Tales of Zestiria the X Episode 23 Review

I've been putting this off for a while, but since the 29th is approaching and my review keeps getting longer, I decided to divide it into two separate reviews. Episode 24 is most likely going to be posted tomorrow.

 

Contains MAJOR game spoilers along with MAJOR Berseria spoilers; read at your own risk!

 

Dragon Symonne

Episode 23 starts off with Symonne appearing to the group as a dragon. Sorey is angry with the Lord of Calamity for turning his aide into a dragon.

The Lord of Calamity does not seem to care. Instead, he tells Sorey that he is going to the center of the world to have one last celebration with Malevolence. He then disappears.

Kittybeard...I mean the Lord of Calamity.

What the heck? What was the point of going to Northgand if Heldalf was going to go somewhere else? I bet they wanted to further show the viewers the Berseria connection by making the final battle take place in Mt. Killaraus.

For this episode, there are a lot of good topics for discussion. In general, the whole episode was okay, but it felt a bit rushed and it only left me with more questions. The two major topics I want to talk about for this episode are the Berseria exposition and Dezel.

With the Berseria exposition, I feel like it’s too much now. Yes, I get it. Berseria is the prequel, but I was a bit disappointed with how some important aspects of the episode seemed rushed in order to squeeze in Berseria exposition. It’s necessary, I know, but it’s like trying to pour water into a cup that’s already full.

There is one little gripe I have regarding the Berseria and Zestiria connection. If Berseria was the prequel that took place 1000 years ago, then why hasn’t technology advanced in Zestiria? I mean, it feels like Zestiria is more like the past with the way Berseria had objects like cable cars and the Geoboard, but Zestiria never had such technology. Perhaps, it’s like Final Fantasy X (Great game, by the way--my opinion) where all the advanced technology was in the past compared to its current setting. Now that I think about it, Malevolence is at its strongest in Zestiria, so the technology must have reverted due to how chaotic the world has become.

Grimorh appears in the story as a little nod to a seraphim’s long life. I believe Grimorh’s age in Berseria was revealed to be 5017, so she’s around 6017 years old now. She seemed to have changed. I have yet to finish the game (I just got to the major plot twist of the game), but she seems to be less gloomy and happier than she was in the game. It’s good to see characters positively changing as time passes. I do like how the normins seem eager to see her. Though, I’m curious about Bienfu. Is he still alive? Phoenix is still alive…wait a minute…Phoenix appeared in Berseria as an optional boss…and he’s been stuck as Edna’s umbrella accessory for a thousand years. Poor guy.

You're not going to give fireworks to someone's tush if they answer?

Then, there’s the story of Innomiant and the Five Lords. For those who haven’t played Zestiria, the Five Lords are Hyanoa, Musiphie, Amenoch, Eumacia and Maotelus. They are powerful seraphim that watch over the world (We only see the physical appearance of Maotelus but never the other four). Maotelus is the leader of the Five Lords and serves to replace Innominat, the previous leader.

Berseria exposition!

For those who haven’t played Berseria...prepare for spoilers. Innominat and the four lords minus Maotelus were called Empyreans back in Berseria’s timeline. They were worshipped and each of them had their own religion that people worshipped. Although he was the previous leader, Innominat’s role was of the Suppressor, meaning he would appear every 1000 years to purge the world of Malevolence. It’s not a good thing since he robbed people of their free will, which was Artorius’ goal for the plot of Berseria. Yes, Innominat was a villain in Berseria. I haven’t finished the game, so I won’t go in full detail.

Anyways, Innominat and the Five Lords were once worshipped in Berseria, but by the time Zestiria’s timeline happened, only Maotelus and the other four are worshipped. Since Zestiria never got into full detail with Innominat (with it being a major part in Berseria’s plot), I do like how Innominat is addressed.

The four other lords have a protector seraph that watches over the Shepherd’s trials—an aspect removed from the game, which makes me so sad because I did like the trials (except for the water trial).

