Tales of Zestiria the X – 10
「アリーシャ・ディフダ」 (Alisha Diphda)
What’s the best thing about this adaptation? Alisha. When I saw this episode was named after her, I knew I was going to enjoy it. And enjoy it I did. By the sounds of it, poor Alisha has diddly squat to do in the original game, and plenty of fans were disappointed that she didn’t live up to the status as the main heroine – I hear Rose takes on that role. Well, it’s clear that someone (or everyone) at ufotable either really likes Alisha, or they just listened to the complaints from those who played the game. Without first-hand experience, I don’t have any real anger or disappointment with the treatment of her character, but from what I see on-screen with this adaptation, I can tell she’s being given the absolute most to work with, and it’s making her the best character of the show.
None of the cast are particularly original; they’re mainly good fun to watch and their interactions are amusing (like Mikleo and Edna), but Alisha’s struggles as a princess trying to advocate for peace while fighting off her political assassins makes her the most interesting of the bunch. It doesn’t even matter if her storyline is purely filler or stretched out from the source material – it’s damn good stuff and Zestiria is at its most compelling when she’s leading a scene. It’s difficult to imagine that she (apparently) doesn’t even take part in combat in the game; maybe all those cool action sequences we’ve seen from her in the anime seem farfetched for a princess, but after spending time with her in the prologue and learning more about the direness of her situation, it’s not too hard to believe.
If they didn’t reveal all those weeks ago that Rose was behind that mask, then maybe her reveal would have been a shocking twist. Even so, it was a great scene – the best in several weeks/months. Their fight didn’t last long, but what we did see looked stellar, from the composition to the moody sunset colours. Even better, Alisha’s dedication to peace is pretty badass. In a less interesting character, it would come off as preachy and typical, but all the effort the staff have put into her character thus far makes it pay off. The fact that Rose even believes her is proof of that. I buy that they’ve now crossed paths and are bound to work together to protect each other’s interests/goals, and that’s something I’m looking forward to seeing. I don’t know how this scene played out in the original source material, if at all, but I imagine this was better by comparison. That seems to be the pattern emerging with Tales of Zestiria the X.
Sorey also gets some good material this week, as we see him being pushed to his mental limits when faced with a human-hellion hybrid. For the first time we see that trademark smile wiped off his face as he becomes unsure and hesitant during his fight, and then uncharacteristically melancholy when he visits the grave of a hellion victim. Sudden as it may be, I appreciate seeing this side of Sorey. I like that he can be serious and emotional when things get too tough for him, and pair that with how gorgeous the landscape scenes were in those shots, and you’ve got me more interested in our protagonist than ever before.