Tales of Zestiria the X – Episode 9

Oh, look. It’s the quest I never bothered to finish!

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Episode 9 is thankfully a huge improvement from last week’s lackluster performance. Though if I have to be candid, it’s starting to become difficult for me to see myself liking this adaptation than what I initially expected out of it — unless they have something up their sleeves to play later on. As a reiteration of the game’s messy storyline, ToZX sure is doing well at rearranging the plot-points into something more fitting for a medium outside its source, albeit the execution is rather skewed at times (see episode 8). However, the anime-only part of me has a slightly sour note to say as far as enjoyment goes.

First off, I have this suspecting feeling that I would probably be enjoying ToZX a lot more right now if I don’t have prior knowledge of the source material. I guess the reason for that is basically because I already know what’s going to happen; the only thing that’s keeping me surprised and invested are the changes in the storyline, never before seen character moments, and, well, the cast itself. Of course, ToZX is delivering on these departments and I’m glad I get to see Sorey and the crew with new hijinks and all, but say, if I take those things away and view it in a more technical approach (which is what I’ve been doing for a couple of episodes), what else is there to look forward to?

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Well, how about the kick-ass visuals? Surely it’s going to be gr — honestly, looking back at all the ufotable releases there are, I can say that ToZX is a step down from their usual A-game — same case with Gods Eater. Sure, the background art looks sleek, the 3D-CGI ain’t bad either, the visuals are a bar above average at most, but what I feel lacking here is good toppings on pizza, or cheese on popcorns or whatever, which is exactly what got me hyped on UBW and Kara no Kyoukai. Don’t get me wrong. There are outstanding moments of fight choreography that’s very much commendable thanks to the 3D-CGI, but considering the amount of encounters we have so far, they’re only few in numbers. I don’t remember it much but Sorey’s fight with the dragon felt a bit… uninspired, and the fact that I can’t remember anything that transpired is an indication of how meh it was. Compare this with, say… Sorey’s first armatization (fusion) with Lailah when he went full-Excalibur. Now that’s what could’ve spiced this episode up instead of some random sword slashes here and there.

Of course, I’m only saying this because I’m specifically looking for something more outside of what I already am aware of. Well, I did get some Velvet but that’s beyond my point. I know using OPM as an example is a bit unfair, but for the sake of clarity, might as well throw it in the bucket. I’ve read OPM before watching the anime. I wasn’t even sure how the adaptation will turn out. Will they make Saitama an even cooler hero? Will there be anime-only materials included? No. We didn’t get any of that and instead, we were treated to a tour de force of animation the like of which we’ll never see in the manga. I don’t even want to mention the terrible pacing last week and during earlier weeks but… whatever, you get what I mean.

But, hey, we did get some Edna this episode! Hell, yeah we did. There couldn’t have been a better way to introduce her than to throw her literally into Sorey’s face. That was fun stuff. Then again, this only further proves my point: these little changes, these new side to a party I spent hours with, are the only thing that’s keeping me watch ToZX. Viewing it outside of this set of expectations yields an experience that’s left with so much to be desired. That’s not to say that this episode is bad though. It actually had great pacing and the transitions, from Sorey’s side to Mikleo’s, were a great improvement than last week’s. It’s just that… it’s sorely missing the cherry on top of the muffin.

Short thoughts:

  • I… come to think of it, what’s Mikleo doing? I mean, I find it funny that it’s only Mikleo who needs to look for his Sacred Relic. It’s like the game designers went “hey, let’s make it so that Sorey needs to find these relics first before he can fuse with the Seraphs and do cool stuff!” then scrapped the idea afterwards.
  • I prefer this side to Zaveid. In the game, he’s initially portrayed as an obnoxious douchebag antagonist.
  • How do you make a loli (petite) even cuter? Make her younger and smaller! Damn it.
  • I never got close to even beating Aizen. In fact, he’s stronger than the final/main boss in the game. Actually, there’s this turtle…
  • I filled this post with Edna screenies because c’mon.

I guess that’s it for this week! I’ll be continuing my coverage of ToZX until it’s finished. I know, I’m not liking it as a stand-alone anime like most do. On the bright side, the cast is almost complete! This is something I’ve been looking forward to ever since. I’ll see you guys next episode!

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5 comments

  1. Wait what the hell, I thought I posted this earlier when I liked the page lol.

    Sounds like your of the same mixed opinion as I am. I haven’t played the game(s) so I can’t speak to it in that regard but I’ll at least say I’m glad we got the content that we did this week. Fighting dragons, visiting temples, and meeting people that aren’t the same characters we’ve been with since Ep 1 has finally brought on the feel of ‘adventure’ for me. Honestly I think the pacing of the show is downright horrible and that it’s taken so long to arrive at this point is kind of a problem but I’m at least glad we’re here now and I’m hoping for more of this stuff going forward. That being said, I agree that this isn’t up to par with a lot of Ufotable’s other works but I also went in thinking it would be just a game adaptation without a particularly strong narrative.

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    1. I get what you mean. The game certainly has that air of adventure and the characters made the travel even more worthwhile. I guess I’ve become somewhat a bit apathetic with the anime since I’ve already felt that breeze of adventure in the game. The only thing that’s keeping me hooked in this adaptation are the /new/ stuff, but the changes can only entertain me to a certain extent. If the technical aspects (pacing, directing, etc.) were a lot better, I’m sure my opinions will be more on the positive side of things.

      Though to be fair, the game has scattered side-quests that they actually used to explain the narrative, but these side-quests doesn’t really fit into an anime which means they’ll have to cut it, patch the important bits in, then bam — the story is more straightforward in this adaptation, but the pacing kinda suffered in that regard.

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  2. kirosanchi · · Reply

    Well i get what you mean in animation but to be fair, there were scenes already made for the game and it wouldve been a fair assumption that they maintain the same level to match the already existing material. Personally don’t think ufotable did anything wrong in that regard

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    1. Oh, the animation was fine. I meant to say it lacks a finisher to cap the hype off. The scene with Sorey and Lailah’s first fusion was sooo better than the game because they changed who the opponent was, and they even had him throw a supposedly One Hit KO attack — which is something that caught me off guard to good effect. It’s different, and they gave that moment the impact I was looking for.

      Now, following this, all I’ve been seeing are… not that impressive in comparison to the example above. I understand that ufotable may not have the leisure to add more shenanigans because of the pacing and the material they can cover within an episode, but then that’s exactly what could’ve become my cherry on top.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t played the games and while I’m enjoying this show, if I were to judge it by my normal standards the story is a mess. That said, it’s kind of a fun mess and I really do want to see where it goes. Hopefully they can bring it all together.

    Liked by 1 person

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