EX- CA- LI- BUUURRRRRRRRRRR!
Yes, I know. I’m on the wrong show. Can’t help it though — Tales of Zestiria the X went full Unlimited Blade Works this episode.
Despite evidence that I’m starting to enjoy ToZX, there are still instances that prevents me to rate the show above the rest that are consistently better. Being a fan of the game is a plus, however, that alone doesn’t save ToZX from taking a jab. I guess that’s the usual chronic disease of any audience who views a show through two particular lenses: an enjoyment lens, and an analytical lens. With ToZX, I’m simply enjoying it because I am a fan of the characters. But at the same time, I lack the confidence to recommend the anime to viewers who wears the same lenses. Well, that’s what I feel so far.
The most glaring itch I can’t put aside from watching this episode is Sorey. I never really paid him any notice during the game. For me, he’s just a sprite needed for a player to control — a vehicle whose only purpose is to advance the plot. Nothing fancy: just a plain, happy-go-lucky, main protag template. And, I think this is precisely what rubs me off from this episode. ToZX spent most of its introduction on the world-building and Alisha. Given that Sorey is the MC, the focus should obviously be centered around him — but it was not. It may explain why his scene of pulling the sword from the sword felt okay at most — it’s exactly what you’d expect from a generic fantasy story: generic MC acquires super powers then he vanquishes evil with the help of his friends. The end.
What made the itch worse is his motivations. To put it shortly, he wants to be the Shepherd for the overused reason that he wanted to save people, and that he wants to reunite the humans and Seraphims together. But, why? What does this say about his character? Does this make him more interesting than last episode? Sure, he acquires the power of friendship enabling him to transform (which looked awesome btw). That’s all there is to it. There really isn’t much of an exposition available to warrant the interests of the viewers and go say “hey, this dude is cool”. By far, ToZX is simple labeling him as the good person with nothing in between.
Don’t get me wrong. I mentioned a couple of times that Zestiria’s main strength is its characters, and considering that we haven’t even met half of Sorey’s crew, it may sound unfair of me to criticize Sorey early on. Afterall, it’s only when Sorey meets and interacts with the whole gang where he and his party truly shines. The preview skit is a testament of this. If last episode’s skit wasn’t funny enough, they did a brick joke with Mikleo, and also threw in a Lailah klutzness for good measure this week. It’s times like these where you get to feel and bond with characters, and it’s exactly what is lacking from this point of the plot both in the anime and in the game.
The last quip I have with this episode is a minor one. Usually, when we need to portray danger, the atmosphere should also change to match the intensity of the scene — regardless if it’s just a quick skirmish/dialogue or a grandiose boss battle. The wyvern battle was cool, and I couldn’t ask for a better climax, though how the atmosphere was portrayed with their encounter with Lunarre during the first part made me sigh in exasperration. Lunarre is mysterious, sinister, and dangerous. Normally, we’ll expect the surroundings to match the gravitas of the situation. Unfortunately, they did this bland chase scene on a roof-top. Oh, look! Chimneys and blue skies! Fun! The backdrop of blue and orange easily dissolved all the tension of the should-be tense scene, and totally felt unnecessary and random. For all I care, they could’ve done the encounter in a dark, dank alley. It wouldn’t make the story less than what it is, as it will actually add more sense of importance to what’s happening.
Well, it could be an allusion to “there is trouble everywhere” but.. c’mon — I hate it when I’m pedantic like this.
- I really want to talk about Lailah. You’ll understand why in the following episodes.
- Lailah’s new VA, Noriko Shitaya, is a pretty good fit. She actually sounds younger than the original Lailah (who, sadly, passed away last year).
- The latter part of the episode was totally different from the game which is a good news considering how better it turned out to be.
So far so good. My anime-only side is starting to be pleased, while my game-only side isn’t disappointed with what it’s seeing from start to finish. At this rate, the anime adaptation can go anywhere. I wonder what’s going to happen next, though?