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Video Game: XenoSaga
aka: Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits Von Gut Und Bose
From left to right: Jin, Shion, KOS-MOS, Jr, MOMO and Ziggy

Xenosaga is a series of three Eastern RPGs for the Playstation 2, all named after books written by Friedrich Nietzsche. They are, in sequential order, Der Wille zur Macht (The Will to Power), Jenseits von Gut und Böse (Beyond Good and Evil (no, not that one)) and Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra). Other games in the series include: Pied Piper, a cellphone game, Xenosaga Freaks, a Fanservice game also for the Playstation 2, Xenosaga I&II, a remake of Episode I and Episode II for the Nintendo DS, and A Missing Year, a Flash game describing the events between Episode II and Episode III. Unlike the main trilogy, these games have not been released outside of Japan.

There's also an anime based off the events of Episode I titled Xenosaga: The Animation. It's fairly faithful, although it takes a few creative liberties.

Known for throwing around heavy amounts of religious symbolism, literary references, and Techno Babble. Xenosaga is a sort of spiritual successor to its Playstation predecessor, Xenogears (In fact, it was originally going to be a prequel, with Xenogears itself being number five in a six-part series). There is also a Spiritual Successor called Xenoblade for the Wii. It's also notable for being one of the few RPGs to have a female lead.

In the distant future, mankind has colonized space, but Earth (or as it's referred to in the game, Lost Jerusalem) has disappeared from the map. The protagonist, Shion, is the head of the first R&D division of Vector Industries, and her team is developing an android superweapon called KOS-MOS.

Disaster strikes when the Gnosis, intangible (but deadly) beings from another dimension attack the ship. The rest of the story involves the Gnosis, the search for their source and the events that passed fourteen years prior on the planet Miltia - which of course has close ties to Shion's past.

Music for Episode I was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda. Music for Episode II was composed by Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso and Yuki Kajiura. Music for Episode III was composed solely by Yuki Kajiura.

A few of the characters (mostly KOS-MOS) have made appearances in other games made by developer Monolith Soft, including Namco × Capcom, Endless Frontier, and Project X Zone

This game provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The series has so much of these it hurts; most notably is Episode I, which has more than 50% of the original Ep. I draft aborted. When Soraya Saga posted on her blog some of the most important aborted arcs, the fanbase cried the series was ruined.
  • Absent Aliens: Though there are many non-human intelligences in the galaxy, it eventually turns out that they all have some connection to humanity and in the case of the Gnosis, technically are humans.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Jin and Margulis are seen slicing through various objects (like A.M.W.S.'s) with ordinary swords. Kevin's ES, Judah, is equipped with several bladed protrusions, which the Episode III database says can attack targets across the universe thanks to phase-transfer technology and the UMN. Thankfully, you never have to fight it.
  • Action Girl: Despite being an android, KOS-MOS definitely fits this. To a lesser degree, so do the other two female playable characters.
  • Agony Beam: Wilhelm whips this out within seconds of Shion telling him to go to hell.
  • All There in the Manual: The story of Xenosaga can be much better understood after reading the Xenosaga Perfect Guide.
  • The Alternet: The UMN is a hyperspace Internet that spans the entire universe. It is also physically keeping the universe together. The network serves as a Subspace Ansible, as well as allows for instant material teleportation and materialization. Attempts to send humans and other biological matter through the UMN results in pretty horrific outcomes. IF the person even rematerializes in his previous form, he will almost certainly suffer from mental degradation and go psychotically insane.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: One appears during the Final Boss fight in Episode I.
  • Ancient Conspiracy
  • And the Adventure Continues: Episode III ends with Shion, Allen, Jr., the Elsa crew & the Godwin sisters setting out to find Lost Jerusalem (Earth). This was probably the Sequel Hook for Episode IV.
  • And Your Reward Is Swimsuits: All three games.
    • Very useful swimsuits, though, in the first two games, which increase the amount of skill points you earn.
  • Animated Adaptation: The cleverly titled Xenosaga: The Animation.
  • Animation Bump: There are certain scenes in Episode I that are supposed to look better than the rest of the game (such as the prologue, whenever Kos-Mos uses her powers, and when you first see the Kukai Foundation, just for example). However it's not a horribly jarring transition and isn't completely noticable at times either. In Episode III, the use of CG cutscenes become this, being used mostly for action sequences in place of the in-game engine which handles conversations.
    • In-game engine cutscenes are also present in Episode I and Episode II, but are rarely used in comparison.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Obvious, since it's a Role-Playing game. At least Episode II and Episode III let you switch out the characters at will (but not when characters die).
    • Also, ES battles could only have two of the craft on the field during Episode II, while the AGWS in Episode I and the ES battles in Episode III were kept at three.
  • Artificial Human: the URTVs, KOS-MOS, and Realians.
  • Art Shift: Goes from "anime-esque" in Episode I to semi-realistic in Episode II then to a hybridization in Episode III.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • The Professor from Episode I to Episode III.
    • Also Miyuki.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Albedo, but he's too meddlesome to stay. Also, Febronia and Virgil
  • As the Good Book Says: Albedo in Episode I. Joachim Mizrahi also tends to quote the Bible several times through the series. First time around, it made him look like a raving lunatic and that impression didn't change until we got to see more of his backstory. Momo just reads the inscription that was on a stone right before their fight with Virgil in Episode III.
  • Automated Automobiles: They have them but they're just for normal driving.
  • Awful Truth: What Shion's initial reaction to her parent's death was and what it did was kept secret from her for fifteen years for a good reason.
    • There's even a track in Xenosaga III fitting called "The Harsh Truth."
  • Back from the Dead: Albedo pulls this no less than three separate times in Episode II, though this mostly because his U.R.T.V. ability makes it physically impossible for him to die. Also, Kevin Winnicot and Virgil.
  • Back Stab: In Episode III, attacking a surprised enemy has a greater chance of critical damage. Some characters also get skills that spin the enemies around for their attack.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Jin, who is a Master Swordsman and the only truly "normal" playable character.
    • Allen also qualifies at the end of Episode III, he stands up after taking three blasts that would have killed any normal person, and in the ending sequence kills a Gnosis single-handedly. He kills it with a gun, but not by shooting it. He bludgeons it to death using the butt of the rifle, and then shoots it in the face. For emphasis.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Representative Helmer is the leader of Second Militia.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Jin, during the fight with Margulis in Episode II.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • Over the course of the series, Shion goes from a mini-skirted uniform to a positively Stripperific display of tummy.
    • KOS-MOS gets in on this with her first costume in the final game.
    • Played with in one of KOS-MOS's powerful attacks from the first game. At first it seems like her costume is coming off to reveal midriff, then it's revealed that under her costume is merely a giant energy cannon.
  • Barrier Change Boss: The Final Boss of Episode III has one element that he's weak to that keeps changing.
  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Batman Gambit: Despite being one of the most unstable characters, Albedo has proven to be one of the most clever characters in the entire game. First he puts a trap in M.O.M.O. during her mind rape in Episode I since the only way to retrieve the Y-Data was to use the UMN center on Seconds Miltia. When M.O.M.O. shut down her mind, he had another trap set up in case Shion and the others dived into her subconscious. To put the icing on the cake, he fought Jr. and got him angry because he KNEW M.O.M.O. would take the bait and reactivate her emotions, allowing him to steal the Y-Data and open the path into Old Miltia. He even chides Joachim on his choice to put emotions in M.O.M.O. while giving her the Y-Data to guard.
  • Belly Of The Space Whale: The Cathedral Ship-type Gnosis that temporarily engulfs the party in Episode I.
  • Betting Mini-Game: Episode I had a Casino where you could play poker and play with slot machines. In addition to all of the character portraits offered as extras to cash in your coins on, one of the prizes is also a Game Breaker, Bravesoul (and other items like it).
  • BFG: Most of KOS-MOS's weaponry, which include a giant shoulder-mounted railgun with a barrel double to triple her height and a triple-barreled gatling gun (times two!). Even crazier is the Naglfar that the Gad/ES Joseph can summon out of literally nowhere, which has a barrel that's at least three times the mech is tall.
  • BFS: Averted with Jin and Margulis, who use rather normal-sized swords (a katana and a straight, double-edged sword respectively). Played utterly straight with their respective ES's, which use or can use swords double their heights.
  • Big Bad: While there are many pretenders to the throne, Wilhelm does more horrible stuff in the last few hours of Episode III than the rest of them manage in the entire trilogy.
  • Big "NO!": Done by Shion both as a child and as an adult to horribly catastrophic consequences.
    • Albedo does one when he first finds out that, being immortal, he'll outlive his brothers and be all alone.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Yurievs.
    • Father Dimitri is Really 700 Years Old and has been jumping from body to body to stave off his fear of death and is currently inhabiting the body of his "son", Nigredo/Gaignun.
    • Mother nowhere to be seen, literally described by Jr. as a bunch of random surrogates with "healthy ovums".
