Tales Of Zestiria The X S2

August 12, 2017

Can’t wait to finish the epic second half of Tales Of Zestiria The X. I don’t know. Even taking a one season break seems like waiting for so long. Heck, I guess it is better than waiting for the second season of Shingeki No Kyojin, right? With all the epic and extravaganza building up from the first season, I hope the second season will be even more so. It better be since I’ve waited so long…

Episode 13
Rose is buying the entire herb stock of a group of travelling merchants. However they are not satisfied with the amount she gives them. Turns out they are bandits who are trying to sell stolen goods. It goes without saying Rose kicks their asses when they think they have the numbers to overwhelm her. Sorey does his training with Lailah and Mikleo to fight different types of malevolence but fails. The next day they arrive at Lastonbell, the largest commercial city in Rolance. At Rose’s storeroom which also works as her secret base, lots of people are glad that she is back. Looks like she has quite the reputation here. So popular that some business owners are arguing to do business with her. She introduces Sorey to Mayvin who is an explorer and storyteller. He might not look like it but he is more than 100 years old and has travelled the world to find stories to be told to future generations. But the guy whom Rose wants Sorey to meet, Guren is not here as he is a fanatic about the Shepherd legend. Also, she is using Sorey so she could get bigger discounts from him if he hears Sorey is a Shepherd. What a way to put a Shepherd to work. General Sergei Storelka of the Platinum Knights walks in to request for Sorey. He has witnessed his battle at Glaivend and cannot ignore he is a powerful and dangerous man. Rose defends Sorey as the one who ended the war without killing anybody. Mayvin breaks up the tension by having Rose treat everybody to fine wine. Not that she likes it either. Sorey asks Mayvin if there is a way to purify dragons. Too bad he has not met any during his journey and he doesn’t know if that is lucky or not. But he did met a Shepherd a long time ago who once said everybody has a tainted heart deep inside including himself. He posed a question of killing a few to save many and does accepting that necessary evil make people malevolent. As Sorey goes to train, he notices Rose heading off. Dezel tells him not to concern with her as he will protect her. Rose meets up with her fellow members of secret assassins, Scattered Bones. They are to assassinate a corrupted bishop. They let him answer 3 questions honestly first but when he starts to deny and cover up, Rose kills him.

Episode 14
Sorey joins Rose for breakfast when Sergei comes by to apologize to her for last night (he got drunk). But with a bouquet of flowers? Rose can’t stop teasing him he likes her. Sergei’s man comes in to report an explosion near the church that left a hole in the ground. The Seraphs believe it is work of malevolence so Sorey joins him to check it out further. Sergei’s man further tells him about the attack at the church’s sanctuary. The guards were attacked but no casualties. As for the rumours about the bishop dying of an illness, he is the only one found dead. Could it be an assassination? Meanwhile Rose visits Guren’s place but he is not in and is greeted by his wife. She relates how he delivered something to the church’s sanctuary. Though he left, he has been missing since. Sorey and Sergei continue to walk through the underground tunnel that leads to the sanctuary. Learning so, Sorey believes this is like Ladylake. When everything is concealed underground, things will start to rot. Sergei watches in awe, confusion and scepticism as Sorey purifies some of the malevolence in the water. They reach a dead end. However the Blue Storm Knights guarding it won’t let them pass as ordered. Sergei understands and turns back. He tells Sorey a bit about Rolance’s history. It was ruled by an absolute monarch. But with the church increasing its influence in the military, thus the Blue Storm Knights. The decreasing influence of the imperial in which the Platinum Knights are sworn to protect are even left out from briefings. Sorey and Mikleo find it weird that no dragon has appeared in Rolance. Is there some sort of calamity? The relentless rain might be it. When they surface, they are confronted by Gouldman who is the leader of the Blue Storm Knights. Aiguille, Rose’s aide can tell she is upset and succumbing to emotion as she leaves. He tells her that they all should know that Guren is dead, killed by the bishop. That is why they killed him. He reminds her about their oath to kill for the greater good. Dezel pops up to offer Rose his help to kill such people (note, she can hear him but not see him). He views what she is doing is just. A big storm is kicking up and it seems Dezel is behind it.

Episode 15
The Seraphs will try to stop Dezel before he succumbs to malevolence. Since he isn’t going to stop when politely told, Lailah’s huge fireball did the trick. With Rose telling him to stop, Dezel gives up. They seek an answer for his actions. Retribution for the bad people. Long ago he travelled with a guild called Windriders with a very likeable leader, Brad. He rescued a young Rose wandering in the battlefield and raised her like his own daughter. Brad is dead. But Rose has carried his will and gone over what he expected of her. That is why he will do anything for her. Sorey is confronted by Gouldman who tells him Sergei is arrested for having unauthorized interaction with the Shepherd. If Sorey’s powers are real, Gouldman wants him to help Rolance. Sorey won’t do that to start a war. As his next destination is Pendrago, he wants him to take him there. So please release Sergei? Later Sorey speaks with his Seraphs that he is slowly understanding about malevolence. However he can’t seem to stop humans fighting humans despite his wish to create a world without wars. When they return, Mayvin is about to leave for another journey. He asks Sorey about the question he told the previous Shepherd whom he never got an answer about the corruption of the heart. Mayvin is impressed he remembers word by word. In short, he has learnt to each his own. Everyone has their own principles. Be true to oneself. We now take a detour to Alisha’s side. Her army is waiting to ambush but instead got ambushed by the enemy. The casualties are high although Alisha and a few of her men escaped and are seeking refuge in an abandoned playground she used to visit. Reports come in that some of the soldiers in the rear including Maltran have been captured and accused of treason. This clearly shows that Bartlow is targeting Alisha. All Alisha can say is that she is responsible for her actions. This means her ideals are the cause of her men’s death when they should be alive. Wondering what Sorey would have done, she realizes she needs to move forward like how he needs to become stronger. She hopes her remaining troops will lend her strength to take back the official residence of Hyland.

Episode 16
Aiguille informs Rose that the whereabouts of Prince Konan is known. Time for revenge. Next day, Rose packs her bags and leaves. Sorey hoped she would come to Pendrago with him so he could keep watch on Dezel. No thanks. Because Sorey only knows Rose as a cheerful trader and merchant, there might be more that they don’t know especially when it is connected to Brad. Thus Sorey has Mikleo to follow her while Sorey will follow Gouldman to Pendrago. Edna also follows Mikleo to help keep an eye. During the journey, they see Rose coming into contact with a stranger. Since they do not understand, Dezel explains that Rose is an assassin and will be undergoing an assassination mission. Rose has learnt to kill under Brad’s tutelage in Windriders which is the predecessor of Scattered Bones. With Windriders gaining popularity and influence, Konan sought their help in the war with promise to end all fighting. Brad being the sucker for justice accepted and even sealed the deal by betrothing Rose to him. After Konan won big at the sacrifice of many, he betrayed them after they were no longer useful to him. Edna doesn’t believe anyone deserves to be killed no matter the reason. She wants to relay this to Sorey but Mikleo will do it and he wants her to stop them. Yeah, it’s a long horse ride back. And when shocked Sorey hears about it, it’s another long horse ride back again. Rose and her assassins spy on Konan inside a mini castle by the lake. They are going to sell fake highly addictive elixirs, something that a few in the church only knows how to make. Night falls and after Konan goes to sleep, Rose goes into action. It’s funny how she pops up before him like as though she’s indicating “I’m your worst nightmare. Die!”. By the time Sorey barges in, Rose has already killed him. Or did she miss? Konan is still moving. As the guards surround them, Rose is upset he can’t even remember them. Konan escapes while she takes care of the guards. Dezel stalls Sorey and his Seraphs to allow Rose to finish her assassination. Sorey’s voice to tell her not to kill seems futile as she catches up to Konan and slashes him.

