Welcome to Tales of
Zestiria Berseria the X #01! But seriously.
Before you venture into this review, you might want to read the full notice below.
As previously announced, episodes #05 and #06 of Tales of Berser— Zestiria the X will cross over with Tales of Berseria... though by cross over, I think they meant BERSERIA WILL TAKE OVER. And take over it did. The entire episode is about Tales of Berseria, specifically from the time Velvet is on her way from breaking out of the prison island of Titania. As such, this might actually be spoilers for those yet to play the game (it isn't even out yet), so be forewarned.
And want to understand more about Tales of Berseria and whatever the exorcists, malakim, the Abbey and the daemons are? You might want to read our Tales of Berseria page.
TOZ:: 導師様は今日は休みです。 pic.twitter.com/FJYtkTEuTu
— Liel✿リエル (@Liel_tales) August 7, 2016
So, Sorey and company really did take that break.
No opening this week. We're greeted with the sight of a woman in tattered clothes sitting on the floor of what seems to be a dungeon. From her heavily bandaged hand seeps what seems to be some sort of smoke...aura...malevolence even? Monsters approach her, but she easily attacks one and seems to absorb...no, devour it with her left hand. She does the same for the remaining one, easily fending them it off with her now disfigured left arm, and also devours them. She is then engulfed in blue light, and falls to the ground. This light, whatever it is, seems to be absorbing her own energy. From above her, the bars of her deep pit prison suddenly open. Cue title of Tales of Zestiria the X...
But no, this isn't Tales of Zestiria anymore - Welcome to Tales of Berseria, confirmed far off prequel to Zesty. Meet its main protagonist, Velvet Crowe.
From the now opened prison descends a woman clad in white. She seemingly floats down to its bottom, but doesn't notice Velvet in the darkness. Velvet attacks her, but she easily makes her back off by incinerating her left arm for a bit. The woman addresses her, but all Velvet wants to know is where "that man" is (though she does ask why a Malak of his is there). It seems that Velvet has spent a good chunk of her life stuck in this darkness and endured it, all because of her hatred for "that man."
The girl explains that she broke many barriers to get to her and that the Exorcists outside might have already noticed this break in, so they have to hurry. She uses her power to make the ladder from above the prison to descend down, and the two make their way up.
A bunch of praetor exorcists have found them. As the girl in white prepares to attack with her fire, Velvet steps up. With an impressive display of physical prowess, she easily defeats the exorcists. I personally really love the music here. And it doesn't sound at all anything Sakuraba would compose so... this might be Shiina's work.
The two make a bolt for it and reach a fork. The girl wants to go the other way, but Velvet chooses the opposite direction? Why? Because that's the direction of the barriers the girl broke. This actually doesn't make sense to me because... why in the world would Seres even choose the other way?
They make their way to what seems to be a confiscated items storage room. Velvet finds a few pieces of scrap cloth and uses them as clothes, along with a weapon. The girl commends her decision earlier, praising her for not being so brash in what she does, after all (but you were. Going the other way), while Velvet throws away some rope.
Also in the room is this really long sword they call a Tempest Blade (or Stormblade if you watched Funimation's subs. This doesn't have a localized term yet). Seres suggests they take it, but Velvet says it's something she can't use, and there really won't be any point in a powerful weapon if it can't be used properly.
I have somewhat mixed feelings on how they're portraying Velvet. She's a mix of emo sprinkled with brashness, but beneath all that is actual wit. The wit part is the part I really, really like. I mean, she actually thinks. However, 7 minutes into this episode and all she can really think about is Artorius, Artorius, ARTORIUS. I know he did something bad to you, Vel, but calm down for a second.
Velvet points the Templest Blade at the girl and demands Artorius whereabouts. Artorius is in the capital of Midgand, of Rogress. She explains that the world has completely changed since the events from years ago. Malakim descended into the world, and together with the exorcists, they drove away the Daemons. The man Velvet is after, Artorius Collbrande, is now head of the exorcists, and acts as the sword and shield of the people. Basically, everyone loves him as the "savior." He managed to obtain this power from sacrificing "that child," who is actually Velvet's little brother. The girl, however, adds, that his power is not yet complete, and that he can still be "killed."
