In this sci-fi anime series, humankind stands on the brink of annihilation four millennia after abandoning Earth. Aboard the spacecraft Woglinde the human crew -- under assault by an alien foe known as the Gnosis -- fights for their lives while protecting a mysterious ancient monolith that the ruthless Gnosis will do anything to obtain. Enter the beautiful but treacherous battle android KOS-MOS, who may be humanity's savior … or its ruin. -Netflix
I've been a huge fan of the Xenosaga series since I played it so many years ago. Der Wille zur Macht was my favorite episode by far, and that was largely due to the really fantastic cinematics. Naturally, I was thrilled when I heard it was being made into an anime, and even more-so when I heard ADV had snapped up the rights to it. (Originally. Now Funimation has it too.) So many people complained about the cut scenes being too long, but I feel they are the reason the game was so much fun. I guess I'm just a sucker for those 45 minute movies in between the game play. It's really no wonder that many call Xenosaga the "playable anime."
Xenosaga is by far my favorite RPG series, even rivaling Final Fantasy VIII, and it's also a darn good anime. As a fan of anime dubs, this series isn't nearly as good as the game, but it is decent once you get used to not hearing the voice actors from the game series. The story has been tweaked in notable places (unless you've never played the game series, then you obviously won't notice the changes), and there are details about the characters that are explained rather quickly. The animation itself isn't spectacular, although it does seem to me that sequences from the game were used. Action scenes are far more prevalent than they are in the game series, which takes away from the mysterious, dark, and religious overtones. Unfortunately, this also takes away from the fantastic story telling that we came to enjoy in the game cut scenes. It seemed to me that the director wanted to gear this version more towards action fans, which is unfortunate. After all, the mystery, intrigue, and dark conspiratorial themes are what made the game so appealing.
Over all though, I enjoyed this adaptation of Der Wille zur Macht. The voice of chaos in the anime should have been the same guy for the game series as well in my opinion. I dearly hope that there will be a sequel since this leaves off exactly where Episode I leaves off. I'd really like to see if the director can finish more of this animation and still do justice to the rest of the game as well. I would recommend playing through at least Episode 1 before watching, or at least having someone on hand who has. Otherwise, this might seem like just another sci-fi anime series.
Side Note: This is a slightly more detailed version of an older review posted elsewhere. If you recognize it that's why.
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Animation movie directed by Ichirô Itano
A movie directed by Hiroaki Goda