Just like any first episode for any anime series, it needs something to grab the audience’s attention, and this one fills that quota.
Unlike the Daisuki Sub reviews by a745, the Funimation Dub reviews will have a more episodic approach to the series and will not make as much spoiler references to the source material.
The episode starts off with a group of knights arriving to a village in rough shape from a tornado that occurred a year ago. In order to not inconvenience the lone villagers, they’ve decided to take up camp outside the village. It just so happens that they’ve setup camp close to a relic from the Asgardian times depicting that of the Shepherd. Out of the group, the one who shows the most interest is the Princess herself. Proving her enthusiasm of the subject, she holds out a book that contains the legend of the Shepherd known as the “Celestial Record”. She one day hopes to meet a Shepherd herself if they do exist.
Moving forward to a more regal looking town, we are introduced to another knight by the name of Clem. She was previously mentioned to share a love for the Celestial Record just like the Princess does. Clem was summoned by said Princess and another knight whom she addressed as Lady Maltran. It was discussed that the astronomer, Professor Drake, suggests that the mist in Griel may be connected to the abnormal weather conditions occurring in Hyland, the kingdom of which this story takes place. Maltran and the Princess assign Clem to the task of going to the town of Griel since she was familiar with the area to investigate the mist. She proceeds to depart on this mission but not without thanking the Princess for providing her a copy of the Celestial Record, which she cherishes deeply.
We then discover an example of how the Princess handles her royal responsibilities like the Sacred Blade Festival. While we don’t know exactly what this festival consists of yet, she doesn’t think highly of the men who are using it to boost the kingdom’s military units. This shows that she’s a princess by the books and doesn’t approve of underhanded tactics to improve her military defenses, which is a little interesting—but somewhat standard affair for a main character. She later meets with Professor Drake and finds out that the weather conditions above Griel are starting to get worse. She advises Professor Drake to go to Griel and help Clem determine what the cause of the mist could be.
Two weeks after Clem’s mission, she still hasn’t returned. Worried about Clem, the Princess and the knights head out there for support. Along the way, they are suddenly ambushed by a group of assassins. All of them (including the Princess), defend themselves quite well. Once the Princess sliced off the mask of one of the assassins, things suddenly got weird. The assassin whose mask was sliced off suddenly transforms into some a foxlike creature. All he does is laugh hysterically and disappear... Okay. Another one of the assassins then taunts the Princess for being too soft and not finishing off their Foxsassin comrade (Yes that’s what I’m calling him now). Cold.
We then get a flashback to Maltran and the Princess discussing about who should go and support Clem in Griel. Maltran ultimately stays behind to supervise the Sacred Blade Festival but was a little furious. She questioned the Princess as to why she cares about this Festival so much, where the Princess responds with the reason why the whole Festival exists in the first place. The Sacred Blade Festival exists to find the Shepherd. He who draws the Sacred Blade protected by the Lady of the Lake will become the Shepherd of lore. The Princess shows that she has a strong optimism in this Shepherd arriving so that she can bring hope to the kingdom. Bit of a naïve goal she has there, but a faithful one.
Upon arriving at Griel, the first thing they’ve noticed were all the crops. Just as the Princess predicted, most of them were starting to dry out. The group then started to learn more about the mist and Clem’s whereabouts from the local villagers and the guard station. What they discovered is that the mist got thicker recently, but has been around for quite some time. However, nobody there knows where the source of the mist is, but it’s affecting the health of the village residents. Clem had advanced further north toward the forest to investigate the mist, so the Princess decided to find her while one of the knights stayed behind to investigate the epidemic further in Griel.
We take a glimpse inside the crevice before the forest in the north. There, we see Professor Drake harnessing downward, where he notices some odd colourful sparkles. Back on the surface, the Princess notices that the mist is becoming more active and finally stumbles upon Clem who is above the crevice. It’s at this point where the mist started to spiral into multiple tornadoes. Clem advised them that they couldn’t leave since Professor Drake was still inside discovering the nature of the ley lines*. The Princess was distraught, but before she could save him the tornadoes grew stronger and began pursuit. Clem climbed onto the Princess’ horse and the knights attempt to escape the turbulence, leaving the Professor behind.
