Finally, a princess of a fantasy kingdom that actually gets stuff done.

Summary:

There’s been a strange mist affecting the land as of late. Princess Alisha (who is the princess of some kingdom that isn’t explicitly named in this episode) sends out one of her knights, Clemm, to investigate the mist that has hovered over the nearby village of Griel. Around this time, there is a “Holy Sword Festival” going on within the kingdom. The council wishes to use this as an opportunity to recruit troops to send to war, but Alisha is strongly against it.

After two weeks have passed and Clemm hasn’t returned, Alisha decides to check out the village of Griel herself. She’s accompanied by three other knights. En route to Griel, Alisha is attacked by a group of magical assassins led by a mysterious woman. After being beat in combat, the assassins quickly retreat.

Alisha is one princess that WILL mess you up.

Eventually, Alisha and her group reaches Griel. The village seems to be almost lifeless, and Alisha heads towards the source of the mist. There, she meets with Clemm, who had been helping her uncle research the strange mist. Unfortunately, a large magical tornado starts up, and Alisha and Clemm attempt to outrun it on horseback. As they are doing so, Clemm explains that the leylines beneath the world are what’s helping to keep their world in balance. But as the humans have stopped worshiping the gods, the leylines have become agitated and caused these unnatural occurrences, such as the mist.

So we finally get a confirmation on the source of the mist… which was pretty predictable tbh

As Alisha and Clemm attempt to escape, a battle starts between two supernatural beings. In the resulting fight, Alisha is knocked off of her horse, and Clemm is apparently knocked down a fissure. In the aftermath of the tornado, Alisha (who is deeply mourning the loss of her companions) walks back on foot to Griel, only to discover that it had been totally wiped out by the tornado.

Her outfit makes me sad.

My Opinion:

When it was time to pick anime to FI for the summer season, I had picked Tales of Zestiria because I was at least somewhat familiar with the Tales of series. For those not in the know, the Tales of series is a popular series of JRPGs, with every game having the words “Tales of” in the title. Just think of a typical European-inspired fantasy world and that pretty much explains the Tales of series. The Tales of series is also unfortunately known for being somewhat formulaic in terms of characters/plot, to the point where the newer games have gotten bad reviews for being “too much of the same.” As the only Tales of games I have ever played were Tales of Phantasia and Tales of the Abyss (due to lacking the correct game consoles for all the other games), it wouldn’t be fair for me to judge any of the later games. However, I can still judge this anime’s first episode.

The Tales of Zestiria anime is being animated by Ufotable, which a lot of Tales of fans were quite happy about. Tales of series have usually not been too lucky with the anime treatment. Tales of Phantasia only got a four episode OVA, and Tales of the Abyss was kind of plagued by not so great animation and not that great pacing. So how did the Tales of Zestiria anime fare so far? Well… The animation at least looks nice. Story-wise, I have absolutely no idea. I hate to admit whenever an anime confuses me; because I don’t want to be seen as that person who doesn’t understand what is going on unless the story is basically fed to them. However… this anime really did confuse me, and I didn’t know what was going on for the most part. I have heard that the ToZ anime is going in a different direction from the game, and no prior knowledge is needed. Even so, I feel like this anime is being catered much more to fans of the game; as a lot of the background stuff isn’t fully explained. Just what is the Holy Sword Festival? What is this world called? What is Alisha’s kingdom called? Can I also just say that Alisha’s name wasn’t fully revealed until halfway through the episode? I mean, I understand an anime not wanting to reveal EVERYTHING right from the beginning, but being totally vague isn’t that much more of an improvement.

Although this episode is listed as being a “prologue,” I feel like this would have been better if it was slipped in as episode two as a flashback or something. I do know that Sorey (the guy with brown hair) is actually the main character, so the first episode being focused on Alisha was an interesting choice. Although I’m still confused about this series’ world, I can at least understand what the basic plot is about (I think). Some evil mist is ravaging the world, because humans have forgotten how to respect the leylines (aka magical energy of that particular world) or whatever. This is the basic plot for pretty much all of the Tales of series games. However, Tales of Zestiria also has dragons and Seraphim, who are angel-like beings or something. I guess that’s new? Anyway, I think it’s safe to assume that Sorey will be the designated “hero” and will have to go on some kind of epic quest (gathering a bunch of colorful companions along the way) in order to stop “the end of the world as we know it.”

The Tales of series has always been both derided and loved for having character designs that are really… well… “anime”. That said, I don’t think ToZ is actually that bad. The character designs are certainly a lot more low-key than some of the other installments in the series; but I still cringe a bit at Alysha’s short shorts and the main female villain’s attire. The only thing I’m kind of worried about is how Tales of Zestiria’s story will play out. I think there’s a general consensus that the Tales of series has had increasingly convoluted plots in the later games, which weren’t always executed well. I just hope ToZ doesn’t fall into that particular trap.

Overall, this was an okay episode, I guess. It certainly managed to pack an emotional punch; I just wish I had understood more of what was going on. Probably won’t review this, as I’m not invested enough in ToZ to want to bother with it.

Out of five:

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I had this thought throughout the entire episode as well.

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