Anyways, Sorey, Mikleo and Lailah talk about them in this episode. Sorey believes that the Lord of Calamity might be headed to a temple that belonged to one of the Five Lords. I don’t know what temple it is because I haven’t finished the game, but I wonder if it is Artorius’ Throne, the final dungeon in Zestiria because that’s where Maotelus was in the game.

Sorey then talks about Velvet. He said that if hate had not been born from her, then calamities wouldn’t have to exist. However, he knows that Artorius’ actions were wrong because he sacrificed her brother Laphicet in order for that hatred to appear in Velvet, which caused her to become the Lord of Calamity. When one war begins, hundreds and thousands of lives are lost. He has no idea what is right and what is wrong because each side has their own reasons for being right and wrong.

This is one of Berseria’s major themes. No one is right and wrong in that game. Everyone has their own reasons for doing what they believe is right.

Lailah asks what he thinks about right and wrong, to which he replies that he doesn’t know. Honestly, I think this is a good answer for Sorey. He doesn’t have a concrete answer because he still hasn’t gained a lot of wisdom. Sorey isn’t wise; he’s pure. Lailah states that a Shepherd can only find a solid answer when he experiences more about the world through seeing and believing; I agree with her. Wisdom comes from experience, to which Sorey has yet to have. If he were to have a concrete answer, I would’ve been angry, honestly. I’m glad the writers still left in Sorey’s purity as a part of his character despite butchering most of his and the other characters’ personalities.

Zestiria's main quote.

Speaking of Velvet, she appears in his dreams, asking Berseria’s main question: Why do birds fly? Sorey has never seen a clear picture of Velvet, so I do wonder how she lurks onto his dreams. Could this be a hint that Sorey is a descendant of Eleanor? Sorey himself is shrouded with mystery since the game never gives him a further explanation of his origins besides being from a destroyed village and had to be taken out of his deceased mother’s womb as a premature baby.

Velvet Crowe

When he wakes up from the dream, Sorey sees the moon having a scarlet hue. The Scarlet Night was actually mentioned in Zestiria by an NPC (I don’t remember where but I believe it was somewhere in Rolance), so it’s not a sudden insert. When I saw the Scarlet Night in this episode, I thought to myself that one of them is going to die.

The Scarlet Night

And my thoughts became truth. One of the party members died: Dezel. The cause of his death differs in the game, but it’s still bittersweet in both versions. In the game, Sorey and friends encounters Lunarre and Symonne in Pendrago. Symonne was the reason why Dezel seeked revenge and used Rose as a pure vessel in order to not get tainted.

To summarize his backstory, Dezel and his friend Lafarga liked being with the Windriders, the mercenary band Rose was with long ago. Konan and Rose got engaged, which would ultimately lead to the end of the Windriders, for she was the leader. Dezel and Lafarga looked on. Dezel knew that their journey with the Windriders was coming to an end, but he didn’t want it. He wished for it to not end, which then caused disaster. Konan turned out to be evil and framed the Windriders (namely Brad) for murdering the first prince. Lafarga died protecting Rose from the hellion Konan. Symonne told Dezel that all of this happened because of his blessing that became a curse. She labeled him an angel of death. This caused Dezel to seek revenge against Symonne and how everything in Rose’s story became the way it was in the game.

He asks Sorey to use Siegfried and shoot at the hellion Symonne summoned that held Rose hostage. Although Mikleo told him his actions would be considered suicide, Dezel didn’t care. Sorey eventually shot the gun towards the hellion, which ultimately leads to Dezel’s death.

The reason Dezel died in the game was to save and protect Rose. The reason he died in the anime was to forge a path that was blocked by Dragon Symonne (Rose managed to purify Symonne, but I think Symonne died…).

So sad...

In both versions, he apologized to Rose for his actions. For the game, he apologized for letting the Windriders disband because of his selfish wish. For the anime, he apologized for possessing her and trying to push Brad’s dream onto her. Rose, being a nice person, forgives him. Both versions had his departure in a golden abyss and him slowly ascending towards the sky with a smile on his face.

