I stand corrected. I thought that Tales of Zestiria was just a promotion technique by Bandai Namco to keep alive the hype around its newest Tales of duo, Zestiria and Berseria. In an age where most anime are just created for promotion, the notion didn’t seem far-fetched, and maybe that was really the case… at the beginning. Because after the preview, the episode included a small video announcing the production of the second season.
Another season of ufotable awesomeness? Yes, please.
Japanese Title: 戦争 The War
Alisha and her 1,800 troops are heading to Glaivend Basin to stop the war between Roland and Hyland that Bartlow is too keen to start… and win.
Alisha and Sorey arrive only to find that war has already broken loose. With no hopes of mediating a truce before bloodshed, Alisha’s only hope is to take charge of Hyland’s troops.
After Sorey managed to purify one part of the battlefield, he realizes that the extent of war is too much for him to handle. There is also a human hellion running the malevolence party who is identified by Sorey as the Lord of Calamity. Alisha is gravely wounded while trying to stop General Landon, but she insists in not killing a single Hyland soldier.
The whole episode was one big magnificent highlight, but I will try to focus on the most impressive scenes.
Character Skits: The Tales Of series of Jrpg games is known for two things: their unique approach to combat and their character skits. Like in the games, the protagonist takes time to talk to each of the characters before major events. Characters are built and opinions are voiced, and in return, the player feels more connected to them. In this episode we have the major event, the coming war, and the skits (whether they involved Sorey or not) telling us more about each one of the main characters.
Opening Theme: I love this song. It’s my favorite opening theme of the season and definitely the most epic. I found myself singing the opening tune as loud as I could, and by now I am probably the laugh of the neighborhood.
Opening Scene: And after the amazing opening theme (which added a few Tales of Berseria images if I wasn’t mistaken) we had an incredible opening scene: Alisha’s army galloping across an open plain as the camera zooms out affected by sun flares. I don’t want to make a separate comment about all the amazing scenes of this episode. We had at least two or three wallpaper worthy scenes: the shadow silhouettes of the army against the setting sun, the starry night sky, the running river water, the war scenes and the fight of Rose and Alisha against the Hyland soldiers. Sorey standing atop of the hill as the camera widens to show the battlefield beneath him. Sorey taking the malevolence and being affected by the hatred of war. And that’s just what comes to the top of my head. Which was your favorite scene?
Themes & Trivia
War: The reality and absurdity of war is undeniably grotesque. Humans are ready to sacrifice themselves for false ideals and hidden agendas. One man’s ambition may become a million men’s death. Sorey tries his best to purify as many soldiers as he can, but the solution does not lie in stopping the war where it manifests. The solution lies in preventing war before it even begins.
Protector of the Land: Sorey is a neutral protector. As such, he can’t take a side during times of war. He is the Shepherd and his job is to protect all human beings. He is the savior that will carry the burden of Malevolence unto him. If I had to guess, I’d say that the final sacrifice must be that of the Shepherd himself.
Road to Peace: Even when Alisha has decided that she will follow a path of non-violence, violence seems to be the only way to achieve that goal. Most of the times, the road to peace is paved with the blood of the innocent. There is only one state the world can follow, and that’s the state forced by the hand of the strongest. Whether it is peace or war, that state can only be achieved through battle. Ironic, isn’t it?
From the fourteen series I am watching this season, Tales of Zestiria is probably the best-looking in terms of animation. Ufotable’s attention to detail is amazing. The animation is fluid. The voice actors play as though they care for characters (being the same as the game certainly helped a little). The direction is amazing, with each scene connected to the last and the next, creating a flow that leaves no space for unnecessary interruptions.
And the rating is…
This is the first anime episode of SUMMER 2016 I’ve given a full score. I am probably affected by the announcement of the second season, the amazing animation done by ufotable, the fact that it’s a videogame adaptation, or the combination of all the above.
I can’t wait to learn more about the Lord of Calamity and Alisha’s fate.
NEXT TIME: Final Episode, ‘The Lord of Calamity (災禍の顕主)
Official Site http://toz-thex-anime.tales-ch.jp/en/