Based upon the game by Square Enix and tri-ACE, Inc.
Directed by Hiroshi Watanabe
Music by Osamu Sakuraba
- Character profiles
- Clean ending
- Original Japanese ending
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Endangered dragons
- Mild violence
- Lost loves
- Ghost ships, complete with zombies
- Still waters run dangerously
Released by: Geneon
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Definitely check it out.
[ad#longpost]Here in the second volume of Star Ocean EX, Claude is still denying that he is the Legendary Warrior, but has agreed to search out the truth of the Sorcery Globe in order to return himself home and possibly save Rena’s world from destruction. He has accrued allies in Rena, the healer with a mysterious birth, and Celine, the master of Heraldic magic. Claude is pressed into service by a town who needs him to destroy a monster that is eating the town’s livestock. They come upon a swordsman, who, while brave, is perhaps over-confident, as well as clumsy. This is, of course, Ashton Anchors, whose defining feature is the fact that a two-headed dragon has melded with his body.
If you were disappointed in the first volume when Dias didn’t join the party (though this is consistent with the game, I am told), you’ll be happy to hear that here in Volume 2, we meet not only Ashton of the two-dragons, but also the lovely alien Opera, though Opera doesn’t stay with the heroes long enough. Ashton continues to provide some amount of comic relief, as well as the spur for new quests. As everyone knows, in fantasy, there’s never a straight line for the hero to walk. Rena gives the cuddly dragons names and makes pets out of them, as all the while Ashton laments their presence on this back. Their personalities are very amusing. This volume deals mainly with their quest to find the King’s Teardrop, which is purported to have the power to separate the dragons from Ashton.
The features are basically the same as the first volume. We get character profiles, the original Japanese ending, and a clean ending. They are well-done, if uninspired. The character profiles at least are nice, but too bad there are no creator/cast interviews, manga/game comparisons, or some connections with the origins of the piece.
The visuals are crisp and bright; shaded or purposefully muted areas are also nicely integrated into the whole, creating moods appropriate to the action. The flare lizard was the only thing that just didn’t look quite right, perhaps because his scales were supposed to be metallic or sparkly. The backgrounds and settings are nice, especially the bird temple on top of the mountain. The voice actors, including the new ones, such as Ashton and Opera, are well done; Ashton’s voice changes when the dragons on his back possess him, making it obvious and dramatic, as well as rather amusing when he switches back to his usual, tiresome, whiny self.
In short, fans of the game will love this, but so will anyone who enjoys adventure quests. If you like fantasy adventures, definitely check this out; it’s no Lodoss War, but it is fun, funny, and clever. Mostly safe for kids, this is also a good series that parents could enjoy with their kids, and this would be a good inroad into anime for those new to the genre. There are constant distractions from the main quest, but if you can cope with the non-linear storyline, you will become quite fond of the characters.