Tales of Zestiria the X Episodes 21 & 22 Review

Remember when I said I’m going to finish these by the end of March? Hahaha…I’m sorry.

 

Let’s have a moment of silence for the death of one of Zestiria’s important items: iris gems.

 

Contains both Zestiria game spoilers and minor Berseria spoilers

 

That's a lot of people!

Episode 21 starts off with the citizens of Ladylake praying for Alisha to wake up. Mikleo, Edna and Lailah are surprised to see how much the city cares about Alisha.

It’s been at least 9 days since the Shepherd and his two squires passed out. Sorey’s been in bed for five days, so he came out after being tired in bed.

Alisha and Rose are finally awake after the ninth and current day.

Honestly, there isn’t that much to talk about for these two episodes. Rather than talking about significant happenings, I’m going to talk about what I want to talk about for these two episodes, which are mainly the characters, some aspects I like in these two episodes, and other miscellaneous things.

If I were to summarize these two episodes: Episode 21 and the first half of episode 22 are the calm before the storm and then the latter half of episode 22 is the storm that plunders the peacefulness.

I guess I’ll start off with the peaceful aspects of this episode. Episode 21 was just a calm episode with little action and basically the part in Tales games and other RPGs where characters talk before the big battle brewing ahead. I honestly like it. I love the serene picnic scene that is similar to the ending of season 1 (the same song is also used as background music). The first half of episode 22 is also peaceful with the way the group is still traversing through Northgand. The action starts in the latter half of the episode which is a good transition.

Also, I do love that each character shines a bit in this episode. I’ll start off with the NPCs. The important side characters come together and help Sorey on his quest to defeat the Lord of Calamity.

Before we get to the important NPCs, I want to talk about the minor characters like Hyland’s civilians and the people who joined Sorey In the game, there were people who liked Alisha, but many were never seen supporting her like in the anime. I’m glad that Alisha has people who love her a lot compared to the lonely girl she was in the game. I do like how it’s because of the tornado incident that people finally become aware of the Shepherd and such. In the game, there were characters that thought Sorey becoming a Shepherd was a ploy to get attention or to instigate conflict (I don’t remember much, but I did know that there were some rumors in the game universe about the Shepherd being fake). I’m glad that the little detail about the ‘fake’ Shepherd in the game is removed. It was a bit tedious because it doesn’t get brought up again after part 2.

The amount of people wanting to join the army to help Sorey.

Okay, now for the major NPCs. First off, I want to say that Ian is so cute, especially when she’s hugging Alisha’s lap. Both Sirel and Ian—although anime original characters—happen to be two of my favorite minor characters in this anime. I don’t know why, but they’re just so fun to watch despite them being Alisha’s lackeys most of the time. I do like how Ian shows off her cooking skills and makes a pumpkin mousse that Mikleo is enamored with.

From left to right: Alisha, Ian and Sirel

Maltran… I’m guessing they’re officially not going with the hellion route. It’s good. Alisha already suffered enough. Though, the line she said about Alisha being the next in line for the throne kind of irked me. In my previous review, I went on about Alisha’s family—or rather, whether or not she has one due to her father being the only one present in the anime.

Maltran holding a cup

Also, Sergei and Gouldman…wait a minute, wasn’t Gouldman’s armor different in previous episodes or was that just my imagination? I think he wore blue to emphasize his status as a Blue Storm Knight. Why is he wearing the Platinum Knights armor? Is it a standard to wear that armor in Rolance? Hm… Though, I do like how Rolance is going to help Sorey despite having been in war with each other. It shows that the people are friendly and willing to side with the enemy.

Sergei and Gouldman

Normins! I do love how Atakk and Mikleo still keep their friendship in this episode. I do love how Atakk shows off the normin power boost in episode 22 when he enhances Mikleo’s attack to help fight off the dragons. Normins should help out more.

SO CUTE!

Lunarre…I still don’t know what his role is in the story. I could care less, honestly. I just don’t like him. I guess Ufotable got the gist of that too and just suddenly killed him towards the end of Episode 22. He wants to do something good, but he doesn’t really show up to do that in the anime. It feels like a last minute sympathy call just to appease Lunarre fans.

I don't know and I don't care.