Episode 17
Konan is pretty hard to kill, isn’t he? Well, if you’re considering that he’s turning into a Hellion! Eventually with the intense battle, the structure collapses. Sorey is pretty sure Konan is dead at the bottom of the lake. Sceptical Rose still wants to make sure but Dezel stops her. As they make their way to Pendrago, Sorey and Rose exchange their thoughts about killing. Rose believes there are people in this world who should be killed and somebody needs to do the job. Sorey used to think like that but there are things they cannot see. Hence malevolence can seep into the land, water, sky and living things. Malevolence dwells in everyone. Those negative feelings could become the source of malevolence. People deny it and carry on living. But Rose confronted and stopped it altogether as she believed it was for something good. The Seraphs ask Dezel what he wants out of Rose. Now that vengeance is done, he will carry on Brad’s wish to help the powerless. Rose is Brad’s successor and just a puppet. That’s why he is supporting her. A roadblock stops them. The Platinum Knights under Sergei’s orders are to take Sorey and co on a detour into the forest since this road is heavily monitored by the Blue Storm Knights in which there is another roadblock by them up ahead. Riding through the forest, Sorey notices the huge malevolence that has seeped through. The forest is rotting and at this rate Rolance will also die. Instead of trying to purify it, they quickly ride through. Rose is surprised with a world she cannot see and asks Sorey if what she has done all this time in the name of justice is for naught. All he can say is that killing people is wrong no matter how noble the reason. As for being powerless, Sorey doesn’t think so. She is strong but just that this world needs to be cleanse once and a different power is needed. This makes Rose feel useless as she remembers how Brad rescued her. Bandits were scavenging the remains of a battlefield. One found her and possibly would have raped her had not Brad and his Windriders popped up. He invited her to join and she gladly accepted. He taught her all he can and she clearly remembers the ideal he lives by the most: Forget unreachable ideals, get justice that is within sight.

Episode 18
Arriving at the residence of the emperor of Rolance, Doran greets Sorey in as he invited him. Sorey learns the imperial family may not be able to see malevolence but knows about it. How? The storyteller. Mayvin is something like that but real storytellers have long existed because they broke an oath by telling a secret of the world. It is believed that one man tried to steal all emotions from mankind. Because malevolence is borne out of human emotion and man cannot see it, it spreads. One day the world changed due to a ritual and as a result mankind’s emotions were taken away except for one person: Velvet Crowe. The hatred towards a certain person spawned this calamity. All Doran wants is peace. Sorey is shocked to hear Alisha has been imprisoned for treason. He is worried about her but needs to purify the malevolence in Rolance. He needs to head to Pendrago. Doran will accompany him since the church there is being sealed off and his authority will prove useful. Rose wants to further help the weak and asks Dezel for advice what needs to be done to see the malevolence. Thus she talks to Sorey about entering a squire’s pact with him. He might be the only Shepherd to save the world but he could use a bit of help. She wants to know the pros and cons of being a squire so Lailah explains the great help she can do. However if she fails, both the Shepherd and squire will die. Sorey is shocked to know this. What danger has he put Alisha under? Don’t worry. Alisha knew the risk when she made the pact. After making the pact, the squire will be able to share some of the burden and taking the malevolence blow from the Shepherd.

Upon entering Pendrago, Sorey starts to feel heavy. He doesn’t want Rose to feel this but she would rather confront the menace rather than staying ignorant. Now that Sorey knows the risk, he cannot ask Rose to be his squire but if she insists, it is a different story. Sorey and the Seraphs can feel the great malevolence coming from inside the church. Masedra, the head pope won’t let them enter. Doran makes this an order so Dezel blasts open the door for them to enter. Inside and following the source of the malevolence, they are shocked to see a dead dragon emitting great malevolence. Sorey wants to purify it as Lailah suggests Rose could be of great help. At first he is not too sure but since Rose really wants to help so Lailah begins the ritual to make Rose his squire. Her squire’s name is Wilkis Wilk. Sorey begins his purification but since it is too great, Rose helps to take some of the burden while the Seraphs fend off the attacking malevolence. In the end, the purification is successful and the relentless rain over Rolance immediately stops. Rose might be exhausted from her first job but she isn’t dead. Sorey receives a telepathic communication from Alisha. She is at the outskirts of Ladylike. Her imprisonment is a lie but she is being hunted by Bartlow. Ladylake is besieged by tornadoes and she needs Sorey’s help. Next stop, Ladylake.

Episode 19
As the tornadoes are getting stronger, Alisha’s priority is to rescue the people in nearby villages despite Bartlow may be setting up traps to catch her. While they are doing so, Hyland’s army has found them. They are about to attack when the place is flooded by some living mud? Alisha thinks a Hellion is behind this. She tries to fend it off to buy time for her troops to take the wounded away but she is devoured. Guess who saved her? Not Sorey. He isn’t here yet. Zavied! He is here after hearing there is a dragon but is appalled to see the malevolence in this place. Zavied hopes Alisha can give his regards to Sorey when she sees him. Alisha’s best strategy is to wait for Sorey to arrive but she doesn’t have that luxury because it is reported that Maltran is crucified at the fountain square. She will be so until Alisha surrenders. This is very well a trap by Bartlow. Her biggest dilemma now is to rescue Maltran but risk fighting Hyland’s army (that would be treason) or buy time and let her die (she can last only 3 days). While she continues to ponder about this, the Hellion pops up to mock her state as well as how cruel humans can be. Despite Alisha’s efforts to stop the war and saved many lives, the higher ups are still tormenting her as they believed she stopped a winnable war. Alisha admits humans are weak so he mocks the weak stay in the background, lurk in the shadows to empower and enrich themselves. Will she keep up her efforts despite knowing all that? Knowing yet doing nothing is more cowardly than being ignorant. The Hellion leaves disgruntled since he cannot unsettle her spirit. Hyland’s army thought they could ambush Alisha’s camp at night but it is just a decoy. Alisha has foresight seeing this coming. She knows as long as they don’t appear, Bartlow will increase his guard. They sneak into Ladylike in the dark of the night to rescue Maltran. They have until sunrise to finish their mission and escape. Oh, nobody dies too. That’s an order. Sorey is awakened rudely by Rose. She points out a giant tornado before them. That is the direction of Ladylike. They must make haste.

Episode 20
Guess what? The guards are already here. Better get moving. Bartlow decides to light up the fountain square once he knows Alisha is here. The Hellion also feels like spicing up as he whispers to Maltran that Alisha is coming for her. Identifying himself as Alisha’s supporter, he is disappointed Alisha is sacrificing others to get to her. She is no different than others. Maltran tells him that means he too fail as Alisha’s supporter. Because he should know where Alisha is heading right now. This makes him mad as Maltran continues to explain why Alisha is a princess as she is taught from young to not act out of personal feelings. When Bartlow notices Alisha is taking too long, he then realizes she is heading straight for the palace to see her ailing father. Sorey knows there is a dragon inside the tornado and wants to purify it. Despite legends saying a dragon cannot be purified, it is actually because nobody has done it before. It is a tough job and he might die but hey, at least he has them. Well, being positive is already half the battle won. Alisha reaches her father’s room and talks to him about the need to stop the war to end the despair. She is shocked to see malevolence seeping out from him. Bartlow draws his sword to kill Alisha despite she will not kill him. Before he could strike her, the king uses his body to protect her. How can a wheelchair ridden old man slower than a snail get into this situation? Ah, a father’s love… Both sides remain calm. Bartlow thinks he still has the upper hand when Alisha summons all the guards in. They have witnessed Bartlow killed the king and have lost faith in him. Bartlow can’t explain himself but notes he has won since Alisha won’t kill him. Then he jumps off the building to kill himself. By this time, the tornado has entered Ladylake. Even the Hellion is surprised at this big sh*t. Sorey communicates to Alisha to request her help as a squire and to come to where he is. Sorey combines with Mikleo to begin his purifying. He starts channelling to Rose. At first it might be too much for her but her pride as Scattered Bones’ boss won’t allow her to go down easily. Alisha arrives in time to share the burden. Finally the myth is busted after Sorey purifies the dragon. This means he can purify Edna’s brother. Before our heroes could celebrate about this positive outlook, here is Symmone to rain on their parade. Her master is about to envelope the world with malevolence. It’s now the beginning of the end of the world.

