wait i've got one better
LIVE STREAM OF XENOSAGA FREAKS!
Featuring myself, SpoonyBard, BEAT, and Fanboymaster! GAZE UPON XENOSAGA'S TRUE FORM AND DESPAIR!
... And now it's over. It'll be uploaded soon enough.
Last edited by GoggleBob; 01-06-2017 at 06:21 PM.
Last edited by BEAT; 01-06-2017 at 06:47 PM. Reason: VERY REAL VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION.
Xenosaga Episode 3 Special: The Xenosaga FAQ
While we wait for the stream to cycle through the ol' editing machine...
THE XENOSAGA FRANCHISE FAQ
Why isn’t Shion a gnosis?
The question that became so irrelevant, even the LP forgot about it.
In Episode 1, it was established that everyone who is touched by a gnosis becomes a gnosis. Also, we got to see Cherenkov, ya know, become a gnosis. Logically, it must only be a matter of time before Shion herself becomes a gnosis, as she was nearly saltified back on the Woglinde before KOS-MOS’s rescue.
And then… it’s never mentioned again.
… Or is it?
Okay, no, it’s not. It’s distinctly noted in the in-game XS3 database as a “mystery”, so it’s not like the franchise completely forgot about it. But what’s the deal? Presumably it has to do with Wilhelm’s final words regarding the gnosis, that they are people that rejected the universe. Following the general “lifestream” theory of a lot of videogame religions (and a few in real life), that seems to suggest that people only become gnosis if they truly desire to leave our reality and “the circle of life”. Basically, a gnosis soul is “unclean”, and needs to be purified with a gatling gun before it can rejoin the great flow of souls or whatever. Take that into account, and you may be able to claim that Shion, even at her absolute worst, would never want to leave the true flow of the universe, as that would mean leaving behind people she cared about, or at least KOS-MOS. Cherenkov literally begged to be alone and separated from the ghosts of his past before transforming into a gnosis, Shion never truly reaches that point.
Then again, as we know, an entire section of Xenosaga Episode 3 is dedicated to Shion reaching such a rock bottom that she summons all gnosis into the universe. So… uh… Hm.
So, with that said, it’s likely that the simple reason Shion never gnosifies is that she’s The Maiden of Mary Magdalene, basically a special soul, and she couldn’t get off this cycle of reincarnation and become a gnosis even if she wanted to. Maybe that’s the big secret behind why kiddy Shion was able to summon a gnosis: any other person would have just become a gnosis, but her special soul kind of broke the universe trying to wiggle out. It’s an amusing inversion of the typical “chosen one” narrative if that was intentional. Heroes don’t cry, Shion!
However, it is more likely that Shion just “can’t lose sight of herself” or she would become a gnosis. Nephilim makes mention of this a couple of times, so that’s probably the more “correct” answer.
Is MOMO at all important beyond the Y-Data?
Fun fact: MOMO and KOS-MOS are sisters.
First, and most obviously, MOMO was designed by Mizrahi, and KOS-MOS was initially primarily built by Kevin, Mizrahi’s apprentice. Neat!
But more interestingly, as Mizrahi explains during Episode 3, MOMO was built as a receptacle for Sakura’s soul. Mizrahi (apparently all on his own) had discovered that dead souls still exist in the UMN, so he built the Zohar Emulators and such with the singular purpose of dragging Sakura’s soul out of the UMN, and into a waiting MOMO body. However, he discovered that MOMO grew her own soul in the meanwhile, so he aborted his Sakura-soul plan, and seemed to content himself with MOMO.
KOS-MOS was built by Kevin for almost the exact same reason. With Wilhelm’s help and guidance, KOS-MOS was built to be a receptacle for the soul of Mary Magdalene, but Kevin experienced the same problem as Mizrahi: KOS-MOS had her own soul, and Mary seemed to vanish. Eventually, thanks entirely to Shion, Mary awakened within KOS-MOS, but the KOS-MOS soul remained, much in the same way that MOMO is constantly MOMO. By the end of Xenosaga, Mary has vacated KOS-MOS, so KOS-MOS is only KOS-MOS.
So, basically, MOMO went through everything KOS-MOS did a few years before KOS-MOS. And they were both built with similar technology. So it’s kind of a shame that they only interact, like, once over the course of the franchise.
What is the canon connection between Xenosaga and Xenogears? (spoilers for XG!)
Officially, there is no connection between Xenogears and Xenosaga. The creators have said that any connections are deliberate callbacks/easter eggs, but are not intended to be direct links. Jin, Shion, and Citan all have the same last name, but that’s a coincidence.
The Merkabah of Xenosaga Episode 3 looks a lot like the Merkava of Xenogears. And did you notice what happened to the Merkabah during XS3? That’s right: nothing. Despite the fact that The Brews seem to be only capable of exiting space craft opposite explosions, the Merkabah is not destroyed by the heroes during this episode. It’s still kind of, ya know, there. So the Merkabah is still in play.
This is important, because the start of Xenogears is predicated by the Merkabah within the Eldridge (an enormous spaceship) crashing to the Xenogears planet. But that’s just one piece, the Merkabah also needs Deus, a giant gnosis-looking god slug, and the Zohar Modifier, a giant, golden monolith with unimaginable power. And where is anyone going to get a Zohar at this point, anyway? The Zohar itself was presumably lost during the Zarathustra incident, and the only guy that could build Zohar emulators was Mizrahi. Well, there was that one extra Zohar emulator built over the course of XS3 (for Omega), and that was constructed by… Sellers.
And what happened to Sellers? Who knows, but he didn’t die on screen. The party did not attack him, and Sellers just hovered away. In fact, given his proximity, it’s entirely likely Sellers still has command of the Merkabah, and he’s the one guy in the universe capable of building a Zohar emulator.
According to Xenogears Perfect Works, the Deus system was built in response to an intergalactic war. It seems like getting a paranoid populace to build a giant space weapon would be right up Sellers’s alley, and then it’s just a hop, skip, and a crash to Xenogears.
So, basically, the opening flashback of Xenosaga Episode 1 was Xenogears Perfect Works’ Episode 1 (The discovery of the Zohar), and then all of the “present” Xenosaga was Xenogears Perfect Works’ Episode 2 (The creation of the Eldridge). It’s not official, but it “fits”.
And if it seems like a let-down that the main heroes of Xenosaga have nothing to do with the start of Xenogears, recall that it’s only because of Shion’s efforts to stop Wilhelm that time could progress to the era of Xenogears.
And, again, this isn’t “canon” as far as the creators say, but somebody went out of their way to guarantee the Merkabah and Sellers made it out of XS3 alive…
What is the canon connection between Xenosaga and Xenoblade Chronicles? (spoilers for XC!)
Either they’re completely separate universes (most likely), or Xenoblade Chronicles takes place waaaaaay the hell after Xenosaga, or Xenoblade Chronicles is somehow responsible for Xenosaga humanity leaving the Earth. The backstory of XC explains that Earth (and definitely “Earth”, not some other planet, the final area of Xenoblade Chronicles distinctly explores “our” solar system) was accidentally reformatted by some overzealous scientists to become the Xenoblade planet. Since Earth (Lost Jerusalem) is so central to the Xenosaga plot, but also completely unseen, it’s technically possible that Xenoblade could be taking place during Xenosaga, and Shion and company are going to return to Lost Jerusalem to find giant metal bugs and a naked boy with a magical sword. That’s gonna be a tough day. And it’s also possible that the creation of the Xenoblade planet happens after Shion (or a later “Shion”) rediscovers Earth, and, I dunno, trying to get the lights back on goes horribly wrong.
But it’s a lot more likely we’re talking about entirely separate universes.
Why are Shion and KOS-MOS in the Y-Data in Episode 1?
It was revealed during Episode 3 that Mizrahi’s Y-Data apparently has ancient Biblical origins, like Zarathustra. So, apparently, Mary Magdalene and Ancient Shion (The Maiden of Mary) dropped a few selfies in there for posterity. Albedo saw the gals in the Y-Data, but presumably what he “saw” was just his mind interpreting the two ancient women as the more familiar duo standing in front of him.
… Incidentally, it’s possible that the Y-Data was retconned as “ancient” just to explain away that plot point.
Which plot point/event either rumored somewhere or mentioned by soraya (or extend to missing year or anything else if needed) are you especially disappointed by not seeing in game?
Easy. This bad boy right here.
Or should I say bad girl?
