calls Natalia and Luke to his room to explain to his daughter the truth. Her real father is a mercenary named Badaq. Of course he is now known as Largo. Natalia falls into shock but despite being told she doesn’t have to fight in the front lines anymore, she figures it is best to settle family matters. Spinoza analyses the Jewel and it is the key to stop Planet Storm because of its fonic art carved into it. They have to fill Seventh Fonons at the Radiation Gate but also take simultaneous action at the Absorption Gate. This will be done via fonic hymns in which Tear has. They split into 2 teams with Jade, Tear and Anise heading for the Absorption Gate and Luke’s side to Radiation Gate. Jade’s side is shocked to see Ion with Mohs although he is just a fresh replica. He then materializes Van to give him the Seventh Fonstone so he can learn the Score. Van explains when he was absorbed into Planet Storm, he saw Sync too. But before they disintegrated, they sung Yulia’s hymn. Lorelei somewhat reacted and prevented them from decomposing. Of course its price was that it was hard to control. Since Van is weakened, he will fight them another time.

Jade’s team goes to fight Mohs and with Tear’s hymn, Mohs disintegrates. Anise takes in Ion. Time to start anew? Meanwhile on Luke’s side, they face off with Largo. With Natalia knowing the truth, Largo tells her what happened. One day he came back from his job but his wife Sylvia and newborn baby were missing. He searched all town and only found Sylvia. Her body. She had gone crazy and killed herself after her baby was abducted. Depressed, he left town and wandered. He met Van who told him about the Score. This means Sylvia’s death was predetermined from the beginning. It’s the reason he wants to destroy the Score. However despite different future possibilities, if the end is always the same, free will means nothing. That is why he wants to destroy, Lorelei, the planet’s memories. Without that, the planet will not be able to follow the Score and thus the need to kill off all originals. Talk time is over. Fight, fight, fight. Largo could have killed Luke had not Natalia shoot a perfect shot in his back. Even in his dying breath he warns Luke to show no mercy or else has no chance to defeat a certain person. He even notes how Natalia has grown up to look a lot like Sylvia. Why must they soften your heart before dying? Tear and Luke synchronize to stop Planet Storm. It disables the barrier around Eldrant, which is their next destination.

Episode 24
Eldrant still has its own defence so the plan is for Kimlasca and Malkuth to combine their powers to path a way for Luke to get inside. In order to not be confused with the previous Ion, the current replica is named Florian by Anise and is sent to live with her parents. I hope they don’t rack up more debts. The gang meets up with Asch and Luke wants him to take the Jewel to go stop Van. But guess what? Asch blows his top at Luke for thinking he still can stop Van. Stop. So he has to kill Van? My, why all the anger? Plus, Asch clearly states he is him. True but wait, what? Huh? So you want to chicken out and let your replica do the job? So much about being the hero who always wants to do things your way. Tear and Mieu admit to Luke they overheard his condition. He doesn’t want them to tell the rest because it won’t change the outcome. He just wants to live the rest of his days in peace. So the night before the attack, we have our characters talking things out. Like Guy and Natalia making peace with their past to move ahead. What’s this about Anise giving up her dream of finding a rich husband to try and become the first female Fon Master?! Am I dreaming? And yeah, more Luke and Tear scenes about friendship and the future. Noelle pilots our heroes close to Eldrant. However the floating behemoth has its own plan because it is trying to ram into them! Eventually it crashes on the beach and Van is expecting them.

