Here’s the finale! Let’s see if the anime ends on a satisfactory note. I also included my final thoughts on the anime as a whole as well.
Contains spoilers; read at your own risk.
Episode 25 starts off with Sorey fusing with all four seraphim to become the ultimate magical boy to become some sort of ultimate anime-original armatization (I’ll just call it the Ultimate Shepherd Form).
The final battle was awesome! Sorey combines two seraphim’s powers to create combination attacks! He then uses a punch that is a bit of a nod to the opening where Sorey uses Lion’s Howl with the seraphim using it within him. The only difference was Dezel was in the opening. Here, it’s Zaveid. Then a giant sword appeared from Sorey’s hands and he purifies Heldalf…?
Though the anime’s final battle was flashier and awesome, I liked the game’s a bit more. Heldfalf armatizes with Maotelus and you have to sacrifice your seraphim friends in order to sever the link between them. (It was so hard for me because I keep dying when I got to Edna. Her armatus attacks are a bit slow and hard for me to control).
Honestly, the ending of this anime is a lot different from what I initially expected. What I had expected was for him to go to sleep like in the game, but instead, he goes to purify Heldalf in a place further than the Earthpulse. I’m not sure how I feel, but it feels a bit…weird? This is supposed to be an action fantasy series (I think?) and we get an ending that’s common in Mahou Shoujo anime (Well, Sorey is a Mahou Shounen of sorts). The game (Zestiria and Berseria…?) never stated that such a realm existed. It feels like it’s either lazy writing or a cop-out to give a satisfactory ending. Because of his actions, Sorey isn’t considered dead, so Rose and Alisha get to live. The name of Shepherd isn’t passed down to the squire in this anime.
Maotelus doesn’t even play a significant role in this episode. He’s just…there, I guess.
Regarding the time skip, I’m not sure how many years have passed since Sorey left. Rose gets a new look. She reminds me of Luke. Her hair is longer and she is no longer modestly dressed.
Alisha is now queen of Hyland and wears her DLC outfit casually.
Edna finally mellows out and stops being jaded. She waits the day Sorey returns so her brother will finally be purified. Eizen is slowly regaining his sanity.
Zaveid is wandering around, but visits Edna.
Lailah is guiding a new Shepherd who reminds me of Velvet.
Mikleo is a wanderer.
Honestly, I’m actually kind of happy every thing is at peace. The peaceful part was given in the game, but it was only a small portion. I like how everything is shown here. People are doing their best to pray to the Seraphim in order for the Malevolence to quell. Hyland and Rolance are finally at peace. Sorey and his predecessors’ tales live on as story books enjoyed by children and adults alike. Those who read it will dream of exploring all the ruins in the world (The scene where that one kid wanting to be a seraphim is cute, but it’s also sad because a human can be reborn into a seraphim, but they lose their memories of their past life).
Everybody gets their own happy ending. Rose and Alisha are shown to be quite intimate with each other as they read the Celestial Record.
Mikleo is finally reunited with Sorey who is awake after an undetermined amount of years.
Heldalf is alive too, but he’s starting anew in a different place. Sorey and Mikleo armatize and fly towards the sky and seems excited about exploring the world once again. I do like how he says: “This is the world!” like he did when he first left Elysia. It’s like a continuity nod and the start of a brand new chapter in Sorey’s life.
How do I feel about this ending? Honestly, I think it fits well with what the anime has been doing. It’s a bit lackluster considering I was anticipating something a bit more grandiose, but it’s satisfactory for my standards.
In the game, the ending was peaceful, but bittersweet because Sorey comes back from his slumber at least decades—or centuries—after the last battle. Rose and Alisha are most likely gone due to Rose’s grave shown in the epilogue. Sorey comes back and is heavily implied to have been reborn as a seraphim, which means that he would lose all memories of his past life—his childhood, his bond with his friends (and Mikleo), and the trials and tribulations he faced as a Shepherd—and becomes a different person. It’s bittersweet because he has to form all of his previous bonds again as a different person. Though the game ending was a bit similar in atmosphere to the anime because of the ‘the-start-of-a-new-chapter-in-Sorey’s-life’ type of ending. At least the anime took out the bittersweet portion and made Sorey come back as himself.
Though, the only thing I didn’t really like was all the questions I got from this episode. If Sorey is still the Shepherd, why is there a new Shepherd? Why does the new Shepherd have a hairstyle similar to Velvet? The ending is nice, but there just seems to be more questions in the end. Well, that is what video game to anime adaptations always does, so I’m not surprised.
For my thoughts on the anime as a whole, I honestly think Season 1 was a bit enjoyable than Season 2, but that’s just because Season 2 was full on anime original. Season 2 was still enjoyable because of its unpredictability, so I liked that aspect of it. Both had their pros and cons. I’m not going to list them because it would take forever for me to do so.
The anime as a whole isn’t bad, but it would probably take a lot of patience to watch it because there are people out there who will give this anime flack for not sticking to the original content. It’s also really slow-paced, so I recommend that it should be binge-watched.
If I were to name one of the anime’s flaws, it would be the lack of focus on Sorey. Zestiria is his story, but he doesn’t get a lot of focus. The anime really likes to focus a lot on Alisha and/or Rose (and probably Velvet). It’s nice to give her the spotlight, but it’s too much when I remember Alisha’s scenes more than Sorey’s. When he does get focus, it’s for something that’s highly improbable like purifying the dragon that was said to be impossible or trying to stop Rose from killing people in order to prevent her from exuding Malevolence. The anime doesn’t even show Sorey’s mother, so an anime-only watcher would most likely wonder about Sorey’s origins. Out of all the flaws, I think this is the one that bothered me the most.
Did I like the fact that this anime transcends the original Zestiria by adding Berseria content? Well, it helped answer some questions regarding their connection, but I think Ufotable didn’t do a great job balancing it. If this had more episodes, then it would’ve been more fleshed out. That’s my opinion, though.
Anyways, I enjoyed reviewing this anime a lot. There are better Tales adaptations out there, but this one is still enjoyable in its own way. I recommend playing the game first before jumping into the anime or first-time viewers will get lost.