My Visit To The Tales of Festival 2013

By Kris . June 8, 2013 . 5:30pm

I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at Tales of Festival 2013. The name made me think that perhaps it would be a gaming event in the vein of PAX, but on a smaller scale, since it was only focused around a single franchise. Oh, how wrong I was.


What greeted me when I arrived couldn’t have been further from my expectations. Due to a Saturday class, I arrived at Yokohama Arena a couple hours after the doors opened, a few minutes after the show proper began. As I was ushered to my seat, I saw an assortment of voice actors onstage in various states of cosplay, reading off scripts as the traditional Tales skit character portraits animated along to their dialogue.


It was somewhat surreal to me for a number of reasons. First of all, I was surprised to see performers onstage with their scripts in hand at any sort of professional event, but that surrealism was amplified by the fact that only certain voice actors were in costume. Katsuyuki Konishi and Masaya Onosaka (Lloyd Irving and Zelos Wilder from Tales of Symphonia and its sequel) were dressed up as their characters, complete with some of the most bizarre wigs I’ve ever seen. Slightly less jarring were Tales of Graces’ Shiho Kawaragi (Cheria Barnes) and  Tales of Phantasia’s Satomi Koorogi (Mint Adenade), who dressed as their characters, but simply styled their own hair to match them. Tales of Xillia 1 and 2’s Ryoutarou Okiayuu wore not only an approximation of his character’s costume, but also a hat of sorts with a katakana “ga” on it to show that he was, in fact, Gaius (as well as a strange, plush, swordlike hat).


Some of the other voice actors, while still rather flamboyant, were dressed in more practical, semi-character-inspired clothing. For instance, Hikaru Midorikawa had done his hair like his character Leon Magnus from Tales of Destiny, Mamoru Miyano dressed in blue and white like Flynn Scifo in Tales of Vesperia, and Hiro Shimono’s very conspicuous black and yellow shoes brought to mind Emil Castagnier from Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.


The other voice actors, Tsubasa Yonaga (Jude Mathis from Tales of Xillia), Kousuke Toriumi (Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia), Yuki Horinaka (Elise Lutus from Xillia), and Akemi Okamura (Sheena Fujibayashi from Symphonia) didn’t really dress like their characters, but for the audience in Yokohama Arena, I don’t think they had to. The mere appearance of these actors onstage would cause the crowd to erupt in applause (or, in the case of Yuki Horinaka, shouts of “kawaii” from both male and female members of the crowd).


At one point, Yonaga and Toriumi hugged and the audience practically exploded.


In fact, one of the surprising (and impressive) things about the Tales of Festival was how loud and excited the fans were. People would call out to their favorite voice actors while they were onstage just to try and get a response. The fervor over the voice actors alone was kind of incredible, as were the responses to the skit they were performing from their scripts. We’ve all seen a character serve a bad cake to their friends in anime and games before, but when the Symphonia cast tried some of the cake that Flynn made in the skit, you would have thought that someone had told the funniest joke in the world.


After the skit was over, the VAs did some in-character monologues and  joked around with each other for a while (led by Masaya Onosaka in his very-present Zelos outfit and wig and accompanied by incredibly loud responses from the audience), and then it was time to announce Tales of Symphonia Chronicles HD, which led to the part of the Tales of Festival that was streamed to the public. Shortly after they showed off the HD remasters of the games and the Blu-Ray release of the anime, the “Tales of Live” concert began.


The singer of the opening themes to both Symphonia games, misono (yes, all lowercase), came out to sing the newly arranged versions of “Starry Heavens” (from the first Symphonia),  “Nininsankyaku” (from the second), and an assortment of other songs from this album. It was a bit strange to hear her performing to a backing track rather than a live band, but she gave a very enthusiastic performance, running around the circular stage and throwing pen lights and balls to the glowstick-waving audience.


Finally, at the end of the conference, the voice actors returned for a few words as to their thoughts on the series and their favorite characters that they didn’t play before tossing t-shirts out to the crowd and bringing the event to a close.


While my class schedule meant that I missed the merchandise-purchasing part of the event, I was still surprised to see how much of a stage show the Tales of Festival was. While a bit jarring given my initial expectations, once I adapted to the scripts, the outfits, and the audience, it was actually kind of fun. I can only imagine a more thorough knowledge of the Tales series (and recognition of the Japanese voice actors) would improve the experience.


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  • Pfantzypantz

    Oh lawdy that sounds absolutely amazing

  • Ayaka

    Woa, sounds awesome!
    I was hoping to hear something about Miyuki Sawashiro since her role as Milla should be quite important with Xillia almost here, I guess I’ll have to wait until the DVD release of the Festival. Nonetheless, hope you enjoyed your time there!

