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Anime / Mass Effect: Paragon Lost

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“Do you think I made the wrong decision?”

Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is an animated movie set during the events of Mass Effect 2. Produced by Funimation and animated by Production I.G, it was released on November 28, 2012. A nine-minute sneak peek of the movie was uploaded Funimation's YouTube channel on October 25, 2012, and can be accessed here.

The movie stars James Vega, a lieutenant in the Alliance Marines. After his squad rescues a small colony from krogan pirates, Vega and his team spend the next two years protecting it from harm. However, when a strange piece of unknown technology summons the Collectors, Vega and his allies must fight for their lives and try their best to escape their invasion.

Mass Effect: Paragon Lost provides examples of:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Messner desperately begs Vega for his life in exchange for the data on the Collectors. When Treeya reveals he no longer has it, Vega leaves a sobbing Messner to be torn apart by Collector reinforcements.
    Messner: Just take me with you! I don't wanna die, not like this!
  • Always Save the Girl: This is Sadistic Choice Vega's forced to make.
  • And I Must Scream: The victims of the Collector swarms.
  • Anyone Can Die: Only Vega is guaranteed to survive due to his presence in Mass Effect 3.
  • Ascended Fanboy: At the end of the movie, Vega receives his new orders: He is being promoted to Lieutenant Commander and has been selected for N7 training. By this point, he doesn't seem to have any taste for it.
  • Back from the Dead: In the movie's denouement, Vega learns that Shepard is not dead after all.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: Camille's outfit when not in her armor.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Vega is outright warned about this by Admiral Hackett. He does finally get his wish to become an N7 operative like Shepard was, after sacrificing the lives of the colonists in order to save Treeya and the intel.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Several characters get these moments, although for a few of them it also costs them their lives.
  • Big "NO!": Vega lets one out when he is finished running and processing the fact that he left a whole colony to die for important data that turned out to be useless.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Veering closely to a Downer Ending. Everyone in the film except Vega and Treeya die, including all the colonists and the little girl that Vega promised he'd save. The intel that Vega chose to save over the colonists is promised to be useful for the Alliance to track down and stop the Collectors, but it's proven moot when Shepard and Cerberus wipe out the Collectors on their own anyway which makes Vega's choice All for Nothing. The only real positive outcome from the film is that Vega lives to fight another day so that he'll help Shepard take down the Reapers when they invade the galaxy.
  • Body Horror:
    • We get to see some of the humans getting turned into "genetic slurry" on the Collector ship.
    • Kamille ends up getting integrated into a Praetorian after she is captured by the Collectors.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Several mooks and Archuk are victims of this.
  • The Cameo: Treeya contacts Liara and speaks with her briefly before the signal is jammed.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The Citadel, orbiting a planet which looks similar to Earth. This was before the final battle in Mass Effect 3 where the Reapers moved the Citadel to the Earth's orbit. In addition to this, Sovereign's corpse looks pretty much in one piece, despite being blown to bits at the end of the original Mass Effect.
    • Vega's training as a N7 operative at the end of the movie. Anyone who played Mass Effect 3 know that he's still a candidate for the program and hasn't started training yet before the Reapers invaded Earth and Shepard has the option to encourage him to join the program during the game.
    • The fact that Anderson, who is potentially the human councilor at this point of the story, is seen wearing an Alliance uniform.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Treeya, who initially dismisses Vega as being Dumb Muscle.
  • Dies Wide Open: This happens to Nicky when he dies.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Clearly Messner was dumb enough to believe that the evil aliens melting down humans to grow a new Reaper were just going to let him walk away once his use to them was at an end.
  • Dirty Coward. Messner falls into this sometimes especially when it's revealed he's working with the Collectors in order to not only gain intel for Ceberus but to save his own skin.
  • Doomed by Canon: Quite a few named characters don't make it to the end. Only Vega is guaranteed to survive, although he's not happy about it.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Vega is a certified badass, but he still gets all sorts of flak from some of his subordinates, not to mention Treeya, who gives him the cold shoulder despite his having literally saved the entire colony two years previous. Of course, it's also implied that Vega was unable to string two sentences together in Treeya's presence, so she might have just assumed he was really really stupid.
