I have an alternate title to propose to ufotable for this episode. How about:
‘Edna joins the party’? *party joining videogame sound*
Where is my gamepad…?
Japanese Title: 霊峰レイフォルク
This whole episode was created for two reasons: to highlight the awesome blend of 3D and 2D drawn animation that ufotable does so well, and to have Edna join the party. I imagine the Tales of Zestiria committee sitting around the table discussing how on earth they are going to fit Edna’s backstory and have her join the party in 20 minutes. My personal opinion is that they should have divided it into two episodes, but then I am not giving the money, am I? And anime episodes are so expensive to make.
Mikleo is in the ruins trying to find the super awesome secret bow that will allow him to help Sorey in his adventures. We know nothing about the bow or the ruins but that didn’t stop the production from including a few Mikleo scenes, just to keep us on speed. Totally unnecessary, but not exactly hurting either. In a nutshell, Mikleo finds the bow, shoots a few enemies and leaves the ruins to find Sorey.
On the other hand though we have the meat of the story. Sorey and Lailah find two Seraphs and a dragon: Edna, The Cute Seraph of Earth, Zaveid, The Gun-Slinging Seraph of Wind, and Eizen, Edna’s brother who is transformed into a bad-ass dragon. Zaveid wants to kill Eizen because he believes that there is no way he can be purified, Edna is trying to be cool but in the end gets suicidal because of her sibling love that turned into despair, and Sorey gets all hero-like, transforms, and after a lecture on how hope should not be abandoned, finds a way to convince them that there is still hope for Eizen.
In the end, Zaveid goes on his way to keep his promise to his old friend Eizen, and Edna joins the party.
Ah, and Alisha can’t cross a bridge because it’s demolished. Yeah, that happened. Poor Alisha.
Preview: Before making a vow to always watch the opening and ending credits (being a creator really changes your point of view) I rarely watched the previews. Now, I never miss them and it is previews like these in Tales of Zestiria that make the effort worthwhile. I really like it when the preview transcends the usual definition of showing a few scenes from the next episode and instead gives the viewers something new. The video-game cut scene style is awesome, and this time we got to see a few Edna stills.
Enda Watching the Sunset: Probably one of the most beautiful scenes in the entire series. The moment after the battle when Edna stands on the edge of the cliff watching the violet sunset warmed my heart. The whole composition is of wallpaper quality.
The Dragon: I guess that ufotable is really bragging about the quality of their 3D. The dragon blended wonderfully with the drawn animation and the battle scenes felt natural. That was some good animation.
Themes & Trivia
Hero’s POV: What is it about heroes that makes them think like there is always a silver lining to the most horrible of situations? It’s like they are imbued with hope, and this time it was for the better. While I hate that dragons are the incarnation of evil in this world, it was the Shepherd’s insistence that gave the party the necessary evidence that not all hope is lost and the Seraphs turned into dragons may have a change to be purified.
I feel strange after watching the episode. I thought that the events leading to Edna joining the party had to be split into two episodes to give the backstory more time to mature. We learn that Seraphs turn into dragons and that one of the main character’s brother is a bod bad-ass dragon who may have retained some of his ‘humanity’ (or whatever the equivalent for Seraphs is) and the other gun-wielding main character has made the dragon a promise he intends to keep. These characters all have a past together, and even though the awesome writing made the transition as smooth as possible, it just wasn’t as strong as I might have wanted it to be. But… it was enough. The story made sense, the characters do have some clear motives, and their voice-acting was convincing. The directing and sequence of scenes could have been better placed to portray the right sequence of emotions and help the soundtrack really shine, but then it must have been tough to include all this information and a huge 3D dragon battle in the duration of a single episode.
And the rating is…
I felt like the episode was kind of rushed, but in the end I must say that the time was enough to make me feel like Edna is rightfully a full member of the party. I can’t shake the feeling that something was missing from this episode, but what the heck, it had a dragon, a cool battle, and the characters made sense.
NEXT TIME: Tales of Zestiria the X Episode 09 ~The Plague Town, 疫病の街
Official Site http://toz-thex-anime.tales-ch.jp/en/