Tales of Zestiria the X: Episode 05 – The Beginning of Calamity (Dub Summary/Review)

And now for an entirely different story, starring a young woman who is dead set on revenge.

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 in a dark room. A woman with black hair, half-torn clothing and a fully bandaged left arm is seen leaning against the wall. She’s face to face with a pair of werewolf-like creatures and she brutally murders one of them with a swing of her left arm, now in the shape of a demonic claw. The other one charges right at her only to suffer the same fate as its partner, with its remains being completely absorbed by the claw in a red aura. Her arm returns to normal as she collapsed to the floor. As a blue light appeared from underneath, we then hear her inner monologue. She states that Daemonblight, people and beasts possessed by demons now feast on the flesh of humans. While her “despair locked her heart in an icy grip”, it can only be thawed by the blood of one man who she wants to kill (Honestly, listen to how she delivers the monologue herself because writing it here doesn’t give it justice.). As she finished speaking, the scene reveals that she’s trapped in a prison that is completely sealed off by a grate from above. Suddenly, the grate preventing access to the surface is removed.

Blood or not, this screenshot shows how sudden the change of tone is.

Suddenly, a woman with a white outfit, mask, and short red ponytail descends from the opening from above. Upon a graceful landing, she examines her surroundings only to be greeted by the other woman GRABBING HER FACE AND SMASHING IT INTO A WALL. This doesn’t faze her as the other woman’s bandaged arm starts to light on fire. In response, she flings her opponent away, but she was able to land gracefully once more. As the flames dissipated from her arm, she then demands that the red haired woman tell her where –he- is. She responds to this question with another question, wondering how long the bandaged woman had been here feasting on demons. The bandaged woman attempted to choke her, but red haired girl still remained calm and called out the other’s name: Velvet Crowe. Velvet, who identified the redhead as Artorius’ Malak, asks her where he is again. The Malak warns Velvet that she must leave immediately or else she’ll be captured by the Exorcists. She uses her magic to lower a ladder into the prison, providing them a means to escape. At the top, the pair are greeted by Exorcist soldiers who are of the Centurion class. The Malak attempts to burn one of them with her magic, but it was deflected easily. Despite the Malak’s warnings that a Tierion* can’t take down Exorcists, Velvet engages them in combat. With her strength and demonic claw, she was able to defeat them all one by one.

As the Malak led the way to the entrance she took, Velvet runs in the opposite direction. The Malak pursues Velvet, asking why she’s going the wrong way, which Velvet responds (with logic!) that they’ll probably get caught if they took the path the Malak used to infiltrate the prison. They end up in a storeroom where Velvet equips herself with an arm-blade and a cape. She then notices a sword which the Malak identifies as Stormhowl, however she decides not to use it because it’s too big. We then get a little exposition from the Malak, mentioning that the world had changed since Velvet was locked in this prison three years ago. While stating that the Exorcists were growing in numbers, Velvet interrupts her by pointing Stormhowl towards her neck (jeez, calm down) and asks of Artorius’ whereabouts again. She finally reveals that Artorius is at the capital of the Midgand region: Logrus. The Malak then insists on providing her exposition as we get a brief flashback when Velvet failed to save a young boy who appeared to be engulfed by a dragon-like spirit. The Malak explains that what Velvet experienced during that night was the completion of a ritual, causing the world to change. Malakim like herself came to world and were used by the Exorcists to end the demon invasion. This organization of Exorcists is known as the Abbey, and is led by one man who earned the trust of the kingdom and its people: Artorius Collbrande. Velvet comments on how he sacrificed a child to obtain that power, which the Malak responds by saying that Artorius is not at full power yet so he can be killed. Velvet, calling the Malak by name, asked why Seres was helping her. Seres says that she’ll explain once they escape the prison.

Hold still, you’ve celery between your teeth.

Suddenly, they hear someone entering the storeroom which caused them to hide. A swordsman with a black ponytail and orange & white garb was seen entering the room. He examines his surroundings a bit until he leaves. The two step out of hiding, only for the same man to appear right behind Velvet, while revealing a demonic eye underneath his hair. He locks Velvet in a neck hold and points a dagger towards her throat, threatening to kill her. Velvet laughs and advises not to attack them since they’re all trying to escape the prison. He lets her go, realizing that she’s the reason why all of the Exorcists were running about, revealing his eye once more, which causes Seres to call the man a demon. He reveals that he was in this storeroom looking for his little, which so happens to be the sword which Velvet found. She refuses to give back Stormhowl which causes the two of them to prepare for combat, but Velvet decides to return the sword back if he can help them escape the island. The scene then cuts to the trio figuring out how to do so, but they ultimately decide that they’ll hijack one of the Exorcists’ boats, defeating anyone that may interfere. As they sneak through the prison, Velvet explains the layout of the prison which she learned from all the demons she devoured. The prison she was in was for solitary confinement, while the rest of the floor is filled with thousands of imprisoned demons. Releasing these demons would cause a ruckus in the prison, which is the distraction they’d need to board one of the ships to set sail.

