Tales of Zestiria the X Episode #04: The Shepherd's Destiny- Summary, Review and Impressions

Step aside, Sorey.

An explanation for that caption is at the very end of this post. And don't worry, Sorey's still in this anime. For this week, anyway.

To jump to the explanation on the caption, click here. Once you're there, don't scroll up though! Or you'll be spoiled.

Disclaimer: This review comes from someone who has played the game and will heavily compare it with that. If you have not played the game, this review will contain obvious game spoilers. This is also based on the DAISUKI.net release.

Our new Shepherd, Sorey, wakes up after being knocked out for three whole days. Being Lailah's vessel so suddenly caused much strain on his body. Upon waking up, he finds out that he's in Alisha's manor (in the game, Alisha lives in a manor outside of the castle), and that Alisha saved him and nursed him back to health. In the game, I think it was Mikleo and Lailah who took care of him since he was just placed in a room at the local inn.

This made me realize how baggy Sorey's blue clothes are. Note that Sorey is actually 17 years old, and this shot makes him really look 17. He looks so thin though - some of his official art might disagree with that build, haha.

Welcome to Tales, where all we really like to eat is Mabo Curry. And Crablettes, depending on the game.

Sorey has breakfast with Alisha, and the two thank each other - for Alisha nursing Sorey back to health, and for Sorey defeating the malevolence from the sanctuary. She says she's never felt something so exhilarating.

Alisha: You defeating that dragon was a total turn on.
Sorey: What?

As a token of her gratitude, Alisha presents Sorey with a gift - clothes made to look like the Shepherd's garb.

Nursed back to health by the princess… breakfast with the princess… clothes from the princess… someone’s suddenly a stud.

Alisha compliments how it looks good on him, and Lailah agrees, though Alisha doesn't see that - the seraphim are still invisible to her, after all. Mikleo teases that fine feathers make fine birds, but Sorey retorts that he's just jealous. Mikleo, of course, is *tsun tsun* about that.

In the game, the localization used "so you CAN put lipstick on a pig," which was pretty hilarious.

Mikleo: I’m not yet ready for this step in our relationship!!

Of course, Sorey does all of this conversing with the Seraphim in front of Alisha. Alisha asks if there really are Seraphim there, and Sorey starts introducing them to her even if she can't see them. He pushes Mikleo right in front of Alisha's face, only a few inches apart, and starts waving at Lailah's position like the goofball that he is.

What does this remind me of… Oh!

Alisha saddens for a bit, saying that despite having the seraphim all around them, normal humans can't do a thing about it, unlike Sorey who can see them.

This gets to Lailah a bit, but her voice can't reach Alisha. She instructs Sorey to hold Alisha's hand to send her voice to her via him.

Of course, holding hands isn't just going to cut it, especially with a fledging Shepherd such as Sorey. Lailah suggests having Sorey close his eyes, but it still won't work. Mikleo teases that maybe Sorey isn't focusing enough.

Mic test, mic test! 1, 2, 3!

This time, Lailah has Sorey close his eyes and hold his breath. She covers his ears, basically blocking most of his senses, and tries to speak again. This time, Alisha successfully hears her.

Alisha is in awe at hearing both Lailah and Mikleo's voices for the first time. She first apologizes to Mikleo for having been rude up until now, though Mikleo doesn't really think she's been rude or anything. Lailah tells Alisha that the seraphim can see into humans' hearts, so she need not worry. Mikleo adds that her gratitude has been heard for sure, but...

Sorey can't hold his breath anymore, the poor guy. Alisha wants to do it again, but it's a bit of a burden on Sorey. Unfortunately, until he becomes stronger, he has to cut off all his other senses to make Alisha hear the Seraphim. Sorey asks enthusiastically if maybe one day everyone will be able to hear the Seraphim's voices if he works hard enough, but Lailah answers that it's because Alisha already had the affinity for it... I guess all that trying to talk to the Seraphim beforehand led to this?

Their discussion is cut short by one of the palace maids calling for Alisha - she has to head for the castle now. Lailah suggests that Sorey take a look around town, too.

The group heads out via carriage. Outside, Sorey notices that there are flags and banners bearing the Shepherd's symbol everywhere - apparently the news of a Shepherd showing up made the townspeople all excited, so they put up the flags. It seems the people really did wish for a Shepherd in their hearts. Sorey spaces out, feeling a bit nervous about the whole thing.

