INCOMING BERSERIA EXPOSITION AND SPOILERS! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
There are so many things I want to talk about that I made this into its own separate review.
CONTAINS MAJOR ZESTIRIA AND BERSERIA SPOILERS SO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
This episode starts off with Sorey and friends FINALLY reaching Pendrago…well, they’re almost in Pendrago, but close enough. They meet up with Sergei in front of a large manor. It belongs to Emperor Doran of the Rolance royal family (Konan’s father?). He escorts Sorey into his manor.
The first thing I want to talk about in this episode is the missed opportunities the game should’ve had. In the game, the royal families of both nations are never introduced save for one member (Alisha for Hyland and Konan for Rolance). I think that some plot holes could be answered (or filled in) if they had introduced more characters and/or sidequests to the lackluster plot.
Konan is the only member of the Rolance royal family that appeared in the Rolance portion of the game (and only in a flashback), but none of the NPCs even mention him (do they?) or any of the other royal family, so it made me wonder if Konan was the only one left or if there was more. If the emperor was alive, then they should’ve added him into the game! Sheesh, some of the Rolance loopholes (like Rose’s backstory, which could tie into Dezel’s revenge plot) could’ve been answered. The emperor could’ve talked about the weird stuff happening in Rolance or about Heldalf. The Heldalf plot could’ve been understood more if they added in someone from the Rolance military or the royal family who knew the man instead of sticking his backstory into iris gems. That way, Heldalf wouldn’t be such a bland villain.
Anyways, Eguille does mention in the episode that Doran is Konan’s father, so the question I had in parentheses above is answered.
The second thing I want to talk about is the exposition the emperor gives about the legend passed down through the royal family. Surprise! It’s Tales of Berseria exposition!
The emperor gives a long exposition about the events of Tales of Berseria. He and the other members of the family are aware of Malevolence, but cannot see it. The royal family has been working hard for the prosperity and continuation of their family blood.
Does that mean Konan is aware of it? And if he did, then is that why he’s gone to the bad side? It is because he doesn’t care? All this stuff I’m rambling on about the Rolance royal family does prove my point about the missed opportunity. There’s so much stuff we don’t know about Rolance (and Hyland for that matter, but I’ll talk about that in the next review).
Does that mean he’s part of the Asgard family or not? Is the Asgard family even present anymore? Is the Rolance royal family’s surname Asgard? (Spoilers: The Asgardian family is the royal family in Berseria’s timeline. Prince Percival, an important NPC, is a part of that family as well as Artorius’ mentor Claudin—hey, Claudin is mentioned in Zestiria in a discovery point!)
Sorey wonders how that could be possible. Doran asks if he is aware of the storyteller. Sorey knows Mayvin. Doran then tells him that Mayvin is a clan of storytellers. A picture of a long-haired woman is then seen.
This is Magilou (whose real name is Magillanica Lou Mayvin). She is the adopted daughter of Melchior Mayvin. The post-credit ending of Berseria shows that Magilou is recording the adventures of her travelling companions (mainly Eleanor because she became the new Shepherd after Artorius’ death). The Mayvin clan is mentioned to be a legacy of historians (they all live long lives because of an oath they make). There is a sidequest in Zestiria that involves the grave of a female Mayvin. Her name is never mentioned, so it’s unknown whether or not that is Magilou’s grave.
It is most likely that Magilou or a Mayvin told the Rolance royal family about the existence of Malevolence. After all, Magilou is a party member.
Doran also tells Sorey about how they broke an oath and told the royal family about the secrets of the world.
Though there is a bit of a continuity error with the subtitles. The subtitles say several millenniums, but Berseria takes place a thousand years before Zestiria, meaning it's just a millennium.
Doran tells Sorey about how there was a man who tried to eradicate Malevolence by attempting to steal mankind’s emotions. Malevolence is borne from people’s emotions, but mankind is not aware of it, ironically, and, because of that, Malevolence has multiplied across the world.
A ritual is mentioned in Doran’s story. It is the Advent that the plot of Berseria heavily mentions. The rite was activated and rid the world of Malevolence.
However, only one person exuded Malevolence in that world: Velvet Crowe, the very first Lord of Calamity—the progenitor.
First off, the part about ridding the world of Malevolence is not true. Daemons (the hellions of a millennia ago) still existed and daemons are born from the malevolence in a person’s heart. Rokurou was still a daemon, so not all Malevolence was gone when that happened.