They end up in the room full of prisoned demons but they were interrupted by a couple of Exorcists. Velvet and the swordsman made quick work of them, and Velvet ordered Seres to release all of the demons with her magic. The swordsman then provides them directions to the nearest port, and they split off from here. Velvet & Seres end up at the top of the prison, which is revealed to be a tall tower that they’re standing on. The two of them eye the shoreline below, with Seres warning Velvet that she couldn’t possibly survive the fall even if she’s a Tierion. They hear footsteps coming from the path they took. Seres seals the door with her magic but mentioned that it can’t hold them off for long. Velvet eyes the cliff before the shore, remembers the child who died in the previous flashback, and JUMPS OFF THE TOWER TOWARDS THE CLIFF. She uses her demonic claw to grab onto the cliff to soften the descent, but it wasn’t enough as she slammed her head on a part of the cliff, then tumbles onto the platform she was aiming for. She was able to stand under her own strength, but not without a broken right arm. She first readjusts her arm by ramming it into the wall, and is then joined by Seres who heals Velvet’s wounds. Seres compliments Velvet’s strength, as if she was under an oath. Seres explains that an oath is a ritual that places limitations on a person, but grants them a special power depending on how strong the limitation is. She says it’s not always a blessing, Velvet completes her the statement saying that it’s more like a curse.

The two were about to proceed down the shoreline but notice another ship heading towards the island. Seres uses her magic to identify the ship’s flags and discovers that a Praetor class Exorcist is on the ship, speculating that it could be Artorius. She warns Velvet that the Praetor class is much stronger than the Centurion class and asks if she will still fight, to which Velvet responds in kind. We get a glimpse inside of the ship showing a man in blonde hair and a white outfit. Seres closes the episode wondering if the change Velvet went through because of Artorius will bring hope to the world, or cause Malevolence to spread.

Okay, I have a lot of things to say about this episode. On the one hand, this episode is a great preview of the game. It shows off Velvet’s will and drive to accomplish her one task in killing Artorius. Just in the opening minutes, you can tell how ruthless she can be to pursue Artorius and she proved how strong her determination for the rest of the episode. The tone completely shifted to a darker one as the main characters were more focused on benefiting themselves instead of the needs of others. As a Tales of fan, I can say that I’m still excited to play the game myself. However, in the eyes of the average viewer, what does this episode have to do with the story we’ve learned thus far? Throughout the entire episode, the audience is introduced to a whole slew of characters and stories that seem to have little to no connection to what was established, besides the one line at the very end mentioning Malevolence. If you’re not a fan of the Tales of series, you a bit of research to do. You have to know that the reason why these next two episode exist is to promote the next game in the series, Tales of Berseria, which demands quite a bit of trust in them. All of this just feels like a huge aside from the main story and I’m not a fan of how this was all executed.

This isn’t the first time Bandai Namco did a special prologue episode for an upcoming game, as they did the same thing with Tales of Zestiria as well. The difference between the two is that Tales of Zestiria had a TV special and it didn’t have a dedicated anime series to be imposed on. These Tales of Berseria episodes should’ve been handled the same way. Granted, Bandai Namco did advertise that this show would be the series that “transcends past the story of Zestiria”, but with advertisement like that, one would be under the impression that whatever is introduced would be directly connected with each other. If this is the means of transcending the story then it’s not particularly intriguing and frankly, I don’t think it was worth sacrificing the coherency of first couple episodes for.

The episode also shows off Tales of Zestiria’s game OP the end of the episode, which just caps off how poor in execution this all is. I did hear that they did have a scene that was replaced by the Tales of Zestiria game OP because it contained a spoiler, but if that was true, couldn’t they have done something else than show off the game OP? The game’s OP isn’t particularly good for people who are exposed to Tales of Zestiria for the first time as it contains some spoiler moments that I dare not clarify here. They could’ve played the same TV OP instead of the game’s OP instead. It’s boring, yeah, but at least it’s safe. If you’re trying to broaden the Tales of fanbase with an anime series, don’t have content that would only be understood exclusively to the fanbase.

Regarding the Dub/Translation: I haven’t been following much of the Berseria news in terms of terminology (been keeping the game as spoiler free as possible for myself before I play it), so I can’t comment much on what they’ve used. They did use Tierion* instead of Daemoneater, and from what I was able to research, Bandai Namco didn’t list the official spelling for it yet. Seres’ dub voice was good and Rokurou (The swordsman with Stormhowl) was a perfect fit for me. They’re both voiced by Monica Rial & Ben Diskin respectively, who confirmed on their individual Twitter accounts that they’re the voice actors for the anime only (though based on recent gameplay clips, this is probably not the case.). Cristina Vee plays Velvet Crowe here and I’m a little off put by how deep her voice is. Based on the tone and direction of this episode, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for Velvet to explore her range so the performance felt a little awkward as a result. I’m just hoping that the next episode will feature more of Velvet having opportunities to speak in different moments/direction but based on how they’re abridging this game’s prologues into the series, chances are slim.

Hits:

  • A nice preview for the next game in the series, Tales of Berseria.
  • Dark tone, while abrupt, was a fresh change of pace.
  • Rokurou’s dubbed voice is very good.

Misses:

  • The episode not meshing well with the previous episodes, which caused the flow to suffer.
  • Velvet’s dubbed voice took some time in getting used to.

Overall, this episode gets a 2/5 from me. Again, the episode itself is fine on its own, but as a part of an existing anime series? It just feels out of place and clumsy. Maybe the next episode will change my tone on this, but I can’t ignore how this fact was bothering me while I was watching it. See you guys next time as we watch Episode 06: Velvet Crowe.

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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.