    • Big brother Rubedo, aka Jr. is trapped in the body of a 12 year old boy, and if that wasn't bad enough the love of his life has been recreated as a plasticky Artificial Human and he has to live out his life posing as the son of his younger brother.
    • Little brother Albedo used to be a rather happy-go-lucky child... with very mild touch of the crazy, only to go off the deep end when he realizes he is immortal while his dear brothers are not. Later he makes direct contact with U-DO, and well... You know the rest.
    • Little sister Citrine was raised simply to be a genetic stabilizer to prevent the URTV cell culture from degenerating with every new round of cloning. She starts out simply as a Creepy Child, then drops out of the story for 14 years and appears in Episode III as a full-blown sociopath and acting as the point-woman for her "father" Dimitri.
    • Baby brother Nigredo, aka Gaignun appears to be the most normal of the bunch; he's rich, beloved, stylish, and hangs out with two beautiful female companions all day long... However, as mentioned above he constantly battles for control of his own body with his parasitic father and his actual role in the URTV project was to kill his beloved brother Rubedo should he ever go berserk.
    • And then there's the 665 other URTVs who between them shared a collective consciousness and were nothing but automatons. They're all dead, by the way.
  • A Billion Is A Statistic: For being a series that does like to go over the topics of What Measure Is a Non-Human? and the worth of human life itself, it's odd that the game barely made us care at all for the planet Ariadne, which was one of the reasons why the Woglinde was sent out; to search for said planet. Despite a brief mention here and there, it eventually gets lost in the crowd, so to speak. An in-game quote nicely summed this up:
    Margulis: What's one and a half billion people to us?
    • To be fair, looking for Ariadna was just an excuse. They were really meant to pick up the Zohar Emulator, due to the strings U-TIC pulled with their spies in the Federation. Lots of characters during the beginning of the game noticed their objective were shifting the moment they found the Zohar emulator.
  • Bishōnen: chaos (no capitalization needed) and, to a lesser degree, the kid URTVs.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of it all they beat the bad guys and Allen and Shion are together at last, but it has come at a terrible price. Shion lost the only family she had left, KOS-MOS was left crippled & drifting through deep space (though she does eventually come to rest near what appears to be Earth), a good chunk of humanity is apparently dead, the survivors have lost their only means of faster-than-light travel, and communication, and the universe itself is apparently doomed to collapse at some unspecified time in the future, as Wilhelm's machinations were the only thing keeping it alive.
  • Blade on a Stick: ES Reuben and Joesph use polearms. So does Pellegri when she's on foot.
  • Bleached Underpants: Chocolate Shop (most commonly known as Choco), the artist of several mechas, KOS-MOS first design and the Vector logo in the first episodes and the main character designer in Ep. III, is a known hentai artist, which explains the Stripperific outfits for the female protagonists.
  • Block Puzzle: You'd think after a while your characters would figure out a better way to move blocks around.
  • Body Surf: Dmitri Yuriev, and later on, Gaignun Kukai and Albedo Piazzola.
  • Bonus Boss: Several per episode.
  • Boobs of Steel: KOS-MOS and T-elos. Not just an Incredibly Lame Pun—they are stronger than many Humongous Mecha, and (at least when KOS-MOS is in her final form) are the most pneumatic cast members.
  • Book Ends: in Episode III E.S. Levi is both the first and last boss battle fought on board the E.S. units, not counting Omega Id.
  • Boss Banter: When you face Virgil as a Testament is the most notable example.
  • Boss Remix: The theme Promised Pain for the Final Boss in Episode III is a vocalized version of a track previously heard.
  • Bowdlerized:
    • Removing the blood in Episode III. Why was that so bad? In the scene soon after Shion's mother gets killed, she's sitting by her bed and collecting blood in her hands, chanting that she's "got to put it back." What could've been an extremely powerful scene ended up confusing people until they realized that the blood was removed.
    • There's also scenes of Albedo menacing MOMO on The Song of Nephilim in Episode I, which were made even more disturbing when they were censored. The original version has him whip out a knife and cut his arm and head off (complete with copious amounts of blood). In the censored version he physically tears his arm and head off his body (complete with various bone-crunching and flesh-tearing sounds).
    • In Episode II, yet another scene with Albedo was altered in which he displays his newly-discovered regenerative powers to Jr. and Gaignun by blowing his own head off. In the Japanese version, he does it with a hand gun, while in the English version he does it with a ball of purple energy.
  • A Boy and His X: According to a Yonkoma, the series can be summed up as "A Girl and Her Doll." It's actually kinda fitting.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Played with and subverted between Shion and Kevin: Shion meets Kevin as a child; he dislikes her simple and naive attitude, and she's too young to have an opinion of him. Eventually, Kevin learns to love Shion, and they have a budding relationship together as two scientists and two lovers. But then, Kevin dies. Finally, in Episode III, Shion finds Kevin again, and he's become immortal. She finds she cannot be with him anymore because of the implications it would bring and decides to go with Allen Ridgely, who has had a crush on her for the entire series but Cannot Spit It Out until he tries to win her back from Kevin.
  • Break Meter: Episode II has the first direct example of this trope in an Eastern RPG.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The U.M.N. database in Episode I tends to do this time to time. One example is an outright apology that the player couldn't see Jin "in action" during that Episode. Also, the e-mail advertisements of other Namco games in Episode I are clearly for the player despite how much the game tries to make it an actual part of the in-game universe.
  • Breakout Character: Monolith loves KOS-MOS. She's starting to match Morrigan in crossover appearances.
  • Brick Joke: That BFG your E.S. Asher tosses away in Episode II nearly kills someone in your party in Episode III. chaos promptly apologizes for it.
  • Butt Monkey: A lot of the cast. Allen and Miyuki stand out for comedic reasons; everyone else is drama. Shion and Jin especially.
  • Calling Your Attacks
  • Chase Scene: There were a couple throughout the series, the most notable being the car chase early on in Episode II which was one of the few highlights of the game for many.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Shion's Glasses. She doesn't actually need them for seeing, and explains in Episode III that they record and analyze visual data. Also Shion's pendant.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Doctus moves the plot along a little at the beginning, falls off the face of the story for 15~20 hours, then suddenly reenters it for one scene with vital aid for attacking Abel's Ark.
    • Also, T-ELOS from Episode III is first seen as a set of plans on the U-TIC battleship in Episode I.
  • The Chessmaster: Wilhelm, and several others to a lesser degree.
  • Child Soldiers: The URTVs.In Jr.'s case, literally - he's physically incapable of aging beyond childhood.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Ormus has Inquisitors, Cardinals, a Pope in the Japanese version and very Catholic vestments. More puzzling because their theology is a mix of Gnostic or Cathar, and Zoroastrian. Considering the game is set around 4000 years in the future, this may be a case of Future Imperfect. And there is the fact that Ormus was founded by no one other than Wilhelm as another venue of manipulation.
  • Church Militant: The Ormus religion has its own fully developed military-industrial complex. They have a Navy, an Army, weapons research facilities, covert research into exotic physics...
  • Climax Boss: Quite a few boss battles are this.
  • Collectible Card Game: An in-game example, Xenocard was a minigame in Episode I that was actually fully featured and had things like booster packs and its own set of rules. And for those very reasons, it was insanely addictive.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The U.R.T.V. units are named according to the philosophic beliefs of Karl Jung but it is also reflected in their hair color. Rubedo has red hair, Nigredo has black hair, Albedo has white hair, and Citrine has yellow-ish hair
  • Combination Attack: Episode II tried to play with this; it was Awesome, but Impractical and you could have easily delt as much damage with solo attacks in the time it took to set up one Double Tech. Some of those are pretty funny, however, and some others serve as Ship Tease.
  • Commonplace Rare: Since Episode II doesn't have shops or a money system at all it could take hours of Level Grinding just to find something like a Bio Sphere.
  • Compensating for Something: Shelley Godwin implies that this is precisely why Jr. is so fond of his gunslinger heroics.
  • Continuity Nod: During Episode III, a throw away cutscene happens when the characters are escaping Laybrinthos during the part of the game where they travel back to Milita during the Third Descent Operation. As they're escaping, the remains of a robot come tumbling down to earth, almost hitting the party. It turns out to be one of the robots that chaos and Canaan shot down during the opening cutscenes of Episode II. Especially made obvious, since chaos apologizes for it when it crashes.
    • If you look closely at the overworld map on Miltia in Episode III, you can see areas you travel through during the Old Miltia of 14 years ago sequence of Episode II, specifically the Toys Universe store and the area where you fight Margulis. Here's a hint, it's where you find the Prayer Beads.
  • Continuity Reboot: To Xenogears, according to Word of God.
  • Converging Stream Weapon: The Rhine Maiden, a converging wave-motion gun comprising the Dämmerung and three smaller vessels in formation.
  • Corrupt Church: Ormus, though the moral outlook on the series does provide them a defensible case.
  • Counter Attack: Jin has an entire section of his skill tree supposedly devoted to it.
