Ash Yes, they went there, and named this guy Ash just like the ‘default HUmar’ of PSO1 was also Ash. Only this time he matches the game opening CG with black hair, dark eyes and a black suit. This was to generic-ize him further than PSO1. This character will fill in for what ‘your character’ in the game does/is/etc.
Darkers are called Falspawns now instead because the word “Dark” is racist. Notice that the dialogue will still say the word ‘darker’ but any sub or dub will write Falspawn. What’s odd about this is that Falspawn makes more sense than darkers does. Falz / falzes aren’t ‘a dark’, they’re a Falz, so the things they make should reflect that. AND if ‘dark’ is racist, then Darkers should just be blanket-removed with the find/replace tool anyway since it wouldn’t hurt anything to remove it.
Obvious Change From the Get-Go:
Matoi is going to be more active so they actually have more/consistent characters to form a story. Whether this messes things up or not can’t be known at the start.
Yes, there’s an all new opener song & ending song and they are just fine/fitting enough. The opener and ender make sense/fit in with typical anime things you would expect.
How’s the animation:
Seems fine & better-than-fine. The game costumes are waaaay too detailed to be something that’s easy to animatebut they weren’t ever MADE to be that way. After all, a video game doesn’t care: make the polygons once and they stay for good/you're not re-drawing them constantly.
Tons of textures, picky details and whoever designing for the game having an absolute love of piles of prickly crap. Stupid fins, clipping issues, points, spikes, flaps, spires and anything they could think of were always foisted onto any costume they could influence. Almost nothing in the game was sleek, it was always infested with goofy prickles or preposterous flaps that would never function if people were solid objects. Look at Affins’ boots in the game. They have foot long blades on the backs of the calves that if he bent his knee more than a few degrees would go all the way through his entire thigh. He’s an easy example of poor costume design.
They’re very good at showing the mothership / city ships, they don’t steal the game’s CG and present it as ‘animation in a show’.
The voices sound normal enough, nothing is weird or lame. The weapon equip/switch makes the noise it does in the game, so it’s nice to see them using the sound effects.
The game certainly has it's share of characters with defined personalities, so the anime will have to stick to them & actually do a good job. Oddly, it tones down the mean-ness of MANY characters. Patty & Tea are much nicer and more 'normal', Quna is rude but less actively threatening, and Gettemhult/Gettemhart vs Melphonseana their relationship is not portrayed as abusive as it is in the game AT ALL. Yes he's rude and a general jerk but he's not abusing her at every turn like the game. You can get the gist of them, and they are fairly game-like but the mean and rude parts are shaved off of most of the characters known for such traits.
The show LOVES its violence. They have blood-fountains and dismemberment galore (make the darkers who don't bleed...to bleed like a fire hose for effect. So, you'd think awful people and abuse would be ripe for the picking by the anime crew, but for some reason it's just not and they go out of their way to nicen-up the characters.
ALWAYS. This is a documentation / review of the show so everything’s going to spoil immediately in here.
To understand this better / enjoy it more, you should have played the game first.
It starts off where it should, with Ash as the ‘new ARKS recruit’ on the camp ship with Affin, but still hazy about his past. He has a Special Rectangle Item that’s most certainly a Plot Device. It’s probably going to stand in for something that’s game-only or wouldn’t work in context of the show. Plot Devices are fine when they’re in service of the actual plot & smoothing over game to show issues.
There are several other recruits and the usual RAmar captain figure who you had in the game, and they talk about how Naberius (Naveriusthey’re probably going to argue over the B or the V on this word because it seems Japanese letters don’t cover it too well) has no Falspawns left so it’s ok to go there to train by fighting the corrupted native wild life instead. Notice the HUnewearl who looks almost exactly like SUE from pso1 on purpose.
Affin tries to be nice to him but Ash is chilly toward him and frequently lost in his own thoughts. They get ‘beamed down’ which creates much more of a kerfuffle in the show (I guess for dramatic purposes?) than it does literally anywhere else…such as moving clouds out of the way and everyone dropping in dramatically except Affin who falls over.
Why are the enemies GIGANTIC?