Velvet questions her, Seres, instead - she, who was once a firm believer and Malak under Artorius, is helping her escape. Seres just answers that she'll talk about it if they can escape successfully.
The two are alarmed by the sound of someone approaching. Seres immediately extinguishes the flames from the torches around them, and the two hide. A man enters, seemingly looking for something, but eventually leaves.
From earlier, the Tempest Blade is extremely long. Seeing as Velvet is sitting down here, I'm assuming the crate covering her from view is short - meaning the Tempest Blade should have been poking out earlier. But hey, it's dark, so whatever.
As the two get up from hiding, the guy is actually just behind Velvet. He captures her and threatens her, but Velvet merely laughs. She recognizes right away that the guy is also a prisoner, and he really won't get much from threatening a fellow prison breaker.
Wait a gosh darn minute. Seres was literally just behind Velvet when they emerged from hiding. Did she not notice this peculiar guy standing between her and Velvet for a good 5 seconds? No? I guess not.
Anyway, the guy backs away and realizes that all the exorcists swarming the place is after these two. The man is also a Daemon, but throughout the episode we don't really get to know his name. But if you've been paying attention to all the Tales of Berseria news and such, you'll know that he's Rokurou Rangetsu.
He also wants to break out, though Seres points out again that there are Exorcists everywhere. Rokurou says he's still looking for his partner anyway, which is... conveniently being held by Velvet right now! Yep, his partner is that Tempest Blade thing. Rokurou wants it back, but Velvet claims it for herself.
This pisses Rokurou off and brings out a couple of daggers to fight Velvet. Velvet initially intends to use the Tempest Blade on him, but then moves to interrogate him - if he can use that sword and if he can cut down Exorcists with it. Rokurou proudly declares that the couple of daggers he got from some Exorcists outside would be just enough.
Velvet declares that she'll now return the blade, but under some terms.
The three calm down and discuss business. Velvet mentions that Seres probably has a boat and asks where it is. Seres is impressed that she knew it's an island. Velvet adds she's aware that it's a prison island where Daemons are kept, and that some of the prey they've been throwing at her had mentioned it as they begged for their lives—
I just realized that since they never bothered to give Velvet the luxury of a bath or a toilet, then they might not have fed her?? If her Daemon arm literally just... eats and stuff, then does that mean she can also get nutrients from it, thereby negating the need for food?? Gosh this episode just gives me so many questions argh!
*cough* Moving on... Seres mentions that the island has two harbors, one to the front and one to the back. Seres's boat is docked over at the back harbor. Of course, they should expect Exorcists waiting for them there. Velvet mentions that if it were up to her, they'd ship out all the boats to ultimately trap them there, and it's probably what the Exorcists are planning. In the end, she plans to decrease the Exorcist numbers and then create a scene where they'll be able to take a boat.
Ultimately, they plan a riot. The island is literally a Daemon prison, housing at least 1,000 Daemons there, with the level they're in having individual cells. With this, there won't be a chance for them to send out all their ships.
The three reach a confinement area housing a considerable concentration of Daemons. A few Exorcists suddenly arrive, but Velvet and Rokurou easily deal with them. Velvet notes that Rokurou's particularly strong.
With that cleaned up, Seres opens up all the gates of the cells with her powers. The swarms of Daemons
casually stroll rush out of their cells.
But seriously, the beginning was the calmest prison break I've ever seen. Maybe I've watched too many movies, but usually when prison breaks happen, the prisoners run out of their cells yelling in joy, like a proper riot should be.
Rokurou, unfortunately, parts ways with them here, but he tells them of a route going up as thanks for bringing him back the Tempest Blade. Rokurou runs with the other Daemons, while Velvet and Seres head up the prison.
