Title: Tales of Zestiria the X
Episodes: 1-13 (00-12)
The world is crumbling under natural and unnatural disasters. During such times, legend says, a Shepherd arises to drive back the darkness. It’s this legend Princess Alisha has risked much to uncover. The young man she finds living alone in a mountain village insists he isn’t the Shepherd, although he also believes the legends—and he’s also able to see the seraphim that dwell in the world alongside humanity.
This is based on the game Tales of Zestiria (with a random two-episode advertisement for the next game, Tales of Berseria), but the anime makes a number of creative alterations to the plot. Most of these changes are good, tightening up the game’s plot and fleshing out the characters more. This is about the first half of Zestiria’s plot, but it manages to end at a good point.
As its own show, it still suffers from a few of the oddities in the game’s plot, most notably villains that pop in and out of the plot (although Lunarre has more relevance in the anime than he ever did in game). However, in general this doesn’t require any knowledge of the game to follow. The biggest flaw is actually the Berseria episodes, because they have no connection to the rest of the plot and feel like a pointless diversion that breaks the flow. I also thought that for all the prologue episode attempts to give more weight to Alisha’s early hardships, it introduces a few things that aren’t explained until way later (if ever…. Symmone shows up but is never introduced, so only game players will even know who she is, as she doesn’t have any role in the anime after this except for one appearance in the last episode).
The artwork is amazing, particularly the landscapes. I was more mixed about the CG, as some things like water looked very good, and others like some of the monsters were rather obvious CG (although still in general a lot better than some of the CG I’m used to seeing in anime).
As a fantasy anime, it’s pretty good (ignoring the Berseria interruption), though it leaves off on a bit of a cliffhanger waiting for season 2. As a game adaption it’s excellent. It’s tightening up the story, giving Alisha a bigger role, and adding some much-needed backstory to characters like Zavied and Edna.
Overall if you’re curious about Zestiria, or even if you didn’t care much for the game but wanted to check out the story, give this a try. The show even uses the same voice actors in dub, so there’s no jarring switch. I rate this show Recommended.