Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
Tales of Zestiria is not taking either itself or its viewers seriously. Episode 19 continues with the pre-opening scenes that just repeat the last scenes of the previous episode, in a desperate attempt to remind us that ‘nothing really happened.’ Aside from another impressive vista, the only new information we get is that Alisha and Sorey have a bad reception on their psychic signal.
Japanese Title: レディレイク Ladylake
My worst nightmare came true with Episode 19 of Tales of Zestiria the X: After what I call the ‘Rose Arc’ we now have the ‘Alisha Arc.’ I am beginning to suspect that the slow build up is hinting either a third cour, an original ending, or a cliffhanger that will scream ‘BUY THE GAME.’
Ufotable took the time to put Alisha in various situations in which they could demonstrate their amazing animation (and it is amazing) but no awesome tornadoes, realistic galloping, or life-like water can hide the terrible dialogues and the loose plot. The clunky pacing that we experienced with the story of Rose was passed to Alisha.
Tales of Zestiria is still missing a real villain, an enemy that can make our hearts skip a beat (out of fear) and whom we can use as a yardstick to measure our heroes’… heroism. Baltrow is just a caricature that is neither frightening nor threatening. The dull scene with Alisha’s father (where was he all this time?) was a little worse than the dull scene with Alisha’s mentor, and even her crucifixion failed to make me feel anything else than frustration.
Sorey is still rushing to Ladylake, and his only contribution to the episode was to confirm that a tornado is heading to Ladylake, and to shout, ‘Let’s Go!’ They sure say ‘let’s go’ a lot in this series. It usually takes them three to four episodes to get to their destination.
The only redeeming moment of this episode is the theme of moral ambiguity that we also found in the Rose story. The difference between Rose and Alisha is that the princess is closer to Sorey than Rose ever was. Her strong moral compass never wavers from her true north, that of refusing to kill anyone. Even when teased by Lunarre, she stuck firmly to what she believes in, even though she agreed with what he said. Like a female John Lennon, she says:
I don’t care if people say I’m a dreamer…
… but I guess she’s not the only one… lalala
Alisha believes that the only way to prove her point and win Ladylake back is to bring Baltrow down without spilling any blood, and that’s why she decides to infiltrate the city for a stealth rescue mission.
Zaveid: Why was this a highlight? Because I was expecting Sorey to save the day, but no… Zaveid made a random appearance in a random moment just to test Siegfried (more in Themes & Trivia) and contribute nothing to the plot.
Lunarre: Another random visitor to the show. I really had forgotten about him. He just dropped by to ask Alisha to change her mind and stop being such a noble person because… because… I have no idea why.
Malevolence: This Malevolence Ex Machina prevented yet another battle from happening and saved Alisha and her comrades at just the right time. Convenience is something I always despised as a plot mechanism, but sometimes shit just happen. Like a huge Malevolence river sweeping an entire platoon of knights, and just those that threaten our heroes of course.
Siegfried: The name of Zaveid’s sidearm may remind different things to different people: For anime fans it may remind Dubhe Alpha Siegfried from Saint Seiya; to video gamers the name may remind them Siegfried Schtauffen, the main protagonist of the Soul Calibur series; for opera enthusiasts it probably bring to mind Swan Lake or Wagner’s opera. But what all these characters have in common is a connection to a figure in Norse mythology that actually has a thing in common with Tales of Zestiria as well: Sigurd, the legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga, in which he has to kill Fafnir, the son of the dwarf king Hreidmar who had been turned into a dragon. Norse mythology (like all major mythologies) has been extensively used in popular culture, and even if you haven’t read the Norse texts, you probably know who Odin and Thor are.
Tales of Zestiria is suffering from a lack of action. I could have dealt with all the unnecessary dialogues; I really don’t want to see any more characters confirming things we already know or what another character just said unless we get some real battles to counter them. We could have had both, but it is evident that Tales’s lumpy pace is not going to change anytime soon.
I really can’t remember when was the first time I started bitching about the lack of battles in Tales of Zestiria the X. I still want to believe that the show is slowly building up to a major battle (and it probably will bring such a battle in the end) but I don’t know if anything can redeem the rest of the show for its uninspiring dialogues and weird directing. Yet, that battle is the only thing that makes me stick to this show. That and ufotable’s amazing animation.
Did you like Episode 19 of Tales of Zestiria the X? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic reviews for Winter 2017! If you want to read the reviews of the previous episodes, you should check the Anime Info page for Tales of Zestiria.
Official Website: http://toz-thex-anime.tales-ch.jp/en/
Official Twitter: @TOZtheX
Tales of Zestiria the X © BNEI/TOZ-X