    • There is the mission when the platoon destroys the Collector artifact. Treeya thinks their action was an act of senseless destruction and states she thinks Vega and the other soldiers are Trigger-Happy Blood Knights, assuming they just "shoot first, ask questions later". In addition, the heightened security, with the Alliance not explaining the reason for it, disrupted the flow of colony life which soured Treeya's opinion of him further.
  • Dwindling Party: By the end of the movie, all but one of Vega's team has died.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Vega finds April's rabbit doll at the end of the film after they return to the colony.
  • Enemy Mine: In the beginning of the film, Brood is one of the antagonists. However, once the Collectors show up two years later, the protagonists suddenly don't mind his help.
  • Expy: Treeya, the asari archeologist and Brood, the red-armored krogan mercenary. Interestingly enough, Treeya being an expy of Liara doesn't keep the latter from briefly showing up anyway.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Brood wears one.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've played Mass Effect 3 and talked to Vega, you know how this ends. Vega's decision and the sacrifices from it were rendered moot and needless.
  • Foreshadowing: Hackett and Anderson are aware that Vega wants to live up to the example that Shepard set, and warn him that such greatness can come at too great a cost.
  • Gender-Concealing Writing: Shepard is mentioned several times, but their gender is intentionally left vague.
  • A Good Way to Die: Brood invokes this, thanking Vega for freeing him so he could at least die a warrior's death as a krogan should.
  • Groin Attack: Kamille gives Essex one after they survived the Blood Pack's attack. This was due to the fact that he almost got everybody killed when he tried to toss his weapon to her and it got stuck in a rock. It made enough noise to alert the Blood Pack of their presence.
  • Gun Ship Rescue: The Alliance Marines attempt to do this in the beginning of the film. Unfortunately for them, the Blood Pack is carrying heavy weaponry designed to take down vehicles and spacecraft.
  • Handicapped Badass: Brood is missing an eye, as indicated by his eyepatch.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Vega might be an even bigger Shepard fanboy than Conrad Verner. Unlike Conrad, Vega is enough of a badass to actually try and follow in Shepard's footsteps. He still gets teased for it.
  • Heroic BSoD: Vega gets several of them in rapid succession at the movie's climax.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Nicky shoves Vega out of the way of a Praetorian's claw stabbing for him and ends up taking the blow instead.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Essex for Kamille.
  • I Gave My Word: Brood, after the humans release him during the Collector attack.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Messner, who is too busy kicking Vega while he's down and taunting him as a dumb grunt that he doesn't think it's a bad idea to get too close. Inevitably, he does, and Vega buries a combat knife in his stomach.
    • Nicky gets stabbed in the gut by the Praetorian and Essex from behind by a Collector General.
  • It Has Been an Honor: A mortally wounded Brood thanks Vega for giving him the chance to die a warrior's death.
  • MacGuffin: The intel on the Collectors. Incidentally, it doesn't actually appear until the climax of the film, but heavily informs everything that happens afterwards.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Archuk survives several gunshots from an assault rifle, shrugged of a grenade exploding at his feet and it took a headshot from a sniper to kill him.
    • Brood survives being shot in the head twice at point blank range, at least for a short while. Of course, krogan are notoriously hard to kill.
  • Magic Antidote: Subverted. After Essex is paralyzed by the Seeker Swarm, the team tests the experimental antidote on him and it doesn't work. At least, it doesn't work right away. He shows up two scenes later to save his friends.
  • Meaningful Name: Why Paragon Lost? Because even if the data had been lost, saving the colonists would have been the Paragon option in the games.
  • The Mole: Messner is not only a Cerberus mole spying on the Alliance, but is also a double agent working for and spying on the Collectors.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Vega, after sacrificing the colonists to save the intel.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Essex ruins Vega's plans in the beginning of the film because he tossed his weapon towards Kamille a little too hard and high up in an attempt to look cool. His weapon ends up sticking into the rock behind her, and the noise it makes alerts the Blood Pack to their presence. While they still manage to pull off Vega's plan, it becomes much more difficult to achieve thanks to them losing their element of surprise, and almost every character is wounded during the fight.
  • No-Sell: The colony's massive defensive turret. The team intentionally fired a low-powered shot at the Collector ship in the interest of protecting the captured colonists inside; unfortunately, the Collectors' shields were far stronger than they anticipated.