WHOA! The first thing anyone comes upon in the game and now the show is the regular Oodan, with the infect point on the face. The SUE HUnewearl will volunteer to punch it with her knuckle weapon but then when she gets over there to it….the thing’s the size of a rockbear!
The Dagans are HUGE!
Of course, soon after the Oodan is defeated (they make a dramatic effect of the ‘blood’ vanishing by itself from her face? Why?) the Dagans appear just as they do in the game.
In the ORIGINGAL edition of PSO2, when dagans first appeared you had it in a scene where there’s a RAmar recruit ahead of you/Affin on the path and they kill him because he doesn’t know what’s up. And guess what? It’s a black guy. And the black guy dies first. *And somehow nobody noticed this totally obvious offensive trope?? It’s been so run into the ground by horror movies & what-all that what rock were they under that this happens? It’s like a “Star Trek Red Shirt” the cliché is so bad!
Probably some person who is aware of media in the past 20 or 30 years existing…caught onto that and wisely said “well let’s not” and the game itself changed the tutorial area to get rid of that scene / changed out the character anyway. You’ll find it in the original PSO2 story write-up here on the site, though.
So the Dagans appear, and they’re somehow like 2 or 3 times the size of what you see in the game. A dagan is never as tall as an adult character in the game, but these tower over everyone, perhaps 12 feet tall each? And, for a ‘trash-mob’ they’re ultra deadly and graphically murder everyone on screen. SUE gets stabbed in the neck and dies, Dagans get their limbs chopped off and they are full of blood geysers! Blood is squirting and spraying everywhere!
The point of the darkers/falspawn was that they weren’t technically alive. They don’t eat, breathe, think, or bleed. That’s why finding them in outer space/non-life conditions & etc is fine. When damaged they leaked that particle/darkness effect which was appropriate….because that’s literally what they were made of. Their whole point was they weren’t an animal / flesh / blood.
So the giant size and blood spraying ability of the enemies is likely to increase the dramatic effect for the show. A trash mob being believable at killing teachers and like 10 students who were trained at battling things is far fetched, so we had to throw drama and size all around--but it's ok for tv but doesn't jive with the game and the entire main audience for the show is....people who play the game...sooo....
Regius finds out about the dagan infestation, and issues orders to stamp it down while suspecting that something is up.
Regius has weird proportions! Kudos! He’s a bizarre mechanical person who is thoroughly android looking! It doesn't look like some dude in a suit / cliche thing. Good for them paying attention to in-game designs.
Of course Afin & Ash escape the carnage to hide in a cave in the rain and be sad about it, but when an El Ahda spawns with some more Dagans, Zeno and Echo are summoned to shoot them away. This of course saves them in the nick of time (Just like the tutorial) and now Ash & Affin can get to know Zeno & Echo.
However, Ash is lured away by a glittering column of light where he finds poor Matoi falling slowly through it. She cries and asks him to murder her. Of course he doesn’t and everyone has now rushed up to find them and ask questions nobody has answers for.
Gettemhart / Gettemhult has defeated a Rockbear which is, of course, totally huge and waaaaay bigger than it should be, and he senses darkers are going on so he drags “Sheena / Seana / Seena” off to see what the deal is. Sheena is appropriately gloomy, he sounds like the Gettemhart in the game and has the face tattoo/scar etc. However, he seems a little slimmer in the show. Their outfits are correct.
Persona appears (trench coat mask man) and tries to kill the fallen Matoi who is now carried by Ash. Zeno goes against him in the scuffle, and he’s repelled up the trunk of a tree. However, when Persona comes back for more, it’s Gettemhart who repels him (Just like in the game) and Persona simply vanishes which frustrates Gettem.
They go through the whole rigmarole of affronting Zeno on purpose, and insulting Ash as much as possible because he has to be super antagonistic. The crew brings Matoi up to the medical area for treatment (as, nothing is wrong with her) and all other characters leave. When Ash is alone, Xion appears to him with her cryptic messages that are just like the game & just like it she vanishes and he’s confused. They do have her ‘she is made of blue gel stuff’ on point here.
At the very end you do see Luther in front of his screens, insulting Xion.