Dezel with Unclouded Eyes
Dying with a smile.

Although I don’t like Dezel as much as other characters, I think his death was one of the saddest moments in the game. I didn’t like how his death was executed in the anime, but the departure scene was still sad. Though, what made the anime superior over the game was how Rose broke down crying after Dezel died after she told him she wasn’t going to cry. Her wearing his hat made the scene even sadder.

It's okay to cry, Rose.

Also, the anime version made Dezel more caring towards Sorey and the other characters seeing their interactions in past episodes in comparison to his minor interactions with the characters in the game. In the game, he tells Rose to kick the group in the ass if they were to mope about his death. In the anime, he tells her to tell Sorey that his death wasn’t his fault and that if he were to sacrifice, history would repeat itself. I do like that part of his character in the anime more than the game, so another point for the anime.

Earlier scenes of Dezel talking to Zaveid about the existence of seraphims was a bit of a foreshadowing to his death since he wondered why he existed. Though, I wasn’t really too sure why he started having an existential crisis when he was a very straightforward character. I guess it shows that seraphim are no different from humans.

I want to know too.

I think the preview skit where Rose talks to Sorey, Lailah and Mikleo about Dezel watching over her and the sudden gust of wind made the episode’s title even more significant. Dezel most likely became the wind after he died. Now it begs the question: If seraphim die, do they return to the earthpulse or do they turn into their element? Seraphim never talk about their own deaths in full detail, but I do like the theory of them changing back into their element once they die. I think it makes more sense with the way seraphim exist due to nature.

He became the wind.

On another note, I do like how Sergei and the other minor characters are learning about malevolence. I think if the world grew more aware, the spreading would stop.

More awareness can help prevention.

Though, I didn’t really like how the minor characters got left behind. Why did they come if they were only going to get left behind? Well, at least the normins will protect them if things were to get bad.

It makes me wonder what the ending would be like. Would it be like the game or would it take another route?

Squad goals

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 animation is done by ufotable. The first season aired during Summer 2016, with a second season confirmed for 2017. Its tagline is "The Journeys of the Shepherd go beyond Zestiria," and shows hints of connections with Tales of Berseria

Info Page | News | Gallery | Official Website (JP)

About Grace 7 Articles
Grace is an aspiring novelist currently rewriting her novel for the umpteenth time. When not writing or playing Tales games, she stares at her laptop for hours, ruining her eyes in the process, and watching anime and Let's plays. She is also VERY scatterbrained.
Contact: Website
  • earth_worm_jim

    It's outright explained in both Zestiria and Berseria that Malevolence is naturally released by humans so it's pointless for characters like Sergei to learn about it. Telling them about it would just cause pointless worry, because there's nothing they can do to stop it or prevent it from spreading. It's another one of those moments where the anime does things that seem great on paper but are ultimately pointless to the point that it's a waste of time even doing it. It's just like Sergei, Alisha, and her knights very presence in this battle, it's all pointless since they don't add anything of worth.

    Even Dezel's death in the anime is also pointless here.

  • Leon Kioku

    There's a slight chance for them to do more with Zestiria, depending on how they finish the Anime.

  • Mitriko

    Melchior mentions it when you battle him at Mt.Killarius. Since Velvet woke the 4 great lords and forcibly shoved them into the lifespring to awaken them, it caused an eruption, and they lost the usage of flamestone. As a result, Melchior also mention that the world would soon loose shipping technology after that fact and that humanity would not advance technologically.