Episode 21
I believe everyone in Hyland has gathered at the square to pray for Alisha’s recovery. After the successful purification, Alisha and Rose collapsed from exhaustion. Not bad for first timers. While Sorey is alright by the 5th day, it took the ladies the 9th day to wake up. Despite in high spirits, Mikleo notes that they can’t do this very often due to the toll on their body. Meanwhile Dezel is fighting Symmone to get her to spill the beans. What she told them about the world ending was it all. She even shows them what the end of the world would be like. Right now at the north, the land is dead and malevolence creeping in. Sorey and the Seraphs are in pain that they couldn’t breathe. Imagine if this is reality, it’ll be much worse. The Seraphs know Sorey wants to journey to the north. They’ll follow him alright. Lailah acknowledges Sorey’s efforts up to this point. She gives him a Celestial Records written by a Shepherd named Michael. This is another copy of it. Alisha’s subordinates, Sirel and Ian seek Sorey’s permission to go with him to the north. Since Alisha is coming, they as her loyal subjects will come too. The reconstruction of Hyland is left in Maltran’s hands. More good news as people from around the land line up a long queue to enlist themselves for this expedition. Though it is sad that Alisha can’t bring a lot of them as they are no match for the big boss. She will take those who can assist Sorey and the rest to remain in the reconstruction. Along the long journey, several parties join them. They include Zavied, even if you have forgotten Atakk, here he is bringing his entire Normin tribe to assist, as well as the Rolance side of Sergei and Gouldman who want in on this mission because this is a problem that affects the entire world. Sorey could head to Rayflake on the way and save Edna’s brother but what good would that do if the world ends? Save the world first and then come back to save him. So just hold on for a little while. Dezel suggests the squires test their Armatization. It is when they combine with a Seraph and become a powerful weapon form. Lailah is against this since it would be risky. Since they’re up against the big bad, they would want to test all possibilities. Dezel will watch out for Rose. Lailah volunteers for Alisha but Dezel disagrees. If Lailah dies, Sorey will also die. Too risky. Say what again? Edna volunteers then. It fails instantly as it begins. All of them barely clinging on to their lives.

Episode 22
Why is Symmone travelling with them? Did her master abandon her or did she betray him? Rose and Dezel practice their Armatization but they still fail. As they rest for the night, Sorey reads the Celestial Records and learns there is a power in some wellspring that can create worlds up north. It might be the wellspring and Earthpulses are attracting the malevolence. This has everyone think of the Lord of Calamity wanted to spread malevolence, shouldn’t he do it at densely populated areas instead of the barren north? Symmone tries to contact her master but no reply. Dezel confronts her as she hints her master overlooked the Shepherd in the last war and learnt there are other ways he can be killed other than purification. Everyone has a rude awakening when malevolence starts flowing in. Time to move out and make haste over the mountains. To their utter shock, they see dragons all over! I don’t think the world has even enough resources to purify all of them. Dragons are believed to be tainted Seraphs so this means the Seraphim of this land has become corrupted. Sorey combines with Lailah and Mikleo to purify as many dragons to clear a path for the main troops. Armatization somehow works now for Rose and Alisha as they help out Sorey. Somehow that Hellion also wandered into this area. He doesn’t know what he is looking for and what he wants. I suppose he doesn’t like the world ending too and decides to do a little good by purifying some of the malevolence. Till he uses all his power in his final push. I hope it made a little difference… Symmone attacks the main troops to stop them dead in their tracks. Hey, it’s not like she was a part of them to begin with. Then she calls out to her master again in which this time he responds. She realizes she has been used by him to bring the Shepherd. So happy of so that she sacrifices her life to become his power. She turns into a dragon. Time for the final boss fight as the Lord of Calamity appears before Sorey and co.

Episode 23
Since the Lord of Calamity will be heading to the centre of the world now, back down the mountain they go to chase after him. As Rose is being healed by Sorey, Dezel requests to borrow Zavied’s gun. He wants to help destroy the malevolence to make a beautiful world that Rose has always dreamt of. Along the way, they spot the Hellion’s body. They pick his corpse up for a proper burial but note the smile on his face. The gang now stumble into an abandoned city of ice and snow, Meirchio. Beyond this is the town of Killaraus, a volcano with an Earthpulse point. They meet Grimoire, a Normin who has lived very long and she knows all about Sorey being the Shepherd. Sorey continues to read the Celestial Records and comes to believe had not hatred overcome Velvet, there might not have been calamities in this world. He believes Artorious who sacrificed her only brother made the wrong choice. There is more he needs to learn and understand to stop this cycle. Dezel intends to leave Rose behind if she cannot recover in time. She did not like that very much and proves she can still carry on. With the moon turning red, Sorey, Alisha, Rose and the Seraphs only trudge forward while the rest remain behind to support them. I guessed they are not levelled up enough to take on the final boss. Riding through the valley, they stumble into multiple dragons. Dezel believes Sorey needs to save his strength to purify the Lord of Calamity and will handle this. That is why he borrowed Zavied’s gun. However Sorey won’t let him kill any. With the rest feeling ready to back Sorey anytime, Dezel returns Zavied’s gun and tries another method. Because he hints to Sorey to take care of Rose. After doing Armatization with Rose, he too hints to her this is his last time before becoming the wind. They manage to purify all the dragons. Symmone is back to normal. Rose is back to normal. But where’s Dezel? Because he is dying, this is their last chance for them to talk, say thank you and apologize before he disappears. So all she gets to keep is his hat? Okay. Now you can cry your heart out.

Episode 24
Sorey, Too late to blame yourself for being stubborn. I want to spam “I told you so!” but it’s not the time. Rose slaps him for regretting this because if so, history shall repeat itself. Don’ let Dezel’s death be in vain. Time to move forward and finish this. Inside the cavern, Heldalf as the Lord of Calamity was once known as when he was human, is speaking to Maotelus, the leader of the Five Lords. No use lecturing him about malevolence when she herself succumbed to it. Sorey combines with Lailah to fight Heldalf but as he stabs his sword, he sees Heldalf’s memories. In the original village of Camlann, Heldalf was friends with Michael who was the previous Shepherd who just retired. Michael’s dream is for Camlann to be a place where humans and Seraphim can co-exist. Sound familiar? After showing Heldalf Maotelus, he hopes he can create a place of peace. However Heldalf soon betrayed him and the place is ravaged by war. Heldalf was the commander of Rolance’s army used his promise to protect Camlann as bait to lure Hyland to attack. Michael falls into despair and Maotelus has also been shrouded in malevolence. She makes an oath never to repeat this and in exchange the powers of purification to be given to the Lady of the Lake. Michael becomes enraged and uses his own life to curse Heldalf into a life of solitude for eternity. And that is how malevolence slowly seeped through him and into the world. Now that Sorey knows the truth, can he purify Heldalf? Not even the help from others put the slightest dent. So you think lecturing him about being human is going to help turn things back? Sorey thinks that the reason he came to this place with less people is that his conscience as a human made him want to lessen the damage inflicted on people. It could be the Earthpulse calling him but it sure isn’t the malevolence. Heldalf is just blaming it all on the curse. It sucks being lonely, right? Sorey realizes he cannot defeat Heldalf like that and needs to use all the elements of the Seraphs. Not a time to think of death if this Armatization plan on all of them should fail. Since everybody supports him, go for it! As he has no contract with Zavied, he makes one with him now. Wow. Heldalf must be kind enough to wait for them to finish. So once done, Sorey takes on a new Super Saiyan form ready to kick ass.

Episode 25
So awesome to be finished that it took another 1 month for the last episode to come out! Everyone feels the strain in this super Armatization. But with words of encouragement, it’s enough for them to start rolling the action. Oh, looks like Heldalf too transforms into a more ferocious beast form. Sorey combines his elemental powers and throws all he’s got at him. And… That’s it? So easily defeated? Purification completed? Then they see the malevolence from the ground trying to seep into Heldalf to create a new Lord of Calamity. The rest starts doubting if malevolence can really be purified and that this world needs to have it. But Sorey doesn’t want them the negative talk. The only way left is to go with him, calm his anger slowly and purify him by sealing him deeper than the Earthpulse. Any objections? Yes, Mikleo. Have something to say? Who will cleanse the world then? Don’t worry. The world will be fine and still go on without him. Yes, Alisha and Rose? You need them to channel the malevolence? He’ll do it himself. He wants them to spread their tale throughout the world since humans cannot normally see the Seraphs. So with one last Armatization, Sorey plunges Heldalf deep into the core. So deep that his Seraphs cannot follow and are ‘kicked out’. Although they are sad, the ladies feel Sorey is still alive since they are still standing. Maotelus is cleansed and thanks everyone for their efforts. In the aftermath, peace reigns. Alisha ascends the throne and becomes queen. She makes peace with Rolance and along with Doran, they help spread the Shepherd’s legend. The people back at Elysium pay tribute to Sorey’s altar. Lailah seems to have found a new Shepherd successor. Edna’s brother may still be a dragon but with the minimal malevolence, he is docile and has his senses regained. Rose is a trader and Alisha often hangs out with her. She holds a Celestial Record that keeps tabs on Sorey’s heroics. The children are inspired to become the Shepherd. Mikleo who now spots long flowing hair like a Chinese period drama, wishes to see Sorey and suddenly hears his voice. He follows it and to his happiness sees Sorey in the flesh. It seems the purification of Heldalf is done and that guy is trying to start anew in another town. They decide to go explore the nearby ruins and soar above the sky to see how beautiful the world is.

