“#04 Dōshi no Sadame” (#04 導師のさだめ)
The series continues to pay homage to the videogame by giving us all those wonderful JRPG clichés we love in a way that feels fresh and interesting.
Sorey’s first battle as the newly awakened Shepherd took a toll on his health. He wakes up three days later with Mikleo and Lailah by his side.
Alisha, relieved that the prophesized hero (towards whom she is definitely developing a crush), is disappointed that she is unable to communicate with the two Seraphs. Through Lailah’s guidance and Sorey’s breath-holding ability, the Shepherd is used as a conduit so that the princess can communicate with the Mikleo and Lailah. Ufotable’s attention to detail really shines in his scene. Alisha’s eyes when she hears the Seraph voice betrayed her unyielding faith in their existence. Combine the excellent animation with the incredible voice-acting and you have a scene that conveys the right emotions at the right time.
“It’s the heart that breeds Malevolence and brings forth calamity” Lailah
What begun with faith, continued with hope as the citizens of Ladylake raised flags in honor of the Shepherd. A few scenes later, both faith and hope are contaminated by greed and narrow-mindedness. The internal politics of the kingdom are as spiteful as Malevolence itself, and the request of the council to hand over the Shepherd like he is some kind of property reminds us of the subjectivity that governs our species. A beacon of hope, like the Shepherd, can easily be transformed into an instrument of destruction if only the wicked had their way. Our world has many similar examples, from nuclear energy to space weaponization.
The second part of the episode again plays like a videogame. Our party encounters a locked dungeon which opens only after they solve the necessary puzzle. Further inside the maze they encounter their first battle, a swarm of evil-infested bats who are defeated by the combined powers of the party members. The necessary dungeon escape sequence included both the necessary music and the action-RPG like obstacles it needed to feel as gamey as possible.
After the battle, we learn at last who the main adversary is (The Lord of Calamity) and that Sorey must travel the world to gather the necessary strength, and of course meet the necessaryなかま (nakama – friends) that will help him defeat the Lord. Now the Hero’s Journey is well underway. Our hero has both a raison d’ etre and the first party members.
Ready to venture out to the World Map? Well, we have to wait a few episodes for that, right after Sorey gets the chance to face that huge Malevolence twister that is heading towards Ladylake.
Dragon Imagery: I love dragons. From the Chinese long-neck Dragonball-style serpents to the majestic Dungeon and Dragons’ colored array, dragons always left me mesmerized. In ‘Tales of Zestiria’ are not loved as much. According to Mikleo:
“Dragons are incarnation of calamity, the messenger of destruction, the symbol of bad luck”
Ouch. That’s not the best reputation to have. Dragons have appeared in almost every human culture. There are various theories that place the first dragon myths in the imagination of primitive people unearthing dinosaur bones. Huge bones could only belong to huge creatures after all, and a dragon was as good a guess as any. The dragon symbolism went through myriads of incarnation and it still exists today. The Loch Ness monster is one example of a modern day dragon-like creature. Since dragons are one of the most universal symbols, they have an unwavering popularity. From fantasy books to videogames and literature, they continue to spark our imagination.
Ufotable is doing an amazing job with incorporating the 3d elements. From the environments to the dungeon and the enemies, everything seems incorporated in such a seamless way that the 3d textures are actually enhancing the 2d drawings.
The same can be said about the soundtrack. Respectful to the plot, the score gracefully complements each individual scene. It felt like the tension of the music followed closely the tension of the story, creating suspense when needed and slowing things down when the action subsided.
And the rating is…
Sorey and his two Seraph partners are standing on top of a castle alcove, under heavy rain, waiting to face the most badass Malevolence storm. If I understood correctly from the preview, the next episode is going to fill in some of the backstory instead of continuing the narrative.
NEXT TIME: The Beginning of the Calamity, “#05 Saiyaku no hajimari” (#05 災厄のはじまり)
Official Site http://toz-thex-anime.tales-ch.jp/en/