It’s established back in Episode 1 that Shion should keep an eye on KOS-MOS, because you take your eyes off that bot, and she’s going to destroy your home planet in an effort to slay God. Come on, Shion, KOS-MOS shot Virgil earlier, and this is like exactly the same thing.
And then Episode 2 seems to be continuing that thread at its start. KOS-MOS gains the Tertiary Weapons System early in that adventure, and, oh smack, now she’s got the planet buster weapon/wings that she used to destroy Old Miltia in the flashback! Shion! Do something! This is going to end poorly!
And then Old Miltia resurfaces! And we’re going there! KOS-MOS wasn’t even supposed to come along, but Shion needed some help thanks to a Testament, and now here she is! No time to turn back now. Ugh, this is going to be rough…
And then…. Nothing. Old Miltia is destroyed, but it’s destroyed by Pope Jerkass. KOS-MOS doesn’t even wind up in a “will she/won’t she” situation. The only choice any party member makes is Shion agreeing to kill Cecily and Cathe, and, given the tone of that scene, it kinda looked like that was going to happen without her blessing. In the end, an entire planet is destroyed, and it’s destroyed entirely thanks to the machinations of a character that has been established as evil from his first moment.
Way to fumble at the finish line, Xenosaga.
To add insult to injury, Soraya Saga claimed afterward that the planet buster scene was supposed to be even more than we saw in the flashback, with Junior and Albedo working together to suppress U-DO, and KOS-MOS basically destroying the planet in an act of “Everybody shut-up, I’m going to take care of this”. In this version, Pope Jerkass continues to be a nobody, and actual party members (and their favorite villain) take a more active role in attempting to save and/or destroy a planet. And it allows for that great prophecy story telling trick of “Oh, KOS-MOS had to destroy the planet, it was the only way to save x.” Oh, and Junior would have powered-up enough to grow up during the scene, too, which would be an interesting beat for his character arc. It’s better than fratricide.
But, again, all we got was Bad Guy does Bad Thing. And then Good Guys Beat Bad Guy, and it turns out Bad Guy never had an impact on anything, anyway.
Oh, and did I mention that KOS-MOS barely exists in Episode 2? Sour taste all around.
What the HELL was up with the time travel LOL JK NOT REALLY TIME TRAVEL shit that made up a sizable chunk of episode 3?
First of all, as everyone likely already knows, there is no time travel in Xenosaga. Every single time the party has visited the past, it has been a simulation generated by the UMN. It happened during Episode 1 (“Memory Lane”), it happened during Episode 2 (Canaan’s initial dive with chaos and Jin), and it happened for the entire second act of Episode 3. The big difference in Episode 3 was that, in order to make the dive more confusing immersive, apparently the UMN (with a little help from Wilhelm and Kevin) sucked in the subconscious thoughts of the living and dead of everyone on Old Miltia, and created the most accurate simulation of the past ever.
This led to a sort of Star Trek: TNG Holodeck situation, wherein technically everyone (other than The Brews and Testaments) is “not real”, but the timeline “changes” as according to Shion’s interactions. For instance, as a result of Shion’s incarceration, Papa Uzuki is wearing different pants when he dies. However, to be clear, even though this simulation does not impact the “real” timeline, since dead people’s subconsciouses/souls are fueling this simulation, anything Shion does to “help” a person is somehow felt by the dead person’s soul… or… something? Like, that whole bit where Shion provides information to Mai on how her father died? That eased Mai’s ghost. So… good job, guys… I think.
And this entire simulation was just a plan by Kevin/Wilhelm to make Shion as stressed out as possible so she’d summon Abel’s Ark. Considering Shion’s… Shionosity… I feel like this could have been accomplished with a lot less effort by, I don’t know, knocking her ice cream off the cone.
That said, the “real” reason the entire time travel adventure happened is that Xenosaga needed a way to dive completely into Shion’s past “mythology”. Shion’s tragic past had been teased since the first episode, and “explore Old Miltia before it explodes” is a much better way to relay that tragedy than a series of static flashbacks or a cutscene or two. I posed the question earlier in the thread, but this entire act is ONLY here to fill in The Story of Shion, so if you weren’t already interested in Uzuki Mythos, this section is a complete waste.
But, yeah, long story short, it’s a playable novel about Shion’s childhood. The end.
So which Xenosaga girl is your waifu?
Screw it, I’m taking this question seriously.
First of all, it’s Shion, duh. She is clearly a giant nerd in her off hours (remember, she hooked up with Professor thanks to a mutual love of robot construction), and, let’s face it, she’s a fox. Look at that bizarre one-piece mesh thing she’s wearing as full body underwear in XS3. She knows she can pull that off with a peculiar fuzzy jacket that seems incapable of buttoning over even the most modest of chests. H-O-T. And before anyone points out the obvious, yes, I have dated crazier. I actually dated a woman that thought I might enjoy skiing. Skiing! Okay, whatever you say, Madam Crazypants.
And, look, I’m not proud of this, but when XS1 was released, I was a teenager that lived in separate area code from my actual, real-life girlfriend. Shion may have wound up equipped with the swimsuit armor for much of that game as a result.
Which brings me to an interesting topic that lies on the opposite end of the waifu spectrum: Xenosaga and Feminism.
Does Xenosaga pass the Bechdel Test? Yep! And it does from the absolute moment its heroine is introduced. I could say “the first scene” if it wasn’t for that silly bit about archeology that is never relevant again. Allen is our first male to be introduced, and, to say the least, he’s not exactly a shining example of the masculine ideal. From there, Woglinde Captain Anonymous, Virgil, and Cherenkov are introduced, and, if you haven’t noticed, there’s practically a thesis being conveyed by these initial male characters: dudes, in the Xenosaga universe, are useless. KOS-MOS is the most important woman/weapon in the universe, Shion is her creator, and Allen is the adorable lil’ “Assistant Chief”.
Consider that if their roles were reversed, Allena and Chief Uzuki would be sexist as hell. Allen as a pining little “senpai please notice me” assistant who is defined by his crush, and Shion as the strong, battle-ready weapons designer that keeps Vector and her creation in line… It sounds sexist… and kind of like a number of other stories, sci-fi or otherwise, out there in patriarchy land.
But this isn’t to suggest Shion and Allen are a simple “gender swap” of the typical hero/pining crush setup. Shion definitely displays typically feminine traits. KOS-MOS is here to be that “strong female character” that could easily be “write this character like a male action hero, but, ya know, with boobs”. Shion seems to take a female approach to things, and contrasts greatly with Junior, the “male lead” character that is only occasionally the lead. Junior thinks the only way to stop Albedo is through a bullet to the brain, Shion reacts like a woman (that is to say, an actual God damn human, as opposed to the “rational” male ideal) and is stressed at the mere thought of brother literally having to fight brother. And, while we don’t see it much past Episode 1 (which had the luxury of a “slow” plot), Shion does do her best to console fellow party members after harrowing experiences, like when MOMO first hears her dad might be an insane lunatic.
Again, I hate to ascribe “has emotions” as a strictly feminine trait, but could you ever see the typical Final Fantasy (male) protagonist having a heart-to-heart with the Rydia of the group beyond, “Hey, sorry I killed your entire family. It was an accident.”?
And, while we’re at the same scene, while the waters get more and more muddied as the franchise goes on, I can confidently say that Xenosaga Episode 1 is the rare “Mom Game”. The central conflict of XS1 is, basically, Shion trying to grapple with her newly activated daughter, and the finale of that experience is KOS-MOS twice potentially sacrificing herself for the benefit of Shion and the party. KOS-MOS, at the start of story, guns down a man simply because it’s convenient, and she’s got one person to protect, screw everybody else. Twice during the climax, KOS-MOS risks her own life to save not only Shion, but also the entire party. It would have been a lot easier to stick Shion in an escape pod and call it a day (like back at the Woglinde), but “mom” has imparted good family values on Small Wonder here, so the whole Elsa gets saved. And recall that KOS-MOS was going to kill the entire Elsa crew when they first met…
And Shion spends her beach vacation in a chair reading while the rest of the party parties. Total mom move.
Finally, the only confirmed, relevant romantic relationship in this franchise is the Shion-Allen-Kevin love triangle. And you could potentially interpret it as Allen “winning” Shion over rival male Kevin. But a more accurate interpretation should involve Shion and the fact that she is always choosing the man in her life.
Kevin is the wrong choice, but he’s Shion’s wrong choice to make. And when Allen “wins” Shion’s attention, it’s Shion finally choosing to see that Allen is more than a stinky onesie. Shion is the focus in all these situations, and it’s her choices that determine the outcome of that romantic entanglement. Shion isn’t a prize to be won, she’s a woman that is choosing between two men that are both very important to her, but very different.