Tales Of Final Fantasy The X-2
Until the next big (accumulated) malevolence arrives, enjoy the peace while it lasts. Hey, isn’t that what the final words of “The Shepherd’s journey continues…” mean? Though, I have mixed feelings that the fight with the final big boss ended so fast and too easy. I know. Stretching the entire thing for another episode isn’t a no go and better to dedicate half of the final episode to tie things up (no wonder the ending credits start popping up halfway). So we don’t know how Sorey did it by purifying Heldalf back to a normal guy without even the need of killing the dude or even how long it took (it must be long enough for the end events to transpire). But who cares, right? Sorey is back instead of being dead. Want to make a happy ending might as well go all the way.

Although this season is still very much epic and lives up to my expectations, but if I were to say it is even more epic than the first season, it doesn’t feel so. Because this seasons feels like it has been going around on a wrapping up spree especially with the first half trying to establish and resolve Rose’s past. It felt a bit rushed but then again, how long do you want her revenge story to drag out? In a way everything that has happened in her success revenge story feels like too convenient like as though they are rushing the plot as the series heads for the finale. After her part is done, then the story quickly tackles the malevolence at Rolance as well as settling the inner uprising against Alisha’s kingdom before the final rematch with the Lord of Calamity. It would have lasted a bit longer had they decided to include saving Edna’s brother as a detour but good thing or not, they didn’t. And as seen in the finale, they didn’t even need to. Yeah, the world will be alright eventually. Despite all this, the second season is still epic nevertheless in its own right.

Some of the minor characters feel mind boggling and a miss. I was hoping they would play an important role or at least one that would justify the existence of their appearances. For example, the Hellion who has been teasing Alisha from last season. I don’t really understand why he did that in the very end except for the fact that I believe the producers can’t think of a way to properly tie up his part in the end so they decided to kill him off. It saves the need to explain everything else. Was he just a confused soul? I knew Alisha was going to face off with Bartlow but I didn’t think that dude when exhausted all his options would easily kill himself. I know he isn’t the final boss for the series but after all that underhanded and sneaky planning to brand Alisha a traitor, he just kills himself like that. Oh well. No need to tie up his story in regards to that.

Atakk appeared quite late and I thought the series had long forgotten him. Even when he did appear and brought along his Normin pals, I don’t see them do anything particularly useful. Just a reminder that even a series as epic as this needs to have a cute little mascot? And what is Symmone actually for anyway? I feel the story could have been slightly shorter had she not show herself. If you’re saying she’s a tool under the Lord of Calamity’s plan to bring the Shepherd to him, I think that is redundant because even without her, Sorey and his gang would still go to him seeing that they need to purify him in order to save the world. So what she turns into a dragon? Was it just for some melodrama effect for Dezel when he sacrificed himself? Like as if to show that he used his life to save something for better or worse? Or maybe Sorey can’t have 2 wind Seraphs… Yeah, no wonder there were 2 wind Seraphs in the first place… RIP Dezel…

I thought there would be more tension and strife between Sergei and Gouldman seeing they come from different factions serving different masters from the same kingdom. It looked like there was. Until Rolance has been cleansed of its impurity. And then it is like their animosity and hostility were all gone and now they join hands to help Sorey and co defeat the final boss and save the world. Although Velvet pops up very briefly in Sorey’s thoughts, hey, at least they didn’t hijack a couple of episodes like last season. Because I think that is worth another Tales series of its own.

Because of the significant focus on Rose and Dezel, the relationship between Sorey and his Seraphs somewhat take a backseat. Perhaps in the last season we saw them bond so was that enough? Because this season makes them feel as though they are just tagging around. Like Edna I thought she wasn’t really significant and was just there whenever needed to use her earth powers during the limited fights. Same case for Zavied too. He appeared late and just tagged along without showing us that he did something really important. Okay, so he saved Alisha as he appeared for the first time this season is something. But that feels a bit forced and cliché, don’t you think? There is one little disturbing thing in the end which I noticed: Am I starting to feel that Alisha and Rose are being lesbian with each other?! I know they like each other in terms of friends but the final episode sees them so close that thoughts of lesbianism cannot be avoided. Furthermore, with Aiguille commenting that Rose would never find a husband seems to be some sort of hint… Can it be true?! I guess all the men aren’t worthy to be Alisha’s partner either. Only Sorey can but looks like he is busy exploring ruins…

It can never be said enough because I need to repeat this until I beat a dead horse. The most awesome and attracting factor of the series are the beautiful visuals. The top notched consistency is still there and it is no doubt that this is what makes this world such a breath taking masterpiece to look at. From the smoke effects to the water effects and even the building structures provide great eye candy. It would be such a waste if you didn’t use your eyes to scan every nook and corner of the screen to appreciate those visuals. Kudos and a job very well done, Ufotable.

Adding to all the epic grandeur is the opening theme. Illuminate by Minami might be a slow rock but you can feel there is some extent of greatness to it and how it perfect reflects the grand epic of the series not just as a second season but as of whole. The same epic feel is also passed down to the ending theme, Innosense by Flow. You will know how epic this rock piece would be when the opening of this song starts off with great dramatic orchestral strings and, uhm, echo cries of Tarzan?

Overall, I still love how great this fantasy adventure is over both seasons. Despite its shortcomings in this season like how certain plots feel rushed and characters not being fully utilized, I believe it has done a good job in trying to compress tenths of hours of gameplay into 2 seasons of anime, a game that I never played. Heck, do I even play JRPG? Having learnt that everyone has negative feelings which bring about the potential of creating malevolence, I believe it is already happening in today’s world in the form of internet trolling and flaming. Butt hurt feelings accelerating the end of the world… Shepherds can purify dragons and malevolence but not internet trolls.

Tales Of Zestiria The X

February 26, 2017

Time to go on another epic fantasy adventure. An epic adventure of good triumphing over evil. Beautiful fantasy world setting, check. Amazing and strong characters, check. Magic, check. Spirits, check. Dragons, check. Fanservice, uncheck. Hah! Just kidding. There’ll be none in here :’(. Check, check and triple check. Yup. Has everything what I’m looking for. Tales Of Zestiria The X (pronounced as ‘cross’) it is for me. While generally it may not seem unique because it is another of your good against evil trope, but as long as they make it epic, I don’t mind. Even if it doesn’t have fanservice.

Episode 0
Princess Alisha Diphda and her royal guards examine an ancient ruin and are awed to see inscriptions indicating about Shepherds from the Celestial Records. Back at Ladylake, the capital of Hyland, Clem is summoned by Alisha as Drake the astronomer has discovered mysterious but eerie mist over Guriel. Weather has wreaked havoc over the crops over the years and she wants her to check and report things. Alisha is not happy that the council has decided to conscript youths who come to the Sacred Blade Fest. They claim that some disease is breaking out in a neighbouring country and this is their best bet to recruit people to the army. Alisha and her royal guards are attacked by assassins. She manages to unmask one of them. Looks like a normal human till he turns into a Hellion before escaping. It has been 2 weeks that Clem has not returned. Alisha wants to go see what’s wrong although her teacher, Maltran insists she will be the one as Clem is her student. However Alisha wants her to oversee the Fest and not postpone it a second. Even if it is a legend, she believes the one who extracts the sword guarded by the Lady of the Lake will be the Shepherd. When Alisha and her royal guards arrive at Guriel, they ask some of the villagers. They don’t know when the mist came about. It was always there but they just recently noticed it. They heard Clem has also headed north to the vicinity of the mist but hasn’t returned since. Also, they notice the town is very much dead and lifeless. Heading up north, they see Clem doing her research at the end of a chasm. Suddenly the mist becomes violent. Alisha takes her on her horse and run. They have to leave Drake behind who is researching Earthpulse at the bottom of the chasm. It is said that the world is connected via Earthpulse and natural resources turning into it is what keeps equilibrium. Now that equilibrium is broken. Long ago, man and other creatures walked this land. However this generation is going to pay the price for forgetting that. The storm becomes more violent with the grounds breaking up and the tornado sucking up the royal guards. Amidst the craziness is some strange girl, Symmone and that Hellion fighting each other. When the storm suddenly dissipates, Alisha is saddened that Clem is gone. So is her horse. The long walk back to town is even made more painful as the town is totally decimated. She thought she is happy when sees a little girl survived but that damn storm absorbs her and a fire dragon emerges from it.