Yes this is a very “Mustache Twirling Moment” where a big mouth (Characters with big mouths are often terrible people, this is somehow an anime trope and boy has he got a whopper) is shown to be evilly scheming. Of course at this point in the game there was ZERO reason to see him, so you didn’t, but in a show you HAVE to have a big-bad appearing at least a little bit so he gets to mustache twirl so viewers can observe him existing.
It is a fine enough first episode.
Any pitfalls would come from either trying to stretch out the story or to cram it so it goes faster.
The biggest issue is the ginormous enemies they look silly so huge
Are they going to eliminate any characters, or write them out? (Yes, like Rogio)
Questions to pose:
How are they going to have Melphonsia Sheena vs Gettemhart’s abusive relationship?
Is Lisa going to be crazy?
What will the rectangular MacGuffin turn out to be/do?
How much of the game plot will the story adapt? Episode 1 only? Will it try to go all the way up to Episode 4 where everything goes off the rails into crazy town?
What will happen if the show does well, will we get episodes 5 (medieval times!) & 6 (Photoner)?
As you know from the game, Persona spawned so-so-so many failed timelines where Matoi turns evil at the end and ruins everything. He’d reset stuff and go at it again, ever trying to whack her early enough and failing at it due to your character meddling, or Gettem, or anything else. Will the anime take place in the success timeline, or in a failure? Would they dare end it on a sour note?
None so far really. They’re not shy about murder, perhaps they’re TOO into murder? Murder-shy things can totally ruin the plot if there’s a character that literally has to die for some reason and they won’t show it. However, if you look at the game ACTUAL deaths are actually pretty damn rare.
This one starts off showing you something new, which is a look at the civilian shopping area of a ship. So, right off we’re getting content not in games, which is nice and helps flesh out the world. Ash is going to see Matoi and Afin wants to come, so they both go.
She can’t remember anything still, and Ash lacks tact about asking her things so Afin tries to help. They all (collectively) hear Patty & Tea trying to weasel their way into something in the hall and failing at it. Ash & Afin get a call to a mission on Naberius Naverius and Matoi asks to go but gets denied somewhat rudely by Ash & more explained-way by Afin. (Ash strait up tells her she’s a liability)
But, when they get to the ready area, here comes a new character:
She’s shockingly with Matoi who is apparently now (in this timeline) completely better enough to go. Neither one will explain WHY she’s allowed here, nor what the mission actually IS.
Kohana is an adult woman in the default HUnewearl suit, with a ‘ninja type’ ponytail and a cranky attitude. She has a loop brow ring, dark hair and is fairly tall. On the camp ship, Afin tries explaining to Ash that she was supposed to be good enough to be on the Council 6, but she tells them to shut up because The Rampaging Dragon eats ARKS who are blabbermouths so they are expected to be silent.
This is a foreshadowing of Hadred.
Whether he’s actually attracted by people talking, or it’s her use of a boogeyman to get ‘newbies’ to shut up and ‘know their role’ is unknown on purpose.
They get down there and start the mission.
This episode does contain a minor ‘slide show’ part, and also re-uses the ‘Matoi fall’ animation bit, but it’s not a huge deal for people to complain about.
Of course, Dagans attack them, and of course they’re still waaaaay too big, they’re silly huge and look bad that big. When a newcomer, the Kaltagot, appears, it is, of course extremely more formidable than it ever was in the game. It also does not do the very thing it was created to do, which is to hide it’s “Face” with the flaps and use its extremely high DEF stat to repel all attacks as it shuffles about on its tiny 6 legs. The ‘butterfly like’ flaps open and it is able to create a very powerful laser like red darkness beam between them to sweep an area.
The Kaltagot appears, and no sooner than it hits the ground it’s firin’ mah lazors at the group to frightful effect. However, just as swiftly, Gettemhart comes down to smash it to death while Melfonseana uses techs to waste the dagans.
*Had there been more minutes in the episode it would have been really neat to show them figuring out how to attack the Kaltagot. Have it actually come out with the flaps closed like it does in the game, and people hit at it to no effect to make it scary. When Kohana goes to jump on the ‘pick up truck butt’ of it, have it do the little ‘fling’ animation to toss her over its head and then spin the laser to create a back n’ forth fight. Then, have Gettem jump in and kill-steal it off the group as he is wont to do. It’d of made for some more interesting action. Instead, it comes in like a doom-tornado and is busted just as quick causing a big scare and anti-climactic whateverness about it because it’s just disposed.
