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.
After kind of just aimlessly wandering and tying up loose ends for 8 episodes, we now just randomly have henchmen girl (I don’t know her name, maybe we’re told at some point but that one flew right by me) just exposition and info-dump us into the set up for a final battle. The Lord of Calamity is that way. Hurry up (despite aimless wandering for 8 episodes), the end of the world is nigh.
Okay, it was a little more serious than that but really it amounts to Dezel attacking her (though why she was even hanging around is a mystery), Sorey and co showing up, and then she just kind of hits us with ‘he’s up north’. Great, we’re heading north. Nice and specific.
The speed at which we then raise an army, prepare for a campaign and get on the road is kind of dizzying and all and all it just feels kind of unsatisfying. Not to mention, we seem to be bringing every bit player in the show back in for the final battle so say hello to random characters running or riding up.
All and all, I’m fairly disappointed with this season 2 (even though I wasn’t expecting much from it in the first place given season 1 was entertaining enough but flawed). I know the show isn’t over yet but this episode seems like it is locking the final path in place and to be honest I’m just not that interested.
On a random side note, check out their mirrored body language. These two are too cute.
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.
After all the build up this episode seems like mostly a nothing kind of deal. Rose may or may not have killed her target and now they are getting back to where-ever it was Sorey was supposed to be going to deal with the rain. Meanwhile, Rose decided it was a good time for an existential crisis so spends a lot of this episode moping (okay, that’s fairly harsh and she’s going through some actual character moment but it isn’t dealt with very well and as it dominates most of this episode the episode jut felt kind of dull). There was apparently a lot of malevolence in the forest they ended up riding through but they kind of just rode through it with Sorey occasionally sending up some pretty flames. It wasn’t really much of a threat and didn’t do much to distract from the lack of things happening this episode. Overall, fairly forgettable this week.
It’s interesting that Tales of Zestiria is devoting so much time to Rose over the last few episodes. Mostly because of all the characters we’ve met and followed along, Rose is one of the few who is actually reasonably complex. She isn’t good for the sake of being a good guy, nor is she selfish and out for herself. Rose has a strict moral code it just doesn’t fit with Sorey’s view of the world. To be perfectly honest, I was kind of happy when Dezel slammed Sorey against a wall. While I’m not actually a big fan of murder for justice, Sorey’s view of the world has always been obnoxiously optimistic and Rose’s story is nicely countering some of the sickly sweetness of that view. It will be interesting to see the fall out from the events this week in the next episode.