Episode 1
Alisha takes refuge in some ruins. When day breaks, she sees a mural of the Shepherd as she reads from her notes about the saviour who will exorcise vile calamities and save the world. Before she knows it, she is attacked by bugs! A cute funny little Normin creature helps her out with its barrier and kung fu fighting but it is obvious she can’t see it. Alisha slides down a waterway and into paths unknown of the ruins. It leads her to some waterfall whereby a stone with the crest of a Shepherd is seen. After touching it, it moves and opens a hidden entrance. Sorey and Mikleo are keen adventurers as they happily discover a giant ruin in the high mountains. They want to explore further but grandpa, Zenrus forbids them saying this area is sealed. Back home, they read the Chapter of the Advent that tells about the creation of life on the planet as well as the relationship between humans and Seraphs. Sorey loves this book as well as Celestial Records and the reason he believes that ruin is supposed to be the Celestial Capital. Curiosity got the better of them as they decide to go against grandpa’s advice to explore it again. They swing in there once more and are glad to see the Shepherd’s mural. Suddenly an unnatural lightning storm attacks them. Alisha thought she had found a way out but that lightning storm too attacks her. The bridge she is on collapses and she goes unconscious. Zenrus can tell someone is disturbing his territory as reported by his subordinate, Kyme. Knowing those kids are involved, he tells Kyme not to do anything. Sorey and Mikleo fall deep into an abyss. As they look around, they see unconscious Alisha. Against grandpa’s advice not to come into contact with humans, Sorey wants to go help her. When she wakes up, she thinks Sorey is a Shepherd.

Episode 2
To her dismay, Sorey is human like her. This makes her sad the Shepherd is just a legend and the world cannot be saved. As you would have noticed, Alisha cannot see or hear Mikleo. Sorey brings her back to his village, Izuchi. He is about to introduce some of the villagers but Alisha quickly assumes they are Seraphs and pleads for their help to save her world which is shrouded in darkness now. As she cannot see or hear them, they tell Sorey to relay the message to ask her to leave to avoid inviting calamity. Sorey gets an earful from grandpa about breaking this ban. But Sorey is human too so why the exception? He has lived among them and can communicate with them. There is a great difference. But to Sorey’s joy, since they don’t want to invite calamity if they shoo her away, they will let her stay till she leaves on her own. Sorey and Alisha talk about Celestial Records and how much she believed in it. So it is just sad when she realizes it is just fairytale. Next day, Sorey brings her to the ruins to show her the mural to cheer her up. There is even a clove with the Shepherd’s crest. This proves that Shepherds exist. So have faith that one will turn up if the world is coming to that state. For it is his dream to see humans and Seraphs coexist. This gives her motivation to not give up looking for the one who can pull the sword out at the Fest. Soon, Alisha leaves and thanks Sorey for everything. She apologizes for the trouble she has caused. She was a stranger yet he took her in without questioning anything. She also believes in Seraphs and even though she cannot see them, she can feel them even now. She hopes Sorey can participate in the Fest and is confident the Shepherd is someone like him. After she has left, Zenrus detects a Hellion invading his territory. Everyone goes to look for the Hellion. Sorey and Mikleo stumble into him and fight. They are no match for him. When Zenrus appears, the Hellion doesn’t think it will be fun anymore and escapes. Sorey blames himself for bringing Alisha here and it led to this. Zenrus doesn’t think so. Sure, this calamity would have been avoided but doing so would only be selfish as their peace is connected to the outside world. They must not turn a blind eye to that. Later Sorey deduces from what the Hellion said, he was hunting down Alisha. Sorey leaves Izuchi to go find her. He won’t be going alone as Mikleo will be accompanying him too. Does he know where to go? Mikleo has found Alisha’s dagger dropped in the ruins. It has the crest of Hyland royalty so they can start here. The duo descend down to the world for the first time.

Episode 3
They reach Ladylake and are impressed with the liveliness. They are waiting in line to register for the Fest but this kind merchant, Rose decides to help speed things up by giving them a special pass. But in return she wants money. What do you mean you don’t have any money?! She checks his bag and finds the royal dagger. She thinks fate must have brought them together and lets them pass. Mikleo starts feeling pain because the town is filled with malevolence. Then they spot the Hellion and give chase. Sorey questions him targeting Alisha. He assures he is not going to kill her and simply want to be near her because interesting things will happen. But he warns there are others who are out to take her life as the order on her assassination has not rescinded. Lord Bartlow is in cohorts with a couple of assassins. Because of Alisha’s stance to not go to war with their neighbouring country, he believes she is leading their kingdom to disaster and orders her assassination. Inside the hall where finalists of the Festa will be pulling out the Sacred Blade, Sorey could see a Seraph, Lailah sleeping next to it. He believes she is the Lady of the Lake and the one who will judge who is worthy to become a Shepherd. After all participants failed to pull it out, Alisha makes her speech about her belief in the legend and her stance in not going to war with Rolance unless they attack. However Lailah can feel the place flooded with malevolence due to the people’s disgust and hatred. Suddenly evil swarms the place and a dragon pops out causing havoc. After Sorey goes help Alisha, he asks Lailah to do something about the dragon. However she claims only a Shepherd can defeat it. At the same time, the assassin makes her move as Alisha defends herself. She tells Sorey to do it. Before he extracts the sword, Lailah asks his intentions. His dream is to explore all ruins and find a way for humans and Seraphs to coexist. This is what Lailah also wants to achieve as she warns him becoming a Shepherd would mean becoming her vessel and destiny. There is a price to pay for using powers and it will be a long lonely battle. That’s okay to Sorey, right? He easily pulls the sword out and transforms into his Shepherd form (a mash between Sorey and Lailah), not only easily slaying the dragon but purifying the evil in the hall! After that he collapses as everyone remains in shocked to see what has unfolded.

Episode 4
Sorey finally wakes up. After 3 days. Alisha couldn’t be happier. To show her thanks, she feeds him good food and gives him new clothes worthy for a Shepherd. Noticing he is talking to Seraphs she cannot see nor hear, Lailah gets this idea of communicating with her. Sorey has to take her hand, block out all his senses (including holding his breath) and focus. Alisha is surprised and delighted to hear the voices of Lailah and Mikleo. They give their thanks but the conversation is short since Sorey is out of breath. Once he achieves higher power, he can resort to easier methods of communication. Business calls so Alisha returns to the palace after dropping them off in town. The council has unanimously decided she will hand the Shepherd to them. She steadfastly refuses. Sorey can detect some malevolence in the air. Trying to find its source, this leads them to find an underground ruin. Sorey and Mikleo’s experience in exploring ruins has them detect a hidden sealed door. Since it bears the crest of the Hyland royalty, Sorey uses the dagger to open it. Inside a tomb, they see a dragon statue. Dragons are bad omens believed to bring disaster. They are then attacked by the malevolence which is a giant bat. After disposing of it, they trek deeper to find the real source. The guys are shocked to see human remains and bones. Lailah knows the truth about this place. Those who rebelled against those in power were thrown in here. Their regrets and hatred turned into malevolence. There is a dark secret that this kingdom wants to keep away from the public although Alisha most probably doesn’t know about this. Lailah is showing him this because eventually he has to fight and defeat the source of all malevolence, the Lord of Calamity. As we all know, Sorey is not powerful enough to take on the big boss. He has to travel the world and acquire power and knowledge. Like an RPG, right? They have to get out now seeing the malevolence has seeped into the water and is flooding the place. Once they return to the surface, the malevolence has also engulfed the kingdom in a big storm. Meanwhile Alisha and Maltran discuss about Bartlow’s goal which isn’t just to obtain the Shepherd but to remove Alisha from the monarchy. There is also the fact that the kingdom of Marlind is rife with an epidemic. Ah, worries for a princess. More to come because that dark mist is now here.

