Tales of Zestiria the X
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Tales of Zestiria the X ?
Much as I've enjoyed these two Berseria episodes, I do find myself wondering what connection they have with the main story – and if next week will bring us back to Sorey, Mikleo, and company, or introduce more new characters. I only question this because all the preview tells us is that next week will not feature Velvet's group; she doesn't seem to know more than that. Hopefully it will be the Sorey group, or at least some sort of middle ground that will link the two storylines together. Otherwise, interesting as it has been to see the origins of the Seraphim/Shepherd pact in Velvet's “contract” with Seres, these two episodes are just going to seem like an ad for Tales of Berseria stuck into the middle of Zestiria's show, and I find that possibility frustrating.
On the other hand, had we not spent two weeks with Velvet, we never would have gotten to see the awesome dragon who tries his best to kill everyone this week. While the fighting itself really is a sight to see – Rokuro holding a sword and pushing against a massive dragon talon is truly remarkable – the beast itself is even more impressive. While you can tell that it's CG rather than traditional animation, it still somehow manages to blend into the surroundings, just taking on a slightly otherworldly edge that gives the monster some of its power. Likewise, the slow collapse of the ship the dragon crushes is almost majestic, even if I hate to see such a beautiful vessel destroyed. And as long as I'm mentioning the visual treats this week, let's not forget the scenes of the remaining ship sailing off at the end – the ocean is beautiful and, unlike last week, the ship appears to be sailing properly. In fact, the only major glitch is the seagull (albatross? okay, "seabird.") Velvet watches at the end – there's something uncharacteristically jerky and awkward about its flight.
In terms of story, it's clear that Velvet's journey has just begun – although she successfully makes her way out of the prison and sets sail, the young man who showed up was not Artorius, but instead one of his Exorcists, Oscar. In one of the best scenes of the episode, Oscar is busy explaining to Velvet how he will treat her kindly as befits her femininity when she lobs a rock at one of his soldiers and knocks him off the pier. You can practically hear her saying “screw you and your chivalry,” and it really sets the tone for the episode, while also reminding us that Velvet is not to be trifled with. To his credit, Oscar immediately switches tactics, and the swordfight between them is impressive, especially when Velvet whips out the toe blades. We also receive confirmation that the child killed by Artorius was in fact her brother, and there's an implication of an older brother (or at least close male friend) being involved – possibly Artorius himself. Even more intriguing, the ending music video, which I'm assuming is the game's opening, shows a boy who looks like a Seraphim/Malak version of the little brother; if the purpose was to pique our interest in Tales of Berseria, it's certainly working.
This episode does have me feeling wary, however. What was the purpose of seeing Velvet's long-ago escape? How will it relate to the Shepherds and Alisha's fears for her kingdom? Why were there so many weird angles whenever Velvet was on camera? (So many up-the-body shots...) Why was that damn witch girl so annoying? If any of these questions are answered by the final episode of this cour, this will have been worth it, and I'm hoping that we'll see some of it next week when the point of view shifts again. Even if there are no answers forthcoming though, at least we had those beautiful dragon scenes. I suppose that could make this week worth it all on its own.
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