Episode 25
When Luke and co enter Eldrant, they see Ginji injured. It seems his craft carrying Asch crashed here too and as usual, Asch ran off to settle his own problem. Thanks for the ride. Luke heads in first and sees Asch fighting the Oracle Knights. A trap has them teleport to somewhere. Even in this place Asch still hates Luke and guess what? He wants to fight him to see who is the real Luke and the one worthy of being Van’s student. Wait a minute. First you admire him, next you hate him, then you admire him again? Make up your mind! So for the rest, first they argue about their different opinions on the Score. Of course they’re not going to accept. Cut the chatter and start fighting. Jade teams up with Tear to fight Legretta while Guy helps Anise take on Sync who is trying to make Anise feel guilty for killing Ion and at the same time ‘badmouthing’ him with the ‘truth’. When Tear sings her hymn, it affects the God Generals. Sync disappears (because he is empty) and Legretta just collapses. Funny, I thought Tear hated her when they fought and now she is showing pity and so sad that she is dead. Luke wins over Asch just by stunning him with this one sentence: “I am not your substitute!”. Yeah. That was it for Asch to lose focus. Because of that, Luke gets the ‘right’ to take the sword and Jewel to go stop Van while Asch stops the Oracle Knights. Luke meets up with the rest and make their way. We know Asch’s days are numbered when he has this flashback about what Spinoza said about his body. I don’t understand all that mumbo-jumbo but it seems Asch will disappear and what that happens, his essence will transfer to Luke. After getting stabbed here and there, Asch dies. Luke can tell because he feels his essence transferring into him. Everyone is sad especially Natalia. But you can’t sit there and cry and watch the world get destroyed. Stop Van, save the world and then you can cry as much as you want.

Episode 26
As expected, Van is waiting. But he didn’t expect Luke as he was anticipating Asch. Van wants Luke to come with him to destroy the planet’s memories but as expected, Luke rejects. So we start off with some talking first, Luke finally understood what he wanted. He wanted to be acknowledged by Van not as a replica but as a human. Then there’s more about the future and choosing one’s path but we know talking never works out. So as expected, they fight. Despite they outnumber Van, he can fight them all off because he has Lorelei’s power within. Then Tear should have done this from the start because her hymn weakens Van. This allows Luke to use his sword (absorbed with the Jewel) to stab Van. It might seem Luke still pities Van but that is just his respect out of him as his master. That’s all to it. So the main baddie is dead, why is everybody so gloomy? Nothing like the place going to collapse for them to get moving. Luke has one final task and he wants everyone to escape while he releases Lorelei. Trying to be a hero in the end, I guess. Because of that, the place holds still enough to give everyone time to say their last words to Luke. Mostly it’s about him to come back alive. Like he is God and can guarantee that. And finally it is confirmed that Tear loves Luke. Unfortunately she couldn’t say it in front of his face. She just whispered enough for us viewers to catch what she says. Really? You want to let him go just like that without your feelings known? Oh shucks. Here he goes. Stabbing the sword into the ground, Luke disappears with Eldrant. It has been 2 years since. The world is living a freer life. A grand ceremony is held to honour the anniversary of Luke’s heroics. Tear is singing at the flower field and guess who comes back? Oh Luke, what took you so long? At least he kept his promised, right?

Tales Of The Abysmal
Ugh… I hate to say this but to put it in a nutshell of my experience watching this Tales series… I didn’t quite enjoy it. Sure, blame myself for setting high expectations only to come crashing down. But even if I do not compare this with Tales Of Zestiria The X, on its own this series still isn’t as good that I hoped it would be despite being aired almost over a decade ago back in 2008. Which means this effectively kills off my hopes and motivations to watch other Tales series. Yeah, what a way to generalize the rest of the series based on this, huh?

Firstly, the plot and the flow of the story itself are already confusing. Since I didn’t play the game itself, I cannot say how accurate it is but if you’re a newcomer like me watching the series for the first time with no prior knowledge about the game and its world, everything is going to get confusing. I would want to summarize this series as a big adventure to save the world but that wouldn’t be really accurate either. As we know JRPGs are filled with rich stories and convoluted plots (at least people other than Japanese would find it hard to understand) but this one itself already feels confusing with all the terminologies. If that wasn’t bad enough, as you progress through the story, they add more plots which add to the plot holes and it gets even more confusing. You know, they finished something only to discover that something else has been activated and now they must go there to deactivate/undo whatever there is that needs to be done. It is like running around the world on a wild goose chase (the Jewel was inside Luke all along???!!! Didn’t they look harder???!!!). Is the world really a small place? Just for the sake to prolong the scenes, they throw in a few fights along the way. Uh huh. It feels like they’re always there waiting to show up when they arrive. I suppose the game has some fighting elements but as far as the anime is concerned, once you see this pattern too often and getting predictable, it gets a little annoying.