Episode 5
Velvet Crowe was thrown into the deepest dungeons after an incident. She has been in despair since that day. When Seres comes down, Velvet attacks her as she believes she is a believer of Artorius Coldbrand, the man whom she blames for everything that has happened. However Seres is here to help her escape. They fight prison guard exorcists as Velvet makes her way to collect some of her stuffs. Seres wants to tell her how things have changed since 3 years she was imprisoned but Velvet is only interested to hunt down Artorius. From their brief talk, it seems that incident was about Artorius performing a ceremony, thus changing the world forever. The spirits and exorcists stopped the flood of demons. Despite Artorius sacrificing a child for it, he is now a saviour in the eyes of the people and heads Abbey, the organization of exorcists. Seres was a believer of him. She will tell the rest after they escaped. As they hide, Rokurou Rangetsu tries to take her hostage. He realizes she too is a jailbreaker like him. He is looking for his ‘partner’ which turns out to be the sword in Velvet’s hands. She agrees to give it back to him on one condition. Knowing this is a prison island, the enemy must have taken precaution and set all boats away. The only way is to reduce their number and steal one of their boats. This is why she requires Rokurou’s help. They start off their plan by releasing demon captives from individual cells to cause havoc and keep the guards busy. After that they part ways. I’m not sure why they head up a tower when they’re supposed to go get a boat. Anyway Velvet is desperate enough to jump down and use her beast technique to break a fall. A few bruises here and there but nothing Seres can’t heal. See? Solved. From a distance, they hear the bell of a boat. It bears the crest of the Legate exorcists. This means Artorius is on that ship and has come this far. Seres narrates Velvet’s feelings for that man could either bring hope to the world or spread malevolence across the land.

Episode 6
It’s not Artorius on that ship but one of his best exorcists, Oscar Dragonia. He has been given the authority by Artorius to subdue her. Oscar is clearly superior as he duels Velvet. He reminds he is here not to kill her but send her back to her prison where she will continue her duty of killing demons (something which she has done every day for the last 3 years to survive). Oscar believes everyone has a role. Like how he brother was sacrificed and Artorius as the chosen one. But Velvet will not accept a world that was built on by sacrificing her brother. Their fight is interrupted when a dragon appears. It wipes out many of Oscar’s man and sinks a ship. Everything is already chaotic and we don’t need this joker witch, Magilou to jump into the fray complaining somebody disturbed her beauty sleep. Oh, she is another jailbreaker too. While Oscar and his men try to restrain the dragon, Velvet tries to secure the ship. Too bad they can’t hold the dragon as it turns its attention to Velvet. This is when Seres decides to intervene. As she is also bent on stopping Artorius, she is going to take a gamble with her own life to get Velvet out of here. She uses some magic blast as Magilou and Rokurou now keep the dragon company. When Velvet opens her eyes, she sees Seres stabbed and dying. She wants Velvet to devour her and acquire her powers so she can move forward. She then gives her a comb belonging to her brother, Laphicet or Laphi for short. Without hesitation, Velvet devours her. With new badass powers, she takes on the dragon. Oscar is shocked and tries to attack her to prevent her from escaping. Velvet has a message to him for Artorius: Velvet is her name and tell him that she will devour everything. Demons, spirits and exorcists. All will be devoured by her. In the aftermath, Velvet, Magilou and Rokurou have set sail. Velvet dreams back of her past with Laphi. The good times and the last time. She has decided her next destination is Loegres, the royal capital of Midgand and where Artorius is.

Episode 7
Continuing from where we left off with Sorey and co and that stormy mist, everyone spots a dragon within it. Is Sorey trying to be a hero standing in its path? Okay, so he has got no plan. Suddenly the dragon flees and the weather clears up. Despite Sorey did nothing, everyone sees him as a hero and true Shepherd. Bartlow takes advantage of this by inviting Sorey to dinner. Can’t pass that up. But Alisha isn’t ‘invited’ since she received a message from the king to meet at the palace. Sorey tells Bartlow that he is going to try to pursue the dragon and find clues to make the world a better place. After he reunites with Alisha, she tells him the king is going to officially send her to Marlind. That night, Mikleo talks to Lailah about his dilemma. Now that Sorey is a Shepherd, what is he supposed to do? He thought of returning to Izuchi but if Sorey is going to travel the world as a Shepherd, he cannot leave him alone. Funny, because next morning Mikleo left on his own. Sorey panics at first but calms down knowing he had a reason doing this. Indeed. Lailah told him last night the directions to Galahad Ruins. There is a sacred relic sleeping there and if he is able to get it, Mikleo can help Sorey with his new powers. Sorey accompanies Alisha and her troops to Marlind. That night they are attacked by a creature that is supposed to be docile. Of course Sorey can see it is being possessed and purifies it. Continuing their travel, Alisha would love to hear more about Seraphim so Sorey tells her from the Celestial Records how they keep the balance of the world. It is believed man lost their reverence for Seraphim that led to the birth of the age of calamity. It is unsure if man is the real cause but the world now is overflowing with malevolence. Sorey and Mikleo continue to make their progress separately and wonder how the other is doing. They think they beat the other.

Episode 8
Mikleo has reached the ruins. Sorey and Lailah split from Alisha as they head to the barren mountains. A little girl, Edna drops and slams into Sorey. Lailah knows her. She is being attacked by a Hellion. Although Sorey engages it, it is ultimately Zavied who takes it out. Lailah also knows him. Because of his special gun that can kill Hellions, Sorey and Zavied butt heads with their different ideals. Sorey doesn’t condone to killing while Zavied believes sometimes killing can be the only way to save something. It seems Edna too doesn’t like Zavied. Dropping in is a ferocious dragon. Not just a dragon but Edna’s older brother, Eizen. Zavied wants to kill it but Edna wouldn’t allow it. Even more heart breaking to hear is how when one turns into a dragon, there is no purification or method to return back. You’ll be a dragon forever. Sorey takes Edna away while Zavied fights the dragon. Edna learns Sorey is here as he is following the dragon from Ladylake. They know this isn’t that dragon. Edna doesn’t know how Eizen turned into one. One day he left and the next time she saw him, he was already one. He must have got involved with humans whom he is fond of. She tried researching on ways to cure him but to no avail. Edna doesn’t believe Sorey’s words that he can save Eizen. They watch as Zavied continues his fight. He is most frustrated because he and Eizen were best friends and did everything together. Now he doesn’t recognize him anymore. Sorey then combines with Lailah. You won’t know until you try. Edna could think of all the times she spent with Eizen. As she tries to use her voice to reach him, the dragon attacks her. Sorey becomes desperate to save her and unleashes some sort of power. This makes the dragon back down and fly away. Everyone realizes Eizen was himself for a while then. In the aftermath, Zavied agrees in helping find a way to turn Eizen back. Edna makes a contract with Sorey. Since he is going to find a way to save Eizen, she agrees to lend her ancient powers. Mikleo has finally gotten a bow. Once he heads out of the ruins, a bad weather is kicking up. On Alisha’s part, they are stuck because the flood has washed away the bridge.

Episode 9
Alisha and a few of her men decide to find a long detour to cross the bridge and deliver the medicine. Edna learns Sorey wants to go to Rolance, a city supposedly to have many ruins that depict dragons as god. Lailah warns during his travels he will encounter many Hellions. She fears by fighting many of them, he will be swallowed up by them. Since it is a Shepherd’s duty to purify them, she lets him test practice purifying. Of course he fails and needs more training. Mikleo hears a Normin named Atakk being attacked (pun not intended) by a tree Hellion. Mikleo helps out and wins but only because Atakk amplifies his bow power. They talk about Normins who once helped kept the balance of the relationship between humans and Seraphs. Normins are physically weak but they can help intensify the power of other Seraphs. Atakk decides to follow Mikleo on his journey. Seems Atakk also knows Lailah as he hints they have a ‘delicate man-woman relationship. Hint, hint? Suddenly Alisha reaches out of the storm. Looking back, she knows this is no ordinary storm. Some of Alisha’s men has come to send Sorey a message from her. Sorey rides to the bridge. The storm now intensifies as they spot an Ouroboros Hellion, the cause of it all. Sorey combines with Edna to attack but the dragon soon comes swooping down to fight the Ouroboros. It isn’t exactly a dragon but a drake, a young dragon. This means Sorey has a chance to purify it. However it flees as fast as it came. Damn. We Sorey has powered up because now he can make earth walls from the river’s bottom as a bridge to cross. Heading into Marlind, he sees the place filled with malevolence and is no doubt the work of the drake. Alisha is glad to see him and notices Sorey has powered up because by being near him she can now hear the Seraphs’ voices. She falls into despair because her medicine isn’t working and at this rate everyone will die. The drake is back and they notice it is heading towards the Great Tree to make its nesting there. Sorey combines with Lailah to fight it but at that speed and distance, only Mikleo’s bow can do the trick. Speaking of which, he is being attacked by a pack of Hellion wolves. Once he is done with them, he quickly heads to Sorey’s side. First, by making a contract with him, then combining with Sorey into a new form to not only purify the drake but clear the weather too!

