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"The legends are no mere fairy tales!"
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The 15th Tales Mothership Title, released for the Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and PC. It marks the franchise's 20th Anniversary. The word "zest" in the title means "passion" or "zeal."

Legends tell of a race of divine beings known as Seraphim, whose unseen influence is felt throughout the world. Those humans with the ability to commune with the Seraphim became known as "Shepherds", the most pure-hearted of which could even be granted a Seraph's power. While some would praise these empowered Shepherds as living paragons, others would fear their strength and call them demons.

Sorey is a young human who has spent his entire life in the village of Elysia, a holy place where he lives in harmony with many Seraphim. Enraptured by the legends within an ancient tome, he makes daily excursions into a nearby ruin with his childhood friend Mikleo, a seraph himself, in the hope of learning more about the Seraphim and their history.

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One day, the two boys encounter a human knight named Alisha, who is investigating a series of natural disasters which have been plaguing the world. Upon hearing her tales of the outside world, and her belief in the legend of a Shepherd who will save it, Sorey becomes interested in leaving Elysia to see for himself. However shortly after Alisha begins her journey home, an Ax-Crazy Hellion attacks Elysia and reveals his intentions to devour Alisha before heading after her. Sorey and Mikleo decide to leave Elysia so they can warn Alisha, while also experiencing the world for themselves and pursuing their dream of a future where Seraphim and humans can walk hand-in-hand once again.

The game was released in Japan for the PS3 in January 2015, and later in the NA and PAL regions for the PS3, PS4, and PC in October 2015. An anime special covering the beginning of the story was made to promote the game, with a full (but very loose) anime adaptation (Tales of Zestiria the X [cross]) later greenlit. It is followed by Tales of Berseria, a Prequel which takes place in the distant past of Zestiria's world.

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Tropes associated with both the game and anime:

  • Aborted Arc: In Alisha's Story, the plot with the anti-peace Hyland nationalists is completely dropped once Symmone enters the plot.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Beast was just another arte in other games. Lion's Howl, as it's known here, however, is a legendary arte learned only by knights, is the Sword of Plot Advancement, is the basis of the Limit Break used by the Big Bad, and finishes said Big Bad off.
    • Alisha was a Decoy Protagonist in the game. In the anime, she gets a bigger role, and, despite the game saying it's beyond her abilities, can Armatize.
  • Aerith and Bob: Sorey, Mikleo, Dezel, Zaveid, Maltran, Lailah. These guys have bizarre names, whereas Alisha, Rose, and Edna are pretty normal names.
  • All Myths Are True: The only notable exception being local legends that lead people to sacrifice themselves to the seraphim at the wind temple.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Thanks to her mother being a commoner and her status of being the youngest child of the royal family, Alisha has been a victim of classism all of her life. Just about everyone she knew, except for her mentor Maltran, severely mistreated her throughout her childhood.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Sort of. The English version of the game has White Light's vocals removed and replaced with an electric guitar.
  • Animal Motif: Lunarre is based on the mystical kitsune/foxes of Japanese folklore, having facial markings reminiscent of one, and a tail-like hairstyle. He also wields blue flames to further go with the theme.
    • Heldalf is heavily based around lions.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Both justified and subverted through the game's partner mechanic. Seraph characters need to be linked to a human vessel in order to participate (otherwise, they're literally all in Sorey's head). Each of the human characters can switch between Seraphim to best suit the current situation. Essentially, every party member can be used in the same battle, though how many actually fight at once depends on how many human characters are in the current party.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Sorey (and Alisha) both grew up reading the Celestial Record, a book that tells the story of the Shepherd. Early on, Sorey and Alisha bond over a passage he spontaneously quotes that she identifies.
  • As You Know: Happens frequently between Seraphs in a way obviously intended to inform the player. For instance, there is one skit where Edna and Lailah discuss whether to tell Sorey about how the Lords of The Land work, and in the process tell each other exactly that despite there being no logical reason for the two them to tell each other what they already know the other knows. Basically, they say "It sure would be great if Sorey and Rose knew [this] and [this] and [this]."
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Alisha Diphda. Not to mention everyone's true names.
  • Background Music Override: Following the battle with the dragon Tiamat, "Rising Up (Reprise)" is continuous in Glaivend Basin once you're able to return there. If you do the sidequest for fighting the Medusa hellions, then it switches to just being the location theme, with the normal battle and victory music playing during battles, but it returns to continuous status if you complete that sidequest.
    • The background music for the four trial shrines continues playing during battles instead of the usual battle music.
    • Several costumes will do this, too, including all of the DLC ones.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Sorey and Mikleo, in the opening.
    • Alisha and Rose get one in the anime's opening and in Episode 11.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sorey manages to Mercy Kill Heldalf and is protected from becoming the next Lord of Calamity by the four Seraphim. However, in order to heal Maotelus and restore balance to the world, Sorey becomes the vessel for Maotelus and falls into a deep slumber. The healing process takes centuries, meaning that he never sees his human friends again and wakes up in a vastly-changed world, but he is eventually reunited with Mikleo. He's also implied to have become a Seraph by the time he wakes up.
  • Blade on a Stick: Alisha's chosen weapon
  • Blinding Bangs: Dezel's bangs cover his eyes.
    • Subverted in that he's actually blind anyway.
  • Blush Sticker: One of the attachments is basically this.
  • Bookends: One of the first scenes of the game has Mikleo falling down a trap hole in the ruins and Sorey saving him. The second epilogue, and final scene of the game, has an older Mikleo falling down a trap hole while exploring ruins and a newly-awakened Sorey saving him. To reach the Final Dungeon you have to go through the game's first dungeon.
    • The first enemy in the Alisha DLC is defeated by Rose cutting him down while dashing past him. The final boss of the DLC is defeated by Rose and Alisha doing the same thing.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Earth Armatus's Grand Shaker spell is this. The spell has a very low cast time, can hit the entire field, and causes a knockdown effect which give you enough time to cast the spell again, rinse and repeat.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In Rolance, Rose was asked as to whether the Sparrowfeathers should get mabo buns or curry buns. She suggests mabo curry buns.
