OP3: 「BURN」 by FLOW
「ベルベット・クラウ」 (Velvet Crowe)
That was another solid episode, but I can’t help but wonder what purpose this one and the last served the anime. Of course, I know what the intention was: this was an advertisement for the Tales of Berseria game at an opportune moment where new viewers of the Zestiria story can be easily swayed. That part I understand, but what concerns me more is what purpose this mini-introduction serves to the Tales of Zestiria anime. With both episodes now complete, I think it’s fair to say the answer is: very little. What could have been a neat flashback story ended up feeling like an obvious insert purely for promotional purposes. It makes complete sense from the marketing standpoint – and I’m sure plenty of viewers will be swayed into purchasing Berseria after this episode – but regardless, it compromises the consistency of the anime in an unfortunate way.
I’d still recommend people check out these two episodes if catching up or marathoning, but I’d also tell them not to get attached to these characters or their story because it doesn’t matter unless you’re willing to pay that extra. Maybe Tales of Berseria will get its own anime for real one day, but for now we essentially have a 48-minute ad slotted where it perhaps shouldn’t have been. If this were an OVA released with the blu-rays then I’d have no problems, but to label these episodes as 05 and 06 and have this content instead of focusing on the actual characters that matter leaves me feeling dissatisfied.
Promotional purposes aside, this was another fun, albeit predictable, watch. As many pointed out – but the show telegraphed poorly last episode – the boy at the end last week was not Artorius but rather Oscar Dragonia (Maeno Tomoaki), who effectively feels like the first boss encounter of the game (followed by a massive 3D dragon). We also got a lazier introduction to Magilou (Sato Satomi), a witch-like sorceress who pops up for no good reason and tags along because… why the hell not? She provided some comic relief and good reaction faces, but I’d hope her arrival is done better in the game because her introduction was as unnatural as can be. At the very least, these two characters are intriguing enough that if they were to make a proper Berseria anime, I would likely enjoy seeing more of them onscreen. For now, however, I find it hard to care all that much since this is likely all we’ll ever see of them.
As always, the action was good this week, but the 3D dragon stood out more than ufotable usually manage. The mix of 2D and 3D is usually seamless, yet here it was obvious where the two diverged; there were moments where the fight against the dragon looked convincing – mainly from far away shots that didn’t rely on the details – but overall I think some more polish would have gone a long way in making this battle a little more believable and exciting. It still provided some of the best action we’ve seen from this whole season (or at least from what I’ve been keeping up with), but that’s not yet enough to sustain my enjoyment for the Zestiria anime. At the very least we’re going back to the original story next week. I’m looking forward to seeing Sorey, Mikleo, and Alisha, and the others we’ve yet to be introduced to. Velvet Crowe’s story seems interesting, but it was lodged in here in such a hamfisted manner that I can’t appreciate it fully – especially when it does so little to aid the main story going forward.