Review: Tales of Rebirth (video game)

Current mood: KUUUUREEEEEEAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

This is, once again, a review based on a lets play of ToR. Rebirth was never localized but it is infamous for its shouting meme. And what a shouting meme it was…

It’s another round of ‘guess that character’! Our main man Veigue is stoic and surprisingly cool and good-looking, with a braid!!! Main girl is his childhood sweetheart Claire (KUREAAAAA!!), idealist and firm on her equality beliefs. The shota of the group, Mao; the old man character and only Gajuma of the party, Eugene; Annie, the racist young’un who will learn to love people equally; Tytree, who is definitely NOT the main character with his hot-blooded and friendly personality; and beautiful and mysterious Hilda, who is not racist but is against inter-race romance and love. There’s also Agarte, the Gajuma queen who dresses like she’s on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

In Rebirth, there are two major races – the Huma, who look like irl humans; and the Gajuma, people who have animal features, probably just not-so-moe animal gijinkas. The two races used to live separately and not bother each other until one day, the Humas, being shitty like irl humans, decide to wage war against the Gajumas. Peace is found in unifying everyone under a country ruled by a Gajuma. However racism is still apparent as Humas and Gajumas are different not only in appearance, but also abilities. Job segregation and interracial love makes the racism worse.

So the current king summons some world phenomenon that causes Huma to have supernatural abilities which only Gajumas have, and then dies. Our main man Veigue is one of them and he accidentally freezes his childhood sweetheart Claire in ice for a year. Two guys come along to his small peaceful village and wishes to recruit him. Eugene is a former general of the army, and Mao is his amnesiac partner. Along with Mao’s Force (power) of fire, Claire is released from her ice coffin and immediately after she gets kidnapped by the Four Stars, a group of elite soldiers under Queen Agarte. Veigue shouts a bunch of “KUUUREEEAAAA!!!!!!” before leaving with Eugene and Mao on a journey to save Claire.

Along the way to the port they get caught into an infinite labyrinth made by Annie, who is out for Eugene’s blood. She gets knocked out herself and the party brings her to the port where a Huma doctor and her Gajuma assistant treats her. Veigue finds information about Claire from the doctor, who treated to Claire’s minor wounds before the Four Stars depart. Annie wakes, sees the Gajuma assistant and lashes out on him, racist and all. Fortunately the Gajuma assistant is forgiving of Annie. Annie, while still very clearly hating Eugene for her father’s death, follows the party to the capital.

They drop by in various other cities and find that the Four Stars are kidnapping Huma girls from all around the country to be brought back to the queen. Tytree’s sister volunteers herself to ensure the other girls’ safety, so Tytree joins the party. They meet Hilda, who apparently escaped from captivity of the Four Stars, but is actually a trap when she attacks the party. Tohma, the bull Gajuma mocks Hilda and reveals her as a ‘Half’, a child born from the taboo love between a Huma and Gajuma. Hilda joins Veigue and co. in hopes of searching for a way to obtain a ‘pure’ body.

Claire is chosen to meet the queen. Their conversation takes a meaningful turn when Claire says that Huma and Gajuma are no different from each other and love knows no boundaries. Agarte almost loses it and some incident happens, causing Claire to pass out. Zilva, Agarte’s aide assures that things will go well.

Veigue hears news of Claire being in the palace and dishes out his “KURRRREEEAAAAA!!!!!!”. In the castle, they hear that Claire will be used during a special ceremony and rushes to save her, only to be thrown in the dungeon until the ceremony passes. The Dark Wings bail them out, they rescue the other girls and rush to the ritual altar to find the ceremony already taking place. They fight a dragon and Veigue jumps head-first to save Claire. A flash of bright light, and Agarte is nowhere to be seen.

Agarte is assumed to be dead after the ritual. Claire is brought back to the village and it would seem peace is finally here… but no. Gajumas have been very racist lately, even in Veigue’s smol peaceful village, where everybody gets along. Annie comes and says that Eugene has been acting aggressively as of late, and has summoned the party to meet him in a cave. After picking up Tytree and meeting Claire at the port, who has SOMEHOW left the village, they find Eugene, who has locked himself in a cage. Mao is caring for Eugene and the party decides to look for a pill that may soothe Eugene’s rage. They reach a racist town and bumped into Hilda, who is still looking for a way to obtain a ‘pure’ body. Gajumas have been super racist lately, due to some unknown reason.

Claire leaves the cave and goes to the capital. She approaches the castle, but the guards stop her. Milhaust (a Huma general in the army and awesomely badass) shoos her away, saying that the queen died because of the party. Claire goes back to the cave, distraught.

