Tales of Zestiria the X
Episode 22

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 22 of
Tales of Zestiria the X (TV 2) ?

By all rights, this episode should be remembered as “the start of the battle,” “lots of armatization,” or possibly “oh shit, dragons,” but to me, it will always be “Mikleo discovers mousse.” In the lighter moments before things get going, the camp cook surprises everyone with dessert at dinnertime in the form of pumpkin mousse. Apparently, it's a treat that never made it to Mikleo and Sorey's hometown, and in a teasing moment, Sorey offers Mikleo a bite. It blows the poor Seraph's mind, and the image of him longingly begging for another spoonful is adorably hysterical. It also shows a teasing aspect to the guys' relationship that we don't often see, while forming a nice counterpoint to Edna's grousing that humans are so annoying for having to eat three times a day. (She amends it to acknowledge poor Mikleo's mousse problems.) As far as “calm before the storm” goes, this one is a winner.

That calm can't last, of course. The whole purpose of this trek into the north is to confront the Lord of Calamity, and since he's lurking just a mountain ahead, no amount of dessert can stave off the horror for long. The only question is what will happen when Calamity shows himself – will Rose and Alisha be able to successfully armatize? Will Symonne or the fox-faced guy switch sides? And most importantly, is Sorey strong enough to actually do anything without getting himself and his Seraphim friends killed? That last question is still up in the air, but the others do get answered, with the most impressive being the successful armatization of Alisha and Rose.

Rose clearly has a more emotional stake in being able to bond with Dezel, possibly because her work as an assassin was more rooted in people's emotions (and her own) than Alisha's soldier training. Alisha sees her tie with Edna as more of another weapon in her arsenal, another tool she can use to help Sorey and defeat the Lord of Calamity. For Rose, it's about personal success – she perhaps feels she owes Dezel (who appears to be harboring some mixed emotions of his own about her), or maybe she's just been fighting for so long that she wants to finally have the power to end it. Whatever the case, her relationship with Dezel seems to inform her armatization as much as anything, and that appears to be the case for him as well – he's become much more invested in her well-being since she's been able to see him. While this doubtless helps them to achieve armatization in the short run, it's also making me worry about the title of next week's episode, “Become the Wind,” which could definitely have some death flag implications.

Equally interesting this week is Symonne. Previously she seemed to be having some sort of crisis of belief in Milord Calamity, and it really looked as if she might switch sides for a while. As it turns out, the one who turns his back on Calamity is the fox-faced man; Symonne literally gives herself to her lord and allows herself to be dragonized instead. It's clearly a blow to Dezel when he realizes it, but it also makes her a dragon with a more personal stake in the battle, which could have some dangerous consequences. Yes, the air is swarming with Malevolence and dragonized Seraphim, which has to be particularly terrifying for Edna and Mikleo, the Seraphim least likely to have expected it (Mikleo) and have personal issues with dragons (Edna), but Symonne is a dragon who knows them. That could make her a particular threat in an already perilous situation.

I do have to wonder if Lailah was expecting this, or at least if she had more of an idea than she let on. Earlier in the episode, she basically shuts down a discussion of what they might expect when they go to face the Lord of Calamity by suggesting all the kiddies go to bed, which I have mixed feelings about. Yes, she could simply be trying to make everyone stop worrying and get some rest, which is undeniably beneficial, but if she knows what's facing them, mightn't it be a better idea to warn them? None of the group is likely to back down just because there's a swarm of dragons waiting ahead. So why not prepare them?

The clock is winding down on this series, and the final battle has begun. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't concerned about not everyone still standing when it's all over. But maybe when things conclude, someone can give Mikleo some more mousse, and that will make everything better. Let's make it chocolate this time.

Rating: A-

Tales of Zestiria the X is currently streaming on Daisuki and Funimation.


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