Alisha drops them all off by the castle gates as she heads in. For some reason, Sorey is still feeling sick and weak. Mikleo asks if maybe he was lying about feeling all right. Sorey says he really did feel okay this morning, but after the carriage ride, he started feeling sick. Lailah explains that it's the malevolence in town.

Mikleo: Oh wow, I didn’t know our game had a Teleport arte.

Sorey is now able to see the weird mist that is the malevolence. He also feels some other malevolence mixed in, but he can't pinpoint exactly where it's coming from. Lailah tells him to concentrate...and he corners it to some ruin near town. The three decide to enter it.

Back in the castle, Bartlow and his goons council want Alisha to hand over Sorey aka the Shepherd. He reasons out that since the Shepherd is such a powerful guy, he should be under their care, not hers. Alisha, of course, flat out rejects, even if the entire council unanimously voted to have Sorey.

Inside the ruin, Sorey and Mikleo notice a sealed door, possibly hiding something important. The two contemplate that there has to be a key somewhere. Mikleo pulls on a nearby torch thingy, and the hidden door indeed opens. Lailah comments that the two of them seem to really know a lot about ruins. Sorey explains that ever since they were kids, he and Mikleo would go out exploring ruins together all the time.

Inside the room is a small pedestal bearing the Hyland royal crest. What else do they have that has the exact same crest...? BINGO! Alisha's knife. Despite how sharp they made Sorey in the past episodes, the first thing he thinks of is he forgot to return the knife to Alisha, but Mikleo eventually picks up that the knife might be the key for this particular pedestal. After a little light show, the knife indeed works, and the walls split open to reveal a hidden path, illuminated by torches. Lailah is surprisingly quiet this whole time.

Sorey notes that the malevolence within this area really feels different. He gets surprised by an eeriely realistic looking dragon statue. The anime defines a dragon as a harbringer of bad omen and a manifestation of malevolence, but like I explained in the previous review, the dragons only actually form from Seraphim corrupted by malevolence. It really seems that the anime will be throwing that definition away.

Moving on, Sorey thinks the malevolence is from the dragon statue, but Lailah thinks otherwise. From above them, a swarm of hellion bats merge to form one giant hellion bat (lol) and starts attacking. It's able to disperse into the swarm of bats when attacked and then merges back into the bigger one as it pleases.

When you forget to take the chicken out the freezer and you hear your mom pull up.

Caption from @gale_katsu, thanks!

As much as I like ufotable's use of CG in some parts of the anime so far, sometimes it just looks a bit out of place or funny. The dragon (puppy) from last episode, as majestic as it looked, made it seem a bit out of place with all its goo and whatnot. Now, we have Mr. Bat here who, I'm sorry, just looks really funny.

Sorey and Lailah start attacking it with their powers of purification, but Mikleo isn't really able to do much but disperse it since he doesn't have said powers (powers of purification are limited to the Shepherd and his Seraphim vessel). Sorey disperses the swarm and Lailah uses Tornado Fire (aka Flare Vortex in the localization) to defeat all the bats.

Lailah also explains that she can reside inside Sorey's body to lessen the strain of being her vessel, and demonstrates it, as well. ufotable uses a pretty particle effect for this one. Sorey feels uncomfortable about this, so she steps out again. Lailah adds that he will probably make contracts with other Seraphim, and though that will add more strain on him, keeping them within him will be one way to make him recover.

The malevolence is still within the ruin, beyond another door. The party moves forward. Lailah uses her flame to light up the area. Sorey and Mikleo stare in horror as the inner room is full of corpses and skeletons - Lailah explains that this is the truth of the ruins.

Lailah, surprisingly, starts to explain what went on within the ruins. The corpses were once people who rebelled against those in power, and were dealt with here unknown to everyone. Their regrets and hatred brought forth malevolence, giving birth to hellions. This was apparently, the place that the Hyland government silenced their rebels, away from the public eye. Alisha obviously doesn't know about this, so it's probably Bartlow and his goons council.

Lord of Calamity by day, Leomon by night.

Sorey understands now that Lailah wanted to show this to him. She explains that the Shepherd must quell the malevolence that gives rise to hellions... the Lord of Calamity - a being that releases immense amounts of malevolence, to the point of altering the world. This is the true mission of the Shepherd.

If Sorey tries to face him now, he'll probably just be swallowed by the malevolence. Lailah, for now, wants Sorey to find his own answer by first traveling the world and knowing more about it. Once he finds his answer, he can then face Leomon.

