The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky by Falcom kicked one of the greatest video game worlds. There are currently ten games set in this world with more games bound on the horizon. Trails in the Sky was originally released in 2004. The games take place in the continent of Zemuria. For the most part, each country is slowly revealed with its arc and how that country plays a role in the grander scheme of things for Zemuria. The story begins with the Sky trilogy taking place in Liberl, then moving on to two games in the small nation of Crossbell and then moving on to the massive country of Erebonia with four games. Politics is always at the forefront of each game. Countries have to deal with economics, technological advances, the threat of war, the various systems of governments, magic. The intrinsic details to the Legend of Heroes can be compared to the same scale that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has undertaken.
Every character that you meet will have an impact on this world. Even the non-playable characters’ lives are everchanging. A minor character that you meet in Liberl could show up anywhere in the continent of Zemuria. Maybe minor character A is introduced in Liberl but their roots are several nations over, perhaps in Calvard or Erebonia. You never know how any character, no matter if they a major or minor character, will change the world of Zemuria.
Trails in the Sky OVA has a tough job to live up to adapt its video game counterpart. It doesn’t help that this OVA starts at the beginning of the second game. It expects viewers to know what happens in the first game. It starts in the middle of a battle as the bracers fight the evil society Ouruborus. The Bracers are an organization that helps out the regular citizens of the world and maintain the balance. One of the bracers, Estelle is looking for her adopted brother, Joshua, for who she happens to love after he strays too far from the side of justice. From there, the story keeps jumping around all over the place. It’s jarring if you didnt play these games and don’t know the context of how everything is transitioning.
Some characters have their essence perfectly captures while others are left in the dust. I would have like to see more cohesiveness with them but they never get a chance to be properly introduced. Characters such as Estelle, Bleubanc, Olivier get their chase to shine. Estelle’s outspoken brazenness leaves a wonderful mark. There are so many gleeful moments like watching Estelle hit their head on a bed rail and leaving a huge dent on it. Or having a professor lecture the bracers about the technical stuff and putting mostly everyone to sleep. There is always that one person that will be fascinated by lectures. Others just appear and don’t contribute much to the world going on around them.
The fight scenes are incredibly wicked to watch. They add a new layer to what was played in the games. The video games are old-styled 2D turn-based and there only so much that can be captured by that method. It’s outstanding getting to see how these battles are transitioned to the anime. One scene had Estelle kicking a robot archaism out of her way while going after Joshua was fantastic. The fight of Joshua vs Loewe is an element that surpasses their fight in the video game.
This OVA is not the best place to get introduced to Trails in the Sky. This is best seen as a supplement after having played Trails in the Sky First Chapter and Second Chapter. This film markets itself as the introduction to the series but it takes place in the middle of the Second Chapter but stops short of the end. It doesn’t stand out on its own. Anime that are video game adaption work best when they seek to capture the magic of the game. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for this OVA. It never has a clear path of what story it wants to tell. Trails in the Sky Second Chapter is about 50 hours and this film is cramming into an hour and a half. I would feel lost if I hadn’t played these games and knew who the characters were. This adaption just drops you into the middle of a battle with no indication of what is happening. It’s perfect for fans who played the games but newcomers will feel lost in this world.
This OVA is currently available to watch on VRV, HIDIVE, and Hulu.