And, yes, part of Shion’s problem with The Brews come Kevin-time is that they refuse to let her decide for herself, and are choosing for her. She’s a woman being treated like a possession by her well-meaning male friends (you’ll note KOS-MOS and MOMO are silent on the matter), and responds aggressively. A violent femme, if you will.
So I would note that Xenosaga is the rare feminist JRPG, as it is one of the few game franchises that features a female protagonist (two of ‘em!) that doesn’t exist simply as eye candy or an obvious “male protagonist in female protagonist’s clothing” situation.
But, that said, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Squall Leonhart was never in a situation where he was equipped with only a nightshirt and panties and his best special attack knocked him over…
Which one do you jeopardize your marriage with by nailing on the side?
Shelley. Girl is clearly a freak in the sheets.
Was it fun? Not this LP, writing all this up, or any of that. But the games themselves. Are they even fun to play?
Overall, as bonkers as it is, Xenosaga has an… interesting story. So if you’re interested in that, and sussing out mysteries is your deal, then, hooray, here’s a 60 hour mystery with generally disappointing resolutions. But it’s about the journey! And the journey, as a whole, ain’t bad.
That said, there are some frankly terrible bits across the franchise, like XS1’s Cathedral Ship and much of the dungeon portion of Memory Lane (“much” being the Shion/chaos segments). Those areas are just completely miserable slogs. And MOMO’s Subconscious Domain in XS2 is awful… just awful. In fact, much of XS2’s dungeon content is forgettable, and, frankly, the bonus dungeons would have been a better fit for the “real” game than the mandatory dungeons. And I swear this will be the last time I mention it, but XS2’s battle system can be… exhausting.
But, as I’ve also said, XS2’s battle system is a blast when it’s actually working as intended. When you’ve got a great “combo” going, it really does feel like when you’re “on” during a fighting or beat ‘em up game, and I feel like that was always the intention. And, ultimately, I feel like that sums up the Xenosaga franchise as a whole: when it’s a drag, it’s terrible, but when everything clicks, it is indisputably fun. I can’t in good conscious say, “Oh? Xenosaga? Well, dude, just keep playing it until X, that’s when it really gets good.” But I can say that, playing all Xenosaga games over the course of a year, I played for much longer sessions as the games progressed, and that was mainly because what was initially something of a chore became actually fun.
So, yes, the Xenosaga games are fun, they’re just deeply and blatantly flawed.
Would this game have been better as (just) an anime series or light novels or alike? Does “playing” Xenosaga enhance the narrative, or detract from the vision with gameplay concessions?
By my reckoning, there are maybe three places in Xenosaga that really benefit from the videogame format:
1. During XS1, when, after exploring the Woglinde during peacetime, the entire place is beset by unstoppable gnosis. It is a rare videogame that actually makes its mook-class monsters an actual threat to the universe, and sneaking around the Woglinde thanks to the fear of instant death really sells the menace the gnosis represents to the average Xenosaga resident. … That said, this all becomes moot when the gnosis become cannon fodder for the rest of the franchise.
2. Exploring Old Miltia in the past. Considering the lack of towns in this franchise, it’s striking to see “happy” Old Miltia, with its ice cream vendors and children losing balloons, when we’ve spent two whole games lamenting “destroyed” Old Miltia. It makes the whole tragedy that much more real, and I don’t see an adaption in any other medium taking the time to really flesh out that disaster with anything more than “oh yeah, there are birds chirping, but dark clouds are on the horizon”. I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for this bit (see also: time travel in Legend of Legaia), but I feel it really works here.
3. And, finally, Shion on the wrong side feels really wrong. It’s one thing to have a character do a heel turn, but it’s another to then enter a battle where they’re straight up an enemy. Sorry, Shion isn’t receiving any experience anymore, because she’s a bad guy. The whole scene moves way too fast to really consider the ramifications, but the initial “what’s happening here” is intense. … And it might be a little cathartic for the player, too.
But, that said? No, I don’t think the story of Xenosaga is enhanced by being a videogame. Yes, the player is likely to grow more attached to the playable characters that have been the focus for the last sixty hours of three different games, but that’s inevitable. Once we get past that, the story of Xenosaga is likely worse for being a videogame, as entire dungeons and side trips have to be created to fill out some arbitrary “we need to use the ESes more” requirement or something. And the whole party has to be present for battlin’ throughout the game, so MOMO is there past her expiration date because, uh, she was in the first one? But if the story doesn’t have anything for her to do… Well, it starts to raise more questions than necessary. Remember the first giant T-elos fight? Remember how most of the party just kind of stood there? “Ziggy has to be there” doesn’t do the character any favors when you’re stuck asking, “Why isn’t he helping!?”
Ultimately, the story of Xenosaga is not enhanced by being part of a videogame. This could be improved by including more events where it feels like the player is actually doing things to impact the plot, or perhaps including areas or scenarios that are only possible in videogames, but, with the story we have here, Xenosaga is lacking in a reason to be a videogame.
What hair conditioner does KOS-MOS use to get that silky sheen?
KOS-MOS’s hair is not human hair, but a careful assemblage of fur from Russian Blue kittens. Allen has been raising the animals for the last two years, and Shion trusts Allen thoroughly because he was able to so meticulously curate these fuzzballs. As a result, KOS-MOS’s hair doesn’t require conditioner, as kitten fur is the most bestest hair material in the universe.
Next time on Xenosaga: Well, you might have already watched it.
Xenosaga Episode 3 Special: Xenosaga Freaks
There is like six feet (re:inches) of snow outside today, so, ya know, plenty of time for inside activities.
Previously on Xenosaga: Hopefully the previous update provided all the answers, because now it’s time for all sorts of questions.
Xenosaga Freaks, mentioned briefly at the start of the Episode 2 portion of this LP, was a “promotional” Xenosaga game released in Japan a few months before the release of Xenosaga Episode 2. The Xenosaga Freaks disc contained some Xenosaga word puzzle games, a Xenosaga glossary of terms (which, you’ll note, is missing from XS2), a demo of Xenosaga Episode 2, and “Xenocomi”, a visual novel featuring The Brews killing time aboard the Durandal during some Episode 1 respite. For many years, this game was entirely out of the reach of American audiences, but some brave souls over at Xeno Underground not only translated much of the game, but also programmed the separate Xenocomi stories into simple executables.
Seriously, good job, Jintoki and Kare Reiko.
So, in the interest of covering absolutely everything about Xenosaga for this LP, I contacted Talking Time’s own BEAT about performing a video LP of this crazy bit of nonsense, and he was very gracious in helping me put together a stream of ludicrous twaddle with FanboyMaster and SpoonyBardOL. A recording of the stream is available here.
Since I technically stole BEAT himself for this gobbledygook, I’m also going to steal his general note format.
NOTES! WITH TIME ANNOTATIONS!
4:51 – Hey, this is my first video LP, so it takes us like 5 minutes to even start. Note also that, once again, democracy fails.
9:32 – It’s always hard to tell with a fan translation (to be clear, this isn’t a swipe at fan translations, I love fan translations, just, by definition, whoever the original writer was is not involved in the translation), but it appears that KOS-MOS makes a joke comparing the “death” of a dish washer to her murder of Virgil. Fun times ahead, folks!
11:32 – This is the first appearance of the breakout character of Xenocomi: Adjustment Tab. The glory of Adjustment Tab is all we can rely on in this broken world.
25:00 – A frank discussion about Allen occurs shortly before his actual appearance in the game. Such is the power of Allen. Also: magical butts.
31:00 – And now: cats. Spoilers, the plot of this little story is that KOS-MOS has been infected with a cat virus (delivered by kitty ears), and she now thinks everyone is meowing at her. Also, there’s a magical cat that only KOS-MOS can see. Whether or not this cat grants wishes is unknown.
34:00 – We’re about a half hour in, and KOS-MOS finally leaves her room. Break out the champagne.
36:00 – Ziggy doesn’t want to be involved in this garbage any more than we do.
38:00 – The canonocity of Xenocomi is discussed, and, yes, since KOS-MOS acquires cat abilities in time for XS2, this silly story is canon. KOS-MOS did nearly kill everyone in pursuit of an imaginary cat. Also, Masato Kato is discussed. Looking at the data now, it appears that Kato did not work on Xenosaga in any capacity, but he was likely responsible for anyone with cat problems in Xenogears and Chrono Cross. As far as I can tell, his alibi is that he was working on the lesser Mana titles at this time.
