|Game|| •Tales of Symphonia|
•Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
|Age|| •22 (ToS)|
|Height||5'10" / 179 cm|
|Weight||150 lbs / 68 kg|
|Occupation||Chosen of Tethe'alla|
|Japanese Voice Actor||Masaya Onosaka|
|English Voice Actor||Shiloh Strong (ToS)|
|Character Designer||Kousuke Fujishima|
The first impression Zelos gives is that of a skirt-chasing, irresponsible, and immature man. However, he has more internal conflicts and emotional pain. As he reveals to Lloyd Irving in Flanoir, his mother, Mylene Wilder, was told to marry his father, the Chosen at the time, by the "Oracle" of Cruxis, even though she loved someone else. Growing up in Meltokio, his home life was less-than-comforting. Neither his mother nor his father cared much for him; his father was already in a relationship with another woman, and his mother would only rarely pay any real maternal attention to him. As such, his main caretaker was Sebastian, the family butler. It is highly likely most of his narcissist-like behavior stems from the fact that he was neglected and unappreciated throughout his childhood.
When Zelos was a child, his father's mistress, a half-elf, gave birth to Seles Wilder, Zelos's half-sister. As children, he and Seles got along well with each other; Seles, in particular, enjoyed getting time to play with her big brother, but their relationship became strained following the death of their father. Wanting a better quality of life for herself and her daughter, Seles' mother attempted to kill Zelos, knowing that if he died, Seles, being the last relative of the half-siblings' father, would become the Chosen of Mana by default. The incident occurred on a snowy day, supposedly the first day Zelos saw snow. Mylene had taken Zelos outside, and was building a snowman with him when the half-elf unleashed a barrage of magic aimed at Zelos; Mylene was caught in the crossfire. Her last words to Zelos were a condemnation that he should have never been born.
Zelos grew to dislike snow, to the point he would vacation in the farthest place away from Meltokio during its winters, as snow was a constant reminder of that traumatic event. The image of snow stained red with Mylene's blood is one of the defining memories he has of the incident. After Mylene's death, Seles' mother was executed for her crime. Seles herself was sentenced to house arrest in an abbey for life. Following his mother's death, Zelos began to develop a loathing for both himself and his status as a Chosen, blaming himself for his mother's death and cursing the Chosen system for causing his mother's misery in the first place. He grew up under the impression that he was worthless, a pathetic Chosen who could never save the world. This impression was further nurtured by the knowledge that Seles would have been a far more capable Chosen than he.
Zelos lived in the knowledge that, had he died that snowy day in Meltokio, Seles would have possibly become the greatest Chosen that Tethe'alla had seen in decades. Both this and the knowledge that he could not live up to the expectations set upon him as Chosen further deepened his lack of self-worth. Growing up in Meltokio's uncaring society, he was forced to lock his emotions away and adopt a mask of confidence, self-assurance, and superficiality. This "mask" allowed him to differentiate between those who merely had a passing interest in him and those who truly wished to know and befriend him; it also allowed him to defend himself from further emotional trauma. Zelos is also somewhat prejudiced against half-elves, likely due to Mylene's murderess being half-elven, as well as being taught from birth that half-elves were "disgusting, filthy creatures". Despite this apparent prejudice, he is actually more sympathetic to half-elves than his peers, exerting his influence to stop some of the Pope's radical anti-half-elf legislation from becoming law even before he meets Lloyd.
Upon meeting Genis and Raine Sage, he eventually learns to accept them, despite his conflicts with Genis, at one point commenting on how they are nothing like the half-elf stereotypes he had been taught about, but remarking that he is not quite able to rid himself of feelings of prejudice. His slightly more sympathetic view on them is due to the fact he feels he can relate to them in some aspect, saying that "nobody wanted us to be born". When Zelos was six, he met a young Regal Bryant at the Princess' birthday party; thus, he is somehow able to recognize Regal when he joins their group. He repeatedly implies that Regal is the President of Lezareno, but the party fails to realize this until it is made apparent by Regal himself.
