「聖剣祭」 (Seiken-sai)
“The Sacred Blade Festival”

This feels like a flagship series in the making. After a misstep with God Eater, it seems like ufotable may just have found their Next Big Thing. Of course, it’s not yet clear how popular it will be in the long-run or whether it will have the selling power it requires for such a title, but if we’re to measure Tales of Zestiria the X’s success by the effort put into the production, then this seems a surefire hit. I hear that this week was the largest departure from the source material (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), but that seems to only please the fans more. Whether they are shifting minor character details, re-arranging scenes to better fit this format, or are re-writing the story altogether, it appears to be working.

If I were to highlight one negative for this episode, however, it would be that it was predictable. That’s not an entirely bad thing, but it’s worth noting that I pretty much knew exactly what was going to happen several minutes before it actually happened – and I’m not familiar with the games to know anything in hindsight. This mainly tells me that we’re more likely to go for a traditional action-packed fantasy than something that will bend and twist expectations. Again, I’m fine with that – but it would almost certainly make for more compelling viewing if they were willing to experiment more with the story and maybe even go farther from the source material. Perhaps that would pose too many risks, and would likely anger diehard fans who felt their favourite game was being badly handled, but so far it seems this is getting the best possible adaptation you could ask for. Similar to the Fate series, ufotable are pulling out all the stops in making this a feast for the eyes and ears, but what remains to be seen is whether the foundations of this Zestiria story stands up to that of the beloved Fate franchise.

I did appreciate the brief moments of politicking, even if it was pretty standard stuff; like the gross and untrustworthy advisor wanting to assassinate the princess. There may not have been much subtlety in those scenes, but I’m glad they were there if only to flesh out the background characters. The more we learn of this world – from the forests to the cities to the powerful gods that walk the land – the more curious I am to see what will happen when the true plot kicks in. Even though we’ve gotten a prologue and three episodes already, it seems this is where the true story begins, as Sorey pulls out the legendary blade like it’s out of some Arthurian romance. The action that follows is a spectacle, and even if the story is uninspired from here on out (which I don’t think it will), at the very least we’re in for a pretty action anime.

As always, I’m keen to read the opinions of those familiar with the franchise and how this adaptation and its apparent changes are working out. We’re starting to get introduced to more characters featured in the OP, so I suspect before too long we’ll set out on a quest to save the world. I just hope Lunarre stick around for the long haul, even if he doesn’t remain the overarching villain. I’ve enjoyed his scenes in previous episodes, but his shift in attitude could be a sign that he’ll end up my favourite of the bunch.




  1. From your Blog here, my impressions:

    – At last some important Anchors scenes in the Games should at last had some weight in this new Storytelling, i do not “care” if they take an other way around to tell their story or to improve it, as long some Anchors (Like this Creepy Guy, the “Excalibur” out of the Stone and so on) are present

    – They can create an “Anime Powerup remix” of the Background music, example the Ladylake BG Music. If they want to improve the Game BGMs more, then let them try. But the same restriction as above. Some Anchors to recognize it from the Game for the “Die Hard” Fans

    I still need to watch the Stream, so i will add the Episode impressions in an another post

    to be continued…

    1. Episode result:

      in short: All Green


      Alisha is not the “Damsel in distress” like in the Game and she knows how to wield a Weapon.

      – Looks entertainment so far for the Fans. Sure the Die Hard fans are not satisfied, they want AAA+ Quality, but reality has an tight Budget. What here looks so awesome are old reused CG Cutscenes from the Game, here and there add more up

      – I really hope they give Alisha…. argh i can not go any further, or i spoil the beans

      – Now we know where these malevolence are coming from. It’s like the “Dark Side” of the Force. Yes, and here we have a bit of Star Wars vibes

      – What was the Soul and Bread and butter from the Game Story, was the funny interaction of his Party. I also can not go any more in details, because i would spoil again
      If they succeed into bring this Party Life on Screen, then i am very happy. Also in my Spoiler Solution i wrote my thought about this

      For me, an “Tales of” Die Hard fan, but without the “Alrighty! Googles” this Anime path is doing “All Green!!”

      Just i wrote, select the Anchors with care and the little ones between them to “fix” or smooth out the Flow.

      Please continue to entertain me, Tales of Zestiria The X. Sadly, when this Anime is finished there would be no Story DLC for this “old” Game.. But then, i dunno if i would really play this again

      Oh boy, an Wall of Text. But it is okay, because seems like this Season is Only “Tales of Zestiria the X” the only one AAA+ Anime worth watching

      1. Well, Funimation has the streaming rights to it (I hear their broadcast dub will start in a week or so), and the party has 3 VAs that work there. And anyways, I heard that they managed to get the VAs from the game back (don’t quote me on this, though).

      2. All righty!! I loved the “Butterflies” and the jokes of the others, they done an excellent job to give this “elements” their English/US Soul

        Thanks for the info

    1. Yeah, Zestiria was poorly received by RPG fans. Because it’s not very good. Which is one of the reasons why fans are pretty happy with the anime changing things up: they’re hoping that a story that had more potential than actual quality will get rewritten into something decent.

      1. Having never heard of the game and only having the anime to go by I have to say… I love this series. Its got some really good elements all working together. Looking forward to seeing whats next.

      1. Mine is still in the collectors edition box. Have yet to play the game, because I’m trying to platinum Atelier Sophie first.

        Hearing a lot of bad things about it makes me hesitate on putting the disc inside the console

    2. Story is mediocre sure, but with the right tweaks it could be potentially great in anime form.

      As for the characters… Nah. The cast have good depth and their interactions are one of the best in the Tales series. But some of them just doesn’t have enough backstories.