Suddenly, malevolent water appears! It apparently seeped into the ruin from Ladylake. The force of the water is making the ruin crumble down, but Mikleo freezes the water for a bit to stabilize it. As they escape, Lailah explains that the land is crying out, since the malevolence is making it suffer. Does this have something to do with the Earthpulse thing again?

More clumsy parkouring © ufotable.

Sorey almost gets flattened by the dragon statue falling apart, but Lailah and Mikleo manage to shield him with their artes.

Outside, a strong gale is caused by the malevolence. Before them, the party stares in horror as...

Knowing how the game goes, this is really painful to watch.

But before that, back to Alisha! Maltran comments how Alisha's being stubborn. Alisha apologizes, but Maltran clarifies that she's not criticizing him, but instead believes that her integrity on the matter will guide Ladylake better. Bartlow, however, isn't just after the Shepherd - he wants Alisha off the monarchy. Maltran says that Bartlow is planning something, having ordered to have Alisha check the epidemic in a place called Marlind. Alisha doesn't mind, and will go there if it will be able to help. Maltran knocks onto Alisha's head, advising her not to carry the burden of everything on her own - Maltran is worried, after all.

I’m baaaaaaccckkkkkkk!

Outside, the storm is getting stronger. Alisha runs outside, seeing something in horror. Before Ladylake is a tornado, which looks similar to the one that destroyed Guriel to the ground...

And cliffhanger!

Well, this was an uneventful episode. Honestly, a bit boring, even. Sure, there's a tornado, but then there's that cliffhanger. There were very few changes from the game and nothing much really happened, apart from Sorey being introduced to the whole Shepherd responsibility and abilities thing.

Episode #01 aside, one thing the anime does a really good job of is the music. Again, it was a good idea to just use the game soundtrack for the anime, without having to do completely new tracks. But who knows, maybe they'll introduce new tracks eventually? And given that next week is probably a fully Berseria centered episode, we'll also get to hear a bit of Berseria's soundtrack? Fingers crossed!

Lailah's voice pretty much sounds the same as Miyu Matsuki now... Either Noriko Shitaya got more used to it now, or I'm the one getting used to her voice. Speaking of Lailah, I wish they showed more of her funny side when it comes to not telling about the past because of her oath, but I guess that can come later. If it ever is coming later.

The whole tornado arriving at Ladylake wasn't in the game, though, so it'll be interesting how they're going to have Sorey handle it.

BUT... the next episode preview has Sorey and Mikleo discuss that they're actually... taking a break! What does this mean? Lailah avoids the subject, and quite badly like she does in the game. They're terribly hinting that they might even not appear in that episode (Mikleo: Wait, they couldn't have written us off the anime, could they?!), so...

Let me properly tell it first: In the next episode preview, Sorey and Mikleo declare that next week will be a break, and that they should go to the hot springs ("sauna" in the game) to relax. Lailah says that they still have to do a next episode preview, confusing the two. They're asking why they need to make a next episode preview for the next episode when next week will be a "break." Lailah says that there will still be an episode next week, making Sorey and Mikleo confused - because they're apparently not in it? Mikleo asks in horror if maybe they've been written off the anime. Sorey dismisses this, and the party heads for the hot spring. At the end, Mikleo wonders who will be in next week's episode.

When you’re written off your own anime.

As you all know, it was announced that the next episode, as well as the episode after that, will have Tales of Zestiria the X and Tales of Berseria cross over. From the next episode preview though, does this mean next week will be entirely Berseria centric? Even Mikleo comments that he doesn't know who's appearing next episode, and that they were told that "next week is a break." Like, they literally didn't even do a proper next episode preview (they're heading to the hot springs/sauna, haha).

Whatever they're going to do for next week, I fear for it. It will either be this really awesome thing that will tie in the two games together... or it may become the thing that might destroy the momentum of the anime entirely. I'm seriously hoping it will just be the former. Episode #00-03 pretty much held the anime in such a high pedestal with all the action and story and the action scenes. Then we got episode #04 lower one foot down that pedestal... Please step back into the limelight next week.

As usual, a lot of screenshots are over at our gallery! Enjoy!

Next Episode: #05 - The Beginning of Calamity. See you next week!

Thanks to @Akifukete for the inspiration on this week's image caption!

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)

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A745 (or Abby, as most people call her) is the founder of Abyssal Chronicles. She is currently a doctor, but that doesn't stop her from showing her love for the Tales of Series. She loves potato chips. A lot.