I do like the focus on Symonne for these two episodes. Her actions were enigmatic, but she doesn’t seem hostile. I do love how her ability to create illusions and to multiply herself is still canon in the anime. I do wonder what element she is though, since there are only five: non-elemental, fire, water, earth and wind. I do like how her loyalty towards Heldalf is still present even back during season 1. Though, I wonder if her being doubtful towards her master’s actions is a bit sudden. Although, her becoming a dragon was a bit random, but I guess it fits with the action due to the amount of dragons in Northgand.

Seraph Symonne

Heldalf still gets no development and is only there to be the villain of the story. Though, I do like how Symonne shows Sorey and friends about his motives. He plans to end the world by gathering a lot of Malevolence and then unleashing it to create a Zestiria-style apocalypse.

Heldalf in the middle of a hole.

Zaveid gets a bit of focus too. He tags along with Sorey and helps the group fight the dragons by shooting them or creating a barrier to protect the other humans from taking in the Malevolence. I’m sure he’ll get more focus in the next episodes.

Zaveid finally joins the party.

Dezel, on the other hand, gets a lot of focus in this episode. He was rather brooding in the game, but here, he’s more collected and cautious. His soft side when it comes to Rose is also shown. He tried to fight Symonne to get answers on Heldalf’s motives, carefully helped out the group with talks of the squires obtaining the armatus, planned out which seraph should armatize with Alisha, and then helped Rose with her focus to master the armatus. He does a lot of things and it kind of worries me because it seems like they’re focusing a lot on him. I have a feeling he’s going to die. The next episode’s title is even called “Become the Wind.” Although I do not have much of an opinion on Dezel, I was on the verge of tears when he died in the game. I’m not going to say much of it due to spoilers (and that I’m most likely going to talk about it in the next review), but I’m going to say that it’s…bittersweet, yet still satisfying at the same time. He died with a smile and with the intention to save and protect Rose, which has been his motive from the moment he showed up (other than his desire to get revenge on Symonne). Also, his true name is revealed in this episode. Lukeim Yurlin means “Dezel with Unclouded Eyes”.

I don't think this ever gets mentioned again, but this sounds so out of context.

Edna gets some focus, but it’s important focus. First off, Sorey passes through Rayfalke because saving the world comes first. I’m a bit sad that Eizen is getting shafted, but if the world ends, then he can’t get purified and then Edna won’t be there to see him. I hope they’ll at least show the purification in the ending credits of the final episode. Edna and Eizen (mostly Eizen) deserve to be happy. I also like Edna’s snarky personality is still shown (mostly in episode 21). Her interaction with Alisha was mainly the highlight of her focus. Edna isn’t really familiar with Alisha, but she doesn’t hate her. I do like that she’s slowly warming up to her in these two episodes. They’re alike in a sense. They both want to protect and save the things they care about: Eizen for Edna and Hyland for Alisha.

Edna looks really pretty in this shot, so I had to get a good screencap of it.

Mikleo is shown not to be Sorey’s yes-man in these two episodes. He does have his caring side shown towards Alisha for he’s worried about her; he can tell from observation about how much strain dragon purification takes on a human. He also bickers with Sorey for a bit with his newfound love for pumpkin mousse. He gets some action with Atakk who boosts his attack stats and is able to fight dragons now. It’s been a long road. Back in season 1, he couldn’t do much fighting because he wasn’t a Sub-lord yet and he had to use the Divine Bow to damage hellions. Meebo’s developed a lot.

His reaction to mousse.

Lailah’s still Lailah. She serves as exposition. I do like how her cautious side is shown when Dezel suggests giving the squires the armatus. I always wondered why she’s quick to reject ideas when they never tried it; I know she speaks from experience, but since Sorey purified a dragon, a feat considered impossible, I was sure she would be more lenient. I’m positive she’s just trying her best to not make Sorey become the second Michael.

Lailah looks really pretty in this shot.

Rose has more action in these two episodes. She gains the armatus and becomes a key component to the group. I do love how Rose tells Mikleo about her and Alisha’s role, with her being the rash one and Alisha being the rational one. I think it fits them. It shows that even though they are foils, they still work well together. The little fashion show she had with Sorey was cute too. She’s back to the friendly merchant Rose.

Rash Rose and Rational Alisha.

Alisha accompanies Sorey on his quest to defeat Heldalf. She knows that she should stay in Hyland as its princess, but going with Sorey is the better option because if the world is destroyed, there won’t be a Hyland for her to protect. I think this is a good reason for her to join and that it doesn’t seem forced. She also gains the armatus and I am satisfied with how it looks and how she’s being more useful. Yet, I am still neutral over Alisha. That will never change.

