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Tales of Zestiria The X

For some reason or another, I never played any title from the 'Tales of' video game series, despite having owned a Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and more recently, a Nintendo 3DS. It was no surprise that ufotable's adaptation of Tales of Zestiria wasn't exactly a 'must-watch' for me during this year's Summer season. However, the endless discussion surrounding the anime piqued my interest at some point. 

From fans gushing over how much the anime improved on the game's poor story, ufotable's usual stunning 3D animation and the quality of the art in general, it reached a point where I couldn't resist putting this series on the backburner for long, even among all the other anime I was watching then.

The plot seemed simple enough and an atypical one from any generic fantasy RPG at that. The land of Glenwood is in chaos and demons known as hellions are running rampant. To make things worse, two countries are on the brink of war. Cue Sorey, the would-be saviour of the world. He goes on a journey to gather allies for the battles ahead and attempts to stop the war between the two nations.

It sounds boring and linear but ufotable's changes to the game's original story and overall execution made Tales of Zestiria the X anything but. Firstly, the many fights were visual spectacles, especially those against epic creatures such as dragons. Sorey stole the show whenever he merged with any of his Seraph allies, displaying various elemental powers. Ufotable had a field day with those fight scenes and I'm eagerly waiting for the final showdown in the second cour airing next year.

The cast in Tales of Zestiria the X helped to lift the otherwise uninspiring story. From Edna and Mikleo verbally sparring all the way to the episode previews to princess Alisha's many displays of courage and determination, which were otherwise missing in the game. The character designs themselves were attractive and detailed, a ufotable standard by this point.

One gripe I have about the anime would be the two episodes focusing on the Tales of Berseria game. Although it was entertaining, it served little to no purpose other than to advertise the game. The cast is completely different and only one character would make an appearance in later episodes, albeit in a different capacity. The two episodes could have been used to ease into the second cour or to develop the main cast instead.

I'm looking forward to the second cour next year and I'm even picking up the Tales of Berseria game next month to see how its connected to Tales of Zestiria. I applaud ufotable for the adaptation, not being afraid to cut the flab and make crucial changes from the source material's poor story. I do hope that ufotable creates a Tales of Berseria anime as well, after the Fate/Stay Night Heaven's Feel trilogy.

Written by ET

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