  • Cloning Blues: Subverted by Jr. and Gaignun, as they are involved in the founding of an independent space colony for wayward genetic experiments to eke out a peaceful living. Played entirely straight with Albedo.
  • Creepy Child:
    • They don't get any creepier than Kid Albedo.
    • Plus there are the other 665 standard-unit URTVs. Especially when you're given the chance to dispatch all the ones who were contaminated by U-DO in random battles during a certain sequence of Episode III.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Jr. is voiced by Bridanne Siddall. In a much more minor example, Wendee Lee voiced kid Gaignun in Episode III.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: KOS-MOS during Episode I has one of these, albeit it briefly.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Several characters resort to this, worst offender being Nephilim. She gets called out on it at one point.
  • Cutscene: So many, that DVDs which show all the cutscenes that all span more than 3 hours per game are available.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Everyone loves standing around while they watch some of their comrades getting badly beaten or Mind Raped. Particularly prominent in the first KOS-MOS vs. T-ELOS fight in Episode III. Also, chaos, who's supposed to be the guy behind Jesus' miracles and has powers equal to Big Bad Wilhelm himself.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Deals it out in spades, almost all of the characters are infinitely more powerful in cutscenes than actual gameplay. This applies to any story related bosses as well. Unfortunately, the bosses tend to be twice as infinitely more powerful in cutscenes, and have the annoying tendency to kick your ass after every one of your "victories".
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: In Episode III, not as present in the other games.
  • Dating Catwoman: Jin and Pellegri.
  • Death Seeker: Albedo.
  • Definitely Just a Cold: Shion tries to pass off her fainting spells as "nothing" and just fatigue. It's really due to contact with U-DO, the same condition as her mother had.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: After she awakens as Mary, KOS-MOS' battle quotes change for the rest of the game. This includes her E.S. battle quotes, despite the fact that you can beat the game from that point without ever getting inside an E.S. again.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Big Bad Wilhelm is about to win! Everyone is where they need to be! The MacGuffin is within reach! Too bad he didn't see Allen ruining his plans by taking Shion back and then not conprehending that Kos-Mos/Mary might just break the MacGuffin needed to restart time!
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Used quite a bit in the series. Items, chests, and even enemies can pop out of what you can destroy.
  • Disability Superpower: Abel, an autistic boy in the care of Juli Mizrahi and the SCOCE, who just happens to be the physical incarnation of "God".
  • Ditzy Genius: Shion, in contrast to Miyuki. Shion is a talented robotics engineer with a Masters degree in engineering, who was hand-picked by the brightest mind in the galaxy to be his right hand (and eventually his fiancée). Her skills are unparalleled when it comes to mechanics and complex computer sciences. However, she also has the social skills of a brick in mid-flight. She psychologically torments her subordinates, hypocritically moralizes to others, broaches touchy subjects in the most inapt ways imaginable, manipulates others to further her own goals, treats her only surviving family like shit, and wilfully glosses over flaws in her domestic abuser Bastard Boyfriend to the point of Face-Heel Turning over the vocal objections of the entire party.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Shion wonders this abouts KOS-MOS. Ziggy does get to have a dream in Xenosaga Freaks, tough.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The enemies Striborg/Svarozic/Perun which appear in all three games have a giant crotch-bulb-thing. Which it thrusts at you when it's casting a spell.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Shion and Allen do this to infiltrate Labrynthos during Episode III.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Episode I had one of these, complete with him physically abusing his men for "slacking off". He also appeared briefly in Episode II when you fight the Naglfar Cannons in the Sunken City.
  • Dual Boss: The Richard and Hermann battles.
  • Dual Wielding: Jin does this briefly during Episode III in the Florentine style. One of the swords is one he had just gotten stabbed with, along with his regular katana. The fight with the Gnosis who stabbed him ended in a fatal draw. Also, one of the Gnosis types can do this with two BFS's.
  • Duel Boss: The final battle between Albedo and Jr. in Episode II is a one-on-one fight, but it's subverted since Albedo barely fights back, if at all.
  • Dummied Out: Lots of things have been left out of the main three games. Ep. I had some character models unused, as well as some data of Jin being a playable character. The player would also find powerfull spells that would be available later in the story, but ended up being recycled for Ep. II. Ep. II has the entire shop system still in the data, but it got removed because they ran out of time. Ep. III has swimsuits for the three Guest Star Party Member.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Both Jin and Canaan have this during the final chapters of Episode III. Canaan tricks Voyager into killing himself, and Jin puts up an admirable defense against the Gnosis before succumbing to his wounds.
  • Early Bird Boss: The battle with Margulis on Pleroma in Episode I is this to the point where it's considered a Hopeless Boss Fight by the game itself. He's still very beatable though.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Tech Points, Ether Points, and Skill Points were limited in scope from their appearance in Episode I. The fully featured card game, mech fighter, casino games and drilling game never returned either. The score was composed entirely by Yasunori Mitsuda, and the story of the game (due to Development Hell and Executive Meddling) had closer resemblance to the original script than the other two games (look at the entry on the What Could Have Been page for more info)
  • Earth That Was - Humanity abandoned Earth some 4,000 years prior to the start of the plot after it and the rest of the Milky Way galaxy disappeared from known space. It has since become known as "Lost Jerusalem", and Shion and her party set out to find it, setting up the plot for a sequel that will never be made.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Gnosis. These creatures defy physical laws almost as a matter of course, have a terrifying appearance, and, until the discovery of the Hilbert effect (which pulls them into our dimension fully, allowing us to attack them) were completely incapable of being harmed but could kill us at their whim. It gets even worse when you learn that the Gnosis are the spirits of humans who are so terrified of living humans, they're willing to kill us. They're us.
  • Enemy Scan: The "Analyze" spell in Episode II and the Analyze Ball in Episode III.
  • Everything Is Online: Through the UMN, all of reality is online and hackable, and bodies, souls, and data are somewhat interchangeable.
  • Evil Laugh: Almost every villain has one, but Albedo's takes the cake...
  • Exact Time to Failure: The Timed Mission to escape the Ormus Stronghold in Episode II. If you don't complete it within the time limit, you will die!
  • Executive Meddling: Numerous - the main brains behind the series were axed by the time the third game came out. The radically different Episode II was a result of this trope as well, which pretty much led to the series being reduced from six games to three. Ironically, the third game seems to be the most true to its spiritual predecessor and is generally regarded as the best in the series.
  • Expy: Numerous 'Saga cast members have 'Gears counterparts, most notably Jin. He's a bit of a subversion, though. Despite their superficial resemblance, Citan was a hyper-competent borderline Canon Sue with a beautiful wife & daughter & successful practice as a town doctor. Jin is a layabout who washed out of the medical profession, had a lousy relationship with his family the only woman he ever loved wound up trying to kill him. He's still a Badass, though.
    • It goes beyond just the human characters. Episode III pits you against the Super Robot Omega-Universitas and its more powerful transformation Omega-Id, which are more or less direct copies of Fei's gear, the Weltall, right down to the fighting style.
  • Fan Disservice: Albedo plays Evil Is Sexy to the hilt...usually for the benefit of preteen-looking Realians and his own brother, all while crossing one Moral Event Horizon after another. In a sillier example, in the latter two games, everyone, not just the more-or-less humans, gets an optional swimsuit. Including Ziggy. It's an unflattering Speedo and ridiculous man-bra of a rebreather harness. In purple. With swim fins. Less justifiably, some gamers, apparently fearful of Wardrobe Malfunctions, would list Jin's fundoshi as well. Allen's 50's style single piece swimsuit could almost count, and there's chaos'...bulge in the first game. He lost it in the subsequent games, thankfully.
    • To be fair, Ziggy only has that hideous eyesore of a swimsuit in the third game. His second game's swimsuit is much better, looking for the most part like his normal outfit but green and he has a snorkeling mask.
  • Fanservice: The girls swimsuits. There's also Xenosaga Freaks, a whole disc full of it.
    • Hell, just read the comments of CHOCO (the designer of Ep. III) about the characters' outfits.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The interior of Abel's Ark and the Cathedral Ship.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel
  • Fetch Quest:
    • Several in Episode II.
    • The whole series can be looked at as a series of Fetch Quests that are actually relevant to the plot. For example, take KOS-MOS to Second Milita to get an upgrade, collect and deliver MOMO and bring her to Second Milita, and, perhaps the biggest one of all: Shion's pendant, which is the literal key to start up a machine that can return time to the beginning, passed down by Wilhelm through different people, (such as Kevin's mom giving it to Kevin, and him giving it to Shion) only to have it returned to him when the time is right. This is just to name a few.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Shion was so devoted to Kevin that she turned against the entire party because they didn't trust him. It's too bad no one in this game can do a Bright Slap.
  • Filming For Easy Dub: Used more often in Episode II than anywhere else. At least one cutscene on each disk has a lot of monologue or scenes (such as flashbacks) that don't need animated mouths.