Alisha with the armatus

Sorey doesn’t do much in these episodes, unfortunately. He gets Michael’s book and does other little things. I think it’s just a preparation for the bigger action. I do wonder what his opinions of the past events happen to be.

Honestly, this was my favorite coat choice.

Now, I want to talk about the armatus. Rose and Alisha acquire the armatus in episode 21 and they fully utilize it in the next episode. I’ve seen people with mixed feelings about that on other websites. I mean, Sorey is able to do it instantly in Season 1, Episode 3, and his power wasn’t all that strong like Rose and Alisha. I think it does make sense for them to instantly do it on their first try in combat. I love Alisha’s armatus design. It suits her a lot. Also, I do like how she gets the seraph with the best defense. I don’t remember much about Alisha’s defense stats in the game, but she was a hard hitter, so making her a hard hitter with a good defense for the armatus is basically making her overpowered (if squire Alisha was still a thing in the game). Rose gets the wind armatus. I do like how it seems to be her default armatus since she was shown with it first in the opening. Also, the floating knives are a reminiscent to her weapons, so I like that little detail.

Rose's armatus

The last thing I want to talk about is the Celestial Record. Yes, RIP iris gems. Instead of getting a flashback through those gems, Sorey learns through Lailah that Shepherd Michael was the one who wrote the Celestial Record. He also wrote another one in which the details of Velvet are written down alone with pictures (The question is: Did Michael draw them?). Sorey most likely learns of the events of Velvet’s journey and the events that took place afterwards. Although I do like iris gems, Lailah giving him another Celestial Record is a good replacement. The iris gems only showed part of the past; with the book, Sorey learns about events further in the past. Velvet gets mentioned again, but the exposition given here is the common knowledge most Berseria players know about: Velvet’s anger and Artorius Collbrande sacrificing her brother caused the events in the game.

Nice drawing.

Honestly, nothing interesting happens in these two episodes, and it shows in this review. The only good is that Alisha gets her armatus, but that’s about it. I honestly don’t have much opinion about them. I feel Ufotable rushed a lot with these minor characters seeing how Symonne turns into a dragon and Lunarre gets offed so quickly. I think that the characters are kind of the weaker aspects of this anime. They just show up without being too significant; not to mention, they are also easily forgotten. I almost forgotten Symonne and Lunarre were characters.

I want to like these episodes, I really do. It’s hard to do so when I can’t really think of anything to review about.

I also like Sorey’s word-end game skills and Dezel and Mikleo talking about Rose and Sorey—I think it’s a good nod to the game where Dezel and Mikleo would have calm conversations in skits. One of the ones I can remember is when Mikleo learns how to do windstepping after a chat with Dezel.

Sorey, the word-end game (shiritori) master!

 

I sense a death flag.

 

Anyways, I’ll end this review here. I hope you enjoyed reading this review and I hope you look forward to the next one!

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

    I felt as though the anime's scenes were actually weaker than in game's. Call it tedious, but having Sorey actually have to deal with people who are unsure of him being the true shepherd or just a conman is realistic, considering the circumstances. And it also made them accepting Sorey a big moment. But here in the anime it's undeserved, because Sorey never struggled with anything.

    The same goes for Alisha and her position as squire, yeah you can make the argument that game Alisha struggled and so deserved armatization (I'd say that she didn't need it), but anime Alisha didn't every struggle with anything, so rather than seeming as though she's getting something that she deserves anime Alisha just feels as though they're showering her with undeserved praise and accolades. It makes her feel like a Mary Sue, and the fact that her arc has done nothing but add in negatives to the story doesn't help this feeling. Alisha's story is too divorced from Sorey's to make her a genuinely important character.

    Then we've got all the added side characters especially Alisha's knights, and again like Alisha I ask, why are they here? No really, why are they here? It's not as though they'll actually be helpful in fighting Hedalf so why even bother to bring them along? They're not adding anything to story by being here and in fact are just a distraction, especially since the anime hasn't been spending any time on characters that aren't named Alisha and Rose for how little their stories actually matter in the grand scheme of things. So having them around is just a waste of time, especially since they can't fight.

    It's great to have breather episodes when the characters earn it, but in the anime they haven't earned it.