    • One post-battle skit between Sorey, Mikleo, and Rose:
    Sorey: Piece of cake!
    Mikleo: Hey, it wasn't that easy!
    Sorey: That was a cinch!
    Rose: It was easier than that!
    Sorey: (frustrated) Then what was it?
    Mikleo and Rose: (Beat) A piece of cinch?
  • Broken Bridge: In addition to the mundane sort, there's a more creative twist on it. Later in the game, if you try to head into an area you don't belong in yet, you might find it blanketed in miasma so dense that Sorey can barely keep himself walking straight, accompanied by some extremely ominous music. Aside from slowing your movement speed to a crawl outside of battle, it cripples you in battle to the point of practically ensuring your demise. If that's not enough to deter you, and you somehow to manage to sneak past/defeat any normal enemies you encounter, you'll eventually find your path completely blocked by extremely overpowered monsters you'll never realistically be able to defeat. Alternatively, you might even end up running into Heldalf instead, with obvious results if you're foolish enough to try to get past him in your weakened state.
    • And what happens if, against all odds, you actually manage to win? You unlock a Bad Ending.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": The Hyland Goats don't exactly look like goats.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Several DLC skits fall into this. One of the DLC skits has both Zaveid and Dezel together. The reasons why this is impossible to see is because: one, they are never together in the party at any point in the game; two, Dezel pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice right before Zaveid resolves to join the party; and lastly, Zaveid's skit portraits has him sporting Dezel's Nice Hat as a way of respect to his death.
    • The anime is a strange case of this, as it changes many details from the game, to the point of almost being In Name Only. This doesn't necessarily make it a Pragmatic Adaptation, either, since the ending is greatly changed.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: No matter what, due to the game's partner system, you will have two spots reserved for Sorey and Alisha/Rose no matter what party combination you have.
  • The Cavalry: As Sorey and his party are pushed into a corner by Tiamat, a group of soldiers, along with Alisha, Lucas, and Sergei, aid in their battle.
  • Chest Monster: Depending on the level of the highest level character in your party, if you open a treasure chest that's had its contents restored after enough time has passed, there's a chance it might end up being a Mimic instead (starts out as Mimic Spiders, becomes Mimic Treants at level 26, Mimic Zombies at 46 and finally Mimic Giants at 76). This is by no means a bad thing, as they're not very threatening due to how slow their attacks are, and you're guaranteed an item drop (Often of high quality) and a hefty sum of gald and experience once it's defeated.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A literal case. The gun Zaveid carries with him when the party first encounters him essentially converts Seraphim into pure energy. When fired at a hellion or anyone, it allows the fired Seraph to sever the direct connection between the person and the malevolence at the cost of the Seraph's life. When Zaveid gives it to Sorey later in the story, almost immediately it's used for Dezel's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • This is exemplified later when you have to use it against Heldalf.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When you first get to the Hunting Grounds, you can find two Seraphim sitting near the Earth Temple minding their own business. After Heldalf visits the area at a certain point in the game and leaves, the pair are nowhere to be found. It doesn't look like a significant detail until you return to Glaivend Basin and find one of the two Seraph and they mention a being that matches Heldalf's description taking his friend. Turns out Heldalf was at the Hunting Grounds for a reason and uses has the kidnapped Seraph corrupted into the dragon Tiamat.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The source of much of Sorey's internal conflict. He's naturally inclined to this, and it's how he views the role of the Shepherd, but Lailah and Mikleo are very quick to caution him against acting on it, as it could lead to people taking advantage of his generosity or create expectations among the people that he can't live up to thus turning them against him, and either one would likely make him susceptible to Malevolence.
  • Combat Medic: All of seraphs are effective at fighting and have access to some manner of healing, though Mikleo and Edna are the better of the four, due to having a strong single target and area heal respectively. They also grant a powerful heal to Sorey and Rose while they're being used for Armatization.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The fire trial ruins are filled with lava. The party has no problems running around in it.
  • Corrupt Church: The Church of Rolance, whose Cardinal has become a powerful hellion.
  • The Corruption: The malevolence that permeates the world is capable of transforming individuals harboring dark emotions into Hellions. The power of a Shepherd can cleanse them and return them to normal provided their hearts aren't too corrupted.
  • Critical Research Failure: An out-of-universe example. The soundtrack has a remix of one of Tales of Vesperia's songs, listed as "The Wise One ~ Tales of Zestiria Version". The problem? The song they remixed was actually "A Formidable Foe Stands in the Way". invoked
  • Cry into Chest: Alisha cries into Sorey's chest after Maltran reveals her true self to Alisha and dies. And later in Alisha's DLC episode, Alisha cries in to Rose's chest.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: During a cutscene, late in the game, Edna comes to visit Zaveid to ask him why he was killing hellions. "Well, well, Edna coming to see me. Should I be scanning the skies for pigs?"
  • Dark Action Girl: Maltran.
  • Dark Is Evil: Symone is a dark-element Seraph and acts as The Dragon for much of the game.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Go too far into areas you shouldn't, you might actually encounter Heldalf long before you are equipped for fighting them. If you manage to win the battle that should be a Hopeless Boss Fight, you will receive a special alternate ending (See Downer Ending). There's also the fact that Dezel has a few lines in one of Zaveid's boss battles if you repeatedly switch him in and out.
    • If you are fighting human opponents and the only characters alive are Seraphim, the human enemy won't attack any of them since they can't see them.
    • Normally, Edna has to be talked into given Eizen a Mercy Kill. If you go into battle with Eizen before the plot calls for it, Edna will be angry that Sorey didn't tell her what the plan was, and refuse to fight her brother.
  • Double Entendre: The section under "records" for water armatization.
    The armatized bow gives you good piercing capabilities - just the thing for a tight hallway. Weaknesses? Well, it can be hard to to cope with attacks from behind. But the first step towards dealing with this drawback is acknowledging it.
