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

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About Grace 13 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.
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