And then that ‘gloomy’ ending, it was kinda anti-climatic. I mean, come on. Luke wasn’t even happy when he returned. Where’s the hype and fanfare from others?! It’s been 2 years for God’s sakes. Then he comes back and nobody is screaming like hysterical girls at Justin Bieber’s concert? Yeah. That really killed it. Two years is a long time to wait for somebody to return. By that time, feelings might have changed. With all the supposed bad guys dead and the world starting to live by its own will, there is nothing else to show and thus the quick ending. But how the f*ck will they know about that because could this be just another bigger plot they are being controlled and dictated by another hidden Score, right? Oh, it’s all just in the mind maybe.

Don’t get me started on some of the terminologies that they used. As confusing as some of them are to me (some I still don’t even understand and remember till this day), some of the names for certain terminologies just feel strange. For example, Planet Storm. Although it is supposed to be the flow of the planet’s memories, doesn’t the name for this feel strange? I mean, they could have put some tongue twisting or Latin name to make it sound helluva grand but Planet Storm for this definition doesn’t feel like it quite cut it. Maybe those memory particles look like a storm or something but really, I would imagine something would be named Planet Storm as that eternal big red spot on Jupiter. And with the ubiquitous use of the term fon, from fonons to Fonstone to Fon Master, fon this and fon that, I was just wondering when will the chocolate fondue be due. Mmmm… Pun intended…

Then there are the characters. Many of them are just plain annoying. There’s the thing about having too many main, supporting and minor characters. On one hand it doesn’t try to make the character look shallow because at least it makes him/her look like he/she has his/her own past and back story. Do this right and you’ll have a decent memorable character. Unfortunately this isn’t the case in this series because somehow it feels forced and pointless. Like in the case of Anise and Arietta. The only reason why they have a past connected to each other is so that they could provide a little detour and face each other off in the end. It gives a reason/excuse for them to fight instead of making us scratch our heads why do a pair of lolis hate and need to kill each other. It wouldn’t make a difference if we don’t know about Arietta’s past or she is some mindless general in the Oracle Knights but knowing her past makes it easier on our conscience and understanding why they had to lock horns. It’s the same for the relationship between Jade and Dist, Natalia and Largo, Ion with Sync as well as Guy’s past. Yeah, everybody is related to everything, right? Ooooohhhh. Big revelation. Didn’t see that coming.

It is hard to pinpoint which is the most annoying character but let me start off with Luke first since he is the main character. This guy starts off as a whiny and spoilt brat. Because of his sheltered life you feel like you can’t blame him for all that has happened. But then again, it is hard not to. He might not be a real human and just a replica but I am guessing that if he acts a lot like human and to a point he has feelings and independent thinking, I am more inclined to think he is a real human. What I meant is that with him being part of the royalty feels like it gives him a free pass to be superior to others. At least in the beginning where we can see how he is quickly raking it up as the most hateful character by blaming others but himself and bossing everyone around. It was fun watching how everything collapsed around him but I realized that I shouldn’t be another Luke. By the time he repented and changed anew, it felt a bit too late. Because by this time, his annoyance continues to increase with him trying so hard to prove that he has mended his ways by being considerate to others and at times trying to sacrifice himself for the better good. Yeah, it looks forced. You see the forlorn look on his face like as though an invisible gloom cloud is hanging over head forever. Even they tried to kill him off in the final episode to give some sort of honour to him but the way they brought him back to compromise, that makes him so cheap.

Next annoying guy is Asch. This guy to describe him in a word: Moody. Oh wait. Is angst a better way to describe him? I understand as the real Luke he got kidnapped and lost 7 years of his childhood for his master’s silly goal. But does he really have to be this mad blaming his replica for everything each time he sees him? Do you not notice that each time they meet, Asch would be like so worked up for just about anything? Come on, cut your replica some slack. Making him as bad as Luke is the fact he feels and thinks he can do everything better by himself. That is why he doesn’t join Luke’s group and do things to save the world together but goes off on his own in the background. A lone wolf. I believe he must be feeling odd to be working alongside his own clone and perhaps viewers would just get confused that this series has 2 main heroes of the same origins. So Asch, lots of pent up anger and not a team player, no wonder he had to die in the end because lack of screen time doesn’t make you a good main character anyway. What’s that about living inside Luke? Come on, don’t make me laugh.