  • Downer Ending: If you manage to defeat Heldalf before Zaveid is recruited, then the party never finds out about the infected Maotelus until he becomes too powerful to be stopped.
  • Downloadable Content: For the first time, cameo Mystic Artes can be unlocked either through DLC or as a pre-order bonus:
  • Dragons Are Demonic: The dragons in Tales of Zestiria are particularly powerful Hellions, and thus are evil by definition. Only a few are encountered during the game, and they are all extremely dangerous foes. Maotelus is both this and an inversion of it, as he is a dragon in both Hellion and Seraph forms.
  • Dub Name Change: Many terms have been changed for the localized version:
    • Hyouma is Hellion
    • Izuchi is Elysia
    • Divines are Seraphim (Seraph as a singular nouns)
    • Seraph Records is now called Celestial Records
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Going into an area you're not supposed to covers the area in miasma. It's possible to fight Heldalf in this situation, and he's at Final Boss strength while you're crippled. If you somehow manage to win (probably through massive amounts of level grinding), you unlock the game's worst ending. Alternatively, you can fight him shortly after the miasma is lifted in New Game+, but he's still quite strong — close to end game strong.
  • Eating Optional: Applies to all of the Seraphim. They don't need to eat, but the inhabitants of Elysia, including Mikleo, do to help make Sorey feel normal.
  • Eldritch Location: The Very Definite Final Dungeon, Artorius Throne. The sky is bright red with lightning shooting across it frequently, the moon is pure black and the malevolence is so thick that Zaveid outright states if not for Sorey, all four Seraph's would be Dragons. Not only that but the majority of the shrine is floating in the sky. The Hellions here are, excluding Hexen Isle and the Alisha DLC, the strongest in the game, and the area is filled with powerful bosses.
  • Elemental Hair: The tips of Seraphs' hair. Mikleo's is blue, Lailah's red, Edna's yellow, Dezel and Zaveid's are green, Symmone's is purple, and Zenrus's yellow. For most nonplayable seraphim, all of their hair is the color representing their element, not just the tips.
  • Elemental Powers: Each seraph is aligned with a particular element. Dezel and Zaveid are wind based, Edna is Earth-based, Mikleo is water-based, Lailah is fire-based, Zenrus (Gramps) is lightning-based. Symonne's element is never actually specified, but she's got a lot of shadow-related stuff.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: The weakness circle goes fire over wind, wind over earth, earth over water, and water over fire.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Sorey finishes off Heldalf with his own rendition of Heldalf's True Lion's Howl.
  • Fake Difficulty: There have been complaints about this, because of Empty Levels (leveling up is essentially useless, as all buffs come from armour and weapons), nerfed healing (if you have a status effect, you cannot increase your HP by any means), and worse than usual AI stupidity from allies. The wonky camera in the PS3 version and lag don't help.
    • When an enemy attempts to cast a powerful Seraphic Arte, you're supposed to interrupt the casting time with a Martial Arte. Unfortunately, most bosses will have a skill called Iron Stance which prevents casting interruption for a certain number of hits, and an accelerated casting speed which makes interruption near-impossible to accomplish. To make matters worse, your AI party members are not smart enough to not use Hidden Artes on a casting enemy, which accelerates the casting speed even further.
    • The AI in general often can't handle the the Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors mechanic (see the entry below).
    • Armitizing reduces your attacks to either Arcane or Hidden Artes, meaning if an enemy is a spell caster, Armitizing will actually make it worse.
    • In addition to most of the buffs coming from equipment, equipment has a set of bonuses. The problem is you can't set any of these bonuses (except when you find a Normin for the first time) and they come randomly with each time you get a piece of equipment. As the item fusion system Graces is back, this makes it hard to take advantage of bonus stacking. Also annoying is that bonuses are often locked after you fuse items.
  • Fallen Hero: Though some Shepherds succeeded in their goals, others fell and became what they once fought against. The Water Shrine's trial of strength involves learning what drove a Shepherd to become the hellion Asura and then quelling him, and the previous Shepherd, Mikleo's uncle Michael, gives in to vengeance and kills his own nephew in a sacrificial curse that inflicts eternal loneliness upon Heldalf and binds the cursed Maotelus to him, which eventually transforms Heldalf into the Lord of Calamity.
  • Female Gaze: This title certainly gives it more consideration than previous games. Instead of a Ms. Fanservice, we have Zaveid, who is constantly shirtless and clad in tight leather trousers. He only wears a shirt if you put one on him, and one of those is a tight black shirt that highlights his abs. There's also a skit scene in the sauna that has Sorey, Mikleo and Zaveid wearing nothing but a thin towel over their crotches. Finally, Sorey's idea of babe-hunting is checking out a sweaty Mikleo, rather than any of the girls.
    • The obligatory hot springs event also has the guys showing more skin compared to the girls. On the girl's side, Edna is almost completely underwater, Rose is wearing her towel like a shirt, and Lailah is shown at an angle where her body is completely covered, save for her arm and face. On the guys' side, Sorey and Mikleo's towels looks as if they could fall off at any second, and Zaveid shows...as much skin as you'd expect.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The armies of Hyland and Rolance become unofficial comrades after the boss fight against Tiamat (unofficial because both kingdoms are still technically at war).
  • Fisher King: In keeping with the Arthurian theme, Domains basically function like this. The most powerful being in a given area reflects the general state of said area. For instance, Gramps/Zenrus' benevolence allows Elysia to remain a peaceful, idyllic mountain village despite the state of the rest of the world. Likewise, the Lord of Calamity's/ Heldalf's domain is covered in a smothering darkness that is also strong enough to cut off Sorey's connection to his Seraphim companions. Naturally, this effect is more prominent to those who possess powerful Resonance, but normal humans can feel it as well, especially if the Domain is particularly strong.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Sorey is a human who lived with Seraphim all his life. Where he was born is unknown until much later in the story but he has never been out of Elysia until after his encounter with Lunarre who seems to be after Alisha.
    • This will also occur at the end, because Sorey goes into temporal hibernation while he nurtures people's latent resonance and purifies Maotelus.
