Tales of Zestiria The X Season 2 Series Review

Overview:

I previously reviewed season 1 of Tales of Zestiria the X, the story of Sorey the Shepherd on his journey to purify the malevolence of the world. Season 2 continues Sorey’s journey as he eventually gets around to dealing with the Lord of Calamity. I reviewed this week to week here.

Review (spoilers for the final battle included – fair warning):

While I will freely admit that based on a game adaptations have a terrible reputation, there are quite a few that I enjoy. The original Resident Evil movie is highly entertaining (if silly) fun and there have been a number of anime I’ve enjoyed before later finding out they were based on games I’d never heard of. Tales of Zestiria I knew was a game because unless I disconnected from the internet entirely it would have been impossible to miss that, and yet season 1, despite some issues, was fairly enjoyable.

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Season 2 spent a lot of time correcting that and came into line with the expectations of based on game adaptations. The sense of fun disappeared from the series entirely and a lot of the second season lacked direction or purpose. We spent a lot of time with Rose early in the season but in the end she and Alisha kind of seemed like excess baggage by the time we got to the final fight sequence. Some characters seemed to appear only because they must have actually been significant in the game but all they did here was distract and clutter an already cluttered narrative. They had no impact because in the anime they served no purpose.

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Though perhaps the biggest issue season 2 had was the final episode just didn’t come out. No announcement in an obvious location about what had happened. It was a week after I stopped looking for the episode when I read on someone else’s blog the episode was delayed until the end of the month, but it wasn’t like anyone was going out of there way to make it known why there was a delay or that the delay had even happened. Part of the blame for that has to go on to the distributors though who just didn’t put up the next episode and didn’t bother to put any kind of notice on their blogs or email out to their subscribers. Amazingly enough, people don’t get half as annoyed by delays when informed about them.

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Still, when you are already mid-way through a final boss battle and then the next episode just doesn’t show up, it really does break the flow. And when the show was already so problematic you had considered not watching further about mid-season, if not for my fairly insane levels of curiosity I may never have gone back to watch the final episode.

All things considered, it didn’t matter whether I watched it or not. By the time we get close to the final episode we already know what to expect from Tales of Zestiria. They have no commitment to theme. No commitment to actual narrative. Sorey is good because he is. There’s no other reason. He believes he can save the world because he does. There’s no other reason. Others have faith in him because they do. Some of them kind of have reason for this, but most just blindly listen to his unsupported assertions and after a half-hearted counter-argument, accept them as truth from that point forward.

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There’s lots of shared smiles, hand holding, and pep talks, but little to support the connections that are supposedly existing between the main group. Even Sorey’s final solution for dealing with the Lord of Calamity is just him asserting that he can do it and it will work and the others once again accept it on faith that it will happen. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan.

It’s overly optimistic foolishness at best, and even if you put your own logic on hold and also just accept that whatever Sorey says is right for whatever reason, the narrative is still deeply unsatisfying. Most of the season they just kind of go from one minor issue or character drama to the next until the henchmen for the bad guy shows up and tells them where he is. She even escorts them there, before she gets turned into a dragon and ceases to have any relevance to the plot. Then again, the bad guy couldn’t have just sent Sorey a carrier pigeon and a map for all the impact said henchmen had so maybe her turning into a dragon was the most useful thing they could do with her.

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They finally get through all the dragons and face the Lord of Calamity and suddenly we can combine powers and meanwhile, Calamity guy is just going to stand there and wait for them to discuss it, do it, and then get used to it. As a villain he kind of sucks. I know someone will argue that the human inside him actually wanted to be purified or killed all along and so was allowing Sorey the chance to do so, but then why is he actually scary? And why did the human inside allow him to stir up so much chaos and slaughter at the end of season 1 if the human actually cared about what was going on? It is inconsistent and makes no sense.

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Still, we could have at least had a dramatic ending if the show had actually been willing to commit to self-sacrifice for the greater good and yet even then it fails to follow through.

