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.
I spent the whole episode with the PS4 controller firm in my hands. No, I wasn’t playing something at the same time. No matter how desperately some people want to convince us, multitasking is a lie. The reason was that I got so immersed into the story I felt like I was playing the game one more time.
In my book that means a job well done by ufotable and another amazing episode for ‘Tales of Zestiria’.
The episode spent most of its run building the conditions that will lead to the start of our protagonist’s adventure. Sorey might be human, but he lived with the Seraphim his whole life. He hasn’t been outside the village, and his beliefs come from the noble nature of the villagers and the words inside his most treasured possession, the Celestial Record that tells the story of the Shepherd and praises a time when coexistence between Seraphim and humans was a reality.
Alisha, unable to see the Seraphim, attempts to ask for their help to save the world. Her faith in the Shepherd is weakened at first, but Sorey helps her regain her confidence. When Alisha decides to leave the village to return to LadyLake, she invites Sorey to the festival to take part in the trials of the Sacred Sword.
Not long after, a Hellion attacks the village. When it becomes clear that he is after Alisha, Sorey and Mikleo decide to go to the capital and find her.
Faith Vs Doubt: The legend of the Shepherd is just that for Alisha, a legend. Even though she wants to believe that the words inside the Celestial Record speak of something tangible, lack of evidence make it difficult for her to remain optimistic in finding a savior for her dying world. Doubt is a coping mechanism. Through doubt and the successful efforts of Sorey to help Alisha regain her confidence, their faith in the Shepherd emerges stronger than before. Just like an athlete needs to stumble before he can rise again, our heroes need to questions the validity of their most sacred text to believe in hope.
Diversity & Respect: Sorey’s dream is to see a world where the Seraphim and humans can coexist in peace. The hero is usually driven by higher ideals in which we can relate.
Egocentrism & Peace: During the recent terrorists attacks in Nice, Istanbul, Paris, etc. we have seen the western public in shock for the attacks were too close to their homes. It was easy to see war in faraway places and we usually react to acts of war that seem too far away with apathy. Sorey and Mikleo’s grandfather believes that true peace cannot be achieved when we selfishly desire peace only for ourselves and for those we feel closer to.
The Hero’s Journey: Sorey’s tale is a classic example of the hero’s journey. The first episodes show our hero in his natural environment, his comfort zone. He is surrounded by things and people he knows, but at the same time he is uneasy because he knows there is a calling he must adhere to. Then comes the call to adventure: The arrival of Alisha and his battle with the Hellion demand of Sorey to face a life-changing decision.
Before the anime I thought that a retelling of the story would be boring as hell. I was so wrong. The visuals and the background music feel fresh, while the actors are trying their best to reprise their roles like this is the first time going through the story. Kudos on using the same seiyu (voice actor, 声優).
I also loved how the previews break the fourth wall to address the viewer or acknowledge the fact that they are in fact video game characters. I am a huge fan of Deadpool and I think that breaking the fourth wall is a nice reminder that we shouldn’t take this stories literally. We should instead try to find the moral, the reasons behind the story and apply these lessons to our reality.
“Where is my controller?”
When Sorey and Mikleo stand on the edge of the cliff watching the distant sunrise, I could almost feel that sense of adventure that comes during the beginning of a new role playing game. The protagonist is ready to face the World Map that exceeds the closed boundaries of his starting position. The game is about to get real.
NEXT TIME: “The Sacred Blade Festival”
Official Site http://toz-thex-anime.tales-ch.jp/en/