The two reach the top of the prison, but there seems to be no means of getting away (gee, what did you think, going all the way up this prison tower?).
Seres suggests turning back, since a jump from this high would probably just kill Velvet. The sounds of the Exorcists come near, making Seres shut the door with her powers.
As they think of what to do, Velvet is driven by the memory of Artorius and her brother. Using her hand as a hook of sorts, she makes the jump.
That landing, of course, is anything but smooth, and she accidentally rams her right shoulder onto the cold, hard ground upon landing. Not only does she get a horrible bruise on her shoulder, but she also either fractures or dislocates her humerus or her radius.
And in medical terms we call this move a Manual Closed Reduction of a fracture. It is, by the way, very, very, VERY painful without anesthesia. If you're in a public hospital here in the Philippines and you happen to have a fracture that needs this done, then well, get ready to scream. Unless you have money to shelf out, then they're going to do the Manual Reduction right then and there at the ER, no anesthesia. And I can tell you, my memory of Orthopedic rotation in the ER is nothing but screams and cries of little kids getting their bones pushed back into place. A privately-managed hospital, of course, is an entirely different story.
Anyway, Seres descends from above and tends to her wound on her right shoulder... which makes me question if maybe Velvet waited for a teensy minute, then Seres would probably have been able to do something about that fracture of hers.
Seres commends her strength, and likens it to an oath... She describes an oath as a rite of restraining words and actions in exchange for power. The more limitations on oneself, the more powerful the power. In this sense, however, Velvet likens it more to a curse. Oaths, by the way, are actively mentioned in Tales of Zestiria, the most prominent one being Lailah's oath that enabled her to have the powers of purification. In exchange for that, she couldn't talk about her past with the previous Shepherd and whatnot.
Just as the epic music slowly creeps in, the two are alarmed by the sound of a ship nearing the island - Seres recognizes it as a ship of the Legate Exorcists, a rank higher than those measly Praetor Exorcists they battled. Seres declares that their journey is about to get harder. Velvet, of course, is prepared for it. We're greeted by a peek at who is in the ship - it's Oscar Dragonia, one of Artorius's Legate Exorcists.
As the two walk on, Seres wonders. Will Velvet's hatred for Artorius bring about hope for the world? Or would it only spread malevolence? They will know in the future, when it crosses.
No like she literally says "cross" for the added Tales of Zestiria the X effect. Okay.
The episode ends with the Tales of Zestiria game opening playing for the last 2 minutes. Those confused about this - we reported earlier that the episodes 5 and 6 that were shown during that pre-screening event last August 5th have different versions as the ones to be aired. F
rom those who went to the advanced screening, apparently the game opening has just been used as a filler for parts that were cut off which were deemed to be too much of a spoiler, so that's that. I stand corrected, apparently the episode is the same as the one during the pre-screening. The Zesty game opening was also shown there. Perhaps the next episode will be the one that's different, since it apparently covers a pretty big spoiler.
After the opening, we're greeted with credits and instrumental music for the next 1 and a half minute. Seems they literally cut off a lot from that episode. Well, at least the ending has awesome music. This track sounds something Go Shiina would compose. To those who don't know, as it wasn't exactly completely announced or anything, Go Shiina is also working on Tales of Berseria's music along with Motoi Sakuraba in this game. Go Shiina was even at Japan Expo last month to promote it, along with God Eater, of course.
All in all, I have very mixed feelings about this entire episode. As much as we were given the heads up that this episode (and next week's) will be about Berseria, it might be a bit of a surprise for those who are regularly just watching the anime as just the anime (i.e. no Tales background or has no idea about Zesty and Bersy). It also doesn't really help that last week ended in such a huge cliffhanger. I realize it can be frustrating for some viewers.
So far though, this episode doesn't have that much of a spoiler, but I fear for next week.
Woah. Seriously guys. Turn down the flirting. As usual, tons of screenshots of the episode here! Next episode, #06: Velvet Crowe. See you next week!