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All and all, Tales of Zestiria season 2 is full of pretty light shows and transformations, has a few minor character moments that are half-way interesting even if the overall plot gets thrown aside for these to fit in, it does bring things to a resolution, but is mostly a disappointment to watch and to be honest there’s plenty of better things you could be watching.


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Tales of Zestiria The X Season 2 Episode 13

Review:

While this final episode is not bad when compared to the rest of the show, it was definitely hurt by the extended break between episode 12 and 13. The momentum (what little this show had) was definitely gone and it took me awhile to remember exactly where we’d left the characters and then I got to marvel all over again that they were really doing a power combine thing to win the final battle. Actually, what really hurts this episode is the game like nature of that battle.  The villain just stands there as they have a pep-talk, call the names, combine, Sorey falls to his knees, multiple times, before he’s finally able to stand, and the villain is still just standing there. Worse, the villain then gets his own power up and Sorey just stands there while it happens.

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After the battle things get better, but even then the show can’t commit to actually having Sorey’s sacrifice mean something and post credits be prepared for everything to be smiley happy, even if that makes no sense given the nature of what they were facing. I’ll review the full series of this soon, but not particularly impressed with season 2 of this.

Tales of Zestiria the X is available on AnimeLab.


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Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 Episode 12

Review:

You know that feeling you get when you think something is a final and then it isn’t? I kind of got that this week. There just doesn’t seem any reason to stretch this another episode but stretch it we will.

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But hey, we finally got back story on Michael, the former shepherd, and how the Lord of Calamity became what he is. Seriously, what was Michael thinking? As a former Shepherd he had to know that cursing someone was a stupid idea.

And at this point any care I had about this world is gone. Apparently you can destroy the world just by shouting a few words while burning inside a building. I get its supposed to be dramatic and about how we all have darkness inside of us and maybe we’re even supposed to feel bad for Michael, but honestly, this was such a stupid thing to do. And that this one tiny little thing manages to turn the entire world on its head is literally the hardest thing to swallow. Do his words just carry more weight because he was a former shepherd? Lots of people die pointless deaths and shout curses, most of them don’t nearly destroy the world.

Anyway, let’s all combine our powers because Sorey’s been thinking about it for awhile but at no point has this possibility actually been foreshadowed, and somehow this will all work out. Go team.

Tales of Zestiria the X is available on AnimeLab.


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Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 Episode 11

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.

Tales of Zestiria the X is available on AnimeLab.


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Winter 2017 Week 10

And we’ve made it to week 10. Part of me is amazed that we’re finally here and part of me is wondering why I’m still watching some of the shows I started this season, but there’s still that end of season anticipation that is so much fun. Even if a show hasn’t been great there’s always kind of a hope that the finish will be amazing. Or at least amusing. Though in the case of Interviews with Monster Girls I finally gave up hoping this week.

Over on patreon, patrons will find my highlight of the week and my lesser top 5 list for the week. For everyone else you can find my screen cap of the week and my reviews of season 2 Super Lovers over on patreon.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows this season so please leave a comment below.

yuri10d

Must Watch

  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Episode 21)
  • ACCA (Episode 10)

March Comes in Like a Lion was truly great thisweek. It feels like such a perfect way to look at Rei’s emotional journey so far. I know there is one more episode but I would have been happy with him reuniting with the sister’s as an end point to be honest.

ACCA on the other hand slipped just a bit this week. It wasn’t a major issue but it certainly wasn’t the usual clever writing I’ve come to expect from the show and as a result has made it easier for me to split these two shows at the top of my watch list. We’ll see whether ACCA can pull off its ending.

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Usually Entertaining

  • Spiritpact (Finished)
  • Chain Chronicle (Episode 10)

Spiritpact – Apparently done at episode 10. Definitely the surprise of the season. This show went from disaster to compelling over its 10 episode run.

Chain Chronicle seems to have launched us toward a final battle though there are definitely a few issues with logic coming through at this point. Great fun to be had though.