  • Five-Man Band: Zig-Zagged. The roles of each playable character except Sorey is debateable. Sorey is The Hero. For The Lancer and The Chick, Mikleo has every trait of the lancer right down to being able to fuse with the hero, yet has a deep bromance with Sorey, and Alisha literally has a lance and Rose is kind of a foil to Sorey, yet both serve as the human girl of the party. For The Smart Guy and the Kid-Appeal Character, Lailah gives wisdom, yet acts childish at times, and Edna is a wise-cracker, yet looks childlike. And for The Big Guy and The Sixth Ranger, Dezel acts serious, yet is not the last party member, and Zavid acts macho, yet is the last party member.
  • Flaming Sword: Sorey gets one when fused with Lailah.
  • Flechette Storm: Sorey's and Rose's wind armatized mystic arte, Sylphestia.
  • Flower in Her Hair: Alisha and Maltran.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A lot of NPC chatter/gossip you "listen" to as you traverse towns actually end up true to some extent or another.
    • When you first meet Maltran after Sorey has become the Shepherd, the camera briefly turns to the "empty" spot where Lailah is. Maltran also walks away in such a fashion to avoid Lailah (who apparently notices). Turns out she's a hellion and thus able to see Lailah and the other Seraphim the entire time.
    • In Pendrago late-game, an NPC says "In the time of my grandfather's grandfather's grandfather, they had to take to the sea in boats to do their trading." Cue the prequel Tales of Berseria, where the environment appears to take on an Ocean Punk theme and the party travels by boat.
    • Artorius's Throne is the location of the final battle with the Big Bad, who wants to end all pain by overrunning the world with Malevolence. Berseria reveals that Artorius himself had similar goals to create a world free of suffering, though his extreme methods went in the opposite direction by trying to take away everyone's free will to end Malevolence.
  • Funny Background Event: At least two.
    • One is just after Lailah drops a pun. Sorey engages in a serious conversation about current events. Meanwhile, Dezel is chuckling away in the background, and we hear snatches of Rose and Edna trying to make him admit why he's laughing.
    • In the other, Sorey and Mikleo are guilty. After discovering that humans can become seraphim, they start discussing 'Turtlez seraphim' in the background, while Lailah talks seriously to the shrine guardian.
  • Fusion Dance: Sorey and Rose both have the ability to fuse with their partnered Seraphim, combining their stats and also changing their fighting style and weapon.
    • Lailah provides a flaming BFS.
    • Mikleo grants a water-elemental bow that allows for long-range assaults.
    • Edna gives them a massive pair of gauntlets that can shake the earth.
    • Dezel/Zavid equips them with a multitude of sword-shaped Razor Wings.
  • Genki Girl: Rose is described to be the mood maker in the party.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: For a Seraph to become a Lord of the Land, blessing a region and making its inhabitants less susceptible to Malevolence, they need a vessel to inhabit (usually an object, like a tree or a basin of holy water), and someone to worship them.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: Unlike most Tales games both countries presented fall here. Hyland initially seems like the traditional peace loving kingdom and this is reinforced when Rolance attacks, but the Senators are shown to be corrupt and that's not even getting into Maltran. Rolance initially introduced starting the war making them seem like the Evil Empire but many good people in it like Sergei seek peace and don't want to fight. When war does resume later, both kingdoms are shown wanting realistic results making it clear neither one is good or bad.
  • Guide Dangit:
    • Skits, Support skills, item skills, titles, Normins. There's hardly a single aspect of this game that isn't, at best, vaguely described, and obtaining them is a matter of trial and error at the best of times. And getting them all without a guide? Not gonna happen.
    • The damage readout that persists on the enemy is, in fact, the total damage inflicted on that enemy within the current combo. (Another number that reads the individual hit's damage exists, but it fades in like half a second.) It also resets under a number of situations (like when a Mystic Arte is initiated or when the enemy is stunned). This can be slightly off-putting to people trying to extract information from it.
    • Ziggzagged with how to finish off the Final Boss. While most people wouldn't object to using their Mystic Arte in battle, they may want to save it for later.
  • Haircolor Dissonance: Lailah's character designer, Mutsumi Inomata, portrays her with white hair in her concept art. All other official artwork of her uses light green hair instead (the red tips are constant with all of her artwork, however)
  • Hair Decorations: All of the girls introduced so far wear hair decs.
  • Hair of Gold: Edna is blonde but appears to lack the traits. Alisha is a darker blonde and probably has these traits.
  • Harder Than Hard: The game actually offers six different difficulty modes. Normal is default, but there is also Simple for those that want things really easy. Moderate is the next step up and Hard is actually the fourth hardest. The hardest are Intense and Chaos. Both of these can actually be accessed in a regular playthrough, but you have to fight a number of Battles on Hard to unlock Intense and a number on Intense to unlock Chaos. In a New Game Plus, Intense and Chaos are available by default, but aren't nearly as challenging necessarily because you can unlock a number of boosts, including as much as 6X EXP per battle.
  • Hate Plague: Malevolence sort-of works like this. It can be generated by an impure person, but can also spread to normal people, amplifying their negative emotions and thus increasing the chance they will start generating it too. Heldalf uses this property to forcefully create a dragon by kidnapping a seraph and exposing them to the incredible amount of malevolence generated by the war between Hyland and Rolance.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits:
    • Monoliths scattered around the world with text in the ancient language turn out to be... battle hints.
    • There is a series of skits where Lailah and Edna give advice about various mechanics such as item fusion, weapon skills, and Normins.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Sorey carries one. So far his fighting style seems reminiscent of Asbel's, which makes sense as the battle system is said to draw heavily from Tales of Graces.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Many Seraphim feel this way, though Edna in particular makes no attempt to sugarcoat it.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Eguille is this to Rose. She is the boss of the Sparrowfeathers/ Scattered Bones, and makes final decisions on things. He seems to handle all of the organisation and general running of the operation.