The party brings the pill back to Eugene, and he seems to calm down a little. They discuss the recent racist issue and decide to investigate further. After some researching they find that long ago 6 sacred beasts defeat the beast king, who is hell bent on eliminating Huma to resolve conflict. After sealing the beast king, the sacred beasts retreat back to their temples. Years go by and the event is forgotten, reduced to meaningless legends. They find out that the sacred beasts may have the power to defeat this racist issue, due to the Gajumas affected by an ‘impression’ of the beast king. They investigate the first temple, in which Tytree has visions of his sister murdered by a Gajuma. However he prevails and is granted power. The sacred beast directs the party to the second temple in riddles. The principles and beliefs of each party member is reinforced through the trials of the temples. Mao finds that he is not human; that he is a being created by the sacred beasts to observe humanity with an untainted eye.

And a revelation occurs: Claire is not Claire, and Agrate is found. While most people think the queen is dead and views Agarte as fake, a mayor of a Huma-dominated city tries to execute Agarte to reinforce his power to his Gajuma people. Veigue and co. were there to see, and the famous scene from the game comes to play. With unfaltering conviction in the face of death, Agarte delivers a heartwarming speech about equality, and Veigue sees something – he sees Claire. He sees Calire and he comes to realize that the Claire he has been travelling with is not Claire at all. Veigue dishes out his “KUREEEEEAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!” again and saves Agarte – Claire’s life. Milhaust comes just in time for Agarte in Claire’s body to reveal that she switched bodies with Claire during the ceremony with her Force of the Moon. Unfortunately she has lost the ability due to shock or stress. Afraid to be further blamed by the party, Agarte flees, with Milhaust in tow.

The party continues to gather the power of the sacred beasts. Annie remembers her late father’s wise words and gets over her racist issues; Veigue gets the cutest sacred beast and identifies Claire in Agarte’s body as Claire; Hilda, who has been searching for a ‘pure’ body all this time takes pride in her lineage; Eugene reinforces his own beliefs and is the last to gain power. The party soon realize that the soothing pill had no effect on Eugene; he has been holding in his racist tendencies all along. The party use the sacred beasts power to cleanse the world of the ‘impression’. It works.

However, turmoil is stirring everywhere. Agarte returns to the capital and seeks and audience with Zilva, but she sees that her aide is working to destroy all Humas. She flees the castle. She sees racism everywhere, and for the first time in the whole game, does something right by dissolving the racism, little by little. Veigue and co. travel around, also dissolving the racism issue in towns. Not long after, Veigue loses control of his power due to his internal conflict of the Claire/Agarte issue and goes nuts. Claire sees his suffering and leaves the party, finds Milhaust to leave with him. After realizing Claire’s departure, Veigue dishes out some classic “KUREAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” and tries to chase her down. Unfortunately Milhaust stops him and give him a ‘think about your actions’ speech. Veigue returns to the town and gets yelled at by Tytree (who is usually friendly and cheerful). The other famous scene of the game plays again, this time its a bro fistfight on the beach during sunset. Yeah.

Veigue realizes his mistakes and the party meets Agarte. She follows them back to Veigue’s village, where they resolve the tense atmosphere after the ‘impression’. Agarte and Veigue try to make things look like normal, but Claire’s parents do know that Agarte is not Claire, and Veigue vows to return their daughter to them.

Claire poses as the queen and returns to the castle with Milhaust. Zilva has something evil planned, but nobody smells it. Disaster strikes as a whole town sinks to the sea, so the party consult the sacred beasts of the situation. If they revive the beast king, more calamities may be prevented, but it’s a risky task, for there is no guarantee that the beast king would not destroy Humas. The party decides to try it anyway, so Agarte directs them to a sacred mountain accessible only to the royal family, where the body of the sacred beast lies. They infiltrate the castle, and before they can reach the mountain the Four Stars arrive to stop them. After them is Milhaust, who has a duel with Veigue. And Claire emerges from the entrance. The hero and heroine reunite before the final battle (?).

Zilva is the culprit behind a lot of shitty crimes, including the death of Annie’s father, the former king’s death, and the beast king’s first revival during the ceremony. When all is defeated, Yuris, the negative energy of the world takes form and threatens to make people racist again, so the party plus Milhaust, Claire and Agarte defeat Yuris, by kicking its ass and using the Force of the Moon to defeat it (and returning to their original bodies).

Victorious, everyone looks into the horizon, but Agarte falls, having exhausted herself to death. Milhaust, who she harbors taboo love, responds to her feelings with the same passion. Looks like love does not have boundaries after all.