Velvet’s hatred for a certain someone caused the calamity. Doran’s words make it seem as if Velvet’s the cause of why the present world in Zestiria is so chaotic. It’s true in a sense. She was the harbinger of destruction in game, but she wasn’t the Lord of Calamity by choice.
Well, I know about the spoilers of Berseria, but I haven’t finished the game, so I’ll stop talking about it for now. I don’t want ramble on something I don’t have concrete evidence over.
I do like the inclusion of Berseria exposition, but that’s it for the episode. It gives a nice inclusion to the fact that the anime transcends the game. I do like how the emperor is the one giving the exposition. It shows that Sorey and friends aren’t the only ones that know about Malevolence. It also tells that Velvet’s actions caused the world to become the state it is with the existence of the Lord of Calamities. It gives the sense that Malevolence is a serious problem that no one has yet to fix.
It makes you question: Can Sorey purify the world? Can humans and seraphim peacefully coexist? Seeing how the world had turned into a terrible state in Zestiria shows that the Zestiria version of the apocalypse will happen if the malevolence continues to wreak havoc.
Aside from the Berseria exposition, there is change in Rose. She doesn’t care about revenge anymore. Instead, she wants to find a way to see Malevolence so that she can try to make the world a better place for the weak. She’s still following her creed, but I do like how she’s not doing evil things anymore in order to achieve it. She finally gets the character development that she needed.
Here are two other things I want to talk about:
One, Pope Masedra is introduced in the anime. In the game, there is a side quest dedicated to the pope. I mentioned in my last post that I wasn’t sure about the fake elixirs and that making Konan the person who made them a nice touch to the game side quest. However, a nice person commented on my previous post saying that the fake elixirs were actually made by the pope himself and that they are banned because they contain vermillion ore, which is a highly dangerous substance in the game. Going to Goddodin is important because the vermillion ore is located in a cave where the fire shrine is, hence the start of the shrine plot that Sorey needs to partake in order to strengthen his power Yes, the fire shrine. Every thing about the shrines is shafted in this anime, unfortunately. (I really did want to hear their themes too…)
Two, the cause of Pendrago’s weather is VERY different in the game. In the anime, it is a dying dragon. In the game, a woman named Cardinal Forton (Cardinal is her title) is the cause. This portion of the story is VERY important because it gives us three important things:
- Sorey learns that he can’t save every one and that death is salvation at times. He learns this because she cannot be purified. Rose teaches him this. The “You save lives and I take them” is actually an important lesson quote for that little portion of the game.
- Forton is a hellion known as a Medusa. She can petrify people; there are many statues in the church, which are actual, petrified people. One of them is a man named Boris who is Sergei’s twin brother. Surprise, there is some characterization for Sergei who is a bit melancholic in this portion of the game because of his missing twin brother.
- Dezel also gets a lot of characterization because he is the only person immune to Forton’s Gorgon Eyes attack (very annoying in the game). Why? He is blind. I don’t think the anime will ever bring this up. Dezel is blind because of an incident that happened in Rose’s flashback in the game that caused him to seek revenge. Although I gave Dezel a bit of flack for being bland, I did like that this part of the game did amp up his character a bit. He’s blind, but he doesn’t care. Nobody treats him any differently either. It shows how kind the party members are.
Do I like the fact that the dragon replaced the Forton part of the game? Honestly, I’m so-so. I did like the game version of this part, but I also did like the anime portion as well. I remember back when Tales of Zestiria was announced that the director, Hideo Baba, said that the game’s logo had a dragon because they were going to be important to the plot.
I anticipated this. However, the dragons weren’t really THAT important. Sure, we have dragon Eizen who is important because that is Edna’s whole motivation, but that actually gets resolved…in a side quest. Yes, a side quest. Meaning, stopping Eizen is clearly optional. You can clear the game without killing him or you can kill him and get Edna’s second Mystic Arte. If you pick the latter…prepare for a Level 81 boss fight. I honestly had a hard time. (The bosses of Zestiria were quite tough, in my opinion).
There are also drakes that are boss fights in the beginning. Then, there’s Tiamat. (Love Rising up, by the way) which is a random dragon formed onto a battlefield. (Another hard boss fight) The final dragon fought in the game is Maotelus…or, more specifically, Heldalf armatized with Maotelus; that fight also happens to be the final boss fight of the game. (I DIED FOUR TIMES IN THAT BOSS FIGHT!!!)