    • s07195

      Sawashiro Miyuki FTW!

  • riceisnice

    Cheria’s costume looks awkward in real life.

  • Philia

    Thanks for your review ^^ It seems you switched Elise voice actress with Leia’s one (as Elise wasn’t there, but Leia did) ;) I’ll wait forward the DVD release too, that must be an awesome event, hope I’ll see one with my own eyes one day! :)

  • epy

    Yeah, voice actors are a big deal in the Tales series. One of the main draws if you may which is why there is always copious amounts of voice acting in the main story, skits and battles. They always get some of the most popular voice actors at the time the games release and some, like Onosaka’s Zelos and Midorikawa’s Leon, stay popular in the fanbase years and years after the games they were in were released.

    I was somewhat disappointed by this year’s Tales of Festival. I expected a new game to be announced instead of just an HD port.

    • DesmaX

      I think it’s better that there wasn’t a new game announcement. I mean, Xillia 2 reused a lot of content of the first game; I think it’s best to just wait another year for a new Mothership game so it’s a “completely” new game.

      And, that also will enable western localization to catch up on the titles.

      • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

        Not just that, but maybe (and this is a big maybe) they’re thinking of moving the series to next gen. Take some time to plan out how they want to proceed with the new systems and all that jazz.

        • Kamakuma

          By next gen I hope you don’t mean PS4 and the like…? I mean I won’t be getting those for a while so I would be scared if they switched over to those systems so quickly. t–t

          • Anime10121

            Dont worry, Baba said he aint switching to PS4 anytime soon. The audience on PS3 is just to big to give up the ghost.

        • Anime10121

          Baba already confirmed he’s not thinking about next-gen right now, as his fans are still on PS3. Now he said when the majority switches over to next gen, he will switch too, but for right now, he sees himself sticking to the PS3.

          • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

            Yea, I remember him saying that too in an interview not that long ago, so that’s why I put in the “maybe”. But then again, he said the next mothership wouldn’t have anything to do with Xillia, and we end up with Xillia 2. Then he said they weren’t doing a remake of Symphonia, but we’re now getting a Symphonia remaster. So he may say one thing and do the exact opposite down the line. If anything, they’re planning on what they’ll do on next gen within a year or 2 after they launch. But like you said (and I also believe), the next Tales of game will be for current gen… for now.

      • Tyler Beale

        Provided Xillia does well, and they don’t hesitate to localize the sequel by next year, of course.

  • Spirit Macardi

    Woud have been awesome if Kumiko Watanabe showed up dressed as Karol. I’d have killed to see that.

  • DesmaX

    Yeah, I notice how everyone screamed at the Symphonia HD reveal.

    The fans sure are passionate

    • Donatetimo

      if only I was in japan.

      • isfuturebright

        It’s going to come the US too right?

  • CirnoLakes

    I’m so jealous.

    Why does Japan steal so much awesome from the rest of the world?
    T’aint fair.

    • Ispheria

      they don’t steal it, they make it

  • fireemblembeast

    That sounds really fun! Thanks for the interesting story!

  • HerosLight

    I watched the live stream and it was awesome hearing the voice actors speak and seeing/hearing the crowd’s reaction when ToS Remaster was revealed.

    I may not have the slightest idea of what Zelos’s and Cheria’s voice actor were saying, but I was smiling throughout the whole stream.

  • axelfire250

    Ryoutaroo Okiayuu also voiced Dymlos in Tales of Destiny, which is why he was wearing the sword hat. A lot of the VAs have done played minor roles or enemies in other tales games. It was funny when they played a joke about it on the second day’s skit.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    That’s awesome ^_^

  • yo1234

    I googled “Yuki Horinaka” just to see what i was dealing with. She isn’t Yuu Kobayashi nor Brina Palencia(in her younger days a few years ago. go**amn she was hot or is still.), but i approve.

    • kroufonz

      her mafuyu voice is lovely.

      shame i can’t even hear her on ToX western release.

  • Demeanor

    I would have died right then and there. Professional VAs rate even higher than cosplayers in my worldwide admiration scale (there’s nothing above that except maybe game creator XD). Is there a video of the event somewhere?…

  • kroufonz

    “The fervor over the voice actors alone was kind of incredible”

    watching the stream the crowd mostly going kyaa kyaa for the male seiyuu only, I know this is a festival that dominated by fujoshi. at the very least they could show some more appreciation for the poor female seiyuu.(T-T)

  • Alos88

    I hope a subbed version of the skit is uploaded to youtube

  • Alex Shadov


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