Gettemhart insults everyone again, strutting about the field now that he’s killed off all the darkers. He scoffs at everything and wants to know about Matoi, but Ash steps up because he (rightly) doesn’t want this whacko near her. (She is a receding character, and he is very bullying) This sets him off (as does nearly everything) so he insults at Ash that he has no willpower at all for protecting anyone, and the idea of it is laughable because everyone here is trash except maybe Kohana.
She then steps up before Ash to try and back him down, and it works.
Melphonsia says that usually Gettemhart isn’t that generous as to give nice advice like this. (Meaning all of his barbs, jabs, insults and especially his “Ash isn’t powerful” insults) And they both leave after he calls Melphonseana off after stalking off by himself.
Afin asks what’s got him so cranky all the time, and Kohana explains he’s only mad at himself for what happened 10 years ago, but airing out more wouldn’t do any good. (Actually it would, but plot wise she’s not going to say itand its also in-character for her to not say it so it’s fine.) However, the mission awaits so they have to keep going. They do, and find more Dagans, but these are the “Searching Darkers”, so they are able to sneak up on them. They’re poking at some rocks in a clearing. Of course, they catch on, and will rush the group so there’s another fight. These are not called out as The Searching Darkers, and they SHOULD have been, as a refresher & to mesh it into the plot of the game more. You're just supposed to catch on from a 3 second scene what was a much bigger deal in the game.
During the fight, Kohana starts getting crazy and ill. She freaks out a bit and does a huge combo, wrecking many Dagans. At the end she pants, and is very, very nearly struck by a bullet that breaks up a rock behind her head. Lisa comes out of the woods, claiming she thought she was shooting at Darkers just now, but she had an exciting feeling.
Afin is understandably taken back by all this, and demands to know who she is/what she’s doing. She only replies with one of her crazy ‘guns are great’ speech, and will then go away telling everyone menacingly to have a good day. Yes you actually can tell people to have a good day in a menacing way and Lisa will prove it here.
*Interestingly, Lisa IS correct here as the rest of the episode proves.
Everyone moves on, but Kohana looks over the snowy mountains and sees the ‘tree tower’ that’s in the ruins area and again gets the red eyes, starts sweating/getting sick. She shakes it off again. They get to the big tree (where Matoi fell) and she still can’t remember, but feels the tree is very nostalgic and that something good must have happened there. Without the objective though, they’ve got to continue. When Kohana gets sick once more, this time she runs away from everyone.
As they chase her, Patty & Tea appear.
Ash disregards them, telling them they’re the nosy jerks from the hospital. They do their ‘informant’ speech, and are actually good at it. Tea doesn’t hate on Patty either, so it looks like their dynamic is a little nicer. And it seems to remain that way through future episodes too, for whatever reason the show has decided to make them get along much better & to have Tea being less 'silly', or saying of zany phrases so Tea doesn't hate on her and constantly spit insults.
They’ll go to look for her in one direction, Afin Matoi & Ash set off in the other.
As the sun sets, things get eerie on the planet. Darkers could pop out from anywhere. In a mini-canyon among rocks, Ash feels something is amiss up ahead. He tells Afin & Matoi to hang back while he investigates. He sees some fingers of a hand laying on the ground just peeking from around the corner of a rock. He creeps up and peeks around the corner to find Kohana dead. She’s been cut in half cleanly at the waist, and she’d had one hand above, but the other below the waist so it was knocked off in the cut. Afin creeps up and sees too, but they know they’ve got to get out of there, because whatever did it could still be there or near by.
A drop ship appears, blowing the air all around, commanding (Via microphone) that they better get out of there due to contamination. Wisely, everyone does, and ends up among other large rocky outcroppings. Afin calls to HQ to return and shockingly, is denied! He explains the leader is dead, but is still denied. They’ve no choice but to camp the night with nothing. Matoi sleeps right away on 1 towel. Afin confesses he’s looking for his sister who disappeared 10 years ago, Ash finally admits he has no memory of the time either and clutches at his silver rectangle necklace.