The above image is Veigue in a nutshell. If it’s not Claire then it’s peach pie. Peach pie is the epitome of unity, friendship and love. And Veigue is all about ending racism.

Tales of Rebirth is appropriately named, and tackles some pretty dark themes. Rebirth could mean the state of the world after Yuris’ defeat, the world’s culture experiences change; it could mean Agarte and Claire’s ‘rebirth’ when they switch bodies (as in to experience the world anew); as the characters develop, they are also ‘reborn’ with new perspectives. The title is pretty self-explanatory, compared to more recent titles. The characteristic genre is Where You Will Be Reborn RPG, which is also self-explanatory. The people of the world are reborn into a new state of mind (hopefully clear of racism).

This game deals with the heavy subject of racism, and I can’t say I’m displeased. If Abyss is of any indication, Rebirth may have paved the way for more serious central plots for Tales games. Unlike other titles in the series which have vague (get the pun???) hidden meanings (or none at all) behind their stories, Rebirth goes straight to the point and slaps a big ‘ol RACISM in yo face! It’s a pity that the party is unbalanced in terms of race (including Agarte and Claire there’s three Humas, two Gajumas, one Half and one homonculus, both who can pass as Humas).

Character analysis:

Shouting meme aside, Veigue is supposed to be the first cool and composed bishie protagonist among the previous hot-blooded bunch. He is a looker and he is cool, but this archetype is smashed into pieces whenever Claire is involved. If my above review of the plot didn’t give you a clue, Veigue dishes out his infamous “KUREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!” very often. Granted he doesn’t shout it too many times, but it’s so bad that even one of the antagonists (Saleh of the Four Stars) lampshades this. See the video below.

Claire is the idealist who believes everyone is equal, and she stands by her words no matter what, even in the face of death (as stated above). She may not be able to fight, but Claire is capable of getting outta the way in battles. If TV Tropes has told me anything about her, it’s that she has ovaries of adamantium.

Mao is the first shota playable character in the series, paving the way for future shotas like Genius, Karol, Ion (even though he can only be summoned during Luke’s Mystic Arte) and let’s not forget the newest addition: Laphicet.

Eugene, being the only playable Gajuma character is pretty solid. He is the old man in the party after all, and undergoes the least character development. Like Veigue, he has a defining trait: his scream. In that section where he gets racist-frenzy, he dishes out his “UUUAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!”, and you can see one in the video above. There are other times where he screams, but mostly in flashbacks and during the temple trials. It’s as iconic as Veigue’s KUREA

Annie has the greatest chara dev along with Hilda. She starts out as a racist kid just because Eugene killed her father, and I’m really pissed at her when she refuses to treat Gajuma patients. She aims to be a doctor, but this is what she believes. She gets better in the end when she remembers her father’s wise words, and goes on to be a good doctor.

The complete opposite of Veigue, Tytree is the hot-blooded, tactless idiot hero. You’d be surprised but he’s pretty good in cooking if he doesn’t put any suspicious ingredients. Tytree contributes to the iconic scene of fistfight on the beach during sunset. This fight is the third most mentioned thing by Veigue after Claire and peach pie during TalesFes skits. The scene is heartwarming in its own way because Tytree rarely, if ever, gets mad at Veigue. You know you’ve hit rock bottom if the cheerful party member punches you for your shit.

Hilda extremely hates her own lineage and refers to her body as cursed. She isn’t a Gajuma or Huma but at the same time she is both. That’s why she is very opposed to interracial love, because it has caused her to be born with a body she despises. Despite that, after meeting her mother and revealed that she is actually kidnapped and not abandoned, she takes pride in her lineage and ditches the cloth that obscures her horns and ears.

Agarte is the naive Gajuma queen who loves Milhaust, the very capable Huma general. Alas for her, the man rejected her, and Agarte thought it was because of their difference in race (he may have did it to not compromise their professional relationship). Agarte goes around defending her actions, and then realizes that she’s been a shitty person. Comes Claire’s equality speech and Agarte no longer desires a Huma body because she wants to love Milhaust as herself – as a Gajuma. Sadly she dies before she has the chance to set an example for interracial love. NO OFFICIAL COUPLE FOR YOU. About the RuPaul’s Drag Race thing…. Seriously look at her outfit. If I hadn’t known better I could’ve said it was a wedding dress! I would prefer to lose the veil and the big ribbon probably… I’m not commenting on the big ass rose on her chest.

Overall Rebirth is a great experience. It makes you wonder about morals and prejudices in the world. Dark and edgy this game may be, but it makes for good memes.

“Life doesn’t have any one colour.”


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