Hey, I’m back with another Zestiria the X review. This time, this is for the season 1 anime that the other staff members left hanging. Since I promised them I would make a good review for the anime, that’s what I intend to do. Instead of doing it episodically, I’m just reviewing the whole anime since I already watched it.
Basically, season 1 follows the first half of the game, but with a few tweaks. Three major tweaks are:
- The influx of Alisha’s screen time that she lacked in the game.
- The two-part Berseria episodes that were obviously a promotion for the game and eventually add to the story in season 2.
- The regression in everyone’s characters.
One of the major differences between the game and anime is the inclusion of Alisha. Alisha is a supporting character, but her importance becomes upgraded here and it clearly shows. Episode 0 was basically Alisha-centered with no trace of the main party anywhere. She then gets more screentime in later episodes, especially towards the end where she and Rose work together to stop the war from behind while Sorey goes to the battlefield. Honestly, I don’t really have an opinion on Alisha. I don’t hate her but I don’t like her either. She’s just okay. I did wanted more in-depth world-building regarding Hyland since there was a heavily lack of Hyland lore, but I guess the anime did give out some content like Rose and Alisha interaction (which I liked) and more depth to the war. I also liked some of Alisha's friends like Ian and Sirel. They should've appeared in the game. Though, I do know that they were created to give Alisha more depth as a character like how she has friends and her duties as knight and princess.
The Berseria episodes seem out of place, but if you watch season 2, they add in more to the story, but it still feels out of place if you haven’t played the game. The only other inclusion of the Berseria timeline is the Zaveid/Edna/Eizen sub-plot, which carried over from the prequel. Eizen is a dragon while Edna is a major character; Zaveid doesn’t get prominence until season 2 but he’s just a seraph on the mountain—and less antagonistic—for this season.
The regression in character is understandable due to this anime being seasonal, which means they have to squeeze in a lot of information on a budget without digressing too much; though it isn't as bad as Season 2. Perhaps I’m biased, but I found Sorey adorable in the game, but he was a bit serious in the anime, so I felt like I was watching both Sorey and an alternate version of Sorey simultaneously. I got that feeling for every character in this anime except Dezel and Mikleo. Lailah isn’t as flighty as she was in the game (I never thought I’d say this, but I missed her puns); I do like Lailah’s new voice actress, Noriko Shitaya and her performance for the anime. Edna wasn’t as snarky. Mikleo got some characterizations but he got regressed badly in season 2 due to the lack of focus on him. Rose is still the same. The only person who did not get a regression was Alisha who got more characterization due to her enhanced screen time.
Despite my three gripes, however, I think what the anime did well was show more of Sorey’s journey as he helps more people than he did in the game. He purifies people more than he did in the game and he learns a lot of lessons in the anime too, which I liked. I think this was why Sorey was more mature in the anime. I also liked Alisha’s perspective on the war where the viewers get to see what Hyland goes through during the war while Sorey goes to the battlefield.
Overall, as an anime, the first season did well mixing up original content with the game content making an interesting retelling of Sorey’s journey without diverging too much (though, I totally think the Berseria episodes were out of place). If you want to watch a Tales anime, I’d recommend this. The story is fine if you like Zestiria or Tales in general, but the visuals are very appealing alongside the soundtrack (Listen to the Zestiria OST if you ever get the chance—you won’t regret it).