43:00 - Here’s about where Allen is nearly murdered, because, ya know, machine gun hands.
50:15 – The secret origins of this aspect of the LP: I just did not feel like screen capturing a shitty anime visual novel. Hasn’t Xenosaga taken enough time from my life? Also, I guess chaos can speak cat.
54:00 – BEAT explains his hatred of shitty anime visual novels while KOS-MOS destroys everything in her path. This seems appropriate.
58:16 – chaos is his usual completely unhelpful XS1 self, and a few bars from Sonic Adventure slip into the narrative. This should not be allowed.
1:00:00 – This… also should not be allowed.
1:02:00 – Captain Matthews does not have his proper headwear for this game, which is an affront to U-DO. We also discuss Adventurers, an old webcomic that I want to say led me to “Toastyfrog” in the first place. Hey, looks like the Adventurers archives are still available.
1:06:18 - KOS-MOS VS MOMO IN A BATTLE FOR ALL CAPS.
1:10:14 – It looks like KOS-MOS’s story doesn’t offer any details, but here’s the deal: Professor and Assistant Scott kidnapped Allen to stick the kitty virus on KOS-MOS, and, while KOS-MOS is wrecking up the place, Professor wants to check out the Zohar Emulators aboard the Durandal. That is, technically, the “main” plot of this story, but, as you can see, it’s barely touched in favor of whacky hijinks.
1:14:41 – And then MOMO wallops KOS-MOS with a frying pan. This was, oddly enough, foreshadowed.
1:16:47 – Xenocomi has the audacity to present a quiz at the end of the story. You can’t just become a game now, you stupid visual novel! As mentioned, the original Xenosaga Freaks came with a complete glossary of Xenosaga, so presumably the idea was that you’d memorize all that useless trivia, and then you’d pass this quiz at the end of a visual novel that dared you to maintain consciousness. I actually did find a FAQ while BEAT was talking… but apparently it didn’t apply to this specific translation/version, and I had to rely on my own Xenosaga knowledge. Oddly, at this point, I think I do know a bit of XS trivia.
1:21:20 - Here are the credits.
1:22:00 - And then we have a brief discussion of what the hell just happened. It is not in any way illuminating.
And that’s about it. We only played 1/7 of the game, as every other main character has their own path, and then there’s an Allen route, too. I, unfortunately, do not have the kind of stamina to play this “game” to completion, so you’ll just have to content yourselves with the KOS-MOS route.
And I want to, again, thank BEAT, FanboyMaster, and SpoonyBardOL for joining me in this nonsense. And special thanks, again, to BEAT, who urged me to actually get this stream going after I first floated the idea six months ago.
Oh, and final verdict on the Xenosaga visual novel of Xenosaga Freaks? Well, I had to use a thesaurus for the word “garbage” over and over again in writing this little outline, so that should tell you everything you need to know.
Next time on Xenosaga: Gimme that old time religion.
Ok so I never considered this during the stream Friday night, but now that I can actually HEAR the title theme song it was incredibly familiar.
Turns out I had the Xenosaga Freaks image song CD MP3s all this time, yet it wasn't on my full master MP3 list. Nearly everything I have is on that list, I don't omit anything, no matter how obnoxious. Yet it turns out I omitted those tracks. I guess they were just that bad.
Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning it now is that aside from the 'Xenopittan' title theme song from Xenocomi there are also three image songs for Shion, KOS-MOS, and MOMO. KOS-MOS and MOMO's songs have titles that you can understand (Love/Ai and Paradox respectively), but Shion's image song is titled 'Estrellita'.
So I guess that's another question for you GoggleBob, what the heck is an Estrellita and how does it relate to Shion?
Anyway I had a lot of fun on the stream even if I didn't speak up as much. I just regret that we couldn't simply start with Ziggy's scenario.
Bad Romance-language-ization of Estella+ita (common "feminine" ending conjugation), probably, which would loosely translate to "Girl From The Stars" in a real language?
Xenosaga: Was mißriert
(But yeah, what Erilex said)
Last edited by Positronic Brain; 01-08-2017 at 12:52 PM.
This appears to be the song in question. I have no earthly idea what is going on in the song, but I can tell you three things:
1. "Estrellita" appears to be repeated constantly, so I'm assuming there's some kind of "wishing star" thing going on. Like Shion singing to the star? Maybe for her robot? I have no idea.
2. This is horrible.
3. But oddly catchy.
Xenosaga Episode 3 Special: Xenosaga (and me) and Religion
Previously on Xenosaga: After over a year of writing (kinda) objectively about Xenosaga, I figure I’m entitled to one rambling, semi-autobiographical entry about Xenosaga and religion. This one is gonna be short on screenshots and heavy on words…
My first job was at a church. Specifically, it was a non-denominational, Christian church that was only open during the summer. Why was it seasonal? Simple: I lived (and live) in a shore community, and (while this isn’t strictly true) it’s generally assumed the area is deader than Jin the minute the beach becomes unviable. Restaurants close, entire swaths of the island are empty, and, in my youth, they even used to turn off the traffic lights the minute fall hit. It’s gotten better in recent years (mainly because the local chamber of commerce has done its best to extend the season in every conceivable direction), but, even now, that same church stops its Sunday services once the leaves start falling.
But during the summer? Then that church is popping.
This has always been “that church my grandmother goes to in the summer” to me, but it might be nationally famous. At the very least, it gets nationally famous speakers for every summer Sunday. In my first year working there, we had the spiritual advisor to Bill Clinton, the head organists for Radio City Music Hall, and Elizabeth Dole. And those are names I can remember off the top of my head. I’ve never been a big… Christian fan? Like, I don’t know who is big and famous in the evangelical circuit, and I don’t think I have any of the Earth’s Mightiest Methodists trading cards, but even I was able to see that this church was capable of corralling the titans of the Christian “industry”. Or maybe I just thought that because a few speakers required their own security detail…
Regarding my own job at the organization, though, I started as nothing more than a lowly weed-picker. There was a pile of manure with my name on it, literally, at one point. But I quickly rose in the ranks thanks to a combination of endless bragging and generally showing up on time more often than my contemporaries, and, before I knew it, I was the first “kid” working within the office of this church. I was the first web guru/network admin for a 120 year old organization. Woo! Also, to date this ridiculous story, my first task was to make sure the creaky MS-DOS database that contained the congregation’s contact information was updated to account for the upcoming Y2K bug. Sigh, memories.
Despite the seemingly national scope of this church, the office staff was generally limited. There was a “ruling body” of trustees, but they only met once every two weeks or so. The actual day-to-day interests of the church were managed by an operating president, vice president, accountant, secretary, and assistant secretary. There was also a complete grounds staff, but nobody let them inside. I was in that office, though, as, what, did you expect ‘em to keep the computers outside? Bah! I was inside with the big boys, and, as a result, was privy to all the goings-on of what keeps a nationally recognized church operating.
And it changed my outlook on Christianity forever.
Remember how I mentioned that this church got famous speakers from all over the world? Well, those people don’t just call you. A significant amount of effort was expended by the office staff “booking” these big names. Yes, some speakers were “locks” year after year, but there was still a lot of scheduling negotiation involved in even the “easiest” speaker. And then there were the fees involved. Some speakers, some good, Christian speakers, would preach the Word of God for nothing, or next to nothing. It was not uncommon for a speaker to ask for nothing more than airfare and a hotel room. Occasionally, a speaker would ask for those usual amenities, and some level of “base” fee, all the while making it clear that this is how he (inevitably “he”) lives, and it’s only proper to ask for a small donation. And then… then there were a few of the… “other” speakers.
I’m very deliberately not naming names in this article (or even completely identifying the name of the church, as you’ve no doubt noticed), but some particularly famous Christians would speak at the church, some even possibly from churches or ministries you might recognize, and their riders would be… in-depth. I can immediately recall one speaker that was internationally famous as a pillar of the Christian community… and his every appearance demanded a contribution of “the best hotel room available”, a limo from the hotel to the church, a stocked fridge of preferred drinks at the hotel and the church, a limo from the church to the beach after the service, and, of course, $3,000. This was a speaker that would get up every Sunday morning, preach about charity, love, and being a good Christian, and then hop into his limo so he could sip his favorite wine at the beach. Again, some speakers were free, but this guy would score 3K to open his mouth for forty minutes.
