Episode previews that follow the credits at the end of an episode are a long-running aspect of anime. Sometimes, these are a quick series of clips from the next episode. Other times you get an abstract image with a jumble of random voice clips. Some anime even get by with just a single frame and the title of the upcoming episode and nothing more. Tales of Zestiria, on the other hand, turns each preview into a light-hearted, character-building skit scene.
[Disclosure: Anime Consortium Japan (ACJ) , the owner of ANIME NOW!, is an investor in Tales of Zestiria the X. Moreover, Bandai Namco Holdings, the parent company of the creator of the original Tales of Zestiria game, is a major shareholder in ACJ.]
Tales of Zestiria the X is based on the 2015 video game Tales of Zestiria, part of the long-running Tales series of games. Ever since the second game in the series, Tales of Destiny, the games have included “skits.” Skits are conversation scenes between 2D animated portraits of the characters. Some of these are driven by the plot of a particular game but most are completely optional. And while some skits focus on serious topics, many are comical scenes completely irrelevant to the story at hand.
The episode previews in Tales of Zestiria the X mirror the style of the games’ skits–right down to the minimally animated character sprites.
The first episode ends with Sorey and Mikleo discovering Alisha unconscious within some ancient ruins. The episode preview then becomes a dialogue between the two about how to approach a girl, with Sorey wanting advice on how to make friends and Mikleo parroting his grandfather’s advice on how to pick up girls. Alisha herself–upon waking–just looks on, puzzled as to what Sorey is talking about to empty air (as she is unable to see or hear spirits like Mikleo). It’s as funny and cute as you’d expect and adds depth to both characters by letting us see how they banter.
The second episode follows the two as they enter a city for the first time and is similarly gag-oriented. They discuss the legend of the Sword in the Stone–whoever pulls it out will be the legendary Shepherd–and talk about who each thinks is suitable. In the end, Mikleo is so sure that anyone but Sorey will be the Shepherd that he promises to make funny faces throughout the next preview if Sorey is successful. After the third episode’s credits, Mikleo does indeed prove true to his word–much to the surprise of the other characters, including Sorey.
But the best one of these skits so far has been the fourth episode’s. Because the fifth episode is set centuries before and follows the cast of the unreleased game Tales of Berseria instead of our heroes, the characters are unable to give a preview. They begin to wonder if that means they’re going to be written off the show–an anime character existential crisis.
Without a doubt these comical conversations are so cute and enjoyable they’ve become my favorite part of each episode. They don’t really give any information on the next episode other than the title; but if their job is to make me come back next week, they most definitely succeed.
…Not necessarily to see the next episode as much as the next episode’s next episode skit, but a win’s a win, right?
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