This game seems to have combat resembling that of the Tales series. Now, in the Tales games you can typically customize your party members' behaviour to a great extent. You can decide if they're going to be aggressive or defensive, what enemies they should prioritize attacking, if they should try to be where the action is or stand at a safe distance, which of their moves they're gonna use and not use, if they should be conservative with the mana or go all out, how low they should let an ally's HP get before healing and so on and so forth. You can also pause at any moment during a fight to quickly give them some direct orders (or perhaps adjust their AI) and then start the battle up again. So basically, you can have them act exactly the way you'd like them to, and the process of doing so is very easy and elegant.
Is this also the case in Ni no Kuni? I'm kind of on the fence about getting it.