Xenosaga: The Animation, The Complete Collection – DVD Review

xenosaga

Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: FUNimation
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 282 minutes
Genre: Sci-fi/ Action
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now

Experience the epic Xenosaga story …PlayStation 2 controller not required.

As a hardcore gamer that enjoys games from ever genre, it’s the role-playing game genre that I had loved ever since I picked up a copy of Final Fantasy VII. Among my role-playing game favorites was the Xenosaga series that was told through three games for the PlayStation 2. So it came as a very pleasant surprise that Xenosaga: The Animation – The Complete Collection found its way on my desk. Surprisingly enough, this anime series not only turned out to be a wonderful retelling of the first game but it also turned out to be one of the best sci-fi action anime series that makes this one of the best anime based on a game so far. Of course, you don’t have to be a fan of the game to enjoy the story or action.

Xenosaga spins a most interesting story that takes us into a future where humans have abandoned planet Earth in an effort to keep humanity from becoming extinct. An alien race known as the Gnosis are certainly not making it easy, though, but the human race is putting up a brave front. In the middle of this war is the Woglinde, a starship carrying an important artifact as well as a secret weapon that is under the care of Chief Shion Uzuki and her assistant Allen Ridgeley who has a crush on the attractive nerdy girl. When the Woglinde is attacked by the Gnosis, the crew battles to protect the artifact but ends up fighting for their survival instead.

Then the secret weapon that comes in the form of a beautiful robotic girl in white armor awakens to defend the crew and most especially Shion. This is KOS-MOS, programmed by an unknown force to destroy the Gnosis and carry out a mission that Shion and a handful of survivors must simply follow along with in order to avenge the deaths of their fellow crewmates. The survivors include Shion, Albert and a Marine Lieutenant named Luis Virgil. Saved by a passing salvage freight ship, Shion also meets other survivors that include Ziggy (whose body is enhanced by robotics), MOMO who just so happens to be a 100-series Realian (a type of human-like android) and chaos who is a man with a mysterious past.

And so begins an epic adventure of a group trying to put an end to the Gnosis attacks as well as a journey to discover the truth behind KOS-MOS who Shion through she knew all about. In the middle of all of this is a psychopath named Albedo that abducted a 100-series Realian to keep as his own toy and well unaware of the fact that Realians do have feelings. Meanwhile, Shion and the others finds sanctuary on a station only to be accused by the Federation for instigating an attack against a major corporation known as Vector Industries. Aided by Jr., a male Realian who just so happens to be the Captain of his own ship, the survivors of the Woglinde head out to face the Gnosis with the monolith artifact known as the Zohar.

Told in 12 episodes on 2-discs, the Xenosaga: The Animation contains enough action-packed moments true to the game. Yet fans of the role-playing game will like the fact that the story takes things beyond what is seen in the video games so we come to know a lot more about Shion and the other cast of characters. In Episode 8, Shion, MOMO, Jr. and Ziggy face their inner demons and tragic pasts that reveal a lot about these characters. In another episode we come to discover that KOS-MOS is willing to do anything to carry out her mission … even if it means eliminating comrades in the process.

As far as the animation goes, Xenosaga looks great and the action flows wonderfully enough. There’s some decent voice acting when it comes to the English dub … which is as good as it was in the game but my preference is the Japanese voice work that handles the lines with more dramatic flair. Still, the series isn’t without its great sense of humor (Allen getting drunk and telling a complete stranger how much is sucks to be in love with the oblivious Shion) , solid action-packed moments or philosophical connotations.

In the end, Xenosaga: The Animation – The Complete Series is an exciting sci-fi action epic that is – by far – one of the best anime series based on a game to come along in a long time. Fans of sci-fi anime will also have a blast with this series that’s a deeply thrilling action-adventure worth checking out. If you are a fan of the game, Xenosaga: The Animation will most definitely not disappoint.

 

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: B+
A massive battle for survival and the awakening of the most impressive weapon in the form of an attractive girl named KOS-MOS all in the same opening episode marks the beginning of an epic adventure. We follow Shion and the likes of chaos, MOMO and Lieutenant Virgil as they fight against the Gnosis and a real psycho. It’s a good 12-episodes.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
If you’re a fan of the game, it’s a real blast seeing Shion and KOS-MOS animated beautifully and thanks to the great video quality these two DVDs feature a crisp and clear picture.

AUDIO QUALITY: A
The English dub voice work is awesome but my heart belongs to the Japanese voice acting. The score is exciting and wonderfully cinematic. I also love the ending theme “in this serenity” performed by Mayumi Gojo.

EXTRAS: D
Clean opening and closing theme songs are waiting for you as a bonus and that’s about it. It would have been cool to have seen some kind of bonus connecting the anime to the game.

OVERALL: B
You don’t have to be a fan of the video game series to enjoy Xenosaga: The Animation but if you are this is a complete collection that makes the perfect companion piece. If you’re not a gamer, what awaits you is an exciting sci-fi action series that does the genre justice.

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