    • I see your point. It's nice to read about your opinions on my reviews. It makes me learn more. I think that the main flaw for these two episodes is just sticking everything into it and finding it hard to get a concrete understanding of what's going on. Half of me wants to be positive while the other half of me wants to be nitpicky.

      Though, I have to partially disagree with you on the side characters part. Even if they can't fight, support is just as important. Food is important. The Sparrowfeathers are important too because they are merchants (they even provided the winter clothing the human characters wear because it's freezing up north). If they just have the seraphim cook, it'll be weird for Sorey, Rose and Alisha to explain. I think it's smart to bring additional people, even if they can't see Malevolence, seraphim and hellions.
      The only gripe I have is that they brought too many people. If they reduce the numbers to just the people they met and the Sparrowfeathers, I think that's enough. Bringing so many Rolance and Hyland soldiers is not going to solve anything.

    • Rouenne

      I kind of agree with your issues, to be honest. Especially, the way they tried to expand Alisha's role and the issues that came with it. May seem strange given my other comments... but, if I didn't make myself clear what I meant is: from a pragmatic point of view, I felt it made some sense Alisha got her role expanded due to her perceived popularity... kinda like, for example, how they gave Future Trunks his arc in Dragon Ball Super, why Joraro came back in Diamond is Unbreakable (at least in Japan he's THE JoJo, he's more divisive in the west) or in Attack on Titan Levy gets his share of side stories...logic being "Hey let's get fans' attention with this character since they love him/her".

      I perceived that with Alisha they tried something similar, but just went overboard, the result is this and the feeling she's being pampered too much and a poor development on other's characters stories. And as you say, she doesn't mesh up with Sorey so her expanded time hurts everything else. Given they made many changes in the story, they could have made things fit better for her side and Sorey's. In the game their stories were appart, and that was kinda the point but that led her to be a minor character, here they kept that situation intact but attempted to raise her importance, which led to the many already mentioned issues.

      I really like Alisha, and, not gonna lie, love that she can armatize, but seriously it should have been handled a lot better.

      Wonder if the manga could actually nail the story properly. At least I heard Sorey is actually pretty active there.

      • earth_worm_jim

        Alisha's popularity in Japan is actually very mild at best.
        Game Alisha was literally created to merely seem important at first glance but in actuality to be by and large unimportant to Sorey's journey hence why she's the only one who was never given a reason to join Sorey's group. In fact the game just gave reason after reason as to why she couldn't stay.

        Alisha helps no one by staying in the party and in fact hinders both Sorey's mission and her own goals by traveling with him because she's one of the biggest voices for peace in Hyland, by shirking her responsibilities as princess and not even attempting to work on improving the lives of her people (which would have lessened the threat of malevolence in Hyland thus helping Sorey) she'd leave Hyland in the hands of people like Bartlow and the corrupt council, who'd honestly be happy to have her out of their hair, instead of in Ladylake curing support from the nobles. Alisha likes being a knight and wanted to be a squire because of her own misguided idolization of stories of knights, chivalry, and Shepherds, due to that, she never realized that knights were just soldiers who were bound to the will of the council and the Shepherd's duty wasn't a fun adventure, Sorey can't fix everything. As a knight and as a squire, Alisha would never be able to achieve her goals, ironically the position that really allowed her to help the people in the way she wanted was her position as princess aka the very same position that Alisha had been looking down on for years.

        Besides that Sorey and the group honestly don't need her, her presemce contributes nothing. These were the ideas that was put behind the very creation of game Alisha, in order to make her mesh well as a permanent party then you'd have to alter Sorey, the main story, the world building her entire character, Hyland, etc. But there is no way to do that and make Zestiria recognizable, and ultimately Zestiria is Sorey's story not Alisha's if a party member can't contribute to Sorey's character then then there's no point in them sticking around, that's why anime Alisha is so forced, Alisha is a side character from top to bottom.

        In the manga Alisha doesn't stick around either, but the reason for her leaving was hammered home by the manga combining her speech at the end of the Alisha DLC with her leaving. Alisha realizes that in order to achieve her goals she can't have her head in the clouds and she accepts herself, so she stops running away from her duties as princess.Basically the moral of Alisha's story gets slapped in your face, but honestly that's for the best.