    • This is in direct contrast to Episode III and even more to Episode I where the camera would often be focused directly on the character's face when they were thinking or communicating with each other via telepathy.
  • Final Boss: One in each Episode.
  • Finishing Move: Xenosaga 3 shells out extra experience and gold for killing any enemy with a special attack. This is pretty necessary if you hope to keep up with the level curve.
  • Fission Mailed: Actually inverted with the fight against Patriarch Sergius. Halfway through the fight, he is knocked down as if he was defeated, and the screen cuts to the usual post-battle experience gain screen. Once it gets you to think you've beaten Sergius, the screen turns red and shatters, returning you to the battle as Sergius re-initiates the fight through sheer force of will.
  • Flunky Boss: Different types of them too.
  • Forced to Watch: Wilhelm forces Shion to watch KOS-MOS turn against her while at the same time forcing Kevin to watch as he tortures Shion.
  • Foreign Language Title: All three games have German subtitles that draw on Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Franchise Killer: The series was meant to span six games (not counting spin offs)... Episode II sure fixed that.
    • Especially for European fans, as no one was gutsy enough to bring it over after the failure that was Episode II, both the game's fault and due to sloppy handling of the game's release in Europe; they did not release Episode I, unanimously declared to be a better game, and then they missed out on Episode III, which is arguably as good as if not better than Episode I.
  • Fun with Acronyms: A few, including MOMO (Multiple Observative Mimetic Organicus) and KOS-MOS (Kosmos Obey Strategic Multiple Operation Systems)
  • Gambit Pileup: The number of plots and counterplots is simply staggering. Most of them were orchestrated, planned and/or anticipated by Wilhelm: The main villains of Episode I are U-TIC, who are actually part of Ormus. The Gnosis are also a major threat, and responsible for most of the plot. The party are helped by the Galaxy Federation (sometimes through S.O.C.E.) and the Kukai Foundation, except the Kukai Foundation is secretly being controlled by Dmitri Yuriev, who wants to destroy U-DO, who wants to learn more about humanity. Vector Industries has a rivalry with Hyams, but both are controlled by Wilhelm, who actually orchestrated most of the events and is also Heinlein, second-in-command of Ormus. However, the Testaments (who Wilhelm controls) all have their own motives, and Albedo, the White Testament, used to be part of U-TIC. And, of course, Sellers, who manages to betray everyone.
  • Gambit Roulette: Most of the various conspiracies are orchestrated or influenced by Wilhelm with the aid of a prophetic device. He is a veritable Gambit Croupier.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In Xenosaga III, Shion becomes the main pilot of E.S. Dinnah, but Gameplay proceeds to ignore this and has KOS-MOS the main pilot and Shion the co-pilot. Even more strangely, one cutscene in Michtam actually shows Alan co-piloting with Shion, which raises the question of where KOS-MOS even was.
  • Genius Cripple: Dr. Sellers. It's not readily apparent that he's a paraplegic until he's seen in person in Episode II. Episode III reveals he's in a wheelchair because he screwed over Joachim Mizrahi, and Mizrahi responded by shooting his kneecaps off.
  • Genius Ditz: Miyuki, in contrast to Shion is this. She designs Shion's weapons and they're incredibly powerful and well-made. She's also a dribbling absent-minded airhead. However, this may just be due to Flanderization; her nature to make mistakes and screw up constantly is shoved into the light in Episode III.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In Episode III, the translators apparently decided to have some fun with the dense in-game Database. Albedo's entry refers to him as "a Cunning Linguist".
    • The Ma belle peche sequence, featuring a guy who decapitates himself (with a knife or with his bare hands) in front of a preteen girl. Oh, and that's not even mentioning the blatant rape subtext of the scene or the one after this one.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Final Boss of Episode I.
  • Global Currency: Apparently the economy hasn't changed at all in 15 years. Except in Episode II, which doesn't have a money system at all.
  • Gnosticism: The entire series, and even moreso its spiritual predecessor Xenogears, are heavily influenced by the Gnostic religion. Proper names and even the overall mythology of the series reflects Gnostic cosmology.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:
    • This is the reason transporting organic matter across the UMN is banned by the Federation: every human test subject that rematerialized on the other side (most didn't) came back as a basket case (if not also physically deformed). This is the reason why Yuriev was so obsessed with destroying U-DO.
    • Hearing the Song of Nephilim also causes certain Realians to go mad with homicidal rage.
    • Albedo also went crazy(er) when he made contact with U-DO.
  • God in Human Form: Basically, the boy Abel is U-DO, who is God himself (he's also shown as an Ark as well). He is portrayed as a mentally disabled child, despite being able to pilot a Humongous Mecha that drives normal pilots insane, before The Reveal. Other than this, the only power he has that is really mentioned in the series is that he hasn't aged since he appeared during the Lost Jerusalem Era.
  • God Is Evil: U-DO is believed by Dmitri Yuriev to be the eventual destroyer of the universe. But it turns out that Yuriev is nothing more than a deluded Knight Templar who was wrong or lying from the very beginning.
  • God Mode:
    • Good luck ever damaging Shion or Jr. again once they have Phantom Fly!
    • If the bosses can survive longer than the 3 rounds KOS-MOS can keep Blood Dancer activated, then you're doing it wrong.
  • God Was My Copilot: Taken literally with chaos, being the Jesus who actually made the miracles happen and all. He literally served as the copilot for Canaan in the beginning of Episode II and then with Jr. from then on.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Richard and Hermann are played up as this.
  • Good Foundation, Evil Organization
  • Good Samaritan: This is the basis for a series of small sidequests, most involving some sort of Fetch Quest or Minigame, in Episode II. It's even called The Global Samaritan Organization.
  • Gratuitous English: CAUTION! I AM A BOOZER! BANZAI! BANZAI!
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Doctus, and her Latin interjections. See also Foreign Language Title.
  • Gratuitous French: Three words: "Ma belle peche!"
  • Gratuitous German: Quite a bit of German words appear in the script; especially when Wilhelm is involved. Also, the titles of Episodes I, II, and III as well.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: At the beginning of Episode III, Shion and Miyuki are working for an anti-Vector terrorist organization and participating in illegal activities to expose Vector. Big Bad Wilhelm was keeping the universe and all life in it from dissipating.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Virgil, Canaan, Miyuki, and Allen. Also, Mary Godwin and a random soldier (called Soldier) in their AGWS for one part of Episode I.
  • Hall of Mirrors: Combined with The Mirror Shows Your True Self and Mirror Monster. During Jr.'s face off with Child Albedo, he finds himself in a Hall of Mirrors. At first, the mirrors shows the reflection of Jr.'s telling him to kill the other guy. Then, the reflections change to show the other guy, telling Jr. the same thing. Then, Jr. shoots a mirror, to no real effect, since the other guy was never even in the room to begin with.
  • Hammer Space: Weaponry (and other similar items) have been converted from matter to information and are stored on the UMN until they're needed, at which point they're rematerialized in normal space.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Since many of the bosses can't be defeated by just fighting them and you get a game over every time you lose, a good portion of boss battles turn out to be this.
  • The Heartless: Gnosis. They are made of people filled with nihilism and reject the universe. If a person is touched by a Gnosis and doesn't die of "whitening", the victim becomes infected with the Gnosis' fear and anger. Over time, the victim will begin to reject everything, thus becoming a Gnosis himself/herself. Only those with "shining wills" can stop the infection. Shion survived a near-whitening in Episode I because of this (her devotion and love for Kevin), and her status as the Maiden of Mary. The other protagonists also bear shining wills, and thus are not affected by Gnosis.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing:
    • In Episode I, there is indeed a sequence where Shion goes fishing on the Kukai Foundation.
    • Ditto in Episode II. Made particularly aggravating because how many times you fish in this game will end up determining which "kind" of Erde Kaiser you get in the game (read: Guide Dang It).
  • Heroic BSOD: Shion, after finding out that she actually unleashed the Gnosis on the universe. The effect is so great that she then summons Abel's Ark. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several.
    • Twice in the anime adaptation. One is played so straight, it may qualify as the most powerfully staged one in the history of anime; the other one is subverted just as powerfully.
    • Jin and KOS-MOS in the ending. She survives hers, as she has several before, being literally Made of Iron.
    • Gaignun pulled a fast one on Albedo, forcing him to reunite with Jr. while they were subduing an U-DO contaminated Yuriev, at the cost of his own life.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: Earth, or Lost Jerusalem as it's called, is referred to often. Humans had to leave it because of a mysterious space-time disturbance. Its location has been long lost. At the end of the third game a chunk of the party goes off searching for it, and we're left wanting another sequel.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The boss battle with Margulius on Pleroma is supposed to be this, but it's very possible to win against him if you know what you're doing. Hint: put MOMO behind Ziggy.
  • Hot-Blooded: Jr. and Albedo, especially when it's about fighting each other.
  • HP to One: Citrine, the number is 666 instead, but it's immediately followed up by an attack that does 666.
  • Humongous Mecha: No surprise there.
