Tales of Zestiria the X – 04
「導師のさだま」 (Doushi no Sadame )
“The Shepherd’s Destiny”
Zestiria is playing by the book, but it’s hard to knock a production this strong and appealing to the eye. It may not be the most original fantasy out there, but it’s plenty of fun and remarkably easy to watch. I do get the feeling that if were done by a lesser studio then I would have dropped this by now and labelled it as generic or average, but ufotable’s skills and affection for this somewhat mediocre story have elevated it to another level. The characters aren’t anything to write home about, but the way they’ve fleshed them out and explored more of the world they inhabit has made each episode of Zestiria all the more interesting.
This is truly getting the best adaptation possible, which is even more obvious when fans of the franchise are all on board with the changes. Compare that to the horribly paced and shoddily directed Berserk anime and it’s like night and day. This is how you improve upon the source material by either cutting out the bad parts, inserting interesting details, or simply putting more effort and budget into the aesthetic and appeal of the show.
Alisha was my early favourite of the cast, mainly because of my love for narratives that focus on determined princesses. Lunarre then cemented himself as the most fun character to watch on-screen (and I’m glad he made an appearance this week), but I’ve grown to like Sorey recently. At first I thought he was too cookie-cutter for my liking, but then I remembered I much prefer this easygoing, ambitious, likeable main character to the gloomy anti-hero. Both can be done well, but both have their fair share that are boring or just plain annoying. Thankfully Sorey is endearing enough in his interactions with the rest of the cast that I can’t help but root for him. His journey to ‘save the world’ may be as typical as they come, but I can live with that – that’s the story we’ve got here, and only time will tell if ufotable will continue to improve upon the source material and provide us with a more nuanced and layered story to match the production.
As always, the action sequences were great, Alisha’s political struggles are a fine addition, and the relationship between the humans and gods of this world is one I’m looking forward to be broken down in future episodes. For the time being Alisha can only speak with the seraphim when Sorey blocks all his senses in an awkward and amusing fashion, and for as funny as that scene was, I look forward to the time where the main cast can properly interact with one another. We’re still in the early stages of this story – especially since this is rumoured to be 2-cours – so I’m willing to wait and see what else is on offer in the weeks to come. I expect more of the same, but I’m willing to be surprised with more changes and improvements to the game.