3 August 2006
So, I just recently finished watching Xenosaga (the animation). And I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it. For a bit of background information on the anime - Xenosaga the Animation is a twelve episode mini-series based on the popular game of the same name published by Namco, which in itself was a successor to Squaresoft's Xenogears. Just for reference, I've yet to play any of the Xenosaga games, so my perspective on the anime comes as a viewer without any real knowledge of the story or characters.
That lack of background may be the primary reason why it was really, really hard to enjoy this show. Intellectually, it should have been a good anime. It had all of the right ingredients:
- Lots of action
- Set in space in the distant future
- Cool plot with political intrigue
- Mysterious oblong Seele-like constructs with an unknown purpose
- High-quality animation
- Awesome, epic soundtrack that creates false emotional highs
- Humanoid robots with practically apocalyptic powers
Yet somehow, I couldn't bring myself to care. Maybe it was because there were just far too many characters for a new viewer to get attached to in the short span of twelve episodes � most successful mini-series usually only have four or five characters that they focus on at the most. Or maybe it was just the characters themselves - the only ones I really wound up caring about were the aforementioned female robots with apocalyptic powers, and my favourite character wound up being the super-weapon K0S-MOS that spoke in a monotone who I'm pretty sure was the last character you were MEANT to empathise with. Maybe it was because the characters just felt unrealistic - after all, you've got the head scientist who helped develop KOS-MOS being this passive bleeding heart. The bleeding heart bit was fairly well justified, but for someone who ought to be some sort of genius capable of developing a weapon of mass destruction, she seemed awfully dull. Furthermore, there weren't really any interesting character relationships properly portrayed, either - it was all very cut-and-dry, this guy likes that girl, everybody hates the villain, everybody on the same side are friends and support each other Saturday-morning cartoon sort of scenario which only furthered my detachment from the series. Like I said, a part of me wants to like it - it seemed to do all of the most important things right. But instead, as is often the case in many game-to-anime adaptations, I spent most of the time thinking that the game is probably awesome.
In all fairness, there were quite a lot of things to like about the anime. There were some very cool action scenes, and the show obviously had a decent budget as the animation was quite good, even for a mini-series. The audio was particularly noteworthy, with higher quality sound effects than what is normally found in an animated TV series and a great soundtrack that was used effectively.
Overall Score: 465,750 / 1,000,000. Not even close to the worst game-to-anime adaption I've seen, but it's nothing I'll ever revisit, nor recommend to anyone on a tight budget to buy. I probably would recommend that everyone goes and plays the game, though, even having not playing it myself. After all, if it's anything like the anime, it'll make a great game.