The rest of the other members in Luke’s team are just as pretty annoying as well. Like Mieu apart from being useless and doing nothing, feels like he is just there to be the cute animal mascot. I mean seriously, what else does this little blob do except flying around and giving his master moral support? It’s like he and all of us have forgotten that he has a place to return to or maybe Mieu just love being by Luke’s side and wants to continue staying with him instead of going back to his forest home. After all, he can’t. Not until the world is safe. Then there are the ladies, Natalia and Tear. Sometimes I feel that they are there to up the drama for whatever reasons. Like you see Natalia getting really concerned when it involves Luke and Asch. It’s an either or situation but she wants them both. And cue to ramp up the emotional drama once the revelation of her true father is known. Not sure if she even loves Luke in the end because technically she isn’t the heir to the throne either. Doesn’t really matter, right? As for Tear, why do I get the feeling that there is supposed to be some sort of romance with her and Luke? You see a few scenes of them together and sometimes you start to think if it will go that way. Finally when it is confirmed, they deny Luke x Tear fans the one thing they all wanted to hear. Well, she did say it but what’s the point if he doesn’t know. Probably she believed this whole mess started by her brother in some ways was her responsibility so when something unfavourable happens to Luke, oh she gets emotional. Looks so exaggerated. Speaking of that, don’t you feel sometimes the actions and emotions she put in are a bit exaggerated? Yeah, like what I said, drama effect.

Anise is pretty funny but annoying as well when it started out her running joke was about to marry a rich guy. It’s like she has no shame in displaying that true personality of hers but who in the world wouldn’t want to marry a rich person? She might toss away that personality in the end but not money because if she is over marrying a rich guy, at least she wants to find a sponsor for her new goal. Yeah, someone give her money. Looking at you Luke! If it’s not a rich guy or money, it would be Ion-sama. That’s why they brought him back or at least another replica that looks like him so that she won’t stay depressed forever. So they tossed away her rich husband chasing ways to make her less annoying like how they did the same to Guy’s phobia of women. Who’d knew such a simple effect would have a long lasting trauma. This guy would’ve been a better supporting character and less annoying one as he is mature, helpful and intelligent had his role in the party not felt side-lined. You know, he is helming the kind of role of coming to Luke’s side whenever he is in a pinch or something.

Jade is the best character in the party, if not the best character in the entire series. For I truly believe he is the only useful one around. He is calm and collected whenever he speaks and makes his decision. Coupled in with his extensive knowledge on the fomicry techniques and arts, this guy should have been the leader not only in the Malkuth army but the team that saved the world too. Too bad the Score said the hero would be someone with fiery red hair and nothing about the personality. Jade would’ve fit it perfectly had it not for this dumb prediction that the world blindly follows.

The villains are also freaking one dimensional. We see right through them. At the start, my guts were already telling me that there was something suspicious with Van. And true enough despite his earnest wish for the world to have its own free will but his twisted method of doing so was enough to label him as the antagonist of the series. With Luke lapping up to him every time at the start, it only serves to enhance Luke’s annoying idiocy and Van’s villainy. Like the true final hard boss, he is hard to die because again my guts tell me there was something wrong when he was ‘killed off’ too early. True enough he came back to haunt everybody again. Until they ran out of episodes so they have to give a proper good ending for everything and everybody. Mohs fail as a villain because you can see through this chubby guy’s intention like a transparent paper. I know, he already has got the looks that tagged him as a baddie and it’s like they hate his character and turned him into a retard monster before killing him off for good.

The God Generals feel like the worst group of characters solely existing for the convenience of the plot. Some of them were killed a few times but didn’t really die though. Because instead of having 100 of them, better to have half a dozen with half-baked storylines that don’t really matter eventually. Like I remember Largo he ‘died’ a few times but was actually still alive so we can connect his past to Natalia and then being properly killed off by her. Say what? Some are an utter disappointment like Legretta whom I thought would play a larger role but she was noticeably missing in many parts of the story and relegated to making cameos. And when it was her turn to appear and stay longer, it was her last. Like, what the heck did you make her character for? Might as well be a highly ranked unnamed general in the first place. And this gay guy Dist feels like he has a past with Jade waiting to explode but after being revealed, this guy falls into irrelevancy and easily gets killed off by Jade. I already mentioned Arietta. When they have to kill off a loli and the first one to go, it was only time that everybody else went along. So that’s why Asch who was an ex-member also failed to escape this fate. Yeah, they should just kill off everybody instead of the God Generals only. Make the entire world filled with replicas living only, it doesn’t make a difference.