Oh, and there was the one time he reflexively spit on a random kid. That was something to see. Do not get that guy decaf. I think it was in the rider.
What I’m getting to here is that, in my teenage years, I learned something important about Christians: some of them are dicks. And I say that as a Christian (oh my God, I might be a dick, too).
I’ll say that again: I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ, and a healthy percentage of the Bible. I also feel like I have to immediately apologize for my beliefs, because, look, I’ve seen what’s happening to the polar ice caps, I know what’s going on with our environment, and I don’t believe the friggen garbage-based apocalypse is “all part of God’s plan”. But I certainly know Christians that do. I know Christians that will fight to the death to “defend the sanctity of marriage”. I know Christians that genuinely want to see practically all of what we consider to be science abolished. And I know Christians that think it is okay to literally kill to protect fetuses. I… I don’t even know the proper word to use here… I‘m “ashamed”? It’s something like that, but can shame also contain pride? How sinful is that? Whatever the case, I suppose I’m ashamed to be part of a group that is so publicly (and in some cases, proudly) holding back societal progress. Is it a catch-all shield to defend prejudices and indolence, or is it genuine beliefs fueling hate that could last for centuries? Does it matter? In the end, it’s assumed that if someone is willing to say, “I’m a Christian”, then it’s likely going to be followed by, “And that’s why I believe you should have fewer rights.” Paraphrasing.
And, in a weird way, working at that church taught me that that’s… okay.
To revisit the speaker that would require $3K to publicly cough, he was one of my grandmother’s favorite speakers. Since the time I was like ten, my grandmother would tell me about this great minister, and would drag me along to her church every time he spoke. My grandmother was not a very excitable woman, but she would get genuinely enthusiastic about this guy, and, if you believe in being “filled with the spirit”, this guy did it for her (phrasing). I’ll reiterate that this guy once spit hot coffee on a random teenager, and then offered a half-hearted apology that sounded more perfunctory than anything, but my grandmother, someone I genuinely trusted and admired, thought he was the greatest thing since a bowlful of M&Ms. So here was a guy that was a complete asshole behind closed doors, but a perfect Christian pillar for the community. And here I was in the middle of that, trying to reconcile the holy man with the asshole jerk.
And that’s when I realized the moral of this article: there are good Christians that are good people publicly and privately, and there are “good” Christians that are good people publicly, but terrible people privately.
And Xenosaga seems to understand that.
Here’s a fun fact about Xenosaga: there are only Christians and atheists in this cast.
Okay, that’s not exactly true. While it’s not outright stated, Jin Uzuki appears to be a practicing Buddhist. And, while that doesn’t preclude him from having additional Christian beliefs, it’s pretty clear he’s the only guy in the universe with beliefs that aren’t wholly Christian. The rest of the party (save chaos, Shion, and KOS-MOS) seem to be confused by key passages from the Bible, so they’re theoretically not Christian, and, considering they don’t seem to express any other beliefs, we’ll just label them as atheists. Actually, Junior was born and bred to kill God, so he might be agnostic.
But the bad guys? Almost all of them are Christian, albeit a future, perverted version of Christianity. Margulis, Pellegri, Richard, and Hermann are all completely willing to die for their faith, which, again, is stated to 100% trace back to “the Messiah”. Albedo quotes the Bible regularly, and, while it may just be an affectation to match Junior’s “well read” mentality, he is shown to have a certain weakness for holy imagery. And Wilhelm, like chaos, was a contemporary of Jesus, and started the whole Ormus thing that got (his form of) Christianity through the cosmos. You’re still spreading the faith even if you’re spreading a slightly murderous version of it… right? Even Virgil seems to come around to the cross thanks to Feb, and it’s clearly implied by his final fate that he’s found some form of “the Light”.
But this is all par for the course with a JRPG, right? “Fighting an evil religion” is a trope practically as old as the medium itself, and it’s never a surprise when the final boss of a JRPG is “god”. It’s just normal progression, right? Fight a few cardinals, move up to the pope, and then battle god for supremacy of the universe. Afterwards, it’s revealed that god was really holding humanity back, and everybody goes out for fajitas. See also: Breath of Fire 2, Final Fantasy 10, and, I dunno, Demon’s Crest. Wait, which one lets you kill god with a chainsaw?
Except Xenosaga does a few things differently.
For one, this is not some random “mythological” religion, this is Christianity, complete with a guest appearance by Jesus. And this isn’t even a Final Fantasy or Neon Genesis Evangelion situation, where names and themes are reused, but it really has as much to do with Christianity as Quetzalcoatl and Odin ruling over the world of Final Fantasy 8. You’ve got “the lance that pierced Jesus on the cross”, but it’s a giant pitchfork that is capable of being hurled at the moon by a giant robot? Okay, guys, sure. I’ll check the Bible for that bit about an angel that is a bulbous black orb sent to menace teenagers with Oedipus complexes. What’s important in Xenosaga is that this isn’t The Church of St. Generic Badguy, it’s Christianity, with crosses and Bibles and an apostle or twelve.
Which actually neatly brings me to my next point. The Zohar and Zohar emulators of Xenosaga are gracefully named after Jesus and his twelve apostles. At first blush, this seems like another Eva-esque bout of “hur hur, here’s some religious symbolism for you”. However, as the plot progresses, we find that the Zohar was studied extensively by Joachim Mizrahi, and he built the twelve Zohar emulators. And named them. And why did he name them after the apostles? Simple: he’s a devoted Christian, and figured devices meant to speak to God may as well be named after people who literally spoke to God. Mizrahi is, basically, a Jesus fanboy.
And that’s important.
Dr. Mizrahi is Christian, and he’s a good guy. And a scientist! Febronia is Christian, and she’s a good guy. And a Realian! chaos is Christian, and he’s a good guy. And a party member! And Shion is Christian, a good guy, and the main character! Oh my gosh, we’ve got bad guys that are Christians, and we’ve got good guys that are Christians. It’s almost like it’s reality!
And, yes, there are shades of gray even in the good guys. Mizrahi decided to endanger an entire planet for the sake of potentially saving the universe, and he was believed to be a mad man for decades. chaos is constantly doubting himself, and people around him have suffered for it. And Shion… well, I think I already threw a couple thousand words at how she’s got problems dealing with friends and enemies. There are good people in the Xenosaga universe, but they’re flawed, and they’re incidentally Christian. Feb seems to be the only “immaculate” Christian in the bunch, but we mostly only see her through the eyes of her child protégé (Shion) and lover (Virgil), so it’s likely she’s just as much of a sinner during her time off. And she did spend most of her afterlife advocating for the death of her sisters, which seems morally dubious.
So, yes, Xenosaga is a JRPG where Christian symbolism is common, and eventually, yes, you fight a controlling “god” for the right for humanity to live a truly free existence. But what’s different here is that there are NPCs and party members that are Christian, and they all express their faith in different ways. Shion and Margulis believe in the exact same savior, but Shion tries to help the living while Margulis fights to be a martyr. Mizrahi seemingly came to his faith while trying to cope with the death of his daughter, while Pellegri sees her religion as an inescapable, inherited fate. And chaos, the guy that actually got to pal around with Jesus Christ, has apparently spent the last 6,000 years as a directionless loner, but, thanks to Christian teachings, at least tried to do his best as a friendly fellow during his off time.
chaos believes in a universe that involves the freedom of… chaos. chaos believes in a world that could equally love or crucify a savior, just so long as it is the choice of the people involved. That… sounds vaguely familiar.
So Xenosaga does something different from most JRPGs: it actually takes the time to examine the faiths of both sides. It doesn’t blanket call religion bad, nor does it make every religious member of the party a perfect example of heroism. Christians in Xenosaga are like Christians in the real world, simply people trying to do what they think is right. Some of these people are obviously wrong, but that doesn’t change their faith, or what they believe. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, they can still inspire others, they can still spread their principles, and, end of the day, they can still say they believe in the same Messiah. There are all kinds of people, good and bad, that believe in the same things, and Xenosaga isn’t afraid to show both sides.
You slay a lot of gods in JRPGs, but it’s rare that you find characters that believe in something. Yes, usually there are the old standbys like “friendship” or “the resistance” or “for GP”; but consider that your average JRPG hero is in a literally life or death situation. Isn’t it a little… odd that you have no idea what Cecil Harvey believes will happen to those black mages he killed? Is it a little odd that 21 year old Cloud Strife is introduced to the concept of an afterlife a few days into a world tour with random eco-terrorists? The world of Final Fantasy 13 has an army of random gods, so Lightning kills ‘em, and then we’ve got two games and 1,000 years where, what, people just believe in sexy sisters that turn into motorcycles? That is a poor foundation for a belief system.
