Tales of Zestiria the X
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 23 of
Tales of Zestiria the X (TV 2) ?
I knew it was too good to be true. We'd come all this way, twenty-four episodes in a battle fantasy story without losing a main character. There's no way we could continue to be so lucky. The fact that the title of the episode was “Become the Wind” led me to suspect a victim, because if that's not a death flag title for a wind Seraph, I don't know what is. Since we haven't had time to get attached to Zaveid, story logic dictates that Dezel would be the one to die.
Sometimes I hate being right.
What's most upsetting about Dezel's death isn't so much that it happens, but that he appears to embrace it deliberately. He knows he and Rose are weakened from their Armatization, so to ensure that he won't make it, he even borrows Zaveid's dragon-killing gun, which would use up enough of his power to kill both the dragons and himself. Why is he so determined to die? Couldn't he have asked Zaveid to use the gun in his stead? After all, Zaveid has no issue with doing things his own way, no matter what Sorey says. Does Dezel feel that badly about how he used Rose? That also seems possible, but at the same time, he clearly cares for her, so why would he deliberately hurt her by dying? Could it be because Symonne has become a dragon, since they seem to share a past? That feels likely, but it's also too out-of-the-blue to make sense in the context of the show. (The game may provide more context, but I haven't played it.) As it stands, Dezel's death feels hollow, as if it was orchestrated to deliberately up the emotional stakes before the final battle. His death is a depressing loss, but the way it was orchestrated feels manipulative.
Along the same lines, I wish we'd gotten more out of Sorey's dream meeting with Velvet. While I'm absolutely thrilled that there haven't been any devoted Berseria episodes this season, I also want more payoff for having to sit through them last time, to say nothing of why this show has “the X” in its title. This would have been the perfect moment to link the two stories while allowing Sorey to clear up some of the questions Lailah's book posed. It's great that Velvet told him to follow what he thinks is best, but he was going to do that anyway. A little more meat to the conversation would have been nice.
Complaints aside, this is still a good episode, though not a great one. While you've got to feel bad for the Sorey Gang having to trek back down the mountain after slogging all the way up there, the abandoned town they end up in is particularly beautiful, all wrought iron and ice. Seeing a normin with a strangely seductive voice waiting there feels like a nice bonus, though I can't help but feel that her name, Grimoire, might have something to do with the book on her back—and that it might be a helpful book if someone bothered to ask about it. The abandoned village is certainly a reminder of what the Lord of Chaos has done to the world, and the blood moon that rises above it, staining even the snow with a ruddy hue, works well with that symbolism, drawing a parallel to where Sorey and Mikleo started out, exploring the ruins near their home.
While this is technically another “getting there” episode, probably the last one, the Dezel storyline makes it feel like much more than that. It's frustrating that it seems to gloss over a few important details, but on the whole, it sets the scene for the confrontation with the final boss well. Short one Seraph and badly shaken, the group must press on. Will the sacrifice have been worth it? Or is there only more death waiting up ahead?
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