  • The UMN Is A Scary Place: U-DO and Gnosis lurk in the depths of the do-everything network.
  • I Let You Win: The last battle with Albedo in Episode II.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: Albedo's first thoughts about his regeneration. Boy, did he go off the deep end when he found out the truth...
  • Idle Animation: In Episode III each playable character has one (in example, Shion jumps and Kos-Mos looks around) they perform when they're idle. Episode I also had idle animations for some of its in-game engine cutscenes where someone other than your player character is talking (for example, while Shion would talk to Luty, player character Junior would sit nearby, cross-legged and stretch).
  • Immediate Sequel: Episode II begins no more than an hour or so after the end of Episode I.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Happens once early on in Episode I. Shion, trying to get back to the lab on the Woglinde during a Gnosis invasion, is fired upon by a squad of A.G.W.S and Realians. Each bullet misses her completely, despite everyone using automatic weapons.
  • In a Single Bound: KOS-MOS and T-elos, they even end up running on the walls and ceiling.
  • In Name Only: Xenosaga was originally thought to be a remake/a complete overhaul of the supposed Xenogears series, but aside from some Expies and some similarities, it doesn't really connect with it at all. Also, Xenoblade was originally thought to be a continuation of Xenosaga when its name was announced. It turned out to be Nintendo's way of honoring writer Tetsuya Takahashi, who wrote all three series.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Plenty. Some even come out of the objects in the environment when you destroy them.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Inverted, most NPCs you encounter in populated areas will die sooner or later at some point in the game.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Digging up the Zohar, trying to send unprotected humans through the UMN, you name it.
  • It's Up to You: Helmer just can't do anything himself.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: And HOW! Probably the biggest example in the entire genre... if not the entire medium.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: "Diving" into the "subconscious domain" of many cast members is half the plot. Notably, Shion and co. delve into both Sakura and KOS-MOS's minds (though the latter becomes a general mindscrew-slash-flashback).
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Wilhelm.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: chaos is almost a textbook case. Not actually Jesus himself, but apparently he's the one behind the miracles.
  • Large Ham: Many of the antagonists have the obligatory loud and dramatic speechifying on the topics of power and order in the Universe (Margulis, The Ormus Patriarch). However, Albedo takes the Large Ham cake, smears himself with the frosting, lops off body parts with the serving spatula for emphasis, and then hands it off to the protagonists demanding that they HURT HIM MORE.
  • Laser Blade: Ensemble Dark Horse Orgulla has one of these. Be sure to pay attention to it during the boss battle with her.
  • Last Minute Hookup: Shion and Allen.
  • Last Name Basis: Everyone but Febronia calls Virgil either "Lt. Virgil" or "Virgil," his first name being Luis.
  • Lazy Backup: In Episode I the player could only have the three characters that they set as combatants battle. When they die, it's game over, even if the other three characters are also there with them. In Episode II and Episode III, they can switch characters out, but only if they're not dead and don't have status ailments. Of course, in all three games, the player can switch them to their hearts content out of battle.
  • Leitmotif: Quite a few characters have their own theme song and, in most cases, it's named after them. Notable examples are Albedo, Sakura, and Nephilim. Songs can be heard here: Albedo, Sakura, and Nephilim.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: During the Encephalon dive in Episode I, the party splits into two to explore. Also, in Episode III, there's a Secret Dungeon that's just a bunch of rooms with puzzles based off of this concept. Both times they didn't have much of a choice, though.
  • Level Grinding: Of course, opinion varies regarding exactly when and how much is needed, but there are points where it's needed.
  • Likable Villain: Virgil (after some Character Development) and Pellegri.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The sub-titles of all the games are, as noted above, references to books by Nietzsche. In the original German. And then there's Pied Piper.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Lo' and behold! Gnosis are souls who reject Instrumentality, and when there are too many of them, Class-Z apocalypse ensue.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Keven could be a good example. All of the things he does: Killing himself, helping destroy Old Miltia, destroying KOS-MOS, and mentally ruin Shion just to save her life from the same thing her mom died of. Before Shion, he was willing to do it to bring back his mom.
  • Luck-Based Mission: ES Levi's special attack Blazing Judgement is an almost-guaranteed One-Hit Kill if it strikes an ES that isn't guarding. Unfortunately, it's entirely possible that the ES he is going to target will simply not get a turn between Margulis activating his Anima Awakening and unleashing the attack.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: The entire series!
  • Made of Explodium: Mechanical enemies generally explode and disappear when killed. In the first two games, a shower of blood accompanied any human deaths.
  • Magic from Technology: Ether.
  • Magitek: The UMN is a Subspace Ansible network literally built on the Collective Unconscious, also responsible for many of the Ether effects mentioned above, as well as teleportation and Faster-Than-Light Travel.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The Testaments are this; they're even referred to by the color of their robe and mask. While portrayed as just mysterious masked men in the beginning of the series, by Episode III, they're definitely antagonists.
  • Manipulative Bastard: This game has plenty of them. Kevin outdoes them all, however.
  • Meaningful Name: Where does one even begin? There's Kos-mos, chaos, and T-elos; Nephilim, as well as the name of the Zohar Emulators and the E.S.'s. Also, Gaignun's name comes from the horse in The Song of Roland. Horses are generally used as a means of transport. What does Gaignun provide? The Durandal and, by extension, the Elsa. The characters' main means of transport throughout the series.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Kevin giving Shion the pendant his mom gave him. It is, in fact, a cause as to why most events in the series relating to Shion happens
  • Mind Rape:
    • Albedo does this to MOMO at the end of the first Episode to recover the Y-data. Bits of the scene were removed in the NA version because it, well, looks a lot like rape. During the final Mind Screw confrontation with Jr., Albedo says, "I bet she'd like it if you did it" to Jr., solidifying the aforementioned event as rape.
    • Also, the usual consequences of contacting U-DO would qualify.
  • Mind Screw:... A big one.
  • Minigame: Each of the three episodes has their own sets. Highlights include Xenocard from Episode I, which is a fully featured TCG and a puzzle game of sorts in Episode III, called HaKox, where you move blocks to make sure the characters make it to the end of the level. Episode I also had an arcady mech shooting game.
  • Mini-Boss: It can be hard to discern these fights and actual boss fights at times.
  • Mini Mecha: In the first and third game, 4-6 m humanoid battle mecha, called A.W.G.S. are seen. In the first game, all characters except Ziggy and KOS-MOS can pilot them. One of the best depictions of the concept yet displayed in gaming.
  • Morton's Fork: Voyager offers one of these to Jan at the end of Pied Piper. He takes a third option.
  • The Mother Ship: The Gnosis Cathedral Ships for, you guessed it, the Gnosis.
  • Musical Nod: The soundtrack to Episode I contains a few to the soundtrack of Xenogears, both of them being composed by Yasunori Mitsuda:
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Pretty much how Shion reacts when she realizes that she was the one who summoned the Gnosis to Old Militia when she was a child by performing a Big "NO!". This leads her to do another Big "NO!", which causes ''more'' bad things to happen, leading to her suffering a Heroic BSOD.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In regards to boosting, at least, because the enemies can boost over you, no matter what. Did you boost first? Too bad! The computer decided to override you and boost itself! And you cannot override the computer! This naturally includes bosses too, where boosting could be very crucial. This can lead to the boss attacking three times and leaving you almost dead with sometimes only one chance to heal yourself between turns.
  • Mythology Gag: The series natrually references Xenogears quite a bit.
  • Nanotechnology: A background element to the story. It's the go-to explanation for everything from every from how Ethers/Techs work to how come there are so many habitable planets in the universe to why does everyone have such Impossibly Clean Clothes?
  • New Neo City: The series employs a variation of this when it comes to naming places after other places. A numerical designation is attached to the new settlement. Examples include Second Miltia and Fifth Jerusalem. Earth That Was is know in-universe as Lost Jerusalem.
  • No Budget: Episode III seemed to suffer from this. Full CG cutscenes were used only for action scenes, many actors were reused in the dubbing, some cutscenes have extensive slowdown and there were more than a few questionably translated lines. This game was also made during the time that Namco was being bought by and merged with Bandai, so money was likely spread more thin than usual.
  • No Export for You: Xenosaga I&II, Pied Piper, Xenosaga Freaks, and A Missing Year.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • What happened between Margulis, Jin and their master (who was also Jin and Shion's grandfather). Jin states that Margulis "betrayed" their master, but it's never stated if he meant betraying his principles, he killed him or otherwise.
    • What happened at Miltia starts off as this, but we eventually learn what occurred there.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup:
    • Kevin took the plans for KOS-MOS to his grave, so in order to continue his work, Shion had to reverse-engineer the prototype that killed him.
      • However, Kevin, when he was made a Testament, used his plans to create T-ELOS so she could destroy KOS-MOS.
    • The Federation, meanwhile, has most of Joachim Mizrahi's works on file (except for the Y-Data) and produces several Ω's and Merkabahs, even making some improvements between versions.
  • Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying Over You: Something similar happens in the end of the anime: Everyone (particularly Shion) is very busy crying for KOS-MOS, who has seemingly pulled off a Heroic Sacrifice, when a communications officer spots her walking calmly on the ship's hull. He tries telling the others but The Captain orders him to shut up and not ruin the moment at first.
  • Numbered Sequel: Episode I, Episode II, and Episode III all have numbers in their titles.
  • Off Model: The aforementioned Animation Bump in Episode I sometimes resulted in the bumps overlapping with the reular CG cutscenes, as Kos-Mos was really the only character to recieve said bump.
    • Xenosaga The Animation is particularly egregious in this regard. It's pretty much a nonstop stream of Quality, in comparison with the character art/models for Episode I.
  • Old Save Bonus: Xenosaga II gives the player bonus skill points and KOS-MOS and Ziggy's swimsuits, all excellent incentives. Xenosaga III, however, just gives you a Vector Uniform that changes Shion's appearance.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Some feature Latin that's more upbeat and action-y, but other songs in the series fit this trope better; for example, the song Testament
    • Episode I uses real Latin text from several Psalms, and a truncated version of the Gloria Patri. Episodes II and III use the Latin-ish sounding invented language "kajiuran."
  • One Game For The Price Of Three: The series consists of three separate games, of which only Episodes I and III are long enough to qualify as full-length RPGs. Episodes I and II were originally intended to be a single game which was subsequently split in two. The so-called "8 Minutes and 8 Seconds" trailer for Episode I showcased events such as Jin and Margulis's sword duel and the activation of Proto-Ω—two events which occur near the climax of Episode II. The combined Episodes I&II were later released as a Nintendo DS game, which never made it out of Japan.
  • Once Per "Episode": Quite a few.
    • KOS-MOS gets a frame upgrade.
    • The Elsa has a dramatic escape sequence.
    • KOS-MOS stays behind to save everyone, who has conveniently forgot that she's a robot and can be rebuilt.
    • Finding and unlocking Segment Addresses, usually related to...
    • Building Erde Kaiser (first two episodes; in the 3rd, you just find all three previous robots) or fighting Erde Kaiser (last two episodes).
    • Wilhelm makes vaguely prophetic proclamations.
    • One or more members of the party put on a swimsuit.
    • The party explores someone's subconscious through Encephalon dive, which is a mild example of a Marathon Level (they have save points, but they're pretty long levels for a maingame segment).
    • Fight against Margulis.
    • Albedo dies.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Between Jin and Margulis, as well as between Rubedo and Albedo.In Rubedo (Jr.)'s case, due to his power, he IS the only person who can kill Albedo for good.
  • Only One Name: chaos (Yeshua), Margulis, Pelegri, Sergius, Heinlein, and Sellers. Meanwhile KOS-MOS and T-elos are simply product designations, and MOMO's legal name is MOMO Mizrahi.
  • The Other Darrin: The dub of Xenosaga The Animation was done by ADV Films in Texas, so no one kept the voices they had in-game. The Japanese dub of the entire collective franchise managed to keep pretty much everyone who was assigned to that character from the start. Richard Epcar, the voice of Ziggy through all three games, stated that he didn't even know there was an anime, or that it was being dubbed in Texas. Otherwise, he would have flown over there from California and auditioned for Ziggy.
  • Out of Focus: Unfortunately, it seems every party member aside from Shion, Jr., and KOS-MOS is gradually forced out of the spotlight, especially in Episode III.
  • Palmtree Panic: Pedea Island in the beginning of the third game, which really contrasts with the whole futuristic outerspace setting of the series.
  • Pals with Jesus: Every playable character and Wilhelm, since chaos is Jesus (the one who did the miracles, not the public figure who everyone thought did the miracles). Also, Shion was the Maiden of Mary (Magdelene) in one of her past lives. Furthermore, since Mary Magdelene's consciousness was reborn within KOS-MOS, it happens twice.
  • Planet Spaceship: The Dammerung is described in the accompanying Perfect Works manual as an artificial planet the size of Lebanon. It's the headquarters for Fiction 500 company Vector, and contains at least one megalopolis in an area large enough to have a real weather system.
  • Player Headquarters: The Elsa.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: This was supposed to happen to Jr. at some time in the series, but eventually got scrapped. (Although it happens briefly in Episode III, when Nigredo shows Rubedo (Rubedo's) true form.).
  • Preexisting Encounters
  • Puppy Love: Jr. and MOMO make up something of a Beta Couple. It should be noted though that MOMO is an artificial human and Jr. is actually in his twenties but stopped his aging.
  • Puzzle Boss: Most of the bosses in Episode I and Episode II. Plus, they were pretty damn original too.
  • Puzzle Reset: Most of the puzzles in each dungeon have a reset button if you mess up.
  • Quad Damage: Quite literal in Episode III's Blood Dancer ability.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Your party consists of an android, a Super Prototype artificial human, a cyborg, a different type of artificial human clone, a samurai, a Genius Bruiser martial artist Hot Scientist, and Jesus, or at least, the guy who performed Jesus' miracles on his behalf.
  • Reactor Boss: The Final Boss of Episode I is born from the reactor thanks to Albedo's hand in it.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Jr., and as later revealed, chaos and Wilhelm
    • According to the ingame encyclopedia, medicine has advanced to the point where everyone lives for hundreds of years. This makes the ending to Episode III where some of the characters travel on a journey that could be hundreds of years long less stupid.
  • Recurring Boss: Albedo, Margulis, and Pellegri. You're guaranteed to fight them at least once per game.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Albedo does this three times and every time it looks like he's gone for good, however, he just won't stay dead— He's molecularly reassembled by the Testaments, killed again by Jr., brought back as a Testament himself and dies again when his mind is absorbed by Jr. and his body is obliterated.
  • Remember the New Guy: Doctus. In all fairness, the web-based side story that properly introduces her in advance of Episode III was never released state-side... officially.
    • The E.S. robots in Episode II. They are relevant to the plot, but they appeared out of nowhere. Albedo's E.S. Simeon is featured prominently throughout Episode I, and while the game's onboard encyclopedia hints that there's something out of the ordinary with it, it's not confirmed to be an E.S. until Episode II.
  • Remote Body: Doctus, again. It's revealed in A Missing Year that she constantly uses android doubles.
    • Joshua, Wilhelm's personal mecha, is also an extension of his body.
  • Replacement Goldfish: A few of them.
    • MOMO (and the Kirschwassers to an extent) are made into this for Sakura by Jr., Albedo, Joachim, and Juli. She's also made into a replacement goldfish for Ziggy's dead son Joaquin.
    • Meanwhile, T-elos is created as a replacement goldfish for KOS-MOS after she "fails" whatever arbitrary requirements Wilhelm placed on her. KOS-MOS and T-elos together are simultaneously replacement goldfishes for Mary Magdalene and Kevin's mother.
    • One of the major stumbling blocks to Allen's courtship of Shion is his fear of coming off as/being made into a replacement goldfish for Kevin. Kevin turning up alive and well and turning out to be a complete douchebag helped his case a bit, though.
    • Another example is at the end of Episode II when Albedo dies, casuing Jr. to get Alby, a little white dog.
  • Re Tool: Due to Episode I not selling exactly how Namco wanted it and many staff changes, as well as the desire to make Episode II more mainstream, that Episode had a retooled battle system, new script writers, a new composer, and only told a fraction of a story (Disc 1 can be completed in 6 hours without skipping a cutscene), compared to Episode I which had a lot of plot (and was on one disc). Strangely, they still managed to keep the Story to Gameplay Ratio about the same.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: The most common way people kill the Larva Doll and Larva Face monsters is by healing them, however you can also use Kos-Mos' Gate Ether on them as well, which is actually more helpful because when used on the Larva Doll, they get killed instead of turning into Larva Face.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: All kinds of goodies pop out of destructibles, including entire treasure chests. Lampshaded by a police officer NPC in Episode I, who states she's investigating the destruction of vending machines in the area.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Shion's prefered avatar when using the UMN is cute white bunnie character who shows up in numerous parts of the games. It generally doesn't serve any terribly important purposes, but it does represent the Save-states on the PS2's memory card.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots:
    • The Realians. They range from emotionally vacant servants (The Kirschwassers, Canaan, and most "Weapons-Grade Realians") to being nearly indistinguishable from humans (MOMO, Febronia).
    • KOS-MOS also falls into this trope. She was designed to be as human as possible in order to be the host body for the resurrected consciousness of Mary Magdalene.
  • Robo Family: MOMO's relationship with the Kirschwassers who preceded her is akin to sisterhood.
  • Sad Battle Music: The battle between KOS-MOS and T-ELOS in the third installment. While their previous battles were accompanied by intense music, their final confrontation has the melancholic "Hepatica" playing.
  • Satan Is Good: The Antichrist's sole purpose is to ensure the survival of our universe. Still doesn't stop him from being the Well-Intentioned Extremist Big Bad.