  • Offscreen Inertia: Given that this anime was released after Mass Effect 3, the fates of Treeya and Milque, who are the only survivors of Vega's squad at the end, remained unknown by the time Vega joins the Normandy crew in the game and the Reapers began their invasion across the galaxy.
  • Posthumous Character: Commander Shepard, until it is revealed at the end that they came Back from the Dead.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: This movie takes place during the events of Mass Effect 2 (with the exception of the beginning, which occurs around the time of the first game).
  • Quick Nip: Vega takes a swig from a flask and passes it around before attacking the Collector cruiser. After they are captured, they realize that Vega spiked the booze with the Magic Antidote, which also explained why it tasted so lousy.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After they take severe casualties saving Fehl Prime from the Blood Pack, Vega's team is ordered to stay there and provide security. Vega is not too thrilled with this prospect.
  • Red Shirt Army: The other squad Vega's team drops in with don't even get any lines, nor much screentime. They get killed off rather unceremoniously, along with the other shuttles dropping in with them.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Messner forces Treeya to use a Prothean beacon aboard the Collector ship; through it, she sees the Reapers annihilate Fehl Prime's Prothean defenders and then use their corpses to create the Collectors:
    Harbinger: You will submit. You will ascend. And you will serve.
  • Sadistic Choice: In classic Mass Effect fashion, Vega has to choose between saving Treeya (who is carrying vital intelligence about the Collectors) or the colonists (which includes April, the little girl that he promised he would rescue). He chooses the former, and is promoted and rewarded for his choice, but he can barely live with himself. Not only that, but it turns out he made the wrong choice: chronologically, Shepard and their crew destroy the Collectors independently of the Alliance shortly after the events of this movie, rendering the intel Vega gathered useless.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Vega sacrificing the colonists to save Treeya. As aforementioned, Vega ultimately made the wrong choice due to the intel he gathered being useless.
  • Shipper on Deck: Vega's entire team, who shamelessly watch his awkward attempts to chat up Treeya. Worse, they're teasing him about it over the radio.
  • Space Pirates: While they are ostensibly Private Military Contractors in the games, the Blood Pack act more like this in the movie, although it's implied in Mass Effect 2 that this is par for the course for Terminus Systems merc bands.
  • Survivor Guilt: Vega is deeply troubled by this at the end of the film.
  • Taking You with Me: Having been mortally injured by a Collector General, Essex uses his last strength to biotically push himself and his attacker over the edge of a pit inside the Collector ship.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Messner tries to get out of the Collectors threatening to turn him into Human Resources by threatening to transmit the data he's gathered on their weaknesses to the Alliance unless they let him go. The Collectors dismiss his words as empty threats. He also offers to pay Vega in exchange for his life. Vega throws the offer back in his face.
    Messner: Listen, I can pay you, as much as you want! Just name your price! Please Vega, help me! You can't just leave me here!
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Essex's last words after he's been impaled by a Collector General. It also doubles as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Essex: Collect this, you bitch!
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Mason loses it when he sees Kamille has been subsumed into the Praetorian. He runs straight towards it intending to save her, and gets vaporized by a particle beam.
    • Messner, perhaps you shouldn't talk about how you are going to betray the Collectors and steal information from their database while standing in a room with several of them.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Messner cries and begs for his life and for Vega to rescue him after he betrays the group on the Collector ship. Vega is understandably unwilling to help him and leaves him as the group makes their escape, and Messner gets killed by the Collectors for his trouble.
  • Weirdness Censor: Heavily in effect due to Shepard's discoveries being covered up by the Council. Most characters are incredulous about the existence of the Reapers, the Collectors and the true reason for the Prothean's disappearance, with Treeya lamenting that her mentor, Liara, has ruined her career by becoming a "conspiracy theorist" ever since she ran off with Shepard. At the time, the official story published by the Citadel Council was that Sovereign was a unique geth dreadnought, and not an ancient mechanical Eldritch Abomination come to usher in an apocalypse for organic life.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Subverted. While Vega's choice is a matter of record, only he can know for sure what the real reason was for said choice.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Messner. In this case, he was causing the Collectors more problems than he was worth, what with him bringing the Alliance special forces squad onto the ship, risking contaminating the human "genetic slurry" with an asari, and of course, the simple fact that they caught him spying on them.