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Ar Tonelico OVA PDF Print E-mail
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Now in Japan
Saturday, 10 June 2006 00:00
Title CardAnother one-shot OVA episode based on an RPG game, Ar Tonelico gives Laina Barselt and the Ravateel a DVD outing.  As with most such OVAs, you'll really only get the most out of this if you've played the games - for the rest of us, be prepared to deal with not quite knowing what's going on...


"A world which has lost both land and sky - the sole cradle of mankind, and its last paradise."  It's also a paradise that's under threat by attacks from a constant stream of demons.  The inhabitants of the Tower live apart from the rest of the humans of Sol Shell, until Laina Barselt crash-lands his airship on the surface.  With his ship damaged and no way of repairing it, he turns to young girl Orica Mesotmille for help.  Orica's a Ravateel - a magic user whose magic is based on the power of song - who's lost the ability to lose her powers and is beginning to lose hope of ever getting them back, but the time she spends with Laina teaches her a lesson in self-belief and persistence...

Orica and LainaUnder attack

Hmm.  Is it just me, or does the opening narrative (in a "foreign" language & subtitled in Japanese) sound suspiciously like Abh?  Anyway.  I'll freely admit to not having any prior knowledge of the Ar Tonelico games or their universe, so I went into this episode very much blind about what to expect.  As with other similar OVAs, it seems to be intended more as a treat for the fans than something to be used to draw new fans in, so there are a number of places where characters briefly appear with no introduction, and the basic premise goes left unexplained.

The main characters here are Laina, a Tower resident who quite enjoys a good fight and has a good sense of honour; Orica, a Ravateel whose past experiences have led her to doubt her abilities; and Cruze, a female engineer from Hotaru Alley who claims Laina's ship as salvage after he crash-lands it.  In terms of story, don't be expecting too much, as all there is are a few action scenes interspersed between a number of other scenes that attempt to give a good portrayal of the Ar Tonelico world.

Even without prior knowledge, this was fun enough to watch - I'd be curious to take a look at the game now, as this has piqued my curiosity a bit (sadly, I don't think it's available in the UK yet, although there is a US release).  As a standalone episode, it's definitely lacking as it assumes that you'll know what's going on, but it does have its moments and the characters are an interesting enough bunch.

For anyone who's played the game, this is a no-brainer - go get.  For the rest of us, it's an interesting fantasy anime, but nothing particularly special.