The year is T.C. 4767. Four thousand years have passed since humanity abandoned its birthplace, the planet Earth. Beset by the hostile alien Gnosis, mankind is now scrambling to find ways to defeat this threat to their existence. The development of KOS-MOS (a specialized android with amazing capabilities) by Vector engineer Shion Uzuki was one response to the threat. But when their ship is destroyed by the Gnosis, Shion and her companions find themselves thrust into the middle of a battle with no clear sides...
People that have played the games will find this as a good complement to go with it. Though, those that have not played the games, should give it a chance before judging its worth by basing it off the animation and image above. This twelve part series is an adaptation of the first game of the trilogy, "Der Wille zur Macht"( The Will to Power).
Xenosaga is an epic story, which one could classify as a "Space Opera"; with its convoluted story that uncoils with time and patience. The final product of what we see as, Xenosaga, is an assimilation of allusions and innuendo pertaining to:
theistic, philosophical, pathos, ethos, and mythos undertones. It is no wonder, since the actual titles for the games that the animation is based off of are actually the titles of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical works/essays: Der Wille Zur Macht(The Will to Power), Jenseits von Gut and Bose(Beyond Good and Evil), and Also Sprach Zarathustra(Thus Spoke Zoraster).
Indeed, the intricate story will have allusions to themes of Gnosticism, Agnosticism, Christianity, Judaism, Animism and the theme of "Eternal Recurrence". All these themes are emphasized in Xenosaga's story; however, in my subjective point of view, it was executed quite well. The story ventures off to ask the age-old questions such as: "What is the meanining of our existence?", "What is happiness?", "Is there such thing as higher being(s) of existence?"; the abstract questions that cannot be merely answered sufficiently with one answer alone. The anime seems to dig deeper into the actual character aspect of it all, where some questions are answered that the game didnt clearly give. As was the case with Albedo. The anime generally sticks close to the major scenes of the games, but with some alterations here and there.
Where a brilliant and profound story shines radiantly, it is initially overshadowed by its animation style. To be honest, I wasn't to impressed with the art style and character designs they utilized for this anime, as it would seem a mutual feeling shared by a plethora of people besides me. The art style seemed to be in distinct contrast compared to the designs implemented in the game. Of course, the similarities of the two animation styles are still discernable; id est, you're still able to tell who Shion and KOS-MOS are, but in my opinion the animation was mediocre at best. Not to mention some of the animation for the fight scenes was repetitive at some points. Nonetheless, it gets the job done.
The soundtrack was superb in Xenosaga the Animation. The musical score was done by Kosuke Yamashita, and I have to admit, though some may condescend upon me for it, but I felt the music was on par with Nobuo Uematsu's works because it felt reminiscent towards the Final Fantasy Franchise when I watched the anime and played the games. The openining theme especially; I was already entranced by the music already, before the show even started. As for the actual SFX, it was decent because it seemed to match with the corresponding actions or effects.
There's a pretty colorful cast of characters, hitting many points of the character spectrum. We have the antagonist Albedo, a psychopath with a weird fetish for abusing these loli-like cyborgs(realians) known as the Kirschwassers; KOS-MOS, a non-sentimental android that prioritizes logic over fallible human emotion,yet with another side that's antipodal to this; Jr. a seemingly child-like character with insight that unveils the heart of the situation; Chaos the lachrymal being that possesses great power to destroy the Gnosis and wisdom that makes you wonder what the hell he is; et cetera. A wide range of characters; although, some typical, are interesting enough to keep you watching.
As they say,"Don't judge a book by its cover"; although, its a cliche saying, it applies strongly to this title. Overall, I enjoyed this series, and I hope they make adaptations for the other two games.
Ultimately, this is a title that doesn't deserve to be overlooked, and I think you should invest some time and patience into it. It's not much of a loss of you think negatively of it, seeing as it's only twelve episodes long as opposed to a twenty-four or fifty episode series. If you do decide to kick it to the curb, fortunately not to much time is lost, since you'll pretty much invoke a general opinion of it around the middle of the series. Anyways, if you've played the game it wouldnt hurt to watch this or vice versa.
Those who may have had a chance to play the Playstation 2 trilogy video game of the same name, might be surprised that the first Xenosaga... saga actually got an anime adaption. And you know what? Its pretty good!
