Tales of Zestiria the X: Episode 03 – The Sacred Blade Festival (Dub Summary/Review)

Tensions rise politically as the city holds a ceremony from ancient times. Will the Shepherd arrive?

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 as Sorey & Mikleo see the city of Ladylake from a distance. While amazed by the amount of humans there are outside of the city, a girl with red hair and pigtails (who was also one of the assassins in the Prologue episode) advised them that they are at a security checkpoint that requires people to provide a pass to get in. Sorey worries about not having a pass but the Pigtailed Girl decides to help him out but letting him accompany her troupe. She travels with a group of merchants known as the Sparrowfeathers, who venture the world under a free trade treaty. After they made it inside, she then asks for 500 Gald. Sorey, unfortunately, does not have any cash which caused the girl to dig through Sorey’s bag for an item in return and stumbles upon Alisha’s knife. Upon examining the knife, she returns it to Sorey saying that he’ll just owes her one in the future after describing their meet up as fate.

When you find out the grand total of this year’s tuition.

The Pigtailed Girl shows Sorey around the city as he marvels at how lively it is. She then leaves him alone as she has business to attend to with the Sparrowfeathers. Suddenly, Mikleo stumbles a bit under a force he identifies as Malevolence, declaring that Ladylake was filled with this darkness. As they take a breather, they notice the Foxsassin standing in the middle of the crowd. He dashes away and jumps from building to building and Sorey, in kind, does the same with a bit of a rough landing. He catches up to the Foxsassin, asking him what he intends to do to Alisha, though it appears that the Foxsassin doesn’t care about her anymore but let’s them know that there is another group that’s targeting her instead before he escaping the duo.

We then see Alisha and Maltran at the graveyard, as Maltran confirmed with Alisha that there were no other survivors of the events that occurred at Griel. She then asks Alisha if Griel was the reason why she opposed Chancellor Bartlow (one of the political men in the Prologue episode) or if it was because of the misuse of the Sacred Blade Festival. Alisha responds by saying that the whole world is already full of darkness. Starting a war now would do nothing but become detriment to the current state of the world.  Maltran warns Alisha that the higher-ups may not agree with her decision and should think before she acts. We later find Chancellor Bartlow in a room with the assassins we’ve seen in the Prologue. Not happy with her stance for war, Bartlow believes that Alisha is only passive because she has connections with the opposing nation known as Rolance. The assassins, known as the Scattered Bones, ask Bartlow if this assassination is justifiable as they only kill to protect innocent lives. Bartlow attempts to justify this by mentioning that this passive state only leaves the nation vulnerable to attack from the opposition, putting civilians in danger. The assassins… Find this enough of a justifiable reason to go ahead and assassinate the Princess (Well, that was easy.).

Huh, it was actually Organization XVII all this time.

Sorey, Mikleo, and the entire city gather to a large building for the Sacred Blade Festival, and we get a glimpse of the Foxsassin hanging around outside only to notice what appears to be another Seraphim in a black outfit behind the Pigtailed Girl from before. Inside, Alicia & Maltran stood before the Sacred Blade resting in a pedestal, and commenced the ceremony with the Rite of the Warrior. As this went on, Sorey & Mikleo notice a female Seraphim in a red and white dress sleeping in front of the pedestal. Sorey realizes that this Seraphim is the Lady of the Lake from the Legend of the Sacred Blade. She awakes and notices the Malevolence in the room is rising. We get more shots of the Foxsassin observing the ceremony from inside and one of the Scattered Bones was positioned above to assassinate Alisha. After the last soldier failed to draw the Sacred Blade, Alisha ends the ceremony with a closing speech. She advised everyone that they should all work together just as the humans did with the Seraphim in the Legend to prevent dark forces from spreading throughout the world. She then re-established her decision to be passive against the nation of Rolance and not start a war. This plus the entire ceremony did not bode well with the people in the room, which caused the Malevolence in the room to increase immensely.

Suddenly, the torches in the room collapse as the entire room is enveloped by the Malevolence, which produced a spectral dragon Hellion. Unable to be seen by the crowd, they are affected by the turbulence and destruction caused by the Hellion as it attempted to charge at the Lady of the Lake, only to be repelled by the Sacred Blade. Sorey runs ahead while avoiding the Hellion to reunite with Alisha as the building starts to catch fire. Realizing that he’s the only one who can stop the Hellion, Sorey heads towards the pedestal and calls to the Lady of the Lake. He asks her if there was anything she could do to stop the Hellion which unfortunately she is unable to do without the power of purification provided by the Shepherd. As Alisha realizes that Sorey can truthfully communicate with Seraphim, the assassin drops from above and assaults the Princess with twin daggers. Alisha was able to prevent the assassination attempt and asked who the assassin was, only to hear that she was guilty of endangering innocent lives. Maltran was about to help, but Bartlow ordered her and the rest of the knights to help escort the civilians instead. Sorey tries to help Alisha out but she declines the offer. She asked Sorey to focus on stopping the cause of all of this destruction because she believes he’s the only one who can.

