“#03 Seiken-sai The Sacred Blade Festival” (#03 聖剣祭 The Sacred Blade Festival)
‘Tales of Zestiria’ tries very hard to give justice to the game. The epic boss battles, the vibrant colors, and the impressive battle moves were certain to prove a challenge for ufotable. This episode proved that the studio has the situation under control.
Flaming swords, incorporeal dragons, more Seraphim, assassins, close-quarter combat: This week had it all.
At every new episode of ‘Tales of Zestiria’ I am eagerly awaiting those first few bagpipe notes of the opening theme. The theme is usually tied to the last scene of the intro and this time it started after a short interaction between Sorey and Mikleo arriving at the capital. They probably gained a few levels on their journey (random battles and stuff) and now they need to find a way to enter the castle town of Ladylake and find Princess Alisha.
An unnamed character (who you probably know if you played the games) helps them get into town and leaves with a feeling that this is not the last time we see her. The scene almost felt like a video game sequence: Our character needs to go into town -> he doesn’t have a pass -> someone has a pass -> they help the character get into town.
The fox villain is in town as well, but he’s not after the princess. In a scene that expands on the internal conflict plaguing the kingdom, an official is plotting the assassination of the princess by manipulating two assassins of the Scattered Bones guild into believing that her death will benefit the greater good.
The rest of the episode is played inside the temple that shelters the Sacred Blade. It is guarded by a Seraph of fire called Lailah who along with Mikleo senses the overwhelming amount of negative energy that surrounds the city. After a well-written speech by Alisha and an I-am-gonna-be-the-hero proclamation by Sorey, we get two incredible fight scenes, one between the assassin and Alisha and the other between the newly appointed Seraph and a Hellion dragon. Saying any more would spoil the fun for those of you who haven’t seen the episode yet.
The Arthurian legends provide most of the references on this episode:
Lady of the Lake: The Lady of the Lake is the name of the ruler of Avalon in the Arthurian legends. She gave King Arthur his sword Excalibur. Different writers give the character the name Nimue, Viviane, Vivien, Elaine, Ninianne, Nivian, Nyneve, or Evienne. If you want to learn more about the myth and you are not much of a reader, you can see the John Boorman directed ‘Excalibur’ from 1981 that was based solely on the 15th century Arthurian romance ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’ by Thomas Malory.
Sword in the Stone: There is tendency to mistake the sword in the stone as the magical weapon Excalibur. While this may be true in many legends, the Sword in the Stone is more often a different sword which only the rightful king of Britain can pull from the stone.
Lailah: The angel Lailah (Hebrew word for night) is an angel in some interpretations in the Talmud and in some later Jewish mythology. The ending lah is a feminine and thus Lailah is the only angel with a feminine name and distinctly feminine characteristics.
This episode was EPIC.
I may be overreacting just a bit, but the reason behind me exaggerating is ufotable’s awesome delivery. The decision to keep the game’s voice cast is working wonders for the overall feeling, the direction of Haruo Sotozaki has a gamey feeling that focuses on the action, and the music of Motoi Sakuraba and Go Shiina does justice to every scene.
The CGI blends incredibly well with the rest of the animation. From the water movements and the fire flickering to the incorporeal dragon, every computer generated graphic was created in such a way that didn’t feel foreign or intrusive.
I love the way the previews link to each other. If you remember last episode’s preview, Sorey asked Mikleo to do a funny face next time. Well, he did and that was awesome. We also get to learn a few things about Lailah, like her favorite hobbies and how old she is.
And the rating is…
I am a little puzzled as to whether people read reviews after they see an episode or before. I usually read them after an episode to compare my thoughts with the reviewer’s, and read a few original insights. Many people though read a review to answer the question ‘Should I see it?’, ‘Is it worth it?’
I usually try to keep my reviews spoiler-free, but since I make my commentary while working through the plot, it’s sometimes difficult to keep some details hidden.
I have a question for you. When do you read reviews? After or before seeing an episode?
NEXT TIME: The Shepherd’s Destiny
Official Site http://toz-thex-anime.tales-ch.jp/en/