Episode 10
Sorey and Mikleo also help purify the water source and the town regains its health. Sorey and his Seraphs speak to Rolan, the man who turned into that drake. He doesn’t remember how it all happened but thinks it could be as small as someone taking a valuable book without permission and then it spread from there. Alisha is grateful for the Seraphs’ help. As the town is undergoing reconstruction, supplies from other towns also come in. One of the merchants supplying them is Rose. She is happy to see Sorey again and reminds him about the debt. Maybe next time? Alisha gets an urgent message from one of her personal cavalry, Sirel. Bartlow has ordered troops to Glaivend, the buffer zone between Hyland and Rolance. He is aiming for an impending war and with Alisha out of the way, he thinks he can do anything he wants. Alisha will take her troops there immediately to stop the war. Sorey wants to come but Lailah strongly opposes seeing he doesn’t even know what it means to purify. They sense a Hellion nearby and track it. Sorey is shocked to see this Hellion in a form of a man. In the eyes of ordinary human, he looks like an ordinary man but Sorey as a Shepherd can see his true form. Time for his purification training. Sorey weakens after doing so. Lailah tells the truth about purification. When one is purified, the Shepherd takes on their malevolence. Only the Shepherd can do this and not the Seraphs. That is why it is a lonely journey. Sorey won’t give up yet and heads to the cemetery where the body of that man Seraph lies. Noticing his soul is not at rest, he purifies his grave. He gets to see his tragic past and conflict. Whatever it was, those loved ones around him will suffer and then fall into despair. This is the root of malevolence. Alisha has her troops quickly prepare to leave at first light. When she realizes something is odd because there are no guards around, she is quickly surrounded by assassins. The leader is not happy of her non-aggression stance in war. She will not allow people to die senselessly for her ideals. Alisha shocks her that she will become the first victim of her beliefs then. She backs down as she senses no lies in her words. Of course Alisha won’t let this go. No, she is not going to hang her. She wants her to come and see how she handles the upcoming battle. Alisha slices off her masks. Why am I not surprised she is Rose? Rose is impressed with her resolve as she and her assassin guild pledge their loyalty to her. Alisha has a wish in case she dies. She will forgive everything. She forbids vengeance and hatred must not be passed on to the children of the people. After what he has experienced, Sorey is also determined to head to the battlefield.

Episode 11
The group leaves Marlind for Glaivend. Only Atakk stays back to help with Marlind’s reconstruction. Alisha reunites with another personal cavalry, Ian. She reports that Bartlow has deployed 20,000 troops, a sign he is determined to win this. Ian is ecstatic to meet Sorey for the first time and seeks permission to touch his hand for good luck. Never going to wash her hand? I thought this happens only for super idols? Sorey reminds Alisha that he can still help her if the war has not truly begun. Otherwise he cannot side with anyone as it is a Shepherd’s duty to stop wars. They Hyland side led by General Landon is confident the circumstances favour them. However Rolance did a sneak attack by attacking from the rear. I don’t know about honour in war but isn’t there none in war? You do all it takes to win, right? With the fighting growing, Sorey can feel the malevolence getting bigger from the deaths, suffering and pain from the soldiers. Hellions are being born everywhere. It’s madness. Time to begin the biggest purification. Alisha and Rose head to the base to order Landon to pull back his troops and send a messenger to Rolance to stop the fighting. However Landon will not obey her. Bartlow has given him lots of higher authority. He orders his men to capture her. Wound her if she resists. Time for the girls to kick ass. There is only a limit to how many of them they can take. Rose cannot take it anymore and tries to aim for the big man. Luckily Alisha stops her in time. As a result, she gets stabbed in the back. Don’t worry, she still lives. She laments if this is what war is about. Fighting even between their countrymen. Meanwhile Sorey has done the impossible by purifying everyone! You bet he is damn tired by now. And then he realizes this is just one section of the battlefield. Oh God. There’s another big section where everyone is still killing each other. Oh, f*ck all this. Just kidding. He didn’t say that. Before Alisha can be disposed, a large gust of wind blows everyone away. She knows this is the work of a Seraph. Dezel at your service? Sorey senses the biggest mother of malevolence ever over the horizon. That thing? That’s the Lord of Calamity.

Episode 12
Rose is so mad that she takes Landon hostage. Do as she says or she’ll kill him. Thanks to that, a messenger is sent out to the battlefield to stop the war. Sorey can tell the Lord of Calamity is some sort of human Hellion. Sorey challenges him and he welcomes it. Of course he is no match for the big boss as he summons and gathers the malevolence to test and see if Sorey can survive them. While the Lord of Calamity is confident that malevolence will prevail as long human exists, Sorey continues to believe a world where humans and Seraphs can live together. I guess the big boss got bored in seeing Sorey struggle against the malevolence so he tells him to live and they’ll meet again another time. Become that hope so he can crush him with despair. That Hellion examines the battlefield and finds many still alive. The thick malevolence is even too much for him to handle and his worry is that if Alisha dies, the fun will be over. Alisha is still gravely reeling from her wound. Rose decides to find Sorey as Dezel guides her. In the aftermath, Alisha and Sorey are glad to see each other. Alisha plans on returning to Ladylake to continue fighting in the political arena to stop wars. Sorey suggests making a squire pact with him so he can help her. With Lailah starting the process, Sorey gives Alisha her ancient name, Melphis Amekia which means Smiling Alisha. It brings Alisha to tears when she can see the Seraphs herself. Next day as they say goodbye and part ways, they are attacked by Landon. He is turning into a Hellion. Upon learning he is the one who hurt Alisha, Sorey becomes mad. Lailah fears malevolence will consume him. But Sorey surprises everyone by handling this perfectly and purifying Landon. It’s over before you know it. Alisha will take Landon back and try him based on their kingdom’s laws. Rose reminds Sorey about the debt. She wants him to accompany her to Rolance because there is this guy who is a tough negotiator and having a Shepherd with her will help smoothen things out. Since Rolance is his next destination, he agrees. Rose isn’t too pleased when Dezel is also tagging along.

Man, The Root Of All Evil
Well, it can’t end like that, right? With everything moving along quite smoothly do you think a dozen episodes would quite cut it? That’s right. I thought they trolled us by rushing things by having Sorey fight the final boss. Last episode, last boss. Turns out it was just an ‘exhibition match’ just to let Sorey and us know where he stands. I mean, you don’t expect to be of this level and then taking on the final level boss, do you? Though, I thought it was a bit of a retro cliché when Sorey tells his party to get going. Because it felt like saying, “Our adventures begin from here onwards”. You know how old retro animes like these would end if there is no conclusive ending in sight.

If there is anything that stands out the most or the most awesome that one would easily take notice, it would be the glorious art and animation. If the high animation quality seems familiar, it is only because they are done by the same studio that produced Fate/Zero and the recent version of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. It is like Ufotable took a break from making the Fate series and decided to take a detour and make another epic fantasy anime instead. To say that the animation and visuals are beautiful is just an understatement. It is truly a masterpiece. Something that has become a threshold and bar for all fantasy anime series to follow. Every special effect you see ranging from the magic effects to the flowing water to the smoke and fire to the particles in the air, all are gorgeously animated and breath-taking to look at. I thought the clouds and sky look to real! Is it? I don’t know. Looking at them was just awesome. Even the CGI effects are impressive and it blends in nicely and flawlessly with the 2D artwork. It really makes you want to go live and explore this world. Truly, words cannot describe the amazing visual experience and I might dedicate a few more paragraphs in praising it but that will be just me repeating myself. Good job, guys.

