Sunday, August 26, 2007

Xenosaga: The Animation vol. 1 Impression

Xenosaga: The Animation is … well it’s the animated story played out in the PlayStation 2 Xenosaga games. Originally planned as a set of six games Xenosaga was trimmed back to three, and saw a major character overhaul from Episode I to Episode II. ADV Films release of the animated Xenosaga will please game fans as the story and characters seen in the game are there along with all the question marks about story and plot, questions that do get answered later in the games and will be in the series.

For those of you without the gaming background fear not, this is a sci-fi anime any newbie can pick up, pop in and enjoy. Xenosaga tells the story of Shion Uzuki, an engineer on the KOS-MOS project. It’s this project that lies at the heart the game and anime both. KOS-MOS is an android created to fight the Gnosis (more on them in a minute). She’s cold, unfeeling and pretty much a mechanical bitch except when it comes to Shion. Weird mother-daughter, creator-created relationship going on here, just part of the story. You’ve got a nice cast of support characters in Allen Ridgeley, also on KOS-MOS project, MOMO, a 100-Series Realian (think more advanced human/cyborgs) Margulies, the gruff military man and a salvage crew.

The story sees humanity 5,000 years in the future having abandoned Earth for the stars, utilizing the powers of a monolith called the Zohar. Harvesting this power was what leadto Earth being lost, but also granted the technology enjoyed by the remaining populace. The Zohar was sealed away on a planed called Militia, fought over by factions of humans, each with their own agenda. The mystery of the Zohar and fighting of humans is great fodder for anime, but an even more diabolical enemy awaits, the Gnosis. Hailing from an unknown dimension, seeking the Zohar, the Gnosis slaughter humans without feeling, fading in and out of reality, difficult to destroy. This brings us full circle to the creation of KOS-MOS to fight the Gnosis.

The story is complicated; hell it took three long games to tell. The animation is suitable, not going to movie quality, to be expected, but also not sinking to the levels of other game related anime tie-ins. The design is more reminiscent of the first Xenosaga game with the wider-eyed characters and more vibrant colors. The action hit’s hard and fast as the Gnosis attack, humans die and KOS-MOS tears some … she wreaks some Gnosis butt. Xenosaga is a must-have for fans of the game, and any anime sci-fi fan looking for a new hook, look no further. I’ll keep mum on the story I know about, and sit back to enjoy what I know will be a wild ride full of conspiracy, deception, and flat out action. Nice!

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