I think I should just stop with the characters right here because if I go on, it will take a few more pages for other minor characters that don’t really matter like Noelle and Ginji whose sole purpose is to fly our protagonists here and there and breaking speeds. Because it seems to be a lot better and make sense to travel in that huge bulky Tartarus. Peony seems to be an interesting and eccentric character compared to those old farts in Kimlasca as who else names their pets after your human friends? Too bad we don’t see too much about him because it certainly would have been interestingly disturbing to see Peony, Jade and Dist in a threesome instead of Luke whining and trying to get things right and fail. Oh sh*t! What the heck am I saying???!!!

The actions parts are just pathetic and feel forced. Like I’ve said, they feel like they are needed to be there because how can you have an adventure game without heroes and villains clashing? After all, some of the fonon spells used, I am already unfamiliar with the terms so I don’t really see any difference if they spout a different version of it. All look the same to me. Besides, everybody uses the same move in a skirmish fight that doesn’t last long. Like Luke and Guy would be using their sword, Jade spamming his magic arts, Anise summoning her doll and Natalia firing a couple of arrows. Oddly, I don’t see her carrying lots of arrows so she must really make her few shots count. I wonder how much damage it will do… Yeah well, enough to keep her alive. And I thought she was a healer or something and I rarely see her doing this healing stuff. Oh right. Tear does most of it and Ion too. Another odd thing I noticed is that most of the fights can be ended with Tear’s hymn. So why not just sing it and get over with it? Yeah, they need to prolong the battle scenes to give the heroes some action worth. Probably if Tear wasn’t too preoccupied thinking about Van, about Luke about whatever emotional thing, she could have saved the party lot of fighting had she sang from the start. Not sure if she needs some warming up or powering up but I don’t see her doing any ritual for that.

Art and drawing of course this series cannot match up and is nowhere close to Tales Of Zestiria The X. I can forgive this department since this one wasn’t done by Ufotable and that it was released back in late 2008. But the overall animation is pretty decent for that time. CGI was also used but very minimal and most noticeably on Tartarus. Lots of special magic effects too especially the use of fonons but nothing too fancy. Animated by Sunrise who did lots of your favourite and popular animes like Gintama, Code Geass, Cowboy Bebop, Inu Yasha, Accel World, Love Live and the Gundam series. So yeah, 2000’s kind of anime style in which you can’t complain because it is from that era and an excuse at this point in time it is almost considered as retro so I’m willing to let that slide.

Making the series bearable are its opening and ending theme. The rock opening theme is Karma by Bump Of Chicken. Oh, the names bands have to come up then and these days… There’s this drowsy feel to the singer’s voice like as though he didn’t have enough sleep when he recorded the song. Well, apparently it must be its trademark because they also sang for the opening theme for Kekkai Sensen and that sounded awfully similar. On a trivial note, I noticed that the opening song lasts longer than the average ones which are usually 1.5 minutes long. This one lasts about 2 minutes. No wonder it felt a little longer when watching the opening credits animation. I thought they were going to play the entire full song. The ending theme, Bouken Suisei by Kurumi Enomoto is my favourite one and somehow this rock outfit suits my taste. Maybe it is because I have to watch it every episode as the next episode preview is shown inside here. Because normally I would skip the themes and credits if the song doesn’t match my preference. So after hearing it all of the time, it resonated within me that it isn’t so bad after all.

Overall, this anime had a lot of potential at the start but with too many annoying characters, confusing plot and terminologies, it leaves a lot to be desired and perhaps make you wonder if this series itself should be best left played as a game instead of being adapted into a TV series. If you can tolerate all that, this isn’t such a bad anime after all. I’ve seen much worse than this. Who’d knew that the simple plot of trying to break the fate humanity from following the predictable future and outcome would lead to such disaster. They thought they were trying to break from all the familiarity but unknowingly are following in the same footsteps according to the script all along. Somehow I get a feeling that this anime might be doing the same in real life. They thought they could make a better adaptation but it fell back to being mediocre just like we’ve guessed it halfway. Maybe sometimes it is better to conform and just follow the script because we all won’t get so disappointed since we already expect to be disappointed from the start. That wouldn’t be so bad, right?

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