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.
Alicia is quite beautiful. Especially with long hair. Sorey should bag her good
Great fight visuals. They really know how to do it right
I absolutely love this shot
You hush your mouth, Mikleo is Sorey’s waifu for laifu XD
Sorey is butt buddies with Mikeloe it’s confirmed in the game.
I’m gonna be that one person and throw out a random bit of criticism about Ufotable… but they really need to expand their sound library a bit. If I “watched” this with my eyes closed, it would be hard to tell whether I was watching a Fate adaptation, or something completely different.
But hey, I’m actually pleasantly surprised about this anime. I didn’t go into this with many expectations other than cool fight scenes. But Ufotable so far seems to have a solid grasp on this adaptation. I personally also find it a good and solid fantasy anime so far. But it will be interesting to see how they go about the entire series.
Just checked it out myself, and I can say: The audio doesn’t seem to be up to par with the graphics, at least from the video source that I watched. It didn’t seem to get as much care as the visuals. Thus I must disagree with you, as I think the audio side of Fate Zero was marvelous.
Of course my opinion might change if I watched another version. At least DVD or BD quality on the audio department.
I’m not implying that the audio quality is bad for either Tales or Fate. I’m just saying they tend to re-use a lot of the sound effects. Especially their bullet jumps.
I know the game and the story felt butchered. Nothing made sense, at all!
Expecting more of the same, Im surprised that until now, the adaption has only ameliorated the source material, for example
1) Alisha is more prominent here and more proactive. She actually searches for the Seraphims and had a motive to go to the village, in the games one never got to know why she was in the ruins to begin with.
2) The sudden lightning in the ruins wasnt explained in the game, it just happened, even though we were told its not “normal”.
3) In the games, Mason dies. And after seeing this, only 1 minute later everyone is happy and laughs. But Alisha is in danger! Luckily the death of supposedly family-like-members is not something worth worrying about, so noone cares about Mason at this point anymore and Sorey can just go after Alisha. Thank god, Ufotable let him live!
Tl;dr – Already in the first minutes the game doesnt make any sense. The anime managed to evade all these flaws. Like you said, Samu, it might not be the most original story, but imo the Tales-Games ususally have some sort of (childish) charm to them, even though they are usually a bit clichéd.
It’s fascinating to hear the differences here from the source material. It’s very rare that changes are almost unanimously considered an improvement on the original, but so far everything seems to be changing for the better. I almost want to re-watch episode 00 just to get a better sense of the world, which seems to have been missing from the game.
I’ll be interested to hear what diverges in future episodes!
There are more little tweaks.
example, when they find Alisha in the ruins, they also found her weapon nearby, but here she did not wear anyone. This knife is more an “showoff” dagger, so not a real weapon only for parades
and other little things… mmm 2 Cour? then i bet, i can guess what cliffhanger they will use…
But i hope, this time she get an “friend” on her side… “When it is cold, i am freezing!” Cool dude (Gamers know this insider joke) or like i wrote in my real spoiler tag
The sudden lightning was explained in the game. Mikleo says gramps is not happy that someone has entered his domain, ie Alisha triggered it.
Overall though I do like the changes made. They are not large but are enough that the story is more cohesive, and Alisha is not as passive.
yes, the Lightning charged up the statue inside the ruins statue when then Alisha fall to the floor below
But i dunno, if he was aware of the Hellion or of Alisha…
The characters in ToZ is one of things I love most about it. Sometimes you don’t need the MC to have the most incredible back story. Sometimes a simple and straight forward MC is all we need. And then the cast around them can fill in the intrigue.
True. Especially Anti-hero protagonists. I suppose someone more upbeat and straightforward like Sorey could make for a change.
I really want to know who the hell is the dark elf dude, first he attacker Alicia in his human form under command of that one assassin chick, now he went full elf and chased her all the way to Elysia, even wiki has no info on him!
@Piro: Agree. Looking forward to getting to know the antagonist as well. That guy is one tough dude. Sorey’s gonna need that holy sword since the one he has was ineffective on the hellion (believe that’s the right term).
FWIW, I’d be careful with series wikis & Wikipedia. Once massively spoiled myself looking for character info on Wikipedia. :/ Thought that might be safer than a series specific wiki. Nope.
The more I see Alicia in this adaptation, there more I hope they alter the storyline for it… (vs the game’s)
Word is Zestiria’s a split cour series; 13 eps now, 12 more for Winter 2017 (according to a French anime website – no confirmation from Japan yet).
Eps 5 and 6 will crossover with some plot from the upcoming Tales of Berseria game, which is set centuries ago in Zestiria’s universe.
Berseria releases in Japan this August 18th (right after Ep 6 airing on Aug 14th), but the West will need to wait until 2017.
I heard about this being split-cour so that’s good to know. Looking forward to seeing where the story goes with 26 episodes of content to work with.
I’m in the camp that’s hoping ufotable does tweak the story as they see fit, since the game itself had some shortcomings in that regard. Granted, the animation’s been so outstanding thusfar that I find it hard to air any concerns either way. XD
Too bad it’s streaming quality. Those grains in the final part of the opening *shudders*. But when the blurays come out, it’s gonna be absolute eye candy.
Better episode for me than the last one. They didn’t rush things with Alisha’s quiet moments which I liked. She’s still easily my favorite character. Sorey is a serviceable, if generic, ML. “Likeable enough” is a fair way to describe him IMO. Mikleo’s a little better than Sorey, but still kind of “meh” to me. Since the cast isn’t fully assembled, I’m hoping there will be some nice additions.
As others have noted, usual overall good visual quality by Ufotable which is certainly a plus for action scenes. Hoping the budget’s fairly strong with this show. Agree with Samu that action is a main, if not the main, draw. As for rewrites/additions to the game story (to the extent it has one going by player comments), have to see how it goes. Sometimes rewrites/additions are beneficial, sometimes not. So far from an anime-only stand point whatever changes have been made seem to work fine for the story. Honestly, I don’t have big expectations for this story-wise. The plot is a quite generic one down to
Excaliburholy sword which he can only remove from a stone. Still, classic plot lines can still work. Maybe the show will surprise me to the upside in that regard.
Overall, I don’t think this is all that great, but still good enough so I’m in.
@Samu: “We don’t get many of them nowadays (unless it’s some NEET being transported to a foreign world)…”
Good point. “Go visit RPG world” has been quite common lately vs. the more traditional fantasy series. Not to say that the former is bad per se, but the “old-school” fantasy setting still has merit as well IMO.
the plot is an all kind of Mix..
Just look into the name. They are Seraphins right? Living over the “clouds”?
so they added a bit more to the “Excalibur” Holy Sword story, also there is a bit of an other famopus film. But it is to soon to “spoiler” it, but Berseria will explain it himself
Not so bad. Sorey still remains to be a boring character and Mikelo is hardly better, but the action scene against the yokai-like fox guy is reasonably well done. Alisha, her worry and agony is still the main dish of this show for me.
I will try a few more episodes.
By the way I know this will never happen. But I might love this show if the fox guy turns out to be the hero(!), the only person being able to pull the sacred sword from the stone, and then suffers an identity crisis.
It would be less bad than to spend most of screen time for Sorery.
Just looking at the screencaps makes me a happy camper, such high quality treatment for a tales series I always wanted to get into, but never really found the time to play. With the controversy of how the plot/characters were handled and how things didn’t really make sense, I’m glad Ufotable is has freedom to tweak a few things to make it more clear and concise. I would much rather have a story that actually made sense and was engaging over their original story, plus it would give people who played the game something to look forward to.