Wow, the 15th anniversary of the Tales of series! I can't believe Namco Bandai shelled out so many different Tales of games already. It certainly doesn't feel like it...I mean, Tales of Vesperia only came out a few years ago! Then came the PS3 port a year or so later... In any case, to join in on the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Tales of series, I had ordered Tales of Xillia and this surprisingly thick data book!
As a fan of the Tales of series, I have to say this is quite a nice addition to my collection. You can’t really go wrong with 639 pages of Tales content. Okay, scratch that. You can only sort of go wrong if you don’t understand that much Japanese…like me! I have no regrets though. I love most of the artwork in the Tales series, which is why I really wanted this book in the first place. So if you’re after some character art work and some really small anime-sequence screenshots from the games themselves, this is your kind of book.
I would say half the pages are filled with pictures and the other half contains all the basic information on the games that have been released thus far. This also includes the most recent addition to the series; Tales of Xillia.
The first 490 pages or so focus on all the titles that have been released in the Tales series up until 2011. You’ll get to see concept art, screenshots, status art, and hi-ougi/Mystic Arte cut ins (including the full body ones). The only title that doesn’t have all of this would be Tales of Xillia, since the game was released after this book. The Tales of 15th Anniversary includes some artwork that hasn’t been seen in the guidebooks. Rather, they were included in merchandise such as collectable cards. An example of this would be the Tales of the Abyss concept art. This book includes full body images of Cecil, Frings, and Peony, which in my opinion, is pretty awesome because Tales of the Abyss is my favourite game in the series. Even if you haven’t played Tales of the Abyss or aren’t a huge fan of it, you can appreciate Okumura’s artwork.
You’ll also get to see cut-ins and status art from Tales of Phantasia for PSP, Tales of VS. and Tales of the world: Radiant Mythology 1 – 3. Sad to say they're a bit small, but at least you can still see them. I would have been more satisfied if they blew up the pictures a bit more since this book is 639 pages.
After 490 pages, you’ll see a dictionary for the Tales of series. Think of it as a glossary in the back. There are probably almost 150 pages worth of Tales of information in the back.
I also think this book is really good for those who like to cosplay. You don’t get all angles of the characters but you’ll get a good idea of how all the costumes look just from all the concept, status, and hi-ougi/Mystic Arte images.
The book is small, but thick, so it feels like it’s a Tales of series bible, or a really thick novel. Personally, I would have preferred if the book was at least 8.5 x 11 because I would be able to see the pictures better. The screenshots look pretty small, which kind of sucks because you can't make out details very well.
The nice thing about this book is that it includes an extra sleeve on the outside. It’s transparent, but it protects your 95% white hardcover book. The paper is glossy and thick for the first 493 pages, so you don’t really have to worry about them being torn easily. The rest of it is pretty much like the paper you use to print every day.
As a whole, the book is satisfying. I mean, I haven’t played all of the Tales games but I appreciate the artwork from every title. I like how they write the names of each character in English as well. Sometimes I think they’re off though. They tend to change a letter or two…
Number of Pages: 639 (hardcover)
Purchased from: CDJapan
Price: 2800 ¥
(Sorry for some of the odd pictures. It was actually very difficult keeping this book open while taking shots!)