The episode ends.
Why are Gettem & Melphonseana AND Patty & Tea being portrayed as much nicer than they are in the game? If the show is all about how 'hardcore edgelord' it has to be with violence and murder, then making characters friendlier doesn't make any sense. Does it ruin the plot? No, but it just is odd choice.
It's obvious Kohana was overly-darker-influenced because she doesn't purify photons very well.
It's what your character/Ash had to avoid with the whole 'cold sleep' issue much later on.
Kill the commanders?
This is twice now that whoever is with Ash & Matoi / a commander figure is killed in the same episode that it is introduced in. Red Shirt Syndrome should be avoided to keep predictability away.
Episode 3 Perfect Arks
This one picks up right where the last left off which is with Matoi sleeping while Afin & Ash talk. Ash’s first memory is a stranger taking him to the orphanage 10 years ago, but the stranger is too foggy/no face. Afin says he should be a bit friendlier and they laugh about it. In the morning, Afin gets up first and Ash has fallen asleep on the watch. (So, curiously and fortunately nothing spawned in the night to simply step them all to death with pointy feet because they were not under any sort of cover.) Matoi continues to sleep while they chat in the morning. What’s not very cool here is that they show Afin actually taking a pee which is…well that’s vulgar? You shouldn’t? It has nothing at all to do for anything in the show to actually force people to watch some nerd take a leak. It’s like…have him say ‘whoops gotta go’ and then cut to the next bit of actual plot but nope, here “wee” are. At least the game’s not called “Heroes Call Of Duty/Doody”….
Anyway Afin does not properly operate his pants zipper (because space pants never evolved beyond zippers) and hurts himself, so he does not get to follow Ash closely when he runs off after hearing explosions near by. Ash tells him to stay there anyway because Matoi is still sleeping.
The ruckus is in a valley below, where numerous dagans are having explosions go off on/around them, and a Dark Ragne appears.
Who's behind all these explosions? It’s KlarisKlaes Claris Claes KlarisKrayes any one of a number of spellings because the game chooses words/names that don’t have letters in Japanese because reasons. He watches for a bit, when a girl in a tree tells him not to go down there. It’s Sara, though she won’t introduce herself here. She claims to be ‘something like an ARKS’, and he of course doesn’t listen to her at all because when the Ragne charges Klaris, he of course again, rushes it to intervene.
Naturally, this makes Klaris mad, because “he’s stealing it”, but because the clash is so noisy, he doesn’t hear her angry ranting. He fights it for a bit and does some damage but is knocked away by her giant explosions of foie that finally finish it off. Once she wipes out all the Dagans too, he wakes up against a log where he’d tumbled, and she sets off boasting at him and chewing him out for not letting her fight everything alone. He accidentally invites a super-boasting lecture that clearly takes quite some time as he’s frazzled/dreary after having to listen to her.
She’s actively ‘nicer’ here than she was in the games.
If you recall back to earlier in the game plot, she was downright mean and awful. Here, she’s just nutty and bragging all the time. She was actively threatening to murder you/others at every turn in the game. Sure she’s harsh at him and condescends while bragging all day but she’s not like “I’ll set fire to you AND your ma!” like she was in the game.
Maybe they wanted to tone down a super abrasive character for the show so everyone wouldn’t hate her constantly…but what’s the point? You were SUPPOSED to hate her she NEEDED to be an awful jerk so that she could be reformed later on and learn some of the errors of her ways--and it was also to explain why she was so nasty all the time because of how she precieved what she was.
Patty & Tea show up out of no where (and he says as much) to explain who KlarisKlaes really is, she’s a council 6 member, she’s the fire one, she’s super powerful & the council of 6 was who defeated DF 10 years ago…but did you know it was on this very planet that it happened?
They then leave for their own mission.
After these few encounters it’s also clear that Patty & Tea are MUCH nicer than they were in the game. Tea was (and still is in-game) borderline and actually abusive to Patty at any turn she’d get. She was constantly disparaging her and being actively angry 24/7. There were a few lines where she ‘jokingly’ would wish Patty’d die in something. Patty was also wackier in the game too, her lines were more outlandish and she’d say silly things to which Tea would get overly enraged.
