Stories like this always make me ask the same question; how does the empire even function? When every representative you meet of said empire is conspiring against every other, cruel and stupid, malicious, or crazy, it really makes you wonder why the entire empire hasn’t just imploded. They haven’t given us any reason for the empire to be evil, they just are because… plot?
Other than that, this episode again raised the question of how far away can Gran get from Lyria given he goes down to the dock while she stays in the building. Not that they are separated for long but they’ve given us no real guidelines on how separated they can be at this point.
Also, the agents from the previous episode show up for a flashy but mostly pointless battle.
This show works on the surface and I guess if you just kind of tune out and watch passively it is all well and good, but so far that’s all it is managing to deliver. Without actual motive from the antagonists or overall goal from the protagonists (other than not get caught by the antagonists) it is really all just reactionary and not very compelling.
I had a very bad flashback to Crocodile Dundee while watching this (“That’s not a knife”). Only in this case it was more, “That’s not a fireball” right before the impossibly large dragon that looked like it escaped from a Final Fantasy game blew the hydra from last episode away (if you don’t get the reference, that’s fine because it’s both Australian and dated).
Anyway, this continues to be fairly generic but reasonable. Apparently saving Gran’s life involved Lyria sharing half her life force with him so now they can’t be separated (though no specifics on how far that means yet) so now of course Gran has to join Lyria and Katalina on their journey to a non-specific location (I believe Katalina first said it would be aimless to avoid pursuit). Then, some discussion later, it turns out they are actually going to head to the island of the Astrals which coincidentally is where Gran’s father said he went in a letter he sent his son. Look how well that works out for everyone.
I actually enjoyed this second episode and now that they are on the move I’m looking forward to what comes next. That said, there’s nothing in either the first two episodes that would make me recommend this to someone else if they weren’t already watching it.
Gran and the not flying lizard Vyrn live on an island doing their thing when a kind of girl gets blown out of an airship and lands in the forest. Gran of course goes to help and now they have a whole bunch of soldiers chasing them.
Most of this first episode passed by as inoffensive nothingness. It’s all very generic so far and other than learning that Katalina is amazing not a lot else has been revealed about the characters.
That said, it wasn’t bad to watch. There wasn’t any real moment or wow factor to be found, even with a hydra making an appearance, but it also wasn’t overly dull as Gran and Lyria ran about. There’s enough suggestion of things to come that I am going to stick with this for another couple of episodes at least and hopefully it can build on this.
Hey, after 12 episodes I finally spelt the name right on the first go instead of the fifth. There’s an achievement. Anyway, this ends pretty much exactly the way you would expect given the story so far. It’s never done more than be a standard sword and sorcery fantasy and the ending, in all its light show, sword clashing, dragon fighting glory is as standard as it comes, including the final boss having three forms to fight through before he was finally defeated. But hey, nobody really cared about the black king because we had to save Yuri.
So yes, we even get a fight of good Yuri vs evil Yuri inside his head again, just in case we hadn’t already hammered that cliché into the ground. And while this show has always had a heavy light vs dark theme this episode really just hammered it.
But the strength of bonds and friendship wins, because this is standard fantasy and don’t worry too much about anyone because you know we wouldn’t want the good guys to not feel like they had an outright victory.
Despite what might seem like a harsh episode review, I had a lot of fun watching this and I’m looking forward to writing a review of the whole series.
Review (spoilers, no attempt to not reveal information):
Possibly the whole Dezel sacrificing himself to blow away the dragons so that Sorey isn’t forced to either attempt mass purification (which cannot end well) or to accept that maybe shooting them is the only option could have been dramatic and moving. Certainly his farewell to Rose was nicely handled; and she looks adorable in that hat (sorry, distracted from the actual point there).
However, I just couldn’t get into this episode. Why did they have to farewell all the hanger-ons who rode that far with them? Was there some actual reason? If there was, why did they even come that far?
Why did we need to introduce a new character at this point? Did they do anything or add anything to the story?
When Dezel does blow away the dragons (interesting really given how strong they are and yet Sorey and the others, just fine) does Symonne actually revert from being a dragon or was that just some artsy visual that makes no sense?
Anyway, all of this kind of distracted me from what should have been a fairly heartbreaking moment. Mostly I just wondered why Dezel hadn’t hit Sorey across the side of the head with the gun and tell him to get off his moral high horse already. Okay, I am a little jaded at this point and this show hasn’t done much for me in the last few weeks so I’m being needlessly nitpicky.
Remembering way back when I started season 1 of this, one of me key issues was that the characters didn’t feel like they were part of the world. The world was pretty and the characters were pretty, but the two didn’t match. As time went on, this kind of got less noticeable (either because we stopped getting sweeping landscapes and have had more intimate settings or because they got better, not sure which). And then we get this episode.
Compare this dragon to the image of Edna above. Do these two characters belong in the same anime? Admittedly, the video quality I was watching in is rubbish due to very buggy internet connection (I’m really hoping the image isn’t actually that grainy) but everything about that image is wrong if it is intended to be something from the same show. Sorey fighting this thing was a joke mostly because after this one very dramatic and cinematic shot (and it was lovely except that I wondered if somehow I was suddenly watching Godzilla) we only see a bare fraction of the dragon as Sorey fights it which kind of takes all the amazement out of a dragon fight.