  • Say My Name:
    • U-DOOOOOO...
  • Screw Destiny: The final, CMOAish decision of the characters—to find their own way to save the universe.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Proto Omega, once under Ormus control.
  • Secret Identity: The Testaments have these. Even though each identity is eventually made known to the heroes, everyone else has no idea who they are. Also, The Red Testament disguises himself as a scientist named Roth Mantel, however this has its own reveal seperate from the Red Testament revealing that he's, in fact, Kevin Winnicott.
  • Serial Escalation: How many more religious references can get thrown in the game? How much more is there to learn about the main characters? How much more epic can the space battles get? How much more big and powerful can the robots get? Try one that destroys an entire planet upon awakening! This series does a lot of this.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Episode II to Episode III.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Episode I to Episode II.
  • Shattered World: The Floating Landmass/Rennes le Chateau from Episode III is thought to be a broken piece of Lost Jerusalem. However, no one seems to live on it.
  • Shirtless Scene: Kevin, of all people, had one of these in a oh-so-suggestive scene with Shion, and that shirt seems to be the only thing that Shion is wearing other than panties.
  • Shooting Superman: Many mooks and red shirts keep shooting at gnosis even when it's clear that they are Made Of Air.
  • Shout-Out: Episode III is littered with subtle and overt nods to Xenogears. One of the bosses in the third game is Welltall, which later changes to a red Weltall-Id.
    • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Jr and Albedo.
    • Shout-Out to The Usual Suspects: In Episode I's database, it's mentioned that, in the official records, Gaignun is listed as the heir to the industrialist Soze Kukai. It, along with Gaignun taking up the name Kukai, is just part of the charade set up to make the Kukai Foundation look better during its inception. So, Soze didn't really exist.
    • Also, Jr.'s first lines in Episode I are a direct quotation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
    • The Bakery Smile on the Kukai Foundation uses Pac-man on their bakery sign as a sort of border.
    • There's a Shout-Out for Antigone/ the Oedipus cycle: One type of Mooks (Vive II Prototype) has two beam attacks. One's called Antigone, the other is Ismene. Interestingly, you find this type in the Ormus Stronghold in Episode II.
    • The hand grenades used by Margulis' Humongous Mecha are identical to those used by the Zaku II in the original Gundam series.
    • Mai Magus and Leupold in Episode III are a homage to Maria and Seibzehn from Xenogears.
    • Proto Merkabah and the incomplete Merkabah are reminiscent of the Death Star and Death Star II.
    • Professor Haksheen White is like Dr. Light/Right from Mega Man.
    • Ziggy is nothing like Ziggy Stardust though.
    • The Zohar is a giant monolith. This reference is shared with Xenogears.
    • Sellers is a dead ringer for Dr. Strangelove (the character), portrayed by, whaddayaknow, Peter Sellers.
    • MOMO's bow in Episode II is labeled (in the official renders) as being made by Legolas Manufacturers.
    • One of the guns you can buy for Jr. in Episode III is called the Legacy of Zara.
    • Yuriev's takeover of the Durandal in Episode III seems to reference the sequence in which JSSDF forces take over NERV headquarters in The End Of Evangelion.
  • Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer: Xenocard. And Hakox.
    • An in-game example. Remember when MOMO and Ziggy were being chased and Shion saved them in the Elsa? That's all from the experience she gained from the crane mini-game.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Captain Matthew's cigarettes spew a LOT of smoke for no adequately explained reason. Maybe they're the opposite of smokeless cigarettes?
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Their durability increases much faster than their levels too.
  • SPACE Is Just Awesome: The scene where Nephilim takes you through space and shows you Kos-Mos destroying a planet in the future is just full of this. Complete with the characters literally standing on nothing yet still attatched to the ground and the background detail showing many planets, cosmos, and stars compared to the rest of the space scenes in the game, which just show some stars. It looks, well, awesome.
  • Space Is Noisy: Played straight, but subverted occasionally in Episode 1 when blue-eyed KOS-MOS asks Shion if feeling pain would make her "complete," Shion can't hear her. There's also the case with chaos' talk with Wilhelm at the end of Episode 2, though chaos and Wilhelm aren't normal in the first place.
  • Space Whale: The Gnosis Cathedral Ships.
  • Spanner in the Works: Allen, who barely qualifies as a Mauve Shirt, manages to completely ruin a centuries long scheme, by getting the beating of a lifetime. Stopping Shion's Face-Heel Turn, as mentioned before, and allowing the others to stop the Big Bad as well as pound Kevin's face in. Maybe. Wilhelm's plan may have been to have things Recur until such Spanner revealed itself though the evolution of the Collective Unconscious. If that's the case, it really isn't a Spanner as Wilhelm was expecting it. However, the one thing that Wilhelm could not expect was U-DO's intervention. While everything resets during recurrence, U-DO doesn't. Therefore, U-DO behaves differently with each iteration.
    • The Perfect Works states outright that since Wilhelm himself is part of the "lower domain" that gets reset, he can't remember previous iterations, either. Therefore, he can't plan anything beyond the reset, although he can certainly hope...
  • Split Personality:
    • Orgulla shows this. Too bad she was a One-Scene Wonder boss, though.
    • Also, KOS-MOS has this, but it's not exactly the same...
  • Stable Time Loop: According to supplemental material in the third game, Wilhelm has forged the entire history of the universe into one.
    • Although since the only connection between the different iterations is through U-DO how 'stable' the loops actually are is debatable.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Albedo to Jr., again. Boy, is it obsessive!
    • Also with Kevin in regard to Shion. When she goes somewhere, there's a good chance he'll be somewhere near by...
  • Starship Luxurious: Most of the ships, especially those owned by the Kukai Foundation, are very guilty of this. In-game information on the Elsa says it was converted from a luxury cruise ship. The Durandal, meanwhile, is not only the Kukai Foundation's flagship, but when docked it's also the Foundation's home office and engine. As for the Dämmerung, it's Vector's company HQ, and Vector pimps out everything they make. (See: the MWS, Miyuki's answer to a can of mace and a rape-whistle.) It's also of a size that it legally qualifies as an artificial planet. Considering the Dämmerung has a graveyard and a thriving metropolis in it, it probably wouldn't be a far stretch to say that it also has a farm somewhere in it to make it more self-sufficient. Well, when your ship is about 1000 square km—about the size of the nation of Lebanon—I'm sure you can fit a farm or two in there. An entire dungeon mid-way through Episode II consists of a trip through the Dämmerung's interior.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Definitely noticable in Episode II, which includes the WOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH of a spaceship flying by that's been heard in a million places before.
  • Story to Gameplay Ratio: Very high. Cutscenes can run upwards of twenty minutes, then lead straight into another one. As a pre-order bonus for the second game, a DVD of the first game's cut scenes was offered to get new players up to speed on the plot. The disc runs upwards of four hours. Impressive enough— until you realize that it omits a hefty chunk of the 'non-essential' scenes. Left in, it probably would have become a (prohibitively expensive) DVD set. When you reach the last dungeon in Episode I and are able to revisit all the areas you had been to, it's surprising to find out that you had only been to two ships, two resting areas, and about a handful of dungeons.
    • A YouTube user decided to put up every cutscene and compile them into a long movie. Episode 1 is seven hours and nine minutes long. Episode 2 is just under four and a half hours. Episode 3 is almost NINE HOURS.
    • One gets the impression that somebody remembered how well the cutscene-and-dialogue second disk of Xenogears worked out when they were running short of money and time, and decided to make a series entirely in that style.
  • Stripperific:
    • Both androids turn up the sex appeal in Episode 3.
    • Shion's outfit gets more stripperific with each installment.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The Professor and Scott, his assistant, are suddenly voiced and given decent roles in Episode III, when they were only present mostly in the Erde Kaiser sidequests (and spoke through text boxes) in the previous games.
  • Suicide by Cop: Albedo's real goal is to provoke Jr. into finally killing him. If you really want to get down to technicalities, then KOS-MOS and T-elos.
  • Summon Magic: This is how you call the Erde Kaiser(s) into battle.
  • Super Prototype: MOMO is this for 100-series Realians, having stronger and unique abilities, including being able to have children.
  • Super Robot / Combining Mecha: Erde Kaiser, gained via a subquest presented in episodes full of bizarre dialogue, and completely at odds with the entire rest of the universe.
  • Super Soldier: Combat Realians, the URT Vs, and Commander Cherenkov count.
  • Super Weight: Has its own diverse entry on the page.
  • Swiss Army Gun: Shion's weapon does about everything but make breakfast for her.
  • Take Your Time: Well, duh. It's a JRPG.
  • Techno Babble
  • Theme Naming:
    • Albedo, Rubedo, Nigredo and Citrine (feminized from Citrinitas) are all stages in the psychological process of alchemy described by philosopher C.J. Jung.
    • The E.S. units are all named after Jacob's children (from book 1 of The Bible). Or the Twelve Tribes of Israel, which is the same difference.
