Finally, I am finished with episode 24! Now, I can anticipate for the finale next Saturday.
This review contains major game spoilers and major Berseria spoilers. Turn back if you do not wish to be spoiled; if you choose to stay, be warned of these spoilers.
Episode 24 starts off with Sorey apologizing to Rose. He tells her that Dezel’s death is his fault. She slaps him saying that is not what Dezel wants and then they head off to Mt. Killaraus. Rose tells Dezel that his death won’t be in vain as she follows the group inside.
For this episode, there are at least three things I want to talk about: Maotelus and further Berseria exposition (with some spoilers), Heldalf’s past with Shepherd Michael (with major Zestiria spoilers), and the final battle.
Regarding Maotelus, I am going to warn anyone reading this that Maotelus’s identity is a heavy spoiler if you have not played Berseria. I’m going to flat out say it. Maotelus is the malak Laphicet. It was obvious in the anime since the dragon had Laphicet’s Japanese voice, which is very boyish in contrast to his majestic appearance. I have yet to complete the game, but I was aware of the spoilers and it was a bit obvious that he was Maotelus given the Omega Elixir sidequest (which is probably the biggest clue to the Laphicet and Maotelus connection).
Laphicet (The one nicknamed Phi) isn’t Velvet’s younger brother (Her brother is nicknamed Laphi), but the malak that traveled with her (They share the same name, but Phi's name is given to him by Velvet). There are many hints in Berseria, which shows that he is indeed Maotelus. First is the Omega Elixir. In Berseria, Laphicet has a sidequest, which involves him making the Omega Elixir for his friend Videl. In Zestiria, the Omega Elixir was said to cure any sickness and that Maotelus was the first person to ever create it (or so I remember; I could be wrong). If you play Berseria and get to the Omega Elixir sidequest, you’ll probably get the instant connection. If you didn’t, then there’s another major hint. Laphicet’s third Mystic Arte is Indignation. Guess which Zestiria character has Indignation? Maotelus.
How he became a dragon is something I won’t talk about, but Maotelus is Laphicet’s true name, given to him by Eleanor Hume, who became the first ‘true’ Shepherd in Zestiria’s history (Basically, she became the person who made the Shepherd’s reputation better after Artorius sort of sullied it); she was his vessel. Laphicet, in Berseria’s universe, means ‘the one who lives”, which is also what Maotelus means, but in the ancient tongue.
I think the anime showing Maotelus opposing Heldalf is rather odd with its execution. Maotelus was always mentioned, but never actually seen until the end of the game since he was partially the final boss thanks to Heldalf armatizing with him (A very hard boss fight; I lost four times trying to fire up Siegfried). Here, he doesn't seem to be linked to Heldalf given that they do not armatize in the anime.
Maotelus had a shadow-like appearance in Zestiria’s bad ending. Basically, if you go try to go into Heldalf’s domain when you aren’t supposed to yet, you’ll find Heldalf. If you can beat Heldalf, you can get the bad ending. The meaning behind the bad ending is that if you sever the connection between Heldalf and Maotelus, Maotelus will kill Sorey and friends (and destroy the world) because the malevolence has become much stronger that it corrupted him and made him into a devastating monster equivalent to the apocalypse.
Regarding Maotelus becoming corrupted, I am confused. When Maotelus spoke with Michael on the day of the chaos, he was shown to be a darker color due to him being tainted with Malevolence. Yet, when Maotelus is attacking Heldalf in the beginning of the episode, he was back to his white color. Is that an animation error or did Maotelus get purified for no indefinite reason?
Also, towards the end of the flashback, Maotelus tells Michael that he is going to transfer his flames of purification to the Lady of the Lake in hopes that she will one day guide a new Shepherd and purify him. It makes me wonder what Lailah’s story is. I know she’s the Lady of the Lake and that she has purification powers, but Berseria and Zestiria never explain how she became the Lady of the Lake or if she’s a pure seraphim or a human reborn as a seraphim. Lailah is still enigmatic to this day. How did she come into existence? Why is she the Lady of the Lake? How did the role of Lady of the Lake come into existence? I know for a fact that these will never be answered and all these questions I have about Lailah accumulate even more. Though, the reason why she has purification powers is explained, but that’s like only one question answered.