Afin calls in, saying he can’t find Matoi, so they split up / panic to look for her. Ash finds some other ARKS who have lost a party member in the woods. A call comes in that everyone should return because there are ‘abnormal readings’. Ash won’t heed it though the others do. He has to hide from a Fang Banther (Or is it the Banshee?) which smells him but does not see him. *It is good to see an enemy encounter that doesn’t result in a fight. The banthers were always very interesting/cool to see in the games because they are so dramatic. It’s nice that they included one here.
Gettemhart & Melphonseana are fighting dagans in a snowy area.
Ash soon goes far enough through the woods that he reaches a snowy area, and is puzzled by it. They let this scene go on, where he finds the odd snow, which is a very good effort on dramatizing it. He then sees footprints of people who have clearly gone into the snowy area toward the mountains. He calls Affin to inform him of it, and that’s probably where Matoi is. Affin will soon arrive, but Ash sets off. Other people (far ahead) are shambling through the snow, and walk to their deaths.
A dying newman shambles into the Gettemhart fight area and dies. He kicks him over to have a look, says he’d of liked to kill him if he was rampaging but now that he’s dead he’s boring. Melphonseana thinks it’s because he got too much FFactor (DFactor) Ash appears not long after, asks after Matoi (but of course they haven’t seen her) and Gettemhart makes sure to tell Ash that Matoi has probably already died out here in the snow like everyone else.
Ash just kind of…stares him down a bit and doesn’t grace him with any response which is nicely mature! This has the effect of shining him on a bit, so he spits & seems to confirm that both he & she won’t heed the return order that she also gets.
Sara is busy knocking out zombie-wanderers and setting them up in a little cave with a fire inside that she’s built. Knocking them out saves them from walking to death.
Matoi has zombie-wandered into the Naberius ruins.
She is watched from above (very clearly) by Quna who is invisible. She snaps out of it when she hears Ash calling her. The call also causes Quna to disappear. However, the ruins (as in the game) are an almost tropical looking spot with weather to match. Ash can’t see this, so there’s a cloaking field around the entire area that makes it look like just more snowy mountains. They find each other through the odd field, and get inside, to look at The Monument. (That obelisk with the patterns on it up on the dais, it’s directly from the game & looks fine) Matoi will zombie wander back to it, but Maria springs in to knock her out.
This causes Ash to pull his double, and she gets her spear out to stop him. They fail to fight because she’s almost got the drop on him. She explains that the giant tree/pillar/red thing beyond the monument calls to ARKS and then when they reach it they’re consumed at its base.
There’s an absolute load of dead people turned to stone at the base of the impossibly tall pink pillar. They’ve all kind of merged into it face first. The game NEVER said ANYthing about this, so they added it for the show. It doesn’t make sense with the show or game, either, because the show & game tell you VERY CLEARLY on purpose that “Nab was safe from darker influence so we send trainees here all the time----UNTIL the Ash-crew…so possibly years and years of this…” The whole ‘new disaster area’ was supposed to definitively start with the Ash-Crew, not ‘be going on for ages’ by some pillar soaking up ARKS by the fistful every day like what this is doing & has been doing. No one, no matter how corrupt or stupid would green-light a place that zombie-wanders half the people sent there. It’s too obvious. So why add it?
Maria explains that Matoi would’ve been consumed at the base by DF had she actually reached her zombie walk destination. She then reveals she’s not compelled/ordered to keep a secret, but that the ARKS isn’t perfect because 10 years ago DF wasn’t killed, it was sealed, and it’s ‘eating’ the people to try to re-awaken. She says the myth of ARKS being perfect is beginning to crumble.
The episode ends.
Why are Maria & Quna immune to the zombie wander problem?
Why would the ARKS continue to let anyone at all EVER on the planet if the pillar can summon them to death?
Clearly only the strongest people reach the base and die, this is on purpose / logical for the pillar.
If the pillar collected just SO MANY dead people, it has to have been active for a while, also makes no sense.
Why is Gettemhult in the snow lands? Is he curious? It doesn't matter but...there he was.