Let’s skip forward to everything else in this episode. Yep, field trip to the snow followed by big battle. Finally an armatization, short lived, and now big trouble. That about sums it up. To be more blunt, its a hopeless mish-mash of ideas and characters each trying to have their moment in either the comedy setting or the battle as we just conveniently rush over anything that might be construed as a plot at this point. I might have finally had enough of this show’s nonsense to be honest. But I’ll leave you with one final image.
Right, I had a lot of fun with this episode, so my criticisms are not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the free-for-all being set up but at the same time I am concerned that there were so many issues in this episode.
The main one being time. Somehow we’ve all regrouped with the various factions and the army is all ready just to march straight back into the black king’s space as soon as they bring down the shield. Great. Only didn’t it take them weeks to retreat from there and when did they leave the desert? I get that Aram and friends flew back to the Mage towers so I won’t even question that they seem to have instantly arrived (because flight is akin to instant-travel apparently) but Julianna and the others need a couple of weeks at the smallest estimate to be in any kind of position to fight. Nope, they are ready and raring to go.
Then again, apparently this show has no end of ‘magical’ solutions to issues.
Seriously? Anywhere? Instantly? I know you just built this thing but surely it should be a little bit harder to get inside the black bubble to bring the shield down.
And apparently now the Black King is sitting around watching Aram and friends on his equivalent to a big screen TV. Why? And if he could do that why hasn’t he just sent someone to kill them while they’re sleeping given his minions have been teleporting anywhere they like for the entire length of the show? Is there any reason for kidnapping Phoena at this point? She doesn’t seem like as much of a threat as the guy who is suddenly purifying everything.
Anyway, cool battle sequence and set up for great fight to come. Just check logic at the door first but that’s much the same as the whole series so far. Plus, dragon involved in fight (not dragon being fought). I really wish someone had changed it’s name. Furball the dragon doesn’t really inspire.
This episode feels like it is Aram’s graduation ceremony. From boy picked up by former hero, to ambitious idol of Yuri, to reluctantly taking on the role of the hero, to actually being a hero, Aram’s journey throughout Chain Chronicle has been interesting. It really feels like this is where he was always heading and now that Furball has transformed into a Guardian Dragon (let’s hope it gets a new name) and Aram has used a cool new flaming sword as well as reversed the blackening on the chronicle that Shuza had stolen, you just have to wonder what is next for this character.
What works particularly well is that his basic personality has not changed. He is still that socially awkward kid that Yuri was inspired by back in the village way back when. What has changed is that he now has a focus, he has allies, and he believes that he is taking the right course of action. If Aram suddenly launches into eloquent monologues it would defy any belief, but Aram being his usual brash self but now backed up by a fairly decent skill set works perfectly (even if you have to wonder how fast one can level up in this world just by sheer determination).
Before ending I just want to touch on Juliana and Shuza who both get the award for biggest act of stupidity so far in this series. Arriving at an impasse in negotiations right before the black army shows up and then Juliana takes a cheap shot at Shuza on the battlefield resulting in the two leaders essentially duelling to the death only both were being contaminated by the darkness and neither one even noticed. Any argument about which one of these characters should be leading anything in this show essentially got thrown out the window at that point given Shuza is certainly the more capable military leader but has absolutely zero compassion and Juliana is outright to emotional and immature to really be particularly effective. Of course, handing the reigns over to Aram seems equally dumb because while he’s become a far more impressive force in this fight, he’s still a socially awkward loner.
I do wonder though, what happened to Yuri this week?
This is a fun fantasy story and if you like chaotic battles, good and evil, magic powers and mythical creatures, you will probably really enjoy the story.
Tales of Zestiria finally got down to business and brought all the main characters together in one place, faced an actual enemy, moved forward the political intrigue and finally actually let Alisha progress and not have the constant threat of a weak king and an overbearing would-be king in her way. In fact, so much happened it feels like the previous 7 episodes really were just empty space and wasted. While some things happened in those episodes that were needed for the events of this episode to make sense, a lot of it really was just wandering around. And what made Sorey suddenly sure he could purify a dragon? His logic as always is just a bit faulty. Still… This is probably the very first time I actually thought this show was beautiful. While parts of it have always been pretty there’s always been a bit of a disconnect between characters, scenery and action. This episode things just kind of came together in a way that made me actually take notice.
So pretty. Anyway, this doesn’t change the fact that this season has been pretty flat but one episode has managed to give the show some much needed energy and direction so maybe we’ll get a good season ending.
Apparently one episode of moping is all Rose needs before making critical and life-changing decisions (though in terms of not being bored by the narrative her moving on was probably a good thing). This episode feels like it is getting ready to move this story along. We finally reached the source of the rain issue and after a bit of talk where we get a very brief Velvet moment Sorey and friends are off to a church to purify some malevolence. Rose tags along and decides she wants to be a squire. Probably just as well because it turns out even when they are dead, dragons cause all sorts of problems and this was way bigger than Sorey was handling on his own.
Anyway, the episode ends with Alisha finally managing to get in touch with Sorey (I’m guessing because he’s stronger or because of Rose – not sure on that one) but Alisha tells him that Ladylake is in trouble so now we’re returning all the way to Ladylake. The based on a game part of this really shows sometimes. That said, there was fun to be had with this week’s episode and mostly it was good just to feel that we were finally moving forward.