First off I should start by apologising for the lateness of this post. This summer season has been busy for me – us Scots actually got to enjoy a hint of sunshine these past few days! – and the anime we’re getting is just as pleasant. I had already fought to the death to blog orange, but wasn’t sure what else I wanted to pick up. Bleach is going to finish before Fall comes around, and I need something else to carry me through, and in the end I decided to go with Tales of Zestiria the X. After all, as a fan of adventure, magic, and epic fantasies, Tales of Zestiria is giving plenty to appreciate. Even though both my shows airs back-to-back on Sundays, I’ll make sure these posts are more timely in future. Now with that out the way, let’s get onto this bad boy.
Passerby’s characterful introductory posts gave me plenty to smile over, but I think I’m much more lenient with Zestiria. Video game adaptations are usually massive flops in anime (and pretty much any other form of adaptation), but ufotable’s skill is shining through here to the point where I’m not irritated by the occasional generic character trait or development – I’m not expecting a subversive experience from Zestiria, and so far it’s delivered everything I’d want from a good high fantasy anime. We don’t get many of them nowadays (unless it’s some NEET being transported to a foreign world), so it’s refreshing to have one as polished as this. Again, it may not be the most original piece of fiction I’ve come across, but I stand by my belief that originality is (generally) overrated. Though I do believe that something has to stand out from the crowd, but that can come from stellar visuals and a confident adaptation – that’s the direction I feel Tales of Zestiria is going to go.
I should note that I’m not familiar with the games, so I have no bias or background information about the series going into it. I have heard that apparently there are plenty of liberties being taken in adapting the story, which players of the games seem to think is a good thing. Not every video game story (or arguably not many at all) are suitable in this format, so I think shifting the story or re-writing or inserting brand new characters and concepts is only going to be a positive thing. At the very least, we’re in confident hands here. While I wouldn’t consider myself a diehard fan of the Fate series, I think ufotable brought the best out of the material they had to work with – especially with their innovative CG integration which only Kyoto Animation is keeping up with. If these two episodes (and the prologue) are anything to go by, it looks like they’re giving this franchise the same treatment. The fight scenes are nothing short of stellar, and that’s a large part of the shows appeal thus far.
So far Tales of Zestiria the X largely speaks for itself. It’s still setting up for the main story to unfold, but I’m liking this pace and the degree to which the exposition is being handed to us – it’s not too forceful, but informative enough to keep me intrigued. So far I’m liking what we’re getting, and if anyone knows me they’ll know I love narratives that focus on princesses going through personal struggles, and so far Alisha’s quest to stop the world from literally dying has me invested. In comparison, Sorey is not the most interesting lead, but he’s likeable enough for being the “Chosen One”. I especially liked the scenes that showed how he stood out from the Seraphims surrounding him, since we were able to see Mikleo and his villagers throughout the episode, while Alisha had to believe that she was talking to the gods she so desperately needs help from. The moment where she pleaded to a lone Sorey was the most powerful moment of the episode, and perhaps evidence that we could be in for a story that isn’t going to entirely stick to the traditional fantasy formula. I blogged Kabaneri last season, so I’m fine with something that’s just plain fun and good to look at, but I have hopes that Zestiria might reach that little bit higher.