    • Mary and Shelley Godwin, Gaignun's aides and former science guinea pigs, are both named for the author of Frankenstein.
    • KOS-MOS and T-ELOS, named for the Greek words meaning "order" (as in structure) and "purpose." Further theme naming between KOS-MOS and chaos.
    • Yet more — most of the female characters are named after flowers/plants. Shion (a type of daisy), KOS-MOS (Well, cosmos, a type of aster), MOMO (peach), Sakura (cherry blossom), Juli (a Germanised version of "Yuri", Japanese for lily). Aoi (Shion's mother) is hollyhock/alcea.
    • The Zohar Replicas are named after the twelve apostles of Jesus.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Almost played straight by a Gnosis at the end of Episode III while it DOES go cleanly through Jin, who manages to pull it out and fight back with it, it takes a jab with the Gnosis's second sword to kill him.
  • Time Abyss: chaos, Wilhelm and U-DO are not only immortal, and not only live through the entire lifespan of the universe, but they're the only ones who come out the other end of Wilhelm's Stable Time Loop cognizant of everything that's happened in the previous cycle.
  • Timed Mission: One: The escape from the Ormus Stronghold in Episode II is timed, since it was just rigged to blow.
  • To Become Human:
    • Inverted with Ziggy. Ziggurat 8 ("Ziggy" for short) wants to remove what is left of his humanity by replacing all of his organic parts with mechanical ones.
    • MOMO counts as this. In a flashback, Joachim Mizrahi is heard telling her that if she does good deeds she could become human (or, in his words, "become my Sakura").
  • Token Minority:
    • Helmer and chaos. Helmer is probably of African American descent and chaos is most likely Jewish. Makes sense for the latter since he's the guy behind Jesus
    • Shion and Jin Uzuki, and Juli Mizrahi are Japanese, while Joachim Mizrahi is Ambiguously Jewish, and Mary Godwin is southern American. How these nationalities/ethnicities are still around and distinct 5,000 years into the future is anybody's guess, but nobody in-universe seems to notice or care.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Shion and Jin apparently love curry. In fact, they both cook it, and most food scenes in the series involve curry, be it a regular dinner or a Your Favorite type of scene.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The pendant Kevin's mom gave to him. His glasses and pendant to Shion as well.
  • Tragic Monster: Cherenkov, after transforming into a Gnosis. Also doubles as That One Boss for many players.
  • Turns Red: All Bosses in Episode III become more powerful as their health bars decrease. It's usually accompanied by some verbal cue from the enemy as well. Secret uber-boss Ω Universitas literally turns red when it becomes Ω ID.
  • The Unfought:
    • Out of the many antagonists in the series, only Sellers and Wilhelm are not fought in battle. Yes, even the Mad Scientist and the Evil Priest are fought... outside of any A.G.W.S. or E.S., for that matter.
    • You also never encounter two of the E.S. in battle, Judah (which is supposed to be insanely powerful) and the remolded Simeon. You also never fight Joshua (which is an extension of Wilhelm's physical body) so Wilhelm dodges a fight on both fronts.
    • A minor example, but you never fight the giant whale-shaped Gnosis which are seen in cutscenes, unlike all the other species that do appear as regular enemies.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The kid gunslinger and the samurai cosplayer (or, in III, the guy in Chinese robes still carrying a katana) really should inspire more comment. You'd also think someone should comment on the 100-series with the non-standard palette.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Pretty much everyone under Wilhelm's Gambit Roulette, though he has a win-win situation in that Roulette.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Subverted to hell and back: Kevin was a rotten, duplicitous little bastard even as a kid. Heck, he used to be a bad kid by comparison because at least he was a lot better at hiding it as an adult.
    • Albedo! Granted, he hated Sakura Mizrahi with a passion, but that was only because he had the hots for Jr. He really was a sweet, lovable kid, minus the touch of crazy, of course. Said statement is especially proven true in his scene with Jr. when he finds out not everyone can blow off their own heads for fun like he could.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: You need either multiple degrees in physics, religion, philosophy and psychology or access to the internet to decipher some of the game's symbolism. Alleviated somewhat by including an in-game database (which they removed in Episode II for no real reason) that explains a lot of the facts and also keeps profiles of characters.
  • Victory Pose: At the end of every battle the heroes win, they do a victory pose. Often accompanied by a line of some sort by the character who gave the last hit.
  • Visual Initiative Queue: In III
  • Wave Motion Gun: Richard summons one during a boss fight with him while you're inside mech suits within a massive space station. His partner tries to get him to stop, but he unleashes its full power and fully blows a hole straight through the station's bulkhead.
  • Wham Line: Setup at the end of Episode I, then payed off spectacularly at the end of Episode II.
    Episode I Epilogue:
    Wilhelm: It's a shame to relegate him [Albedo] to such a minor role, don't you think?
    Episode II Epilogue:
    Virgil: So, what do you plan to do with him [Albedo]?
    Wilhelm: I said it was a shame, didn't I?
    A spotlight lights up over his shoulder revealing the White Testament.
  • What Could Have Been: A grand majority of the series was eventually edited out. On top of the series originally being six titles long, the What Could Have Been page itself mentions that the series took up Chapters 2 and 5 of the original ideas, with Chapter 1 being the prologue scenes to Episode I. There's also a list on a Xenogears fan forum (spoilers beware) of things that could have been but were either put in later in the series or scrapped altogether when Soraya Saga left. For example, Jr. was supposed to grow up and have his adult form available in battle, as well as something called "Gaignun vs. the Zohar Emulators."
    • Several potentially awesome scenes were removed from the scripts of all three games, some being added in later, but not when they were originally supposed to be; and some were completely forgotten about. The most obvious example being the fight between Jin and Margulis, which was in the trailer for the original game but ended up being in Episode II. Another being a potential plot where KOS-MOS eventually got strong enough weapons to destroy a planet, which Shion was supposed to prevent. Also, chaos, the guy with the ability to destroy the universe, sits around and hangs in the background doing...well, not much. Just shopping and having cryptic conversations most of the time.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to everybody in the prologue of Episode I?
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: This is mulled over repeatedly, both by the characters and in the game Database, suggesting that Realians and androids may have individuality, and perhaps even souls, but are still largely and legally regarded as company property. Some combat types are given backdoor programs designed to incur explosive self-destruction, or trigger large waves of violent Zombie Apocalypse-like berserker riots. This causes much angst and flashback trauma on the part of protagonists and antagonists alike.
  • Wicked Cultured: Albedo may be insane, but he's also one of the most learned characters in the series. Wilhelm also falls into this trope.
  • Womb Level: The Cathedral Ship is an odd example. It has some very organic looking parts mixed in with buildings and crates.
  • World Limited to the Plot: Episode I unintentionally invokes this in its physical world. It doesn't do a very good job of selling its scale. The story is a rich environment with large organizations with a developed culture and history, but the actual environments one plays within feel very constricted, most of the game lacks background music or dynamic ambiance, and the virtual reality recreations of every game area (complete with unopened chests) really brings this trope to mind.
  • Worthy Opponent: Margulis, to Jin.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Wilhelm's ultimate plan. Either the Universe resets, staving off its destruction, or humanity finally grows up this iteration and prevents the Universe's destruction themselves.
  • You Are Not Alone: Subverted in Episode III. Everyone keeps trying to tell Shion that they're there for her, but she keeps rejecting it. Where's Bright when you need him?
  • You Are Number Six: There are 669 URT Vs that are all named by production number, including the variants, with Rubedo being number 666. Also, the 100 Series Realians.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: During Episode III, Shion tries to change her parent's death while time traveling. She doesn't succeed, as it all took place in Shion's mind.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The 100-series Realians and KOS-MOS have blue hair, MOMO has pink hair, and Shelley has Purple.
  • Your Mind Makes it Real... In the Future!: Used as a plot device to explain why, while playing in Shion's consciousness during Episode III, Abel's Ark had to be summoned by adult Shion right after kid Shion summoned the Gnosis. Also used for (or at least implied) why KOS-MOS stayed repaired once the characters returned to the real world after the spoiler happened. Considering that the UMN and Encephelon dives actually connect you the collective unconscious and brush against higher planes of existance where time and space start to lose meaning, this may be justified in part or in whole.
    • It may also explain why items obtained in the Encephelon carry over to the real world, but that's probably just grasping at straws.

Namco × CapcomCreator/Monolith SoftDisaster: Day of Crisis
XenogearsMecha GameZone of the Enders
We CheerCreator/Namco Bandai    
XenogearsThe EpicBroken Saints
XenogearsScience Fiction Video GamesXevious
Xam'd: Lost MemoriesScience Fiction Anime and MangaYami No Aegis
XenogearsEastern RPGXenoblade
X-Men: Next DimensionPlay Station 2 XIII
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alternative title(s): Xeno Saga; Xenosaga Episode I Der Wille Zur Macht; Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits Von Gut Und Bose; Xenosaga Episode III Alsosprach Zarathustra
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