「霊峰レイフォルク」 (Reihou Reiforuku Rayfalke Spiritcrest)
Tales fans should be happy they’re getting one of the few genuinely good video game anime adaptations out there. While this episode wasn’t exceptional, by any fair measure it was good fun and a pleasant watch. As I play catch up with so many anime that I’m currently behind on, I look forward to watching each new Zestiria episode because I know exactly what I’m going to get, and almost every time it delivers what I want (and occasionally exceeds expectations). This wasn’t packed with anything too original – it was just good old fashion magic and dragons and dungeon goodness, and as you’d expect, it looks great. But now that we’re finally introducing the rest of the cast who have yet to show up in the story, this is when the quality of this production will either shine or stumble. Thankfully, the introductions to Edna (Fukuen Misato) and Zaveid (Tsuda Kenjirou) are off to a solid start.
From what I know, Edna is apparently pretty popular with fans of the game. So far, I can understand why. Her personality doesn’t feel too forced in this first episode we see her, and her interactions with Sorey are enough of a sell. I highly doubt she will end up a romantic interest (if anything Mikleo is Sorey’s true love interest), but I like how cold and brutal she was without tipping to the point of being a tsundere. Her design is sweet as well, and even though we just got introduced to her and her brother, her quest to save him from his dragon hell is compelling enough. Again, it’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s damn good fun and by the end of the episode I actually cared about her journey. Nothing was resolved in this episode, but we did get hints that there’s still something inside those dragon eyes that stops him from killing his own sister. Would it be predictable if they found some magic cure to bring him back to his former self and they lived happily after? Yes, but if done with the quality and bombast that Zestiria has delivered thus far, I can’t imagine I’d be complaining all that much.
Zaveid also pops up (and later wanders off like the mysterious badass he wants to be) and makes it obvious that he thinks killing these hellions and dragons is the fairest thing to do. Sorey’s softness seems to exist mainly to counter balance other characters, and I can’t imagine he’ll be a pacifist for ever. That being said, Zaveid did warm to the idea of bringing Eizen back to himself by the final minutes, and I’m sure he’ll turn up again when he’s most required and show he actually possesses a heart. His character archetype is not a personal favourite of mine, but he gave us plenty of our weekly action quota, so I’m happy with that.
We do get to see what Alisha and Mikleo are up to, albeit briefly. I like that they’re given something to do in the meantime; if it turns out to be relevant and genuinely exciting then I’ll be content. I heard that Alisha’s development and story has already exceeded that of the games, so I pray that’s a taste of things to come. Meanwhile, Sorey seems like he doesn’t have much a mission of his own (apart from finding out the truth of the cataclysm from ages past), but rather is intent of helping those he meets along the way, and becoming part of their own storylines. He’s not the most proactive lead, but I’m willing to accept that set-up if it allows for us to meet the rest of the cast in a similar fashion to Edna and Zaveid.