OP2: 「White Light」by Superfly
「災厄のはじまり」 (Saiyaku no Hajimari)
“The Beginning of the Calamity”
And now for something different: Tales of Berseria. I completely forgot that we were going to get a 2 episode tie-in with this Zestiria anime, so I was a little taken aback when we opened up in a completely different location with brand new characters. Once I had refreshed my memory I was able to get back into the swing of things and appreciate this short adaptation/advertisement of the latest addition to the Tales series for what it was. It is a little jarring and a sudden jump, and recycling the old Tales of Zestiria game opening for this episode felt like padding (though it did get my hyped up for the rest of the series), but overall I thought this was a solid episode. It’s worth in the long run, however, will be decided by how relevant these two episodes end up being.
All I know is the Berseria game shares the same universe to Zestiria and takes place 400 years earlier – so while we’re not going to see these characters crossing over on-screen. I’d like if we at least got some tie-in to the anime’s story. If not, this is just a shameless advertisement that will feel awkward in hindsight and something I’d advise skipping to new viewers. What has me concerned is that there didn’t seem to be any crossover in the terminology or mythos. This episode had Daemons, Malakim, and Exorcists – none of which have appeared in Zestiria yet, to the best of my knowledge. And since we’re not going to get a full adaptation of this story – but rather just an introduction to new viewers and potential buyers of the game – I’m skeptical whether this will work in the anime’s favour. But there’s one more episode of this new content before we can make that call; for now, let’s see what we have here…
We’ve switched to the story of Velvet Crowe (Satou Rina), a prisoner who gets a little help from Seres (Arai Satomi), a mysterious Malak, and Rokurou Rangetsu (Kishio Daisuke), a human-turned-daemon; together, these three spend the episode threatening each other, cutting down evil monsters, and finding a way out of this prison so they can fulfil their personal quests. If I had to pick, I think Velvet would have to be the standout of the bunch – I almost wish she was the protagonist of the series; she’s got a sharp tongue and a passion for killing, which is very different from Sorey. Seres’s design is cool, but she didn’t show much personality, and Rokurou didn’t stick around long enough to leave an impression. In saying that, I suspect if we got a full adaptation of this story I’d praise the cast a lot more, as I’ve heard the characters in Berseria are one of the strongest points of the game, at least compared to Zestiria.
Overall, I’d say this was a solid introduction to this new scenario, though there wasn’t too much to sink your teeth into yet. I do hope this links to the current story in some way; if not, and if it could have been as its own two episode OVA series, then that’s how it should have been released. At the very least, Velvet Crowe is a memorable lead, and I’m genuinely curious to see how she will react when she meets the man she hates so much. The glimmers of her past seemed brutal, so if that translates in their reunion (if we even get to that point), that will allow ufotable to prove why they’re one of the best in the business.
ED2: 「calling」 by fhána