Tales of Zestiria the X
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 19 of
Tales of Zestiria the X (TV 2) ?
I freely admit that the previews are some of my favorite parts of Tales of Zestiria the X. That's not to say they're all winners, and some of them are sillier than not, but anything that teases Mikleo is generally fine by me. When Alisha decided that Zaveid had clearly lost most of his clothing in his travels and ran off to find him a shirt this week, I cracked up. (Someone make that a doujinshi, please!) In part, it was because her shyness and his horror were so well done, but I also realized in that moment that I've been calling him “Zaveid Who Needs to Pull His Pants Up” in my head. Clearly, Alisha and I operate on a similar wavelength.
Having an Alisha-centric episode this week was both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, Alisha's storyline has been largely ignored this season, after basically leaving us hanging as to her status and her quest to preserve Hyland and Ladylake. We knew that Bartlow was still gunning for her, but that was about it. Now with her return to center stage, we see that she's still running around on the sidelines trying to both evade her enemies and cleanse Ladylake and its environs of Malevolence, which has been taking the form of tornadoes lately. That's what prompted her call to Sorey last week, and it's clear that she needs the help he's on his way to deliver – with multiple tornadoes in quick succession, lives are very much at stake. The fact that Bartlow has managed to convince her father the King that Alisha is a traitor means that she has to be extra careful in her attempts to purify and rescue, and it's a good thing she's got her two trusty guards with her to help. Alisha's a bit like Sorey in that she appears more innocent than she actually is. She seems to spend her time blundering straight into Bartlow's traps, but it isn't because she thinks he's not serious or doesn't anticipate them – she knows precisely what's going on. It's just that she values the lives she wants to save over her own. She's not going to run headlong into danger, but she is going to march toward it firmly with a plan in mind. It does take a toll on her, as we can see in her habitual pose when sitting down: Alisha almost always sits with her knees drawn up, curling into herself. It's a position that speaks of discomfort and self-soothing, as well as a need to protect herself and perhaps disappear for a time. The important thing about Alisha is that she always stands back up.
Of course, she may not be entirely alone in terms of Shepherd Power, even if she and Sorey part ways again after the upcoming episodes. This week, she gets bailed out by Zaveid when the Hellion she's fighting, a muddy landslide that somehow gives the impression of smelling really bad, proves too much for her Squire abilities. Zaveid just sort of shows up, acts cool, and leaves, but not before the two of them talk, and he seems to like the princess or at least find her less naïve than Sorey, who is clearly not his favorite person. I had half-expected Zaveid to return when Alisha was being harassed later by the fox-faced man, but I was ultimately pleased when he didn't – having Alisha simply ignore someone who was trying so hard to get under her skin (in a middle school boy kind of way) was truly satisfying. I think that's ultimately what made this episode a B+ rather than a B: Alisha's ability to remain firmly focused, not let anyone get to her, and keep moving ahead. She isn't perfect, but she has a steadfastness that's impressive, which makes me like her as a character at the end of the day. She could easily have just been Girl Sorey; instead, she's her own person with her own goals, and she isn't afraid to ask for help when she needs it.
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