There are three main dragons in the game. Dragons are what seraphim turn into when they absorb too much malevolence. Somehow, I feel as if they weren’t that important save for the three main ones I talked about above. So, having a dying dragon instead of Forton made the importance of dragons better. Though, I do think each version suits the situation a bit better. For the anime, it’s focused on the serious side purifying and saving all, which is why the dying dragon fits better in the anime. For the game, Sorey learns that not all people can be saved and that death is salvation at times. I think that fits the game better because the whole game is about Sorey learning about his duties and his limitations as the Shepherd.
Honestly, I’m not mad at the anime for changing this because it fits the situation they are at a lot better in the anime.
Another thing I want to point out is the situation in which Rose becomes Sorey’s squire. In the game, the war in Glaviend Basin ends with Rose saving Sorey in the battlefield. She escapes with Sorey and heads to the Tintagel Ruins (This is also where Rose’s identity as the Scattered Bones leader is revealed). She is shown to have a high resonance with seraphim, which is shown in a comedic cutscene where Rose and the Sparrowfeathers/Scattered Bones look at Sorey strangely because he was talking to himself. Rose always believed these magical aspects of the seraphim to be ghosts, which is why she’s afraid of them. Eventually, Mikleo does his best to talk to Rose (she can hear him, but can’t see him) and convince her to be Sorey’s squire because Sorey doesn’t have human friends who can share the same burden as him. Rose, albeit hesitant, decides to become his squire.
In the anime, Rose thinks about the whole situation with what Sorey told her in the previous episode. After much thinking, she talks to him about what she wants: to enter a squire’s pact with him. She knows about this after she asked Dezel what she should do to help Sorey build a gentle world without having to kill anymore.
Honestly, I think I like the anime version a bit better because Rose’s development is much better here. She learns the fantasy aspects of the world and wants to help Sorey.
During Lailah’s conversation with Rose about the pros and cons of the squire’s pact, there are new details that the game never mentioned. The pro aspect is that helping the Shepherd also allows Rose to help Sorey; she can take over for him and help stop some of the Malevolence. Can she purify? Probably. The con is that if Sorey were to die, then the squire dies too. The pro aspect might be a bit hard to understand via words, but watching the episode helps understand the squire’s role as Rose’s duty as the squire is immediately put into action.
If I were to describe this in a more logical way, let’s say that Sorey is a battery, the seraphim and the power of purification are energy, and the squires are light bulbs. The battery is what allows the light bulbs to function by supplying them energy. If the battery dies, then the bulbs die too.
Due to the more serious approach the anime is taking, the squire’s pact is a risky choice to make, but that doesn’t stop Rose (and Alisha). Sorey is surprised to learn about this new detail and worries about Alisha. Apparently, Alisha was aware of this risk and willingly made the pact.
The telepathy and the group death portion are interesting details about the squire’s pact, but the latter makes me wonder about something. Since Sorey has to go to sleep in the ending to purify Maotelus, will he do the same thing in the anime? If that were to happen, will Rose and Alisha have to go to sleep too? I feel like these new details only add in more questions.
I feel like I’m more ranting than reviewing for this review, but I can’t help it. The Pendrago portion is actually one of my favorite parts in the game, so there are many things I want to talk about regarding this episode. Do I still like the anime for going an anime original route for Pendrago? I do.
Do I like the Berseria exposition? Yes. I think it was well placed in the episode. It was sort of a calm-before-the-storm-type exposition before the real plot of the episode transitioned. It also shows that not all people in the Glenwood continent are ignorant of Malevolence. I like it.
I’m still playing Tales of Berseria, but so far, I enjoy it. My favorite character is Eleanor. As an aspiring novelist, I love it when characters go through beautiful development. I think that out of all the Berseria characters, her character development is the most profound. She starts off mildly antagonistic because she was an exorcist, but she decides to abandon them after realizing that their methods are wrong; her desire for the truth and to seek it out in her own way without losing her identity is such good writing. I hope to make characters go through such development when I publish a novel.
Anyways, next episode, Sorey and friends are going back to Ladylake to help Alisha with her problems with Bartlow. Ladylake can never get a break.