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Okay, I Guess

  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Episode 46)
  • Blue Exorcist (Episode 36)
  • Super Lovers (Finished)
  • elDLIVE (Episode 10)
  • Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 (Episode 10)

Iron Blooded Orphans brings us more space battle and then we get into mopey regret this week. This show seems determined to extinguish any kind of hope people might have for change. It will be interesting to see what message it ends on but at the moment it all looks kind of bleak (expected from Gundam really).

Blue Exorcist finally took out the impure king in a suitable display of blue flames. Not sure what they are aiming for next week and it still doesn’t fix the very slow climb to get to this point, but this episode was definitely getting closer to entertaining.

Super Lovers is being reviewed on my Patreon site (available to everyone).

elDLIVE was also pretty weak this round and given the show as a whole hasn’t been overly impressive, floundering at this point in the season doesn’t seem like a smart move.

Tales of Zestiria the X is desperately trying to wrap things up and bring everything together. The fact that some of the ideas are getting squashed is more or less inevitable given after doing very little for many episodes we’re not having an epic, fate-of-the-world kind of battle being set up. All and all, the fun this show gave us in season 1 has been utterly replaced by an increasing need to make excuses for charactisation, poor writing and pacing. No more excuses Zestiria.

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They Made This

  • Hand Shakers (Episode 10)

I think I expect nothing from Hand Shakers at this point and its certainly delivering on that nothing.

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Tried and Dropped

  • Interviews with Monster Girls (Episode 10)
  • Akiba’s Trip (Episode 6)
  • Fuuka (Episode 5)
  • Trickster (Episode 13)
  • Gabriel DropOut (Episode 1)
  • Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (Episode 1)
  • Schoolgirl Strikers (Episode 1)
  • Seiren (Episode 1)
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil (Episode 1)
  • Chaos;Child (Episode 1 – five minutes in)

Finally gave up on Interviews with Monster Girls. It could be argued I should have just finished it given how far I’ve come, but to be honest I was just bored crazy during the first half of episode 10 and really there are so many other things I could do with my time. What really did it in was trying to write 100 words on it each week has become a challenge. Normally the challenge is cutting words out of episode reviews but with that one I just had nothing to say.

That’s week 10 done. What are you looking forward to in the Spring season?


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Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 Episode 10

Review:

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.

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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.

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Farewell character I had forgotten after season 1 and cannot remember the name of now. Your incredibly pointless death will be forgotten almost instantly.

Tales of Zestiria is available on AnimeLab.


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Winter 2017 Week 9

Week 9 has come and gone and we see the shows that are finishing up launch their final few episodes. This should be a realy exciting time and a couple of shows seem to acknowledge that, but there’s a lot that are just going through the motions and may or may not deliver a satisfying conclusion. There’s a lot of shows I’ve dropped from Usually Entertaining to Okay, I Guess for the simple reason that ignoring the entertainment value of season 1, seeing how these shows have played out and what they are tipping for a conclusion, they just aren’t that entertaining. They aren’t bad enough to drop given attachment to the story and characters formed in season 1, but they aren’t good enough that I would tell someone with excitement that they exist.

If you missed my tweet, my apologies for being a little bit disappeared this week. I was crazy busy with work the first half and then got taken out by a fever for the second half of the week (which hasn’t helped the crazy busy work given I’ve had to take sick leave). I’m finally starting to recover though I’m still getting hit off and on with fever so I’m thinking I’ll be a little hit and miss for a few more days before I make a full recovery. Hopefully I’ll catch up with everyone else’s blogs then.

Over on patreon, patrons will find my highlight of the week and my lesser top 5 list for the week. Last weeks, I posted my responses to my genre challenge so if you missed it patrons, all of those posts should now be available. For everyone else you can find my screen cap of the week and my reviews of season 2 Super Lovers over on patreon.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows this season so please leave a comment below.

yuri10d

Must Watch

  • ACCA (Episode 9)
  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Episode 20)

These two shows are going out of their way to make it impossible to choose which is the better of them this season. I like them both, for different reasons, and both are unmissable for me at the moment.