  • DreamyRequiem

    Ah, I can't help but point at that the anime did something pretty great that no one analyzing these episodes has mentioned: that the story of Velvet Crowe is held by the Royal Family of ROLANCE. Heldalf was a general of Rolance, a respected one, so i don't think it'd be too far fetched to think the royal family might've told him the story before he was cursed. Considering his goal seems to make people suffer as he has suffered, it makes sense (to me) that he'd go as far as to used the wellspring in Kilarius to spread malevolence as that might be the only wellspring that's marked in human history at this point.
    And...to be completely honest? I actually vastly prefer the anime's versions of the characters i only because in the game (to me) they felt like barely held together pieces of tropes than actual characters? Like, only alisha, sorey, and rose felt like they had any character development. Rose mostly felt stagnant to me, Sorey....is hard to describe in few words, and Alisha's was liter ally off screen. (honestly my main complaint w/ zesty was that they should've given us an option in zesty to choose like they did in symphonia?? but w/e)
    THERE ARE MAJOR BERSERIA SPOILERS BELOW. LIKE END GAME CREDITS SPOILERS, PLEASE BE AWARE WHEN PROCEEDING.
    okay done.
    Velvet is actually technically still alive at the time of Zestiria, due to using herself to seal Innominat. He devours her, she devours him, it's a never ending cycle. a 'cycle of destruction' as Eleanor coins it. Which is probably why Velvet can briefly appear to Sorey--her 'soul' still lives and is able to connect w/ those alive. I mean, this would be hardly the be the weirdest thing to happen in a tales thing.....
    ....though, now that i think on it, what if heldalf's actual goal is to reawaken innominat by using sorey's soul...after all, he did lead them prtty close to where the wellspring is in the game. If Heldalf offered a soul to the sealed Innominat what would happen? Would Maotelus disappear? Would velvet be killed? Ah, now i hope this is what happens...

  • Simon Low

    I don't like how the anime executes the story. The game's story makes much more sense and gives much more emotional impact than the anime. Plus, Sorey is a more interesting character in the game. Anime Sorey is too serious... They really butchered and mess up a lot of the character's personalities in the anime. I want to hear Edna making jokes and teasing Mibo, I want to listen to Lailah's bad pun, where the hell the the Perfect curlist - Arma Dylan!?

    Plus, everything are rushed in Season 2. It is a total mess. I prefer if they stick to the game's story, like how Sorey and Mikleo learn about their past. I know they want to connect things with Berseria but the Artorius' Throne (Empyrean's Throne) is already good enough, to make the connection. Where the hell is Mayvin!? He had an actual role in the game. However in the anime, he appears for a few episode and then disappears for good. Maybe he will appear in the last episode but who knows. Symmone and Lunarre died in a very weird, crazy and pointless way. Plus, they didn't really participate in the plot that much. I mean, what is the point of them being the villain if they don't ACT like Villain?!

  • Simon Low

    Why Zestiria is less advanced than Berseria, can be found from the clues here...

    From an official "Zestiria World Guidance" book.
    200 years ago (Death Age)
    The entire continent was hit with an abnormal plague, and the population was halved. The few Shepherds remaining disappeared from the public’s eye. Following this, the continent went into a state of seclusion and ceased exchange with other continents. It is theorized that Maotelus’ divine protection was interrupted by the Lord of Calamity. Shipbuilding and ocean voyage technology was started, however important information was lost. The reason is unknown.

    And there are a few clues that I found in the game by talking to NPCs in Pendrago.
    -There have been four dangers severe enough to about to bring a break in the course of history. One of it is known as the "Unprecendented Cataclysm" (Death Age) which is 200 years ago.
    -The world was plunged into chaos 200 years ago (Death Age), which is much like today. But no knows for sure why. With widespread famine, war, natural disasters, it's is no wonder why the population dropped by a half. So much of humanity's culture and technology was lost.

    • earth_worm_jim

      According to the "Berseria World Guidance" book.

      All the catastrophes mentioned in the "Zestiria World Guidebook" were actually caused by that third party that you find out about in the EX Dungeon. Every time the world of Zestiria becomes too peaceful said party interferes by creating famine, disease, natural disasters, etc in order to spread malevolence thus causing either the civilizations to lose their knowledge of technology in the ensuing chaos or if the malevolence the chaos generates becomes too much for the world to bear, Inominant and the Emperyons to interfere and reset the world.

      This is one of the reasons why it's so pointless for people like Sergei and Alisha's knights to learn about malevolence because there litereally is nothing they can do to stop it from speading, besides following in Artorius's footsteps.