Xenosaga gives you people that believe in a religion, and it gives you good people and bad people that believe in that. And you’ve got people, good and bad, that do not believe in that. And, in the end, neither side is right or wrong for their beliefs, they’re heroic or villainous for what they do with those beliefs. Like in reality, beliefs and religion are just one aspect of a person.
And, yes, in real life there are people that will try to limit your rights because of their faith. There are people that will try to tell you that Jesus saves, and that includes the o-zone layer. There are pastors that absolutely will spit on your friends because they got the wrong coffee. These people might be terrible, and you absolutely should fight against them, but that doesn’t make everything they believe in wrong. Faith is different for every person, and every person is different. Christianity itself is neither good nor bad, but the people that believe in it can be.
Oh, and what I learned at my first job? There are Christians that can be dicks, and it’s your responsibility to be one of the good ones. Always do your best to be a chaos, not a Wilhelm. That’s what’s going to make the universe a better place, regardless of your faith.
Next time on Xenosaga: Xenosaga, where are they now?
All I can imagine now is someone paying $3000 plus amenities to hire GoggleBob to speak about Xenosaga. Can we make that a stretch goal on our next server fundraiser?
not to be "that guy" but wouldn't junior be specifically gnostic because he is intimately aware of the existence of a god? I would guess he's just like... an aspiring atheist?
anyway, this is partially the reason why i got really into xeno stuff when i played them. Around the time i played xenogears (and xenosaga) was when i was starting to grow away from the church (raised catholic, private schools and all that), and coincidentally enough was also getting real into freud/jung/lacan so it felt right to play it. So then by the time i started Xenosaga I had also just finished brothers karamazov and while takahashi/soraya/et al aren't dostoevsky (because no one is), I think the absolute best reading of the game comes from how it deals with religion on a personal/existential/self reflective level. like, NGE comes too personal and makes religious symbolism nothing but a medium, while final fantasy 10 makes religion to explicit as a societal institution. Xenosaga is flawed and ugly and distracted but it's still reasonably human in its approach towards conflating comfort in belief and skepticism as it affects the self. I still ended up passively renouncing my religion but it's still a triology that makes me, idk i guess understand the power and reason of it.
Also, it's probably influenced me to just appreciate games more, as i think it's a masterclass lesson of "game narratives are maybe essentially flawed for certain stories, but there's a certain art in embracing those flaws to make it more human and conflicted" or something.
Well said all around.
And I particularly like the idea of Junior being an "aspiring atheist".
Xenosaga Episode 3 Special 4-1
Turtle, I'm glad you asked, because, while I can't speak to the plot of XB2, I can probably tell you what it might be like, because...
Previously on Xenosaga: Xenosaga is over, folks! There are no more games left, I’ve said everything about the franchise I want to say, and I don’t think we’re going to be seeing Xenosaga HD in time for the Christmas season. It’s done, folks!
But just because a franchise ends, doesn’t mean it’s completely forgotten. Xenosaga has sent its tendrils far past its own release, so we’ll be spending this, the final update for this LP, looking at the games that Xenosaga, in some way, touched.
If you see a game’s title in bold text, fair warning, there are likely to be spoilers.
Now let’s start with the most obvious entry, the immediate sequel to Xenosaga…
Final Fantasy 13 (12/17/09 Japan, 03/09/10 USA) Playstation 3/Xbox 360
Wait… no. That’s… that’s not right. Final Fantasy 13 is an entry in the Final Fantasy series, and has nothing to do with Xenosaga.
I mean, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that there’s a six person party with an even gender split…
Including a suicidal father figure…
A pink haired girl that blames herself for a tumultuous past…
A heroine that is known for being cold and taking no prisoners (who incidentally will always be on the cover)…
A lot of… friendly… hugging…
The occasional mech to ride…
A universe supported by magical, god-given technology (that won’t be around without those gods)…
“Monsters” that are just people that have been mutated into fantastical, terrifying forms…
And by the time you get down to a white haired boy named after an abstract concept, it starts to get a little uncanny. Okay, a lot of stuff in Final Fantasy 13 you could probably attribute to “just where the JRPG was going”, like dropping the “vestigial” towns, a completely mandatory in-game wiki…
Shops being tied to save points…
And a level up system based on pouring tech points into random nodes until you score another +100 HP buff…
But there’s a lot in Final Fantasy 13 that seems to be straight-up Xenosaga, like the “stagger” system that looks a lot like an evolved version of XS2’s “break” system…
And a finale that includes fighting “god”…
To “save” a world that winds up getting pretty damn ruined. But it’s okay! Humanity is in control of its own destiny, now! We’ll get the magical, convenient world back up and running again.
But, more than anything, Final Fantasy 13 seems a lot like Xenosaga because its best bits are not when it focuses on a mythology that requires cliff notes for its cliff notes, but when it focuses on the connections between the people in the party. The whole sprawling story of destroyed planets and ancient prophecies is cool an’ all, but the truly important part of it all are the bonds within the party, and how two women wind up saving everyone through their love.
Just sounds familiar is all…
Okay, enough speculating, let’s look at where Monolith Soft went after Xenosaga.
Xenoblade Chronicles (06/10/10 Japan, 04/06/12 USA) Wii
Xenoblade Chronicles was released (almost exactly) four years after Xenosaga Episode 3. I’m not going to cover that whole game, but we can take a quick look at the Xeno similarities in the title. Like how, once again, the final boss is a “god” that claims to know what’s best for humanity…
Oh, and the main character is Jesus.
Thematically. Not literally this time, sorry. But he’s the son of god, born with unimaginable power that he doesn’t understand, and winds up fighting/saving the world for the good of humanity. Look, I’m not saying the New Testament would have turned out differently if Jesus Christ had a magical sword that could only damage giant metal bugs, but, well, food for thought.
The rest of the party also hues pretty closely to the Xenosaga character templates: Dunban is Jin and Ziggy rolled into one. Mela is our stock “young girl” that is way too smart and far too responsible. Reyn believes he’s an action hero from a totally different genre (but is still generally reliable). Sharla feels kind of original, because it’s not like there’s anyone in Xenosaga that is motherly, concerned with helping people, and is pining after a lost love. Riki the Heropon is clearly what would happen if Bunnie AI escaped and ran up a significant grocery bill.
Oh, and it was mentioned in the FAQ, but Xenoblade for absolutely no reason has distinctly earthly origins, like Xenosaga. The Xeno series seems to have a thing about avoiding the typical “fantasy” universe.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that the Faced Mechons didn’t bear a general resemblance to the AMWS/ESes of Xenosaga…
CONTINUED NEXT POST
Xenosaga Episode 3 Special 4-2
Or that the telethia bear a general similarity to the gnosis in looks, purpose (sickening monsters that were once people), and abilities (magically intangible vs. magically telepathic).
As far as “how it plays”, the Xeno franchise is never going to be able to avoid its origins as a cutscene delivery service…
But the battle system in Xenoblade is robust and, most importantly, actually fun. The whole topple system also bears a striking similarity to XS2’s break system, and agro actually making a difference seems to be a natural extension of XS3’s heat abilities.
Also, while “first town gets destroyed” is a pretty stock JRPG event, the opening siege of Shulk’s hometown seems very analogous to the opening siege of the Woglinde during XS1. There’s even the “joy” of every battle being practically impossible before securing the ultimate weapon (Monado in Xenoblade, KOS-MOS in Xenosaga) that reinforces the power of your opponents. Neat!
Also, much like Xenosaga (and Xenogears, for that matter), the world gets absolutely wrecked over the course of the adventure, so don’t expect to be able to revisit every last town by the finale.
Metal Face seems like a stock Xenosaga antagonist: he’s super-powered practically by accident, completely obsessed with a random party member, and ultimately turns out to just be a giant, disposable pawn in the grand scheme of things.
Fiora…. Fiora we’ll talk about more later, but for now, I may as well just say “reverse KOS-MOS”.
And her mech bears a bit of a resemblance to KOS-MOS’s ES Dinah.
And you can’t tell me the same people responsible for Swimsuit Shion fights God weren’t responsible for Half-Naked Shulk saves the World.
