Claude C. Kenni, a crewmember on the spaceship Calnus and son of the commander of the ship, is transported to Expel, a backwards planet with swords and magic. He teams up with Rena Lanford, who thinks he is the legendary Warrior of Light, and other characters to investigate the Sorcery Globe, a meteorite that has been causing problems all over the world.
The story of Star Ocean EX is completely based on the first disc of the PSX game, Star Ocean: The Second Story.
In the game, you can pick to play from either the point of view of Rena, or Claude. The anime chooses to follow Claude.
Claude C. Kenni is a young ensign on a mission with his father. When they arrive on a strange planet, Claude decides to prove his worth, and inspect a mysterious object on his own, against his fathers protests. When Claude comes into contact with this object, he is transported to the underdeveloped planet, Expel, where he mets Rena Lanford. Rena believes
Claude is the Hero of the Light, here to save Expel from destruction. So our story begins with Claude and Rena embarking on a mission to destroy the Sorcery Globe.
There is nothing particularily special about this anime's animation. While it is full of battles, it falls back to the "single shot, shakey screen" method for attacks. However, the characters have great expressions, and it is a very colourful anime, with nice backgrounds.
The music is based off the soundtrack from the game. The game's music is (in my opinion) superior, but the nice remix of the music does fit well in the show. They use it to set moods, and it's not placed into a scene awkardly, so it keeps the story flowing.
There is some original scores, that are also very nicely done, and were also made by the same man who created the music for the game, Motoi Sakuraba.
Though I personally dislike Claude, this anime definitly benefits from a wide variety of characters. There is notably, 10 of the 12 main characters from the game, as well as atleast 3 original characters, and 3 NPC's from the game, brought to life with more personality (ie Yuki, Jam Shop Girl in Salva). The characters that they do focus on generally all follow the usual character personalities, but when hit with a character like Ashton (ie Possesed by Dragons Guy), you suddenly find yourself with some entirely unique characters.
Enjoyment varies. If you played the game originally, you may be a bit disappoint with how the characters seemed to have developed, the plot holes, how they cut out some of the best aspects of the game (such as the game had it so that you could make ANYONE be with anyone. While Rena and Claude are the title lovers in the show, in the game, you can virtually make them with anyone), and the way they messed up some of the storyline. However, it's still enjoyable for the big fans, who love the game no-matter-what (such as I).
If you never played the game, or you are just an SO3 fan, this could be a totally new experience, that you may or may not enjoy. With the anime being recently translated into English, you can gain access to this anime anyway possible.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
To begin with, I honestly think picking Claude as the main-main character over Rena was an entirely stupid idea. I'm not saying this because I am a well known Claude-hater, Rena-fan, it's just Claude's story is weak in comparison to Rena's.
To begin with, even playing Claude's story, it all goes back into focus about Rena's mysterious past, and how it's her world they are saving. Even then, it might be a bit boring, because we can't really relate with Rena (since they made her act 5, instead of 17 like she is..) they could still do a flip-main character theme, where it's going between the two, and their point of views.
I also have an incredible dislike for all the pairings. I have always had my strong belief in Rena/Ashton. Though not a popular pair, I can't see him with Precis (which they make him adore), nor Celine (though she's better than Precis). I always imagined it as Precis/Leon, and Celine would be with practically anyone (I usually pick Noel though, who isn't even in the anime). They balant favouritism towards Claude/Rena really bugs me. I wouldn't mind so much if they made it develop, instead of "Omg Claude, it's episode 1, but I love you already!!" That just really gets to me.
A final bit is, this series ends in a HUGE cliffhanger. As in, it's in desperate need of a second season, but we'll never see it.
By this, I mean, the second disc is suppose to be season 2, but the creators cancelled finishing the series, and went on to better things (whatever the hell that might be).
Anyways, if you are a SO fan of any sort (be it 1, 2 or 3) you will probably like to see this. So1 fans, this is what happens after, So2 fans, this is what you all dreamed about, and So3 fans, this is why your game sucks.
Star Ocean is an adventure-comedy anime suitable for children. It's based off of a video game [which I've never seen or played since I'm not a gamer]. The maturity level is a little greater than Pokemon...not by much, though I must say I still liked it and I think older people would like this show as well. So long as you don't compare it to the video game or expect it to be this wonderfully sophisticated piece of work.
The art is kinda amateurish looking though it's not totally bad. Use of lines, shape and proportion are all OK, however the actual shading is pretty
weak. The color palette is very simple and has a “paint-by-numbers” look to it. The hero is of course blonde with blue eyes *rolls eyes* with matching the colors for his boots, gloves and jacket., The heroine is blue-haired with blue eyes and the sorceress woman is violet-haired with violet eyes.
CGI is used in small doses but all for the wrong reasons like monsters melting away and cheesy-cheap looking ocean/water distortion but it's not really used for the fight scenes or special F/X. At the end, they use more CGI but again it's very cheesy and cheap-looking. Another clue that this show is for a younger audience is that scenes are reused constantly, especially the heroes' attack moves.