As he reached his teenage years, Zelos found that he was considered very popular among Meltokio's noblewomen. It soon became apparent that these aristocrats were not interested in him for his personality, nor for his good looks; they only wished to be associated with the Chosen of Mana. He used this superficial interest to his advantage, and soon gained a world-spanning reputation as a womanizer. He was educated at the Imperial Research Academy in Sybak, where his good looks and status allowed him to manipulate his female classmates into taking notes and tests for him, despite the fact that, although he excelled at mathematics, he was less-than-proficient at most everything else. As such, he graduated at the top of his class. Sometime in the years before meeting Lloyd, Zelos was approached by Pronyma of Cruxis, and was given the offer to rid himself of the Chosen status should he become their spy in return. By this time, he had already grown bitter toward his position, as well as toward himself, and had practically given up all hope that things could get better for him or his sister; thus, he allied himself with them.
Role in the Plot
The group first meets Zelos with his entourage in Meltokio, where he attempts to woo the then-unresponsive Colette Brunel and Raine Sage. When the party reaches the castle, he helps them negotiate with the King and Pope in order to find a way to save Colette. As the Chosen, he is highly influential, second in power only to the King himself. One stipulation, however, is that the party remain at all times in Tethe'alla. When the party plans to meet Dirk in Iselia to see if he can help Colette, and convinces Zelos to allow them to do so, Zelos is branded a traitor for doing so, and the Pope orders his arrest. When the party attempts to retrieve the Rheairds from the Fooji Mountains, Zelos claims that he has some device to transport them. However, at the summit, he leads them into a trap, supposedly by accident, where Yuan Ka-Fai and Pronyma find them. The party defeats Pronyma, but Yuan's Renegades reclaim the Rheairds.
Zelos also helps the party return to Meltokio through the city's sewers when the Papal Knights refuse them entry through the city's gate. In the sewers, they encounter Regal Bryant. He gets a hold on Zelos and says that if they made a move, he would kill him. Presea Combatir comes forth and manages to save Zelos, and when Regal sees Presea, he becomes stunned. Genis Sage uses the chance to attack the man with magic. Regal dodges and retreats together with the other convicts. When the party goes inside Meltokio, the citizens, despite being aware of Zelos's status as a traitor, still treat him as they always have. Even some members of the church do so as well; the pastor on the Hot Spring island agrees not to report Zelos's presence. Inside the Tethe'alla Base, Zelos suspiciously disappears for a moment before reappearing. He then makes several odd references to betraying the group, such as "joking" that he would try deceiving Lloyd, and being somewhat surprised when Sheena states she hates traitors more than anything else, when referring to the very recent revelation that Kuchinawa is working for the Pope. These initially seem incidental, but ultimately serve to foreshadow future plot twists.
In the third main "act" of the story, in which the party attempts to cure Colette and ultimately reunite the worlds, Zelos cleverly tricks two Papal Knights into believing that Colette is Spiritua, an angel of death, and takes advantage of their fear of her to convince them to drop the charges against him and the others, as well as to try to capture the Pope. He also succeeds in convincing Princess Hilda to persuade the King to write a letter to the Elder of Heimdall in order to allow them into the village. Throughout the mission to cure Colette, Zelos is seemingly distrustful of Kratos Aurion's motives. It is later implied that he dislikes Kratos for manipulating and leading his son, Lloyd, on for his own intentions, which possibly reminds Zelos of the father who abandoned him. It is also implied that he dislikes Kratos because he sees himself in him, which he finds disturbing.
One of the major twists in the plot involves Zelos. After Altessa, the dwarf craftsman in Tethe'alla, is badly wounded, the party takes the Rheairds to the city of Flanoir to find a doctor. The doctor requests an entourage and takes the four characters who have the lowest relationships with Lloyd. That night, the three characters with the highest relationships with Lloyd come to the his room at Flanoir's inn, asking him to go for a walk with them. The player may have Lloyd agree to the walk with any one of them, or may deny them all, in which case, Lloyd goes outside on his own, where he meets his father, Kratos. Morning comes, and Lloyd decides to make a direct attack on Cruxis, at the Tower of Salvation.
If Lloyd speaks to one of the first three guests, Zelos betrays the party at the tower, revealing that he had been working for both Cruxis and the Renegades the entire time. This sheds new light on past incidents, and might suggest that he had planned for the party to be trapped on the Fooji mountains, and was speaking with a contact when he disappeared in the Renegades' base; Yuan states their "friend" can help the Renegades find the party, which is most likely a reference to Zelos. Claiming to care only for himself, Zelos decides to join with the group most likely to win the upcoming fight: Cruxis.