  • Linkfire

    I got to see Alisha with armatus, now I'm satisfied 😀

  • Rouenne

    It kept bothering me how everyone was demoted so the focus could be on Alisha and Rose, especially in Sorey's case given he's the main character AND the main hero of the story. I can kind of see why they increased Alisha's role given her huge popularity that makes easy pandering and the controversy of her situation in the game, but in Rose's case it's just obnoxious how despite her poor reception as a character they keep and keep whoring her out. Granted the anime did a better job in her writting as a character, but still, Alisha had her role expanded and the one that had to suffer was Sorey instead of a balanced focus, Rose got revamped writing and the lionshare of focus. And let's not forget Alisha's DLC where despite being about Alisha it still focused mostly in Rose's struggles. I may be being bitter, but it's just annoying when a character becomes the pet of the writers, especially given Rose's reception in Japan where she is not divisive like in the west, she is almost universally hated. So still, despite everything they still shove and push her everywhere to try to make others like her. Kinda reminds me of Square Enix's treament of Lightning during the PS3 era, though at least Lighting had many fans despite all her detractors.

    • earth_worm_jim

      Alisha is or rather was more pitied actually popular in Japan. People felt sorry for her for losing "the heroine role", but she's actually less popular than Mikleo, Sorey, and Edna ironically enough. As for Rose judging by the fact that she actually has more merchandise than Alisha (that actually sells) means she may not be as unpopular as the "controversy" would lead us to think.

      • Rouenne

        Even if it was to be expected (which doesn't make it a good or passable issue) it is something they could have worked around. I mean, the second season did get a lot of rewrites and had stuff that could be passed as filler and could have used its time better (besides, why use actual episodes to promote Berseria instead of doing an OVA like Dawn of the Sheperd? Costs I am guessing). While they did say that Alisha and Sorey live in different worlds regarding the game, not neccesary to stick to the same rule here if making changes is actually a possibility, I mean, the relationship of the Seraph's with Rose is different and she got a better backstory (these were two good things, they were greatly needed in the game) and she and Alisha didn't even had a friendship per se in the original game until the DLC. Even then, the Rose and Alisha friendship is perfectly fine, but the huge focus it got was the issue. Why not give some time to Sorey and Mikleo the other two very close friends sharing the same dream, for example? What I think is the problem is how Alisha and Rose ate up the anime's time, it does leave the feeling that they went overboard with trying to exploit Alisha's popularity (to the point it turned her into a divisive character for many due to overexposure, ironically) and with their favoritism towards Rose (everyone suffered from spotlight loss but her).

        On another point, Alisha is (or was at least) a pretty popular character, granted that the controversy did help with it, she was genuinely liked. While yes, Edna is more popular according to the popularity poll, Alisha was right behind her not by much. Having more popular characters doesn't make another unpopular, fourth place is still fourth place especially whe she only lost to other major characters while turning up to be a minor one. Though my point wasn't that Alisha taking spotlight was a good thing and justified because she was popular, rather that it was likely that the writers were taking advantage of that and being pragmatic so they expanded Alisha's role to pander fans.

        Though it is obvious Rose gets more merchandise than Alisha, Rose is the game's heroine, they did say that the player could decide who was the heroine between the two, but that was obvious backpedaling due to fearing more backlash. So they are going to push her in merchandise because she's the most imporant of the two, and given the Tales series huge name it's not hard to sell their stuff, especially if its about the Tales girls for the Otaku base which is a big part of the japanese fandom. But anytime there's a poll regarding popularity Rose does pretty poorly, usually at rock bottom of the main characters only beating minor ones (and being beating by other minor ones at times). Not to mention the absolutely ridiculous vitriol that was caused due to the controversy. The characters unpopularity may not be her fault entirely but it is there (controversy played a part, but a lot of people hated how much the game went out of its way to shill her and say how awesome she was, how the party immediately liked her, how flat and one dimensional she was despite the great potential setup as backstory with her assassin job, and how all her questionable actions and negative traits were just glossed over instead of used for her development). If fans have warmed up to her over time is another thing though, I haven't been up to that.

        So to put it short, my issue is: Alisha is pretty popular and she was underused? Cool they are expanding her role and giving her more development. Neat she can Armatize! Dang it she took too much spotlight from other characters. Rose was poorly handled in the game? Maybe they can fix her issues here. Okay the relationship with the Seraphs and her actions do have questions and consequences, hey they gave her a better backstory! She gets some cute friendship with Alisha, nice... When do we get to the main quest? These two again? What about Sorey's mission? I get it you two have worldviews and many feelings about everything. Where's the rest of the party?