      Personally, what bothered me aside from the lack of explanations is how the characters deal with the gray area side of things. Instead of trying to do something about it, they just let it play out and it never ends well. It’s one depressing game, alright.

  2. They might run through the material a bit too fast for this episode. :s
    The game loved to flood you with technical expositions on various aspects of the world.
    Cutting them is a good decision, but i feel they might have cut too much.

    Also i hope they don’t cut the slice of life aspect out for the later episodes since that was the best part of the story.

    1. You think so? The way I see it, in the game, Sorey and Mikleo came to town, went to the church to find Alisha and then Sorey pulled out the sword. There wasnt really anything important cut out concerning the plot, and the events in the church were even stretched out which is the more important event imo.

      And as far as I remember, the world-building in the game was inconsistent. I would be glad if they change that too.

      1. before entering the Church he had an fight in the Game, so that explain why he is also there. It is just here in the anime, they gave him an other reason to be there

        They just left out this “boss fights” so far. but they can not take all out…

  3. “this week was the largest departure from the source material”, hmm, it departed maybe a bit more than the previous episodes, but the main plot points remained.
    But yet again, through the changes the story only gets better! In the game, people in the church became hellions themselves. They suddenly attacked and for the player this felt forced. This is because there was no political background info at all, which Ufotable showed us BEFORE they all tried pulling out the sword. And then going into church and coming out was done in a few minutes. Sometimes trials and time are just important for an event to have any impact on the player/reader.

    Also here the town is lively because of the festival, in the game, the festival pretty much only took place in the church. I know those are minor details, but if you miss those details over and over again, the story feels lifeless and rushed.

    Again, Alisha fighting also didnt happen in the game, so she is once again given a more prominent role and actually appears to be someone quite capable and reliable.

    I think we all knew what would happen, Samu;) But the way I see it, the last episode preview even made fun of that a bit, when Mikleo and Sorey both wondered just who whould become the shepard, with Mikleo saying he only knows one thing for certain, that it would never be Sorey.

    I dont think even if they continue rewriting the story that there will be many surprises. Like I said before – the Tales-Games are (a bit) cliched after all.

  4. I haven’t played many Tales games, but I really loved Tales of the Abyss on the 3ds. Namely the character development of Luke fon Fabre. His journey from whiny to hero did it for me.

    1. His arc put his starting attitude in perspective without condoning his behavior. I think that’s what sold it for me with Abyss. Also, every character was pretty interesting and multi-dimensional. Great example of a Tales done right.

      The only problem I have with Zesteria is that nobody seems particularly interesting so far. I know nothing past this point in the game, so no idea if some spice gets added later. I do know, however, that a Tales game thrives on strong, memorable characters interacting with each other. In my opinion, the series has fumbled on that since Vesperia on the Xbox 360.

      1. This is gonna sound kind of weird, but I honestly blame a lack of a world map. For whatever reason, I don’t think Japanese RPG developers understand how to make a good RPG without a world map. Square is a mild exception, but by and large they lost their way when they got rid of world maps as well.

        I don’t know exactly why, but it seems to throw off their sense of scale or something in a way that makes their games seem fundamentally smaller and both the characters and the plot more petty. Tales hasn’t had a TRULY good tales since they stopped having world maps, before that they were doing great. Vesperia, Abyss, Symphonia, etc. Amazing games. Now they’re all kind of blah.

        I really wish some big JRPG developer, maybe the Tales people, would stop trying to ape WRPG conventions and just bring the world map back and do it as modern as they possibly could. Because really, something about losing it seems to have broken them.

  5. I watched a “let’s play” of the game up to this point, and I say the anime feels much better. Typically, Tales games to play by the numbers in the beginning before hinting at a few curve balls down the road. Abyss had a good one imo, and the characters all benefited from it by the late game.

    Looking forward to seeing how the anime cleans/tightens up Zesteria’s story. Feeling good so far!

  6. Lailah is quite a beauty. Liked her design since I saw the game op.
    And then, after watching a couple of game videos, I noticed that her character is a bit broken. First glimpses can be seen in the preview for next episode. 😀

  7. I don’t mind a classic fantasy adventure like this, it have nostalgic feeling watching it that makes me remembering the time I’m still a kid and playing RPG for the first time.

  8. It is not an really Secret or an Official Open Secret, but we get to see the Cross over with the Heroine from Tales of Berseria. I wonder how they play this out

  9. Fun fact, the main heroine is pretty vague.

    – Taking story, and the trailers into consideration, you’d think Alisha was the main heroine.
    – However, when you actually play the game, Rose is the only one else able to equip.
    – And lastly, if you actually read the synopsis of the game, it makes no mention of Rose or Alisha, but instead mentions Layla.

  10. Eh, this was the first episode that for me missed a step. Too bland, too predictable, and the action sequence was rather underwhelming. Not to say that it was bad, it just didn’t really stand out as anything special.

    Dr. Hochmeister
  11. Agree that this has a “classic” fantasy feel to it. So far, visual quality is the show’s calling card IMO. There are a few bumps along the road with that, but overall, yeah, this looks good. I’m in, but apart from overall visual quality I can’t say anything so far significantly stands out to me in a positive way. Not suggesting the show will be bad, but I don’t have high expectations for it either.

  12. Production values look incredibly high. I’ve never played the game; should I watch this? I love a good fantasy anime with high production values and pretty pictures, but I have been shying away from Tales anime adaptations because of how cliche they can be.


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