I watched this show in the English dub and it was pretty good. Each of the actors properly conveyed the right mix of emotion and humor into their characters. Also the guy who did Kira Yamato's English voice stars in this show as Claude Kenni, he is a very good actor.
The music is on the generic side, the OP sounds like typical shonen anime electro-pop synthesizer music. The ED is a somewhat peppy sounding feminine rock song which was still on the generic side.
As with most children's stories, the plot is pretty basic. A guy gets thrown into a strange world and goes on an adventurous quest to return home incidentally saving the world while he's at it. But what really makes Star Ocean work [for me at least] are the individual episodes, the situational humor and the connection between the characters. The story is told in a very childish and straightforward fashion with all the requisite of humor as can be expected from shows of this nature. Therefore don't look for any deeper meaning or any sophisticated narrative elements like irony, metaphors, or complex plot twists.
The characters are pretty much what make the show what it is. At times they seem pretty stereotypical with the typical anime/RPG line up: the hero, the healer, the wizard, the rogue knight, the thief/bandit[s], the comic relief....and so on, but then they did some unique things like throwing in some modern elements like doctors and scientists [also electricity].
The unity and overall good-naturedness between the characters is what I found most admirable and enjoyable in the show, I really like when a band of characters go off on an adventure and really stick together and help each other. Star Ocean is really good at portraying unity....and because of that I don't think I found any one character annoying.
At the very beginning I didn't like Claude because he just seemed so brash and heedless of caution, even though I know it was because he had a point to prove that he was not just some kid living under his father's shadow, Commodore Kenni. Thank goodness he changes during the anime and quickly learned when to turn on the bravado and when to switch it off. Once that character flaw was removed, Claude became my favorite.
I also liked Ashton very much, he carried his share of the show very well and despite what everyone else in the show was saying about him, he's actually a pretty skilled swordsman and a very likable character. It's easy to see why the two-headed dragon got attached to him.
I also liked Celine and Rena, the two girls of the group. They are basically two sides of the same coin except Celine plays the sexpot card and Rena plays the short, cute and helpless card.
Overall I'd say it was a pretty cool show. Maybe it's not the “OMG!!! this is effin' EPIC!!! Lemme tell all my friends about it!!!” kinda show, but it kept things light and I was entertained. So if some one was interested and asked me about it....then I'd tell them to check it out, it's pretty good and funny.
For me Star Ocean EX was a big letdown. I expected it to at least be on par with the game that it's based on but it just didn't work for me.
First, let's talk about its story. Originally I would have given Star Ocean EX a 10 since I expected it to be like its game counterpart. I ended giving it a six because some episodes had so many gaps inbetween them, I just got confused. The series also ended halfway through the plotline and it also had the most horrible ending I have ever seen.
Wait I almost forgot. The story WAS continued through
vocal dramas.....in Japanese. Though I know some Nihongo, I still couldn't understand much of what they were saying. The fact that the dramas are only in Nihongo make it almost impossible for foreign fans of the series to continue with the story.
The art was average......Not much to say here.....
The songs were fair enough. They were fun to listen to for a while but they eventually got really annoying and they're also not that memorable.
In the beginning the characters were very well-developed. The four main characters, Claud, Rena, Ashton and Celine were presented well enough. Problems started arising when the other characters entered the script. For instance, the relationship between Rena and Dias could have been better presented. Leon should also have gotten more air time.
Star Ocean EX also introduces some utterly useless characters into the story such as the three random idiots, whose names I still can't remember and the jam girl, whose name i also forgot. They were so useless to the plotline that the story could go on even if they weren't there. I mean come on! The jam girl can't even fight! What's she gonna do make sandwiches in the battlefield? Oh! Maybe she can sing the monsters to death!
In the end, Star Ocean EX was a flop. Although it has so many faults, I can't stop you from watching it. You can watch it if you like. In fact, you may even like it. But for me, the game was better. You're better off enjoying Claud and Rena's adventure playing the game instead.
I was really surprised when I had started watching this, I had assumed it would be a big letdown but when It started I actually liked it. The only downfall was towards the end. The show started moving in a different direction away from the plotline of the game and ended at a climax that made you wanna rip your hair out (but hey that's Japan for you).
I first played the game for the PSP before watching it so I expected it to follow that plot line pretty close, and it did for about half of the series. I think the reason they did change
the series half way through was because they knew they couldn't fit the original plotline into 26 episodes and they didn't want to make a second season.
If I remember correctly, the point at which the show started moving away from the game was when the boat holding the lacuer hope was attacked and sank, washing the people on a different continent (don't remember name). At that point they went straight to the sorcery globe, totally removing the transport to energy nede. Along with that the ten wise men were never mentioned or showed up in the series. The only thing that may have been the first showing of the ten wise men was when Rena and Claude were inside the Sorcery globe and they were stopped by a screen that showed up showing what looked like 10 people i think, one being a Nedian. He told Rena she was one of them and ofcourse, she started crying (figures). But I won't ruin the show for you if you haven't watched it. Just know the ending will leave you pissed off, atleast it did me.