With so many characters and each with their interesting background and personality, it would be a shame if the anime had just ended with a dozen episodes. It would have been one of the few downsides of the series had it stopped there. Thankfully it won’t because with the second season being given the green light, we can all be rest assured the epicness will continue. It is no doubt that with such good quality and awesomeness, a sequel is in order. Besides, the Tales franchise (Zestiria being the 15th in the series) is a popular JRPG and a long running one (it debuted with Phantasia back in 1995) it only makes sense to have more. So awesome that they had to dedicate 2 episodes to promote the Tales Of Berseria game that was released during this series’ run. Not sure if they are going to do a spinoff for that series because not all the Tales series got adapted and so far only Tales Of Eternia, Tales Of Abyss and Tales Of Symphonia got their animated treatment.

The story and plot might feel like it is moving a bit slow so if you are the kind that love your plots to move at a very fast lightning pace, remember to slow down and stop to smell the roses. As said, the dozen of episodes aren’t enough to cover the rich lore and history of this world (don’t blame the twin episodes that was ‘hijacked’ by the Tales Of Berseria) and for such an epic series, it needs some time to properly flesh out its characters and plots. That’s why we have another season and hopefully it would address and show us more of these.

Sorey is your typical young hero of justice. Every epic adventure always needs this kind of hero. They might sound generally generic but the important point is to see how they flesh out the character. While Sorey still isn’t a strong or high level Shepherd yet, we see him improving as the episodes go by. So subtle that you would even being to wonder when did Sorey power up this much. One step at a time. The more important thing is not to lose faith in his beliefs and you can say Sorey from day one remains strong with his dream of peace. With Sorey seemingly completing his ‘collection’ of elemental Seraphs (I’m assuming Zavied and Dezel will join him in later instalments), their different personalities might see Sorey’s party to be a bit more interesting because it looks like Mikleo and Edna aren’t going to get along very well with the latter usually resorting to teasing and giving him shortened nicknames.

Alisha is a magnificent character as a princess. Not your typical damsel in distress, she is a strong and independent woman who kicks ass just as much any other characters you see. Her character might be typical in the sense that she has her strong sense of ideal of justice and trying her best to bring peace to her people as a royalty but it is still a tough duty and heavy responsibility to shoulder. Especially when you have your hands full of trying to stop your own corrupted and power hungry countrymen, her hands are tied in so many ways. But don’t fret. She also has many ways to get out of that tight bind. Thankfully as many enemies she has, she has more friends and allies to support her cause.

A few other supporting characters look like they don’t play any significant role as of yet like Maltran whom I felt was like accompanying Alisha throughout the entire series. The princess is self sufficient that sometimes having her teacher around feels somewhat like excess baggage. Rose came into the scene particularly late despite her early cameo appearances. It’s like she was missing for the middle parts before becoming the next character Sorey should travel with. It’s not over too for Bartlow seeing he hasn’t got what he wanted especially his hands on Sorey. I’m sure he isn’t easily giving up his ambitions of using Sorey for his own ulterior motives. You can bet malevolence will still hang around with greedy and selfish people around. It’s just sad they don’t die out and keep coming back.

Feeling a bit more side-lined are the Normin creatures. It’s like every JRPG needs to have cute little creatures to fawn over how adorable they are as well as providing some sort of support. It would have been a little more fun had the ‘liveliest’ character join in the quest. I mean, what else can this cute little thing do if it is not supporting others in battle? That’s right. We would sure love to know Atakk’s relationship with Lailah. And it may not be as dirty minded as we all think it is. Say, doesn’t Edna have one hanging upside down on her umbrella? Is that supposed to be her charm?

Personally if you ask me, dragons might be majestic and ferocious creatures and as per this series’ setting they are the antagonists (assuming that they are not misunderstood by humans that they are supposed to be so). Actually that is fine except that I can’t help feel that these dragons are being such dicks. Notice how they always show up that it might feel like as though they are forcing a plot or a fight? It’s like they’re playing God or something and decided, “Hey, let’s give those pesky humans some trouble” and then they swoop down just to attack you and all. WTF dragons? You guys are better than this. I know, it is the age of calamity and everything is man’s fault. There should be a better way to teach mankind a lesson than this.

I want to add something trivial and it is about the next episode preview. I don’t remember if there are any series prior to this and not sure if there are but I noticed that this series has got the ‘longest’ next episode preview. Like I said, I might be wrong but this show dedicates a full minute for this segment. I know a minute doesn’t sound long but when you consider how the longest and average next episode preview by most takes only about 30 seconds. Too much epic things to talk about? It is hardly about the next episode by the way. Like a Japanese dating simulation with still character poses with minimal animation and text scrolling at the bottom, all we see are the characters chatting away and sometimes breaking the fourth wall and making jokes. Like making a fool out of Mikleo. I guess it is the only place where they can let their hair down and loose.

The fight and battle scenes are also good. Because I have not play its game, I cannot say how well the action sequences are translated to the anime but watching the fights with some magic certainly makes it awesome enough to draw viewers even for people who have not played the game. Count in the awesome special effects and you’ll have a visual feast for your eyes. The battles and the visuals, they are like if you blink, you’re wasting tons of effort they put into creating this masterpiece. Yeah. I dare you. Don’t blink while watching the entire series!

Voice acting is quite good too with me only being able to recognize Satomi Arai as Seres, Satomi Satou as Magilou, Daisuke Ono as Dezel and Rie Kugimiya as Laphi. At first I thought Miyuki Sawashiro was behind Velvet’s voice but something feels a bit off. It wasn’t her but Rina Satou. The rest of the other casts are Ryohei Kimura as Sorey (Kodaka in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai), Ai Kayano as Alisha (Inori in Guilty Crown), Noriko Shitaya as Lailah (Sakura in Fate series), Ryota Ohsaka as Mikleo (Marco in Shingeki No Kyojin), Misato Fukuen as Edna (Eve in Black Cat), Kenjiro Tsuda as Zavied (Mikoto in K), Mikako Komatsu as Rose (Tsugumi in Nisekoi), Mami Koyama as Maltran (Balalaika in Black Lagoon), Yutaka Nakano as Bartlow (Ishikawa in Ghost In The Shell), Daisuke Kishio as Rokurou (Suginami in Da Capo series), Tomoaki Maeno as Oscar (Junichi in Amagami SS), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Artorius (Kinemon in One Piece) and Naomi Shindoh as Atakk (Shizuru in Mai-HiME).

The opening theme is rather okay. Kaze No Uta by Flow is your generic lively rock music to get you into the feel of the adventure but ironically it wasn’t the song that absorbed me but the artwork and visuals as I have mentioned. The slow rock ending theme is Calling by Fhana. Not sure why but hearing this song just makes me feel nostalgic. Could it be the after effects of watching how epic this series is? There are special ending themes (or listed as insert songs because there is an instrumental ending theme and credits right after that) for the Tales Of Berseria crossover. Personally my favourite one is White Light by Superfly because it reminds me to the beat of Queen’s We Will Rock You and Joan Jett’s I Love Rock n’ Roll. With her powerful vocals, it is easily one of my favourite songs. The rest of the rock based themes are Ageless Moon by Erika Masaki and Burn by Flow (which could be the opening theme for Tales of Berseria if they ever make this series). Also I want to note that the background music are also epic and majestic with all that choir voices. They enhance the epicness of the scenes especially the grandeur battles. It’s like making you feel you’re watching an epic battle in a high quality cinema.

Overall, this is a very good fantasy genre series done right and too good that this might have set the bar so high that our expectations for this genre have skyrocketed way past the moon. The downside is that future fantasy series will now have to live up to this mega sized expectations and even this series itself has to live and surpass its own expectations. I am now contemplating to go watch the other Tales series adaptation although I still remain sceptical if it would be as good as this since, well, they were produced many years ago (some in the last decade). Fantasy genres are one of my favourites when picking a series and thanks to this one, it has become even more popular in my personal books. So next time I might turn kiasu and watch all fantasy genre series? Does this mean I am willing to give up ecchi and fanservice because this series proves you can be epic without having to resort to those cheap desires of the flesh that somehow are starting to feel weary. Me giving up on ecchi and fanservice? That will be like fantasy itself.