In reality, while in Flanoir, Kratos requested that Zelos retrieve the rare stone known as Aionis, a material needed to form the Ring of the Pact, and thereby wield the Eternal Sword; the only way for Zelos to obtain it would be for him to enter Cruxis's stronghold. Upon reaching the tower, Zelos leads Colette forward, claiming he wants her help in taking the Eternal Sword, but angels surround the two, and Pronyma reveals Zelos's betrayal before leaving with him. While Lloyd's party makes their way to the Hall of the Great Seed, each of them falls into various traps in an effort to allow Lloyd to challenge Mithos, and save Colette and the world. Unbeknownst to Lloyd, Zelos releases them, and guides them to the Hall, where they reunite with Lloyd and help defeat Pronyma. Shortly afterward, presumably after obtaining the "Aionis", Zelos rejoins the party and helps defeat Yggdrasil.
If Lloyd is paired with Zelos, he will receive the "Chosen's Orb" from him. When Lloyd is shot by an arrow fired from a trap in the Tower of Salvation, the "Chosen's Orb" protects him. Lloyd is briefly conflicted, realizing that Zelos saved him, but that he also betrayed the group. On this path through the story, Zelos survives and will, if paired with Lloyd, be possessed by Mithos after Lloyd makes a pact with Origin. During the story's final cutscene, Zelos is seen requesting that an emissary of peace, specifically Sheena, be sent to Iselia, utilizing his influence as the Chosen to do so.
However, if Lloyd spoke with Kratos at Flanoir, Lloyd will ask Zelos if he can trust him; this seems to prompt Zelos to confront the party on his own, rather than leave with Pronyma when he betrays them. He claims that he never earned their trust when Lloyd takes umbrage at his betrayal. He then fights the party, hoping they will kill him and end his fate as the Chosen. As Zelos prepares for his last battle, he tells Lloyd how he only wished for a "fun, easy life", a simple one he could not obtain as the Chosen. Zelos fights the party, in the place of a minor angel boss, and is mortally wounded in the process. He tells the party where Colette is being held, and urges them to save her. He then says that after he is dead, Seles will become the Chosen and be freed from the abbey. When Lloyd expresses disbelief that Zelos would die for this purpose, he says that it is "just a bonus". With his last breath, he asks that the group destroy his Cruxis Crystal, then dies due to his wounds.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Zelos returns as a playable character in the sequel to Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Two years later after the Chosen system was abolished, Zelos pushed for major reformations within the church. Zelos first appears in the rebuilt Palmacosta, helping Emil Castagnier and Marta Lualdi as they are about to fight Richter Abend. He immediately flirts with Marta, something that slightly creeps her out, and also makes Emil gape at them. After Richter leaves, he gives the two of them his name before he departs as well. Marta begins to wonder if he is the Chosen of Tethe'alla, though they all doubt it due to his differences from Colette.
Later, while they try saving Emil's former neighbor, Alice appears and battles them. Upon her defeat, one of her monsters, Portos, returns to its senses and attempts to kill her, but Zelos rescues her and tells her that as long as she leaves, he will forget her actions. Alice, understanding her situation, leaves them. Emil and Marta asks Zelos if he knows where Lloyd is, calling him a "bastard". This annoys Zelos, and he tells them he will not talk to people who seek revenge on his "bastard friend". Marta is disappointed that he, like Colette, does not believe them, but Emil states that he could see he would not even listen to what they had to say about Lloyd.
Later, Zelos's sister is kidnapped by Lloyd, but Zelos tells Emil that the person who kidnapped her was not Lloyd. When the party discovers two Lloyds fighting each other, and if Emil chooses to hit the real Lloyd, Zelos will stop him and reveal that he knew from the start who the fake was. Zelos is the only character who knows without a doubt that the Lloyd is innocent from the start, as he had faith the real Lloyd would never kidnap his sister, and was tipped off by Decus, the fake Lloyd, and his tell-tale scent. This emphasizes the theme that although Zelos appears ditzy at times, he actually carries a good amount of insight about the other characters.
Appearance and Personality
Zelos is rarely serious, acting as a comic relief for the group, always ready to cheer the party up at heavy-hearted moments. Quite the ladies' man, he charms every woman he sees, who in turn give him gifts. He is quite handsome, and approaches most situations hoping to meet or impress any pretty girls nearby. He takes almost every opportunity to hit on his female team members, much to their annoyance, especially with the nicknames he gives them. He gets along poorly with Genis, whom he considers a brat. Despite all this, Zelos is actually quite perceptive, and can be surprisingly sensitive at times. After Corrine sacrifices himself to save Sheena at the Temple of Lightning, Sheena becomes emotionally depressed.