Following the events from the first video game, some people may be surprised that it has been changed somewhat. While we do still follow genius technician Shion Uzuki and her mysterious android KOS-MOS, as they fight the alien threat known as the Gnosis. Along the way meeting new friends and enemies alike, trying to unlock the secrets of both the Gnosis as well the mysterious
events that are presently unfolding around them. Fans who are new to the Xenosaga series will find that this title is based soly on mysteries. More than half of the characters in this are not who they first appear to be, and as the story progresses the viewer will learn more and more about their origins. People who have actually played the video game will also be pleased that the anime adaption takes place somewhat differently from the video game. Some characters have been removed from the over all story, while others play a much larger role and given actual back story on. The character interaction is great, as many of the characters learn more of each other, followed by many eerie religious references, secrets and plot twists. The battles that take place are not all simply limited to "hand to hand" combat, some also take place in mecha style robots called A.G.W.S. Sadly though if you have never experienced the actual video game, you will be saddened at the fact that the anime ends with many things up in the air, and you will only learn the true story if you play the games themselves. Or perhaps if it is ever decided to bring a second season of this. Still, for fans and non-fans alike Xenosaga can be enjoyed by both at different levels.
This title contains some brief language, lite blood and creepy religious themes, just to be aware of its content. As some may find the latter quite offensive.
I was really disappointed in this category, because this title is in fact a 2005 release, yet the video quality of it is very poor, the character design shows age, and some of the battle scenes are a little choppy. Truly I don’t know what happened here, perhaps they were on some sort of budget when this was released. Now its not really all bad, while the character design is dated, they did do a pretty good job of detailing them pretty close to their video game counterparts. And really the story is what its all about!
The whole title opening flows in a sort of battle hymen at the beginning, considering this title has religious references it really comes as no surprise, while the ending is sung in this soft English lyric tone, I swear every time I hear it it saddens me. The background music does play in a sort of cool drum style action sequences, nothing really will stick with you, but its descent enough for the content. Sadly though no actual music from the game is present, and most are only made to mirror it of sorts. The voice acting was much better in Japanese, ADV did do a good job of bringing over the dub, but the Japanese audio feels more natural to the characters.
They are quite varied in their approach and style; from KOS-MOS cold like personality, to MOMO’s sweet and caring persona, to Albedo's psychotic intentions. All compliment each other and interact together quite well, and its usually their different personalities that cause a major part of the story’s conflict. Now being that this title is only 12 episodes long, some of the characters (even the main) you never really get to get acquainted with. Since it all boils down to KOS-MOS, Shion, Jr., and Albedo. Again, if you’re interested in learning more about them it would be best to pick up all three of the video games. They have been out for a while and are quite affordable at present. Speaking of which, all the characters themselves do retain their characters from them. With the exception of a guy named Virgil, he seems to have been toned down from his other wise more aggressive role in the game. The character' roles are so believable that you will love the ones you're suppose to love, and hate the ones you are suppose to hate. Some of them are so evil and wicked in their roles, that you will actually love to hate them!
Bottom Line: 7/10
Even though Xenosaga is plagued with poor animation, the story itself should be enough to get the viewer through the series. Its probably one of the better "video game to anime" adaptions out there, by no means perfect...but good for its short run. I recommend it for anime fans that like a story with mysteries complimented with appropriate plot twists. It can overall be enjoyed by fans and non-fans alike. Though due to some of its creepy references, it probably should be avoided by more impressionable audiences.
Being a huge fan of the Xenosaga universe it was bound to happen I would eventually give this anime a try and I must say I'm quite suprised. Those that have played the game will see changes however there not in bad taste and the changes make the anime flow smooth. To be honest I think it was well done for only being 12 eps they had alot to cram in that amount of time and they did it and made it fun to watch.
If you have not played the games don't worry its still worth watching in my option
Ugh. This was a tough one to finish. I've never played the video game but a friend lent me this, so I watched it in its entirety. I didn't even know it was a space themes anime until I got a ways into it.
I'm a sucker for space sci-fi. That is why I enjoyed this anime at all. The story was weak and farfetched and the character dialog and interactions were surreal and shallow. Don't expect much. If you like scifi, just enjoy it for its simplicity.