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Usually Entertaining

  • Chain Chronicle (Episode 9)
  • Spiritpact (Episode 9)

Chain Chronicle continues to throw every fantasy stereotype at us but its doing it in an entertaining manner and wow its been awhile since I’ve seen a story so generically fantasy like that wasn’t a parody or sarcastically self-aware. Really enjoying this show.

Okay, I have no idea what Spiritpact is setting up at thisp oint, I just know that I want the next episode and I want it right now. So I’m guessing I’m enjoying it or at the very least I’m caught up in the story at this point.

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Okay, I Guess

  • Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 (Episode 9)
  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Episode 45)
  • Blue Exorcist (Episode 35)
  • elDLIVE (Episode 9)
  • Super Lovers (Episode 9)
  • Interviews with Monster Girls (Episode 9)

Honestly, I’ve given Tales of Zestiria more than enough time to sort itself out this season and now I just have to acknowledge, it’s not that good. It’s finally heading somewhere, but this show is kind of just watchable at best at this point. There’s no depth and no real tension. You just kind of watch the pretty lights play out, smile at one or two bits of dialogue, and then the episode ends and you move on.

Iron Blooded Orphans is in exactly the same position as Zestiria. First season was pretty good (actually I really enjoyed it) but I’ve given season 2 more than enough time to figure itself out and really it hasn’t taken us anywhere of interest. Now its just watching the final bullets fly and I’ll guess we’ll see who is still breathing when we get to the end.

And Blue Exorcist finally remembered it can occasionally be cool, even if the bad guys are now mocking the exorcists for having committee meetings mid-fight. Alas, the start of what might be a decent fight sequence isn’t really enough to make up for 9 and a half episodes of mostly tedium so this series really isn’t moving on the list.

elDLIVE continues to be kind of okay with a few moments of great in amongst a lot of ordinary. Again, perfectly watchable but nothing really to get excited over.

Super Lovers is being reviewed on my Patreon site (available to everyone).

Interviews with Monster Girls remains much the same as always. Actually, the first half of this week’s episode was pretty good, then we returned to business as usual.

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They Made This

  • Hand Shakers (Episode 9)

I wish they would stop trying to make me feel sympathetic for those that lose in this show. Given they go all out to defeat their enemy, once they are beaten they try to make us feel for their loss but it is all back to front. If I didn’t care about them before they lost I’m not going to care after they lose.

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Tried and Dropped

  • Akiba’s Trip (Episode 6)
  • Fuuka (Episode 5)
  • Trickster (Episode 13)
  • Gabriel DropOut (Episode 1)
  • Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (Episode 1)
  • Schoolgirl Strikers (Episode 1)
  • Seiren (Episode 1)
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil (Episode 1)
  • Chaos;Child (Episode 1 – five minutes in)

Week 9 over. Truthfully, which anime is likely to be your worst of the season that you didn’t drop?


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Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 Episode 9

Review:

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.

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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.

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On a random side note, check out their mirrored body language. These two are too cute.

Tales of Zestiria is available on AnimeLab.


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Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 Episode 8

Review:

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.

Tales of Zestiria the X is available on AnimeLab.


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Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 Episode 7

Review:

This episode kind of feels like it’s the episode for characters we haven’t really seen since season 1 to appear for no other reason than to remind us they exist. Okay, they might serve some purpose in the overall story but if so, the connections they are drawing this episode seem tenuous. Besides, it took me a fair while to remember some of these characters from season 1.

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Cool gun. Who were you?

That said, Alisha’s father really needs someone to give him a whack across the back of the head. You’re allowing your daughter to potentially be killed for what purpose? It is quite obvious the other guy is up to no good, he doesn’t even try to hide his ambition.

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Who does her hair and make-up while she’s in jail?

While I haven’t minded this series, the weak story and lack of focus is increasingly becoming a problem. When it feels like things should be getting clearer and more focussed it actually feels like the opposite is happening and that is frustrating.

Tales of Zestiria the X is available AnimeLab.


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