Xenosaga the Animation Vol. 1: ENTER THE GNOSIS (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 4, 2007 by  


ANIME: Xenosaga the Animation Vol. 1: ENTER THE GNOSIS

INFO: 4 Episodes, 100 minutes


AUDIO: English 5.1 Surround Sound, Japanese 2.0 with English Subtitles




Humans have abandoned the planet Earth after the invasion by the merciless Gnosis.

Welcome to the anime series “Xenosaga” based on the popular Namco RPG video game series on the PlayStation 2.

The story revolves around the character Uzuki Shion, a chief engineer of the Vector Corporation who is working on a top secret weapon (android) known as KOS-MOS, humankind’s latest resort to fight against the Gnosis.

The planet Earth is literally non-existent and during this time, humans and their android creations known as Relians co-exist in the universe. But of course, there are many humans who refuse to acknowledge androids as a separate living entity.

The Gnosis are after the Zohar , something that the crew of the Woglinde currently has and it leads the Gnosis to attack the crew of the spaceship Woglinde, the same ship that the main character Uzuki Shion is part of.

While the crew of the Woglinde are under attack, KOS-MOS android automatically switches on to defend Uzuki but as for defending the ship and Zohar against the Gnosis (which the android is programmed to do), KOS-MOS doesn’t do a thing.

Thus the first four episodes pretty much introduces many characters and follows the crew before and after the attack from the Gnosis.

If anything, I was a bit curious of how they would take a complicated storyline from the videogame (3 lengthy Xenosaga RPG videogames for the PS2) and try to make it to a 13-episode TV series.

But so far with the first four episodes, I found “Xenosaga” entertaining.

What I like about the series is it has a little of that “Star Wars” and new “Battlestar Galactica” type of feel to it. That being said, the series is quite complex and it may take several views to comprehend the storyline.

There are a lot of characters that appear on the first episode and almost similar to Sci-Fi hit series “Battlestar Galactica”, you have that complexity and you are introduced to many characters on both sides and it may be confusing at first, but once you get into further episodes in the series, everything starts to flesh out.

For “Xenosaga”, the same situation and by the third episode, you get a clearer picture of what’s going on and in this case, because so much happens within the Woglinde and then the ambush from Gnosis, characters are quickly whittled down but the main characters still remain.

As for the animation, this may or may not be a deal breaker for the video game fans who were so involved with the 3D characters of the video game series. I found the video game series beautiful, I found the animation pretty good but nothing awespiring.

My personal feeling is that with a storyline so complex and so many people and so many intricacies of science fiction, definitely would make it difficult for creators to have so much completed before airing on TV Asahi.

To tell you the truth, as an avid Japanese RPG gamer, I tend to say that the graphics are not as important to an RPG game, it’s the storyline and the overall gameplay.

So, for an anime series based on an RPG, I would probably like to see more focus on the storyline than the animation. Because of the complexities and the fact its based on an RPG, perhaps its why I’m so lenient when it came to the animation.

As for the voice work, I didn’t compare the voice work to the video game series but listening to both Japanese and English dubs, I found both to work quite well with the characters.

As for special features, surprisingly only the clean opening and ending animation. So, no commentary folks.


Now, can someone who hasn’t played the video game be into “Xenosaga” the anime series?

In my opinion, if you are looking for a sci-fi anime, then yes. Gamer or not a gamer, it really doesn’t matter. What if comes down to is if you enjoy an in-depth sci-fi anime series.

Because the storyline is a bit complex, it’s very hard to give “Xenosaga” a must-see recommend without watching the whole series completely and seeing if it’s worth the time to invest.

For me, because I enjoy the video game series and I enjoy sci-fi anime, I was pretty stoked to finally get a chance to watch “Xenosaga” the anime series.

The first four episodes are merely introduction of the characters and you have a sense that hell is going to break loose in future episodes.

But so far you are left with tidbits of information that drags you into wanting to see how the puzzle piece fits. Of course, not entirely cerebral in a “Ghost in a Shell” manner but I’m definitely interested to see where the storyline goes from the second volume on.
So, the best thing I can say right now is that if you are into complex sci-fi anime series or a fan of a sci-fi series such as “Battlestar Galactica”, then there is a good chance that “Xenosaga” is one adventure that you don’t want to miss.

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