The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel – Northern War Episode 3 Review & Breakdown

We’re now back with episode three of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel – Northern War anime, “An Invitation to the Port City Engulfed In Darkness.” If you missed it, check out my reviews and breakdowns of the first episode, “Appears He…the Hero in Twilight.”, and the second episode, “Gathers the Unpleasant Darkness.”

Before proceeding with the review, I’ll reiterate significant points about these articles. Firstly, as someone who has not watched any anime for years, these reviews will not be critical or professional like our site’s video game coverage. My assessments will solely originate from my personal feelings as a fan. Therefore, potential issues regarding presentation will likely not be noticed by me.

Secondly, the views stated throughout these reviews will only be mine alone. Other staff members have significantly different opinions on the series than I do. For instance, the Crossbell arc is my least favorite segment of Trails, while someone else sees it as one of the high points. If you’re familiar with Trails, you probably know how divisive and mixed fan reception is across basically every game, so just keep that in mind.

Lastly, due to this anime’s chronology placement, spoilers for the Sky, Crosbell, and first two Cold Steel games will be stated without warning. Further, events from Trails of Cold Steel III will also be said if relevant, so if you’re not caught up with these games and would like to avoid spoilers, then I highly advise avoiding these articles.

lavian 1

So, there’s actually not much to discuss for this episode, as it’s primarily a hub of endearing hijinks. Following the conclusion of episode two, where the main cast was assigned to learn more about Rean Schwarzer, they were explicitly told to infiltrate a celebratory party. And now we see that said party is occurring in Ordis, with Marty and Iseria having infiltrated it in disguise.

Talion and Lavian are on standby, watching from afar. This town is first explorable in Trails of Cold Steel III, and its depiction here is genuinely accurate. Seeing familiar areas recreated in anime form has been one of my favorite collective treats from this series.

We see a brief flashback of the cast picking outfits to blend in with, and it’s honestly pretty funny. Lavian’s put into several types of clothes by Iseria, and her deadpan attitude is emphasized. Talion’s sense of humor is also a prominent part of this episode, as his initial shirt choice has a Mishy design plastered on it. Afterward, Lavian and Talion question the point of the party they’re keeping watch over, which we never find out the answer to, so that’s kind of weird.

Then, a decent chunk of the episode is focused on Talion going on a goose chase for Lavian, who’s exploring Ordis to her heart’s content, mostly trying a bunch of food like popcorn and 15-scoop ice cream. One has to wonder how the employees managed to fit this onto a singular cone, but I guess there are more meaningful inquiries to make.

Talion unwittingly fools around during his search, like taking a picture with a cute girl. It’s nice. Although, he appears to genuinely care for Lavian as he even takes a few punches from some ruffians trying to hit on her. Granted, they’re far weaker than actual foes he’s faced, so they’re not genuine threats, yet it’s an appreciative gesture.

nw

After some light rumination from Talion regarding how drastically different the standard citizen’s life is in a place like Ordis compared to their own status quo, Lavian encounters a puppet-esque show run by countless Mishy and a conspicuous clown. It essentially comprises a depiction of Valimar defending a bunch of fish.

While seemingly insignificant, I enjoyed this scene since during Cold Steel III and IV, you don’t see too many standout NPC reactions to Rean while walking around, so his accomplished personage isn’t quite as well established as it otherwise could’ve been. Seeing him and Valimar, by extension, celebrated here helps paint a clearer lens of how he was perceived.

Once the show is over, Lavian overhears some disturbing conversation between the clown and Mishy and follows them, with Talion eventually catching up. Coincidentally, they’re starting to execute a terrorist attack on the exact party Marty and Iseria are at. Of course, Lavian and Talion intercept, resulting in the latter fending off several Mishy throwing fireworks at the citizenry en masse while the former attacks the clown directly.

This fight breaks into the party venue itself, though there’s not much to write home about here save for Lavian’s epic Lavian Kick. The clown eventually loses the bout, and Lavian is rewarded a 150-year-old antique Iseria was eyeing earlier in the episode, which she rips off her neck without so much as a second thought, much to Iseria’s chagrin.

nw 2

At the end of the episode, we learn that the clown’s motivation is that his performing troupe lost the backing of its patrons, and he blames those high up in the economic/societal ladder for that outcome. I suppose this reasoning is meant to highlight the class gaps in Erebonia, but it’s pretty flimsy and haphazard. As the main cast leaves the scene, a young girl and her grandma thank Talion for protecting them from the Mishy firework bombs, and he’s quite bashful about it all.

Lavian calls such sentiments and actions “stupid,” causing Talion great offense, though she throws him off by saying since she’s not good at caring for those sorts of things, she wants Tally to do it for her instead. Considering Lavian’s usual attitude, perhaps this is her way of showing that she trusts Talion after the antics they just went through? As the cast merrily walks off, one Altina Orion is shown watching from above as she rides atop Claimh Solais.

I had a good deal of fun with this episode. It was a low-stakes slice-of-life, helping solidify the bond with the cast, which is necessary before the core plot happens. Then again, this is only a one-cour anime, so hopefully, events kick up sooner rather than later. The occasional tracks from the games substantially aided with the tone, too. Regarding a rating, I think a 7 is appropriate.

Unfortunately, the objective of the party was never clearly established, and the lack of a clear end hook is disappointing. As hyped as I am to see Altina, lacking context for her arrival doesn’t mean much. We might learn more about the meaning of the party next episode, at least.

altina

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is now available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via the Epic Games StoreGOG, and Steam.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie will launch for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC on July 7, 2023.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure is releasing for Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC via the Epic Games Store, GOG, and Steam at the following times:

  • March 14, 2023 – North America
  • March 17, 2023 – Europe
  • March 24, 2023 – Australia, New Zealand

Additional coverage for the game is listed below:

The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2023.

The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki is now available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC via Steam in Japan.

The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki II Crimson Sin is now available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 in Japan. Check out our latest coverage, which also acts as an avenue for previous extensive instances of doing so.


This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.

Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual. Fan of JRPGs, Action, Platformers, Rhythm, and Adventure titles.