  • I Know Your True Name: Every seraph has a true name that is invoked upon making a pact with a Shepherd, and when armatizing with them. Squires are also given a true name by their Shepherd as a sign of their position. Knowing a seraphim's true name gives a person power over them, so they aren't given out lightly. The fact that Sorey already knows Mikleo's true name long before forming a pact shows just just how much two of them trust each other.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Edna fights with a parasol, Dezel and Zaveid fight with pendulums, and Lailah fights with pieces of paper that she scatters around and then sets on fire.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Several children are shown to be killed throughout the game and Mikleo was killed as a baby for a sacrifice.
    • Margaret from the Lastonbell Lord of the Land sidequest is an especially tragic example, as the bullying she endured reached a breaking point, transforming both her and her dog into Hellions who went on a murderous rampage throughout the town. Naturally, the party is forced to kill them, and didn't realize it was them until it was too late.
  • Interface Spoiler: There are only six spots for party members in the menu, but the opening video shows more than that. Immediately you know something is going to happen to one or more characters.
  • Invisible to Normals: Under normal circumstances, the Seraphim cannot be seen by regular humans. However, humans can certainly see the effect that particularly strong Seraphim have on their surroundings: for example, they might perceive a powerful Wind-element Seraphim as a raging tornado. Any human with sufficient magical power and purity of heart can see and interact with the Seraphim as they truly are. If lacking this, a human can also gain this ability by pledging themselves to either a Shepard or a Seraph. A number of Hellions are also invisible to the human eye, with lesser ones like Hellhounds or powerful ones like Dragons being some of the exceptions.
  • Jiggle Physics: Most noticeable on some of the female monster types, but it's also subtly present on Lailah and Rose.
    • It's very noticeable on Rose and Alisha when they're wearing Milla's Xillia 2 DLC costume.
  • Just the First Citizen: Alisha is a princess, but insists she's just a knight like any other.
  • Knife Nut: Rose
  • Lethal Chef: Alisha attempts in a skit to use her spear to juice an orange so she can make an ice pop.
    • Rose's success quotes when cooking are all along the lines of "I think it's edible?" or "this probably doesn't suck!"
  • Light Is Good: Deconstructed. Shepherds are supposed to be pure-hearted humans who use the power of purification to save people and Seraphim from malevolence. However, Shepherds themselves can also fall into malevolence if their emotions become too much for them, which happened to the previous Shepherd.
    • A Seraph's blessing is typically a good thing, as it helps the people and the land, but a Seraph can unknowingly use their blessing to make a wish that has terrible consequences. Dezel remembers this the hard way when Symonne reveals what really happened to his friends.
  • Lip Lock: Due to the fact that the Final Boss involves a Beast-centric Punch Parry, Beast (a series staple arte) was renamed Lion's Howl because it more closely resembles its Japanese name, Shishisenkou, in syllable count.
    • Curiously, in the skits in both Japanese AND English, there are many times when the audio of the dialogue finishes, but the mouth keeps moving for a full second or so.
  • Magic Staff: Mikleo's weapon.
  • Meaningful Name: "Zest" means "passion" or "zeal."
    • "Alisha" means "Nobility" which fits her status as a princess and a knight.
    • "Edna" means "Rejuvenation" in Hebrew.
    • "Lailah means "Born at Night" or "Night" or "Sweetheart" in Arabic.
    • The Dub Name Change of Divines to Seraphim, as Seraph have been depicted as fiery serpents and related to dragons in some legends. They also come in many shapes from animals, the Normins, and even former humans.
    • All Seraphim have a unique name thats called a "true' name. Shepards also give their Squires true names as well. These names all reflect something about the character. For example Mikleo's is Luzrov Rulay, which means Mikleo the Enforcer. Fitting since Mikleo is The Lancer to Sorey's The Hero and in general tends to be the Only Sane Man. Hilariously, Rose's is Wilkis Wilk which means "Rose is Rose" because Sorey was in a hurry and didn't have time to come up with anything better. Alisha's DLC shows that true names need not stay the same - Alisha is given a different true name, Isylvia Amekia, when she becomes Squire under Rose.
  • Mercy Kill: Zestiria argues that some people are beyond redemption, so it's better to just kill them either as a kindness or so they won't hurt anyone else.
  • Meta Twist: Every Tales game has a "traitor" character, so of course everyone was wondering who it was going to be. Technically it's Dezel, but he is completely upfront about his revenge plan, stating that he will betray the party when the opportunity to kill his sworn enemy presents itself. The only real "twist" is that he goes ahead with it instead of having second thoughts.
    • The entire way the world works tends to also change dramatically by the end in Tales games. The audience doesn't get to see the change here though; Sorey only sets that change in motion at the end by acting as Maotelus's vessel and sleeping for centuries to increase the resonance of everyone living in Glenwood so humans and Seraphim can co-exist.
  • Metroidvania: Sorey can gain access to a number of actions that use the power of the seraph party members (pyromancy, teleportation, etc.) that he can use to solve puzzles, progress through the story, or use in earlier areas for goodies.
  • Mind Hive: The seraphim traveling with Sorey use his body as a vessel. Occasionally they get into arguments while inside him. He doesn't enjoy it.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Zaveid. Considering he's really good-looking and always shirtless, the game developers must have at least given this trope some thought.
  • Multicolored Hair: All playable Seraphim and some Seraph NPCs have one base hair color, and differently colored tips representing their aligned element. Edna's hair becomes a darker shade of blonde towards the bottom, Lailah's hair is green/white with red tips, and both Dezel and Zaveid have white hair that turns green at the tips. Mikleo's hair is far more subtle than the others, but it does turn a very light shade of blue at the tips. On the NPC end, Symonne's hair is purple at the tips, and Zenrus's is yellow.
  • Mundane Utility: The seraphim use their elemental powers for everyday use too. Lailah and Mikleo use it to cook. Mikleo uses his to transport some water as ice at one point. Edna uses it to physically eject herself from a conversation early on. Zaveid and Dezel use theirs to spy on people in the sauna, and Dezel also uses his to see in general.