In one of the optional skits, the player sees that Zelos is still acting lighthearted, as if Corrine had not just died. He is then chastised by the other members of the group for his lighthearted approach. When they depart, Zelos remarks to himself that if the party members continue being visibly upset, Sheena will only get more depressed, and will not move on with her life; he believes the only way to help her get over the loss is for them to move on. Zelos is actually very similar to Colette in some aspects.
Both tend to bottle up any worries or insecurities they might be feeling, and mask them with cheery personalities so they do not have to deal with others in the group asking them if something is wrong. Both of them also are forced to deal with the consequences of hoarding such feelings, in that they suffer alone and ultimately end up causing others in the group to feel guilt for not noticing that something was bothering them sooner. Additionally, both feel that Lloyd's presence also helps them cope with who they are, as well as, that they do not have to shoulder their responsibilities alone. In fact, concerning matters with Lloyd, Zelos believes in Lloyd's judgement above anyone else's, even if it seems rather irrational.
Zelos is described in the game as being a "Magic Swordsman", meaning he is capable of using a sword to attack close-range, as well as cast spells from afar. It is suggested by Sheena, in the scene with Lloyd in Flanoir, that Zelos must be at least part elf for him to be able to use such magic. Zelos himself tells the group he can use magic because he was given elven blood transfusions as an infant. In reality, however, his ability to use magic is due to him having ingested Aionis in powder form when he was younger.
Furthermore, Zelos's fighting style is similar to that of Kratos, though they do differ slightly. Zelos possesses some useful spells, although he prefers to fight on the front lines if left to his own devices. Although he uses the same weapons and armor as Kratos, his sword-play varies subtly from that of Kratos: Zelos's sword-play is quicker, reflecting his finesse rather than his strength, resembling a dancing figure when swinging his sword. The varied sword-play style also affects some of his techniques. For example, when Kratos uses the technique Victory Light Spear, he tends to lift himself up too fast, often missing the final mid-air spiral cut. Zelos, on the other hand, has no trouble flawlessly delivering all four hits from the same technique.
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2
Zelos appears as a playable character in Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2. In this game, he is a young man and part of a family that has protected the World Tree for many generations. He first appears in the story when he, along with Lloyd, Colette, and Raine, return with information for Jade Curtiss. During the seventh story mission, Zelos travels with the Protagonist and Presea to the Slime Nest. There, they find Janis Kern and his assistant attempting to use a detonator on a large surface. Zelos and the others convince Janis to stop; he agrees, but his assistant accidentally sets off the bomb and unleashes Goede. Zelos and the others fight Goede and defeat him. Afterward, Zelos and the others return to Van Eltia. Once the Protagonist defeats the final boss, Zelos is seen with the other members of the Symphonia cast on the Van Eltia gazing at the mana spreading across the world.
- Both Zelos and Seles derive from the Latin zeles, meaning "envy". This correlation is fitting, as both siblings are envious of each other's status. Zelos envies his sister's freedom from the title of Chosen, and Seles envies her brother's ability to see the outside world and live a life of luxury.
- Zelos's strongest weapon is the "Last Fencer", obtained by defeating his sister Seles in the coliseum. The name of his Devil's Arms are the sword "Soul Eater" and dagger "Fafnir". The gag weapons the player can buy for him in the completely rebuilt Luin are the sword "Baseball Bat" and dagger "Toy Dagger".
- If Zelos fights in the battle with the "Narcissist" title and a sword weapon equipped, his weapon is occasionally replaced with a bouquet of roses. This weapon change happens randomly at the start of any battle if other conditions are met, but it has no alternative effects beyond its visual appearance.
- Masaya Onosaka, Zelos's Japanese voice actor, is often the MC of Tales events. Zelos, by default, is also the MC of such events, and Onosaka is often presented with Zelos's skit face shown talking on a screen while he speaks in the style and manner of Zelos.
- Zelos's outfit appears as a DLC costume for Richard in Tales of Graces ƒ and for Zaveid in Tales of Zestiria.
- In the PlayStation 3 port of Tales of Symphonia, Zelos can acquire a costume based on Alvin from Tales of Xillia.
- In Tales of Xillia 2, Zelos is mentioned in the job, "For All my Honeys", where he rewards the player with the "Sealed Symphonia" weapon, in exchange for five "Torbalan Jades", which he wants to give to his honeys.