I have to say, after disparaging Xenosaga and Xenogears both for “Monolith Soft has no idea how to make a properly paced videogame”, I must applaud Xenoblade Chronicles for being a complete, properly constructed game. Having experienced the previous Xeno games, I’m inclined to believe that someone new “cracked the whip” to forge Xenoblade into a complete game experience, but, whatever the origin, Xenoblade Chronicles isn’t nearly the… mess that defined its ancestors.
Super Smash Bros. For Whatever (09/13/14 Japan, 10/03/14 USA) 3DS/WiiU
As you’ve no doubt noticed, I used a few images from Super Smash Bros 4 there, as Xenoblade’s Shulk wound up being part of that cross-over event.
Shulk is a more tactical smasher, which I suppose is supposed to highlight his JRPG roots.
Incidentally, Nintendo owns a controlling share in Monolith Soft, so it’s probably not too hard to guess how Monolith Soft’s latest (at the time) hero made it into the roster.
But I’m sure there’s no ill will against Monolith Soft’s old bosses at Namco.
Speaking of Nintendo, Shulk got his own Amiibo.
And it works not only in Smash Bros, but also Mario Maker…
Where it may always be Shulk Time…
And Yoshi’s Wooly World, where it earns Yoshi a kicky vest.
The main reason I bring this up is because, in a manner of speaking, it seems like Shulk and the Xeno franchise has “made it”. I mean, ya don’t see Final Fantasy headlining new system Nintendo Directs. Xenogears started this whole mess with a Chrono Trigger cameo and some sideways glances at Final Fantasy 6, and now Shulk is appearing right alongside titans of the gaming industry like Mario and Pikachu. Makes you almost feel bad for the Xenosaga cast, as the best they ever got was Pac-Man appearing on an awning.
Oh, screw it. I was going to look at some of Monolith Soft releases from the years and compare them to Xeno releases old and new, but that sounds boring (and I didn’t want to play Baten Kaitos again anyway…). Let’s look at the Xenosaga cast, and see what they got up to during their time off.
Namco X Capcom (05/26/05 Japan) Playstation 2
Namco X Capcom was released about a year after Xenosaga Episode 2. At the time, Monolith Soft was still in Namco land, and somehow they became responsible for this Capcom/Namco cross-over TRPG-lite.
First of all, without question, no game could possibly live up to the excitement of this game’s opening attract movie.
And, look, it’s KOS-MOS! And Mega Man Dash! And Strider! And Captain Commando! And they might have blown up a planet! THE ENTIRE REST OF MY LIFE IS CRAP COMPARED TO THAT GIF!!!
Also, there’s a brief shot of “damaged” KOS-MOS during the intro that seems to foreshadow her final XS3 fate.
Anyway, the game itself is kind of a bummer. It’s a TRPG with pretty basic (re:boring) mechanics, and the main appeal of the game is that OMG Mega Man can fight against M. Bison and then Dig Dug can high five Klonoa. Unfortunately, the minute to minute of the gameplay is boring as hell.
CONTINUED NEXT POST
Xenosaga Episode 3 Special 4-3
But the game starts on the Elsa with Allen, Shion, MOMO, and KOS-MOS hanging out. Note that even though this game was released after XS2, the general timeframe (and fashion) seems to be based on XS1. I mean, it’s a crossover game, it’s all non-canon and whatnot, but just something to note.
Anyway, the plot of Namco X Capcom kicks off when the heroes of the piece, Anime Boy and Fox Girl, encounter some gnosis in their “generally present Tokyo” setting. The gnosis are just as intangible/invincible as they are in the future, so things get dicey before…
KOS-MOS, Shion, and MOMO are teleported to X-World (or whatever it’s called). KOS-MOS hilberts the gnosis, and the first official level begins.
KOS-MOS attacks as a single combatant.
While Shion and MOMO work together as a combined battle unit.
KOS-MOS has got her X-Buster for special attacks.
And Shion utilizes her Lunar Blade “deathblow”. MOMO just hangs back, I suppose.
And I’d love to tell you more about Namco X Capcom, but its gameplay is boring as hell. And, while I absolutely love that some dedicated fans translated the whole experience into English, the translation is incredibly dry. Again, huge props to the translators for this worthwhile undertaking, but, ugh, I have better things to do than play this TRPG for hours to see if Albedo ever shows up. Let’s assume not, and move on.
SoulCalibur 3 (11/23/05 Japan, 10/25/05 USA) Playstation 2
We’ve got one Namco joint that featured a Xenosaga character, and it’s SoulCalibur, a series practically known for its guest characters. Joining the ranks of Ezio, Yoda, Link, and Spawn…
KOS-MOS makes the scene.
Technically, KOS-MOS isn’t a guest character in SoulCalibur, but all of her “pieces” are available in the create-a-character mode.
She’s KOS-MOS V1 again. XS2 was released at this point…
Though since she’s part of the create-a-character mode, you can take some liberties with the finer details.
Or colors. Can you invent T-elos before her official premiere?
Unfortunately, she doesn’t get her own chaingun-based fighting style. You can get a pretty reasonable punch/kick thing going with the bladed shoes weapon, though.
Or maybe the tonfas would be more appropriate?
Or the scythe? That’s canon!
Whatever the case, you can’t get a proper “robot voice” going, so winning a battle totally ruins the immersion.
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga Endless Frontier (05/29/08 Japan, 04/29/09 USA) Nintendo DS
Back to the Monolith Soft side of things, we’ve got… I’m not typing that title again. This one is relevant for being the first Xenosaga crossover game released after XS3 aka the end of the franchise. This one is actually a JRPG spin-off of a giant robot TRPG. On the plus side, I don’t have to suffer through another slow ass TRPG, but on the downside, no giant robots. Just regular sized robots. Boo.
SRTOGSEF starts off as a pretty typical sci-fi JRPG that seems generally reminiscent of 16-bit adventures like Phantasy Star. It gets a little more interesting when a certain tan android shows up.
And she manages to summon a gnosis.
Oh yes, SRTOGSEF has a pretty amusing sense of humor throughout. Granted, like half the “jokes” amount to “ha ha, that character has breasts,” but you have to respect a gnosis goblin that would like to start the battle now, please.
Eventually, Anime Boy and Fox Girl from Namco X Capcom join the party. And then, about 25% through the game…
The party encounters a certain “coffin”.
KOS-MOS appears! Fox Girl actually recognizes our favorite android from Namco X Capcom.
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Xenosaga Episode 3 Special 4-4
This time, they actually try to wedge the crossover into an actual bit of continuity. Technically, KOS-MOS is visiting SRTOGSEF after T-elos destroyed her on the Floating Continent, but before she reawakened to defeat Black Testament. It’s… kinda canon?
And KOS-MOS is in a sort of oscillating KOS-Mary state. This is technically before Mary awakens, but you see the ol’ blue eyes switch a lot more in this game that you ever did in Xenosaga proper.
Anyway, KOS-MOS officially joins the main party, and, if you didn’t know her origins, you might think she was just a random android created for this game. Her basic role in the plot seems to be being the Spock/Data of the party, and she spends most of the time as the straight (wo)man and the person constantly telling you the odds.
Though I’m pretty sure she gets in on the fun a little bit with an aborted Avenue Q reference…
But who cares about her role in the dialogue, let’s talk about the battle party. Hey! Who let an Asura unit in here!?
As you might expect, KOS-MOS is pretty powerful.
And she’s got the Hilbert Effect for messing with robots.
And she may have borrowed a sword technique from her best friend, too.
Speaking of borrowing, KOS-MOS’s unique equipment is a bevy of easter eggs for Xenosaga fans. You can’t actually see any of this gear, but here’s Shion’s arm thingy for sale.
This is presumably KOS-MOS’s final swimsuit (which was provided by a guy that claimed it was really sexy).
Let’s assume this is Shion’s outfit, and not Allen’s…
But this is definitely Shion’s.
Oh, KOS-MOS’s collar had a point this entire time?
These are the cat ears that Professor invented during Xenosaga Freaks. We’re never speaking of Xenosaga Freaks again.
And here’s Shion’s necklace. Hey! She needs that to reset the universe!
But the real fun in this game is T-elos.
T-elos gets to be a recurring rival throughout the game.
Obviously, her main target is KOS-MOS.
And she’s just as… T-elos as ever.
KOS-MOS seems a little more… aware of T-elos’s plans this time around.
And T-elos is slightly more transparent about her intentions and disdain for KOS-MOS.
And she gets to reprise her fight cinemas in adorable sprite form during battles.
A lot of battles, as SRTOGSEF is extremely fond of reusing boss battles with slightly different configurations.
