Acquired for U.S. home video release more than a year ago, Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike finally makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray Disc this week courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment. The anime film is part of a larger, multimedia franchise tentpoled by more than a dozen RPGs that have crisscrossed generations of gaming consoles. Merging a bit of magical fantasy, medieval swordsmanship, and old school questing, Tales of Vesperia, the film, fits right in. The anime requires no further knowledge of the franchise, and so follows Flynn and Yuri who are coincidentally assigned to the same garrison out in the rough country. The two young men have conflicting senses of duty, and proceed to resolve a growing threat against a rural town with their own brand of bravery.
Reported attacks of monsters, closer and closer to the barrier surrounding the city, are beginning to worry the townspeople. The mysterious discovery of a red-colored aer, an ancient but powerful form of energy, seems unnatural to the area -- this to which worries the garrison captain. Perhaps the two occurrences are connected. The only way to know for sure is to brandish a sword, go into the forest, and find out.
In Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike, the boys' brigade is assigned to quell the unrest in a nearby forest, whose contaminated aer is forcing animal and plant life to die off (in addition to other dangerous side effects). Aer is a natural source of energy used to power all different kinds of technology, but if tainted, aer can just as well cause terrible destruction. Allied with a brave and uncompromising captain, a pair of twin girls with healing talents, and their own swords and shields, Flynn and Yuri follow orders, disobey orders, protect the innocent, protect one another, and struggle against the shifting void of the night in an effort to unravel a fantastic mystery.
The film was originally written as the prequel to the videogame of the same name, the game of which was released but weeks apart from the anime. Flynn and Yuri both struggle to claim what is best for the townspeople they've sworn to protect. Violence surrounds them, however, and this mission, their first mission, is bound to leave a mark.