    • Dezel chastises Rose in a DLC skit when she tries to use armatization to gain his cooking skills.
  • Murder, Inc.: The Scattered Bones.
  • Mystical White Hair: Mikleo, Dezel, and Zaveid, all members of the Seraphim race. The concept art drawn by Lailah's character designer also portrays her with (mostly) white hair, but her in-game model and the 2D artwork drawn by Ufotable uses light green hair instead. The only playable Seraph to avert this trait is Edna.
  • Mythology Gag: There's plenty of them, as per usual:
    • The inns throughout the game are named after the sacred beasts from Tales of Rebirth.
    • Dark Turtlez from Tales of Graces is back as a bonus boss, and the fight with him is one big homage to Tales of Xillia 2, from the Hymn of Proof being hummed to this playing throughout the fight to the reenactment of part of the duel between Ludger and Julius with one of his fellows (complete with Chromatus special effects!) before the fight begins. He also seems to have gotten combat lessons from the aforementioned two...
    • There's also a minor reference to Kohaku in his mystic arte if you know who voices him.
    • Sorey and Mikleo find a book titled "Mad Screams of Love" in a skit, which fans will know was written by Rowen from Tales of Xillia.
    • A DLC skit called "Inside the toilet" has Sorey, Mikleo and Dezel find an Apple Gel in the toilet and discuss what to do with it disgusted. This is a reference to earlier games where you could find items and gels by examining toilets like it was natural.
    • Another DLC skit "Zesty Zestiria" has the characters take on traits and lines from the characters from whom their Cameo costume originated from. This kind of skit first originated from the PS3 release of Tales of Vesperia.
    • The bust in the Dumnonia Museum that had Mikleo and Sorey debate on who it was of? They were both wrong, because it was Gaius.
    • The city of Mariland is a direct Expy of Halure. Like Halure its barrier is down at the start and the heroes have to fix that problem.
    • Sorey and Alisha hunting for prickleboars early in the game is an allusion to the beginning of Tales of Phantasia, where Cress and Chester hunt for boars.
    • A girl in Marlind wants her father to buy her a Quickie doll.
    • When war breaks out between Hyland and Rolance a second time, the party has to run to both kingdom's and try to stop the war on both angles. In Tales of the Abyss the party does the exact same thing.
    • To defeat the final boss of Alisha's DLC, both Rose and Alisha perform a attack that heavily resembles the Impact Cross arte.
  • Newer Than They Think: In-Universe the system of only one Shepherd at a time is a recent development. In the past, the Shepherds were The Chosen Many, but that changed when Maotelus disappeared. This is why Rose has abilities that everyone thought should be exclusive to Sorey.
  • Nice Guy: Sorey is described to be so.
  • Nice Hat: Dezel's hat is very spiffy. It probably rivals Leia's Xillia 2 hat and Spada's hat.
    • Alisha also gets one in her dlc, and it becomes equippable by everyone as an attachment after that.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Heldalf's plan to corrupt a Seraph into a dragon and wipe out both Rolance's and Hyland's forces to create more chaos ended up being this because of the dragon being visible unlike the other hellions. As a result, both sides to band together and help Sorey.
  • Noodle Incident: Sorey is not allowed to trim Mikleo's hair. Not after the incident.
  • NPC Random Encounter Immunity: Justified; malevolence, seraphim, and hellions are Invisible to Normals and appear to NPCs as normal humans, plants, or gusts of wind. Sorey and Mikleo also hazard a guess that Sorey's resonance is drawing hellions towards them, but a normal human wouldn't have that.
    • That said, particularly dangerous and aggressive Hellions (particularly those that were originally seraphim) can threaten normal people. There's a few sidequests where you have to defeat a powerful Hellion to make things safer for the ordinary folk.
  • Off the Rails: Can be invoked by seeking out and defeating Heldalf well before the plot requires it, earning you an alternate ending.
  • Older Than They Look: Lailah is said to be over 1000 years old. This could possibly be the case with all of the Seraphs. Averted with Mikleo, who's explicitly stated to have grown up with Sorey. Sorey and Mikleo qualify in the last epilogue.
  • Only One Name: Unusually for a Tales title, most of the party do not have last names. Only Alisha has a full name, as a princess of Hyland and member of the royal family. It would be fitting for the Seraph seeing as they're a fantasy race, but no humans have been given last names either. Justified for Sorey, as he doesn't appear to have any living human relatives and has been raised by Seraphs, so he wouldn't know his last name if he had one. Rose is also revealed to be an orphan, and considering the way she was raised, no one probably saw any reason to give her a last name.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons are Seraphim who were transformed by the world's corruption. Once they've been fully corrupted it's impossible to restore them to their previous state and requires a Mercy Kill. Unlike most Hellions that are Invisible to Normals a complete dragon is visible, while their lesser forms like Drake and Dragonewt are not. The lesser forms are also capable of being purified without killing the Seraphim.
  • Parasol of Pain: Edna's weapon is a parasol, though she uses it mostly for firing magical attacks.
  • Party in My Pocket: One of the super rare justified examples that isn't a Pokemon-like rpg. In fact, the one party member that can't go in your pocket will always be visible on the field with Sorey (though they will inexplicably disappear and reappear whenever Sorey crosses a gap without them).
  • Perpetual Frowner: Edna and Dezel
  • Pet the Dog: As the Team Mom, Lailah gets quite a few of these moments. She often tries to make the withdrawn members of the group feel valued. When Zaveid worries that the rest of the group dislikes him, she convinces him to pick a card so she can read his fortune. According to Lailah, the card says 'Zaveid is our friend.'
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Alisha's jacket has pink in it while Sorey and Mikleo have blue in their clothing.
    • Some screencaps also feature NPC guards who appear to be male and wear a very similar uniform to Alisha's. Except it's blue.
    • In-game, some of the blue-clad soldiers speak with women's voices. It seems the male and female soldiers use the same body model, due to using the same armour. Alisha's is definitely a custom set. She also has a palette-swap blue version.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Both Alisha and Edna. Alisha's only 5'3" and Edna is 4'9", but they're both combat-ready party members and Alisha's a knight to boot.
