“EPISODE 01 Ten no miyako” (EPISODE01 天の都)
This is the OFFICIAL episode 01, since the last episode was actually Episode 00. A fitting name since what it did was to link the anime movie made to promote the game with the new series.
Now it’s time to see what ‘Tales of Zestiria’ is really about.
Our princess, Alish, is determined to find the Shepherd, the prophesized hero that will save the land of Glenwood. While inside the mysterious ruins we left her in the previous episodes, she finds a giant mural of the Shepherd and she is attacked by a swarm of insects. She ultimately finds her way inside the ancient temple and tries to find a way to whatever she is destined to find.
Alish’s character is portrayed confidingly in both in both writing and animation. She is brave enough to search for the Shepherd, but the reasons behind her training as a knight are evident in her reactions: she is afraid of the unknown. Who wouldn’t be?
Very close to the ruins, we meet the main protagonist of the game (and the anime as it seems) Sorey (which is pronounced as スレイ、Surei) and his childhood friend Mikleo. The voice artists from the game reprised their roles, and that gives an air of authenticity to the characters, at least for the viewers who are familiar with it. Sorey is an adventurous but rush human that was raised by the Seraphim. Mikleo is the Seraph aligned with the Element of Water who is the complete opposite; he is calm and considerate and acts as the voice of reason between the two. They are forbidden by their grandfather to go near the ruins (where Alish currently is). In a well-placed scene, Sorey reads from the Chapter of the Advent of the Celestial Record (the same book that was quoted in the first episode). We learn about the Capital of the Seraphim and their relation with the humans, while at the same time that knowledge serves as the reason behind our heroes’ insubordination. They decide to ignore their grandfather’s advice and head to the ruins.
There they will anger the elements, discover an underground temple, save Arish, and gasp in awe when she asks Sorey if he is the Shepherd.
Of course he is. This is a videogame. The protagonist is always the hero, isn’t he?
World References (also known as Things You Want to Google About): The Capital of the Seraphim is clearly inspired by the architecture of ancient South American civilization such as the Mayas or the Incas. Or maybe the Aztecs. I am not a history expert. If anyone knows more about these stuff, please enlighten us in the comments. It’s a subject worth checking out. In-game though they are part of the Asgard civilization. In Norse mythology Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds and home to the gods. Norse Mythology has always been an inspiration for the Japanese. And then, there is the sword in the stone which refers to the Arthurian legends and the sword Excalibur.
Quest for Discovery: Our protagonists are all out on a quest. Some to save a world, some to discover new exciting things. Discovery commands action, and that action cries for adventure. Adventure can always be found through a personal quest.
Companionship & Family: Sorey and Mikleo are bonded through a strong friendship that resembles, if not surpasses, sibling love. Childhood friendships have always played a prominent role in Japanese storytelling. The Japanese believe that everything can be achieved through team work and that’s why, contrary to Western games and stories, they place their focus on a group of heroes who are destined to save the world through their camaraderie.
I can’t get enough of the first few second of the intro. Flow’s ‘Kaze no Uta’ has an epic feeling to it that perfectly blends in with the equally epic plot of ‘Tales of Zestiria’. The same goes for that nostalgic, sentimental touch of the hand-drawn ending which is accompanied by Fhana’s ‘Calling’.
In case you stop watching an episode the moment the ending credits begin to roll, know that most of the times you miss some epic reference moments. Each project has its own unique way of telling you what you should expect in the next episode; ‘Tales of Zestiria’ has an awesome videogame-like sequence complete with text boxes and highlighted character models.
I was really excited that the second part of the episode is similar to the way the videogame starts. Overall, there is this videogamey feeling evident throughout: from the background music to the lets-hop-on-boulders sequence.
And the rating is…
I WANT MORE.
That’s the feeling this episode left me with. As a JRPG enthusiast, I can relate to the things portrayed throughout the episode. That doesn’t mean that the series is only for fans of the video game. The backstory is introduced in scenes that provide the necessary knowledge you need to enjoy the plot.
NEXT TIME: “EPISODE 02 Izuchi” (EPISODE02 イズチ)
Official Site http://toz-thex-anime.tales-ch.jp/en/