Sorey then walks towards the Sacred Blade but the Lady of the Lake stops him and asks why he wants to be a Shepherd. After learning that the Seraph’s name is Lailah, Sorey informs her that the artifacts of the past holds the key that can bring Seraphim and humans in harmony again. He believes that his dream of unity between the Seraphim and humans is connected to the Shepherd’s role of purifying the Hellions, which is why he accepts this role. As he was about the grasp the blade, time froze all around him. Lailah warns him that drawing that blade as her vessel and accepting the role of Shepherd, while providing power beyond human capabilities, also brings the Shepherd’s burdens of despair, hardship, and the scorn of others. Sorey, while realizing this, ultimately decides to assume the role of Shepherd to save the people around him and realize his dream. With the mark of the Shepherd appearing on his left hand, he finally draws the Sacred Blade.

Time resumes, and a small explosion from the pedestal repels the Hellion. From the shining light gleaming through the smoke, Sorey, in a white outfit and flaming sword in hand, zooms towards the Hellion while slashing it multiple times. He lands in front of the weakened Hellion as he addressed Lailah by her true name, Fethmus Mioma. Using their combined powers, they were able to eradicate the Hellion in one fell swoop, which caused all of the Malevolence and its effects to dissipate from the building. Everyone in the room reacts to the Shepherd dawning before their eyes, as the assassin who attacked Alisha retreats. After all that, the episode ends with Sorey collapsing to the ground, unconscious.

This episode was a decent one that had its ups and downs. Alisha’s determination to help her kingdom was consistent with her character, and brought forth some opposition for her in Bartlow and the Assassin. However, I felt that the scene with the Scattered Bones accepting Bartlow’s assassination request was a bit rushed. I understand that the anime series is short and that it’s hard to avoid rushing certain plot points, but this just results to the whole scene and impression of the assassins to feel a little hokey and shallow, which may not the right impression to have with a group of assassins that associates themselves with honour.

Sorey becoming the Shepherd was obvious--I mean heck if he didn’t, where would the show go? This however caused the events prior to the reveal to feel a little bland. All they did was introduce multiple scenes here or there that don’t have much substance. It felt like they needed to pad as much as possible until the end. Sorey’s speech and reaffirmation of his dream and how it connects to the Shepherd practically defines a hero, which is good. I’m curious to see what kind of struggles he’ll face now that he had assumed this role. The action in this episode came up short again, and it still left me wanting more. Hopefully we’ll see choreography that lasts longer than a minute’s time because with each burst, while good, left a lot more to be desired.

Regarding the Dub/Translation: Looks like Elysium is here to stay. As I said in the previous episode, this term is not as glaring as the other one Funimation had initially. I could see it bothering those who care about consistency between related content. I do want to bring attention to the Foxsassin’s voice actor though. As a user named frubam mentioned in the comments of the previous summary, his voice was a little distracting. While that wasn’t the case for me last episode, it certainly was here. In the game, the direction allows the voice actors to project more due to how it’s presented, and the Foxsassin’s voice benefited off of this. Due to the anime medium and the subtle direction that comes with it, the Foxsassin’s voice did not transition well at all, especially when he was giving an explanation. Hopefully it sits well with me in later episodes because his delivery here was pretty distracting.

Hits:

  • Sorey’s assumption as the Shepherd leads to intrigue for what struggles he may encounter in later episodes. His speech before becoming the Shepherd worked well too.
  • Alisha continues to have fresh obstacles that stand in the way of her beliefs.
  • Action was good, but still left me wanting more than short bursts.

Misses:

  • The scene with Bartlow and the Scattered Bones felt rushed.
  • The scenes leading up to the Shepherd’s awakening felt like padding.
  • Foxsassin’s dub voice was distracting throughout the episode.

Overall, while the episode’s positives do hit home, it gets a 2/5 for me. Join me next time as we check out Episode 04: The Shepherd’s Destiny.

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Tales of Zestiria the X
Tales of Zestiria the XThe Tales of Zestiria the X anime (read as "the Cross") is a TV series adaptation of Tales of Zestiria that was first announced during Tales of Festival 2015 as the "Tales of 20th Anniversary Animation". The anime is by ufotable and is currently airing this Summer 2016 worldwide. Its tagline is "The Journeys of the Shepherd go beyond Zestiria," and shows hints of connections with Tales of Berseria

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PanbanRichard
About PanbanRichard 82 Articles
PanbanRichard has been a part of team AC since November 2006. While not as active as he used to be, he still appreciates the series for how far it's come. Responsible for various Tales projects including the Tales of Marathon Stream, Tales OP Chorus Medley and the Tower of Tales.