「穢れなき世界」 (Kegarenaki sekai)
“World Without Malevolence”
Ah Zestiria. For a fantasy series the first season of this Tales adaptation was certainly a satisfying—if a little dry—ride, but easily met all the requirements for an entertaining fantasy story. For one who has never played the game, I certainly enjoyed it. Coming into this season I fully expected no serious changes, and indeed this opening episode confirmed that expectation. Slowing things down after last season’s climactic battle, this episode largely serves as a refresher for (re)introducing us to most of the main cast. Rose (Komatsu Mikako) functioned as the central character this week, with her business operations and personality being further fleshed out. Sniffing out crime, chatting up producers, protecting an ignorant Sorey (Kimura Ryouhei)? Just part of the job for this girl, alongside some devious attempts at turning Sorey into a magician. Of course things wouldn’t be complete without reminding us Rose also serves as an assassin, which the execution of Bishop Reno provides in spades.
The focus on Rose though also serves an important bit for Zestiria’s story. It is through Rose where the storyteller Mayvin is introduced to Sorey and via which General Sergei of the Platinum Knights also enters the picture. Mayvin in particular subtly alludes to where the story is heading, what with the focus on ancient artifacts and Sorey’s questioning about dragons. The big hint of course concerns the flashbacks involving the previous Shepherd Michael—and a noticeably present Lailah (Shitaya Noriko)—with a good deal of emphasis on the acts of right and wrong. Zestiria’s theme this time around likely will be the blurred separation of good and evil, bluntly stated by Michael’s belief in all men possessing a tainted heart. Is it wrong to kill an evil man? Is it right to sacrifice one to save the many? These are questions Sorey in particular never had to confront previously, who otherwise fought in the belief an act of good could never be construed as wrong. Lailah and Mikleo (Osaka Ryota) certainly understand Sorey’s ignorance, which is what their training is ultimately trying to do: awaken Sorey to a world not as black and white as he believes. How Sorey ends approaching this problem will likely prove important, especially given—as both Mayvin and Sergei note—there is no one true answer. It’s pretty clear how Rose chooses to tackle the conundrum (and why Dezel currently keeps it secret from a “pure” Sorey), so seeing Sorey’s response will certainly be interesting.
With basic introductions out the way, it looks like next week shifts attention to Dezel and his past. I’m still personally waiting on Alisha’s return and finding out why she is not with Sorey, but I guess that bit is for later. Also intriguing is the hint towards additional Berseria material popping up this season, which if true could either be another interesting interlude or incredibly confusing mini-arc. Either way stay tuned for more boys and girls, Zestiria is back and it’s only just getting started.
OP: 「illuminate」 by Minami