And the award for worst infiltration in the history of infiltrations goes to Episode 20 of Tales of Zestiria the X! As if everyone is in the fast forward, this was probably the longest intro of this season, and still the scene could have taken half an episode if it had been shown right. Instead, Alisha and her pups are found out as soon as they enter the city, as if they were caught by the CCTV. How about the rest of the episode? Let’s learn from the best, and rush this review to the end.
Japanese Title: 浄化 Purification
Tales of Zestiria lives in its own unique world, where everything is possible and everything is either rushed to the point that we travel forward in time, or stopped to the point that the people in the scene are confused as to whether they can, or should, act at all. We saw examples of both scattered throughout the episode. Alisha and her infiltration were found out too quickly. Sorey and his gang are out of things to discuss and repeat things they know already or focus on a tornado that they see in the horizon for the zillionth time today. Maltran is a prisoner who acts as bait, but when she engaged in conversation with the fox guy, the guards may have liked the scene a bit too much to engage immediately.
And then we had Bartlow suddenly realizing Alisha’s plan; Alisha realizing that her father was behind all this; Her father realizing that she looks too much like her mother and maybe he should stop being behind all this; As the King is contemplating parenthood and duty, Bartlow is realizing that maybe he is an awesome swordsman who can easily overcome Alisha who is an excellent warrior and knows martial arts; Alisha then forgets that is an excellent warrior and knows martial arts and falls to the mercy of Bartlow; The King also forgets that he was behind all this Malevolence and maybe because Alisha looks too much like her mother falls into his death to protect her. Then Alisha reminds Bartlow that all his followers don’t trust him anymore because they were there in the room when everything happened (maybe he has just 10 followers) and that he will rot in a cell; Then Baltrow, the only face of evil we were allowed to indulge in for this season, the person who schemed everything for fortune and power, decided to commit suicide because… because… hmmm… Yeah. And all that, IN UNDER 10 MINUTES. Are you still wondering what’s wrong with this show? It’s not the characters. It’s not the plot. It’s the damn pacing.
Fire Dragon: I feel so sad that the only highlight of this week was this AMAZING dragon. I had been hoping for a longer fight, but for all their faults, the production made a few right choices with this scene: First, the soundtrack. The song that was used in the backdrop was Rising Up from Courtney Knott. The song is part of the original OST for the video game Tales of Zestiria. My only objection? The dragon went down too easily. I could hear the production team behind the castle shouting, ‘GET DOWN! THIS FIGHT IS RIGGED. WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY.’
Themes & Trivia
No themes. No trivia. Nothing of importance. I am going to retire to my cave and try and write some meaningful comments that will save this review from being utterly boring. If you do want to read some interesting things about this series, I implore you to check the previous reviews. Check them out in our Anime Info page for Tales of Zestiria.
Three things saved this episode from boring me to death: Minami’s amazing intro song Illuminate; the amazing insert song that played during the BATTLE (yei!) called Rising Up and performed by Courtney Knott; and ufotable’s amazing animation. That dragon was super cool. As the best in the industry say: if you don’t have anything else, bring a cool dragon to the play. Cool dragons make you forget about everything.
To be honest, Tales of Zestiria can’t rush things enough to make us forget about the lack of meaningful content that plagues the series. I have been reviewing this adaptation from the beginning, and I am sad that many characters failed to get the depth they deserved. Alisha in particular; she is an intelligent woman who clings to her ideals and believes that standing for what you believe in is our foremost duty. Admirable, and a trait that could have been explored more.
The same applies to the Seraphs, who in the course of the series were reduced to mere NPCs. The friendship between Sorey and Mikleo that we witnessed during the first episodes of the first season quickly disappeared.
I have been crying for a battle for so many episodes. Now that we got something that resembled a battle, I was reminded that the flaws of this series are too deep too be amended by mere action.
We have four episodes left, and not enough time to cover the main arc. There is a real antagonist out there, and I am afraid that the anime is going for a third cour. Do I sound unhappy? I am, because if a third cour does come, I’m not sure I will keep the same ‘everything’s gonna be alright’ attitude for long enough.
Did you like Episode 20 of Tales of Zestiria the X? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic reviews for Winter 2017!