  • Power Perversion Potential: In a couple of skits, Zaveid uses the power of the wind to try and spy on the girls in the sauna. Fortunately for them, Lailah counters it with her fire. In a dlc skit, Dezel does it too, though he claims to have more wholesome, protective, motivations.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Jade Curtiss and Sophie appear as the game's obligatory cameo characters.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Alisha, whose uniform is mostly pink. May or may not be custom.
  • Punch Parry: The Final Boss ends with a truly epic, Beast-centric one between Sorey and Heldalf.
  • Pure Is Not Good: There are people who are unaffected by malevolence due to not feeling pain or guilt for their actions. Thus a villain can commit terrible crimes against innocent people without turning into a Hellion. The same also works for people who are able to kill others for what they feel is just.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Lailah's hair reaches the floor even when she's got it tied up in her ponytail.
    • Sorey and Rose gain this when they armatize.
  • Restraining Bolt: The Seraphim can make special "vows" that give them extraordinary abilities as long as they adhere to specific restrictions. Lailah gained the power of purification from a vow, but is not allowed to talk about anything related to Maotelus. The party later speculates that Symmone gained her incredible illusionary powers from a vow which forbids her from directly killing someone.
    • Similarly, Mayvin is revealed to have made such a vow himself, vowing to remain neutral in the world's conflicts in exchange for Complete Immortality.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Normins, a race of small, hat-wearing, teddy bear -like Seraphim. Edna has a doll of one hanging from her parasol. Which turns out to be an actual normin, and a Bonus Boss at that!
  • Sadistic Choice: For his test of spirit during the fire trial, Sorey is handed a flaming sword and told to use it to brand either himself or Lailah. The correct answer is to brand Lailah, as her allowing him to do it shows that she puts her trust in him, and him agreeing to do it shows willingness to let others help shoulder his burden rather than taking it all on himself, which would eventually lead to being corrupted.
  • Scary Teeth: Dezel has shark like teeth, presumably to show how much of a rebellious Seraph he is.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Angel boss found in the Mabiongo Ruins late in the game is weak to Non-Elemental and is resistant to all four of the other elements. Obvious choice right? Wrong, because it also has a very high chance of reflecting Non-Elemental attacks so if you try to use one on her you'll likely end up dead for your troubles.
  • Secret Test of Character: The game is full of these for Sorey and to a lesser degree the party. All four of the Elemental Shrines are designed to test the Shepard and to see how they react. For example in the Water Shrine the party learns of a previous Shepard who became so obsessed with making the perfect weapon to battle Hellions that he ended up becoming a Hellion. The test is for Sorey to understand why negative emotions can be a burden, which he does by rejecting the weapon.
    • A straightforward example happens in Mariland early in the game. Sorey and Alisha meet a mercenary group lead by a man named Lucas and wants to ask his assistance in protecting the city while they go quell the Hellions Domain affecting the town. After pressuring Sorey to get him money to do so, Sorey pays him and Lucas makes a condition that he can do whatever he wants to the town. Sorey agrees on the basis that "someone who values contracts so much wouldn't do anything sleazy". Lucas even outright say's "he's passed the test" before tossing back a portion of the money to do the job.
  • Sequel Hook: The end to the Alisha DLC has Lunarre preparing to succeed Heldalf as the Big Bad. Might end up Left Hanging though, considering how badly the game was received in Japan.
  • Shirtless Scene: The boys get one at a hot spring.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The first time you encounter the Brutaur monster, Sorey will shout "Et tu, Brutaur?"
    • Lailah's initial art chain will end with her shouting out "The bird is the word!" in the English dub.
    • Zaveid's gun Siegfried doesn't just kill hellions; it also gives him a power buff that makes him more dangerous in battle. This is initiated by shooting the gun directly to his head, not unlike an Evoker.
    • When you trigger the sidequest to fight the Legendary Wyvern, Rose refers to it as a son of a submariner.
    • The Ganesh, an elephant hellion, is said to be able to fly, though the party isn't sure at first.
  • The Smart Guy: Mikleo's profile mention him as a smart, level headed guy.
  • Spoiler Opening: Rose being able to Armatize like Sorey is learned before you even start the game.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Dezel grabs Rose here when the seraphim reappear, after being dispelled by Forton.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Lailah is 172 cm/5'8" tall and is very pretty. Her official height makes her the third tallest female in the Tales series behind Grune and Judith.
    • Maltran is the same height as Lailah and also is easy on the eyes (to say in the least).
  • Static Character: Most Seraphs are static characters by their very nature, as a race who embody purity of being above all else. The party Seraphs however avert this, as all of them have some growth of character by the end of the game.
    • Rose also counts as one, never having any doubts or changes of heart about anything she does. The closest thing she has to Character Development is in regards to ability to see the Seraphim.
  • The Stinger: Two of them:
    • Sorey's Seraph companions, the now-elderly Scattered Bones twins, the new Shepard, and the new Shepard's Seraph companions gather at what is implied to be Rose's grave.
    • An older Mikleo is saved from falling to his death by a reawakened Sorey while exploring ruins.
  • Supreme Chef: In the anime special, Sorey is shown to be a great cook as Alisha appears to enjoy the food he made. In-game, Mikleo starts off with the highest dessert-making skills. He's been making food for Sorey for years since he forgets to eat once he gets really absorbed in something.
    • Edna isn't good at making sweets (she has the highest failure rates for the snack preparation support skill), but she's extremely knowledgeable about stews.
    • Dezel is great at making sweets, and is the only character who has no failure rate with the snack preparation support skill.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Beast/Lion's Howl is an arte learned through a story event, and is used to finish off the Final Boss.
