Tales of Zestiria, the franchise based on the game. To be clear, the prologue is literally the special that apparently takes place before the main series. Dubbed also as “Tales of Zestiria the X Prologue: The Age of Chaos”, it stars protagonist Alisha as she investigates a strange phenomena that has hit the kingdom of Hyland.
For those unfamiliar with the game, I think it’s safe to venture into watching this without a decent knowledge. Although judging on the setting, it’s probably a good idea to get familiarized with the world fiction as the show has high fantasy elements. The special episode contains elements of fantasy that portrays peculiar characters such as Lunarre and weapons that you’ll easily find in fantasy genre games.
Meanwhile, the special episode can also be rather confusing to watch as events unfold from the start. One of the main characters, Clemm gets caught into a violent catastrophe that puts her life in danger. Furthermore, Alisha and her crew runs into a strange female character with dark magic-like abilities. For it’s worth, the episode pretty much feels like it drops the story into the middle of nowhere for viewers. What I would recommend is watch the 44-minute special episode OVA (Tales of Zestiria: Doushi no Yoake) to get familiar with the franchise. It’s also noticeable that Sorey (the main male protagonist) is absent from this special. As such, Alisha is the main focus and her character is already established as a courageous heroine who puts others’ lives above her own.
However, the story itself appears to be more of an abbreviated version of the franchise. It’s more of an attempt to hook people into watching for the main series. In particular, we can easily recognize the stellar production quality by studio ufotable. Similarly, the music produced by Sakuraba Motoi shows his talent with the high quality OST. There’s also some bits of world building although it’s far more likely that the main series will expand more into that. In addition, the episode makes it clear that there’s mysterious forces at works. So should you watch this? On paper, it definitely looks great in terms of production quality but the plot itself can see rather confusing. For a prologue though, it does a fair job at establishing the attention for viewers starving for more. read more
*This Ova is a prequel of the main anime that will be aired the 10 july *
The point of this prequel is to make us familiarize with the setting of the anime (medieval, with dragons, knights, beast, magicians,...).
I've discovered that there is an other prequel called: Tales of Zestiria: Doushi no Yoake(2014) which I raccomend not to watch since it will ruin you the surpries of the main serie.
This is similar of the most common fantasy/medieval anime, to summon is a sort of King Artù, we can clearly see that there is a sword on the stone, and the rest... well yea magicians, dragons,...
Just one episode, but yes, if all the main serie will adopt this kind of art I will only love more the anime. The art is superb, clear and very appealing, detailed and....well if you watch the scene of the dragon you will understand everything :)
Sound(8): well used, nothing to say, the ending was good but I've heard better song which suited better for the setting we are in.
Cant really say a lot, 1 episode isnt enough, some might have played the game so they know more about it, but I realized that the guy on the cover isnt in this ova, that means that one of the main characters isnt there.
Like I said before I really like this types of settings with magic, beasts,...
so it's only natural that I rated 9 this Ova, but the major factor that make me rate 9 this ova is the art, like I said before amazing.
Just an introduction episode to set up the story. The poster boy wasn't in it and we are really only introduced to the princess. There seems to be some political strife, ongoing natural disasters (which don't seem to be natural at all), some mysterious runes, and some magic stuff (which kind of just inserted at the end). The narrative was a bit confusing because it kept jumping around but the art and animation were pretty good. There is the sword in the stone reference to King Arthur. Not familiar with the source material but I'll give the main show a try but we'll see.
As a fan of the Tales of Zestiria game and the Tales series of games as a whole, I was excited to see a new Tales anime be released, though I approached cautiously and made sure to not expect too much out of what was coming as the anime adaptations of Tales games have a history of coming off at a sub par level. Going into this "prologue" episode, it was good that I didn't hold my expectations at too high of a level because it failed most everything I was expecting, and the unexpected parts were all details that could have been far better.
Minor spoilers warning!
~STORY & CHARACTER~
The prologue's story is meant to be a prequel to the events of the game, showing destruction to towns and people that you only see as ruins in the game itself, and takes on the point-of-view of the spirited princess Alisha while attempting to give her motivation to begin the journey that she is seen taking in the main game's story. Several minor side characters are introduced and portrayed as her friends, though right away it was clear what their purpose really was: fodder. Yes, they decided to try and give Alisha "development" by giving her friends and sending them to their demise soon after instead of developing her with the traits that make Alisha be who she is with a more depressing purpose for her to pursue her studies of the Celestial Record rather than her passion. Tales of Zestiria was named for its characters having a "zest for adventure", of which Alisha's character was clearly meant to revolve around, but there was none of that in this prologue, making it an opportunity missed for developing her character. Instead, it goes for personal trauma that her character never displays sign of in the game and this is really my biggest problem with the episode. Adding this sort of backstory to her feels cheap and undermines her as a passionate enthusiast for ruins and history. It would have been a far better prologue if it showed how she started her passion while observing the horrors of what was happening to her people from afar without her directly witnessing fodder characters die.
Like any prologue, it requires the rest of the series to explain the many questions as to what was happening, so I won't penalize the episode for that, but the way Alisha's backstory was handled irked me too much to give a good rating for this episode. It was complete unnecessary drama for her character. I would have rather seen her be stronger on her own will.
There isn't much to say about the other characters because the main focus really was Alisha and the characters featured all had very short-lived moments. A majority of the main characters from the game don't even make an appearance until after the closing credits when the OP is shown.
The art is pretty much what you'd expect from ufotable, with many really nice animation sequences with some weird/cheap CG effects mixed in that clash at times with the main animation. I'm not the biggest fan of ufotable, but this isn't their best work. The 3D CGI disaster scenes especially looked a bit corny and unrealistic, especially with the way the graphics for the ground was done, looking more like graphics I'd see in my Gamecube/PS2 days. The action and movement of the characters were the best parts of the animation, on par with any other ufotable character action animation sequences.
Musically, it takes many of its tracks from the original Tales of Zestiria game, helping with the mood and atmosphere a bit and will be a welcomed familiar detail to fans of the series. The Zestiria game has one of the better soundtracks in the series so it's nice to bring it into the anime form, too.
Overall, I had a hard time enjoying this prologue since it felt like an unnecessary chapter and the demise of the fodder characters was all too predictable with nothing interesting to add to the story. There were some intense parts towards the end, but it was ruined a little by the weird CGI effects used to portray the destruction. There was also some choppy screenwriting at play, jumping around a little too much for my tastes so it lacked any sort of "smooth" continuity or transitions between separate scenes ((out of everything presented in the prologue, I hope this is the main thing that changes between this and whatever the rest of the series will have to offer because this made it awkward to watch)). The whole thing felt like a clunky flashback rather than a portrayal of events.
It didn't help that Alisha is one of the least developed characters from the game to begin with and this prologue didn't do anything to remedy that impression, missing a big opportunity to make her more likable and interesting as a character. There are so many ways this could have been done better.