Back inside the crevice, Professor Drake notices a spring welling with the sparkles he saw previously down below. He encases a sample in a container and within seconds, the sparkles dimmed into a dark flame. Cutting back to the knights (there’s a lot of this during this segment), the tornadoes continue to hunt them down as the winds proved strong enough to rip mountainous regions from the surface. With the Princess wondering what to do, Clem responds by providing us with a bit of exposition courtesy from the Professor himself.
The ley lines* behave as paths for the forces of nature to regulate themselves throughout the world. However, that regulation was damaged due to beings that mankind had decided to neglect at one point in the past. What once was meant to be a co-existence had transformed into a negligence that caused these beings to slowly fade away from the world. Thus, mankind had destroyed the balance of nature, and are now victim to these natural disasters due to the damage they’ve done. As this exposition is going on, the Professor discovers a large creature that awakened, and before he could run away, the creature engulfed the Professor in a dark aura, killing him.
Unfortunately, the tornado raged on, and the Princess’ soldiers were consumed one by one into the violent winds. Clem insists that she let go so that she doesn’t slow down the Princess, but is obviously refuted against. Suddenly, a being with pigtails appears in front of them through a purple aura. However, the remaining knights phase through her as if she wasn’t there. More magic, fun. She then utters that “she’ll open the gates of chaos with them”, and she does this by causing multiple pillars of flames to erupt around the path that the knights are taking.
Suddenly, Foxsassin appears and challenges the pig-tailed girl head on, stopping the Princess in her tracks. The two beings clash with each other as the Princess utters the words that are also on everyone else’s mind at this point: “What in the world is going on?” Their clash caused the knights to lose their balance and fall over. The Princess gets up first, only to discover that Clem and her mount fell into the abyss to their deaths. The pig-tailed girl escapes as the Princess mourns the loss of her comrades in battle.
Injured, the Princess struggles back to Griel, only to find that there was nothing left. The villagers, the guards, all of them, gone. The dark winds returned again but are now enveloped by flames. With the Princess hanging on by the blade of her spear, she witnesses the source of all of the recent natural disasters: A winged dragon enveloped in flames. The episode concludes with the title card, the credits, and the Anime OP: Kaze no Uta by FLOW.
This episode had enough suspense and plot points left hanging to develop interest in the next one, which should be the goal for most Animes. A lot of the music is borrowed from the game’s soundtrack, so I don’t have much qualms with what is familiar, and the animation studio is the same as well. Some of the CGI felt a little clunky at times, but not enough to detract from the episode too much.
What wasn’t borrowed from the game was the plot of this entire episode, which might surprise those who haven’t been exposed to the game before. The anime created an episode that not only catches the intrigue of newcomers to the series, but players of the game as well. From what I understand, the next couple of episodes will start to follow the game’s plot a bit more. It’s a little unfortunate as a person who had played Tales of Zestiria, at the same time, I do want to see how they’ll deliver the plot this time around, especially with the rumoured “changes”. Bonus points to it having a connection to the next game in the series, Tales of Berseria. I’m intrigued to see how those episodes flesh out once they’re released.
Regarding the Dub and its translation: The English voice cast did a great job and it was nice hearing familiar voices return from the game. There is still one voice actor for a major character that is still up in the air but… I guess we’ll find out more about that scenario next week. Also, most of the feedback that was revolving around the translations Funimation used were corrected: The Celestial Record, Marlind & Sacred Blade Festival were kept intact.
*However Earthpulse is still translated as Ley lines*. I suppose they did this to differentiate the Arte and the land masses related to the plot, but I can see how this can be confusing/irritating for some—especially for those who prefer consistency in translations. It doesn’t bother me too much personally, as I don’t recall hearing the term Earthpulse used in other situations in the game besides the Arte itself. Edit: I was later informed that the localization of the game did use Earthpulse in some of its skits, especially near the end of the game. Thanks to Kirvee for the heads up.
Overall, I enjoyed the episode. It gets a 3/5 from me. Be sure to check out my friend a745’s review of the subbed episode here (be wary of spoilers), and feel free to join me when the dub for Episode 01: Capital of Seraphim, comes out next!
TOZ X: Episode #01 Dub Summary/Review >>