Eventually, she joins forces with Sayai, the main villain of Namco X Capcom, and earns a new nickname.
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Xenosaga Episode 3 Special 4-5
As you might expect, T-elos and KOS-MOS aren’t allowed to resolve anything, because this is a crossover game, and you’ve gotta save the big payoffs for the game that actually concluded their rivalry like three years ago.
We do get a reprise (or preview?) of KOS-Mary’s important anti-T-elos dialogue, though.
So T-elos kind of anticlimactically leaves the SRTOGSEF universe after losing a battle.
And KOS-MOS stays with the main battle party until the ending, as is proper to a JRPG heroine.
And then KOS-MOS returns home during the finale. She barely gets a denouement at all, but it’s not like SRTOGSEF is all about the characters, so no big loss.
I don’t usually do this, but considering I’m just coming off the Namco X Capcom fan translation, I have to really hand it to the localization team for SRTOGSEF. There are a lot of accurate, perfectly translated references to Xenosaga materials that never saw western shores, and even the Final Fantasy franchise can’t seem to keep some of its translations straight on that front. Also, I wouldn’t want to be the guy that had to proofread so many lame boob jokes…
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Mugen no Frontier EXCEED (02/25/10 Japan) Nintendo DS
KOS-MOS also apparently returns for the sequel, too.
See, there she is, part of the intro.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an English translation of this game (there’s one for the menus, but not the actual dialogue), and I can’t find any sort of plot synopsizes or what have you. Probably just as well, as the intro seems to portray this game as some kind of bathing simulator.
But KOS-MOS is definitely there! Maybe one day we’ll know what that’s all about.
Project X Zone (10/11/12 Japan, 06/25/13 USA) Nintendo 3DS
And she’s definitely here, in Project X Zone, the sequel to Namco x Capcom, too! Look, I have no idea how videogames get made, but I can safely say I have no idea how this one happened. At this point (2012), Monolith Soft was/is firmly a division of Nintendo in some “controlling share” fashion. However, this is totally a Namco game, with some Capcom and Sega sprinklings in there. There are no Nintendo characters (or management) involved, though it is on a Nintendo system. Maybe that’s the excuse that got Monolith Soft working with Namco again? Whatever the case, I have to assume MS jumped on the opportunity, as it granted them access to old, established MS characters that incidentally are owned by Namco.
Like its prequel, this game’s intro is so much more promising than anything contained therein.
And they finally paired up KOS-MOS with Megaman X! They got my letters!
They’re making elevators interesting again!
This was probably established in the previous Namco X game, but apparently all the “crossover” universes are kind of smooshed together by date, so Tron Bonne and Mega Man Dash are contemporaries of Captain Commando and KOS-MOS. Obviously, this is completely insane, as Captain Commando takes place in the future of Metro City of Final Fight, which is on Earth, and Earth cannot be accessible in the Xenosaga mythology and oh God what has my life become?
Like in SRTOGSEF, T-elos is introduced first, and she is the enemy boss for Level 3, a mall that leads to some…
And KOS-MOS isn’t around, but she’s T-elos’s goal. I could see confusing KOS-MOS for Tron Bonne, they’re both from franchises that are never coming back.
And the gnosis are mooks again. Since I haven’t mentioned it yet, yes, Project X Zone is another light TRPG that relies on the crossover cast/situations, and has all the gameplay depth of a game of checkers. That said, I will play a lot of any game that involves servbots and Frank West.
After seventeen stages or so, the cast eventually finds their way to the Woglinde. The whole “theme” of this game is that places and people are coming back from the dead, so the good ol’ Woglinde seems like a fine representative for “places in Xenosaga that no longer exist”. Another option could have been everywhere the Brews have ever been.
Half the party goes to the bridge. The bridge of the Woglinde looks about right. … Man, has it already been over a year since I played that section of XS1?
Oddly consistent across the crossover games is the fact that gnosis need to be hilbert’ed to be viable targets. I’d expect that to be all but forgotten after the first crossover (like it was pretty much forgotten in the franchise proper), but way to be reliable, Monolith Soft.
The other half of the party heads to the Vector R&D lab aboard the Woglinde, and they find T-elos.
And a certain ominous space coffin. Have we found our favorite android?
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Xenosaga Episode 3 Special 4-6
No, wait, it turns out to be Alisa of the Tekken franchise, who was just using KOS-MOS’s coffin for repairs.
But we find KOS-MOS (v4) immediately afterwards. Turns out she was working as a tour guide for Street Fighter’s Seth. Come on, KOS-MOS, you should know better than this. It’s not like he’s ridiculously, obviously evil or anything.
Oh, uh, thank you, Ken.
So then Seth gets naked and decides to destroy KOS-MOS.
But T-elos comes to the rescue! Gasp!
And KOS-MOS and T-elos become allies. That’s right, T-elos is a playable character in this one!
KOS-MOS and T-elos work well together, and they both use attacks seen in XS3.
And their combined super move is... Weaponized Fanservice.
Anyway, l got much further in this game than Namco X Capcom (maybe because of Resonance of Fate characters), but, like a few other crossover games, there’s about 40 lbs. of content in a 100 lb. bag here. And I’ve still got another TRPG to get through…
Project X Zone 2 (11/12/15 Japan, 02/16/16 USA) Nintendo 3DS
Hey, it’s a game released after this LP started. I feel like that should be against the rules. This one does actually include a few licensed Nintendo Characters, like Chrom, Lucina, and maybe another recognizable JRPG heroine...
Intro better than the game yada yada.
KOS-MOS now and forever yada yada.
Irrational fixation on Mega Man yada yada.
Okay, here we are. Early in the game (Chapter 3? … I want to say Chapter 3) the party winds up at Rennes-le-Château, aka the floating landmass.
And who should they find down there but KOS-MOS. But, wait, then who is in Mary’s coffin?
Hey, it’s Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles! It’s a Xeno X Xeno Xover!
So KOS-MOS and Fiora team up, as they inevitably must. While a Shulk/KOS-MOS teamup seems like the more obvious “here are the heroes” choice, Fiora is kind of clever, as her role in Xenoblade Chronicles is basically that of KOS-MOS’s opposite number. Fiora, by the time she’s all metal and shiny, is a goddess with the soul of a human struggling to resurface. KOS-MOS is the soul of a… kinda human… with a holy woman struggling to resurface.
Together, they fight crime!
And sometimes KOS-MOS steals Shion’s attacks!
Or MOMO’s outfits!
And here’s the Fiora/KOS-MOS special attack. Note that it winds up being an X-strike. Cute.
If you haven’t already noticed, these Namco X games have a tendency to indulge in the whacky.
So you’re going to see KOS-MOS getting in the groove.
Or the side effects of Xenosaga Freaks (dammit).
T-elos also returns as an antagonist. She won’t be joining the good guys for this game.
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Xenosaga Episode 3 Special 4-7
But she does get her own bad guy team-up with Metal Face of Xenoblade Chronicles.
T-elos is compared to Unknown of Tekken over the course of the story, as they’re both hungry to have a soul.
But who cares? Here’s T-elos knocking the tar out of Strider.
So father and son fighters avenge the fallen ninja.
T-elos isn’t all that important to main “plot” of Project X Zone 2, so, during one of the later stages, she just decides to up and leave. Good-bye forever, T-elos!
I did actually wind up beating this game, not because it’s any better than the other Namco X games, but because I wanted to see if there was a final denouement for KOS-MOS. This is Monolith Soft at the helm, and I was genuinely curious if they decided to provide a real “ending” for a character that seems doomed to haunt random crossover games a decade after her initial finale. Turns out they do at least let her have a sweet moment wishing the rest of the party well during the climax…
And then the final ending features KOS-MOS using her Hilbert Effect to spotlight dancing girls. Classy ending, guys!
And that’s it, ladies and gentlemen. That’s the last anyone ever saw of the Xenosaga cast. Let’s see here… KOS-MOS and T-elos obviously got the most play, Shion and MOMO got to co-star in at least one game, and even Allen got to cameo along, too. Gnosis seem to make for wonderful recurring monsters, but no Xenosaga “real” baddies made it out of the universe. And Ziggy, Jin, and Junior all got completely ignored. I feel like I’m forgetting someone…
Xenoblade Chronicles X (04/29/15 Japan, 12/04/15 USA) WiiU
Oh, right! chaos!
chaos was never seen again.
Thanks for reading, everybody!
|gogglebob explains it all , jesus christ , secret best poster , stay out of this manes , the brews , tummy laser , weaponized fanservice|