Like I said before, it is hard to tell whether Maotelus is in a pact with Heldalf. However, I'll now be talking about his past that seems to be quite different in the anime. In the anime, Sorey gets shown Heldalf's past by...entering his body? Heldalf is making him see his memories? It's kind of hard to explain. In the game, Heldalf’s past is shown through Iris gems. He was a Rolance war general who was acquainted with many followers. Eventually, he gets cursed and is doomed to eternal loneliness. One by one, the people around him died, his followers soon alienated him and then feared him for his curse. Even babies, pure creatures, turned malevolent when he held them. He tried committing suicide many times, but failed. Eventually, his curse made him snap and then he became the Lord of Calamity.
The reason for him getting cursed was due to Shepherd Michael. Michael wanted Hyland and Rolance to be at peace, but Hyland soldiers started attacking the origin village, Camlann. Heldalf and his men fled the village. Michael believed he abandoned Camlann, so he decided to curse him by sacrificing his nephew. The anime also had that, but it was slightly different. In the anime, Heldalf never cared for Michael’s peace and that he used Camlann as bait to lure out Hyland soldiers, which caused the village’s destruction and Michael cursing Heldalf to eternal loneliness.
Honestly, I don’t really like the anime’s explanation of how Heldalf became the Lord of Calamity. In the game, he was shown and told to be a great general, but here, that glory he had is nonexistent. He is brooding most of the time and when the truth of the betrayal came into light, I was like “Heldalf deserved being cursed for betraying Michael from the start.” I think the anime made me care less about Heldalf than I did in the game. That’s pretty sad because Heldalf had potential had the game fleshed out his character more.
The final battle with Heldalf was…not very interesting to say the least. The speeches the human characters made were corny, but a good message to what the anime is trying to bring (Also, I love how the anime shows Alisha and Rose fusing with different seraphim—it’s a nod to the battle system). I believe that the main message the anime was trying to bring was to overlook the bad points about someone or yourself and believe in the good points. That way, Malevolence won’t be produced. This was the message Sorey was trying to convey to Rose back in episodes 16 and 17. Heldalf believes in eternal solitude and chooses to be tainted because of that. However, if he were to have companions, then he wouldn’t be so corrupted because they would ease his loneliness; though, that may not work due to the human lifespan.
Sorey realizes that underneath all that malevolence, Heldalf does have some kindness within him because he chose to have the final battle in Mt. Killaraus where an earthpulse resides and it’s an isolated area, so no casualties will happen.
The part where Zaveid gets into a contract with Sorey and Lailah is very abrupt. I was like, “Dude, you’re in a battle, do this somewhere safe!” The ‘good’ thing about that scene is that we get to learn Zaveid’s true name. Fylk Zahdeya means “Zaveid the Oathkeeper” (significant with his character since he’s the type to keep his promises like his promise with Eizen).
Another good thing about the abrupt sub-lord contract is that Sorey gets to fuse with all four elements and become the ultimate magical boy! Honestly, that part was a bit odd, but it did address a question I had when I played Zestiria.
When I played Zestiria, I wondered if it was possible to armatize with two or more seraphim. That curiosity stemmed from how artes in the game had two elements. The anime answered that question by making Sorey fuse with all four seraphim. Though, it’s still novel, so I can’t really wrap it around my head.
I like the final battle in the game a lot better. It’s more dramatic with the way phase 2 starts. Rose is out of the battle (I was glad because I didn’t have to waste life bottles—she kept dying in my copy of the game) because Sorey sends her out of the dungeon and it’s just Sorey and the seraphim. He sacrifices each one of them in order to sever the link between Heldalf and Maotelus. In the end, it’s just Sorey and Heldalf. With no armatus, it’s just Sorey dishing out his artes and then using Lion’s Howl to defeat Heldalf once and for all and purify Maotelus. It was cool (Though, I’m still iffy on the part where Sorey mercy kills Heldalf; Heldalf has to be stopped, yet at the same time, Sorey killing someone is hard to imagine).
Now I am really curious on how this anime is going to end. Is Sorey going to go sleep like he did in the game or is he going stay with his friends? I am anticipating the moment the 29th comes. Just don’t disappoint me, Ufotable!
Also, if you notice very carefully, the circlet that Muse, Michael’s sister, had on her forehead is very familiar. Who has a circlet? Mikleo. Yes, that baby is Mikleo. He was once human but he was reborn as a seraph. Michael is Mikleo’s uncle. Although the connection was never addressed in the anime, I think it’s very obvious with the way Mikleo and Muse share a resemblance and that the family all have lavender eyes.
(For the featured image, there are a lot of choices, but I chose Michael since it was the least spoiler-ish of the ones I wanted to pick)