The Sword Dancer (ソードダンサー Soododansaa?) is a recurring enemy in the Tales series that first appeared in Tales of Symphonia. It takes the form of a skeletal warrior that constantly seeks strong opponents to fight. Its most significant feature is that it can be fought multiple times in a game, mutating and growing stronger with each battle.
Appearances in Mothership Titles
Tales of Symphonia
The Sword Dancer appears as a skull in three different areas of the game. It makes its first appearance in the back of the Ossa Trail cave; second appearance in Gaoracchia Forest, a few screens west of the last save point; and final appearance in the Iselia Forest. After the final battle, it drops Lloyd Irving's Kusanagi Blade. The coherence of the Sword Dancer's speech improves with each encounter, indicating the return of its soul. Also, each subsequent time it is fought, a feature is added to its appearance: its second form adds a skeletal tail, and its third form adds skeletal wings. During one of the skits that occurs upon its defeat, it is revealed that it is from the demon world Niflheim, and is seeking strong opponents to fight so that it may grow stronger and complete its form.
Tales of the Abyss
As in Tales of Symphonia, there are three forms of the Sword Dancer in Tales of the Abyss. If the previous forms are not fought, the sequential forms will not appear later. The first form is found in Choral Castle as the group is leaving, the second near Theor Forest, and the final on the Isle of Feres—also as the group is leaving. Upon defeating it all three times, it drops one of the most powerful swords in the game, "Ultimatus". Like its Symphonia incarnation, it gains additions to its appearance each time it is fought: another pair of arms and a demonic horn that juts out from its head is added for its second form; another pair of arms is added, along with a horned, demonic face for its third form. It is implied through the optional skits that this Sword Dancer is a ghost instead of a demon.
Tales of Vesperia
Though not present in the Xbox 360 version, the Sword Dancer returns in the PlayStation 3 port of Tales of Vesperia. As per tradition, it can be fought three times, though its fighting style changes to resemble dancing. Upon its third defeat, the group obtains a sword for Flynn Scifo.
Appearances in Escort Titles
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the Sword Dancer appears as the ultimate "Dullahan" monster that can join the group if a "Heart Warden" statue is equipped to a "Crusader" at level 52. Its appearance is not based on the original Symphonia incarnation, instead being based on its design from Abyss. It can also be found during a quest to "defeat the ferocious monster" from the Katz guild.