    • In a more literal sense is Lailah's Relic which is pulled from the stone and begins Sorey's journey as the Shepherd.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: A new battle mechanic. There are three types of Artes: Martial Artes (normal attacks), Hidden Artes (special attacks), and Seraphic Artes (magic with a long casting time). Martial Artes beat Seraphic Artes (by interrupting casting), Seraphic Artes beats Hidden Artes (being hit by a Hidden Arte while casting makes the caster take greatly reduced damage and actually cast faster), and Hidden Artes beat Martial Artes (By making the user Immune to Flinching against them). There are three types of characters, each only having access to two types of Artes: humans use Martial and Hidden Artes, Seraphs use Martial and Seraphic Artes, and Armatized characters use Hidden and Seraphic Artes.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Gododdin is a small, isolated town located in the depths of the rugged Biroclef Ridge, not along any major trade routes and frequently cut off from minor ones by rock slides, with rocky, infertile soil and unsteady terrain not suitable for farming or raising livestock. And yet, the people are well-fed, the town is surprisingly wealthy, and there's very little malevolence despite no guardian seraph blessing the region. Everyone in town is utterly enamored by their new chief and fears that you're going to take him away, and nobody will let you get near a cave at the back of the village that they ominously refer to as the "purelands." The truth turns out to actually not be that dark. The chief is actually Pope Slenge of the Pendrago shrinechurch, who ran away to Gododdin after realizing that being Married to the Job had pushed his family away. He embraced the villagers as his new family, and was financially supporting them by brewing highly addictive fake elixir in the cave behind the village and using his church connections to get it into the cities and sell it to the upper class.
  • Trapped in Another World: Sophie and Jade are taken from their own worlds due to the Zombie Dragons domain. Sorey and the others help them return home by purifying it.
  • Troll: Jade Curtiss seems to retain this aspect of his here, and his new battle animations further this. His guard animation, for instance, seems to just be Jade pushing his glasses up, and he can and will just stand unflappably still while you hit him. Considering how easy it is to get his health low compared to Sophie, even 20 levels lower than he is, there's no explanation but the fact he's toying with you for why he doesn't attack much until he decides to use Mystic Cage and wipe out the entire party.
    • Edna, especially towards Mikleo.
  • Tsundere: Mikleo exhibits classic tsundere traits. Edna is a minor version.
  • The Unseen: Unusually for a Tales game, the royal families are this. Aside from Alisha (the lowest ranking member), we don't see the Hyland royal family, just the councillors. In Rolance, we only see the knights and clergy, rather than the Emperor though we do see one of the princes in a flashback.
  • Values Dissonance: A In-Universe example. One of the may reasons why Seraph's and Humans don't get along very well is due to the difference in opinions of both groups. The party outright Lampshades this following Margret's death in the Lasstonbell side quest and discuss how difficult is is for both groups to work together, even amongst themselves.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Zaveid. He's probably the only character in the series who's more dressed when using his swimsuit costume as a result of this.
  • War Is Hell: Every time war breaks out between Hyland and Rolance, those with the most sense are concerned because they know it's ultimately just going to create a lot of problems for everyone and result in a lot of death. Everybody that can even remotely be considered to be on the player's side is working for peace in some way.
  • Was Once a Man: Several Seraphim were human in their former lives. Each of the four shrine guardians is a former Shepherd. Many hellions were also originally humans or seraphim, including Heldalf and Mikleo.
  • Weirdness Censor: Normal humans can't see or hear the Seraphim and most Hellions, but they can still see the effects they have on the world, just filtered through the weirdness censor as natural phenomena. Lailah also comments in a skit that humans who observe Seraphim eating, which would mean seeing food floating and then vanishing, usually assume they're just seeing things.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: This is what the producers are aiming for: creating large fields to explore.
  • The Worf Barrage: Towards the second half of the game or so, Lailah's purification abilities stop working on pretty much any named character. The Forton sisters, Lunarre and Maltran all shrug off the purification like it's nothing, apparently because they're just that corrupt.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Maotelus, the poor guy couldn't catch a break. Played with concerning Michael and Heldalf. In the first case, seeing his whole village burned and people massacred basically made him cross the Despair Event Horizon and used his newborn nephew to curse the latter, while knowing the consequences. In Heldalf's case, seeing his family murdered drove him into despair, however he admits that it's because he knows that pain that he basically wants to destroy the world and make it anew.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The tips of Mikleo's, Dezel's, and Zaveid's hair, which matches their elements.

Tropes associated only with the anime:

  • Adaptational Heroism: The anime series does this to Maltran. She never turns into a hellion, and genuinely supports Alisha through the story.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: While Lunarre remains a villain in the anime series, by the second half of the story, he has an otherwise peaceful interaction with Alisha, and dies fighting off other hellions.
    "I want my life to mean something!"
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: For two episodes in the first season, the anime suddenly breaks from Tales of Zestiria to give viewers the plot and characters of the game's prequel, Tales of Berseria. After these, Berseria is dropped, though the game's main protagonist, Velvet Crowe, is still seen briefly in the intro sequence for the anime's second season.
  • Argument of Contradictions: In the On the Next segment at the end of "Each One's Principles", Dezel tells Rose that he's been with her forever, so she has him prove it, by asking about stuff like where she cut her finger when she was 10. He gets her questions right, but her last question was the first thing she ever cooked. He says it was dog food and she demands he take it back, that it was curry. He insists it was dog food, and they argue back and forth - "Dog food," "Curry," Dog food," "Curry, curry, curry!"
  • Conspicuous CG: Used extensively in the anime.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: The final episode features "Innosense" and "Kaze no Uta" (the second ending theme and the first opening theme respectively) playing back-to-back during the final battle against Heldalf.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Numerous characters who died in the game are spared in the anime series:
    • Mason, probably just because they didn't have time to dwell on it, but the look of relief on the other villagers' faces as he recovers is an especially touching treat for the fans.
    • Maltran appears to have never turned into a hellion, and so never sides with Heldalf, never betrays Alisha, and never commits suicide.
    • Even Eizen, although remaining in his dragon form, seems to be returning to his pre-hellion senses by the epilogue, and is never given a Mercy Kill.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The second season of the anime focuses more on Rose and Alisha compared to...literally everyone else. Yes, this includes Sorey, the main character.
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